Tennis Star Roger Federer sends Indian Twitterati in a tizzy!

Asks on twitter on which places to visit while in India from his fans and voila! Fans oblige in their own un- inimitable way – virtual tour of India in photo-shopped images which rocks on social media.

Fed-ex rides an elephant to Amer Fort, takes the tube, poses in an auto-rickshaw and prances ahead of camel riders in the Thar. It all started when Federer, who will be in Delhi in December for an International tennis league, tweeted: “I need some help from my supporters in India. I am only in Delhi for a few days, so can’t visit all amazing places that I would like…May be you guys could help #PhotoshopRF? Show me where I visit and I will retweet the best pics!”

And then began the volley of morphed pictures that showed him having desi fun in all possible ways: driving a truck, posing at the Taj Mahal, featuring in a Bollywood movie and the snake charmer.
I thought of bringing his virtual trip alive in pictures for my readers. Have a look! ENJOY!


Come October 11 & The world’s greatest cavalry stars are here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Get set to be inspired by the greatest military parade ever held in Malaysia with exciting performances such as war dances, bag pipes and brass bands, precision marching, military demonstrations and artillery performances.


These inspiring renditions will be performed by the Royal Malaysian Police, the Royal Malaysian Army, and armed forces from other countries including Brunei Darussalam, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom.
The Kuala Lumpur International Tattoo 2014 Parade is organised by the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism, and will be graced by Yang di-PertuanAgong and Raja Permaisuri Agong of Malaysia on 11 October 2014.

The extravagant performance will be held over three days at the Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur, combined with various events in shopping centres around Malaysia. It is here that one can enthral the senses with iconic formation displays. The sheer precision of the military drills and the mesmerising orchestral music presentations are a feast to one’s eyes and ears.


“The Kuala Lumpur International Tattoo 2014 is one of the major events in Visit Malaysia Year 2014, and is organised with the vision of promoting friendship and cooperation between Malaysia and its overseas counterparts. The event will certainly be a colourful array of festivities with the participants marching, proudly in their ceremonial uniforms,” says Mr.Manoharan Periasamy, Director, Tourism Malaysia, India.

The spectacular display is bound to attract locals as well as foreign tourists, young and old alike. The combination of brass, discipline and creative choreography of marches, along with music and dance would make a spectacular evening for the audiences.The Kuala Lumpur International Tattoo 2014 epitomises the dignity and pride of some of the world’s most valiant heroes, cavalry, creating beautiful memories that will always be etched in the hearts of both the participants and spectators at the event. So come and see the magic of the Armed forces and be dazzled, in Malaysia, Truly Asia!


In 2014, Malaysia celebrates its fourth VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR (VMY) with the theme “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”. The VMY 2014 promotional campaign has started this year with a series of year-long special events and activities leading to VMY 2014. It will contribute to the Government’s target to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020.

WordUp! HairDown! at Satur(day) Bloggers Fever!

September 21, 2014 will always be etched in our memory (Bloggers congregation) which was well-spent at the hip and happening venue Blue Frog, Lower Parel, Mumbai. Excited, we all thronged the venue at sharp 9 A.M. (Though we are never on time to work on Saturdays). We did not want to miss even a minute of interaction with accomplished bloggers in fields as wide and varied as politics, fashion, issues, comedy, storytelling…what not.

The event which had brought together all of us was organised by IndiBlogger Commune represented by Vineet, Nihal, Anoop, Renie…everybody! What a pleasure it was to be greeted by this welcoming lot. That’s why we do not like to miss any of the IndiBlogger events. The event #WordUp and #BigRock was very graciously hosted by Blue Frog. Let me tell you, this awesome venue was quite a treat where we bloggers flocked and hopped like frog. Right from morning breakfast, beverages, lunch to evening tea…everything was wholesomely delicious. Not only this, my daughter Tanyaa (Blog: http://www.couturepixie.wordpress. om) caught up with her friends – Pallavi, Sam, Mitchelle, Vinita like long lost friends. All of us have forged a great bond; it was not long ago that we had met each other at an IndiBlogger event – Dove. Day started with Nihal, Anoop and his friend belting out soulful numbers with Philippine girl on the orchestra. It was an amazing experience…Nihal is a phenomenal performer, real Rock Star!

Then lot of contests followed – lot of cash, Flip-Kart vouchers were doled out…my bad luck I did not win any! Emcee of the session Anoop was at his hilarious self. He masters the craft. After initial few minutes of interaction, we all settled down in that interestingly crafted venue – Blue Frog. I am still wondering why it is called Blue Frog – Neela Medak. Oh yes, one event needs a mention here – animated conversation with eminent fashion and lifestyle blogger – Sherry Shroff, I am sure Tanyaa must have achieved nirvana by this interaction with her favourite model & blogger.

I loved my interaction with very young and highly accomplished blogger – Anshul Tewari of   His Libya experience should make India proud. This youngster taught us – Think like a blogger, Act like an entrepreneur! A very invaluable learning indeed. In Anshul’s words, “Principles of Journalism are applicable to blogging. You have to report the issues, you have to edit your posts, there should be issues which should not be questioned on stratosphere. We worked on the quality of conversation that young people are having, so we started teaching journalism to people, then started monetising blog which catered to local audience.” He added, “I asked my parents to give me a year and this is when Youth Ki Awaaz happened where great content is involved”. Then came along well cherished association with IndiBlogger which set the ball rolling. He concluded, “It was quite a struggle, we had to fight out parental pressure, peer pressure to make a mark with this unconventional choice. Thankfully parents were very understanding”., is an online platform for young people to express themselves on issues of critical importance. As per popular media, he started for news and views of the youth that found no place in the mainline media, and to break the stereotype of the Indian youth being apathetic.

The session was started by Vinit Goenka, the National Co-Convener for the Bhartiya Janata Party’s Information Technology Cell who shared, “Social Media is a platform of civil liberty. Social media arm of BJP works hard to connect with people of India through various channels. All of us know 2014 elections belonged to Social Media. Society is divided into two sets of people, people who are active on social media, and like to express and other set who do not like to interact. So we pay attention to them also”.

Very pretty Sherry Shroff as she fondly called, Scherezade Shroff already has over a million views on her YouTube channel and a huge subscriber base from all over the world. Scherezade uploads fashion & beauty videos, makeup & hair tutorials, DIY’s and lots of other fun videos on her YouTube channel. She also has a fashion blog called She shared, “Blogging is a passion for me, I just started with writing but there was no way I could commercialize it. I was a model and blogging was what I loved doing on and off. Then I started with networking, and now I blog every day, blog is your voice, that is the reason is you are a blogger and you want to be heard. Your focus is more important as a blogger. Your views should be your views”.

Lakshmi Rebecca, own online talk show, ‘Chai with Lakshmi’ which has had over 30,00,000 views. The show features people positively shaping India for the future. It was a pleasure listening to her who shared that how challenging it is to make video blogs and how did she overcome these challenges.

TheQtiyapaGuy” has become synonymous with New Age Entertainment and is hailed by Media as the driver of revolution in Content Creation. The Viral Fever’ Brand has been hailed as India’s most Progressive Content Company by some of the best & biggest minds in M&E Industry. With approximately 690,000 subscribers, 48 million views and less than 100 uploaded videos; these numbers are something every YouTube user would crave for and media moguls will pay universe to get, but it was never easy to reach these figures. Arunabh’s story is nothing less than inspiration and passion personified. He shared, “Life has been full of challenges, road blocks, law-suits, threatening calls, what not…but we knew that people were loving it. Creating such content, picking up stuff from the lives and moves of leading politicians of the country was no mean task. So much was at stake. Life was difficult initially. He added, “We had great time during election but this Government is providing very little fodder”.

Snigdha Manchanda, the founder of TeaTrunk and Story Ninja, as a Tea Sommelier has been rigorously trained under a Japanese Tea Master in Sri Lanka. She started Tea Trunk as a medium to provide people with good-quality tea. Through Story Ninja she reaches out to content creators, marketers, teachers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs or just about anyone who enjoys a story well told. She was very child – like with very melodious voice. Her expression was natural and she has accomplished so much at such a young age.

Amit Agarwal is a personal technology columnist and founder of Digital Inspiration, a popular how-to blog since 2004. He is the chief curator of the directory. Amit has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from IIT Roorkee and, other than blogging, he also enjoys writing web apps and scripts that enhance productivity. Amit gave us wonderful blogging tips and we are able to incorporate even half of these, we will really go places as bloggers. Would love to connect with him!
Stand-Up comedian Bhavish Ailani had us in splits with his comedy.

In the end lot of prizes were WON ( I WON NONE)…just kidding! ( Disclaimer: No malice towards winners, all in good spirits).

This all-day, invite-only, super-charged, event on blogging, and nothing but blogging – Word up! Concluded with some great music and dancing – HairDown!

– Bienu Verma Vaghela for IndiBlogger

Can one Night stands, Stand?

Team Wordoholics

Read the previous part of the story, Chapter 10 here

Chapter 11

Shekhar returned home tired after spending day with his novelist friend and finds happier looking Tara and Roohi. Roohi was packing her bags for next morning and Tara was busy on phone with Jenny. He served the dinner himself and settled on the couch with his big mug of hot chocolate to watch TLC channel where they were showing Himalayan destinations. In no time his mind went back to the trekking / mountaineering expedition he had gone with his friends, accompanying a group of tourists of different nationalities. Why & what happened there, Shekhar is still seeking those answers, but tonight he wanted to relive those moments which he had fondly treasured. The story teller in him was awake…

…that was an unforgettable experience. What could have been worse than this, wrong person, wrong timing, wrong setting …but no wrong intentions, that was the only solace. Shekhar hurriedly walked towards his untidy room and parked himself on untidier bed with an intention to catch up some sleep which he badly needed. Good thing was Maa had gone to Pishi Maa’s house otherwise would have pestered him no end, “Khokon ki holo? Coffee, Chai…ki?

Hesitatingly he picked up the phone to call Tara after a week, just thinking of connecting with her and put her at ease. But the person on other side replied, “Tara has left the job and the city forever.” I retorted, “When, Where, Which city, Why,” but probably I only had the answers to these questions. Another chapter of my life was over which came and went like a breeze…

…Days passed, months passed, years passed, life was just the same for Shekhar but there was some kind of vacuum in his life. In the words of renowned film maker, Mahesh Bhatt, “Tanhai (loneliness) aapko aur bhi srujnatmak (Creative) bana deti hai”. This was happening with Sehkhar too. One fine evening he got an offer from a well-known publishing house from Delhi to commission stories and books for them. In no time he lapped this opportunity, now the showcase was ready for larger world for Shekhar Dutta’ s words & works. They started taking his works to next level, promoted him extremely well as accomplished author, his books were visible on stores on a pan India level, book-stores, book-reviews, book – fairs, book-discussions and book-fests became a norm. “Have I arrived”? Shekhar questioned himself. Maa was happy as she had a car to herself to visit her relatives and Kali Baari temple nearby.

In the evening while taking stroll on the mall road, and lost in his lingering thought that whatever it takes, he must take a break from all this to rejuvenate himself. Life was becoming too monotonous amidst all these interesting fictional characters of his stories. Luckily he chanced upon the board of travel agency whose advertisement he had seen in paper today.  Shekhar walked into the travel agency to check some outings to Himalayas. There he got to know about some exciting tours starting next Sunday from Dehradoon. He enrolled himself for that expedition along with that tourist group for Sahasradhara, Chamoli, Uttarkashi and Joshimath etc.


chamoli joshimath urrakashi urrakashi

“Interesting, tiring & relaxing at the same time”, thought Shekhar. Maa was happy to see her son happy. Shekhar did some mental calculations and said, “Yes I can afford this holiday and a nice holiday gear from Dehradoon too!” The tour was to start next Sunday which looked like ages to Shekhar as living so close to Himalayas he had not visited these places…his excitement was palpable.

The journey started in a plush luxury bus from Dehradoon and his mind was wandering in the beautiful valleys during the course. Shekhar was in blissful state with no story ideas dancing in his head. He was calmly enjoying the journey, the jungles, the mountains, the lakes, the valleys, the flowers…what not!  “OMG! I am missing out on such much in life by remaining confined in four walls of my house”, he was talking to himself.  When bus halted for tea and snacks, Shekhar found himself bonding really well after some hesitation with this group who represented some really far flung countries like Romania, Spain, Mozambique, Brazil, Miami, Alaska, U.K. who were charting out Beatles numbers in chorus on their instruments.

Once again some surprises unfolded. He was introduced to handsome looking AVP from a publishing house in U.K. who loved Himalayas, was accompanied by his colleague Tara, who was none other than Ms Mukherjee. Obviously his excitement had taken a beating…but? How to face this awkward situation now?

man woman

After few hours of travel, he could notice Aryan and Tara getting close, really close. Any way when they reached Chamoli, weather took its ugliest turn, there was thundering, showering and land-slide, the bus had to halt and change track once weather improved. For some unknown reason, Tara had started noticing my presence. Amidst all this chaos, she came and sat next to me, whole day stuck in the bus they chatted heartedly on topics ranging from their school days, college days, first crushes, teachers, maa, baba, friends, frenemies…what not. This was the most wonderful conversation Shekhar ever had; He found Tara to be charming to the core. She admitted that she was attracted to Aryan as she finds him handsome, soft-spoken, loving and brings lots of presents for her from New Delhi’s Dilli Haat. Enough to charm any girl. “Were they in a relationship”? Yes! Probably. But Shekhar’s attraction towards Tara was unquestionable now.

Amidst all this, they did not know how time flew. It was evening and then suddenly they saw everybody around them discussing Aryan who had not returned yet from a nearby market, where he had gone to make a call to his mom from a PCO. Now was the time for bus to leave, but Aryan was nowhere in the sight. Tara got very anxious and insisted on waiting for Aryan. “But it is not possible. He will join us in the morning when weather improves”, tour conductor gave his farmaan.


Bus moved on and so his life…weather was slightly better at their next halt. Tara was very tired, anxious, worried, drained out and hungry at the same time. Shekhar felt like comforting her with a big hug but did not let this thought proceed. After having hot & sumptuous dinner, Tara  made a strange request to him, “Can I sleep in your tent, with you?” I am very scared to stay alone in my tent for the night, and I don’t trust anyone else”. Shekhar’s jaws dropped in dis-belief. He was aghast at this very strange request. His Indian sensibilities were at play. His life was quite bland and now this sudden decoction?? He reluctantly gave in to her request. Shekhar thought, he will sit and wait for the morning while watching this sleeping Cinderella. For any young man, writer, sensitive, sensible (???) and close observer of life and relationships, this was strange. Really didn’t know what to do. Tara slept well and Shekhar said to himself, “Great going till now”. Suddenly lightening struck and Cinderella…oops Tara’s sleep got disturbed, tired and sleepy Tara came very close to me, held him tight and started blabbering strange words…it was time two young people could not control their emotions…night was long, dark and tumultuous!

OMG! he said to himself, “What is this? Why me? Only me? Before dawn Tara moved to her tent and Shekhar saw her sipping coffee in the morning with Aryan. She did not want to face him anymore. Was it Shekhar’s fault only? Whatever it may be he wanted to steer clear. Shekhar returned from the tour mid way on pretext of Maa’s health but…Some strange feelings stayed on! Who can explain such one night stands? His heart was bombarding him with questions and more questions. Why Shekhar and Tara get trapped in such situations, was it destiny, probably Tara thought that way.  Now she had handsome Aryan and intellectual Shekhar in a tug of war in her heart and in her head.

Another year of incessant writing and his publishers from Delhi arranged a book-reading session for him in Jaipur’s Literary Fest. It looked like a dream opportunity, “Presenting my words & works to the literati of this world”, Shekhar murmured.

Excited Shekhar drove to Dehradoon to catch flight to Jaipur. Maa had come to see him off for his debut flight.

Hoping no drama ahead, Shekhar took off…but that was not to be!

img1 - jaipur (3)

Arrangements, venue, gathering, everything was just awesome, which Shekhar had never experienced before. He felt blessed to be here. For the first time in his life he chose to wear a formal suit for the evening dinner and he really looked handsome. Feeling little awkward, he sat on a table and started flipping Marwari menu; which read like Greek, Latin to him as he had rarely tasted cuisine of any other state. Suddenly he was distracted by a very familiar feminine voice, “Oh! No, not again…She can’t be Tara”, Yes! She was Tara who was involved in some serious discussion with an author. With red-bindi on her forehead, gold Bangles in her hand and beautifully draped Magenta Dhaka sari with Pashmina shawl overthrown, she looked a resplendent Bengali bride. Married? Thank God! While in his thoughts, she turned her back to adjust her sari & Lo & Behold! Their eyes met. In no time, Tara was sitting in front of Shekhar, with lot of emotions crossing his face and probably her heart…but they were happy to see each other. She worked in a U.K. publishing house and was representing it in Jaipur fest. First thing she asked him was about Maa. After having Marwari dinner for the first time in his life, that too in a formal suit, and Tara for company, setting looked strange. After dinner Tara told Shekhar how it was like working in the U.K. publishing house and why she is planning to return to Mumbai by year end. She also expressed her desire to work with him while she is in Mumbai. Shekhar was a relaxed man after ages, but past moved before his eyes like a show-reel. His feelings took a spin once again when Tara told him, “though I am not married yet, but I believe in institution of marriage and I am a strong and independent woman, and love taking life in her stride”. Though she was talking of strength and independence, Tara looked emotionally charged, vulnerable, probably Aryan had ditched her and settled for a Punjabi girl…who knows.  Now one more question followed him, “What does she think of one night stands”?  Can it be love? Shekhar shrugged his head.

Can one night stands, Stand? Phew!

Story idea?? Nope!

Next morning when he was calling Maa from hotel lobby, a pat on his back disturbed him, she was Tara who said, “I will also talk to Maa”. He handed over the phone to her and they were in an unending conversation on this STD call. In the evening Tara told him that she was traveling to Mussorie on Thursday for some work there. Now…Ghosh…what is this yaar…hope I am not involved. They traveled together and exchanged notes on Jaipur fest.

Who knew another drama was unfolding in Shekhar’s life.

After a tiring journey, when he reached home, he noted that the house looked decorated with marigold flowers, buntings, lights, what not right from the gate. “Maa has done all this for Pujo celebrations”, he thought. Now Shekhar found his maashi maa, pishi maa, cousins, their children in their finneries…lot of activity in the household. Tired, he called for Coffee. “What was going on in my house? My room was looking like a decorated den. What is this yaar? Where have my stuff vanished? Why this bight pink bed sheets & curtains?” Questions & more questions.

Maa stepped into Shekhar’s room and declared, “It’s not Pujo but your marriage this evening, go and get ready for pre marriage ceremonies”. He angrily retaliated, “I am not doing this. Why a poor girl is being trapped? Think of her Maa, I am not husband material at all, and my life is fine”. But their was no point arguing, the stage was set for his hanging ceremony. She did not buy any of my arguments.

bong bride
The Bakra was ready for halaali in the evening. His mama from Cooch Behar brought the bride to the altar, to his greatest amazement, she was none other than Madam Tara Mukherjee…who looked coy Bengali bride in Red & gold Benares Saree, gold jewellery, make-up and beautiful to say the least. Shekhar & Tara were author & editor last evening and man & wife this evening. No wonder, Maa was so excited about his going to Jaipur, got him suit stitched, Shekhar recollected Maa receiving phone calls at odd hours and chatted animatedly. So were they in touch? They laid this trap for him? Shekhar was still seeking answers.

Destiny had transpired this for Shekhar and Tara.

Maa lived happily ever after…

…Now Aryan Ahuja is their neighbour.

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ Blogadda #celebrate Blogging

Three cheers for 10665344_764322290293277_5715540420956964706_n

Read next part of the story Chapter 12 Here

– By Bienu Verma Vaghela

Life’s Like that!

Read previous part of the story Chapter 3 Here

Chapter 4

It was yet another mundane day at Dutta household.

“Tara can I have my cup of hot chocolate, I have a deadline to finish my story”, Shouted Shekhar. Suddenly he realised that Tara had left for some early morning client meeting at Nariman Point which is good 30 Kms far from Palm Court Complex in Malad (West) where Shekhar and Tara live with their daughter Roohi.

Today Roohi was on a school trip to Nainital. So day belonged to Shekhar & his pom pet Jimmy who was eagerly waiting for his morning walk from quite some time. “Chuck, hot Chocolate, let me take Jimmy out, I will have omelette bread breakfast at Uncle’s Kitchen”, he said to himself. He quickly changed into morning gear and left for walk, but today’s walk was not the usual one like every day. The weather was serene, cloudy, dark, breezy…and then the lightening, which took him in the flashback mode of 20 years ago…he was alarmed how twenty years of his flew out of his Forty Two years? “My life is nothing short of a pot-boiler, wish I could write my auto-biography someday, but I am very young for that, Shekhar found an excuse and, “There is much more to unfold”. In sometime it started raining and he was far from house but close to Uncleji’s kitchen. Shekhar and Jimmy took refuge in Uncle’s Kitchen and hogged on piping hot tea and bread omelette. Jimmy loved it too!

Rain was not stopping and auntiji offered to make lunch for them – Butter Chicken & Naan. They couldn’t have asked for more…
…Now he was with his thoughts alone as Jimmy had fallen asleep after such sumptuous breakfast, what a change from pedigree everyday for breakfast!

This is where his thoughts took him to Hindu College Hostel in Delhi University where he was English Hons students sharing room with Shirish & Mukesh ( Singer Mukesh of College). Shekhar had natural penchant for English language and hidden talent of ghazal singing. In no time Shekhar’s popularity soured amidst teachers, fellow students and girlzzz who swooned over his fair complexion, curly locks, honeyed eyes, handsome & intellectual looks. “My popularity means nothing to me, I want to be a happy, satisfied person, don’t desire much from life”, he told Mukesh after soulful rendition of Mehndi Hassan’s ‘Rafta rafta woh meri hasti ka saamaan ho gaye’ which received standing ovation from all participating colleges. Hindu College auditorium may not have had such thunderous applause for any singer in the recent times. A shy and beautiful Nandini Sengupta from Miranda House could not resist herself from complimenting him personally, who was pursuing Music Hons there. A musical chord struck immediately…but. “Why there are so many buts in my life only”, probably he was asking God.

Ensconced in a vintage sofa in Uncleji’s house cum dhaba, rains never looked so beautiful to Shekhar. All in all…the life was cool amidst college, library, lawns, hostel mates, roomies, friends, canteen, girls, Jai Singh ka dhaba and phone calls to Maa in Mussoorie. Five years flew in no time and after taking final year MA English exam he returned to his home town…only never to be back in the by lanes of University and even Delhi. After results he was about to join Mass Communication course in Jamia to become a journalist, But that was not to be.

In a sudden twist of fate, his Maa fell ill and he had to give up his dreams of becoming a journalist, what a change from bustling Delhi to quaint Mussoorie with very limited opportunities…But life is like that only.
In few months mother’s condition improved but somehow he felt nice being here. One evening he bumped with his childhood friend Kallol Chatterjee who suggested free-lance writing and passed on the contact details of Tara Mukherjee who was Commissioning Editor of well-known publishing house in Dehradoon. How a chance meeting changed his destiny.

His thoughts were well synchronised, life was moving like a show reel before his eyes. He did not want to come out of this world which had given him so much and had taken that much in return.

He shrugs and comes back to writing option. “Not a bad idea, I will connect with Ms Mukherjee sometime soon”, he said to himself and also did that. Now on Shekhar’s world changed forever, there were characters, characters and more characters, plots, sub-plots, excitement, depression, tears, laughter, children, oldies, young & beautiful girls, handsome hunks, love stories, hate stories, revenge stories, horror stories what not. He started writing day in and day out with thought tickling in his mind, “ My passion is going to reach people, I will be a published author, people will read my stories, I will be next Ruskin Bond…media interviews, channel bytes, royalty, cheques…what not”, real romantic stuff. But what is life without some romance? He questioned.

Now began the seemingly unending struggle with my inner self. I was forever surrounded by my characters, stories, never enjoying empty moment, but I loved it. In nearly two month’s time I was ready with his collection of stories titled: Life’s Like That.

Shekhar, the bundle of nerves, reached Dehradoon with print outs of his story collection in tow, dressed in maroon Ikat kurta and pyjama and jhola which was his constant companion. On the first look Ms Mukherjee looked like typical editor, glasses, saree, without make-up, coffee mug in one hand and phone on another on which she was talking in chaste Bangla. Her first look at me and…I was gone, her look was so clinical, analytical, critical towards me as author (???) and person. But editors must be like that only. She cursorily looked at my stories, removed her glasses and said, “Wait for my call, there is a waitlist”, but…I said. “ No questions please, its upto you if you want to leave your stories with me”, quipped Ms Mukherjee. With a heavy heart I moved out thinking, not even two minutes for my two months labour. Ms. Mukherjee’s nature was quite in contrast with her pretty Bong looks. Sshee even being a bong lad, I could not strike a note with Bong Mei? What’s this?

Now life had returned to dark tunnel once again…me and my stories, morning walks, music, news, ailing maa, medicines…but I loved this routine. As unexpected, I received a call from Ms Mukherjee saying that my collection of stories was short-listed and will be published by this Durga Pooja. Mine & Maa’s joy knew no bounds. “She is not that bad. Today she was sounding fine”, I said to myself.

Now onwards Ms. Mukherjee wanted a commitment of 4 stories a month and offered good remuneration. Time started moving at a pace, the life started taking shape, my stories were appreciated, earning accolades and money too. I couldn’t have asked for more. Many months passed by…now the time was ripe for some dramatic turn…& that happened too.

Maa’s condition started deteriorating and how much clichéd I may sound, she started pestering me for bringing bahu for her. In all these years, thought of marriage never crossed my mind. Am I being true to myself, not really, I thought of Nandini many times, spoke to her at some intervals but I knew I was not a husband material – Shaadi Shuda types, hen-pecked husband. I ruled out that option and told Maa, “You just be fine. I am happy this way only”.

But I was not ready for this twist. One stormy night I received a phone call from Ms. Tara Mukherjee saying, “I am coming tomorrow morning with BBC Crew for your interview in your surroundings as a budding story teller – La Ruskin Bond. Be prepared for the shoot, interview, indoors, outdoors etc.”, I hung up the phone without any question. Unbelievable! Incredible but Life’s Like that!

Lights, Camera, Action…shoot had started. BBC team was very professional and friendly at the same time; they put me at ease before starting the shoot. It all looked like a dream…maa super-excited calling my mama in Cooch Behar, West Bengal telling about the film shooting & she did not forget to mention, “Onek Bhaalo Mei…” Tara Mukherjee. Amidst all this I noticed that Tara had struck a bond with maa. She accompanied her in the kitchen and helped her in kitchen giving her apt inputs from time to time. After finishing the shoot, team left but Tara stayed back on maa’s insistence as she had planned a dinner for her. May be she was missing Beti & Bahu in her life.
“Maa! You cooked all this? I nearly screamed looking at the multi-course Bengali cuisine comprising of Loochi, Chor-chudi, pomphret fry, hilsa fish curry, steamed rice…mishit doi as dessert. My jaws dropped, “From where you got the energy to cook all this, you don’t cook all this for me in a month’s time”, I said complaining. Dinner was so tasty; it was over in no time.

Weather was changing its colours & so was my destiny. It was time for Tara to leave, maa asked me see her off till the Bus-Stand. As we came mid-way it started pouring heavily, so much so that we had to take refuge in a school’s watchman’s cabin where Thapa was busy listening to romantic Hindi songs. I wondered, “ How can a Thapa – Watchman like romantic songs”? Leave it, let him enjoy. I noticed the expression on Tara’s face which changed from the editor of the morning to young women in the evening. Her red saree, completely drenched was bothering her, her hair wet were troubling her, and her heart…I don’t know. Two intellectually charged individuals were trapped in an romantically charged setting with song playing in the backdrop, “Roop tera mastana…”, but nothing could be done except being victim of the setting.

Suddenly heavy lightening struck and Tara drew herself close, very close to me. Calm, drenched, anxious, terrified …all expressions were simultaneously crossing her face. For the first time, I was so close to a woman where I could hear her heart beats. It was pouring, thundering, lightening, it seems nature had conspired to put us in this setting…I could see her developing feelings for me, after all I was young, handsome, intelligent & author, probably she had known me through my stories.

My hands were about to clasp her waist…rains suddenly slowed down. What two of us felt that night is unbelievable…very filmy! Suddenly I saw bus lights for Dehradoon flashed and in no time she vanished from my sight without uttering a word. Only the night was witness to what we said to each other.

For the first time I did not want to write the story on this, as it very was close to my heart. I did not want to share probably, my feelings too had changed but.

Tara did not return to Shekhar till …

Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ Blogadda #celebrate Blogging

Read next part of the story Chapter 5 here:

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Finding Fanny associates with Goa Tourism as destination partner

Goa Tourism is roped in as the destination partner for the English- Hindi satirical Bollywood movie Finding Fanny scheduled to be released soon. With the movie plot surrounded by 5 dysfunctional and contrasting characters set in a village of Goa, the State’s tourism body was chosen to be the perfect destination partner keeping in mind Goa is the world’s only tourist destination that has the maximum contrasts in the smallest geographical space.

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Honorable Minister for Tourism, Mr. Dilip Parulekar said, “Goa being just 3702 in size, offers many contrasting experiences in the space of an hour which no other destination in the world can offer in such a small space. Goa Tourism was looking for a perfect partner to launch this new brand positioning and we found the perfect match in Finding Fanny where there are five contrasting characters looking for Fanny in the land of contrasts!”

GTDC association with Finding Fanny press conference

Goa Tourism has recently undergone a brand make over to encapsulate the State’s contrasting rich tangible heritage which is in the form of forts, temples, churches, natural beauty and even richer intangible heritage in the various forms of dances, music, traditions and culture. The State’s new identity is an Ambigram that appears the same from either side and in this case, captures the contrasts within the same geographical space. The other unique feature being a dynamic logo, making Goa the third place in the world to use dynamic logos. The colors of the logo will change based on seasonality and focus of the state.
Goa Tourism also has a new brand line which is the world’s first dynamic tourism brand line – kenna, which means sometimes. The word ‘kenna’ makes it the first ‘Kin-glish’ line brand Goa has had, setting it apart from all the other brands. It can be used to bring contrasts such as kenna romance, kenna adventure; kenna rough, kenna smooth; kenna slow, kenna fast; kenna calm, kenna clamour; kenna party, kenna safari; kenna classic, kenna modern, etc.

Mr. Nilesh Cabral, Chairman, GTDC said, “We have launched a facebook contest on Finding Fanny where people can participate by giving their thoughts on what they think of Goa’s contrast through the word kenna. The winners will win a 3 nights, 4 days stay in

oa and a chance to meet the cas

t of the movie in addition to free tickets, etc.”


Mr. Nikhil Desai, MD, GTDC said “Goa Tourism has embarked upon professional destination marketing as a part of brand building exercise. We found that the film Finding Fanny which has been extensively shot in Goa represents the correct brand fit and portrays the fun loving character of Goans. The film has also managed to showcase a completely new side of Goa which made it an exciting proposition for us to associate with the concept of the movie”.


Finding Fanny is an off the wall, comical story about a bunch of oddballs who venture out to find Stefanie Fernandes (Fanny); in the process they discover a strange sense of solace and love amongst each other, and end up seeing a point to their previously pointless lives. The movie is directed by Homi Adajania and stars Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapur.

Finding Fanny released on September 12, 2014. Produced by Maddock Films, the film is being presented by Fox Star Studios. Earning great reviews in media and being loved by classes and masses alike. If you can’t go and catch Fenny in Goa then catch Fanny in multiplexes near you.

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi readying for Make Over!

Indeed great news!

Recently came across a news item in Business Standard titled: On Again, Off Again which caught my fancy…Lo & Behold it turned out to be of interest to me. It mentioned about one of my favourite tourist destinations – Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, situated in the heart of India’s foremost shopping and commercial hub – Connaught Place, New Delhi. The news item read: The Archaeological Survey of India has given its nod for renovation of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. The project which was slated to begin in 2007, will try to restore the fading marking on the astronomical instruments inside the observatory. These have been gradually destroyed with pedestrian movement and tourist activity in the area. It’s great news for all of us!

I could not resist providing my account of my recent visit to Jantar Mantar with my family in April this year. My daughter Tanyaa had special interest in visiting Jantar Mantar as she is the only one in the family to understand the astronomical signs and it evinced great interest in her. My husband Mukund was keener on visiting the place as he wanted to visit the place where AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal did all his dharnas. It was early morning trip to Jantar Mantar when sun was just rising and lawns looked lush green and awesome. We could feel that some of the astronomical signs had faded as compared to Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, surprisingly my daughter mentioned this to me.


So to begin with why it is called Jantar Mantar? Jantar means yantra (instruments) and Mantar means formulae. Actually both these words are from Sanskrit language. Jantar Mantar contains 13 architectural astronomy instruments. You would be aware that Maharaj Jai Singh was king of Jaipur and he has built total 5 monuments in India. Jantar Mantar is one of those Monuments of India which was built by Maharaj Jai Singh.

Maharaj Jaisingh noticed that present astronomical instruments are too small for taking accurate measurement. And because of this, he built very large and accurate instruments which are known as Jantar Mantar. In 1724 Jantar Mantar was constructed in stone and marbles. The Ram yantra, The samrat Yantra, Jayprakash yantra and The mishra yantras are the distinct instruments of Jantar Mantar.
There are three instruments within the observatory of Jantar Mantar in New Delhi: the Samrat Yantra, the Jayaprakash, and the Misra Yantra.
Samrat Yantra: The Samrat Yantra, or Supreme Instrument, is a giant triangle that is basically an equal hour sundial. It is 70 feet high, 114 feet long at the base, and 10 feet thick. It has a 128-foot-long (39 m) hypotenuse that is parallel to the Earth’s axis and points toward the North Pole. On either side of the triangle is a quadrant with graduations indicating hours, minutes, and seconds. At the time of the Samrat Yantra’s construction, sundials already existed, but the Samrat Yantra turned the basic sundial into a precision tool for measuring declination and other related coordinates of various heavenly bodies.

Jayaprakash Yantra: The Jayaprakash consists of hollowed out hemispheres with markings on their concave surfaces. Crosswires were stretched between points on their rim. From inside the Ram, an observer could align the position of a star with various markings or a window’s edge.

Misra Yantra: The Misra Yantra was designed as a tool to determine the shortest and longest days of the year. It could also be used to indicate the exact moment of noon in various cities and locations regardless of their distance from Delhi – quite remarkable! The Mishra yantras were able to indicate when it was noon in various cities all over the world and was the only structure in the observatory not invented by Jai Singh II.

This unique observatory was completed in 1724 and remained operational only for seven years. Astronomical observations were regularly made here and these observations were used for drawing up a new set of tables, later compiled as Zij Muhammad Shahi dedicated to the reigning monarch. Jai Singh named his observatory Jantar Mantar (actually Yantra Mantra, yantra for instrument and mantra for formula).

Spurred on by the completion of the first Jantar Mantar and with a view to verifying astronomical observations made at Delhi, Jai Singh built similar, if smaller observatories, at other important Indian cities-Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain, and Mathura.

The Jantar Mantar in Delhi is often projected in travel books, brochures, on postage stamps and was the logo of the 1982 Asian Games. The Jantar Mantar shows that the spirit of scientific enquiry was not dead in India and would have yielded rich results if only an opportunity had been given to it to fructify. The Jantar Mantar on the Parliament Street remains one of the most intriguing structures of the capital, one that explodes in a burst of questions in the mind of the inquisitive tourist.

Tourists can reach the Jantar Mantar in many ways. They can either take local buses from various points within the city to reach this monument, which is located in Connaught Place, the heart of the city, or they can hire auto-rickshaws and taxis for the purpose. One can take buses from the bus termini located at Kashmere Gate and Sarai Kale Khan to reach this monument. Local guided tours conducted by Delhi Tourism and private operators covers this important monument.

Must in your interinery, when you are next in Delhi, Now Arvind Kejriwal can rejoice, he can continue his dharnas on a new look Jantar Mantar.

Malaysia: Come Home for a Holiday

Picture yourself waking up by the serene mountains, soaking in the hot springs, long evening walks along the sea, feeling the sand between your toes and watching the sunset by the water. If you plan to relax after a stressful career or  are just planning to take a break from the monotony of life, Malaysia is the destination for all that your leisure checklist comprises.

From youth to retirees, people are devoting ample amount of time for their leisure and relaxation needs and opting for a new settlement, overseas. Keeping in mind such changes and trends in lifestyle, Government of Malaysia has initiated ‘The Malaysia My Second Home Program (MM2H)’.  Initially catering to foreigners who are seeking for a long term social visit in Malaysia, the programme now welcomes foreigners to reside and retire with a social visit pass in Malaysia.

The MM2H programme is becoming increasingly popular amongst the foreigners who plan to settle overseas, primarily because of the various facilities and privileges offered to them. Under the social visit pass, which is often for a period of 10 years and renewable, participants can travel freely in and out of Malaysia.  They are entitled to own property, purchase cars, apply for domestic help and avail education facilities for their children upto a certain age. Many people prefer continuing with work or investing in the career of their choice, all of which is facilitated under this programme.  A participant can register a business or opt for a part time employment in Malaysia as well.

Malaysia is bustling with tourists all around the year and even a period of 10 years falls short to discover this beautiful country entirely. Over this social visit to Malaysia, the participants can closely witness various cultures and their customs, participating in one of many workshops of the local tribes in Sarawak, East Malaysia. They can experience an array of adventurous activities, from trekking through the pristine rainforests or a boat tour of the mangroves in Langkawi. Over the weekends, one can escape into a luxurious lifestyle of Johor Bahru or simply head to Sunway Lagoon theme park in KL. For a day of thrills and fun, take a tour to Sipadan Island and discover the treasure trove of some of the most amazing wildlife species. Truly said, Malaysia is a land of endless opportunities and a treat to the eyes for everyone who visits.


“For the past two consecutive years, Malaysia is the third best country to emigrate after Nicaragua and Panama, ranked by international living Inc. We look forward to welcome our friends from overseas to come and experience the unparalleled hospitality in Malaysia and feel at home”, says Mr. Manoharan Periasamy, Director-Tourism Malaysia, India.

You can expect fresh air, clean water and a relaxing lifestyle as well as first-world health care, modern infrastructure and friendly locals who speak English. Malaysia offers numerous options and reasons to retire from the hustle bustle of daily life. There’s no need to rush because you don’t need to be anywhere or accomplish your targets by a certain time.

Savor a quality life, come home to Malaysia.

 About Tourism Malaysia India


Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, popularly known as Tourism Malaysia, was established to promote Malaysia as a top-of-mind tourist destination showcasing Malaysia’s unique wonders, attractions and cultures; develop domestic tourism and enhance Malaysia’s share of the market for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE). Tourism Malaysia’s objective is to promote Malaysia as an outstanding tourist destination and make the tourism industry a major contributor to the socio-economic development of the nation. In India, Tourism Malaysia offices are conveniently located in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.

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 In 2014, Malaysia celebrates its fourth VISIT MALAYSIA YEAR (VMY) with the theme “Celebrating 1Malaysia Truly Asia”. The VMY 2014 promotional campaign has started this year with a series of year-long special events and activities leading to VMY 2014. It will contribute to the Government’s target to receive 36 million tourist arrivals and RM168 billion in receipts by 2020, as outlined in the Malaysia Tourism Transformation Plan (MTTP) 2020.


Great Indian Travel Bazaar returns next year in Jaipur

After a hiatus of one year the well- known inbound tourism mart, the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) will now return to Jaipur. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Department of Tourism and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in Jaipur.


As per the MoU, GITB will be organized jointly by FICCI and the tourism department for the next five years beginning 2015 to 2019 to be held in the month of April. Alike the past, it will be actively supported by Union Tourism Ministry, Indian Heritage Hotel Association (IHHA), Hotel & Restaurant Association of Rajasthan (HRAR) and Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO).


GITB, which began in 2008, became an increasingly popular B2B inbound tourism mart in the country. A large number of tour operators, travel agents and travel writers were visiting Jaipur for the event. GITB was to the tourism industry what the Jaipur literature festival was for litterateurs.

After the first edition of GITB an MOU was signed between FICCI and the department of tourism for five years. “GITB was a concept suggested by FICCI and the name was jointly registered between the two. The then minister tourism Bina Kak announced at GITB 2013’s inaugural ceremony that the seventh edition of GITB would be organized in Jaipur in 2014 and the dates would be announced in due time. But thereafter the MoU was not renewed by the Gehlot government and the 2014 event had to be cancelled.

“GITB had established itself as the most important travel mart in North India during the six years. It had become especially important for small and standalone hotels of Rajasthan which cannot afford to attend international travel marts. I am glad it is being organized again from next year,” said Randhir Vikram Singh Mandawa, general secretary of Indian Heritage Hotels Association.