28 August, 2014

Vinayaka Chavithi Celebrations - in Andhra style

Vinayaka Chavithi is a unique festival for Telugu people because of the way it is celebrated with family members. It is fun time especially for kids, decorating clay idol, Palavelli (Wooden frame to tie fruits), marking all notebooks with Om or Swastik symbol with watery vermilion paste, praying Lord Ganesha with different types of leaves (patri), helping mother in preparation of special dishes for the day - Vundrallu and talukalu. I have many wonderful memories associated with this festival from childhood. As children, we used to wait for this day for whole year.

Importance of festival:
Before I touch upon our way of celebrating this festival, i should also tell you the importance of the festival in our lives. This is celebrated as the birth date of Lord Ganesha, Son of Lord Parameswara and Goddess Parvathi. Ganesha is also known as Vighnadhipathi, which means first God to be prayed before starting any work to avoid obstacles and bring success.

Story behind Puja:
The legend is that Moon God laughed at Vinayaka on his birthday watching him walking slowly because of over eating his favorite dish Vundrallu, which made Vinayaka's belly burst. Goddess Parvathi is upset with this and cursed that no one should see moon from now on, or else, they will face many obstacles/problems. When all other devatas requested her for a remedy, she changed curse saying that whoever watches moon on Vinayaka Chavithi without performing puja to Lord Ganesha and without wearing akshinthalu (rice with turmeric powder kept in puja), will face problems. So, it has become a custom in Telugu household to perform puja on that day morning to Lord Ganesha, by taking head bath, wearing new dresses, preparing and offering dishes which please Ganesha, listening to the above story and wearing those puja akshinthalu at the end.

Puja process:
We buy Ganesh idol made of clay, different types of fruits available and different types of leaves(patri) to perform puja. We prepare and offer Vundrallu/ Kudumulu, Chalividi, Vadapappu, Panakam and a sweet called 'Talukalu' prepared either with jaggery or sugar and milk. Each fruit bought for Puja will be cleaned, applied with vermilion paste and kumkuma and tied to Palavelli (a wooden frame), which is tied above the Ganesha idol. All fruits are tied symmetrically as shown in images. Some also buy and place an umbrella above clay idol. We usually write Om/ swastik symbol on academic note books of children with vermilion paste and kumkum and keep before God during puja. After performing puja, we listen to the story about Vinayaka's birth and wear akshinthalu at the end. We end the puja with harathi and distribute prasadam. Usually, we keep God decorated in household and pray for at least 3 days and leave the puja remains along with idol in a lake, which is known as 'Nimajjanam'. Few people perform puja at home daily till 7 or 9 days before immersing idol in lake on 10th day. Because of performing puja and wearing akkshinthalu on head on that day, it is believed that no problem arises even by seeing moon by mistake. So, that's how we celebrate making every family member participate actively. 

Let me know how you celebrate this festival :)

Until next time,



25 August, 2014

Easy books for beginners

In this digital world, Book reading is becoming a rare quality.  Isn't it?

World is moving fast. We prefer twitter, mms, sms to facebook, letters and emails. 

We always want quick updates. We don't have time to dig into details. 

Still, some people are interested in books, some listen to audio books, some watch movie adaptations, some read e-books, use kindles, everyone has some shortcut.  Agree?

Many colleagues and friends who are still interested in reading books ask me to suggest some easy books for beginners to catch up and make it a habit. They all know there are many advantages of reading books like enhancing our memory, improving our concentration, increasing knowledge and sometimes, it can be simply to escape to that fantasy land :) Here is the list of books that i read so far and remembered to document. From this list and beyond, i would like to suggest few quick, easy reads with quality stuff to any beginner who want to start the habit of book reading. 

1. Wise and Otherwise by Sudha Murthy - My review


A short story collection which is based on real life experiences. Each short story is simple and easy going  which can be completed in an hour. Everyone will definitely love Sudha Murthy's writing style and also understand moral values behind each story.

2. Five point someone by Chetan Bhagat


Chetan Bhagat's books are simple to read and connect well to the mindset of youth. This book already was very famous among students and became more popular due to movie adaptation '3 idiots'. Can't believe it's just Rs.52/- in flipkart now. Anyways, you can complete this easy read very quick for sure :) I would also recommend you to read '2 states' from the same author, if you liked this.

3. Urban Shots Cross roads by multiple authors - My review


A fresh breeze of modern short stories from multiple authors. Since there are different stories about different sets of people, we can easily relate to many characters in our day to day lives. As it is basically a collection of short stories, few might be too good, some bad and some ok types. Overall, its good time pass to read this book.

4. Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - Collection of short stories - My review


My Favorite of all. My habit of book reading started with this and i love these short stories so much. This complete collection is my prized possession so far. As you might have guessed from the name of the detective, these are collection of detective stories. You wont be disappointed by the story line of each thrilling one. But, the language used in this book might seem too old and classic, you might need some time to love the writing style. A good choice for people who love detective stories with mystery and thrill. 

5. Lucifer's Lungi by Nitin Sawant - My review



Might not be a best read, but easy going thriller having humor as integral part of the story. First few pages might be boring, but you wont regret for picking up this book to read as the remaining part compensates for the same. A short story which suits our modern thinking.

So, all beginners... do let me know if you agree with my list.

Note: Books picked above are easy to read and might improve your interest in book reading, but this doesn't mean that they are the only best literary works that i read so far. 

Until next time,






Image courtesy: All pics from flipkart.com and goodreads.com

18 August, 2014

Ramayana - The Game of life : Rise of the Sun Prince - [Book Review]

Book details:
Title: Ramayana :The Game of life 
         Rise of the Sun Prince
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publishers: JAICO
Genre: Mythology
No. of pages: 252
Source: A free copy for review from blogadda.com

Expectation: 

I have been listening to Ramayana tales from childhood from my father and also watched them in television. Even though iam reading Ramayana again after so many years, i remember each and every small story of it. Those stories and  characters settled in my mind permanently. So, i was not sure initially if this book would interest me to complete till the end, as i hate reading known stories again and again. 

My expectation was to get a different perspective on the tale that i know from long. A different thought process which would help me to correlate with the current scenarios and problems of our country. Iam expecting to learn something new out of old story, which is not very preachy . So, let me tell you if this book really met my expectation :)


My take on story:

This is first part of the 6 book series of complete Ramayana and covers the story from the birth of Lord Rama to his marriage. Basically, story is taken from Valmiki Ramayana and Kamba Ramayana, though few tales are collected from other sources. It is good that author touches upon other characters in detail along with main characters. Actually, Author mentions that Viswamithra is the hero of this story as Balya kanda emphasizes mainly on how he transformed from a jealous king to Brahmarshi and other lessons he learnt in his journey. 

As a reader, we would surely love the extra information from footnotes, but at the end, we feel that there is too much information to comprehend from foot notes. I felt, few foot notes are unnecessary and very preachy. Liked these tidbits which are very less known facts from Ramayana :):



  • Dasaratha had 353 wives!
  • Dasaratha's wives bore the divine children Rama, Laxmana, Bharatha and Sathrughna for 12 months!
  • Lord Rama's childhood is covered in Ramayana only in 10 verses!
  • The famous Suprabhataham song 'Kaushalya Supraja Rama' that we use now for Lord Venkateswara is first sung my sage Vishwamithra to wake up Rama from sleep in the forest!
  • When Lord Vishnu killed Khyati, wife of sage Bhrigu, Brighu maharshi cursed Vishnu to appear on Earth for 10 times, which are famously known as Dasavathara (10 incarnations)!
Also, liked these lines about special attributes a man should have to marry in Sita's opinion


"He must be valiant or have the ability to protect
He should be prudent and have the ability and wisdom to say the right things
He must have self control or the ability to resist temptation and control emotions"
And these lines about marriage
"Marriage works best with happy cooperation. Hearts are broken when couples compete. To avoid heart break, a couple must cooperate and complement each other."
So, overall, other than the story, we have lot of things to take away from this book. The Ramayana is not a book; it is a way of life. The next book in the series is 'Shattered Dreams'.

I would recommend this to:

  • Children who want to read Ramayana for the first time
  • Elders, who know Ramayana and want to read it to get another perspective and learn about other characters
  • Any book reader who is interested in mythology and want to learn something new
My rating:
4/5
To get this book from flipkart for just Rs.159/- follow this link.

Until next time,







This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

12 August, 2014

A butterfly in the garden #Flash Fiction

Linking this to the Fiction Challenge ‘From 15 to 50′ hosted here

pic courtesy: The moving Quill

Surprised to see a beautiful butterfly in my balcony
On a bright red flower resting in the shade,
When I went to touch the butterfly excited like a child,

I woke up by the sound of whistling pressure cooker in the kitchen. 

Alas! My day dream ended :(

Until next time,





#Flash #Fiction

05 August, 2014

Baby in the womb

Some say, 
it's like a fluttering butterfly, soft bubble bursting, gentle tap on tummy or strong kick

Some experience,
gentle movement, soft somersaults,  hiccups or mini aerobics

It is wonderful to have a life inside you, a cute innocent human being,
with little palms, tiny toes, which can listen, see and breathe.

I bow to the God for his magical creation and
I feel proud to be a woman to experience motherhood.

Until next time,

Image courtesy: Flickr creatic common license images https://www.flickr.com/photos/28795465@N03/

26 July, 2014

Lucifer's Lungi by Nitin Sawant- [Book Review]

This copy of book is provided by Fablery publishers for review.

Book details:
Title: Lucifer's Lungi
Author: Nitin Sawant
Publisher: Fablery publications, Bangalore
Genre: Psychological thriller
No. of pages: 111

Synopsis: 
Protagonist is a manager/ supervisor in a software company in Madras bored with his work, tries to escape the monotony of his life by travelling to different places in Tamil Nadu. Without knowing the local language much, he adventures to travel to interior parts as well as famous places on his own. Story is about one such journey which shakes his ideology and makes him believe in the local legend of a village. 


Once, he travels to a completely unknown place just by choosing a passenger bus with unpronounceable destination name. It is a simple village with many temples and myths around it. He becomes host to chief priest's family of Palayar temple and makes friendship with Priest's son who knows English and a young lad of Tea shop. Story starts casually with his interest to visit all temples in the village without giving any attention to the stories behind them or mythological tales which conflict with his scientific mind. He is not an atheist, but believes that bad can happen only when we do something wrong and not because of anything else. There is no need to be afraid of anything. But, his new friend 'Sarvana' (Priest's son) has a complete different ideology on God and myths in the village. Sarvana believes in the legends of the village about Lord Palayar and Saitan 'Luganar' and tells him many instances of people disappearing from village leaving behind their Lungi who are attacked by 'Luganar'. Sarvana asks his tourist friend to perform puja to protect himself from Luganar's attack. Ofcourse, or hero rejects and wants to return to Madras on the same evening as he has to be in the office next day.

From here, the story takes a turn. Many things happen when the protagonist waits on the road alone to return to madras which make him believe all the legends told by Sarvana. All his beliefs and logical thinking wipe away from his mind by facing a horrific situation and at last he is saved somehow in a funny way. Thrilling story in the last few pages turns out to be a light humor at the end. 

What is good? 
Writing style is easy flowing and humorous to some extent. Overall plot of the story is good. It's good that story is short (only 111 pages). Starting might be boring, but it becomes page-turner in the middle and ends in a light note.

What is not good?
No specific negative thing to point out. Story becomes boring in the middle. Conversations between the protagonist and Sarvana are very lengthy. 

I would recommend this to: people who love a light read, thriller, short novel with humorous take

My rating : 4/5

Loved it completely without any doubt. Another positive is it's a fast read, i could complete in 2 hours :)

It's just Rs.120/- if you buy from flipkart.com. Here is the link.

Until next time,






This is not a paid review and it is my honest opinion.

23 July, 2014

Travel - Inspiration from Fragrance #InspireAFragrance

This post is written for contest #inspireAFragrance from Godrej and indiblogger.

Who doesn't love taking a break by going to a misty hill station? Iam thinking about what all the memories that we enjoy other than travel while visiting hill stations. This contest from Godrej made me think about fragrance. Of course, there are many memories attached to different smells that we experience during travel. Iam talking about good smells only here :p

Refreshing eucalyptus oil fragrance: I love the refreshing smell of Eucalyptus oil when i travel to hill stations or having a walk or trekking in forests. We all know, this oil has many medicinal benefits and one of them is to cure bronchitis and nasal congestion by breathing its vapor. It is also effective in reducing fever and treating fungal infections. But, i feel, just breathing it gives peace to the soul. Isn't it refreshing? 




Smell of mud in rain: Wow! i hope, many of you love this smell like me :) The smell from mud that comes just when it drizzles or just before it starts to rain is too good..















Smell of Flowers: Jasmine flowers are mostly wore by Asian women in hair. Their sweet smell spreads to hair and also cools the brain. Also, jasmine flowers are used in many perfumes and to prepare tea. Rose is the king of all flowers, what say? Their fragrance might be the reason why men choose it to propose their love :) Extensively used in spas also right? Usually we will have flower shows or rose gardens in many hill stations like ooty, kodai and Shimla. Visit for sure next time..

There are many other smells that inspire me - mysore sandal agarbathi, sweet smell of hot chocolate, oils/ creams that they use in spa and massages etc.,

Thanks for Godrej for this cool contest #InspireAFragrance which made me re-live those memories with sweet fragrance :)

Until next time,







Image courtesy: From google images.
www.flipkart.com, www.boloji.com, www.iplamen.com


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