Monthly Archives: December 2014

Taking baby steps…… (2014 in review)

Wow! Looking at the stats that the helper monkeys at wordpress.com came up with, I keep wondering that why I didn’t think of blogging before or just simply start writing before. Starting this blog has been so wonderful for me and it actually was a step towards doing something I really really like 🙂

And as I continue to put one baby foot in front of the other with regards to writing on my blog, I thank you all for all the likes,comments and follows. I wish that you all have a wonderful and a happy new year!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 570 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 10 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

One lavender ribbon by Heather Burch

lavenderribbonBook NameOne Lavender Ribbon

Author: Heather Burch

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary+historical fiction

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Format: Kindle eBook

Book Blurb: Can a stack of long-hidden love letters from a WWII war hero inspire a heartbroken woman to love again
Reeling from a bitter divorce, Adrienne Carter abandons Chicago and retreats to the sun, sand, and beauty of Southern Florida, throwing herself into the restoration of a dilapidated old Victorian beach house. Early into the renovations, she discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier. The old letters—incredibly poetic and romantic—transcend time, and they arouse in Adrienne a curiosity that leads her to track down the writer of the letters. William “Pops” Bryant is now an old man living in a nearby town with his handsome but overprotective grandson, Will. As Adrienne begins to unravel the secrets of the letters (and the Bryants), she finds herself not yet willing to give up entirely on love.

My Words: – A young divorced woman, fleeing from a loveless, abusive marriage with an emotionally controlling husband and trying to finding her foot in life and in a new place. Seeking peace in her turmoil-ridden heart which is on the verge of losing hope in love.

– A retired 81-year old World warII veteran, braver than most but humble, living with his grandson he adores, and tries to take care of, remembers being jilted, back when he returned from war to reunite with his beloved.

– A young bank manager, abandoned by his parents feels un-loved and neglected by them, brings his grandfather in his house to care for him. Overprotective about his grandfather and willing to do anything for him, he doesn’t trust in new relationships as his existing relationships never taught him to place his heart in anybody else.

– A younger sister who never married is the one left to tie history to now using one lavender ribbon. She’s a strong woman of her time who bakes cookies for the homeless children and inspires women of today to search deep within themselves for the faith to keep believing in love.

This is one of the best contemporary, historical fiction books I have ever read. I read this book earlier when it had come out, but thought of writing a review for it only now. It is a story of love, forgiveness and second chances. The writing is superb and heart-breaking. Two love stories from the historical past and the contemporary present are beautifully knotted and tied together with a simple lavender ribbon and felt nothing but real. There are several different sub-stories involved and the author blends them seamlessly.

The main story revolves around Adrienne who discovers a tin box hidden away in the attic of her new house, that reveals the emotional letters from a WWII paratrooper to a young woman who lived in the house more than a half-century earlier. Her curiosity to find the couple in the letters and return the letters to them leads her to William “Pops” Bryant – the World War II paratrooper and Will Bryant, his grandson. World War stories are usually a huge no-no for me, but I was deeply moved when reading about Pop’s experiences in this book, it sounded so true to life. The story connects all three generations, when things are not always as they appear. Each generation learns from the other.

The author has developed the characters really very well. She gave them all of the human flaws, so that even when they committed acts that didn’t sit well with you, she had made them so human, you could forgive them. Which is quite a difficult task for a writer. Also, although you could predict some of this storyline, it didn’t detract from the thread – it still was a good story… it was touching, well written and never over-reaching in its sentiment, just enough to leave you misty eyed once or twice.

This is a feel good book because it shows how it is never too late to live your life to the fullest, to let go of the past, and to take risks. Heather Burch took the history that shaped the families we are today and wove it into the life happening now for Adrienne in a flawless, seamless fabric so beautiful it is beyond compare. The words and phrases in the book were so beautifully conveyed and exquisite in their descriptions of the emotions and surroundings. It is an excellently written love story with believable and poignant characters and a twisting plot.

One lavender ribbon – that ties in the destinies of 4 different people……Beautifully written. Evocative, compelling, and very sigh-worthy. I highly recommend this book. 5 out of 5.

My favourite quotes from the book:

“Closing up a wound that’s not ready will only poison the whole body. Wounds have to heal in their own time. They have to breathe.”

“The grieving process is different for everyone. The very thing that might bring peace to one person might bring despair to another.”

“Even though the past may be painful, it’s okay to remember it. That’s how we heal.”

“And he wasn’t sure why today it seemed so important, but he had learned not to question motives. If the heart needed to take that journey, it simply did. And today, his heart had needed to.”

“Where have all the poets gone? Rhyme with passion left unsung, Even now my heart it yearns, Until my poet prince returns.’ ”

“Well, everyone can’t lead an exciting life. Some of us just have to work hard, be honest and persistent.”

“Death is not an anomaly. Life—life is the anomaly. And what a glorious gift it is.”

Red Rock Mountain…or is it??!

This is in response to the daily prompt. I apologize for the long post, but I found that I had more to write on it than just the topic. I had to include one of our travel anecdotes and that lengthened the post.

The prompt: Have you ever managed to paint yourself into the proverbial corner because of your words? What did you do while waiting for them “to dry”?

Scenario 1: My Mom visited me in the US a few years ago from India. She bought me a lot of gifts from India – some simply amazing and some not so much. Of these, there were a few Indian Sarees that I was not particularly attached to. But my dearest loveliest Mom! There was so much love in her voice and on her face when she recited the whole journey from selecting and bargaining for the said Sarees, just for me, that I could not utter a single negative word about any of the Sarees. I wore a few of them on various occasion but a few of them I simply donated while moving to India a few years later.

Scenario 2: One of my best friends is a photographer. A good one at that. A few years ago she was just starting out, learning the basics of photography and processing the shots using some software. One evening we were gathered in her living room going through few photographs that she had last taken. As I am generally a very opinionated person, I pointed out all the photographs that I liked and those that I didn’t. I was being honest since my friend was in the learning stages and I was just general viewer of her work. But she was looking for encouragement, as I know most people are, and didn’t like my comments. I apologized to her for hurting her feelings, but told her that I still stand by what I said of the photographs. And that my intention was to help her improve her craft and not offend her in any way. I also told her that I admire the way she takes up her hobbies seriously by following on them. I did not have the courage to do anything about my hobbies at that time. She was satisfied with my explanation and took my comments at their face value.

What I am trying to say from the above scenarios is that, what I do after I have painted myself into the proverbial tight corner depends on the situation. I used to be someone who spoke her mind without any filter. I found out the hard way that handling things this way hurt the receiver of the sharp comments. A lot. And after this epiphany, I started thinking a little, before I said anything to anyone. I just believe that it saves a lot of hurt and sometimes misunderstandings later on. Having said this, I still like to be honest where it is imperative. Like the case of my friend. I will go to any lengths to explain my intentions and meaning of my comments, but I will say what I feel about a particular thing. Because that’s what being a friend is in this case. And if I don’t say what I really feel, then I am not being true to the other person and to myself.

One can argue that this applies to Scenario 1 too, where I should tell my mother I didn’t really like the gifts and help her gift better in the future. But I can never bring myself to do that. Because Mom is Mom – just perfect. Moms don’t have to strive towards something better, at least where gifting your child is concerned. Gifting is just expressing their love for their child. And she showed an immense amount of it while accessorizing the sarees and buying what-nots to go along with them. And if I had told her that I didn’t like the sarees, the rest of the stuff would have been for naught. On top of it, it would have hurt her. And I can fight with her about a gazillion things, chide her on forgetting her meds and things like that, but I cannot bear to see her hurt just for gifting me few materialistic things I didn’t like. I can still live with a dozen non-likeable sarees to see the love on her face when she gifts them to me.

So, in conclusion, for me, there is no one way to deal with things in these situations. The overall intent and purpose of the scenarios demands a different approach for each situation. Or sometimes there is nothing you can do. You just have to wait until the memory of it fades from other people’s minds. I’ll give you an excellent and funny example of this, below. I have to mention this before you the read the following story that my husband – Mr. A. has a habit of misplacing names, which ends up confusing others to no end, as can be seen from the story below. (Come on! How can you and for that matter how many times can you get confused between Denver and Dayton?!!!!)

Scenario 3: Once the hubby and I, along with a few friends went on a trip to Aspen,Colorado. Mr. A had visited the place once before with his friends. So he was our tour guide. This was almost a decade ago from now, when we had just landed into US and didn’t have a GPS system. And we didn’t think of getting a map of Aspen when we started our journey from Golden, CO. So I was told to write down the routes to all the places we were going to hit in Aspen.

It was autumn and Aspen was simply breathtakingly beautiful. One of the places I was supposed to jot down the route for was some “Red rock Mountain”. According to hubby dearest, it was supposed to be a beautiful place with a lake on top of a mountain with lush greenery and fall foliage around it. I found it and had a nice step by step route written in my journal. We were on the way to said “Red Rock Mountain”, only the place where Google Maps took us to was not actually a mountain, not even a hilltop. It was red alright. But not a mountain. There was a construction crew on work on “top” of the place doing what we didn’t know (Maybe digging up a lake!). We tried driving back and taking different routes but ended up in the same place. By now, Mr. A was frustrated that I didn’t do my job properly. I was chastised and another friend who was sitting at home was called to get the “correct” directions. Predictably, Google gave him the same directions that I had. Finally, we abandoned the idea of visiting Red Rock Mountain and continued our sightseeing in Aspen.

Later, we were roaming around the town centre, where we came upon a map of Aspen and suddenly Mr. A exclaims – “See, this is where we were supposed to go!” All of us, especially me, gathered around the map with a curious expression on our faces to check the mysterious phantom place and there it was – listed in bold letters on the map with the name – “Maroon bell lake“!!!!

Mr. A, as always had misplaced names! I was just chasing after a mirage on google maps. Add to that I had to bear the brunt of his ire on “supposedly” erring on the route!! And to think that there was really a place called Red Rock Mountain in Aspen, which darling husband had not visited and never heard of before, and we simply had to go see the dump! I called it a cruel joke of serendipity!

But to this day, Mr. A is teased and has his leg pulled about the blunder. And as for me, I can just not stop myself from retelling the story of the Red Rock Mountain chronicles 😀 Poor hubby dearest ! He can’t do anything else than grin and bear all of it, dreaming of someday that I forget about the incident. And I can assure you that I may have a memory of a swiss cheese, but this one is not oozing out,ever!

Maroon Bell lake in fall

maroon-bells-at-maroon-lakePhoto Courtesy: Google free images.

Aye aye captain!

This is in response to the prompt by Ten Quote Tuesday. I have been reading this wonderful weekly quote for a few weeks now and this is my first attempt to write for the prompts mentioned in the post.

I used the following prompt:

– Start a scene with this line: It had been at least a minute since he last blinked.

Aye aye, Captain!

It had been at least a minute since he last blinked. He kept staring at Patrick, his friend and senior.

The briefing was over and one by one everyone left the meeting room. Josh stayed where he was. As Patrick approached him, he had a knowing expression on his face.

“I hope you know what is at stake here, Josh. It’s very important to the department that this case gets cracked at the earliest.”

Josh found his voice at last. He stared hard at Patrick while retorting, “You want me to act as Karen’s husband! After knowing everything about me and Karen, I can’t believe you are doing this to me. And you didn’t even discuss it with me before the briefing!”

“I am the Chief officer here Josh”, bellowed Patrick. “And I have to make difficult decisions sometimes. Even if they affect my friends. I am aware of how you feel about Karen, but this is about doing your duty. I am hoping that you’ll keep aside your personal history and concentrate on what is at hand. That is what is expected of you, Officer Danes!”

Josh felt chastised but he knew that he was not really mad at Patrick. He was just doing his job. But he was in no mood to say that to Patrick.

“We need information about Karen’s boss”, Patrick continued as if he didn’t see the grimace on Josh’s face. “Her brother, Kyle and you are the best people to do it. Kyle won’t work with anyone he can’t trust. He knows you and Karen were in a relationship before she left town. He might have been in touch with her and know few things that might help us in the investigation.”

Josh looked unconvinced. Patrick knew this was hard for Josh. But he knew that getting to the bottom of this case was more important if they wanted to save the lives of young girls. “You know I wouldn’t involve you in this if it wasn’t of utmost importance”, said Patrick.

Josh understood the gravity of the situation. This was more serious than Karen betraying him. He knew that if they didn’t find the pimp soon, many innocent girls were in danger. He tried to think of the situation, this time focusing clearly on the task. “You are basing this on the assumption that Kyle will even talk to me. He adores his sister. And I said few very hurtful things to her that day when everything fell apart. He won’t even want to see me.”

“I know that. Remember, I was there too. But Karen was messed up and Kyle believed that you were the best thing to happen to her. He likes you.” Patrick felt hopeful at the turn the conversation was taking.

Josh didn’t say anything.

Patrick tried another track. “Who knows, she might come around. She has been through a lot and may have learnt a few life lessons”
“Well Patrick, we don’t know if she will or will not come around because if you didn’t notice, she is in a damn COMA!”. He was angry now. Even if she betrayed him, Josh was still in love with her and seeing her in that condition in the ICU had taken a lot out of him. And to put him back into the fold was getting to be difficult for him.

But Patrick was insistent. “Which makes it difficult to get information out of her, and that is where you come in.” Patrick sympathized with his friend but he had to get this done. ” Look, Josh I’ll make a deal with you. You do this for me, your Chief, and I’ll spend the next evening apologizing to you, my friend, over drinks”
Josh glanced briefly at Patrick, heaved a sigh and said “You are on, Chief.”
Patrick smirked. “The things I do for you…”
“Shut up! And don’t forget to get the drinks”. Josh said, smiling.
“Get cracking, Danes!”
“Aye aye Captain!”

-Sheetal

Resolutions

This post is in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “To Be Resolved.”

We’re entering the final days of 2014 — how did you do on your New Year’s resolutions these past 11.75 months? Is there any leftover item to be carried over to 2015?

Resolutions?…ummm…Now that I think of them, I am totally blank. Either I don’t remember them or I didn’t make any for 2014. Not that I make resolutions every year. Just that I don’t remember if I made any for 2014. There is 99% chance that I didn’t make any. It’s not that I think it is a lost cause. Rather I am the lost cause when it comes to resolutions. I am rather lazy to carry out any resolutions. So much that my weekly workout resolution falls flat every second day 😦 Anyway so usually I just don’t make any resolutions and go along with whatever is going on in my life working on things as and when required. And I don’t think I made any for 2014 as well. So there is nothing to carry forward to.
But I think, I will make an exception for 2015 and have a resolution in place. It is for writing regularly..atleast a week..and in a notebook because I love writing in a notebook as opposed to typing. So there. I think I got that one resolved.

x

Hello all! Welcome to my Wordly rants!

I consider myself fortunate enough to get to read a lot of stuff via books or blogs on the internet. I can’t help myself admiring the works of the authors and feel the itch of writing which I had been dreaming about doing someday. The only problem I have always had was where to start. I was poised with a pen in my hand and no topic in sight. What do you write as your first post in your own words, which is not a book review? A writer’s block before being a writer, you say? Well folks, my world floats in irony.
Anyway, finally, I gathered my wits and started looking online for help. And lo and behold, I found a plethora of sites offering daily prompts (some for a whole year!) to write my posts on. It was like my writing (literally) got a new lease of life, cause without the topic, I could be just ranting. So, here I am ranting for the first, and hopefully not the last time using meaningful words..again hopefully.

The response to the daily prompt precedes my ranting above.

Star Promise (Wishes #5) by G.J. Walker-Smith

starpromiseBook NameStar Promise (Wishes #5)

Author: G.J.Walker-Smith

Pages: 397

Genre: Contemporary

My Rating: 5 out of 5

Format: Kindle eBook

Goodreads’s words: After three blissful years of living in Pipers Cove, Adam and Charli head back to the bright lights of New York. Taking on a position at a Manhattan gallery turns out to be Charli’s dream job, but just a few weeks after starting at his father’s firm, Adam realises that practising law is his worst nightmare. Biding his time is the plan. Charli has wanderlust in her soul and he’s hopeful that sooner or later, she’ll want to go home. Riding it out isn’t hard. They’re as close as they’ve ever been and every spare minute is spent hanging out with their precious little girl. Life is good – until it’s not. When fate throws them one nasty curveball after another, Charli’s confidence is shattered and her heart is broken. After weeks of trying to make sense of the grief she’s feeling, both realise she’s out of her depth. Getting out of Dodge is Charli’s preferred MO and she doesn’t disappoint, finally deciding that it’s time to leave New York. Returning to Pipers Cove is not the quick fix they were hoping for. Some things just can’t be mended, and the way she deals with that is going to change everything

My Words: La La Land is back! And I couldn’t come down from cloud nine ever since I started reading Star promise. This is one my most favourite series starting with Saving Wishes and I am sad it has come to an end – a befitting end – but an end nonetheless. Sigh! Before I start missing Adam and Charli and Bridge, I want to highlight that this book is the sweet icing on the cake of the Wishes series. It was utterly sweet, enchanting, sometimes troublesome, heartwarming and provides a surreal kind of sanctum. I can imagine myself sitting on the beaches of Tasmania watching the high waves trying to drown the setting sun. That kind of sanctum..I have to say here, though, that I have never been to Tasmania or any part of Australia for that matter and yet I am saying the above words. Continue reading