The Story of A suicide, A Riveting Read

The Indian society has a taboo on many issues which, in today’s world, are considered quite relevant. I wonder how people hesitate to speak about things like homosexuality, sexual abuse of children, sexual urge of women….well, the list goes on.

We, the new generation, have open-mindedly accepted the truths and realities of life.We are often marked as over-ambitious, fame-hungry, quick-tempered, too vocal about our sexual needs and relationships and having a life that dwells and thrives on social media.
But nobody realizes our inner struggle! The age we are living in, demands a lot from us in every sphere of life, be it education, career or relationship.

This temperament of the society is pretty well reflected in the popular literary works. Authors, obviously, want their books to become popular and therefore, conveniently avoid such controversial topics from playing pivotal roles in their stories. But, that doesn’t mean such things cease to exist; they are and they will be always there in our minds.

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My recent read of the book  The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer has made me ponder over these issues once again. Sriram has mustered the courage and passion for speaking about the ‘hush hush’ things. The challenges of life faced by us and the ways by which we can overcome them have been skillfully discussed in the form of a gripping story that revolves around four youngsters- Hari, Charu, Sam and Mani.

The lives of the four students get interconnected when they meet each other in KIT. Hari, a victim of child abuse, is often haunted by his nightmares. He couldn’t forget and forgive the person who made his life terrible as a child. Being a member of a local NGO working for child care, I’m touched by the way Sriram Ayer has dealt with this delicate issue. I found my eyes welling up while reading the experiences of Hari as a little, innocent kid.
The book once again has established the fact that child abuse is an alarming problem in India and most of the times, the abuser is a trusted person of the family having access to the home. Our parents have to be more understanding and cautious in order to keep the child secure.”Trust” plays a big role here.

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The characters of Sam and Charu are extremely well portrayed. Sam (Sambamurthy) is from a rich family and he wants to have full control not only over his own life but also on the lives of his girlfriends. He is a restless, a bit haughty, egoistic, tech-geek kinda person who wants everything too quickly. He fails to comprehend the feelings of Priya, and then, Charu. He wonders miserably, “I have everything, then why don’t the girls stay?”

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Sam’s ego, in fact, determines and seals the fate for the other three main characters in the story. Sams are easy to find in the society, but Charu…. I simply love her and the way her character develops.

Charu is an independent, indomitable soul who knows how to deal with challenges. She is courageous enough to deal with threats, vocal enough to raise her voice in favour of feminism and she respects friendship. She wastes no time save Mani when he tries to commit suicide and instead of criticizing him, Charu tries to understand his problems and wants to resolve them.

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The story unveils the way a person is thrown at the edge by the society when he/she does anything that is not in accordance with its norms. A person has every right to live in his own ways and choose his sexual orientation. The book also reveals how a society almost ‘plots’ to make a person feel like as if he/she is worth nothing, that his/her presence is insignificant on this planet. A person devoid of all hope, love and compassion then thinks of ending his ‘insignificant’ life.

But, we should remember, EVERY life is precious and every problem HAS a solution. This is what Charu’s philosophy while Hari fails to grasp it and, the story of a suicide begins.

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All the characters in the book are well-developed, including the minor ones as Aditya, Malini, Vishal, Anju, Alex Sir and Mr Hegde.The characters have different shades which help us to identify them with the ones we see in reality.

Sriram Ayer wants to bring a change in our outlook and mindset through his book The Story of A Suicide. I wish more authors will follow his path and contribute in this way towards the society. For as the renowned quote of Albert Einstein goes,

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the
people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.”

• Sam blogs at WordPress.com and his blog’s name is “Alchemical Diaries” (that made me    happy as my blog is on WP as well)
• The Tam-Brahm jokes of Red Jacket are wonderful  (I smiled all the way reading them)
• Charu says in her role as Draupadi, “Why is being chaste, the cornerstone of a woman’s        character? And why does that rule never apply to a man?” ( I found my own voice here)
• “Strangers in the night exchanging glances.
Wondering in the night
what were the chances we’d be sharing love
before the night was through?” Frank Sinatra ( I just love him!)
• Last but not the least, excellent illustrations by Ghana! The visuals have accentuated             the story.

    You can read the entire book here ( I request you to read it)

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Growing Up With Horlicks Growth+

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Kids are like sunshine to parents. Every parent ensures that the child grows up to be a happy and healthy one. We all know that a healthy life is the key to success and a sound mind  can only reside in a sound body. So, it’s of utmost importance that a child should have a healthy constitution.

In today’s hectic lifestyle, it’s not always possible to have food on time, to have a balanced diet that ensures that all the nutrients necessary are there. Children are always in a hurry to attend classes, they are involved in extra-curricular activities that make them engaged throughout the day. The required amount of nutrients often are not supplied and as a result the children fail to gain the expected height and weight as per their age. The problem, if persists, could create both physical and psychological problems.

I know you are thinking that physical problem is that the children appear to be not enough grown-up according to their age, but how does it affect “psychologically”?

Well, let me cite an example from my school days.

When we were in class VI, a new girl joined our school. Her father had a transferable job and they had to change cities every 3/4 years. The girl, Rekha, was quite familiar as  how to adjust herself to a new environment as it was a routine for her every 3/4 year. It was not a problem for her and she easily got mingled with us, making herself comfortable with the new ambiance. But, a problem occurred. Rekha had an abnormally short height for our age and that made her butt of every joke in the class. All of us used to make fun of her and laugh at her often. We were kids too and we didn’t have that much wisdom not to make of anyone because of their short height. I still remember her crying face while some of the girls nicknamed her as ‘pygmy’!

I think all of us have seen such situations where children are suffered in this way. It leaves a psychological scar in them as well.

I think the parents, while giving attention and importance to the education and other activities of their children, should also look after their health; so that the kids can grow up steadily and healthily in their growing years.

It’s essential to catch up on lost growth. It’s important for their future. The growth rate, when up to the mark, also helps to instill confidence in them which helps them to move further in their studies and other activities. This self-confidence is necessary in every child because that is one of the strongest source of inspiration that comes from within.

I’m sure no parent wants his/her child to lag behind in any way, be it physical or educational. But, due to circumstantial problems, the child sometimes fail to cope up and lags behind. Horlicks Growth + is a specialized nutritional drink that helps children to catch up on their lost growth. Healthy growth means gaining height and weight in accordance with the established standards. A nutritional drink like  Horlicks Growth + helps your child to attain that. 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.

I remember drinking Horlicks in my childhood. I liked it so much that I used to take a spoonful from the bottle and lick it.

Why not try out  Horlicks Growth + with your child? Let him/her to have a happy and healthy life, let them grow.

Datsun redi-GO, the First Indian Crossover

With an automobile engineer father, it’s no wonder that I love cars. From my very childhood the machinery, the technology of cars have attracted me. I always feel happier when I’m on wheels. As a child, I used to observe keenly while my father was driving. By the time I was a teenager, I already knew theoretically how to drive. But my father admitted to a driving school only after  I turned 18 and the day I got my driving license was one of the happiest days of my life.

For a car enthusiast like me, the news that Datsun India is launching India’s first ever  Urban Cross, the Datsun redi-GO, demands a celebration for various reasons. Firstly, my father doesn’t allow me to drive his SUV as he thinks it’s too heavy for me to manage. So, a crossover with almost similar performances but with better fuel efficiency, lighter design and architecture could be just the one I’m looking for with full consent from my dad. Moreover, the Datsun redi-GO has some unique features that make it a perfect car for the GenY. Let’s discuss some of the features that appeal me most.

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The Sporty and Classy Interior

It happens so that I always love to spin with my gang of friends. We are a group of five girls and Datsun- redi Go is spacious enough to house all of us. I’m too much excited about having a long trip with five of us singing and gossiping all the way! The audio system with Radio, CD, MP3, USB, Aux-in is just a perfect companion. The Dashboard of the car has a peppy look and is super useful as its drive computer keeps you informed of the car’s current fuel economy. Needless to say, Datsun redi-Go has Power Windows that can be operated both by the driver and the co-passengers. Just the thing we girls want.

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Driving Comfort

Every car lover, every driver will vote unanimously on this topic, that, driving comfortability is of utmost importance. The new Datsun redi-GO has a 5-speed manual transmission providing a silky smooth control with a seamless response to your driving demands. The Drive Computer displays all the information in front of  your eyes; instantaneous and average mileage, distance to empty, fuel remaining– all these are now just there with this new beauty. The Shift Indicator is an added advantage showing the ideal time to shift for optimum efficiency and performance.
In most of the cars, the passengers in the rear seats keep on complaining about the performance of the air-conditioner. Datsun redi-Go has a large 89 CC compressor with high cooling capacity and its integrated center AC Vent makes it sure that even the rear seats get 50% of the air-flow distribution.

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Efficiency in Performance

The Datsun redi-Go has a smart 799 cc engine and is pretty fuel efficient at 25.17 km/L!
It has an i-SAT engine (Intelligent Spark Automated Technology) that automatically adjusts spark timing in response to fuel quality and power requirement. Well, it’s time for a long trip, buddies, as I said.

The safety is highly ensured with performance augmented brakes, crash protection shell and superior suspension system. Just a perfect crossover in every respect.

I can’t wait to test this complete beauty for all the above features. It would be super exciting to be on the driver’s seat with Datsun redi-Go on the roads of Mumbai.

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

Picture Credit: Datsun

Statement Necklaces

A statement necklace means a bold piece which looks unusual and stands out from others. All of us should agree on the fact that accessories are to apparel what lyrics are to songs. Even a melodious song often fail to appeal us because of  some stupid lyrics. Just like that, a beautiful outfit  could fall flat or look dull and uninteresting without appropriate accessories.
A statement necklace can infuse a completely bod and different style to your look. While most of us blindly buy statement necklaces, I think there are few points which we should be kept in my mind while choosing such items.

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Firstly, one should consider the height and body type. If you’re tall and thin, choose something of round type. Even square and rectangular pattern will also go well. But, if you’re short and flabby, never settle for over-emphasized pieces. That will put down your own good features and all eyes  will be on your accessory instead of you. Make your statement piece a part of you, don’t let it to be more important than you.

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Secondly, the color of the neck piece  depends on the occasion. While  you can wear hot and happening colors like fuschia pink, blue or dazzling yellow for the party, light pastel colored necklaces will be suitable  for daily or office wears.

Suiting your personality and style, is the most important thing. Choosing an appropriate neck-piece can do magic to your basic outfits. Go for it!

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Bag It!

A handbag defines a woman. Handbag is, perhaps, the most important accessory after shoes. A well-chosen handbag can make you look completely different. It’s the emblem of being well groomed. Similarly, a handbag  can mar your personality as a whole if not chosen wisely.

There are several types of handbags and, you need to know the classification in order to choose the right one.

HOBO Handbags: Hobo bags are so called because they look like the bindle on a stick which the Hobos used to carry. They are typically large and have long straps. Hobo bags go well with trendy, funky looks. Never ever try a hobo if you’re wearing a traditional gown, a short one piece dress or a saree.

A typical hobo

TOTE bags: The term ‘tote’ means ‘to carry’. So tote bags are literally meant to carry a lot of things.Tote bags are made from sturdy materials; thick leather or jute. Tote bags are large and often unfastened with two parallel handles.
Nowadays, there are different types of tote bags, designer tote, fashion tote, college tote. You can choose according to your need.

TB_11159717_803_BCROSSBODY Bags: As the name suggests, crossbody bags can have longer straps and can be taken in a way across your body. It leaves your hands free and you can have the comfort as well as the style. It can be taken with skirts, jeans,  and semi-formals as well. But not with traditional wear.

crossSHOULDER Bags: Shoulder bags are the commonest form of bags. They work quite well traditional wear like sarees if it’s a classy one, and, can be used as office bags, college bags and almost every other purpose.

61Lu5NNj75L._UL1500_CLUTCH bags: Clutch bags are best taken with classy, traditional wear. They are usually medium-sized and are not very spacious. They’re meant to add glamor and glitz to you.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed the bag story. Being a bag lover, I just can’t stop myself from buying handbags 😀 Are you of the same type? Do share your views. Recently I bought an ESCADA bag and it’s now my most favorite of the lot. I’ll share  my photos with it. Till then, keep bagging….oooops…blogging 😀

Tips For A Peppy Look This Winter

No matter what we say or whether we admit or not, we all want to look good. Physical attributes play a big role in our life. So goes the saying, pehle darshandhari, pichhe goonbichari, that is, we always primarily judge a person by their looks, the qualities come later.

Though we can’t change some basic traits of our appearance, but we can always work to make them better. We can highlight the positive features negating the not-so-good ones. That helps to improve the look as a whole. Good looks make us feel good. It helps to increase the self-confidence.

The way we dress-up and use the accessories also count a lot to how we look. Dressing up doesn’t always mean you have to make your wardrobe a parade of reputed brands or expensive, exquisite stuff. It simply means decorating yourself in a decent, natural way.
Winter is a festive season and we have different parties and occasions to attend. In winter even wearing a bit heavy make-up doesn’t matter. In a tropical country like ours, loud makeup is a big no-no for me, but I don’t mind few colors to dazzle up the grayness of winter in a peppy way.

So, beautiful people out there, here are a few tips to make yourself look lively and peppy this winter.

⬆ Try smoky eyes. Smoky eyes are actually eye make-up providing your eyes a dramatic and sizzling look. Smoky eyes can transform your simple look into an awesome one.

⬆ Be bold. Wear red on your lips. Red lips make you look stunning. Blazing, red-hot lips that increase the adrenaline rush of the spectators, that make the traffic come to a standstill, is an iconic fashion statement.

⬆ Remember, never try both smoky eyes and red lips at the same time. They are easy to negate the effects of each other making you look VERY loud. That is never intended, I bet.

⬆ Wear minimal make-up. Our skin tends to dry during winter and using water-based base foundation would keep your hydrated and glowing. Don’t go for powder-based make-up as that would look dull.

Now, let’s discuss ideas for some peppy outfits. While choosing the outfit, the most important thing to me is the comfort. Cut, fabric, design and fashion follow in the order as stated. If you’re not comfortable with sleeveless or short dresses during winter or if that make you shiver in cold, please don’t go for them. Rather, choose long gowns or embellished full sleeved tops and chic bottom wears.

⬆ A piece of accessory I like very much and which is capable of transforming your look magically, is a statement necklace or a big, bold statement finger ring. But, remember a few things. Firstly, one should consider the height and body type. If you’re tall and thin, choose something of round type. Even square and rectangular pattern will also go well. But, if you’re short and flabby, never settle for over-emphasized pieces. That will put down your own good features and all eyes will be on your accessory instead of you. Make your statement piece a part of you, don’t let it to be more important than you.

💝 So, you are ready for the show! Put on your peppy look, wear your style and make every head turn at you! 💝 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Aamchi Mumbai


Mumbai, the city never sleeps, is the ninth most populated city in the world. It is the city which thrives on a never-to-die spirit, a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic cosmopolitan that also accounts for the commercial capital of India. The earlier name of Mumbai was Bombay; in the year 1995, the name has been changed to Mumbai after the goddess Mumba Devi worshipped chiefly by the fishermen, the original and the earliest Mumbaikars.

The history of the city dates back to five hundred years ago when it was just composed of seven islands. The Portuguese landed here in the early 16th century and named the place Bom Bahia, meaning ‘the good bay’. The British later pronounced it as Bombay and hence the name.

Since then, there was no look back for the city of Bombay. It is still growing opening its door to people from every corner of the country. At present, you’ll find everything here from safety-pin to elephant!

One can well imagine how the megacity carries every day millions of people from one part to the another. You’ll never find anyone sitting idly here without any purpose. Mumbai motivates you, helps you realize your dreams and so everybody is on-the-go at every moment. But, only a well-connected transport system and a smooth network can make a city great and, undoubtedly, Mumbai has all that is needed.

The city is so designed that one can reach even the farthest corner from the heart of the city through railways or roadways. The public transport system includes Mumbai Suburban Railway, Monorail, Metro, BEST buses, cabs, auto rickshaws and ferries. Mumbai boasts of the country’s busiest port, The Jawaharlal Nehru Port located east of Mumbai. It was built to relieve pressure on the Mumbai Port.

The Mumbai Suburban Railway carries the heaviest loads as it encircles the city not from within but from the outside and hence it takes much shorter time to reach any destination if you travel by train. Of course, the BEST buses take longer time, but they have quite a satisfying service. There is an abundance of cabs and rickshaws and even at the middle of the night you would find several of them.

The most important thing about my city is, perhaps, it is the safest city for women in the country. My friends and I, returning after watching a movie in the late night slot, never find any difficulty getting a cab or a rickshaw. More than that, we never feared to avail such public transport.

Talking of the public transport, apart from a hell lot of them, you will find all sorts of cars on the roads from Lamborghini to BMW or Ferrari. Traffic sometimes becomes a problem, I admit, as there are more cars nowadays. But, that is also a sign the city is prospering, isn’t it? The wave of traffic when you are waiting for the transformation of the traffic light from red to green might be annoying at times, but the state government is doing its best to solve the congestion of traffic. Monorail service from Chembur to Wadala has subsequently helped to lower the load of  the Suburban Railway and, serves as a great connection between the south and the east Mumbai.
Mumbai Metro connecting Versova–Andheri–Ghatkopar, also serves as an excellent public transport. Free of traffic jams and  one reach his destination without delay.

Mumbai has two airports, one domestic and another international. The Sahar Elevated Access Road connecting the Western Express Highway and the way to Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, has visibly reduced the time to reach the airport. It’s a delight to travel through this smooth track.
The Bandra-Worli Sea Link connects the western suburbs with the southern. The Seal Link is actually a huge cable-stayed bridge first to be constructed in the open sea in India.

Apart from all these, the ferry service from the Gateway of India is an added advantage to reach tourist destinations like Elephanta and Alibaug.

Mumbai is a city which is designed to connect. Driving on the highways of Mumbai is no less than any other big cities. I love my city that stands against all odds and can sing joyfully, “yeh hai Mumbai meri jaan”.

Perhaps, by now, the country knows that one of the leading companies helping us to connect with each other, the Tata Motors has joined hands with the living legend Lionel Messi to become their global brand ambassador. To know more about this wonderful association visit madeofgreat. tatamotors. Watch my favourite video from the page!

None of the pictures used here are clicked by me. They have been taken randomly from the internet. Anyone who finds the pictures inappropriate or wants me to mention any courtesy, kindly let me know and, it would be done. 

The Delight of Sugarfree Chocolate Cake

I like to eat but to tell you the truth, I’m not a great cook. My mom says that I only need some more concentration and practice with my cooking habits and I would then definitely be in the same plane with her. (She is just great with her cooking skill!) I believe in her words anyway and in festive times, I try my hand with some special dishes, especially desserts.

Festive seasons do demand some sweets, isn’t it? After all, festivity means sharing happiness and sweetness with each other. All members of our family have a sweet tooth, but with their growing age, my father and uncle have been detected with hyperglycemia and advised to avoid sugar, chocolates, and similar things. So, since two years, Sugar Free has become an essential part of our monthly grocery list.

I make chocolate cakes on every occasion. There are two reasons behind it, firstly, this is the easiest cake recipe I know of and, I make it really nicely. Secondly, mom makes a whole lot of other desserts, caramel pudding, apple pie, different types of biscuits etc. In most of these things, we use honey or Sugar Free instead of sugar. Let me share my simple chocolate cake recipe with you.

I add icing to this cake later, and you can even gulp it down without the icing, it tastes yummy even without it!

Cake Ingredients

2 cups Flour
2 eggs
1 small cup ‘Sugarfree Natura’
3/4 cups Cocoa Powder
½ tsp. Vanilla essence
2 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
A pinch of salt.
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the flour, sugarfree, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder and the salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla essence and the oil together.
Then, very carefully, setting the mixer on a low speed, put the two mixtures in smaller amounts and let them mix evenly. You have to do this with extra caution as the first mixture, being light and fluffy, has a tendency to fly out of the mixer bowl! Take smaller amounts from each mixture and repeat the process 3/4 times.

If you find this inconvenient, you can mix all the ingredients manually, but that would take time to make an even mixture.

Mix the coffee and stir well. Then pour the batter into the baking pan/s.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Allow to cool, you can put it in the refrigerator later.

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I serve the cake without icing to my father and uncle. They really like it in this way. If you want to make it more sinfully chocolatey, you can add the icing in the following way.

Mix 2 tbsp of peanut butter and simple Hershey’s Chocolate syrup and I tbsp of honey (optional). After stirring it well, just put the bowl on the oven for 1 minute. It will help to mix the ingredients evenly. Use the mixture as icing.

But, as I have said earlier, it tastes wonderful even without icing, I do it for the satisfaction of my younger cousins for whom not only the taste but also the look of the cake matters 😀

 

 

Joy of Real Togetherness

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These days, social networking sites play a great role in our life. We have numerous so-called ‘friends’ and we keep on chatting with them for hours. Not only that, sharing daily tidbits of life, seeing photos of each other, produce a sense of virtual camaraderie. But, yes, the word ‘virtual’ plays a vital role in the digital world; are we really happy with this type of togetherness? Can we call it “real togetherness”?

When I was a kid, the internet and social sites were not much in vogue. We were happy to play with real friends. I remember playing hide and seek with my buddies. Once, one of our friends went to the roof-top to hide and, fell asleep. A big chaos and confusion followed and when all the elders unanimously decided to report the incident, our friend, Manish, came downstairs, half-asleep, squeezing his eyes and asked innocently, “what happened? Why you people are shouting?”. I still remember how poor Manish was rebuked by all, including his friends. But those days were real fun. They gave the feeling of being alive with vivacity and energy.

Nowadays I feel sad to find even young boys and girls of my age have confined themselves to the digital world. They have become a slave to their smartphones. They glue to the screen all day long, know the names of friends in their list, but fail to remember the name of their neighbour. I think people who behave in this way, are missing the essence of life.

Artificial feelings and emoticons can make you feel temporarily better, but they can never be a substitute to relatives and friends in the real world. When I feel low, a little pat from my favourite uncle make me happy and boosts up my energy. My friends’ shouts and cheers while playing badminton make me more charged and determined. Even a hundred of facebook ‘likes’ and a dozen of retweets would not be able to make me feel the same way!

Tell me one thing, would you ever be able to celebrate a virtual Diwali or Dussera? Festivals are meant to bring people together, in a real way, and that is never possible even we are digitally advanced.

Playing in the sunshine, gossiping with friends in the garden or,  just sitting under a tree with your favourite book…. chatting in a WhatsApp group would never be equal to the happiness to all those.

I remember a poem by C.F. Alexander, “All things bright and beautiful, All creatures great and small, All things wise and wonderful: The Lord God made them all”- True, God has created this nature, sky, flowers and sunshine. We, humankind have made the virtual world, we will never be able to surpass His creation.

It’s time we should understand this and, make the most of natural, real world. Real Togetherness means getting in touch with each other, holding hands or sharing food. Let’s have a taste of real emotions in the real world. Let’s get happy with each other, not only digitally, but really.

Visit Kissanpur to get the real joy of togetherness.