Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion #BookReview



If history fascinates you then this novel "The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion" by Ram Sivasankaran takes you a few centuries back in Mughal - Maratha period. In the 18th century, when Mughals were loosing their grip over Indian sub-continent and Maratha empire was gradually taking control over Indian states, under the guidance of Chhathrapathi Shahu (son of late Chhathrapathi Sambhaji) and the leadership of Balaji Vishwanath Bhat (Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy), the empire was rising and building a path to achieve Mughal free India for the Maratha generations to come. The events described in this book mainly revolves around the royal families of Maratha empire and Nizam Ul Mulk of the Mughal empire.


The story begins with Bajirao Bhat riding alongside his father,Balaji Vishwanath Bhat and some soldiers of Maratha Confederacy to Delhi for negotiating the release terms of Chhathrapathi Shahu's mother from Mughal captivity. After being beaten by Maratha Confederacy in several states of Indian sub-continent and under the weak leadership of Mughal emperor, Farrukhsiyar, the Mughals had developed the diplomatic ties with the Marathas to maintain control over their existence in India. Nizam Ul Mulk , the loyal nizam of Peacock Throne of Delhi is a sharp personnel who believes in the Mughal Empire's domination. He convinces the Emperor to demolish the Peshwa's plan to release the Queen mother of Maratha Confederacy but all his plans of assassinating the Peshwa fails and things fall against his will. Later on,with the motive to destroy Maratha Empire and to avenge for the wounds the Peshwa had caused him, the Nizam builds his army and due to an internal rebellion among the Maratha Confederacy, things fall in favor of the Nizam and then how things take turn? and how the Peshwa's son, Bajirao Bhat, comes in the picture and takes control of the leadership and deals with toughest of situations is what engages the reader to the core of the narration.

Now the things which I like about the book

1) The cover of the book is appealing and grabs attention at first glance.
2) The chapters are beautifully bifurcated and doesn't make things boring from a reader's perspective.
3) The characters are well described and never appeared to be left out throughout the narrative.
4) I found the storytelling very poised and engaging.

Now the things which I didn't like about the book

1) I found the font very small and difficult to read in some of the chapters where the text is written in italics.
2) Though the use of graphics in books is common these days but I didn't like them in this book, as the objects depicted were not of great significance.


Final Thoughts

Overall, I liked the book as it gives you a taste of history and makes you learn about some of the unheard and brave stories of the legends.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

A nice weekend read!




I received the copy of "The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion" from Writersmelon in exchange of an honest review.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Knock knock! Santa is here! :)





I came home from work quite late yesterday and found an amazon package on my bed which I didn't order. Well, there is no-one on earth who doesn't like surprises but when there is no occasion around and especially your B'day is also not near then it becomes even more exciting to open gifts. I had no idea that who sent me the package but like kids I opened it with great curiosity and glittery eyes. There was nothing mentioned on the front side of the invoice either, that who ordered it. I don't get gifts often so I thought it would be ordered by someone for one of my flat mates, also my college buddies (as sometimes we order things online on each others' name as per our availability at home). But I was wrong, totally wrong! As soon as I unpacked the package, I found this....


And somehow I knew that this gift was intended for me,not to my friends. I knew that none of my friends had the habit of sending gifts and that too a photography related gift.Ahhh! Never! To be honest, more than the gift, what I really loved about it was that it was a book and related to photography. I just cannot express how happy it made me last night, after a hectic day at office. Extremely happy! :)

Well, I searched for the sender's name inside out of the package and after spending some time, I found it on the back side of the invoice.And as soon as I read the name, it brought a big smile on my face. The sender was Jaibala a.k.a. Jai, a very experienced and lovable blogger and one of my favorites. Also, it came through Blogchatter's Secret Santa initiative, in which many of the wonderful bloggers enrolled with Blogchatter to send a gift on the occasion of Christmas to the person randomly selected by Blogchatter's algorithm (I believe). ;)

I never met Jai in person and we had only interacted thru comments on blog posts and twitter. Also, I didn't mention any preference of gift on the Blogchatter's link. And when I saw the book, it was actually a big surprise for me that how Jai figured it out on her own that I have a thing for photography. I believe, she noticed my love for photography in my blog posts during blog hopping and chose this wonderful gift for me. Well, her comments on my blog posts weighs more than any physical gifts and this book was a cherry on the cake. 

I can't thank you enough for this lovely gift, Jai (Beautiful Santa)! Hope we meet soon. And loads of love to S and you! :)

Wish you merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year in advance!


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

It's not any game, it is Cricket!

India vs England | Test Series, 2012 |  Eden Gardens | Kolkata (WB)


It's been a few days since I was thinking of a topic to write on and during the first test between India and England, I got one, when I interacted with some of my friends over twitter discussing our team's performance and strategies. Well, I am not a cricket expert but I can call myself a cricket enthusiast for sure. I like cricket a lot like every other Indian. Also, in the country where cricket is being treated as a religion; everyone holds a viewpoint about our team and players. I won't say it's wrong to hold an opinion about cricket and especially about players when they fail to deliver or perform as champions. But there is a huge difference in the way we react when our team win or lose. We often see that most of the public in India builds a negative image in their mind whenever our team's performance is bad and sometimes it really hurts when we hear unpleasant things about our players from hatemongers, who know nothing about cricket.Well, its a controversial and a debatable topic any day, if properly presented on any platform. Also, I will not dig much into this as my primary motive of writing this post is to talk about just cricket not about outsiders.


Let's start with the ongoing test series between India and England. The first test resulted in a draw and all the speculations which were being made before the series that the new England side is not that strong as it was in 2012; proved everyone wrong. After drawing the series against Bangladesh, England looked a shattered side who had a big series coming up against the no. 1 test team in the world. Also, the way Indian team was performing in their backyard from past 5-6 months, the signs were ominous for the mighty Englishmen. But every speculation made just before the series came to rest when England dominated in more than 10 sessions of the game. The stakes were high for both teams and somehow India saved the match on the last day. On the other hand, England missed the chance to bag a win in their account.Now, what happened with the no. 1 test team? or was it just that the England team outclassed us? Let's try to dig in and find out what went wrong.

1) In India, it's often a saying that toss plays a major role in deciding the winner of the game. And if you've have 3 genuine spinners in the side then it becomes even more important to bowl second. Well, nobody can predict the toss results, it's just a saying which sometimes falls in favor of the winning captain and sometimes not. But it does play a part in some or the other manner! And we witnessed that in first test match (3rd session- 5th day), when Indian batting line-up stumbled against the mediocre spin attack of England team. Only Kohli and Ashwin looked a bit settled on the 5th day track.And this actually revealed few things that playing spin in spinner friendly conditions requires patience and technique.The greats of Indian cricket were magnificent players of spin bowling and this new set of energetic individuals just need to polish this trait and become the best in the business.

2) We all know that Indian team is a very good fielding unit but somehow they dropped a lot of chances in the first innings itself that made things difficult for the bowlers. They were not difficult chances and some of them were even sitters. Also, it's a very well known fact that "catches win matches" and a team just can't afford to drop catches when the batsmen are of great calibre. The same happened when India dropped around 8-9 catches in the first innings and a few in the second innings. Indian team couldn't build pressure on the English team which resulted in a massive total in the first innings.

3) India hasn't seen a better bowler after Anil Kumble who can remove the tail cheaply. Bowling to tail-enders requires a completely different set of skills and in today's cricket, no country has the fire power in their bowling line-up to crack that. Fast bowlers have forgotten the art of bowling yorkers and conventional reverse swing and the spinners have now-a-days forgotten the art of bowling flighted deliveries to intimidate the tail-enders to make mistakes. The same sort of thing happened in first test match as well. Both teams couldn't manage to get the tail removed quickly and a lot of runs were scored by the lower order batsmen.

4) Opening partnership didn't click again,which raised a concern in the batting department for upcoming matches, as already Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul are both injured and Gautam Gambhir is not looking as solid as he used to be a few years back. Hopefully, Gambhir will put a better show in next game because we all know that he's a class player when he's on song.

5) Well, this is purely my personal view that this side relies a lot on 3-4 players, who have been doing magnificently well from past 1-2 years. Batting line-up is still delivering but there are very less instances which we can count when all the batsmen clicked together in a single game. Same goes with the bowling line-up, if we're playing in India then we rely a lot on our two mainline spinners. Whereas, outside it's more or less a single man who holds the key of the spin department i.e. Ashwin. The pacers are not fixed in the line-up except Shami, who has performed brilliantly in India and outside.Also, Bhuvi has performed equally well in foreign conditions. I believe the true test of Kohli's captaincy starts now from this series where he needs to build his team and make it a true champion side to fight against the bests in the world.

I have tried to cover all the aspects of the game (from my point of view) except pitches, because it's that area which can only be assessed better by the cricket experts or players.

I would love to know about your view for the ongoing test series between India and England. So, go ahead and drop a comment with your inputs.

Thanks for stopping by and reading the post! :)


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Thursday, 3 November 2016

यात्री गण कृप्या ध्यान दीजिए ...



ये रेलगाड़ी की छुक-छुक करती आवाज़ ..
ये पटरियों की कपकपाहट का एहसास ...
ये स्लीपर की बोगी में सफर करता मैं आज  ..
ये जो 7 रूपए की चाय का लुत्फ उठाता पूरा समाज  ... 

ये थरथराती सी रेल का हमेशा सा मिज़ाज  ..
ये जो "यात्री गण कृप्या ध्यान दीजिए" बोलने का मधुर सा अंदाज  ...
कभी अंजानो से पॉलिटिक्स पे बहस करता मैं आज  ..
तो कभी क्रिकेट के विशेषज्ञ की भूमिका निभाता पूरा समाज  ... 

कभी समोसा खाता तो कभी चाय की चुस्की लगाता  ..
कभी ट्रेन में शॉपिंग करते दिखता  ...
तो कभी मोबाइल चार्ज करने की लाइन में लोगों से लड़ते दिखता  ..
ये सफर है बड़ा ही अनोखा जो करता हूँ मैं आज  ...
एक मुसाफिर में तनहा सा मंज़िल का इंतज़ार करता हूँ मैं आज  ...



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Tuesday, 25 October 2016

We are Writeaholics...



Blogging is something I adore a lot! Though I wasn't an active blogger 6 months ago, things have changed now and I write and post quite often. Well, some things surely takes time to get in shape and my blogging journey got back on track with new beginnings and surprises. I wasn't active on twitter either and one day I just thought of dropping by to check my account if there was anything interesting. Luckily, I came across this amazing community named "BlogChatter". I followed them on twitter and started taking part in their Wednesday chat sessions. Slowly, I started building my blog with BlogChatter's campaigns and connected with some extraordinary like minded bloggers.

I started blogging in 2011 and used to post only poems and articles. My blog was like a diary to me earlier but in last one year it became an inspiration to do something worthy in life. Also, it has become a platform for me to make friends and connect with Intellectuals to learn from and get better to reach the pinnacle of my life's goals! And all this has not happened in just few days or thru self-efficacy; rather this has only happened because of a community i.e. BlogChatter. A community who believes in building relationships and motivates the bloggers in finding their niche. In order to achieve all this, Blogchatter conducts several campaigns from time to time.And one of those campaigns is "Blogbuddy", the flagship program of BlogChatter. This is the third season of Blogbuddy and my first as a participant. The main objective of this program is to build a tribe of small groups and make them grow together as a team. For Blogbuddy 3.0, the groups are formed in a batch of 7-8 bloggers each. I, too, am a part of 7 member team.

And till next season, seven of us are going to take on the challenge of blogging as a team.

So, let me introduce you to the members (superstars) of team #Writeaholics.


http://www.pikturenama.com/


Anindya - The person behind Pikturenama! He's a senior blogger and wonderful photographer who creates magic thru his food photography. He's also a traveler and have amazing travel stories in travel section of his blog. Hope we form a great bond in this journey of Blogbuddy. Kudos! :)
 




http://moderngypsy.in/


Shinjini - She's one of the most versatile bloggers I have ever come across. From Art related to Tarot card reading and from Travel related blog posts to Entrepreneurship. She's everywhere! Hope I learn to manage my blog like hers and may we build this friendship stronger. Kudos! :)




http://simpleindianmom.in/


Menaka - She's a wonderful person by heart and the lady behind SimpleIndianMom! If I start writing about her bio then am sure I cannot complete that in a single page. She's an Agricultural biologist, Lifestyle blogger, Parenting consultant and a big-big Organic food enthusiast. Huff! She has super powers! Please hop over to her blog and explore more about her. Kudos! :)




http://www.hillstationreader.com/


Dixita - She's a star in the galaxy of Blogchatter. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm are two things which I like the most. Hop over to her blog to read some amazing stories. Also, she's a very good DJ and possess excellent knowledge of old and new Bollywood songs. Kudos! :)





https://doctorsblogging.wordpress.com/


Anshul - He's a doctor by profession and a blogger by heart.Well, we both hail from the city of lakes i.e. Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. It's great that we both are in same team #Writeaholics. Hope we rock together and make this blogbuddy season a memorable one. Also, he's an avid reader and shares some exciting posts on his blog. So, hop over to his blog and read some amazing articles. Kudos! :)




https://zarahatkeblog.wordpress.com/



Manisha - She's a Pharma and Healthcare consultant by profession and a blogger by passion.Her blog zarahatke is a collection of fashion & beauty tips, poetry and life experiences related posts. Her hindi poetry is really good. So, please hop over to her blog to explore more about her. Kudos! :)


I am super thrilled and excited about what's there in store for us in coming months. I'm sure, together we are going to make this Blogbuddy season a memorable one. :)



I am a Blogbuddy with Blogchatter.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

तेरे बचपन की यादें ...

Painting by - Ayushi Jain
 
मासूम सी ये उँगलियाँ ,
और ये नन्ही सी मुस्कान  ...
पलकों पे सजाए रखा है ,
सपनो का ये जहाँ  ...

कुछ नटखट सी अदाएँ ,
तो कुछ शरारत भरी आँखें  ...
हर गलती को छुपाती है ,
इसके मन की ये सब बातें  ...

रुई की गरम रज़ाई में ,
तो कभी माँ के आँचल में  ....
लोरी सुनके जो सोता है ,
ये अपने छोटे से महल में  ....

न कभी थकता है ,
न कभी रुकता है  ...
डांटों तो आंसू बहाता है ,
मेरे लाल तू मुझे बहुत सताता है  ....

बचपन की जो ये यादें तेरी ,
आज पिरोके रखी है ....
भूल जाए अगर तू मुझे ,
तो ये यादें संजोके रखी है ....
तो ये यादें संजोके रखी है ....


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Monday, 26 September 2016

Kaas Plateau - The Valley of Flowers...

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

About Kaas Plateau: The Valley of Flowers...

Last Saturday, I visited "Kaas Plateau" with my friends. It was in my "must visit" list from the past 3 years and finally we planned this trip to "The Valley of Flowers". Kaas Plateau, also known as "Kaas Pathar" (in Maharashtra), is located around 145 kms from Pune city of Maharashtra, India. This place is rich in flora and is significantly known for its biodiversity. During the months of August and September, the valley provides habitat to more than 800 different species of flowers and plants. After monsoon, for a stretch of 2-3 weeks; from end of August till mid-September, the plateau blossoms with different varieties of flowers and attracts many tourists and nature lovers from across the country. In 2012, UNESCO approved it as the "World Natural Heritage Site" and since then this plateau grabbed more attention of the local tourists.

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Our Journey...

In our trip to Kaas, we left Pune at 8 am in the morning and reached Kaas at around 12:30 pm (took 2-3 breaks in between). Since it's a UNESCO approved site, to manage the crowd and to avoid damages, the officials have restricted the number of visitors to 3000 per day. Along with that, there are four time slots of 3 hours each for visiting the place. Since it was not a pre-planned trip and that we planned it in just 2 days and also we were 14 people in total, so to manage everything we kept some travel time in buffer and booked our tickets for the 1-4 pm slot. We reached Kaas at 12:30 pm and parked our vehicle 1 km ahead of the main entrance gate. After that, we started walking and reached the main gate at 1 pm. Since the plateau was located at high altitude and unfortunately we had overcast conditions, which ruined some of my plans to capture good pictures of the place. But still the beauty of the valley was of a different kind and we took a stroll across the path created for walking and enjoyed our time
 

After covering most of the area, we left for Pune at 4pm and reached there by 9 pm in the night (took dinner break in between).

Here are some of the photos I clicked in foggy weather. Hope you like them! :)

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

 Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers


Near by places to visit...
  1. Mahabaleshwar Hill Station (35 kms)
  2. Koyna Sanctuary (20 kms)
  3. Tapola (50 kms)
  4. Wai (30 kms)

How to reach Kaas Plateau from Pune...
  1. Pune-Bangalore Highway -- Katraj --Shindewadi -- Khed Shivapur -- Nasarpur phata --  Kapurhole -- Shirwal -- Bhumj -- Satara -- Kaas (20 kms from Satara)
  2. Pune-Solapur Highway -- Hadapsar -- Saswad road via Diveghat -- Saswad village --
    Narayanpur --  Kapurhole --Shirwal -- Bhumj -- Satara -- Kaas (20 kms from Satara) 

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Kaas Plateau - Valley of Flowers

Best time to visit...

Best time to visit Kaas Plateau is after the rains from end of August till October. However, the rarest species of flowers normally blossoms during the months of August(late) and September(mid).

For Photography enthusiasts this is the perfect place to capture some ever-lasting memories. So pray to god for sunny day and click some extra ordinary pictures! :)

Timings...

There are four slots of 3 hours each for visiting the valley-

7am - 10am
10am-1pm
1pm-4pm
4pm-7pm

Maximum 3000 people can register to visit the place per day. 

Ticket Details...

Rs.50 per person for 3 hours on Weekdays
Rs.100 per person for 3 hours on Saturday,Sunday and Government Holidays.

Photography charges for DSLR camera : Rs.100
Vehicle parking charges extra.

My Take...

This is one such place which you wouldn't want to miss when in Pune. It's a UNESCO site and is the only one of its kind! A perfect place for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts!! :)


Note: Few details have been taken from Google for accuracy.

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