Thursday, September 1, 2016

I've been here a long while.
Longer than I've ever been in one place before .
My blog Baketitude,has been my sanity , my sanctuary and my best friend.
I've poured my heart out on these web pages...and they will be cemented in history.
Times have been good...and bad , emotions have been crazy and the 40 year barrier has been crossed.
But Baketitude and you , my friends,you're not just readers..or passers by...
You've laughed at my dilemmas...
Probably got irritated by my too long ,often error ridden posts...
Sometimes enjoyed ,vicariously the craziness of my family and friends...
You've seen my skills develop...
You've seen pictures and presentation get better...(I hope)...
You've been the reason I can now confidently share my skills with others, encouraging a little of my Baketitude...
You're the reason I can now share my love by making and selling cakes...
You're the reason I can put away my red pens and school files in a cupboard and take more than a sabbatical from the profession I had to take up... being an army wife stationed in the smallest of small towns.
You've seen my child grow, his and my struggles witb academics... read of my battle against the bulge...
You've encouraged my drive to get fit...despite sinking nose deep in chocolate and butter...
You my dear blog reader are now my friend. I may not recognize you on the mat not hair doesn't generally behave itself...
They say that when you marry into the olive green... you imbibe the capacity to absorb all that you can.
Yes, I can credit most of my abilities and superb event management skills and catering capacities to the army and its amazing fraternity...
But you my reader, my friend...I owe you.
You and I have shared food and bits ,bites and bytes.
So that common thread of the same salt...
Please don't think this is the end.
I'm moving forward ,to a website of my own. So I don't have to worry about stolen content and pictures.
I can pull out all stops and do up like its my real home... not virtual home.
Bear with me while I air some out old stuff...and new. Join my Facebook community at Baketitude and some more and lets connect.
All my food posts have moved to and as I settle down and understand how WordPress treats me...I'll be leaving blogger behind.
Come... have a drink, you'll find many
I never knew I'd baked so many loaves of bread, so many tonnes of cookies and frosted so many cakes...
Oh and I have a ton of north Indian-Punjabi, Dogri, Kashmiri and Rajasthani curries that I never really catalogued.
No wonder,I need to work out so much...

So I'm sort of spring cleaning. I'll be chucking out the worms... and airing the good stuff. Come , walk with me to Baketitude .
See you there my friend.
Oh , and if you feel you need to say something or have a suggestion or just want to say hi... drop me a line at .

So what are you baking today???

Friday, July 29, 2016

Let Imagination Run Wild Children and Colgate Magical Stories

Sometimes, I envy this generation. They have everything they could possibly need. A million things to do and a million options to exercise. But then I thank the good god above for bringing me into this world when imagination could playback better movies and soundtracks than the multi billion dollar block busters we see on the silver screen today.
I still have memories of stories my mum told me when she tried to get me to sleep. And can still hear the notes of the songs my daddy used to sing to us and to himself... while driving ,while working..those are eternal. 
I tried to recreate the same with my child. The minute he started asking "What this?" And snatching "Book" from my hands, I knew it was time to shelve my books for a while and concentrate on his. 
Taking full advantage of being a stay at home mum, we did many toys and kitchen sets and sets of lego and Ladybird books. I'm proud of him today, when he scoffs at the lame renditions of cinematic versions of his favorite books. 
When he scoffs at the limited imagination of his friends.
I know I did something right by spending almost all my time and energy with him .
Colgate has these wonderful characters printed on the inside of the Colgate Strong teeth Pack container.
And when they arrived at my doorstep...I knew who best to entrust those to.  A little girl who has just come from a small  town called Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan to live with her family in Mumbai. She loves it here and has many many friends who play together in the evening. 
But horror of horrors , they discuss Hindi TV series like Naagin and women who turn knto snakes and boy girl romances like Ek Duje Ke Liye . She's only 9 years old.
She needs her mind to be free of someone's commercially aspiring thoughts. 
She needs to let magic do the trick. So those packages went to her. I asked her if she would like to write a story for me... she agreed. But on one condition. She wanted that video up on you tube. 
So this is her story.
She wrote it down so that's he could say it all in English. 
Her mermaid and other sea creatures live together in an underwater world and they are living her dream.
And when the pirates threaten the dolphin, all the creatures come together to save her. And they live happily ever after.
Oh and Vineeta is the little Mermaid.

These are her two minutes of fame. So listen to her and watch her expressions. The story is just long enough for it to not get boring. Vineeta took those colgate strong Teeth Packs  to school and cut them out with her friend. So when they are forced to sit indoors because of the rain, instead of gossiping about the love story between  Shrawan Mehta and Suman Tiwari ,they now talk sea turtles and Barracuda fish. (Yes, those names...she told me that the entire family watches that soap daily while eating their dinner. And no , I don't have cable TV. We're Netflix and Hotstar people.)

So give your kids a free rein with their imagination. Let them cut out the Colgate Strong teeth Pack and make their own stories. These flights of fantasy will be great fun . Let #colgatemagicalstories do their bit.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A little Push to help the little one grow

Parents are cursed with the worry syndrome the moment their child announces his arrival in this world.
It begins from the first second of the babies life.
He cries too much,they worry -and often cry with the baby.
He sleeps too much, they worry. They don't realize that this is the babies signal to them so that they can catch up on their sleep.
He drinks too little ,they worry.
He drinks too much they worry. Not realizing that nature has equipped the babies tummy with a signal,that will tell it how much to drink and when to stop.
I've seen mothers try to force feed babies, only to have obese tweens with a lot of complexes.
Then they try to control the diet and force that child to join aerobic lessons and Zumba classes....
Its a crazy situation.
And I've seen this so often . At home with my child and the children of friends and neighbors.
And also in my teaching career.
Average heights and weights are rare nowadays.
I've seen too short and skinny kids more often than not.
Especially with girls.
There are so many reasons why.
The excuses start from early childhood. Even though milk is the primary focus, parents add sweet additives to make it more attractive and tasty to children.
Not realizing that sugar itself will not help growth and development of bones.
The children often require high quality whey protein and added nutrients that they do not get from their daily diet.
Most of our children relish processed foods. Even if their food choices can't be classified as junk food, they are deprived of the essential goodness of natural foods.
As a result, they lag behind their  peers.
A child who is shorter than his friends will always have an inferiority complex. He or she may be better in academics,but that feeling of being shorter than normal will always prevail.
And they will Always be waiting for that growth spurt that. May never happen.
What they Actually need is a little push in the right direction.
A trusted brand like Horlicks has brought out Horlicks Growth +. Supported with years of research, trust and a global acceptance of this drink.
I am aware that genetics -parents height and health p!ays a part in the overall growth of a child. But if the child's growth and development can be aided with a little extra nutrition, why not?

Horlicks Growth+ is a specialized nutrition product designed by international pediatric experts for children in age group of 3-9 years who are lagging behind in height and weight. It contains high quality whey protein with added nutrients that are known to enable children to catch up on lost growth. It has been clinically proven for visible growth in children in 6 months.”source Horlicks Growth plus 


Every parent would love to see their child as a happy individual. And only when children can match up physically and mentally with their peer group,will they become happy and confident adults.  
So if you think your 3-9 year old is good meeting growth milestones despite a good diet ,Do check out Growth plus Horlicks . With two delicious flavours and high quality protein, Horlicks Growth + naturally enhances growth and healthy weight gain.

So with a visible increase in height you will also witness a change towards the positive in your child. He or she will be more actively participating in sports and games that the children of the peer group play.
Physical activity and games increases the acceptance of a child in their peer group. So once your child feels accepted and a part of his peer group,all inferiority complexes will disappear. So you'll soon witness holistic ,all around development in your child.
You'll still love your child as much.
You'll still be as proud of their accomplishments.
But you'll be happier knowing you ensured that your child is free of all self doubts and has confidence in themselves.
Just because you added one spoon of growth to their milk.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Datsun and Urban Cross

"Oh my god! That's a woman behind the wheel!
Mataji /Auntyji, careful!!!"
Yup...this comes from hubby dear mostly.
And if you are a guy...if you haven't said that aloud you've thought that.
No ifs or is in your genetic makeup.
God told us....
And some writer did too when he wrote about the differences between the sexes. And why women aren't apparently good drivers.
I'm not planning to counter the statement,but I've seen enough bad male drivers too.
Well I'm among the better women drivers! Mind you , hubby dear doesn't subscribe to this idea though. But my dad does. After all he's the one who taught me to drive. And he has no inhibition in handing over the wheel to me and relaxing in the back seat.
That doesn't stop him back seat driving though .
Well,the men have immense faith in Sedans.  Me, I've been haranguing for my own car.

And these new babies look pretty good. The lime green Neon type cute Datsun redi-GO  Urban Cross looks especially happening.

I love the fact that the price is so competitive. A small amount of money, with the base model starting at 2.4 lakhs, which is a small amount for a car this richly endowed with features. So for a second car in the family this is a fantastic excuse to take the car out for a spin.

I love the fact that it is higher than cars in its segment. The ground clearance is high. And the seats are high. Also the wind screen is V.A.S.T. Huge. You can be sitting atop Mt Everest and driving in a city.
That seems to be a fabulous feeling. That and the fact that I will not have crouch or  hitch up my sari even just a tiny bit to display my sexy legs to all and sundry while getting in to drive  the car. Also I will not need to take my heels off, the leg room and the height will make it easier o drive in stilettos or wedges.

The other thing I love about this cute car is the fact that the steering wheel is light and dexterous. A small turning radius and a light steering wheel will allow me to park the car super easily. Its a  nightmare parking a big car. Even with the sensors. For this car, I don't think I'll need to spend 20000 rupees to install a sensor.
And of course that steering wheel would allow me to drive with ease in the necessity to change gears. So the arm work out will be done in the gym, right where it should be done.

After driving an antiquated old small car, I'd love to take this cute little redi-GO for a long drive. With my Punjabi bhangra rap and maybe a Soul sister type friend for company on the Noida -Greater Noida expressway. All 24 km of smooth ribbon like road and back to the maddeningly crazy Delhi drive.
Those 48 km would be so much fun...with the car running super efficiently on the fifth gear ,the engine humming in pleasure,in tune to the beat of my music and the suspension absorbing all the jerks that there are. I'm sure I won't be weaving in and out of lanes, no that's for city driving. What I would love to see is how stable the car is at speeds like 90kmph . I'm not looking to go faster... but it would be interesting to see if the car wobbles, as most small cars do at high speeds.
Oh and I would love to see if the air conditioning is effective in the Indian summer . It's only going to get warmer. And of course ,I'd  love to verify the claim of the 25 plus km to a litre of petrol.
And I'd like to see if this is a girl friendly car too. I hate it when cars expect you to move too many muscles while driving. And is the storage space enough for a woman drivers hairbrush and her tote bag and that extra pair of shoes...

Being able to drive and not having to depend on a hubby or brother or cab driver is such a blessing. The confidence that it gives is amazing. And all girls deserve it. If this car can give you the fun, the freedom and confidence...redi-GO  for it.
Image Courtesy

Fun. Freedom. Confidence. The ultimate Urban Cross - Datsun redi-GO - the capability of a crossover with the convenience of a hatchback.'

Friday, May 27, 2016

Laundry Odd and Even ,Blues and Ariel

We've all got the blues. It's too hot to play outdoors , there's a water shortage so the swimming pool is temporarily closed, school off for the vacations and there's absolutely nothing more to do than play video games and read comics.
That's the routine these poor overwhelmed, overworked teenagers follow.
And then we hear stuff about stress and peer group pressure.
We've just returned from Delhi after a short vacation with the parents. So sweet child was all spoilt and pampered,however enjoying every moment with the grandparents. And my mother has always ensured that children never have any free time...he was assigned the job of operating appliances.
Dishwasher, Washing  machine and the likes.

This was deemed to be an Odd even activity with for members of a family. Well ,the mother, me ,I am the  female here. 
I don't believe in doing much of the work anymore. I'm like a senior bureaucrat here at home. I give directions and expect the chores to be completed. 
So the package of Ariel detergent had to be put to good use. 
So all the cushion covers were  removed and bedcovers were taken off and the bucket was to be emptied into the washing machine.
So the boys video games were interrupted and they were put to some work.
Sweet Child's male chauvinism has been nipped in the bud a long time ago. But he was reluctant to go all the dirty work.
So he roped in his friend.
The even tempered person was wielding the camera and the odd men were sorting the dirty clothes.
That one carton of Ariel was tossed around  bit and once the playing had ended they did manage to get the clothes in the buckets to be loaded into the machine.

Supreme heat waves were taken as the reason the chores would be done indoors in air conditioning.

There was quite alot of clowning around that went into that one chore... but the cushions were straightened with zippers closed and buttons done up.
And because the boys were having so much fun, sweet dog Romeo also decided to join them.
In retrospect and in GIF ,even washing clothes is fun.
A word of advice here,these bed covers and cushion covers are all made of cotton and are safely dumped into any washing machine witha safe detergent like Ariel.

You can be sure that the boys shenanigans will not lead to their white Tshirts becoming pink and blue or Tie Dyed.
I wish mothers al made their boys do the chores they make thier daughters do.
After all the boys may need to manage all their work alone. And when they have a detergent like Ariel, you can rest easy that your child will be wearing clean clothes, even when you aren't around to supervise their Laundry.
And when they have families, its only fair that they help out their partners in all the house work
After all,you do need clean clothes.
So why should you expect the lady of the house to be lifting the dirty Laundry to load the washing machine.
Its not that difficult ,is it?

So all motbera should be like me. Even though we are fortunate  enough to have hired help...the boys and girls must be able to do their own Laundry.
We had a great time washing clothes. The boys loaded and like a maestro conducting an orchestra,all tunes played well and the job was done.

Quite a slave driver I am, aren't I? But thats how youve got to teach them. A teacher has to be a task master.
And I do so enjoy myself.

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda.

I am taking part in the #LaundryGoesOddEven Challenge by Ariel India at BlogAdda.'

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Soya Chaap - Lesser Known Jewels of Delhi

Summer time, time for our annual visit home. The vacations are getting shorter and the Delhi summers warmer. Hotter , I should say.
Roomali Roti and Soya Chaap

And everytime I return, there is a new fad in town.
Chaap has been a fad for the longest time now...but it's been made over quite jazzily in this part of town.
Now if you're from any other city, the food available is similar throughout the length and breadth of the city.
But North and West Delhi have different palates as compared with the rest of Delhi.
Here its the greasy ,spicy ,butter chicken type street food.
A little Ghaint- punjabi for stylish... those of you from south Delhi would definitely not understand the stuff.
They don't have our Chola Bhaturas or Dahi Bhallas or Soya Chaaps.
No sir, they know not what they are missing. That's why the North Campus area and Kamla Nagar have such amazing good joints. Not fine Dine, just fine dining... happy ,spicy ,healthy food.
Soya Chaaps were available in the Som Bazaars or weekly street vegetable markets earlier.
Weekly markets are a greta tradition in Delhi where vendors selling fresh vegetables,fruits, pickles,cheap plastics and ceramics, street food , small scale cottage industry type bakers etc come together one day of the week.
Its an infectious atmosphere,to be seen to be believed.
 Soya flour kneaded and stretched and wrapped on ice cream sticks and boiled.
Then these were bought from the exotic veggie vendors and cooked with copious amounts of tomatoes and cream.
Now the new food stylists have begun stuffing the soya chaaps with paneer or cottage cheese and roasted in tandoors and then tossed in a plethora of spices, ready gravy and ghee or butter or cream.
Oh and they are marinated in similar spices as the non vegetarians use for chicken and meat.
So one of the lesser know jewels in my neighborhood is this outfit called BABA Chaap Wala, Shalimar Bagh.
A clean kitchen, with a chef that literally has hands coated with silicone... doesn't need a dish cloth to hold a hot dish.
He places a seekh of stuffed Soya Chaap over the tandoor,as the high heat will burn the soya.
He cuts them and tosses them in spices and ghee or butter and serves them with Roomali Roti.
Home Delivered fresh and piping hot.
A healthy specialty of North West Delhi.
Mind it, you'll get chaap other places, but you'll never get this taste and flavor.
So the next time you're in Delhi, do come up north and try these lesser known jewels.
Oh and if you are in Shalimar Bagh, do try Baba Chaap, BP Market .
He's one of the best in this locality. Vouched for by many.

Disclaimer : The soya chaap was purchased, eaten ,purchased again and re ordered ,all in the space of three hours. Repeat orders ,Stuffed Soya Chaap and Roomali Roti.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Office Spaces

Sometimes you need to know...

More than 750 office space leases in Mumbai are set to expire in 2016. 

According to PROPSTACK, a commercial real estate information and analytics company, the amount involved in the lease renewal, comprising 36 months average duration, will be around Rs 50 crore a month. Although 77% of 750 office space lease renewal are below 5,000 sq ft, the transactions range from as low as 500 sq ft to 2,35,000 sq ft.

Sectors like IT-ITeS and BFSI sector continue to dominate the leasing activity in Mumbai. “Mumbai has remained a financial capital hub where IT-ITeS and BFSI companies have continued to dominate the office space take-up. Last year BFSI, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sector played a major role in leasing apart from the technology firms. This trend is expected to continue in 2016 as well,” says Raja Seetharaman, director of PROPSTACK.

Raja acknowledged that the office rentals were at its peak in 2008 and since then the average rentals in key locations of Mumbai across all grade buildings have dropped. “The 35%-40% fall in the average rentals is spurred by softer market conditions and demand dearth in the first quarter of 2015,” he said.

“Office rentals are expected to remain nearly stable with 3-4% increase in certain key locations with low vacancies. However, at a city level, since a lot of large take-ups are happening in peripheral areas, weighted average rentals are expected to remain status quo,” Raja said.

The company further expects brokers to take home over Rs 300 crore a year from the aforementioned number of deals. “Considering that around 30% of renewals will be direct between the existing tenant and the landlord and at an average of 15-30 day brokerage; expected broker earnings just on renewals could vary from Rs 290 crore to Rs340 crore,” Raja observed.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pause Wines-Life Can Wait

For all those who know not, is a wine produced from the Shiraz grape.
And well, in India,the best grapes grow in and around Nasik, Maharashtra. Therefore,all premium vintners (those who make wine) are based around here.
So when a Mumbai based Vintner asked if they could send me a bottle of their prize winning Shiraz, how could I refuse.
I have dabbled in wine...
But I must confess that a sommelier,I am not.
I know my reds from my white. I know a white wine must be chilled,whereas a red wine may be had at room temperature. 
I know you must swirl the wine in the glass and catch the whiff of the aromas it has immersed in each drop.
And I know that I must simply not gulp it down, but swirl it around my mouth too.
Well for someone who appreciates a pint of beer , and why an expensive Vodka doesn't need a juice and has just discerned why single malt is worth every rupee you pay for never figured in the must try list.
Oh, we've done the polite one glass of wine stuff...but never with the intent to appreciate it for what it was.
So this bottle arrives at my door,just when the food delivery guy brought I the tandoori chicken.
And I do know that spicy Indian cuisine is perfect with Red Wine. 
Pinot Noir to be precise.(Googled it)
So we open this bottle.
And poured out a glass.
And that food blogger before food.
And the mandatory swirl and sniff and swigs in the mouth...
So, I have the last glass beside me...
Right now.
And it is tangy.
It smells of fruit and summer and dry skies.
It's a deep purple red.
The alcohol content is 13%, which is more than the strongest beer.
And it pairs well with tandoori chicken.
And other spicy Indian food. The wine should be cold ,but not chilled.  That made the taste better.
It doesn't leave a sour after taste.
The information provided by on this Shiraz and a wide array of other beautiful sounding wines.

At Rs675 for 750mils and Rs350 for 375 mils , the wine is not too expensive.
It's a lovely experience in every sip.
I'm not an  experienced wine drinker, but I was happy.
And the sommeliers have awarded this a Silver Medal at the 2009 SIWC.

So pick up that bottle of Shiraz Pause Wines from that aisle in the Liquor store -and if someone brings it to your home, open it and serve it for dinner.
Or maybe, just enjoy it yourself.
You deserve some special time and wine for yourself.

Whatever else may be there in store for you.

Life can wait.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Book Review- Second Spring by Sandhya Jane

Book Review 
ISBN :978-0-9906-3740-0 (India Book House)
Genre : Romance
Pages :288
Published by India Book House

I joined the #BrunchBookChallenge at the beginning of the year 2016 , if only to keep track of the books I read.
Looking back on the years gone by, the genres of my choice have been so predictable- blood, murder,crime ,conspiracy theories, historical crimes and all that blah. 
Oh and I love romance too. Mills and Boon romances have always been the lifter of my sagging spirits. They reiterate my optimism and belief in the indomitable female spirit.
So when hubby dear went to check out the new library in his office, he picked up an intense Crime fiction written by James Rollins for me,knowing for sure I would read it. 
My heart was warmed plenty by the gesture,but I could only ask myself,"Am I that predictable?"
That doesn't bode too well for the woman in me.
So I need to dither from the path oft traveled.
So I saw Blogadda offering copies of a romantic story written by an Indian author, I so needed to click on the link.

Absolutely no crime,not even a slap. No, Not a passionate "I couldn't help myself but have sex with him" kind of a story either.
And it's not yet a soon to be a motion picture story either. I know it's not good news financially for the writer, but it's an unadulterated story.
I'm not going to put in spoilers ,only that the ending is happy.

I started the book with few expectations . 
And wasn't too thrilled with the book being written in first person almost as a diary entry.
Two versions, one the female perspective and the other the male protagonists side.
The characters well thought out.
The lady ,very strong,independent,individualistic and focused.
The man, ambitious,rooted ,aware of his shortcomings and not conniving. He is portrayed to have very strong family ties.
That Mes Amis, is rare to see nowadays.
Youngsters are generally portrayed to be opportunistic and ruthless. Especially when they see an older woman in play.
Well, he seems like a boy with a good value system.
I hope my son turns out like that too.

As the pages turned quickly by,the narrative grew on me. Circumstances portrayed are exceptionally really life like. It doesn't feel far fetched  at all. 
While reading this book , Nida Fazli's couplet rang well in my mind...

    Kabhi  kissi ko mukkamal jahan nahi milta,
    Kahin zameen to Kahin aasaman nahin milta...

(Nobody ever gets it all in life. There'll always be just one thing missing...)

A successful young professional, with an adorable son and a wonderfully supportive family doesn't have a man in her life. And then he enters , And wrecks havoc.
Then he leaves and takes away all that she has painstakingly built.
She tries to build it up once again, but makes sacrifices on the professional front and then it all works out in the end.

That's the most of the story. 
Sandhya Jane has taken an unorthodox approach to the love story, keeping the love alive . The plot and interesting people she weaves into the story keep the pages turning.
And as a good love story should end...
All is well that ends well.

Suffice to say, I will be recommending this book to many. Not because of the love story type angle. But because the words made me all fuzzy and warm and happy inside.

It's rare ,you see a book like so,from an Indian author.
So kudos to you,Sandhya Jane.
May you write many more such warm fuzzy stories.

Be sure to send them to me to review .

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Book Review -Ramayana: The Game of Life: Stolen Hope (Book 3) by ShubhaVilas

Title: Ramayana: The Game of Life: Stolen Hope (Book 3)
Author: Shubha Vilas
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
Number of Pages: 312
Price: 299 [INR]
Genre: Mythology
Seek Courage when everything,including hope,is stolen.

This is what I call a  perfect pitch!
And of course a personalised note by the author.

Appreciate that.
This is a book that ones highly recommended by stalwarts like Mr Anup Jalota ,Mr Mahesh Jethmalani and Ms Namita Gokhale. This is all about religion and philosophy and belief in Karma and a huge chasm between good and evil.
Hubby dear did a double take...
Well, I'm a Game of Thrones person. Where was I getting entrenched in the game of life? 
But books must be read, and reviews must be written.
A little rewind to my review of the previous book by Mr Shubha Vilas -Shattered Dreams  ,will tell you what a disbeliever I am. 
Cynical is not such a good word.
I am entrenched in faith. Krishna is my support system. And were Mr Shubha Vilas not an Iskon person, I would have scoffed some and more.

This book took me a while ,so bear with me...

My Review 

The story begins in a forest of Central India , with Araja ,the daughter of Sage Sukracharya having been ravaged by the banished King Danda of the SuryaVansh. The sage cursed the King and that forest with a rain of fire ,destroying everything it touched. So then this forest rejuvenated as the Dandakarnya forest or the forest of King Danda's misdeeds or the jungle of punishment.
Long after, sages and hermits made this forest their home,but were constantly troubled by demons or Rakshasas. Until Lord Rama came to rid this forest of all their evil.
Essentially,the book is about Ram, Sita and Lakshmana's exile in the forest. 
How they encounter the demons and deal with them , freeing the sages from the 

This is where the trio are spending the last days of their exile. 

Shubha Vilas has beautifully highlighted the relationship of Ram and Sita. Wherein the two believe themselves to be two parts of a whole. One breathing for the other. One living for the other. One thinking for the other . The same thoughts and the same simplicity and the same adoration.

Then there is the relationship of Rama and Laxman. For once,Laxman is portrayed as a normal young man. Not servile, not subservient or just a blind follower. Intelligent and creative.  He's the one who makes their lives comfortable. With superbly designed houses made out of organic material. The rapport between the brothers is also natural,with humour,anger and camaraderie shining through.

The incident in which a fat and ugly , narcissistic demoness called Srupnakha falls lustily in love with Rama.He gently revokes her affections even though she calls Sita scrawny and ugly. (That is called godly behaviour. If any one, ever ,makes fun of my spouse, I will  have his/her eye balls for breakfast.)
And then Lakshmana cuts off her nose. And she goes crying to her brothers Khara nd Dushana ,who in their arrogance move to slaughter Ram and Lakshmana. 
And then their defeat brings in Ravana.

Well, the story we all know...

What I never knew was why Marich agreed to become the elusive deer...
And how Ravana, who I believe was an educated and sensible Brahmin , fell from glory.
Well ,he was the son of the learned sage Vishravas and Rakshasi Kaikashi. He was destined to be great. But the Ramayana portrays him as the antagonist. Someone has to be the anti hero, we cannot all be good.

But I have also read otherwise, and in the states of South India ,the festival of Dussera is not celebrated because they revered Ravana.


Whether you are a sceptic or a believer, there is a lot for you to learn from this book. And the author ends the book with a little statement...
        Just as only extraordinary species are caged in a zoo for people to view in wonder,the mind only captures the memories of special souls to recollect in wonder.

Just so you know - I do not approve of zoos. Now ,a sanctuary is fine.

Don't read this book as a part of the Ramayana. You already know the story. 
Read this for the nuances that you never knew. 
And read it also for some insight into the way an unblemished mind functions. 
And also to remember that one must always pay his debts. And that hope is what drives you out of the abyss.

So begin  Stolen Hope with an open mind. Only then will you appreciate a work like this.

So what are you reading today???

Until the next

Until the next


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