My Review on 1st to Die by James Patterson

1st_to_DieHi Friends!! With the monsoon on its low and my laziness on its high, I hadn’t blogged for a while now. So here I am today with a sudden realisation that – come, what may, my blog post is going to come up. Over the past two years I have been reading at least 20 books in a year. I started going out of my comfort zone (that is basically murder mysteries) and started reading books by Danielle Steel. I loved her books. I would have read at least 10 of her novels. I was glad I did that as I learnt how to describe the characters flawlessly from her books.

Apart from that, I always wanted to read books by James Patterson. For a murder mystery person like me, James Patterson’s books are something which shouldn’t be missed. I randomly picked a book called the 8th Confession. What I didn’t realise when I picked it up was that it was the 8th book in his Women’s Murder Club Series (I know I am stupid to not have realised that). Though the mysteries are completely different in each of his books, the Women’s Murder Club is the linking thread. I realised this after I started reading. I ignored the fact that it is a part of the Series and started off. I request you not to do that because I ruined something which was there in the first book. Regardless of that I enjoyed reading it. So, the next thing I did after finishing that book was to pick up the first book in the series – 1st to Die.

I know, it sounds very scary and believe me, the book will keep you hooked on to it. I am glad I started reading this series. The book is about a serial killer who goes on a killing spree murdering newly- weds. The Case of the first murder is assigned to the only woman homicide inspector Lindsay Boxer. She has had a lot of personal problems in the past. She is trying to get over it with the help of her friends Claire, Jill and Cindy, along with whom she has also started the Women’s Murder Club. They somehow find the link between all murders being committed with their respective skills and arrive at the conclusion that a Serial Killer is on a killing spree.

How Lindsay solves the murder with her partner Chris Raleigh and the help of her Women’s Murder Club is the story. The way it unfolds is mind blowing. The way Patterson explains how the murder is committed is something which will give you a chill; it seems as if you are witnessing one. His writing is unique compared to others. You can see the murder happen in his books, but the icing on the cake is the twist. A twist which you wouldn’t have imagined.

Isn’t it a treat to read such a book? According to me, it is. I know that I’m not going to stop until I finish the entire series now. Why don’t you guys try it? If you are a fan of murder mysteries, then you must go for it.

While you grab this book, I will rush to finish the remaining books in the series.

Cheers!!!

Kadai Vegetable with Chapati

IMG_3651Hi friends! Hasn’t it been a while now since I posted a recipe? So, here you go. On a Sunday, sometimes I try making something different from our routine South Indian food. One of the Sundays I decided to make Chapati and Bhaji. Whenever I make North Indian side dishes for Chapati on Sundays, it is generally Paneer. This time, however, I wanted to try making something else and I found different veggies as well lying in the refrigerator. What more do you need? I decided to make Kadai Vegetable. I browsed on the net for a recipe and found one on Veg Recipes of India. I took the basic recipe from that page, but then, I did variations as per my taste.

Ingredients

For the Dry Masala Powder

1 tbsp. Coriander Seeds

½ tbsp. Jeera

1 inch piece of Cinnamon

3 Cardamoms

2 Cloves

4-5 Black Peppers

 

For the Wet Masala

2-3 Onions -roughly chopped

2-3 garlic Cloves

2-3 Dry Red Chillies

2 Green chillies (slit)

1 tbsp. Kasuri Methi

1 tsp. Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Saunf

Other Ingredients

2 cups of boiled vegetables (carrot, potato, green peas, beans, cauliflower) chopped

1 Capsicum (finely chopped)

½ tsp Chili Powder

1 tsp Aamchur (dry mango powder)

1 tsp Garam Masala

Water as per requirement

Salt as per requirement

Oil as per requirement

Finely chopped Coriander Leaves for garnishing

Method

  • Boil the vegetables and keep it aside. You can use whatever vegetable you feel like.
  • Dry roast the various ingredients for the Masala Powder. Do not over roast the same. Grind it.
  • In a Pan, heat 1 tsp Oil and when it heats, add saunf and jeera.
  • Add Garlic and red chillies and fry for a minute
  • Add in the roughly chopped onions and fry until translucent
  • Add the Kasuri Methi and fry for a minute and then add in turmeric and remove from flame
  • Add in little water and let it cool
  • Grind it into a fine paste once it cools down.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes and grind it into puree
  • In a pan with 1 tsp Oil, fry the chopped capsicum until the colour changes a bit. Empty it into another container and keep it aside
  • Now take a pan with little oil and add in the ground wet masala paste and fry until it starts giving an aroma
  • Add in the tomato puree and fry well
  • Add the chili powder, dry ground masala powder, aamchur and garam masala and bring it to boil. Add water depending on the consistency you want
  • Add salt as per your taste
  • Add in the boiled vegetables and mix well
  • Add in the fried capsicum and mix well
  • Finally garnish it with chopped Coriander Leaves and serve hot with Chapati or rice

I hope you enjoy it. Do let me know how it turns out to be.

See you soon.

Cheers!!!

PC: Mayur Sarma

My Review on “Watermelon” by Marian Keyes

war=termelonHey friends! It feels good to be back blogging after a long time. Finally, I can sit near the window, with the laptop thinking about what to write, with breeze pushing my hair all over my face. It really feels amazing to sit and write on a super breezy monsoon evening. After such a long time, you can enjoy the weather without sweating. With the heat reaching new heights this year, I could do nothing I love, be it reading, be it writing. It took me about 2 months to finish this book, Watermelon. Yeah, it is one of my ways of justifying my laziness… So, this post is about the review of this book.

Watermelon is a funny book. It tickles your bones to the core. This is the first book of the author I ever tried reading, but believe me, I enjoyed it. It is a story about Claire. She has just given birth to the beautiful baby girl and her husband announces that he’s leaving her as he has been having an affair with a lady called Denise from their building. She is all heart broken and she decides to leave London and heads to Dublin where her parents and sisters live. In the beginning, she is all heart broken and depressed. She keeps to herself and her room. She is bribing her sisters to get drinks for her. She is always sprawling on her bed and crying over what happened to her.

Her dad walks into her room one day and advises her to hold herself together and come out of it. That is when she realises how stupid she has been, all the while. She decides to help herself and come out of it. She starts going out. She enjoys shopping with her baby. She starts going out more often, sometimes alone, when her mom minds her child Kate for her.

Enter sister’s classmate Adam!! She fantasizes him, though he is about 5 years younger than her. He also has a soft corner for her. They start meeting at Cafes and the Gym. He feels guilty about it, but then she realises that she is not having any affair but just enjoying, unlike her husband James. When things between her and Adams is turning out to be much more than just fantasies, James comes to Dublin. He wants Claire back in his life.

Does he genuinely want her or is it something more to it? What conditions does he strap her with, to get her back to him!

To know more about it, you must read this book. It is hilarious beyond belief.  I was reading the book for so long that I wanted to quit reading it at one point, but I am glad I did not do that. It is a big book with about 600 odd pages, but if you are free and can afford to read about 2-3 hours daily, you will be able to finish it by 4-5 days.

I hope you guys enjoy reading this funny book.

Cheers!!!

My Visit to Elephanta Caves

20170315_115636Hey friends! Summer here, is keeping everyone on toes. I hope it is doing the same for you. It has been quite some time since I blogged last. I know, I need to get more disciplined. So, here I am today, though it is a Sunday and I’ve been doing lots of things today. As the title itself suggests, I am writing about my visit to Elephanta Caves. Elephanta Caves are a group of caves located on the Elephanta Island or Gharapuri (as it is popularly known as) located in the Mumbai Harbour, about 10 kms away from Mumbai city. When you live in Mumbai, you obviously get to know about the Elephanta caves. Similarly, I also learnt of these caves long ago, but somehow, I couldn’t go there. Recently in March, when our relatives came from abroad, as a Guide I accompanied them (I know it is hilarious that I went there as a Guide without even knowing where it is).

Before going there, I did a quick research. I came to know that you need to take a ferry from the Gateway of India to reach the Elephanta Island. Then, you need to climb 120 steps to reach the caves. Reading the sentence which said you need to climb 120 steps made me dizzy. I am so unfit that I pant if I walk uphill in our area.  I gathered courage and decided that I will do it come what may!

The day of us going arrived. The previous day was very tiring for all of us as we had guests over for lunch and dinner at home. I somehow managed to get up and shower on time. We had decided to leave by 9 am. We left by 9.30 to be specific. We reached Gateway and there were guys standing with receipt books for the ferry ride. To be specific, the Ferry ride was priced at 180 per person. We were four of us.  We took the tickets and left for our ride. We were ushered into Ferry at around 10 am. We had to wait for a long time for the ferry to begin its journey towards the Elephanta Island. It was a one-and-a-half-hour journey. We reached the Island at about 12 noon. One thing you must keep in mind when you’re going to this place is that you must be ready to walk a lot. Once you get off the ferry, there is a pathway to get to the steps (yes, it is the same 120 steps). You can take a toy train instead of walking. However, it is for a very short distance. We decided to walk.

20170315_120545We walked for a long time and then, reached the deadly 120 steps. It seemed very deadly to me, one because I was too exhausted from the previous day and second because it was peak noon and too hot. There is a tarpaulin covering over the stairways, but believe me, it was super- hot. We panted all the way (at least I panted). We managed to reach the top and I was celebrating quietly as I seriously did not believe that I would make it.

After reaching the top, you need to buy the tickets for the Caves. Since I went with my relatives from abroad, I was the only Indian. The tickets were ridiculously priced. It was 30 Rupees per person for Indians and 500 Rupees per person for foreigners. We bought the tickets and made our way to the Caves. According to what I learnt there, there are 7 caves on the island. The first cave is supposed to be very famous as the main Shiva statue was being worshipped there way before Portuguese rule. It was beautiful. It was worth the 120 steps I thought. However, what made me sad was the fact that the maintenance of the same was miserable. We have such beautiful and pretty structures, but unfortunately for us, we don’t know how to maintain or I’d rather say, we are too careless about it.

After the first cave, we visited the second one. It was generally fine, but not as appealing as the first one. There were empty places in the caves. It was very apparent that the statues have been removed from there long ago. Also, the carvings and statues which were present were damaged. It is a sad sate for us. After seeing the third and the fourth cave, we didn’t want to go any further as there wasn’t much to see. We ended our trip with the fourth cave.

There were a lot of monkeys on the Island. They were literally snatching water bottles from the visitors. Thankfully for us, one of the guys there, warned us against carrying a water bottle in our hands. We were truly grateful to that guy. We captured a few pictures of the monkey drinking water from the bottle like a human being.

We walked down the stairs and this time, we hopped into the toy train instead of walking the pathway to reach the ferry. Our return journey to Gateway was very interesting as we met a couple of foreigners and it was fun to hear the children talk.

Overall it was a good trip. Except for the first cave which was magnificent, there was nothing much to see, but, it was an experience by itself. Where else would you get to go on a ferry and climb 120 steps. I’m sure you wouldn’t. You should give it a try.

This was my personal experience. However, you would probably have a different view from that of mine once you visit it. So why hesitate. Put on your shoes and just head straight.

See you soon!

Cheers!!!!

A New Dawn

Hello friends! As you may have noticed I was missing from my blog for a while now. Over the past few days I was busy with my short story. I was writing it for the Amazon Kindle Storytelling Contest 2017. I read about this contest sometime in April when I was in Mysore. I started off writing for the same immediately. It, however, took quite some time to streamline it and take it in a proper way.  I hope to get feedback on the same from all of you.

A New Dawn is a short story. It is not a thriller or mystery. It is just a story of Disha, the girl next door. She is very simple and down to earth homemaker. Then comes in her husband, Sameer. A normal ambitious businessman who travels a lot. Sameer’s frequent trips on business leaves Disha home alone. Is she happy with the way her life is going ahead? Or does she regret living this way?

Only time will tell! So make some time to read this short story to know this relationship of trust, love and lies as it unravels.

Follow the link given above  to download the book on Amazon.

Why are you still sitting here? Rush to read more about Disha and Sameer and how their life goes on.

Do get back to me with your feedback.

Cheers!!!

Note: The Cover Page for the book is created by Mayur Sarma 🙂