Category Archives: Books to read

Sensual Spices and an Excerpt from ‘The Accidental Wife’

spices

It is one thing to prepare food for ourselves because we need to eat. It’s mealtime, we’re hungry, what do we have in the cupboard? But it is a whole different thing to cook a special dish or an entire feast because we want to shower someone we love with a caring gesture. It is a gift of indulgence that nurtures the soul, as well as the body. A home cooked meal that has been specially prepared for us, by someone else, can be one of the ultimate expressions of love.

How do we choose the perfect culinary delight to prepare when cooking for others? We might choose to cook our own favorite recipe or we might choose a selection of our guest’s favorite foods. A shopping trip to pick out fresh, vibrant ingredients is part of the delight. In India the menu might include pakora (a warm fritter), curry, tandoori, naan, or just a simple upma (porridge).

India’s aromatic spices are sprinkled into dishes according to taste, added carefully to lend a personal touch. They have been passed down generations and are known not just to add flavor but also nutritive value to food. Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, and ginger are a few of the earthy spices, and perhaps most sensual in the world, that are found in India. Spices are also available already blended together for ease of cooking (for those cooks who might want to achieve a well-known flavor) such as Garam Masala or Curry.

The fragrant smell of Indian cuisine, with hints of exotic herbs and spices promise to stir emotions deep in our hearts. Pakora and upma are two of the dishes enjoyed in The Accidental Wife.

Want to learn more about Indian Spices? Visit Spices Board India http://www.indianspices.com

 Accidental Wife Book Cover

Excerpt from The Accidental Wife:

“Oh My God! I suddenly remembered I am hungry! Have you had breakfast?” she asked, suddenly looking annoyed.

“Breakfast? No. But I don’t have any time.” He peeked at his watch again.

“Please!? Not a speck of grain has entered my stomach since yesterday morning. I will die of hunger, then I won’t be of any use to you at all.” She smiled again before heading toward what Rihaan assumed was the kitchen.

“I can make phataphat upma in just ten minutes!” she said peering at him through the open door frame. “Meanwhile you can relate your troubles to me. C’mon spill it. Don’t be shy!”

Rihaan stepped into the tiny kitchen to find it dwarfed by his lanky frame. Folding wiry arms across his chest, he leaned gingerly against the wall and watched as she went about her task in a haphazard fashion. Her attempts at putting on a show of neatness and method were failing hopelessly.

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‘Indian Elephants and an Excerpt from ‘The Accidental Wife’

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“A king who always cares for the elephants like his own sons is always victorious & will enjoy the friendship of the celestial world after death.” Kautiliya, scholar of Buddhism in India.

Whether it is a colorful figurine, a carved miniature, or a real live titan of an animal, the elephant is revered by many in the Indian culture. Said to be a gentle giant (the largest land mammal on earth), the elephant possesses attributes that humans strive to cultivate in themselves: intelligence, sensitivity, empathy, and self-awareness.

Indian mythology states that the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) churned the oceans in a search for the elixir of life—amrit (nectar)—in hopes of becoming immortal. Through the churning of the ocean, navratnas (the nine jewels) surfaced, one of which was the elephant.

Reverence for the elephant has also been born from stories of the elephant being chosen as the carriage for Indra (the god of all gods) and visions of white elephants foretelling the birth of Gautam Buddha, in his mother’s dreams before his birth. Ganesha the elephant faced deity and son of Lord Shiva, is the god of wisdom and learning and the remover of obstacles. He is perhaps the most well known symbols of Hindu divinity all across the world.

The Asian elephant, the species that resides in India, has seen its numbers dwindle drastically in the past 15 years. At the turn of the century, nearly 200,000 animals roamed wild; now only 35,000 to 40,000 remain. Elephants are herbivores and eat up to 300 pounds of food a day. Preservation of habitat and eliminating ivory trade are vital aspects to keeping the elephant from extinction.

Elephant mothers are the ultimate example of a nurturing parent: carrying their babies for a gestation period of 22 months, giving birth to 200-pound baby, nursing for two years, then caring for and protecting the young elephant for the next sixteen years.

With so many endearing qualities and a history of cultural significance, the elephant is well deserving of its place of honor in the hearts of many Indians.

http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/endangered_species/elephants/asian_elephants/indian_elephant/

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/asian-elephant/?source=A-to-Z

 Accidental Wife Book Cover

Excerpt from The Accidental Wife:

Inside it, she found some clothes just like the oversized ones hanging in the closet. They were of no interest to her. What caught her eye was a beautiful silk sari, tie-dyed in a rainbow of colors with decorated elephants marching along the borders and tiny shiny mirrors that caught the light and sparkled like diamonds. She flung it around her neck like a shawl and felt deeply comforted by the strong fragrance of sandalwood.

Underneath was a finely inlaid wooden box, inside which on a bed of tissue, lay several glass bangles in red, green and orange tied together with a string. Slipping them over her hands, she wondered if they were a gift from Rihaan. Instinct told her they were, thus filling her with a warm glow.

Trembling with excitement she dug deeper, and at the very bottom, found a large album. She flipped the pages over, only to find random black and white shots, of people and children on the streets. Nothing else. No blissful wedding pictures, in particular no family portraits, as if she’d severed all ties before coming here.

Feeling utterly wretched and frustrated, she tore the bangles from her hands and sank sobbing to the floor.

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‘INCONVENIENT RELATIONS’ Ebook and AMAZON GIFT CARD GIVEAWAY!

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Here’s a chance to win a free Ebook copy of my Contemporary Romance Novel ‘Inconvenient Relations’ which KIRKUS REVIEWS calls- ‘An Often Intoxicating-Will They-Won’t They Tale’ (More reviews and sample chapters here)

As well as an AMAZON GIFT CARD

You can get more entries by following me on Twitter, Tweeting the Giveaway, Liking my Facebook Page and Sharing the Giveaway

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‘A Book must be the Axe for the Frozen Sea Inside us’ – Franz Kafka

metamorphosis

When Franz Kafka wrote to his friend Oskar Pollak ‘ I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us…We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into the forests far from everyone, like a suicide.’ He was probably referring to his works, and the one which stands out the most is THE METAMORPHOSIS.

To attempt to analyze this short literary marvel would be a mistake, it’d be enough to say that every ‘thinking’ person should check it out at sometime or other. The tale in true Kafkaesque style brings our worst nightmare to reality, thereby making us realize that there exists another life that we all lead–the one in our dreams that we seldom give much importance to. Anyone could relate to this at once beautiful, comical, painful and wistful story of an ordinary man who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into an insect.