தாய்ப்பால் எனும் வரம்!

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என் வாழ்க்கை எவ்வளவு கட்டுப்பட்டதாக உணர்ந்தாலும் என் குழந்தை பாலருந்தும் தருணம், அவளது பிஞ்சு கைகள் என் மீது படும் பொழுது, எதையும் சமாளிக்கும் தைரியம் எனக்குள் வந்து விடுகிறது. அவள் கருவிலிருக்கும் போது பேணிக் காத்ததன் விரிவாக்கமாகத் தான் இந்த பாலூட்டும் நேரத்தை நான் பார்க்கிறேன்.

என்னுடைய தாய்ப்பாலூட்டும் பயணத்தைப் பற்றி படிக்க, இந்த இணைப்பை அழுத்துங்கள்.

 

The Makeover Masterclass By Fabindia!

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Even before embarking upon a drive to this event, I was looking forward to what I knew would be high-caliber session – yes a masterclass on Makeup and I wasn’t disappointed at all. Momspresso has collaborated with Fabindia and came up with a brilliant session – ‘Masterclass with Professional Makeup Artist Vidhu’! Though I’m not a makeup person, I’m keen on skin care routines and hence was totally looking forward to the session.

So here’s all about the fab experience – The Makeover Masterclass By Fabindia!

A Closetful of Skeletons – Book Review

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‘A Closetful of Skeletons’ by Tanushree Podder is an intriguing thriller featuring the yesteryear film star Ramola who settles in Ramsar (a small hill station in the suburbs) in search of peace. Ramola, a flamboyant party host, invites her ex-lovers to her 40th birthday party. To the dismay of her guests, she announces to publish her autobiography, a memoir on her life which might demean her ex-lovers personal and professional lives. Ramola was murdered all of a sudden and the suspense takes off from there. Colonel Acharya, Ramola’s neighbor, and a retired army officer (a modern version of Hercule Poirot, an infamous detective from Agatha Christie’s characters ) enter the scene as the hunt for the murderer begins.

Characters were very well etched and thought through. Though there were a lot of characters revolving around, the characters were descriptive enough and were rightly placed so as not to create any confusions. The writing style of the author is just right for the thrillers of this kind. There were moments in the novel where I felt both pity and a frisson of dread as well. Though initial pages were dragging in bits, her plots with twists, complexity in the mystery and multiple suspects kept me engrossed till the end. I could feel Agatha Christie’s style of narrating throughout.

If you like to read about detective fiction and like really good plots, then ‘A Closetful of Skeletons’ is just perfect.

 ‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

The Brahmin – Book Review

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‘The Brahmin’ by Ravi Shankar Etteh is a brilliantly executed historical thriller. It takes us through an unusual and exciting journey through the marvelous Maurya era. As the title suggests, the protagonist ‘The Brahmin’ safeguard the Ashoka kingdom from the oppositions through his sapience.

It portrays a raw and a vivid tale of the extraordinary characters, King Ashoka, The Brahmin, the queen Asandhimitra and Hao, in all it’s natural glory. The characters, eye for detail, fine-honed dialogues gives an unadulterated glimpse into the historic period as if it’s real and happening at the moment.

This witty narration has kept me grounded till the last page and is a riveting read. Give it a try if you are in for a historical fiction that is grounded in thrilling suspense.

 ‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

 

 

 

Mango People in Banana Republic – Book Review

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Mango people in banana republic is a very fancy term and very intriguing as well. And the book cover certainly complements the storyline. This book is a good blend of political and spiritual satire and the doses are in the right amounts so as not to overdo. Free flowing language, spellbinding satirical work, and detailed characterizations have made me hooked to the book.

The characters of Ravi and Anand is etched exceptionally well. At times, these characters seem a little too off-the-wall but weirdly enough, we all know weirdos and freaks like this. Worse, we’re related to some of them and some of us find ourselves in their shoes.

Ravi, a top business consultant who is frustrated with today’s worldly-minded corporate suddenly decided to call it quits and takes up a precarious journey to stick to his roots. In this journey, Ravi encounters the good, bad and the ugly that all the mango people face day in day out in our country. Anand on the other hand, a former physicist leave his plush job and sets on a spiritual quest to find peace with his inner self. How they cross their paths and struggle to search their personal identity is the rest.

Vishak has described the plight of the farmers, famine, many social and political issues that the normal people suffer day in and day out, but with a dash of humor and satire – which makes this an interesting read.

 ‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

Jukebox – Book Review

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Jukebox by Writersmelon is an anthology of short stories with a different genre, different emotive that deal with love, loss, rage, mystery and what not – you get a smattering of everything. As standalone shorts, all the stories are well-rounded for the most part and each segment has a surprise peppered with interesting twists and turns to keep readers engrossed.

My favorite story is Monster by Amritorupa Kanjial. This story is about a girl who puts up with her parent’s separation and often hears her mother quoting her father a monster. When she sets her way to find the mystery behind her deceased father’s life, she was amazed to find she was as monstrous as her father and regret the time she failed to spend with her father. The story was simple and neatly written with a right amount of suspense.

‘One day in December’ by Deboshree is sure to give chilly creeps. ‘Story’ by Abhishek narrates the story of an innocent boy who demands a bedtime story about his father’s murder to gather clues to find the perpetrator. ‘The letters undefined’ by Neha is such a heart-tugging narration. I can go to talk about the cocktail of stories as it has certainly enticed me with its charm.

The collection has a wide range of genre and authors from a different background, so I feel like there’s something for everyone. Perfect stories to curl up with on a cold night, Jukebox promises to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

 ‘I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.’

The Big Switch by John Thomas – Book Review

A fiction that talks reality and reiterates on just one point ‘hear and follow what your heart says’! At some point in time every one of us would have asked ourselves – ‘what are we doing in our life? Are we pursuing our passion? – The answer would probably be ‘NO’ for many of us’.

The protagonist of the story ‘Keith’, a 24-year-old man confused about what he wanted in life. The story revolves around how he chases his passion in spite of the hardships faced. In life, we do not know why certain things happen in our life but we can certainly connect the dots only when time converges. Similarly, Keith finds his true love in the course of the journey and ends up with a totally different career which he finds truly satiating. Keith’s tenacity, patience, and wits not only help him in achieving the bigger dream but give him the will to live his life the way he wanted. The protagonist’s state of mind is well portrayed in the book.

A light yet impactful plot with drama like twists and turns. With simple writing, it’s a decent read from a debut author.

P.S: I received the kindle copy from the author John Thomas, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Hell! No Saints in Paradise by A.K Asif – Book Review

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Hell! No Saints in Paradise by A.K Asif, an urban fantasy with a riveting storyline. A simple tale of good versus evil – hell vs paradise. Ismael who is the protagonist of the story resonates the very essence of a man who rises as an unfettered slave by his estranged father that transforms to a man daring to leave his city to an unknown territory just to dislodge from his father. After encountering a spiritual cleansing course, Ismael takes up a precarious journey to find peace with his inner self.

Ismael’s quest to view the bigger picture overcoming all the odds becomes an incredibly layered narrative of perseverance, courage, and ultimately the triumph of good over evil – especially the evil within. This vivid story also portrays the harsh limitations and oppressions enforced by the religion on its people and the mayhem it can cause if the power is placed in wrong hands. From start to end, this book impersonates cocktail of contrasts, from poignant moments to bursts of brutality from ironical wit to absolute tragedy.

To me, this book is enticing in bits and drab in some parts, but as the plot unfolds, it gets interesting. Go for it, only if satire and dystopian fiction is your cup of tea.

 

P.S: I received a copy from Writer’s Melon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Finger food ideas for a party!

Finger food is the most popular go-to snack and a big hit at most parties.Here are a few ideas for homemade party snacks – all using regular kitchen ingredients, of course. Let your tiny tots explore new tastes.

Arancini with a Kurkure twist

Arancini is a stuffed rice ball and is a pure Italian goodness. Today, let us give Arancini a desi Kurkure twist. Since Kurkure is made of Rice, Corn, and Dal, it gives great crispiness while the spices and condiments used in kurkure make the Arancini balls, a flavor bomb.

Ingredients

  • Cooked plain rice – 1 Cup
  • Finely chopped onion – ½ cup
  • Spice powders – 1 Spoon each (Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Garam masala)
  • Salt – to taste
  • All-purpose flour – 2 Tablespoons
  • Coarsely crushed Kurkure – 2 cups
  • Mozzarella cheese cubes – 10
  • Oil – for frying

Preparation

  1. Mash rice in a bowl, add chopped onions, all the spice powders, and salt and give it a good mix.
  2. Mix the all-purpose flour with water to form a smooth watery paste. Spread the coarsely crushed Kurkure on a plate.
  3. Now make balls out of the rice mixture and place the mozzarella cube in the middle and shape into a smooth ball.
  4. Now dip the balls in the all-purpose flour paste and roll it in the Kurkure mixture to evenly coat the balls.
  5. Deep fry the balls to a golden brown color.
  6. Munch on the piping hot gooey Arancini cheese balls with Mayonnaise Dip

Baked Vegetable Chips

Welcome veggies to your kitty party with this recipe. Yes, baked chips are crispy, crunchy and guilt-free and a great way to retain nutrients while not demanding kids to give up on their crunching habit.

Ingredients

  • Beetroot – 2
  • Sweet Potato – 2
  • Oil – to coat
  • Salt and pepper – to taste

Preparation

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  2. In the meanwhile scrub and slice the vegetables into very thin slices.
  3. Coat the slices with a little oil and sprinkle some salt.
  4. Line the baking tray with a parchment paper and arrange the slices with enough space between each chip.
  5. Bake the chips at 180 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes or until crisp. Rotate the tray halfway through the cooking time to achieve even browning and crispiness.
  6. Season immediately with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container.

Note: For beets, after coating the slices with oil and salt, leave it out for about 10 minutes for them to sweat out the water and then bake them to crisp.

Crispy Potato Fingers with a vegetable twist

Who wouldn’t love delicious potato snack? Here’s a healthy vegetable twist on the already delicious potato fingers.

Ingredients

  • 4 Potatoes – Cut into long finger shape and parboil it
  • Red and Yellow bell peppers – 1 cup
  • Onion – ½ Cup
  • Carrot – 1 Cup
  • Corn Flour – 2 Tablespoons
  • Oats – ½ Cup
  • Bread Crumbs – 1 Cup
  • Oil – to fry

Preparation

  1. Cut the potatoes into finger-shaped strips and parboil them with a dash of salt
  2. Blend the onion, carrots, red and yellow bell peppers together to form a smooth paste. Mix corn flour and oats to the paste so that the paste sticks to the potato fingers. Add water if required to form a smooth paste.
  3. Now dip the parboiled potato fingers in the prepared paste and roll it on the breadcrumbs to give an even coat.
  4. Deep fry the fingers until they turn golden brown on all sides.
  5. Season the hot fingers with salt and pepper and serve.

Tofu Sticks

Tofu is derived from soy and is a very healthy protein when given in moderate amounts. Your kids will love to munch on this treat with a Chinese twist.

Ingredients

  • Tofu – 1 packet cut into long sticks
  • Minced Garlic Cloves – 3
  • Soy sauce – 2 Tablespoons
  • Chilli Sauce – 2 Tablespoons
  • All-Purpose Flour – 1 Cup
  • Garlic Powder – 1 Teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – 1 Teaspoon
  • Sesame seeds – ½ Cup
  • Bread Crumb – 1 Cup
  • Salt – to taste

Preparation

  1. Prick the tofu onto the skewer sticks
  2. In a bowl, add minced garlic, soy sauce, and chili sauce, give it a good mix. Marinade the tofu for an hour, so that it absorbs all the flavors.
  3. Mix water with the all-purpose flour to make a smooth watery paste.
  4. In another bowl, add bread crumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and sesame seeds and whisk to combine.
  5. Now pat off the excess marinade from the tofu sticks, dip them in the all-purpose flour paste and roll them in the breadcrumbs and sesame mixture and give an even coat.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius. Place the tofu sticks in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet coated thoroughly with cooking spray. Bake for 5-6 minutes, then turn the sticks over and bake for 5-6 minutes more or until golden and crispy.

Note: Soak the wooden skewers in warm water before using it in the oven or a hot grill to avoid skewers from cooking along with the food

The Healing Touch!

 

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Who wouldn’t crave for a soothing massage? When the massage has good benefits as well – why not? I heard from one of the famous doctor – that regular oil massage lubricates our skin and lock the moisture – prevents dryness & wrinkles which in turn prevents blood impurities. Blood impurities has lots of side effects starting from Acne till clamping of joints. Such is the benefit of performing oil massage regularly – not only for infants but for everyone. It also boosts immune system, relieves stress, enhances sleep, and more goodness than you might think of! My Grandmother always used to utter proverbs in Tamil ‘Ennai Pillayo Vanna Pillayo – Baby who has been massaged with oil regularly will be hale and healthy’ & ‘Ennayum Thanniyum dhan Pillaya Valarkum – Oil & water will help for baby development’ – which reiterates the importance of regular oil massage.

I’m a mother of 1 year old little munchkin who is just growing adorable day by day. Whenever my daughter squalls, I pick her up and fondle her – Presto, she’ll hold all smiles within fraction of seconds. That’s the healing power of a mother’s tender touch! Just a touch can make her calm, a massage can do wonders – trust me – it does wonders! Even when she was not mobile – staying in confined spaces, she always works hard to make movements & thus massage helped her perform even more constructive works (of course demanding her mom – what else…)! And yes – the magic touch has given us an undisturbed and a quality time – which has strengthened the bond between both of us which is going to last for lifetime!

I started massaging my little one right from the 3rd day with homemade oil (coconut oil – heat the coconut oil with necessary herbs) regularly – minimum 2 times a day. I use coconut oil since its edible and it’s easily digested when she sucks her hands or fingers. We use to pick a time when she is quiet and not cranky (not after a meal – which would make her spit and certainly not when she is sleepy). It’ll minimum be a 15 minute session where I lay her on my lap (oh yes – that’s where the bond begins and she loves lying on my lap) – we look at each other in the eyes – sounds romantic?

“I asked her – Are you ready for the massage, sweetie pie, rubbing the oil on her cute little feet. For the next several minutes, I and my daughter had a grand old time!! She curled her little fragile fingers around my strong one’s, beaming up at me. We had a conversation – She did not say much but whatever she said sounded happy. I did gentle & mild moves on her legs & feet, Chest, tummy, belly button, back & her face. I started by gently rubbing her feet, rotating her thumbs in a circular motion to create a soothing effect. Now her big black eyes crinkled at the corners, a smile unfolded across her face and a little coo’s and bah’s of excitement came out of her mouth!”

My little one really enjoys those mild strokes – she feels so relaxing during the stretch out! We used to chit chat during those massage sessions – I used to ask her if she likes it and there you go – she gushes out some blah blah’s with a big grin to acknowledge the same, I sing songs and tell her stories. I thought she was too small to engross herself with those stories – wait I was so wrong – the more I talk – the more she interacts and involves with the story! A soothing massage followed by warm water bath – out of world expressions she spurts! You bet – those are lovely times together to get to know each other with all smiles. It not only comforts her but it elevates my mental spirits, makes me feel calm and relaxed as I take care of my daughter’s physical and emotional well-being. I feel, the eye-to-eye contact, skin-to-skin contact and the voice contact help establish an enduring emotional affinity.

Any day after a massage, she sleeps well – no fuss – I mean literally – which is a boon to any parents – isn’t it?! Apart from feeding time, I consider the massaging ritual as a best bonding time that I share with my little one and I feel this as an extension of the care and experience being in my womb!! Why don’t every moms try this out – the power of loving touch is universal!!