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The Miniaturist

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Petronella is a young bride who has dreamt of marriage - her life with a husband and many children. A life of wealth, comfort, devoid of any dearth. She arrives at her newly wedded husband’s home in Amsterdam of 1600s, where businesses have made the city rich. Johannes, the husband is a wealthy merchant mostly away on travels for business trips, and the house runs on Marin, the sister-in-law’s commands - taptly, the mistress of the house. She is stoic in her expressions, direct in her comments, almost unkind, secretive, and wears black all the time. Unmarried too, proudly so. Nella meets Otto, the black manservant of the house, who is too free to speak his mind in front of his masters, as Nella notes. And finally Cornelia, the maid who runs the kitchen, cleans the doors, fetches and mends things, and peeps through keyholes learning everyone’s dark secrets.  “Every woman is the architect of her own fortune.” Each of them has a dark secret which they intend to protect fiercely. And Nella

Mumbai Or Bangalore - which one would you choose?

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Parks of Bangalore "Bangalore is so full of trees,  and is rightly called The Garden City. You have greenery everywhere - accessible parks - Cubon Park, Lal Bagh, and even the widest roads have continuous canopy of trees. Can you find that anywhere in Mumbai. Even parks there is all about open gyms, walks and kids play - all except trees. Trees are just so rare there. It's all concrete. " - I say. "Mumbai has the sea. A big plus. Where would you find such a vast water body in Bangalore? There's not even a river nearby. Shivasamudram and some other falls are far away. Mumbai has the beach, the Marine Drive, the Gateway of India, the ports, the ships - no sight can compare that." - He defends. The Mumbai Skyline "Of course. But we would stay in Navi Mumbai, right? The sea is as far from there, as Shivasamudram is from here. So what's the difference! You just cannot make time to visit the sea everyday. Only in the weekends you can. Plus, homes there do

Mail to my Bestie - 20-04-2018

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  We had kulhad chai in Kolkata, Baba and me. Sanu Mamu  does not drink chai. Well I think he's not human. He doesn't drink anything- coffee, soft drinks, cola , sprite, maaza, hard drinks. Of course he is not  human. We all had dosa, and misti doi. I wanted to visit the south side of the city to the chinese colony to eat authentic Chinese momo and chinese dishes like noodles, fish cakes etc. But we didn't have time, and Baba was reluctant. So I didn't urge.  You know last since 2016 I had been booking tickets for Kolkata and cancelling. Twice. Once Arpita, Ipsa, Joyeeta and I had planned- but we cancelled due to a marriage ceremony we had in family. Next in 2017 we had booked- Saswati, me and Arpita- to go the next week of returning from Visakhapatnam, but canceled since Saswati had no holidays. And I was wondering ever since whether I was jinxed for Kolkata or vise versa. And now I get to go there, not to roam around, but with family. When returning I was feeling the

Mail to my Bestie 19-04-2018

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UPES Dehradun Hi, Back from Kolkata now. Reached Bhubaneswar 6 am in the morning. Then went to Khalikot to attend a thread ceremony. Now finally home. Writing just so things. About last three days. On Tuesday we went to Kolkata - Baba, me and Sanu Mamu- in the morning chair car. This was my first time traveling in a chair car, and I quite liked the sliding doors, the seats, the table-like structures in front of us where our food was served. Much like in flights. The six and half hour journey had three times eating (all veg)- breakfast (bread, butter, jam, frooti, cutlet with fried peas and potatoes) , soup(with bread sticks and pepper powder and butter) and lunch(rice, rumali roti, dal, aloo kofta curry, curd, pickle, and Amul Icecream). I really enjoyed this first time experience. I love eating in journeys. And Sanu Mamu and I chatted throughout the trip. Baba slept halfway. Then we read newspapers that were provided- The Telegraph and The Bussiness Standards. Sanu Mamu talked about h

The Reader

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  The Reader is a 2008 movie starring Kate Winslet. It is adapted from a German book with the same title. It is about an intimate relationship between a younger man and an older woman over several years. The first half is very detailed and very scintillating. But the second half is so full of pain, and longing. How far would you go to hide a secret? A secret that would bring embarrassment and humiliation. Hanna has a secret, she would rather confess murder she didn't commit and get imprisoned for life, than reveal it. And it is rather strange, that she choses to go to prison, than admit that she's an illiterate. As audience, you cannot understand her decision. You wonder is it that big a humiliation? Shame? Hanna is a character I couldn't really understand. I watched out for her, loved, hated, despised her, longed to know about her, along with Mikael, but wasn't able to understand her. There are many moments in this movie that overwhelmed me and touched deep. The trial

On Burnouts

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“We need to stop glamorizing overworking. The absence of sleep, good diet, exercise, relaxation, and time with friends and family isn’t something to be applauded. Too many people wear their burnout as a badge of honour. And it needs to change.” Get help when you think you require it. Do not try to be a super woman who can do it all. You do not have to multitask. Do not wait to take rest till you have a burnout.   Weeks back I had a bad lower back pain that persisted for over 5 days. It was too painful for me to do anything but bedrest. There was cleaning to be done, washing utensils and cooking, of which I managed only the cooking part and the rest husband did. I am no superwoman and I cannot do it all. It is high time I acknowledge that I need help for household chores, now that covid lockdown restrictions have been removed. I cannot hustle everything. So for 5 days I did slow stretching and yoga postures for lower back strengthening, minimal sitting, laid on my back for hours reading

84, Charring Cross Road

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Thanks to Instagram, I discovered this book. Or how else a book first published in 1971, can come to my hands. These days I make it a point to read a book end to end - appreciations for the book by newspaper columns, acknowledgements, contents, introduction, epilogue, end notes, indexes, appendix etc. whatever be it. This one is the most apt statement: "A 19th century book in a 20th century world. It will beguile an hour of your time and put you in tune with mankind." "As we get to know Helene, and through her, Frank and Nora Doel, and Cecily Farr and Megan Wells and the rest at 84 Charing Cross, we recognize that the books desired, located, sent and received are the happy vehicles for much else : conversation, friendship, affection, generosity, wit -- in other words, for all the best things life can share with us."  - from the Introduction by Anne Bancroft who played Helene's character in the movie. We book-lovers just love to indulge in books that talk about o

Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

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  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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