Words do matter.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent
about things that matter~ martin luther king
Words heal..
Words reassure..
Words express...

Sheroes meet in Chandigarh



Thanks to Blogadda I had the chance to attend the Sheroes meet in Chandigarh on 8th November at Shivalik View, sector 17. I know it’s pretty late but whether late than never.

So here goes my experience of the day.

Anticipation:
I hadn't heard anything about Sheroes by then, so appropriately was quite apprehensive about what to expect there. I did my googling but being as dumb as I am, I couldn't still predict what to expect.

Approach:
Approaching the destination wasn't a hassle at all, for one being a Chandigarhian there rarely a place we find hard to reach in 15 min, secondly Sheroes in collaboration with UBER was offering free rides to and fro to Shivalik View.


Event:
Once there, there were supervisors at all the points from the entrance to the hall, letting know of the directions. Signing in on the register, we were directed towards seats.


The event comprised of various speakers putting up there stories about their entrepreneur journeys. First speaker was Sairee Chahal.


Who also was head person of the event. She told little about her own story and starting of Sheroes. How they started this aiming to empower women by bringing them together giving them resources and knowledge to go up on their ladder of finding themselves.


Second one was Tavleen mehendiratta. I particularly liked her funny presentation that underlined the matter of heavy traffic in Delhi and increasing carbon emission. that when she herself is Technology evangelist- someone who goes out tell people what car to buy :D


Next we had the four guest speakers who were interviewed by Sairee about their life story, initiation of their works and the current status of their individual entrepreneurship.




Last one being my own friend Srishti Kush going up on the stage who joined Sheroes with Sairee and brought it to Chandigarh. 

And there was my other ex-classmate Vanya Kaushik who was there as the person behind the curtain, who was helping to make all the work go smooth as butter. 


This is where I wrap up by telling you all what all was there by cunningly escaping t=from spelling out what actually did ;) Because you had to be there to listen to those motivational talks and be part of the group.

Book review : God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian


I had the pleasure of reading God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian. 

Thank you Blogadda for sending me this book as a part of book review program..


The cover graphically asks a question “Is Revenge a Crime?” Once you start reading the book, you discover only crimes but no revenge. So is it deceiving?
Nope, hold your fire till you reach the end of the book. It fires up slow with seemingly unconnected events happening in distinct parts of the world. Every chapter adds layers to narrative, slowly building up the tension and the mystery. Initially the plot takes time to build up but during the second half the book you can’t put it down even if you want to. And when you think it’s the end, wait for the last page. It will twist everything once more! For a person like me with no knowledge of finance it took time to be understood in the starting, in grasping the technical terms related to banking; else it’s a smooth read moving through the ups and downs of the corporate world.

Individuals and their private lives aren’t much communicated for the reader to connect to any person but portrayal is enough for the story to move quickly leaving the details to reader’s imagination.

Books seems to be a well-researched; relating to a few real life happenings too. It introduces the reader to fairly new concept of bitcoins. All the essential information is nicely incorporated through the discussions so the reader doesn’t feels confused or runs a Google search for each new term that comes up (though I still did to have a better understanding on the go).

It doesn’t create a world of its own but holding the reader in reality, it demonstrates what all happens in the world not-so-known. It perfectly blends up various colours of the corporate world. Casual revelations about the personal lives of the characters amazes the reader. It covers everything- love, lies, murders, cons, dishonour, schemes, corruptions, theft and VENGEANCE! The book is, hence, a seamless blend of fact and fiction.

In a single line I would say: A brilliant read after a long time. A page turner.

My rating : 4.5 out of 5

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

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers (Part 29 of the story)

Read first part here and previous part here.

-O-



It had been half hour since they were travelling towards Ferozeshah Kotla stadium. All were silent except the one unmasked terrorist who kept holding his satellite phone and kept calling "Karachi 42 come in" whole through the journey, with no answer from the opposite side.

Tara wasn't as oblivious of the confused looks that passed between the two armed men. Something was not the way they anticipated and that means it was better for them.


"What's happening?" asked the masked man.


"No reply from 'karachi 42'. I wanted to have a green signal before we started with it."


"So does that mean we are not going to be blasted in air?" This came from Tara. Quite amused to be supposedly blasted in some time.


"Don't worry! You are no time getting out alive out of this. Excited?"


"Very!" came the sarcastic reply.
With that, man went back to "Karachi 42, come in" for the rest of the journey.

-o-
Shekhar with his team were surrounding Ferozeshah Kotla stadium, waiting for 'go' command from the bomb detection squad.

Yet again, he was amazed at how his family kept getting tangled in this all chaos and then kept helping in their own rescue. Camera in Tara's shoe may have been bad at giving visuals but the audio was clear enough.


Because of that camera they were now at stadium even before the van could reach. And he planned to use the surprise element of their attack to their advantage as much as he could.


"Sir! We found 5 bombs in the stadium. The information was correct. They planned to blow this whole up. Now if they don't have any more of explosives with them in van, I guess stadium is secure."


"Are all the 5 bombs have been taken care of? Can my team now go inside? "


"Yes sir! You may proceed. "


"Go team! Go go go. Take positions. Make use of camouflage and darkness. Be my ninjas. Invisible but potent. You know what has to be done. Mark your target, keep regard of the hostages and shoot right between the eyes. No more face disfigurement. We need to be able to run their faces on facial recognition. Dismissed. "


-O-


"Is it activated now? " Aryan asked.


"What? No! You asked me to program it. Not activate it. Also I can't activate it actually. "


"Then who can? And how?"


" Just a few seconds. It's done. " The guy with spectacles and a gum in his mouth, continues playing with his keyboard some more. "Here! Say your password in your as steady voice as you can."


"Jihad ki jeet"


"Thank you. Your password is saved."


Aryan smirked. "Now tell me who can activate and deactivate it? And how?"


"Why, of course you sir! Say that while pressing this button-" he said while pointing at one yellow button on the device "- and it'll tell you it's activated or deactivated. And of course me. No one can break-in my programming except me."


"Very well. Your work here is done" One instant the computer guy was grinning, happy about himself, other instant his eyes went cold with blood oozing out of his heart.


Aryan pressed the yellow button and said carefully "Jihad ki jeet".


"Your device is now active." 

-o-

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers (Part 27 of the story)

Read the first part of the story here and the previous part  here.

-o-

 “How did it get so late so soon?” Kareem asked his school principal, sitting in the park. “How could I go so wrong, sir? When did I divert so far away from your teachings?”
“No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back.” Mr. Nair replied placing his hand on Kareem’s head. “There’s never a right time to do the wrong thing and never a wrong time to do the right thing. I have been proud of you all my life. It’s still not late, choose the right path now”
“Insha'Allah! I will sir. Now there’s nothing left to do but go back. Trace my wrong steps and make it right any way I can.”

Jennifer brushed off the solitary tear that escaped watching Kareem and Mr. Nair hug from the distance, securely hidden behind a dumpster. Her heart swelled with love for Kareem all over again. This is the one she fell for all those years ago.

-o-

“Where are you taking us?” Tara asked the masked man who stood there in van pointing his rifle at their, her and other 3 media personnel, heads.
That man just stood there glaring at them one by one.
“So, you’re not the one in lead? Or even you don’t know where that boss of yours’ is taking us to?” Tara taunted him, in spite of the fear that clutched her heart.
He still stood there silently, throwing murderous looks towards Tara particularly.
Tara would be lying if she said she wasn’t scared but not so much for her safety, she guessed there was a reason why they chose media members particularly from the crowd of hundreds of observers. She knew they needed her and her other 3 fellow members alive, for now at least.
Hell! She even day dreamed of being held hostage, if only to put her spy cam-recorder to use someday, the one tailored in her shoe. It was difficult given the situation with all their hands tied to the central pole in the centre of the van, with four of them sitting like lions in Emblem of India. She tried getting her shoe as angled towards the face of their captor as she could.
-o-
“Ustaad!” Aryan bowed in respect as he was called in to meet.
As-salamu alaykum! Kaho kya khabar hai hindustaan ki?” The voice boomed in the closed room. Unable to see the source of the voice Aryan looked around hoping to find his godfather.
“Ustaad bas akhiri maukaam aa gya hai. Humare do log is waqt research centre par kabza karte hi honge. Insha'Allah mission kamyaab ho kar hi rahega.”
“Hmmm. Insha'Allah allah tumhara saath de. Khuda Hafiz.”
“Khuda Hafiz.” Aryan bowed again and left.
-o-
Jennifer woke up dazed. Looking around she gathered she was in a hospital, but she didn’t remember coming here. She checked her wrist for time but stopped short, horrified to find blood on her hands. She didn’t remember how it got there.
A nurse came in the room, reaching for the monitors to check on Jennifer. “Excuse me. How did I come here? What happened to me?”
Nurse looked at her with sympathetic eyes. “Miss. It’s ok, you have mild concussion. You hit your head when you fainted on the road. Doctor gave you some flat Anaesthesia to keep you sedated till you recover.”
Fainted. Where did I… stunned she could now remember everything. She was waiting at the point where Kareem had asked her to meet after meeting up with the principal. She remembered waiting there for 15 minutes till someone Principal called on her phone.
“Hello! Sir?”
“Hello! Miss Ahana, is it?” Some unknown voice answered.
“Yes! Who is this?”
“Miss I am inspector Sharma, I am sorry to inform you that the person who this phone belonged to was just found dead here in an alley. I am trying to locate his relatives. Yours was the last number received on this phone. Do you know any of his relatives?”
Jennifer stood there scared-stiff. Dead. Sir? Dead. But I saw him half hour ago in the park with Kareem.
“Hello miss! Is anybody there?”
“Hello officer. Yes, yes I do know his daughter. I’ll convey the message right away.”
“Thank you miss.”
Kareem!! Dialling principal’s daughter’s number she started running back towards the park where she had last seen Kareem. But she didn’t have to run too far, not 20 feet away from where she was supposed to meet him 15 minutes ago, lay Kareem surrounded in his own blood, lifeless, limp. His face ashen, eyes closed, his hands open wide palm facing upwards.
“Kareeeeeeem! No no noooooooo!” Jennifer rushed upto where he lay. Pressing with bohe her hands over his heart, she tried giving him CPR. “Wake up! Kareem you can’t do this to me!” Pumping over and over again she kept up her tries. Wake up! Kareem we have so many wrong to be made right. Kareem! Kareem!...”
Her hands. This was Kareem’s blood. Her love, her life. Everything that now would remain incomplete… without him.
-o-
 The other terrorist who was till now engaged with the van’s driver, came into the back compartment. Tara cunningly but subtly crossed her legs in order to capture the new face in her hidden shoe cam-recorder. She’ll need it, if she survived this.
“How much more time will it take?” The masked man who stood with his rifle, asked the new entrant.
“About half an hour. This Delhi traffic! Even in the time of national crisis, these people still have got places to go!” He said in irritation and spat on the Van’s floor.
“So you knew where we are going.” Tara interjected smirking up at the masked man. Other hostages squirmed in fear, nudging Tara to stop provoking them.
Second terrorist, though not masked in fabric had a face as expressionless as a pumpkin, wearing a mask or another kind. “What is she talking about?”
“Nothing! I think she is overly excited about getting killed.” Masked man finally addressed her, almost.
“We are not killing them yet. Not until they have served their purpose. Not until we get our orders from Ustaad.”
“Where are you taking us? And why?” Tara interjected again. Pulling knees towards her shoulders.
Second man eyed her in contempt. Crouching in front of her, he regarded her with narrowed eyes. “If you really want to know, I’ll tell you.” Smiling wickedly he continued “From here we are going to reach the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium. Once there, we will make you media monkeys to jump through some hoops and then when we are done with you, we’ll blow you all up with the stadium. BOOM!”

Tara sat there gaping at him.


-o-o-


Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘
Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Book review : Private India by James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi.








I had the pleasure of reading Private India by James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi.


Thank you Blogadda for sending me this book as a part of book review program..



It was tedious 470 pages roller-coaster ride and I had my pauses in between where story seemed a bit slow. So here goes my review:


Chapter one begins with the murder of a foreign national. Private India is bidden to look into it. And before everyone knows, more bodies are found. Only females are being killed and none of them have connection with each other directly. But all of them are linked to the slayer in some way. Each victim is found the similar way, strangled with a yellow scarf and surrounded by weird religious artefacts like eggs, dolls, a bucket of water. As scary as it sounds, it is these artefacts that aid in finding the connection in the killing pattern. The entire story is set in Mumbai with abundant use of iconic places in the city. Private India goes out of their way chase the killer and end up saving the entire of Mumbai from a terror assault.


The main story is excellent. I could not guess the killer until the end. The finale was least expected and distinctive in a way of its own. Some turns looked straight out of bollywood movies. The language was a bit crude and rough. Sentences like "She had one of the best bodies he had ever had the pleasure of pleasuring" didn't sit well with me. "You bastard, what are you thinking? Why are you messing with my head?" sure is bothersome. And this occurs almost throughout the book. When the forensic expert pronounces that the bodies are all set for autopsy, the author uses the metaphor "Like a baker announcing a fresh batch of bread from his oven", was a tad bit over the edge for even roughness.


Most of the book is a descriptive, but the chapters concerning the killer are in first person. It was confusing and upsetting at the same time. At times it felt like I was reading another book all the way. Pointless angles take away the spirit of the core story, which could have been a stand out even without side plots. Involving Pakistan's ISI and Indian Mujahideen to develop a parallel plot was absurd and only made into the overflowing extra pages of the book. These side plots dampen out the actual serial killing. The intention of killings is understood and the story that follows the exposure of the killer is decent. Completely unanticipated and unique. The main plot stands out in this book, but I so wish that they had used appropriate language and diminished the side plots.


As I said earlier, book is a tedious read. It needs a lot of amends and could have easily under 250 - 300 pages, had it not been those unnecessary fillers. But at the end of the day, this one sure is an enjoyable book.



My rating : 3.5 out of 5


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

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers (Part 20 of the story)

Team Name: Story Weavers

Read the first part of the story here.
Read the previous part of the story here.

-o-


“Do you think we’ll die today?” Cyrus asked the guy next to him, quite restless now that his battery had drained out and he had nothing else to do.

“Not me for sure!” Replied the guy next to him.

“Whoa! Very confident on our destinies, are we?” Cyrus was back to scared self, all the bravery gone with the phone battery.

“I don’t believe in destinies. I believe in my skills” Replied the same guy looking straight ahead at the body of the terrorists who was shot from the window. The guy seemed somewhat agitated.

“That’s good.” Cyrus drew back from the strange guy. “It’s good to know your weak points and strong points.”

“I don’t have any weakness!!” The strange guy cried. “I can’t afford any weakness! These excuses are for people like you who don’t have any aim in life!”

Finishing off the sentence with gritted teeth he stood up in haste. One look at the Cyrus’s wide eyes made him step up to get done was needed to be done now?

Pulling up Cyrus by clutching his upper arm, He drew out his mini 9mm pistol he had in his sock. Putting it up to Cyrus’s head he motioned him towards the door.


-o-


Shekhar had his men chase the man he had seen gone just a moment ago in a flash right when he entered the hotel. He himself headed towards the predicted location of the room where hostages were held. 2 men were already taken out. He had to just go in and make sure everything was stable before he sent all the hostages to the roof for rescue team to take them off.

He stomped his foot on the door and barged is as soon the door hit the adjoining wall. “Everybody heads down and lie…” He cried out as instruction to the civilians. Coming face to face what he had least expected, he stopped mid-sentence looking at the cold eyes that looked back at him. Those known but cold eyes.

“Aryan”

“Shekhar!” Aryan smirked. “I was hoping to meet you here finally!” Aryan smiled his same wicked smile that he had seen on the vlog video. Aryan had a human shield. A tall, fair guy wearing spectacles with moppy curly hair. Aryan had his gun pointed at the guy’s temple, who was visibly shivering. “You have no idea how long I have anticipated this moment. This moment when I’ll witness the expression on your face, when you know who I am!” Aryan grinned. “Too bad! Now I’ll have to kill you.” He pointed his pistol towards Shekhar. A clicked was heard before everything went black..

-o-

Jennifer sat there in confusion as she saw the live video of what was going inside the hotel through the camera pinned in Shekhar's army cap. 
Is this the same Aryan whom Kareem mentioned? Oh my god...


-o-o-



Read the next part of the story here.



“Me and my team are participating in 
Game Of Blogs’ at BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Game of Blogs : Story Weavers (Part 4 of the story)



Team Name: Story Weavers

Read the first part of the story here.
Read the previous part of the story here.

At Hotel Continental sitting in the corner of the penthouse, Cyrus Daruwala was hyperventilating. He wished he had a paper bag to breathe in. This wasn't happening. It couldn't. He was only here to do case study on the ongoing hearings of Abdullah-Al -Asiri. This was supposed to be an easy, quick and clean case. Abdullah was the one of the culprits in 26/11 attacks. Everything was settled. Abdullah was to be sentenced tomorrow morning in Supreme Court. 
This wasn't good.

-x-

"We need to break in!" Tara said as soon as Jennifer stepped out of the Auto rickshaw.
"Yeah right. And would you like fries with that?" Jennifer replied in almost bored tone. "By the way good to see you too!"
"I am serious Jenny! We need to get inside the hotel to get what other media people can't get." Tara said frantically, shuffling on her feet.
"But you can't be serious? It's dangerous what you are talking about!" Jennifer tried reasoning with Tara, but one look said how much difficult this was going to be. "OK!  How about you don't break in yourself but let a professional or a semi-professional, who isn't a mere journalist, to do the work?"
"Like who?" Tara asked skeptically. "Who are you implying here?”
"You're forgetting whom I engaged to." Jennifer winked.
"He can't act on our whims! He has to follow the official protocol!" Tara exasperated.
"But he taught me his tricks honey. A semi-trained adventurer is better than a whimsy journalist any day."
"You don't mean what I think you do?" horrified Tara stared at her friend, looking both ways hoping no one heard their wild discussion.
"I certainly do" Jennifer replied putting on her sunglasses with an air of the one in command.

-x-

Roohi wasn't scared for her life. She had read too many books to be unaware of what was going on. She remembered reading something like this in 'Over the edge', except it was a plane being hijacked and the girl didn't have a phone in her backpack.
She looked up towards the man who had his big gun pointed on her teacher. Miss Daisy was trembling, she could feel it in the finger she held in her hand. She wanted to hug Miss Daisy and tell her they were going to be fine. But she wasn't sure it was true.

-x-

Shekhar was still framing a plan of action in his mind while reaching New Delhi in helicopter, when his satellite phone beeped. He answered both in relief and fear, relief to finally know she was fine, fear because of what was to come now. "Roohi! Beta, can you hear me?" He said loudly over the noise of chopper but couldn't hear any reply. Pressing the phone closer to his ear he tried again "Roohi! Say something beta!"  He could only make out a low rustling sound. And then someone spoke.
"You kid! Stay put or this time my bullet won't miss its target!" This was a voice of a man. It didn’t take rocket science to figure out what kind of man.
Shekhar again tried listening to the phone he held in his hand. There were faint noises of footsteps and few clear noises of someone crying. He knew his baby kid wasn’t a crier. It was so like her to be clever even in situations like this, to use the phone he had given her to not only save herself but trying to save a lot many people along with her. He only hoped she would put herself in more danger than she already is and god knew how much danger she already was in.
-x-
Anti-Terrorist Squad had taken position around the Hotel Continental and the New Delhi station when Shekhar reached his destination. After doing a reconnaissance around the station he located the possible break in points to be used when the command to go ahead was issued by the authority. A negotiator was called from army who had done quite a number of negotiations in previous hostage situations, but so far he too wasn’t able to extract a demand or figure from the captivators inside the station.
Indian authority had given them a deadline till the 2300 hours of that day to get the terrorists to speak their demand, if not, they were to break-in while the night was dark. There were already too many causalities since the attack. He hoped against hope that didn’t got worse by the deadline.
Still keeping a close concentration on the phone in his left hand, he started training his team and laying out the course of action for the night, if it came to that. Every now and then he would try listening for any clues in the phone, trying to gauge the situation on the inside. His little devil might not even know how she was helping her father. God bless her!

-x-

“Ok keep your eyes open and concentrate on that TV. Write what you see while I go in there and sneak into the service entry of the hotel kitchen” Jennifer instructed Tara while she adjusted the button-hole camera on the denim shirt. Pulling her hair in a messy bun she jumped thrice warming up for the action ahead.
“Are you sure you’ll be safe?” Tara inquired apprehensively. She didn’t want to put other’s life in danger and yet she was helping Jenny get ready to jump into the suicide well.
“Oh yeah! Never been better!” Jennifer grinned pulling out a small, palm sized gun from her sling bag and pushing it under her belt.
“Is that licensed?” Tara asked with wide eyes, pointing at the metal thing peeping out of her shorts.
“Yes of course. My fiancĂ© got me this as our engagement present.”
“Gun as an engagement present. Mine wrote me a poem on our wedding.” Tara replied still in daze.
“That’s why I get to break in baby” Jennifer winked and moved past her towards the back entry of the hotel.

-x-

Read the next part of the story here.



“Me and my team are participating in
Game Of Blogsat BlogAdda.com. #CelebrateBlogging with us.”


#32 The silent killer







They don't attack from behind,
With a dagger big as an arm.

They don't creep up in house
From unlatched windows.

They don't poison your coffee,
While you look away.

They don't shoot you with a gun
While they stand in front of you.

They'll tell you they love you
And gain your trust..
They'll take you to places,
You have never been to..
They sing you lullabies,
Till you fall asleep on their shoulders..
They'll touch your heart,
And own your soul..

Then they'll walk away
And let you fall apart
Till you drown in your own tears
Or hang yourself to death..

People think it's a suicide
While they enjoy watching
Their handicraft of killing in silence..

#31 Center of universe


What happens to all the matter that revolves around that one center which is falling apart?
Would it all crumble to a heap or stay put with some magical energy? 


What happens when that center walked off by its own will?
Would the world follow him around or move on? 


What happens when that center no longer wants to be center anymore? 
Would it be able to go as he wishes or will he be forced to stay no matter what?


Can affinity of the world stop the center from leaving or his own power will overpower?
What happens when the center is just a human and world is just somebody's life?


What would world have to do.. To make him stay?
Is there anything that can be done? 


Or the only thing now left to be done is sit and watch the world fall apart?


I wonder if center will be happy to see what powers he has on the world..

#30 Love's wrath


How a crime so huge be treated?
How a criminal so vile be punished?
Break them, burn them and tie their necks 
Whirl around till they choke to death

For they deserve not a painless end
But a life full of misery and suffering.. 
Reminding them of their folly..

Let them bear the scars of it, 
Let them plead for mercy.
They did the thing they should never had,
They loved someone more than themselves.

For, love is cruel, cunning and unforgiving.
Causes pains to those who seek its shelter 
Favours those who repel cupid's arrow

Love is cold and distant avenger
It thrives on the cries of its victims.

Love thyself and thou wilt be free, 
Love another soul with whole thy's heart 
And thou shalt bear love's wrath for life remained..