Missed Connections – Book Review

MISSED CONNECTION comes from an engineer by education, technocrat by profession and die-hard romantic by heart. This compelling collection of eight short stories takes you in a different era with its old school charm. The treatment and feel of stories reminds you of Ruskin Bond’s story with small town Mussourie as its backdrop with particular reference to Clancy and Vishal’s love story. Indeed the protagonists are strong individuals who are more expressive with their emotions and feelings than male counterparts. More so they know exactly how far they want to take this relationship, where to draw the line and finally move on with some really practical decisions. The women here are not strong feminists who are good for raising slogans and making news but are strong at heart and capable of taking some strong decisions what if they have to suffer themselves or even make their men suffer.

vipul kurukshetr_cover

The romance has been dealt with very tenderly right from the perspective of little Clancy to mature lovers Sam and Surbhi, which is hard to find. Some interesting anecdotes, “Laziness is the mother of all bad habits and mother should be respected,” need a special mention here.

In every story, when love starts blossoming between the two lovers…that part has been handled very tenderly and lot of attention has been paid to the detailing of emotions there. One can easily relate to those situations, so would love the experience. The language is tight and style is crisp but some stories have developed in a very predictable fashion though they have been saved by the twist in the end.

Some partners are very compatible, made for each other types like Miss H Kaur and Vikas whereas some have taken time to develop like Madhu Khurana’s which made a really gripping read, whereas Tina Shah was very predictable with sort of filmi end.

Would like to add here that Missed Connections is a beautiful journey in a women’s heart when she is just 14, 24, 34, 44 or 54…all ages will feel connected so there will hardly be any Missed Connections.

This concoction of beautiful love stories is bound to touch every emotional heart but not too sure how far it will be able to impress today’s youngsters who are used to racy, fast paced video games, stories, movies, I mean the impatient younger lot who want to achieve everything in a jiffy…

…And one needs patience to savour these beautifully written love stories!

Florida Festival Fun – Events listed for Jan – Feb 2014

Visit Florida encourages tourists from across the world to enjoy the below listed intriguing events taking place in several regions of the Sunshine State of US in 2014. We present here the calendar of events for January – February 2014. January:

• International Fort Lauderdale Orchid Show: Celebrating the growth of orchids, this has been a popular event since 1957 and today still serves to educate everyone about orchids, to display exotic exhibits of orchids, and to offer a range of orchid-themed fun, from raffles, artwork, competitions, plant and supply vendors, exhibits, and displays.


Flosirda fest

FLorida State fair




*Annual Florida State Fair: A tradition since 1904 in Tampa, this is a celebration of the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement.

Florida Renaissance Festival: (February/March) in Deerfield Beach – Ft. Lauderdale: Take a step back in time to the 16th century – complete with hundreds of merchants and artisans in the crafts village, hundreds of performers on more than 12 stages, Celtic music performances, battling knights charging on horseback and sword fighting, middle-ages food, and even the world’s largest rocking horse. http://www.ren-fest.com/

* 76th Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade: (February 15, 2014) Parade starts at 7 p.m. at Edison Stadium and continues to the Fort Myers Downtown River District. During February, Fort Myers celebrates the birthday of its most illustrious historical resident, Thomas A. Edison, in befitting fashion. Edison, who built a home on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and spent 46 winters there, invented the light bulb. So it’s appropriate that the month of activities culminates with a lighted night parade. Invention competitions, parties, craft shows and a 5K run are all part of the festival. Celebrating 76 years, the month of February is filled with special events. Visit website for details.www.edisonfestival.org

Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins Spring Training: The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. What could be better than beautiful spring days and great baseball? The destination makes it easy for fans to take advantage of all that it has to offer along with great accommodation deals for spring training. For a complete listing of packages, special rates and information on planning a spring training vacation at Florida’s unspoiled island sanctuary, visit http://www.FortMyersSanibel.com.

132nd Silver Spurs Rodeo: (February 21-23, 2014) Catch pulse-elevating events such as bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, and barrel racing, along with crowd-pleasing cowboy clowns, all part of this truly all-American sport. This popular Kissimmee tradition is the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi, and has been run and operated by generations of Kissimmee residents since its start in the 1940s as a way to sell war bonds. Now presented in an air-conditioned venue, the rodeo offers heart-pounding action and is annually ranked among the top 50 events sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Contact: Silver Spurs Riding Club, PH: 321-697-3495. http://www.silverspursrodeo.com

Rome Returned Ronak

One Monday morning my young colleague Ronak Morjaria dropped the news that he was going to Rome, Vatican. My jaws nearly dropped in surprise. Couldn’t imagine that a youngster like him was going to visit holy city, which has been my dream since the time I was a youngster like him. Any way, he didn’t seem much excited about the opportunity but I was really very excited on his visiting Vatican. But certainly Ronak returned quite pleased particularly with his sojourn with priceless paintings particularly by Michelangelo fascinated him no end. He loved the trip to coliseum and was taken by surprise by Churches all over. As a youngster he liked being at Trevi fountain which he found to be very romantic. Needless to say beauty of Vatican captivated him. He visited museums as part of his tour.

Ronak Morjaria shared some of the photographs for travelknots friends and you can yourself see that Rome looks like one big painting by Michelangelo on earth.

If you love history, religion, art, music, poetry, architecture…Rome is for you!










Coming to the world’s largest Basilica of Christianity, nested into the heart of the Vatican City, with its 186 metres of length (218 if we consider the porch too), a height of 46 metres in the central aisle, a main dome 136 metre high and 42 metres large in diameter, takes you to that era. You roam in marvel, how all this was made when technological revolution was nowhere in sight. Heads & Heart take a bow to these artisans who did this phenomenal job. The huge façade is 114 metres wide and 47 metres high. It has a surface of 22000 square metres and twenty thousand persons can pray in it.

The indigenous St Peter’s Basilica, nowadays forgotten, was constructed by will of Emperor Constantine around 320 AD in the area where Saint Peter had been martyrized (together with other Christians) close to the circus of Nero that, in fact, rose in the vicinity. For about thousand years the Basilica grew and got enriched, but it was also theatre of pillage in the barbarian hordes.

The first repair and enlargement intervention was ordered in the middle of the 15th century by pope Niccolo V, who entrusted Leon Battista Alberti and his helper Bernardo Rossellino. Later pope Giulio II charged Bramante who in 1506 demolished the old Saint Peter’s Basilica planning a new one with a Greek cross plan. But at the time of the death of both pope and architect only the central pillars had been constructed.

Rafael (with the contribution of experts such as Fra Giocondo and Giuliano Da Sangallo) took over the guidance of the works, and proposed a Latin cross plan. Rafael was succeeded by Baldassarre Peruzzi first and Michelangelo later, who instead chose a return to the Greek cross. After the death of all contenders, pope Paolo V imposed the Latin cross structure, which was realized by Maderno who took care as well of the façade as we see it today. The St Peter’s Basilica was consecrated in 1626.

The plan of the dome belongs to Michelangelo who managed to finish only the portion of the dome basement called Tamburo. It will be Giacomo Dalla Porta to complete the dome according to Michelangelo’s drawings in 1588-89. The positioning of most of the interior furnishing of the Basilica was assigned to Bernini by his untiring pope Urbano VIII Barberini.

Bernini worked in the St Peter’s Basilica for twenty years. We owe this artist the arrangement of the St Peter’s square in front of the Basilica as well (1656-1667). Inside the Basilica are numerous and priceless art pieces kept in the forty five altars and eleven chapels. There are about ten thousand square metres of mosaics, Michelangelo’s Pieta, the papal canopy and the monument to Urbano VIII both by Bernini, the monument to Cristina of Sweden by Carlo Fontana, the monument to the countess Matilda by Canossa (under drawing of Bernini), only to quote some of the most important pieces.

Opening time of the Basilica:

from 7:00 to 18:00 every day (until 19:00 during winter), except on Wednesdays (if there is the papal audience the Basilica remains closed until 12:00). Entrance is free. It’s also possible to visit the dome (from October to March every day from 8:00 to 16:45, until 17:45 from April to September); entrance is charged.

How to get to Saint Peter’s Basilica:

the most comfortable public transport is the metro (line A – stop: Ottaviano)

Photographs Courtesy: Ronak Morjaria

Splendid Hotel packages across the globe

Winter package at The Grove in Wales

The Pembrokeshire Coastline in Wales is the perfect year-round destination with unrivalled walking opportunities. Why not explore our fabulous county and book Winter Warmer Package at The Grove hotel in Wales. The hotel team will pack you off in the morning with a luxury hamper complete with a flask of Chef’s traditional Welsh cawl and tasty bites to keep you warm and toasty.

Pembrokeshire Coastline Wales

Return to a roaring log fire, a soothing bath and a massage courtesy of The Grove’s visiting masseuse. Let The Grove’s expert staff look after you both, as you enjoy a delicious candlelit meal beside the fire in our award-winning restaurant.

Package from £150 per person, per night includes:
– Bed and Breakfast for 2 nights in a Classic or Superior Room.
– Luxury Walker’s Hamper in a choice of a basket or backpack.
– Full Body Massage in the comfort of your own room.
– Dinner each night from the Winter A’La Carte Menu
– Favourable rates for upgrading also available on request.
The offer is based on 2 people sharing a Classic or Superior room. Dinner is from the A’La Carte menu. Offer applies to stays between now and the 27th March 2014.
Visit http://www.thegrove-narberth.co.uk for more information


Bigger & Better

Carlton Singapore

The US$239.5 million Carlton City Hotel Singapore, situated next to the Tanjong Pagar MRT station, opened in August. Targeting the business segment, the 29-storeyed hotel has 386 rooms comprising deluxe, executive, club and suit categories. While crystal chandeliers adorn the marble lobby the guestrooms restaurants and bars sport contemporary decor. Spacious deluxe rooms measure 32 sqm: higher floor executive and club rooms also offer panoramic views of the city skyline. There are four bars and restaurants, ranging from all-day dining plate to the rooftop Graffiti Sky bar. Two small meeting rooms each hold 12 people in classroom seating. Facilities include a gym, outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi, 24-conceirge service and Carlton club lounge with various privileges.


Brisbane blooms

The Hilton Brisbane opened in 1986, but completed a six year refurbishment last year. With three new meeting rooms, it has now 19 purpose built meeting rooms and 2500 sqm of space, including a dedicated convention level, a small meetings level and unique event spaces such as Vintaged bar + Grill restaurant and the pool deck. The hotel’s grand room can accommodate upto 1100 guests in a cock tail set up or 560 banquet style. The dedicated exhibition space can hold upto 132 trade booths.

Brisbane Marriot

The Brisbane Marriot completed the refurbishment of all its meeting, event and pre function spaces early this year. Divided over two floors, the new flexible meeting spaces have the latest technology. The grand ballroom now accommodates 210 people for cocktails and five function venues for 28 – 140 guests theatre style, there is also riverside terrace for outdoor cocktail receptions and M deck for barbeque and drinks.

Hilton Brisbane

Empire Hotel HK, Wan Chai.

You can book eight rooms for consecutive nights to receive a complimentary half day meeting under their new ‘Meeting & Stay Free’ promotions which is valid till March 16, 2014. Custom made venue rental, meeting and banqueting packages are also available.
Contact: 852 3692 or email: wc@empirehotelsandresorts.com


Millennium Vee Hotel Taichung

Located in central Taiwan, Millennium Vee Hotel Taichung has multifunctional meeting rooms and a ballroom that fits upto 500 people, equipped with advanced audio visual systems. Full day meeting packages start at NDT 800+ per person, including lunch and coffee break. The offer is valid till December 31, 2013.
Contact: +886 4 3900 8899


Okura Garden Hotel, Shanghai

Located in Shanghai’s prestigious commercial, cultural and entertainment hub Okura garden hotel Shanghai offers 10 function rooms, conference amenities and trained meeting executives. Winter half day and full day meeting packages start from RMB 490 and RMB 570 per person with lunch options of a Chinese set menu or Western buffet and tea break.
Contact: 86 -21 64151111 -5322
Email: mkt@gardenhotelsshanghai.com


Phuket hotel update

Hyatt Phuket

Midway through 2012, three major Phuket resorts changed hands and have now begun to reopen, starting in April with Outrigger Laguna Phuket Resort and Villas, formerly Laguna Phuket, all 225 rooms have been completely refurbished, as have its restaurants and event spaces which can seat 70 delegates theatre style.
Intercontinental Hotel group took over former Evason resort which will reopen next year as the 240 room Intercontinental Phuket Rawal Beach Resort. Minor Hotel group is also transforming the Bundarika in Mai Khao, which will reopen in January as the 77-room Anantara Phuket layan resort and Spa. Meanwhile Regent Phuket Cape Panwa opened on the islands southeast coast last year. The 105 key resorts offers 22 pavilions, 48 suites and 35 pool villas as well as two boardrooms with lounges and several interesting spaces for events – The library, The beach table and the grill’s rooftop lounge.

The 202-rrom Hyatt Regency Phuket opens in Kamala soon, the group’s first Phuket hotel. Further ahead is hotel Indigo Phuket Naithon Beach Resort in 2015 and Park Hyatt Phuket on Koh Siray Island in 2016.