Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wet Silence by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

I am a woman
who can be left in a desert,
and I'll come back smelling of jasmine. 

Title: Wet Silence
Author: Sweta Srivastava Vikram
ISBN: 9781615992560
Publisher: Modern History Press/2015
Pages: 72

A poetry collection that hits hard. Gut wrenching emotions pour forth. How do I review it? Being an Indian, I have heard, seen, felt enough. So close that the mind shuts down. 

Widowhood is a curse even now in many parts of India. She is made to shun all worldly pleasures. She can't attend any auspicious functions. Can't wear colours, can't have certain foods. I have heard it all and more. In my paternal grandma, who was widowed at 18, with a two year old son and carrying another in her womb. And then she lost her second child at 28 years of age. She brought up my dad single-handed, with virtually no support from her so-called family. 

When I was old enough, I could even feel her longings, her deep sadness. Yet I also saw the strength. 

When my dad passed away 13 years ago, I saw my mom reach out for white sarees, and shun certain foods. My brothers and I did not allow it. How could we? 

Sweta Vikram has made the women reach out to us. Somehow it saddened me. Her poetry reaches out. Yet I had mixed feelings. Maybe because it was too close to home. 

Posted for Poetic Book Tours:


Sweta's Video:


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Saree posts continued....


In Delhi schools, Independence Day is celebrated on 14th August. We have cultural events lined up for the day. We, teachers make an effort to dress up in the colours of our flag. It is any one colour or all colours of the Tricolour. Our clothes are pre-decided as we repeat the same every year for Republic Day and Independence Day. We all know about who is going to wear what and it does not bother us.

I usually drape a white Kasavu with orange border with a green handloom blouse. No surprises there. 

Keeping that in mind, I repeated one of my sarees of the pact. ( 27/100. It is 100 days, not 100 sarees, right?) It has all the colours of the flag and goes well with the spirit of the week. 

I paired it with the same green handloom blouse and accessorised it with Silver earrings bought from Fabindia yesterday, their Anusuya range. I fell in love with the earrings and had to buy!

BTW, I couldn't watch the programmes as I was very busy otherwise, although I could hear it loud and clear. The photo are taken at the fag end of the school day in a corridor with four of my tricolour hued colleagues....


27 years back, my mom and dad were travelling to Bhubaneswar. The worst happened and all their luggage was stolen despite travelling first class. From Bhubaneshwar, they went to Buguda by bus, my dad's native place, where my grandmother lived. (She refused to live in Delhi permanently with us). 

Now, not having any clothes, except for the ones they were wearing, they had no other option except for buying clothes from shops near the bus stand. 

My mom bought two simple sarees, printed cotton ones. She draped one saree only once and the other one disintegrated after many drapings. (She bought more sarees in the ensuing days)

Today I draped that remaining saree, bought near the bus stand. I found it in her wardrobe, while sorting through it, on Sunday. I told her to give it away as both of us preferred Sambalpuris or other handlooms nowadays. Last night I was looking for a saree to drape and I don't know what made me look at it. I picked it up and decided to drape it. It is very soft to touch and easy to drape.

Today in the morning, I changed my blouse thrice as the previous two did not suit the saree. This off white blouse with gold border in the sleeves was a perfect match. BTW, the blouse was a plain one. My mom stitched the gold border on the sleeves. 

My colleagues are used to seeing me draping sarees and don't say much. However, today many came and told me what a beautiful saree!

Needless to say, this saree will not be given away.


A few saree pacters chose Saturday for the National Handloom Day meet for Delhi. It was a very humid day but commitment is commitment, right? And Dilli Haat, INA is a great venue. I invited a colleague of mine, Sushila Gupta and she accepted. She is not a part of the pact but as she drapes sarees all the time, I thought it was only apt to invite her. 

We really enjoyed. Shopping was not in our agenda although a few did shop. We browsed around. Fooled around. And got ourselves photographed by a lady who was impressed to see us in sarees. Except for one more female, we were the only ones in sarees. 

The best part is, we all gelled. I know Ritu from my school days. I loved meeting Alka Selot AsthanaRema Srinivas Kamath and the ultimate child, Radhika Rathi. All were in handloom sarees.

I draped a pista grey-green cotton Bomkai with maroon border and anchal. It is another one from my mom's collection. I paired it with a handloom blouse from Nalli. Accessories. ....Pearl jhumkis from FABINDIA and a silver filigree bracelet gifted by my mom....

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Monday Mailbox: Posting after so long

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs. Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. It has finally found a permanent  home at Mailbox Monday with the following new administrators:

Leslie of Under My Apple Tree

Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit
Vicki of I'd Rather Be at the Beach

I have received a lot of books but haven't done a mailbox post for so long. I am posting only the print copies I received in the past two weeks or so. 

I received the following in my mailbox, thanks to publicists/Authors:

 Hello, My Love! (Book 1) by E Journey:

Beyond broad shoulders and heaving bosoms.

This thoughtful woman’s romance novel explores the inner life (thoughts, hopes, and doubts) of a couple as they contend with the realities of compelling relationships.

A modern-day pastiche of Jane Austen novels. Elise is a bright, beautiful law student, focused on a career and distrustful of men. She butts heads with Greg at her parents’ dinner parties. Dark, good-looking, internet-business owner, he finds Elise intriguing, so unlike the dark-haired seductive beauties he used to escort around. 

Specter of revenge. Unable to deny their attraction for each other, they spend an unexpected night together two days before he is to wed someone else. Lori, the jilted fiancée, exacts revenge, tearing Greg and Elise apart and forcing them to face who they are and what they really want.

An accident. Older and wiser, Greg and Else reunite two years later. He is in for a surprise. Later, their lives are thrown again into disarray when Elise becomes the victim of a hit-and-run. Is Lori back to haunt them again?

A delicious romance with a literary slant, spiced with a twist of whodunit.

Hello, Agnieszka! (Book 2) by E Journey:

A raw tale of early love, rivalry and betrayal. Her oldest son’s suicide attempt shocks the Halversons and forces Agnieszka to reveal a past she has kept from her children. 

Passion for music. Hearing her talented, irrepressible grandaunt Jola, a concert pianist in Poland, give a piano recital, young Agnieszka discovers a passion for music. Jola hones her talent and feeds her dreams.

Shattered dreams. Real-world problems, thorny relations with a mother tied to her roots and betrayal by Jola shatter her dreams.

A 70s love story. Agnieszka falls in love, but fate deals her first love a death blow. She rises from the losses she has suffered and gets a second chance at happiness.

A mother’s youthful dreams thwarted and renewed, amidst the exciting promise of the 70s.

 Welcome, Reluctant Stranger! (Book 3) by E Journey:

Frantic flight, peaceful life. Act of treason on an island country. Cauldron of warring emotions. Exotic beauty, ace with a gun. Hunk with gifts for mockery and cooking.

Nine-year-old Leilani and her family mysteriously flee the island country of Costa Mora, leaving her father. Years later, her peaceful solitary life in California ends when she rescues Justin Halverson from thugs and she learns a devastating truth about her father. As she agonizes over her father, Justin comforts her, and they’re drawn closer together.

With Justin, she returns to her birthplace to get her father quietly out. There, she reconnects with her past, but can she forgive her father and accept him for who he is? Can she finally be at peace with who she is? Welcome, Reluctant Stranger interweaves a love story into a tale of past political intrigue and Leilani’s inner journey, accepting her past.    

About the author:

E Journey is a realist who thinks she has little imagination. Credit that to her training (Ph. D., University of Illinois) and work in mental health, writing for academics and bureaucrats, and critiquing the work of others. She’s been striving ever since to think and write like normal people.

She’s a well-traveled flâneuse—a female observer-wanderer—who watches, observes, listens. And writes. A sucker for happy endings, she finds enough that depresses her about real life, but seeks no catharsis by writing about it. For her, writing is escape, entertainment. She doesn’t strive to enlighten. Not deliberately. But the bias of her old profession does carry over into her writing. So, instead of broad shoulders and heaving bosoms, she goes into protagonists' thoughts, emotions, inner conflicts, insecurities, and struggles to reach balance and grow.

A cluster of 7½ literary short stories presenting the romantic-sexual facets of: Narain who lusts for Munika, Old Jaganlal who wants a favour from young Dia, Jackie who is in love with Nic, a surgeon who is changing more than a patient s hairline, nose, lip, and chin, Shonali and Neel who are realizing that infidelity might not be such an easy thing, a woman who walks the tight rope between tradition and sexual exploitation, and Sunil who meets the woman of his desires through an adult dating site. Through these stories, Rochelle Potkar explores the intensely personal unrelationship that exists alongside its conventional and socially articulate twin, the relationship.

Brutal is the debut novel of Uday Satpathy. Two ace journalists—Prakash and Seema stir up a hornet's nest as they chase the story of a schoolteacher who murders 11 of his students. Their pursuit of the truth takes them to the ominous forests of Bandhavgarh where an eerily similar incident had occurred 8 years ago. One by one, their leads end up dead and they soon realise that they're pitted against forces more evil and powerful than they could have ever imagined.

Wet Silence bears moving accounts of Hindu widows in India. The book raises concern about the treatment of widowed women by society; lends their stories a voice; shares their unheard tales about marriage; reveals the heavy hand of patriarchy; and, addresses the lack of companionship and sensuality in their lives. It’s a collection of poems that covers a myriad of subjects centered on social evils such as misogyny, infidelity, gender inequality, and celibacy amongst other things. The poems in the collection are bold, unapologetic, and visceral. The collection will haunt you.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Celebrated Handloom week with Handloom Sarees


National Handloom Day, August 7, 2015

This saree belongs to my mom and is a much draped one. A Sambalpuri with floral patterns and paisleys and temple border not so common. I think most of the "not so usual" Sambalpuris we have, are due to my second mamaji. Whenever my mom visited Cuttack, and wanted to shop, he used to take her to all those shops which kept only exclusive stuff. She used to buy two, for herself and me. And my mamaji also gifted a saree or two. Now, no one remembers if mom bought this saree or was gifted. I have always loved her in it and got to drape it today for the first time.

Paired it with a printed maroon blouse. There are tiny multi coloured hearts all over the blouse. What else, but pearl earrings!

One great saree to celebrate the National Handloom Day...

August 6, 2015


I had bought this saree some 20 years back from the Exhibition in C R Park. It is a very soft cotton, batik print. I had draped it a few times.

My saree is NOT handloom but my embroidered Khadi blouse is! Counting it towards a handloom wear leading up to August 7.

A few years ago, I told mom to give it away along with a few others as I was not going to drape sarees any more. My mom being mom, knows me better that I do myself. She simply kept those sarees away from my eyes. When I started this pact, she quietly returned the "give away" to my wardrobe!

Mix and matched with a Khadi blouse. My mom is a wizard, she fixed that blouse such that it fits me again after many many years....

Aug 5, 2015


This Beige-Pista shade cotton handloom saree belongs to my mom. It is a Dhakai saree and was gifted to mom by her younger sister. It has booties all over and anchal is very pretty. I have eyed this saree for a while now and finally got around draping it. 

Paired it with an Andhra handloom blue ikat blouse. 

Photo credit: Pooja Dhamija / Sushma Mahajan

August 4, 2015


My saree is a Coimbatore cotton characterised by the typical 'plain body , relatively small borders and rich heavy thread worked pallu' . The saree is finer than its Kanjivaram or Chettinad sisters , as its woven in finer count yarns . The motifs are achieved using slightly heavier yarn to get that raised dobby effect .. 

It belongs to my mom. But it is a handloom. The aanchal and the border are very good. I find the colour very soothing. One thing that I noticed today that the patli portion has lines. The body has booties all over. 

Blouse is handloom from another saree. And jhumkis bought from local market.

Photo credit: One of my students

Aug 3, 2015


I visited Bangalore in August 2013 to celebrate my eldest brother's birthday and Rakshabandhan. I and my SIL used to go shopping everyday of my stay. At that time, I had a saree phobia and was into casuals only. I did not buy any saree for myself but we bought sarees for my mom. 

My mom is into cotton handlooms and drapes only unstarched sarees. (I have inherited that particular trait). My SIL bought two sarees from Tamilnadu Emporium. A Madras check and another one with tiny checks. Both in different shades of green.

I am draping that Madras check saree with another of my khadi blouses. As I woke up late, I had no time to accessorize. The rings you see in the pictures are my daily wear. I never take them off.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Never ending saree dates


Today I deviated from my usual. Draped a plain Georgette. Nothing special about this Garden Vareli saree. I bought such sarees when I started working. Both in printed and plain. I used to drape those sarees with contrast blouses.....mostly printed ones.

Today I have matched the blouse in the exact shade of the saree, a rarity for me. I accessorized with tiny meena-work jhumkis bought locally.

My saree was a huge success.


Last day of July. End of a horrible month. We had a retirement party for one of the class 4 staff. Long speeches, gifts, food...it had it all. I wish him well for his future..

I draped this dark blue taant saree with an embroidered khadi blouse. I had bought this blouse piece long time back from Khadi Gramyod Bhavan. My mom stitched the blouse only recently.

Right now everyone seems to be going gaga over Kalamkari blouses. However, give me a Khadi Blouse any time. I can mix and match it with anything.....

About the saree, my youngest SIL had gone to Kolkata for a Seminar when she was working in C-DOT. She bought taant sarees for all of us. Mine has since disintegrated and this one belonged to mom. As she does not wear dark colours anymore, she gave it to me. I draped it for the first time today. I had planned on wearing a red ikat kurti blouse with it but that blouse turned out to be too loose.

My earrings are bought locally for a pittance.


My mom had bought two such sarees from Odisha, this one and a navy blue one. My SIL has the navy blue one. I have draped this Sambalpuri cotton saree lots of times and loved it every time. I had also stitched a Sambalpuri blouse to match it but that blouse disintegrated long time ago. Today I matched it with a handloom blouse.

The highlight of my ensemble was the pair of earrings I had put on. Cane ones, very light weight and bought from Dilli Haat in May 2015. Also I am a no accessory person, most of my colleagues were surprised to see me such earrings.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: More and more Saree dates


Finally the day of Inspection. Not that it causes much worry nowadays after 20 odd years of working. Yet the days leading to it are hectic. We try to complete all our records. I must say, the team was happy with the school. That makes us uplifted. The school I work is very big, in the sense that there are 4300+ girls. And there is always lack of space. For everything. Yet we cope, that too very beautifully.

As I have been draping sarees, I decided to go for something different. A multi-coloured Pasapalli. Nothing like a Sambalpuri. It works for all occasions. I decided to go for a plain green blouse. The body of the saree does not have this colour. I opted for no accessory look. My usual stuff had to work.

I made my mom take a pic in the morning as I knew there won't be any time for that in school today.


 Work is very hectic what with Central Team Inspection looming large on 25 July. No time for breathing space.

 I draped this saree to cheer myself up. It is a typical cotton saree from Baripada, Odisha. It belonged to my SIL, and she was on the verge of giving it away. I retrieved it along with two more cotton sarees. It has a Ganga Jamuna border with white, green and orangish checks on the body. A very peppy saree. I matched it with a green handloom blouse with gold border. I got a lot of praise for the same.

 My Jhumkis are from the local market and my silver bracelet is a bought from Mcleodganj, Dharmashala, HP.


Funny weather in Delhi nowadays. It rains during the weekends. On weekdays, it rains early in the morning or in the evening. Clouds don't translate into rains though. It gets so humid after the rains. Horrible. July and August are the worst months. Long dreary days and nights.

Past week, I did not drape a saree. Did not feel like. I draped this pink cotton saree today. It is a batik print. Does not seem to be THE real thing but just a print. I bought it some 20 years back, had draped it a few times. I am not much of a pink person but my colleagues told me that the colour suirs me. I accessorized it with my Silver-Turquoise earrings and bracelet.

I seem to have made a funny face in the second photo....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

iRead Book Tours:Two Hearts by James Eric Richley & Guest post

Book Title: Two Hearts: When I Said I Do, I Meant Forever 
Author: James Eric Richey
Category:  Adult Fiction, 426 pages
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: JER Books/2014

I have been reading a lot of romance and I grabbed this chance to read this too. It is big novel for a romance but I liked it. Two childhood sweethearts marrying young appeals to me. However, the path of living together is not smooth. They face hardships and challenges in the following years. Jason is a very nice person, very likable. Annie is shown to be good but she turns out to be jealous, suspicious and very insecure.

In real life, it is like that in any relationship. One has to deal with all kinds of emotions. The author has made us do that in this novel. I liked the vivid descriptions of the mountains. It made the place come alive for me. 

Such a beautiful love story which touches the heart. I like the ending where we see hope. That is real life.



What Am I Becoming

Do you ever stop and ask yourself, “What am I becoming?”  Are you doing what you need to do, to become what you want to become?
Success in life is definitely a journey and a slow process. I think there are three things successful people do differently than others. First, is their attitude, second their resolution and determination to achieve goals, and third is the mind set of never giving up.
Our mind and our thoughts are so powerful! Thinking negatively limits opportunities to succeed. Our thoughts determine who we are and who we will become. We are going to become what we are constantly telling ourselves. In order to succeed, it is so important to think positive, uplifting thoughts rather than degrading ourselves and our abilities.
A positive attitude is key to achieving the goals we set.
The second quality of successful people is their resolution to pursue goals and their determination to achieve the goals they set. Someone once said, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge, not a lack of strength, but rather a lack of will.”
Self-discipline is vital in order to achieve goals.
The third characteristic of successful people is the mind set to never give up. Throughout history there have been people that did not give up. Thomas Edison failed two thousand times before inventing the light bulb. Without his continuous efforts we would probably still be using candlesticks for light. Another more recent example would be Michael Jordan, the famous basketball star. Michael Jordan missed 9,000 shots in his career. He lost almost 300 games. 26 times he was trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. He has failed over and over again in his life, and that is why he has succeed.  
He never gave up.
The three most important mannerisms people need in order to succeed in life are: attitude, goal achieving, and never giving up. If we work hard to do these things, we will lead a successful life.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: July 11, 2015

More saree posts


A red green bandhani. Belonged to my SIL, Sujata Tripathy. More than 20 years old, I think. She must have draped it 100 times. At home. In those days I had not wished to drape it. She was on verge of giving it away and had kept it aside in her almirah when I retrieved it some 8 years ago, meaning to wear it. I draped it today for the first time. With a ikat blouse. I felt my SIL's love engulf me. She is like that only. So loving and caring.
The real colour has not come out in the picture.
I accessorized it with red green meena work jhumkis bought locally.


This saree was a Rakhi gift from my second brother. Or should I say SIL? It is a South silk cotton, mauve shade, with checks. The anchal is off white. I have had it for more than 15 years. Not draped til date. I have taken it out many a times but it never got draped.

Today too I draped it with The matching off white blouse. It looked obnoxious. I was on the verge of taking it of when I saw the sleeveless dark blue blouse. Looked like a perfect match to me and I was done.

It was so hectic in school that no time for pics. Just before the school closed, someone took a few pictures. Not so focused but ok. The saree looks blue but it is not. It is MAUVE. No accessories, nothing..... 


Bought this saree some 20 years back, along with another one, from a pheriwala who had come to school. Both for Rs 400. I had draped it once before. The other one, a gold taant saree, is yet to be draped. 

Never realised, it was so bright and cheerful. I had forgotten all about its very unusual print too. Very comfortable cotton matched with a plain maroon blouse.

An ordinary saree became special today. Thanks to Ruchi Rawat for the pics. I was working and got up to get the mandatory photos taken for the pact. We are so obssessed, no?


One of those busy, busy work days. Schools reopened for students after summer vacations. Admission for Class XI is still ongoing. 

I was going through my wardrobe and found this saree. A cream saree with red border and greyish black anchal. It looks worn but neither me nor my mom recalled anything about this saree. Where was it bought or if it was gifted? Maybe someday it will all fall into place.

Anyway, finding a forgotten Sambalpuri cotton in cream with red border is not a bad thing. And with a different anchal is even better. I matched a red ikat blouse with it. Only drawback is that the saree is a bit short in length and I could only manage three and a half pleats. I suppose I will have to do something about that.

I got the saree pic taken at the fag end of the working day. Looking so tired and harassed. But the saree pic is a must and that is that!

Posting for Saturday Snapshot, hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday Snapshot: Saree and long skirt

Summer holidays and I am looking for opportunities to drape a saree.

23 June 2015


How does one write about meeting school friends after 32+ years? All of us passed out from Lady Irwin School, Delhi. And that single fact has helped in bonding us. It hardly matters who was in Science and who was in Humanities. I don't even remember. My memory is about the good times we had in school, the reading of M&Bs in the classes, the sport activities and our teachers.

It felt good to know that all of us are doing well in our chosen fields. And it felt even better to know that the next generation is doing well too....

My saree is a Kalamkari cotton recently bought from Nalli. Very soft and easy to drape. I paired with a khadi blouse and earrings bought from a flea market. One of my friend's too turned up in a saree, a light printed chiffon.

Of course we took pictures, the grp photos and my individual saree photo.div>

26 June 2015

Last day of Summer vacations. I and mom went to my brother's place. I wore a long skirt with printed top. Sharing that here.

With my brother