review

A bend in the road- Nicholas Sparks

There it comes, another Nicholas Sparks novel from my bookshelf. I did not want to read a Nicholas Sparks for some time to increase my eagerness. Thus read this after a year. “A bend in the road” surely gives us surprises and bend in our minds. Apart from the usual North Carolina romance, Sparks has taken this to next level by inducing the surprise.

The story begins in an NC setting where Miles Ryan, a cop lost his loving wife to an accident. He has a 6-year-old son, Jonah and raises him single. He could not find out who had killed his wife in the accident. He tries to investigate but it vain. He does not date anyone after his wife passed.He starts falling in love with Sarah, Jonah’s teacher. Sarah is a divorcee and her ex-husband leaves her because of infertility issues. She moves from Maryland to NC for a change and to forget her bad marriage.

There they meet and start falling for each other. Unfortunately, strings between them get loosened when Sarah gets to know that her brother Brian had accidentally hit Missy, Miles’ wife because there was a dog that came from nowhere when Missy was out for jogging in dark. She fell in front of his car and he hit her erroneously.

Miles thinks that, in order to soothe him, Sarah fell in love with Miles and tries to help his soon too. Later, he discovers that his verdict was wrong and Missy’s was an accident and not hit and run case so they get together.

This story has all the elements of a novel – romance, drama, tragedy, suspense, action.This is a complete read and entertaining throughout.

 

 

autobiography · feminism · review

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

When 50 shades of Grey was published, along with me there were millions that went crazy. It was that time when amazon showed me Jane Eyre in the recommendation column when I placed an order of 50 shades of Grey . After going through the synopsis, I liked the idea that the novel, Jane Eyre was dated back to the year 1816 and was published in 1847.I ordered this book then and kept it on the bookshelf for a long time.I did not read many reviews of the book because I would get carried away with the comments and become biased .After 4 long years, I made up my mind to read this novel.

My book has 509 pages and it reminded me of all English novels like Oliver Twist, Gulliver’s Travels,Little Women,Tom Sawyer ,etc. These were some of the English novels that were suggested for us when we were in school.But, Jane Eyre has a totally different shade to this vintage list.I was surprised to look at how feminism started flourishing 2 centuries ago and we are not still there yet in many places although there has been a revolution.Apart from feminism-it also portrays the ages of bad healthcare,non-auto transportation, nonelectricity .

Like every other English novel, the author has described the circumstances and the situation around in detail. She had taken us literally to her world since this is an autobiography. She has set up a beautiful example to women in terms of what true love is, what it takes to find a job ,how she forgives her aunt in spite of she blaming poor Jane for her behavior over her son and how she agrees to share her inherited wealth with her cousins.

I have two favorite characters in this novel apart from Jane Eyre – Mr. Rochester and Helen Burns. Every girl child needs to be like Helen Burns ; very bold and brave.Mr. Rochester goes without saying. He is shown as a gentleman and I feel he resembles the character of Mr. Hank Rearden . Actually, it is the other way round.

I have rated this classic 4/5 on Goodreads. This book is a must read for all women.

blogging · countdown · review

J-Jealousy-A TO Z COUNTDOWN

It is almost 12 am here and I’m too sure what to write after a super cool hangover.Yes, it is Saturday night and I have a personal goal of finishing this A to Z countdown blog for the letter J.What else could I think of the letter J other than the word “Jealousy” at this point in time.

What is jealousy ? Is it just a feeling like being happy, sad, worried, ecstatic ? Or does it belong to a class of emoji mentioned in the social networking sites? Or is it just another English word starting with J?

Whenever someone possesses something beautiful be it a smile or a lipstick shade or a boyfriend or a job . Those people assume that somebody else could jealous of them when they lose that thing. Is it really possible or is that jealousy of a person so powerful that they lose something that they are proud of ? Absolutely not. Only pride makes them lose and not jealousy.

Jealousy could be both a motivator and a demotivator. It is a motivator because one feels on top of the world when somebody else envies what this person has. Demotivator because if one feels when somebody is getting jealous, that person feels like he or she going to lose those things some day.They feel unprotected and start moving away from people assuming that less is better.

Like other emotions, this emotion is needed for anyone to get the stuff balanced. This world operates in a balance mode. For example, the 2 negatives of a person X might be offset by 2 positives of that person’s partner and vice versa.

This could encourage a person to do better in life or altogether deceive the target.The emotional Intelligence is required for every person in order to first control the self and then others.This way jealousy can be contained too.

This attribute in a person’s character is important to be controlled .Because it is like a devil and gets the customers out of the routine.

A healthy way of helping to get rid of jealousy. Take it in a positive manner and improve performance that enhances this factor.

blogging · chocolate · countdown · ice cream · memoire · review

I- ICE CREAM -A TO Z COUNTDOWN

Hello, my friends. After 2 weeks of taking a blog break, I’m back fresh and the aftermath of an exam that I had to take. Hoping to restart my reading goals and every week blog from this week onward. For the letter “I” , I’m going to write about ice cream and the different types of ice creams I have had so far.Obviously, I cannot have a say of what I haven’t eaten or tasted. Ice cream – why is it called ice cream It’s all ice,frozen,sugar,dairy, gluten, infinite calories and lots of energy.Most of them love the sight of this food too. So I also call it “Eyes- Scream”. After someone looks at it, they make an attempt to scream from the heart not to get scared or run away but to run towards it.

My first ice cream:

I exactly do not remember when I had my first ice cream but remember the period. I was little and sick. My dad gave me a ride in his scooter one midnight to this place where they sell ice creams all night.That place was pretty close to my school and near the beach. He was like “Sandy, have this ice cream .You will get better. Sickness will disappear like a fairy tale.”.  He was the first person to call me Sandy and he was also the first person to make me eat an ice cream when I was sick. Boom, it really subsided next day and I was sick- free in a couple of days. I’m not sure about the logic behind it but even to this day, whenever I’m sick I eat ice cream. Thanks to my dad in the heaven, he made me remember him and my first ice cream today.My first ice cream was a chocolate flavor in a cup. Yummy, any girl loves it , I guess so?

Ball ice cream:

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Ball ice creams used to be “the thing” when I was little .All the kids used to love them too because the ice cream was served in a plastic ball and after eating we could take them home, wash and play with them. Every kid used to collect as many ice cream balls as possible for fun. The color of the cap in the ball used to depict the ice cream flavor. For example, blue cap means it is a vanilla ice cream, pink one means strawberry, brown one represents chocolate flavor and so on.Every time we go out, mom used to buy this ice cream for me. Aww, love her.

Cone Ice cream:

Ice cream in a crispy cone.This ice cream used to be the cheapest, softest and it was sold for 5 bucks(Indian rupees).As a school kid and relying just on the pocket money, whenever there is a chance, we all used to grab them. Every week, the ice cream guy used to serve in a variety of flavors. As kids, we all used to ensure that we grab a cone every week and taste any damn flavor he comes up with.

Stick Ice cream:

If anybody wants to have a colored tongue, they can have the stick ice cream. Every time someone licks this ice cream, whatever color the ice cream is made up of, sticks hard to the tongue like in the picture above. The stick ice cream is juicy and melts immediately. Usually, this used to sold by the street hawkers in a small trolley. Nowadays they are sold in the shops too.When I was little, I had some kids as my enemies(especially the ones that were little than me) I used to have a grape- flavored ice cream and scare them away by showing my tongue especially in the dark. Sshhh, I used to pretend to my mom that I didn’t do any mistake . Poor woman, she used to believe me.This was the ice cream that even the previous generation loved. My mother in law too. She loves this. So I make it a point to get this for her whenever I visit her. Small things make people happy.That’s what I believe.

Sundaes and Cassattas:

These were the ice creams that I used to get every day after writing an exam, especially in my 10th and 12th classes. I used to be the chubby, over pampered, nerd momma’s kid .After her work, she used to bring it for me and my cousins used to get envious . Lol !! Those were the days.Now I wonder how many millions of calories I consumed during my first 20 years of my pampered life.

Fudges and brownies:

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I didn’t know what a fudge was until I joined the college. The first time when I went to an ice cream parlor with my college mates, that was the time I had this fudge. Every first experience seems to be thrilled and I was deeply immersed in this ice cream whereas my college mates were busy talking about the guys and fashion. Did I miss anything????. And I never regret as I enjoyed my world then as I did not have any heart breaks or any breakup.

Chocolate Chip Ice cream:

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Whenever I visit my uncle’s, my aunt and uncle make it a point to stock this chocolate chip ice cream in their fridge.Even though they are in their 70’s and are impacted by super cholesterol, they get it for me and they cheat it away too. Like I said, small things make people happy and I don’t regret them having it too.

IBaco :

Even a week before I was getting married, I used to spend some alone time in this ice cream parlor. It was called ibaco. I used to have several scoops and take home a few more just to enjoy the moment. Do I call myself as an ice cream addict? I don’t think so. Of course, I do have a control over it. The first time, when my husband visited my home, I took him there and he also became the fan of ibaco. If someone visits Chennai(South India), make it a point to stop over at any ibaco to escape into the ice cream world.

Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Dreyers, Great Value or be it no value:

Whatever may be the brand be it – Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Dreyers, Great Value or be it no value any ice cream surely does create value to me.Sometimes I survive on ice creams as dinner or mood enhancer or a therapy for anything at times.Anyone that bought me ice cream has melted my heart.Thanks to anyone that has done so far.

I forgot to mention about this waffle ice cream. Someone who hated me got this for me. Thanks to her too.

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blogging · countdown · friends · life · review

F-Friends in THIS f***** life – A to Z countdown

People talk about the afterlife, rebirth, reincarnation and other things like friends,soul mates, etc from the previous birth. I’m not sure whether all this is fact or fiction.And I’m a no qualified person to criticize or comment. However, I can talk about friends and other relationships in this birth that am very much present and living into. Last week, after a long weekend and few traumatic shocks from the present life family, I wanted to write about friends and what are the different roles they have played or are playing or would play in my life. Thanks to them for making me come back and blog.Had they not rejuvenated me, I would have been one of the saddest soul of the week.

Playmates as friends:

'My imaginary playmate can whip your imaginary playmate!'

When I was a kid, my playmates usually the neighbor kids used to be my friends.We used to break every possible thing kept in the common area of the apartment, pour water everywhere and play with the sand.The worst thing what we used to do was, play Cricket in the terrace and some Tom’s, Dick’s or Harry’s head used to get hurt if they were passing near our apartment.Childhood was all the fun when we didn’t know what was good or bad and what should be done or not.We used to bully the younger kids and make them do all the work such getting sand for us down the corner of the street or fetching water in a bottle.

School mates as friends:

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The next comes the school kids. A school is a place where a person’s most of the childhood is spent.I studied in a school where they had classes from the Kindergarten  up to Class -12.So, I had spent 14 years of my life with the same kids .We all grew up together and known each other’s families such that we used to have holidays and nights spent at the friend’s place.We used to take bikes to school and while getting back home, ride very slowly on the road and stop at every possible place just to gossip and have a get together after the school hours. People at home used to think I was lost or somebody kidnapped me on the way since I never used to go home on time.Who can forget those golden days of life?

College mates as friends:

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Not everyone gets to attend the same college from school. Each one of us had different interests and ended up majoring in different subjects not correlated to each other.College was a different environment  where we had different friends and all of us crossed “sweet -`16” . Definitely, we all had crushes and those days were like dressing up just for our crushes and all the makeup on.We did not have dress code unlike school and all the fun plays. Though I had crushes, I remained single and was a type of nerd.

Colleagues as friends:

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Here came the next stage of life when few of my colleagues in the team became friends. We used to discuss job opportunities outside, getting out for friendly lunches, discussing investments and what are the expectations of a partner in personal life. Of course, we don’t talk much about personal life, since few of them closer as friends we used to take or give advice’s to each other, visit their family and invite home for a get-together. I had another circle of female colleagues with whom I used to talk about my crushes.Unfortunately, my crushes were beyond all these circles and I did not befriend my crushes for the basic fact that the purpose of having crushes will fade away. I regret all that, had I befriended one of my crushes, I might have had chances to end of with him tying a knot. Okay, no regrets, I’m going with the flow now.

Friends from acquaintances, clubs and common classes:

'Hey! I don't know you do I? I never met you before!'

I made friends through acquaintances, health clubs and other places where I visited my music classes, etc.Some of them have gotten close and still we manage to stay in touch over the phone or facebook.

Now, I’m going to write about what role my friends played.

Friends as sisters:

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Mostly the girlfriends played a role of sisters.They give advice about fashion, guys, family, relationships and every advice under the sun. Whether I listen to them or not is another question altogether.

Friend as a healer:

best-friend-quotes

Whenever there is a family situation or when I get f **** up into something unusual, I run into one friend of mine who is ready to advise even at 2 am. Because of time zone difference, I don’t run into her often.She being 10000 miles away, I give her a call and she advises me. Thanks to her, she made me get back to the flow this week..

Friend as a chef:

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There is a friend of mine, who advises me on the recipes and gets me try .I try and send a picture on WhatsApp , providing my reviews.

Virtual friends:

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All my real friends have become virtual and telephony friends. Changes in the relationship statuses and jobs have made everyone move away from each other and thanks to the technology at least we get to stay in touch with friends and family.

Here ends my small post.

 

 

blogging · countdown · creativity · review

D -Day – Madras Day – A to Z Countdown

Since last week, I have been wondering what I should write about the letter D as part of my A to Z countdown project. I came up with several options like “Daring or not ?”, “Dear Daughter & Daughter-in-law”,”Dollhouse”,”Dance styles of India” and few more. But when I started writing, automatically the words changed and so the title. I was born in southern part of India in a place called Madras later renamed as Chennai.Today, this city has been celebrating 375th birthday and I was like, “Okay, let me write about Madras today”.What is good , bad,emotional,nostalgic and frustrating about this place from my own experience and not from the Google or Wikipedia. And as I was ,raised in that city and lived continuously for 27 years, I’m very much qualified to give my comments.

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What I love about this city ?

1. Of course, I was born here and nothing more nostalgic and emotional about the way one feels about the birth place

newborn-baby-photography
2. The Beaches:
Stitched Panorama
Who hates beaches? This city lies on the southeast coast of India , has a sea port and is home to many sea animals. During my childhood, the beach was the only place I visited during the weekends apart from going to the restaurants. Madras has the second longest beach in the world and the first most memorable place I was ever taken to. Right from spending the time with my parents, childhood friends ,”from-the-heart” discussions with the BFFs to losing 10 pounds of weight after only jogging on the beach(and cutting down the junk food).Beach has given me more memories and whenever the waves hit me on the feet they answered all my questions.I regret that I should have asked more questions.It goes without saying that when I visited the Aloha state last month, the Waikiki beach answered the riddle of my life.I will write the answer in another post.
3.The Land of temples and architecture
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Thanks to the kings and other rulers that built beautiful temples and crafted the entire city with excellent architecture.But for the government and other slight damages, the architecture of the temples are sure to be cherished. They are so beautiful and unique. So whenever I felt sad or lonely, I used to visit these temples not only for admiring the architecture but also to get some divine blessings.
4. Music:
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Music has been always the heart and soul of this city.But the classical Carnatic music is the legend here. Every child born in this city is bound to learn music (may not become experts) but yes, I too learned Carnatic music and few musical instruments.As a remembrance of my music classes, I have a tattoo inspired by music.Such is the love of music and the city.
5. Filter coffee: 
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Madras is known for its traditional filter coffee made from the ground coffee seeds, hot water, and fresh milk.This filter coffee and “The Hindu” newspaper every morning had been the tradition here for ages.Of course, the paper has degraded because of corrupt practices, but the filter coffee remains and so the combination.Whenever I visit home, I grab a hard copy of this newspaper and have a cup of coffee while enjoying early morning breeze on the balcony.
6.Dance:
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Not to mention, the classical dance play a lot more prominence in Madras. Even I was a jack here but couldn’t be in the race as I was more towards the nerd’s side rather than the arts.I love watching the dance and the way the dancers look when they perform. The costume and the makeup are too good .
7.Breakfast:
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I’m more of a breakfast fan of Madras rather than the other meals. I feel the breakfast here doesn’t taste as yummier than elsewhere in this planet.I’m not trying to exaggerate but this is what my palette said.The breakfast is usually made from the ingredients like rice flour, lentils,coconut,oil,etc.They are called idly, dosa, medu vadai, and the side dishes being sambar and chutney varieties .Usually, the breakfast starts and ends with the filter coffee.
8.Not many caste crooks:
Many people are aware of the fact that India is divided based on the reservation- caste, creed, language, etc.What I love about this city is unlike few other cities in India that is so much into the caste. And the funny thing is in those cities they love their film stars or sports people or politicians only when they belong to their caste.I have not seen such stupidity here.People adore talent and not caste.All the religions are equally treated and practised too.
9. Public transport:
mtc
Public transport is available everywhere and anywhere in the city.The public buses and the
local trains ply to and from almost every corner of the city and the suburbs at a reasonable
price. I could survive in this city without owning a vehicle for all my 27 years of my existence there.
10.Humanity:
When the city was in crisis due to floods last year and the government had no show in their duties, the people of Chennai and the neighbouring cities came forward and helped the fellow Chennaites. They say do not underestimate the power of a common man in democracy and it holds true.Man-man help was rendered when no one came forward.This kind of help happened even when I wanted 12 years ago. I was thankful to all my colleagues and friends who came forward and helped me when I was in crisis then.
What I hate about this city ?
If I love something does not mean that I blindly love, I do love holistically accepting the faults and take them along with love.Here is my small list.
1. Cleanliness: This city is the most dirtiest city ever visited. The municipal corporation workers are made to over work, thus losing their efficiency meanwhile the citizens not
cooperating to this ideal.We were just taught in school about cleanliness is next to Godliness but no one acts.No action has been taken in spite of rising series of complaints.
2.Bad roads:The roads are very narrow and prone to many accidents. The roads have dents and the man holes are not closed appropriately.Absolutely zero road maintenance with an addition of pavement trash. Can I blame the government or the democracy here?This makes the traffic condition, even more worse .The working population has more of a road-life balance than personal-life balance after work.

3.Inflation: Living in this city is expensive for the quality they provide.Artificially the land values had been inflated in the last 20 years thus making this city not affordable to many and the manufacturing units have been moved out due to non-friendly tax levies.

4. Groups: I was born and raised there ,I speak the Tamil Language like my native language and I’m so fluent.Despite all this, people do not accept me as a Chennaite that much since my mother tongue is Telugu.Telugu belongs to the states Andhra and Telangana .I have been treated like an outsider many times.This is not my personal comment, many others faced these issues too. If you want to be part of those groups my suggestion is “Never expand your last name.” That was the mistake I made for the alienation. The last names reveal so much about the mother tongue.

In a nutshell, these hate points had never outperformed the good points of this city.Thus making Chennai my favorite cities I have ever lived.

agile · non-fiction · review

PMI-ACP® Exam Prep, Premier Edition – Mike Griffiths

Why another Agile book? Because I would like to get a better perspective of Agile.
Why Agile ?Because I know Agile is used commonly nowadays and need to understand best practices.
Why Best Practices? Because best practices in terms of tools & technologies and knowledge & skills need to be known from the best Agile coach.
Why best Agile Coach? Because best agile coach brings out the best in us be it in person, virtually or by reading their material.
Why reading their material? Because Mike Griffiths is the best.

This is how, Mike Griffiths had explained the concept of five-whys , one of the tools & techniques used to find out the root -cause of some problem.The approaches in this book seem to be practical and way better than so much material available online and in this planet .As a person interested in becoming “Agile”, I feel this book saves lot of time in going through stuff and every concept is self-explanatory.I felt as if Mike Griffiths was teaching in person when I was reading the book.The book is categorized in terms of the 6 domains of Agile methodology and each methodology has the respective tools & technologies and knowledge & skills apart from the Agile manifesto and principles.Practical questions are given at the end of each chapter along with the answers that have a clear explanation as to the reason behind the solution.He had also provided, the tips & tricks after certain topics that highlight the importance of how the topic appears in the exam.This also contains the exam tips and what a person should focus and should not be focused. As mentioned elsewhere, this book does not only serve the purpose of just getting certified but also serve as a guide for an Agile practitioner.

I had given an obvious rating of 5/5 because this book had been the best project management book that I ever read.