Book Review: A Hundred Little Flames

Author: Preeti Shenoy | Rating: 5 / 5


First Impressions: I just love reading Preeti’s books. She details out everything so nicely, it’s like you are living the book while you read. The story majorly revolves around a 26-year-old – Ayan and his ‘Muttachan’ (grandfather) – Gopal Shankar. In between the story, there are other characters as well who play an important role to take the story forward however more of it, is a relationship between the two and what Ayan learns on Love, Life & Friendship. The book is divided in four parts / 40 chapters. Preeti has brilliantly described the places. I feel she is the best when it come on writing the descriptions of cities, location, sunsets, sunrises, etc. All have been wonderful.

The front cover clearly describes what you are going to find in the book. It is one of the IMG_1752scenes described in the book when Ayan is talking to his Grandfather and searching over the internet on his Laptop. Picture of the ‘Thekke Madom’, an ancestral home, where Gopal Shankar lives with lush green trees and verandah. Choice of colors is classy not too vibrant and not too pale, I liked it.

The back cover blurbs are interesting and you can’t wait to start reading the book immediately. However it does not give away the entire story (there’s LOT more than just this) and that keeps you intrigued and wanting to complete reading the book.


Summary: The story starts with Ayan attending an office party in some pub in Pune and at the same time, Gopal Shankar has a fall, 1000kms away in Kerala. Everything is going well with Ayan when he has been told by HR that he will have to resign and leave immediately. His father is not happy with him and asks him to stay with his grandfather for some time there and also keep looking for job. Initially, Ayan is not happy to move but then looking at nothing to do in Pune, he goes to Kerala. He starts loving the life there when suddenly his father visits Kerala and does something (can’t tell, do read the book)  which takes away all the respect Ayan had for him. Gopal Shankar used to write diaries during his young/not very old age which he refers to Ayan and ask him to read. Further the story revolves around the Past and current life of Gopal Shankar and Ayan. How Ayan connects the dots & helps his Grandfather and how he learns on what is Life, Love & Friendship.


My Favorite Part of the book: I loved the snippets from the dairy of Gopal Shankar. They have been written so well. You would love reading them and the letters written by Gopal Shankar and Rohini – Just Awesome. Above everything in the book, the descriptions written by Preeti explaining about ‘Thekke Madom’, Pondicherry, River Creek, Temples. All are just ‘Wow’.


My Opinion: It’s a wonderful read with everything required in a story – Love, Life, Relationships, Family & above all Friendship. Strong storyline, characters, places exquisitely described. Atleast I could not keep it down without completing to read chapter by chapter. #MustRead.

My Recommendations: I have read all her books and each book is in itself a ‘Masterpiece’ including this one as well. Everytime I think what can be better than this book and then, releases a new book of Preeti. This is one of the best works of Preeti Shenoy. #Waiting for #LoveALittleStronger releasing on 27-Apr-2018.

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A Dream, of a Friend

It was coffee time that weekend, late night, chilling out with friends. If you too have coffee with your friends during the weekends, you can relate what discussions would have been going on. Nevertheless, one of my friends appeared to be upset about something. After endless questioning, overlooking his unwillingness to share, he finally revealed that he had a bizarre dream early morning. He started describing his dream. He was driving his car to a hill station on curved roads, with music on – FULL VOLUME. He was off to a vacation with his family enjoying the cool weather. It was midwinter and as he advanced up the hill, the weather gradually became foggy. He slowed down his car as he could not even see 50mtrs ahead on the road. Suddenly he heard a loud thumping sound which broke his dream and he woke up in panic.

Next thing I asked him, what you think would have happened. And he stated that it might be that the car met with an accident and they all would have died. I thought for a while, why people have to be so negative about dreams? Why this is the first thing that comes to their mind and not anything positive? I told him, just think for a while, if your dream could have ended on a happy note. Think that your car’s tyre would have busted and you parked your car on the side. When you come out of your car, you look down the valley and mountains, fog all over, cool breeze with bit of sun rays peeping out from the sky. Best location to take a family photo. You take few pictures, change the car tyre and start uphill with happy memories.

Dreams

I have seen many people who dream and when they wake up in middle of the dream, they always thing that something most terrible would have happened. I too have dreams where I wake up in fear but what I think later is that it would have concluded happily and that brings up a smile on my face. The more you think negative, the more your fear takes control over you. I told him:

Your success lies on the other side of your fears. Kill your fears or Kill your success. The decision is all yours..!!!

Be Happy, Be Positive..!!!

You never know where life is going to take you tomorrow..!!!

An Evening to remember

Everyone has that one thing planned to kick start their New Year which will keep them inspired and motivated for coming days & months. For me it was the same with #WINxpress event planned in Ahmedabad by BlogAdda on 07-Jan-2017 and I was more than happy to be part of it. I was excited as well as looking forward to attending it as it was my first such event and secondly it was for BlogAdda, the team who had shared my blog post when many others didn’t even respond to it. Since that day, I felt more motivated and inclined to writing. Thanks blogadda.com. 🙂

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Me, Penning down the awesome ambience

The event was planned at Cafe City Monk in Ahmedabad. When I reached there and entered the Cafe, I was completely taken aback by the ambience & the way it was organized. It was just WOW. The stage was all set. The sitting area was casually arranged with chairs & bean bags. The best thing I liked was the ceiling where the books were dangling from the top. The ambience was so positive and with the books hanging over our heads it felt like we were getting some inspirational energy from it.

The event started with the introduction of BlogAdda with their highlights and activities they plan. Mr. Paresh Godhwani (@Par_God) shared his experience of Six Degrees and his association with BlogAdda. After that we gathered in group of five for an activity where we had tell one “secret” thing that nobody knows, discuss it out and then announce that one interesting secret out of five.

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Our group in discussion

Later we had to meet other groups to find that one person whose secret it was from their group. One of the #IceBreaker for all of us. It was fun and together inspiring too, meeting the bloggers, knowing them and their work.

 

Later we had some sessions from prominent speakers:

  1. vlogging’ (Video Blogging) tips and tools from Mr. Sahil Shah (@sahilshah0801)
  2. Travel Blogging tips from Mr. Rishabh & Ms. Nirali Shah (@_GypsyCouple)
  3. Ms. Juhi Bansal (@ClosetBuddies) shared some Fashion Blogging tips and her experiences
  4. Mr. Amit Panchal (@AmitHPanchal) explained what tools you can use and SEO Tips for blogs.

And last but not the least a session by Ms. Raksha Bharadia (@raksha_bharadia), Editor of Chicken Soup series for India & Founder of bonobology.com. She explained and shared tips on writing short stories and how you can connect with the reader. One of the best sessions and learnings I had experienced till date.

Thanks to BlogAdda for organizing such a wonderful motivational event and thanks to all the speakers for sharing their experiences and wonderful learning.

It was an evening very well spent and would be remembered as one of the best start of New Year till date.

‘Love’ or ‘Like’

Is there a difference between “TO LIKE a PERSON” and “TO LOVE A PERSON”. Me and my friend were having tea during the break at the tea stall outside our office & were discussing, rather debating on this. I told her there is no difference. If you care for someone and like to be around them whether s/he is your friend or a part of your family, then you like or love a person. She immediately nodded her head and with a smile on her face started explaining:

  • Wow, she looks beautiful!
  • Her hairstyle is just awesome.
  • She is dressed so nicely
  • Her blue eyes are so attractive, etc.. etc..

When you think or talk about a girl with any such above statements, means you LIKE her and not LOVE her. You are explaining the characteristics what you like about her. But do you LOVE her? Think again..!!!
Love can never be explained or measured. It can be only expressed. Love is a feeling that connects two persons emotionally, physically & mentally.

  • When you cannot live a minute w/o thinking about someone
  • When, with that person, you forget all your worries
  • When you are happy to change yourself for that special person, but (s)he does not want you to do that
  • When you wake up in the morning and want to see the first text message from that someone
  • When (s)he get hurts emotionally or physically, you are the first to get your eyes wet
  • When you come to the coffee shop 1hr before the scheduled time and find (s)he has already arrived.
  • When every song & its lyrics, you are listening to, relates to that one person

This is what you call LOVE. Understood my dear friend, she said smiling and stood up to leave while I started relating to what she just said, which was so true..!!!

Have a great Weekend ahead..!!!

Spread the Love..!!! 

Happiness.. It’s in YOU

I lived happiness today, just by a comment, a message, meeting few people for whom you are important and vice versa. When people make you feel special, you know you have done something good.


Happiness is:

  • When your friend 1000kms far, enjoying his holiday and messaging you how happy he is and sharing his feelings.
  • When you are sitting with your friend and silently enjoying that hot cup of coffee.
  • When someone who is not going to return; who made you laugh and stood by you at every stage of your life; you can feel the presence of that person sitting besides you and a smile lights up on your face.
  • When you are out witted by your kiddo, like you used to do when you were of the same age.
  • Sitting at the beach and watching the sun dive into that sea.

Life has become a routine and at the end of every day we complain how bad it was. So many things happen in our life but we miss the small small things which made us happy for an hour, minute or a second. Rather than complaining, think about those moments. Rewind and Re-live the moments. Your life will get a new perspective and you will actually starting living the life.

HAPPINESS IS YOU AND IT’S YOU WHO HAS THE POWER TO CHANGE THE LIFE HOW YOU WANT TO LIVE..!!!

Friday, The 13th – Rise above your Fears

Friday, The 13th – Rise above your Fears

Since morning I was seeing posts, tweets, discussions happening around today – “Friday, The 13th”. All of them had their own view points. Some believed it to be an unlucky day where they would not plan, invest, start a new venture. And for some it was just a routine day of work before weekend started. While surfing the net, I opened my twitter account and saw “Friday The 13th” trending with 177K tweets. That made me inquisitive to look at the tweets and what people had a say about it. Later I asked 3 of my friends, what were their views on this?

1st Friend: It’s just a date. Everyone has their own ‘Friday, The 13th’ in their life. It’s just like believing in god. Sometimes people over do such things, and then it feels a bit irritating.

2nd Friend: I don’t believe in such things. It’s just a combination of day and date like maths – permutations and combinations. Some combinations happen more frequently and some are rare. However, human beings are such that anything good happens on that day, that’s their lucky day and if anything bad happens, that’s their unlucky day.

3rd Friend: It’s just any other day for me. Maybe I am happier that day. I mean people have their beliefs and we should respect them till the time they are not harming the society.

In my case, I love to purposefully do the things that are told not to be done, specifically which don’t have any reasons and where the base is only ‘Superstitions’ or ‘Just what people hear and believe’. Trust me, I get more motivated, thrilled, energetic when I am about to cross the boundary of superstitious beliefs to break the myth. Somehow it turns out to be positive, because back in my mind, I know I have to prove that belief wrong.

Some families have beliefs being followed since their ancestor times where no one bothered to question or ask a simple – ‘WHY’. I grew up in such a family with lot of fear and alertness. I used to always ensure the beliefs are followed. Such as:

  1. When a black cat crosses your path, you need to stop for a minute and then start walking
  2. Do not cut nails at night
  3. If you are leaving the house and sneeze once, wait until you sneeze second time and then leave
  4. Don’t go near a ‘Peepal Tree’ at night, else ghosts will take you with them
  5. Don’t open an Umbrella inside the house

I still remember that day when I had broken this myth and was freed from superstitious beliefs, killing all my fears. I was in hurry to reach college for a scheduled examination. I had reached 5mins late and while entering the college gate, suddenly a cat jumped from the pillar and crossed my path. I rushed to the examination hall without stopping and thinking what bad could happen. Later results were out and I HAD FAILED THAT SUBJECT. All the way from college to home, I was thinking – “Is it because I didn’t stop for a moment when the cat had passed?”; “What if I had stopped, it was just a minute?”; “Does this even relate? ‘CAT’ & ‘FAILING THE EXAM’?”

As soon as I reached home, I went to my room started putting the thoughts together and came to a conclusion. It was not the ‘CAT’ or ‘SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF’ which made me fail in exam. It was my ‘FEAR’ of something bad to happen and kept thinking of that which led to lack of focus on the answers I wrote. Since then, whether a cat crosses my way or a dog; whether I sneeze once or thrice; whether I cut my nails at night or early morning, nothing matters to me. I don’t think of anything except, what I am going to work on and how can I succeed in that.

We have got this life of a human being and no one knows when it’s going to end. Don’t waste your time behind such stupid things until you have answers to it, logically or scientifically. There are so many important things in the world to care about. Live your life at the fullest, enjoy every bit of it with your friends, family, colleagues.

I love reading Robin Sharma’s books and he has very nicely put some of the beautiful quotes on FEAR.

  1. You were born into fearlessness, but the world may have taught you to fear.
  2. Fear only become powerful when you give it your power.
  3. Make your faith larger than you fears.
  4. The fear we don’t face become our limits.
  5. Being scared is part of being alive. Accept it. Walk through it.

When are you becoming #FEARLESS?

Love You, Miss You. Mom..!!!

Love You, Miss You. Mom..!!!

“Mom”, a word that gives you confidence that there is one person on earth who, no matter how far/near you are with her, will always be there to support you, guide you.

She is one person, who reads your face and without any questioning, provides you with the solution.

She is one person, who trusts you without any second thoughts, whether you are right or wrong.

She is one person, who hides all her pains with a beautiful smile on her face creating a positive vibe, Just for You.

She is one person, who ensures you get all the happiness in the world, no matter for that, what she might have to go through.


People say they understand me, but no one ever understood me like you did.

People see me happy, smiling but no one ever knew the sadness deep down my heart like you did.

People think they know me in and out, but only you knew my feelings, the pain I was going through.

You sacrificed your dreams, your life to make my dreams a reality.

Now that you are gone, I recollect the memories, the struggle you have been through without any expectations, any demands. I wish if I could have given at least 1% of that back to you, you would be sitting here next to me. You always said and believed, Whatever happens, it happens for a reason and always for something better. So always be positive and keep smiling.

I keep quoting this and will follow through my entire life..!!!


You were my soul, my friend,
Without you the life’s purpose seems a dead end..
I will always cherish the memories we had,
All that happy moments and sad,
No one can ever break us apart,
Like a light in darkness, you will always remain in my heart..!!!


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All your mother wants is your happiness and success. She never expects anything in return. Its you who have to shower the same level of love and affection like she does. And that’s when you will see a sparkle in her eyes, glow on her face and broad smile with happy tears..!!! #PriceLess