The Scorpios

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Monday, August 08, 2016

My guest post on Kiran's blog

Making Every Word Count

The journey of a writer perhaps begins with the first alphabet that one writes, haltingly, painstakingly, with a hopeful parent or a no-nonsense teacher holding and guiding the hand. Each day of the hallowed journey teaches a new word and the discovery of these exciting words provides an inexplicable delight. Slowly but surely as the love for the written word sets in deeper, a wordsmith is born.


My interview at Writerstory

What inspired you to start writing?I have always been fascinated with the beauty of words, the way they sound when read or spoken, themanner in which each word is a concept in itself and how a single word here or there could create a sea change in the implication of a sentence. In school, I loved writing short stories in English tests and wrote a few articles for my school magazine. I never imagined that ordinary people like us can write books but when I saw a lot of friends publish books, I thought I must try my hand at it too. 

Read more at 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

40 point plan revisited

Just revisited my 40 point plan that I had done 8 years ago and I am quite surprised to see that I have achieved quite a bit of that and also that many of them are not relevant now to me.

1. Lose excess kilos- I know it is not a SMART goal but then we don't want to announce our weight in public right! DAMN
2. Travel - atleast 1 country in each continent- DAMN only done Europe
3. Try my hand at entrepreneurship- culminating the ideas I have in mind like -DAMN not so very relevant though as I don't really want to do it
4. Write a book/ story/ publish something atleast and make money out of it- Ah, one thing I can cross out from my list but not the money making part! KUDOS
5. Drive something other than a small car, like, err, a bigger car KUDOS
6. Become an ace interior decorator for my home and change it's look from its current state of storm ravaged wasteland homely look and get the garden shipshape KUDOS though not become an ace decorator
7. Teach/atleast do guest lectures DAMN
8. Take a sabbatical DAMN
9. Highlight/ Streak my hair DAMN
10. Take a holiday with my husband (yes, it is a rarity for me- only 1 so far and I am in the 5th year of my marriage) (sob) DAMN
11. Become an expert cook rather than a random, tentative, no frills cook- develop a fairly extensive repertoire of recipes and menu items (again goal not SMART enough because I really don't know how many I can do but I will know when I am fairly equipped to cross out this item from my list) DAMN got myself a cook
12. Experiment with different cuisines and continue to make them on a regular basis rather than one off kinds DAMN got myself a cook
13. Visit my birth place (Scotland) oh what the hell DAMN
14. Start celebrating festivals the way it has to be done setting a good example to the kids  DAMN
15. Buy jewelry for myself (on a regular basis instead of just doing gold coins) KUDOS and outgrown it also
16. Start wearing sari on a regular basis to work -ah KUDOS
17. Go to theatre/ concert (never done it) (shame)- KUDOS KUDOS
18. Learn Western dance- DAMN
19. Re start music lessons (?) KUDOS AND DAMN  stopped, got it out of my system
20. Have our own house rather than a poky flat- DAMN, and KUDOS we have a non poky flat though
21. Change my furniture- KUDOS
22. Institute 5-S in my home - already started the Seiri (Sort & Throw)- KUDOS
23. Go to atleast 1 or 2 non English speaking country after learning the (basic/ functional) language- KUDOS but never learned the language
24. Go in a helicopter DAMN what was I thinking
25. Learn to Control my Temper KUDOS
26. Job related ******censored****** KUDOS
27. See the Himalayas DAMN
28. Go for a couple massage with Hubby off course KUDOS but no bid deal. different rooms!
29. Send my parents abroad- The sibling did so KUDOS
30. See the Taj with Hubby & Kids KUDOS
31. Travel in Palace on Wheels DAMN and not relevant now
32. Learn to bake 5 - 10 varieties of cakes- KUDOS
33. Learn 5 different chicken recipes and make them on a regular basis KUDOS but I got a cook
34. Restart playing kalaeidoscope KUDOS and DAMN stopped again
35. Do combined puzzles with the kids (as soon as they are old enough- incl crossword, jumble, kalaiedoscope, jigsaw) DAMN
36. Start playing Monopoly & Scrabble with the kids also Carrom (though I am lousy at it) DAMN
37. Read more authors than the usual (already started) KUDOS
38. Visit all the Indian States esp North East, and North- done with Bihar, UP, MP, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Gujarat, Orissa, West Bengal, Andhra, Goa...a loooong way to go but kya kare bad luck hi kharab hai DAMN but did a lot of travel
digression- I always though I would be taking annual dream holidays post marriage but that has never happened! KUDOS
39. Get a makeover done and do it regularly- basically be an aunty "maal" - learn how to do a proper make up - get funky glasses, multiple ear rings, no made up look, hair style, eye shadows, eye liners, the works added to my just lipstick look. KUDOS somewhat
40. Turn 40 in style - KUDOS

Score- 23 Kudos
21 Damn

Monday, May 23, 2016

Spook Me Out contest for Face at the Window

"If you drive across that stretch of road in the night, you will sometimes see a spirit. They are white and translucent shapes floating away. They don't harm anyone. You need to just stop the car and let it pass. What do you think ITW? Do you agree with me? If we leave them alone, they will pass without harming us right?"

I was at a great loss when I was asked this question for according to me, every question warrants an answer but I could however neither agree nor disagree with his statement so was wondering what my appropriate response should be. So I just decided to show my ignorance- "I would not know because I have never encountered a ghost before."  Privately I often thought that this ghostly white translucent shapes are totally stereotypes. Do ghosts not love colour?

Having said that, I wouldn't know of an encounter from the sinister, spiritual realm considering I  never take risks, being the kind of person who always prefers to stay in the safe zone.

And that means, I will hold on carefully to any support when I enter the toilet in a rapidly moving train, will not venture out in the dark and will not enter spooky looking places like dark alleys and caves- entrances of which could easily be closed by ghosts. I would say the best student that Mad eyed Moody could have would be me because I take very seriously his mantra of "Constant Vigilance" and am rarely caught in an unguarded moment. And in the rare cases when the husband manages to startle me with a sudden "bhow" sound, my survival instinct kicks in and I scream the hell out.

Therefore I am sure that even ghosts and poltergeists are wary of making an appearance before me for fear of being spooked out by my ear splitting screams.

Perhaps the scariest horror shows that I have seen on TV was Kile kaa rahasya. On hind sight it was more of a comedy than a scary thing because of the weird nature of the ghosts that would get revealed in the end. One would feel more sorry for the so called ghosts than be scared of them. Even then, just the memory of the intended spooky scenes would ensure that at the end of the show, my sister and I raced each other to run out of the TV room to the bedroom because the last one out of the TV room will have to switch the TV off, put out the lights and take that walk through the dark hallway to the bedroom. Very scary and spooky indeed. 

But this contest demands I talk about my spooky experiences and hence what may appear to other daredevils as the mildest of spooky experiences needs to be narrated here because well, spooky is spooky- one cannot measure it by any scale of reference.

One winter afternoon, I stepped out of my college hostel into a park for studying and as it often happens to people walking or sitting under large trees, I found myself being suddenly blessed by a well meaning crow. There was a small shed in the corner of the park and I got inside it to wash off the smelly crow poop at the tap. I was engrossed in cleaning up the poop in the darkened shed and suddenly the door shut behind me. Not thinking much I tried pushing the door back and to my shock the door had been bolted. As far as I recall I had taken just a few seconds to try opening the door and looking out of the tiny window of the shed. However I could see no one around except for a solo woman in the distance clearing the grass in the park. I screamed out to her hoping fervently that she was not hard of hearing. But apparently she was and she could not hear me. In those few moments I wondered what would happen to me because no one would have imagined that I could be inside the shed even if they eventually notice that I was missing. I began to feel claustrophobic and terribly scared. May be about five-six screams later, a man came and unbolted the door of the tiny shed and I stepped out in relief. However the man did not fall in my target group hence I decided not to fall on him in relief and just settled with thanking him profusely for letting me out.
To this date, I cannot fathom who locked me inside. Whether it was the same man who did it to play a prank or whether it was someone else, I have no idea but even today, a vague flash of memory of those few minutes spook me out.

This post in my entry for #TheFaceAtTheWindow Miami Blues Contest. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

On Hindi answers

Plate mein woh pearl kaa Hindi lekar

Monday, December 21, 2015

Of notes in tiffin

So the children now say that they are missing me so they need me to write a note everyday for their tiffin box.

A new milestone ?

Well I am trying to make hay while sun shines. And have been sending them riddles and word games.
Mean mom me

Saturday, December 19, 2015


Seeing him ready for school, sleep deprived Mamma sitting in the darkened living room - dadda, Ojas is ready
Tejas- in a correct yourself voice - Tejas.....

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Mosquitoes Out, Dengue Out ....All Out

Not just Payal, Save your family from Dengue. There are many people especially children like Payal who are vulnerable to catching dengue. Dengue is a deadly fever that can result in hospitalisation and even death. Payal has joined forces to help people in preventing and treating dengue. Youc an also pledge your action to prevent dengue.


The most important thing to be done to reduce the incidents of dengue is to remove the breeding grouds for disease causing mosquitoes and therefore stop them from spreading the deadly dengue.

Mosquitoes breed in standing water hence it is extremely important to allow the draining of water that gets collected during the rains.

- standing water
- discarded water tanks
- plastic cups, coconut shells, empty bottles, ant traps, tree holes, drums for water storage, cans, jars- any discarded object that can collect water
- blocked roof, tarpoline roofs
- discarded tyres, toilet tanks
-vases, flower pot
-plant sheaths like banana

- change standing water in flower vases and pots every alternate day
- Do not collect water in pails and buckets in the house.
- empty your kitchen sink of collected water in the vessels
-Clear water blockages of roofs/ in drains
-Empty dustbins everyday
- Cover toilet lids when going on a vacation


One must cover the exposed parts of the body with mosquito repellant lotion so that the dengue mosquitoes that are active during the day do not get the opportunity to bite people.

An early action can reduce the chances of people succumbing to dengue.


It pays to be alert to the symptoms of dengue...

· -Fever 40 degrees C

· -Weakness, headache, body pain. red spotson skin.

· Rush the patient to the hospital in cases of -

· -Vomiting, bleeding, abdominal pain, cold hands and feet, blue lips or drop in pressure.


Since prevention is better than cure, it helps to use products that will prevent the incidents of the disease causing mosquito bites.

All Out® is a complete line of pest control products that can be effectively used as a repellent to dengue spreading mosquitoes.

Liquid Electrics

Provide hours of continuous mosquito protection for you and your family.

All Out® Power Slider allows you to adjust the intensity depending upon the number of mosquitoes.

One could keep this switched on to prevent mosquitoes from entering the room.

In case mosquitoes have entered the room, use aerosols.


Kill flies and mosquitoes on contact, including mosquitoes that may be carrying dengue.

All Out® Flying Insect Killer kills mosquitoes and houseflies without the harsh smell of traditional insecticides and leave behind a lavender scent.

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Protect rooms in your home from mosquitoes without the use of electricity.
All Out® Anti-Dengue Coils help protect your family from mosquitoes that may transmit dengue.

For those moments when you wish to enjoy the outdoors, use repellent creams, because children should not be kept indoors.

Repellent Lotions

Provide effective mosquito protection so you can enjoy an outdoor life.

All Out® OFF! Personal Repellent feels light on your skin and repels mosquitoes for up to 6 hours.


- You can join the education campaign to help people understand how to prevent dengue

- You can share information on how dengue fever is caused and why it is important to prevent mosquitoes from breeding

- Educate people to use mosquitoes nets, prevent entry of mosquitoes at home and to use repellents like All Out

- Arrange for blood platelets

-participate in Blood donation program to support with emergency blood

-financial help- to help buy blood

- spread the word- form communities that spread the word for call for help for blood.

- be active in the education of people- do not just tell

- partcipate in cleanliness programs

Give a missed call to 1800180181818 to and join us in the eradication of dengue

Read more on the All Out site-

SC Johnson, the makers of All Out® products, is a leading global maker of household products. A family company since 1886, SC Johnson opened its India office in 2005. The company is dedicated to driving awareness and prevention for mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever in India. All Out® is SC Johnson’s main pest control brand in the Indian market. Through their efforts, SC Johnson hopes to educate communities on the disease while also providing tips on prevention and self-protection.

Go on, Pledge your support to eradicate dengue. Educate the people around you. Remove stagnant water. Use repellents and fight against dengue effectively.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Meet Alex Rutherford

> Meet Alex Rutherford- the authors of the Empire of the Mughal Series
> Alex Rutherford is the pen name of Diana Preston and her husband
> Michael. Both studied at Oxford University reading History and English
> respectively. They are keen travelers and have now clocked up visits
> to over 140 of the world's countries. So far 3 books of the series
> have been published the latest being- Ruler of the World.
> 1. How did it all begin? Your fascination with Mughal History and the
> will to convert it into a series?
> A. It all began about 25 years ago when we first visited India and looked at
> the Moghul architecture and motivated to look at some of the history that
> laid behind it. Our interest then intensified when we wrote a non-fiction
> book about the Taj Mahal and the background to it. we then decided the
> historical Fiction format would allow us to get into the minds and
> motivations of some of the great characters and personalities that inhabit
> our stories. Such a great saga couldn't be contained in one book, hence the
> quintet.
> 2. The Mughal History is a vast ocean in itself. Compressing it into
> books must have been a mammoth task. How do you go about the process
> of assimilating and sifting through the wide variety of information
> available? What is the rule of thumb you use while selecting what goes
> in and what does not?
> A. We try to read as many of the chronicles and accounts as possible and
> then to remove those things, although interesting in themselves, do not
> contribute to a strong storyline. An example of this is that we've only had
> limited opportunities to mention Akbar's interest in arts and cultures and
> in the next book in the series, we won't have space to go into too much into
> detail about Jehangir's scientific interests. Also, we omit many subsidiary
> stories about rebellions and subsidiary campaigns. If I recall correctly,
> Akbar's chronicler says that there were 144 rebellions against him during
> his reign, non successful of course, but several with interesting stories
> which we didn't have time to cover.
> 3. Akbar's rule was the longest of all Mughal rulers, apart from
> Aurangzeb who ruled for as many number of years. It is not a surprise
> that the book on Akbar is voluminous. But this book gives as much
> importance to Prince Salim. Was that consciously done because Salim
> loses most of his ruling years in the shadow of his father? Will the
> next book focus more on Salim or on both Salim and Khurram- the
> favourite grandchild of Akbar who is seen as being groomed for the
> role in Book 3?
> A. We thought it important to look at both Akbar's outstanding successes as
> an Emperor, but also some of the problems in his relationships within his
> family, for example, his chief chronicler Abu Faizal said that Akbar loved
> his grandsons more than his sons and this prompted us to try to see him
> through the eyes of both of his son and his grandson. The next book which is
> in the final stage of editing will indeed explore the relationship between
> Salim and Khurram and we hope to show a little of how this was influenced by
> their relationship with Akbar.
> 4. Akbar is the most familiar of all Mughal rulers among all-
> including children. The familiarity arises with the numerous tales of
> the nine jewels- Navaratnas of Akbar's court- especially Birbal that
> we have grown up with. It was quite surprising that there is no
> mention of the Navratnas/ Birbal at all in the book.
> A. We hope we've shown Akbar's religious tolerance which was outstanding in
> an age when Europeans were fighting and persecuting each other because of
> their belief in different sects of Christianity. The reason for not covering
> some of the most famous Navratans one of space and keeping a strong
> storyline, focused on a few characters. It would be a wonderful thought to
> be able to write about the Navratans in a future occasions.
> 5. How many more books are in the offing before the series conclude?
> Two and possibly a third.
> When is the next book coming in the market?
> A. Next year.
> 6. The Mughal Rulers has at least one fascinating aspect- be it love
> for religion, astronomy or the arts. Each of them has contributed to
> the Indian culture in their own way. With Akbar we had an elaborate
> understanding of his religious learning. What awaits us in the next
> books?
> A. With Jehangir, we will look at as far as space allows at his contribution
> to sciences and the arts. With Shah Jahan, it would be both architecture and
> his love of painting and also jewels. A French Jeweller who visited him in
> court described him as an outstanding gemologist. Some of Shah Jahan's
> happiest times were in Kashmir, just as were Jehangir's, where for example,
> Shah Jahan built a black marble edifice which may have been a precursor of
> the counterparting black Taj Mahal which he might have had in mind for
> himself but of course being imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb he never had an
> opportunity to put it in practice.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shopping at in the comfort of your home

A shopping trip without moving away from the home can be best done at an online site like jabong
Creating a profile 

I logged on to and quickly made a profile for which I was given some free vouchers for posterity 

The profile creation was simple enough with a verification required. Not too many details were needed and that is a blessing.

Shopping on jabong
The first step was to shortlist a brand which would be the most simple to buy.
I chose from below because these are the shirts that my kids have worn earlier so I kind of know what would be the sizes that are good to pick up.

This being my first time on jabong  it took me  a few minutes to get used to the site but I liked the speed at which it sorted basis my choice of brands and age group and gender that I selected. However it was a little tricky because when I selected boys, age 11-14 and the above three brands I ended up with two choices.  I had to put in a broader age group choice to get more brands. 
But once I had figured out the way of doing it the process was smooth. There was a good choice of brands and designs and I loved the fact that the stuff were heavily discounted. Multiple views were given and the quick view helped doing back and forth with ease.


What I did not like 

The sorting by price was not very efficient.
However the moment I clicked on a larger size the price increased so it was not showing the price of clothes as per my size but the lowest price across age ranges which sort of frustrated me as I would like to have a quicker shopping experience.

What did I buy

I selected two shirts for the boys from gini&jony
The shirts were Rs 899 each but discounted to Rs 539 so I paid a few Rs extra including a small amount for tax. The order process was smooth and quick and I got a quick confirmation on my purchase.
The package 
I got an immediate confirmation and the package arrived today taking 48 hours to reach me which is quite good in terms of speed because in the days of instant gratification one wants to have what one purchased immediately.

See below the goodies. 

The shirts are pure cotton and good however I expected slightly better quality and smoothness of fabric considering it is a reputed brand and the original price is as high as an adult shirt. 

The acid test would be a few machine washes and I will update the post as soon as it passes those test stages.