The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – A Review

imageHi friends!! Somehow managed to reach out to you all shredding my lazybones (not exactly lazybones but adding my all-time favourite blogging to my multitasking list). I always decide that I will blog regularly but somehow my other tasks take up so much of my time that I just couldn’t come here. I don’t even have the face to apologise! So, let me just take off straight from where I left. In the past few months I’ve had so many experiences, read so many books, watched so many movies and also tried out many new dishes. I have a whole lot of things to share with the world. I hope I maintain this consistency from now on at least. I have decided to review a book this time.

I have been wanting to read ‘The Girl on the Train’ for a very long time. I was told by many that the book is too good. I somehow hesitated till now, just shooing off the thought convincing myself that it is probably just an over exaggeration, but damn it! I picked up this book last Sunday at my library and started off immediately. Starting from the first page the book happened to be very gripping. I just couldn’t drop it down, but obviously my sleep ruined it for me. However, I ditched all other things for the book on Monday and Tuesday and finished it off at a stretch. I, generally, don’t do that unless the book is so gripping (I like to read my books slowly and steadily).

This is an amazing book and a must- read for the ones like me who love mystery and thrillers. The way she has written it something amazing. I mean it’s too good. You feel the character as you go on reading. You can feel the protagonist Rachel Watson’s loneliness. You can feel the sadness. At every step you want to help her. That is how strong the narration is.

It starts off with our girl Rachel who travels by this commuter train from Ashbury to London. She has the habit of seeing outside while she is seated in the train. It so happens that she sees this couple every day in House No. 15 near the tracks. Once upon a time before she divorced, she lived in House No. 23 on the same street. That is why she has this special feeling for this street. However, at that time this couple did not stay there and she doesn’t know them personally. It is just from her routine observing while commuting on the train that she feels that she knows them really well.

On the other hand, is Megan who is married to Scott who is n IT guy. She has been battling with herself for long and after being persuaded by her husband she decides to see a therapist. It is this couple that Rachel sees every other day from her train. This routine goes on for long and one fine day Rachel sees a headline in the paper which says, ‘Witney girl Megan goes missing’ with the girl’s picture. Life takes a huge turn from then on. Rachel has seen something in the past which might actually help the investigation, but will she succeed. Will she be able to convince the police and Scott about what she had actually seen on one of her trips? Will Megan be found? Will Rachel go back to the street where she once belonged to decipher what happened on that fateful Saturday night? To get the answers for these questions please just go and grab a copy of this book right away and start off.

I personally loved the book. I would give it five stars. It is a really gripping mystery novel. No wonder it has been a global bestseller. I’m glad I finally picked it up. It’s time for you guys to do the same.

Happy Reading….

Cheers!!!

Advertisements

My Experience at a Government Office – Corruption is still prevalent

imagesHi friends!! I have been really shameless for the past three months (seriously!!!). I have no words. I don’t even want to apologise because I know how it is going to be. It is like a chain. I apologise and promise to blog often and then do not keep up my promise and it goes on and on, without an end. So, I will just get to blogging. I have been wanting to share my experience at a Government Office. It started with the change of phase for the electric meter. On a Monday morning I confidently walked in to the Electricity Office in our area. I was pretty sure that the work will be done in one day, after all it was just a change of phase. Little did I know that there was an elaborate procedure involved.

I first went and enquired for a form for change of phase. From what I understood it was a form of authorisation from the person in whose name the electricity connection is in. The problem started, then. The connection was in my husband’s granddad’s name (he passed away long ago!). We had to first change the name and then proceed for phase conversion. I went and spoke to the help desk guy and told him that I need to change the name. He referred me to some other person and I explained everything in detail to him. I told him that I want to get the connection changed to my father in law’s name. That guy very easily told me, ‘Don’t go for name change, it will take a long time.’

I was surprised and asked him, ‘What should I do then?’.

For which he very coolly replied, ‘Give the form in your granddad’s name only and when some person comes for inspection just tell them that your granddad has gone to the market.’

I was so shocked that I cannot explain it.

I told him, ‘Listen I do not want to take the wrong route and I am not doing anything like forging or telling lies. It’s ok, if it takes a longer time for conversion, but I will go through the proper route only.’

He was taken aback. He said, ‘I will let you know how much it will cost for a change of name’, and went to some counter and spoke to that guy for a long time.

He came back and said that The Change of Name would cost me Seventeen Thousand Rupees.

I was like, ‘WHAT THE HELL?’

I told him, ‘I will check online and get back to you.’

He was again shocked. He was like you have to pay me two to three thousand rupees extra since I have to go to the Head Office and submit the form.

This is when I got really angry. I asked him straight, ‘Doesn’t the Government pay you salary? It is for your work that you are paid and this is your work. I will not pay you anything more than the legal fee.’

He quickly asked me, ‘When will you give me the cheque? I will come over to your place and collect it. Why should you come all the way in this heat?’

I was laughing from inside. I replied, ‘You don’t have to worry about me. I will manage. We will somehow come back here and finish it.’

I just left from there the next second and spoke to my husband about it. He was also shell shocked. On the way back home, I checked online for the actual procedure for change of name. Believe me, the Government website is so good that I actually did not expect it. The total fee was about 7,000 rupees as against the 17,000 he demanded. Above all, you are allowed to set off your security deposit sitting in your credit against the total fee payable. So, I had to pay about 4,000 rupees to get the name changed. The procedure was simple, self – explanatory and convenient. You can do it from your own home. In about fifteen days, the name was changed as well.

What I wish to tell from this post is, corruption is still prevalent. Why is it so? It is because we are encouraging it. We should put our foot down. When we do it a couple of times, then such people will get scared to ask for money the next time. They may not stop, but at least they will think twice before asking.

When I shared my experience with a few people, they point blank told me not to do that. They also told me that I will never be able to get the change done if I go against someone from within the department, but I am proud of my family. All of them supported me and told me to go the right way and not fall prey to such people. I successfully completed the first leg of my work. Now when I go for my next step I am sure that I will come across the same guy at the Department. Come, what may, I will not encourage him, but at the same time I will get my work done without bribing anyone.

I request all of you to say no to Bribing. If you want to have an India of your dream and bring the change, then you need to be the driving force for the change. Only then, you will have all the right to crib about what is not right in your beloved country.

I hope I did not bore you guys to death with this long and serious post.

See you soon.

Till then, cheers!!!

Hey it’s my Mom’s Birthday

IMG_1444Hello friends! I am here with a different post today. I wouldn’t have found another apt day to put up this post. It is my Mom’s birthday today! The moment my mom reads this I’m sure she will re -read it like hundred times to see if it’s true 😊 Yes, like any other mother-daughter duo, we always fight; like always! She tells me something and then I answer back and then it goes on and then she sulks and I sulk and then comes my dad, to intervene and sort it out for us.

As I’m getting older I am realising one thing, I’m becoming more and more like my mom (and believe me, that’s really scary). People who know my mom very well might just laugh at this and say this girl is insane, but yeah, I’m her daughter so I have the right to pull out her negative points and highlight it to her and say, ‘See I’m becoming like you’. I have the liberty to throw tantrums at her because she is my mom; if I don’t do it, who else will do it. I am the only child. I have all her negative stuff but to be frank enough I don not have any positive quality of her (yes, yes I am admitting that you have positive qualities). She is disciplined; she is very clean. Believe me, at 9 in the morning, the kitchen will be sparkling clean, making it look as if she hasn’t prepared any food (while she would have finished cooking for the entire day by 9). She is quick and I’m slow. I’m a clean freak too, but my laziness takes over everything else in the world. She is not lazy at all, but as I mentioned earlier, I am..

My mom might suddenly think, ’what is happening today? Is this my daughter writing this or is it someone else in disguise?’ Yeah, generally, I refuse to praise her, but since today is her day, I thought I would do it.  I am not like my mom by nature. She is very soft in nature, but firm; while I am in no way soft by nature.

Mom, I want to tell you that how much ever we fight, always remember one thing, I will never stop loving you 😊 We might have differences of opinion, but I will never ignore whatever you tell me. After fighting with you I think about whether what you said was right! It is just that I do not want to accept in front of you that you are right.

I can go on writing for ages about you, but I want to keep this post short and sweet for your birthday.

Here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday. I hope you had a great one. I hope you enjoy this tiny gesture from my side on your birthday. Love you.

Cheers!!!

Recipe Time – Kidney Beans Salad (Mexican)

IMG_1703 (1)Hello dear friends!! My previous two posts were about our recent trip to Goa. After that I have been wondering what to write about. I have too many ideas running inside my head simultaneously. It has been quite some time since I posted a recipe. So, here I go.. Being South Indians, most of the days we make South Indian food at home. It’s rice and rasam or rice and sambar, accompanied by some bhaji. My husband is very fussy when it comes to food. He has his set likes and come what may, he will not deviate from it. Whatever happens, he will not eat anything that he doesn’t like. Especially, when it is south Indian food. Hence, every night there are tantrums at our place with respect to food. So, the thing is, if I have to get my husband to eat at home, there should be something interesting which can compete with the yummy outside food. One such day, my laziness took a backseat and I decided to try something different for dinner. We always have a stock of pulses and grains at home and I decided to make some different salad, with a Mexican twist (let me be very clear in the beginning itself, this is not a typical Mexican recipe; I just tried my hand at it by adding various things into it).

Ingredients

1 ½ cups Red Kidney Beans (soaked for at least 10 hours and cooked)

1 Capsicum – sliced

1 Onion – sliced

2 Tomatoes – Sliced

1 cup Sweet Corn (cooked)

Garlic – finely chopped – as per your taste

1 tsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Tex Mex Salsalito Taco Seasoning Mix

1 tbsp Oregano

1 Tbsp Parsley

1 tsp Jeera

1 Lime

Salt as per requirement

Water as per requirement

1 tsp Oil

Method

  • Cook the kidney beans in a cooker and keep it aside
  • In a pan, heat oil and add jeera and fry for a minute
  • Add garlic and onions and fry till transparent
  • Add capsicum and fry until the capsicum changes color
  • Add the sliced tomatoes and fry well
  • Add the sweet corn and cook well
  • Add the cooked kidney beans, chili powder, Oregano, Parsley and the Taco Seasoning and mix well
  • Add salt and water as per your requirement
  • Turn off the stove and squeeze a lime into the salad (add lime as per your taste; I used one whole because we love tangy taste)

This turned out to be a proper Mexican Salad because of the Taco Seasoning Mix. This recipe is a good change from the normal food we eat. Why don’t you try it out too?

Get on your toes fast!!!

Cheers!!!

Adventures of Goaaa – Part 2

IMG_1172Hi friends!! I’m back with the second part of our Goa Adventures. This post is a continuation of my previous post. I had mentioned in my earlier post that if I start writing I will go on and on and probably, not stop. So, here I am, back once again to give you an account of our Goan Adventure. After visiting the beaches, it was time for us to go to a coffee shop to just unwind and relax. The first time we went to Goa with family, we had gone to one of the CCDs (Café Coffee Days) located in Bambolim. We wanted to go to that particular CCD only.  We had been there on our previous two trips as well. We did not want to miss it. We had hired a two- wheeler. It was a good one- hour journey. We started off at 6 pm from our hotel and reached the CCD at around 7 pm. Our ride was through the highway with construction work going on. We had coffee and just chilled there for about an hour. We left the CCD by 8 pm. While we were on our way the vehicle started making weird noises and just stopped on the highway, in the dark, where the construction work was going on in a full-fledged way. We were too petrified. Yes, Goa is very safe that way. We have been going there every year now and people are very nice. However, it is natural to get petrified when you are stuck on the highway at night. It was pitch black and eerie. We pushed the vehicle for a bit and reached some dimly lit area where there was a small poky restaurant. It looked very shady and it was a Bar cum Restaurant. We weren’t very happy, but did we have a choice? The answer is No. We called up our Hotel and checked if they could send us a car to pick us up in a worse- case scenario. They told they would if the bike guy didn’t have any solution. We then called up the bike provider and my husband spoke to him and requested him to send someone to pick us up and he readily agreed. He told us that we would have to wait for some time. We waited and waited and then, we waited… It was close to an hour and no one had come. We had just taken a Coke to drink at that small restaurant. The waiters were just staring at us, as if asking ‘why the hell are you’ll hanging around here if you aren’t eating anything?’. In fact, one of the waiters came up and asked as well. We couldn’t gather any courage to eat there since it was a veg cum non-veg restaurant. At around 9.30 pm the bike guy sent a car. We were so relieved at the sight of seeing the car, but we weren’t aware that we had more in store for us when we sat in the car. The guy drove the car like a mad man. Yeah, those of you who know Mayur well would probably question me. I agree, he drives fast but this guy was a limit. We were just staring glances at each other, sitting in the back seat and after a point it was so much to take that we literally held on to each other for dear life 😊 . At the end of the day, he somehow got us to our hotel safely in one piece (I agree, it should be two pieces because we were two of us). We grabbed something quickly for dinner and headed straight to sleep since it was too much adventure for the day. I am sure all of you will agree with that.

The next day was again a calm day with not much to do. We decided to go to Benaulim Beach which is again located about 15-20 minutes away from our hotel. We parked ourselves in one of the shacks and just sat there viewing the sunset. It was gorgeous. The sunset is ultimately the same but this beach was completely different from the other two. In the sense that the distance between the shore and the sea was very little. While we sat there watching the sunset, we felt as if the sun was super close to us. We decided to leave by 6.45 pm. There were a lot of shops outside. I went and bought some random stuff there and decided to head back to our hotel.

IMG_1264Sunday was the last day for us to visit beaches as we wanted to keep our Monday relaxed and chilled. We decided to go to Agonda Beach on Sunday morning. It was about 1 hour 10 minutes away from our hotel. We decided to leave by 10.30 pm and we did. It was supremely hot outside and both Mayur and I suffered little sunburn. Once we reached the place after about an hour’s ride, we were so relieved. Thankfully for us there was a small restaurant on the shore which had proper shade. I was sure I would otherwise die of heat stroke. We sat there and had something cold to drink and when my husband when on a photography expedition on the beach, I sat writing my story. Most of my story plots are designed when I’m on a holiday. Agonda Beach is a very peaceful beach with few people here and there and the scenic beauty is something which you’d die for. We enjoyed our visit and then left the beach at about 1 pm. We wanted to go to one particular Harmonium Café located near Agonda for lunch, but unfortunately for us, it was shut and they were going to open it only at 3 pm. It did not make any sense for us to wait until 3. So, we decided to go towards Benaulim Beach. A Dominos Pizza Outlet was situated near there. We decided to grab a pizza or lunch and then just go and relax. By the time we reached the hotel it was 5 pm. We just chilled for the rest of the day.

Monday was more or less our last day in Goa, since we were leaving on Tuesday afternoon. We decided that we will chill doing nothing. Believe me, that is also fun! You should also sometimes try doing nothing.

Hope this post and the preceding one helps you plan a nice trip to Goa in the upcoming days.

Cheers!!!