Biblio-rants, Uncategorized

Visiting modern Classics: The Legends of Khasak by OV Vijayan

Now, I am nobody to review a masterpiece as this; especially one of the most best-selling novels in South Asia. So let me put that as a disclaimer as I Khasak5begin to rant over how beautiful a piece of literature The Legends of Khasak is in its full glory.

I had my apprehensions about reading the English version of it first. So I did venture out to read Malayalam first, but somehow it never happened. And, the one day I stumbled across the English version and decided that this was to be. Just a few pages in I realized that Chethali and Koomankavu seem just beautifully native to the English language. Allah Picha Mullaka, Kunjamina, Kunjinooru, Nizam Ali, Appukkili are just as familiar to me in English as they would have been in Malayalam, maybe- I don’t know!

2005033106451101A writer and English professor himself, O V Vijayan wrote ‘Khasakinte ithihasam’ in Malayalam, in 1969, and then wrote the English translation of it himself in 1994. He had lived in a village called Thasarak near Palakkad, Kerala during a sabbatical he took from work. His sister, O V Shanta had been appointed as a teaching faculty at a government-aided school at the time and his family had shifted to accompany her. He had found the topography and demography of Thasarak to suit his aching social conscience. So, it had taken him 12 long years to pen down his story, basing many of his characters after the locals and some from his imagination.

For more than one reasons this book and its narrative are very special to me. One, this is by far my mother’s favorite novels in Malayalam. She would often quote chunks and portions of the book which she has memorized over the years. So when I read it in English I felt like I was re-reading the novel. But it did not miss me that the beauty of the prose had not faded inspite of it not being in its native language.

If you ask me what this book is about I don’t think a one-liner is in order. This novel is about sin, penance, salvation, and restoration. It is broadly about the circle of life and about the infinite clash of myth and reality. It is also for everyone who thirsts for a countryside life. And it is as real and raw as they come.

Without a doubt, The Legends of  Khasak is one of the most overlooked pieces of English literature from India. The rhythmic prose with its crests and troughs, ebb and flow and gravity would have won home numerous laurels if it were published at a better time.  The abstract plot of the story stands out days, months and years after it’s read haunting the psyche of any reader.

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Gadgets, Make-up, Uncategorized

Smudge Me Not Liquid Lipstick by Sugar Cosmetics

I’ve been a fan of the Sugar range of cosmetics since it has been available in India. (Read the other Sugar Cosmetics reviews here.) Most of their products hit all the right notes. So, I wasted near to no time in getting my hands on their matte liquid lipsticks. I decided to try the shade 04 Plum Yum.

The shade is a muted plum shade which is a 
rich pink with purple undertones. You get 4.5mL of product for Rs.499/-. It comes with a conveniently bendy doe foot applicator which gives you precise and even application. The catch is that you can’t go over and over again on your lips with it because if you don’t get it right at the first application the colour might seem patchy.

The colour is so opaque in terms of pigmentation that it feels like actual paint on your lips. So, yes, it will not transfer and is absolutely smudge-proof even if you drink and eat. Once you take it off at the end of the day, which is a real struggle, you still see a faint taint of the colour on your lips. The lipstick dries your lips like it’s no-one’s business!

Pros

  • Good pigmentation
  • Smudge-proof
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Drying on the lips
  • Looks paint-like opaque

Though I like the shade I will not be repurchasing Lippies from this range. Somehow the opaqueness is a turn-down for me. I like lipsticks that compliment the natural texture of my lips. Also, this is too drying for my liking. So, I shall stick to my other favorite liquid lipsticks like Colorbar Kiss Proof lip stain and Lakme Absolute Gloss.

Let me know what are your favorites in the comments below.

Ciao!

Gadgets, Skincare, Uncategorized

The Body Shop Wild Argan Oil The Radiant oil for skin & hair

The Body Shop is always a favorite, and Argan oil is one of the best thinks to put on bodyshoparganoil.jpgyour skin? So, what is there to not like? Well, I’m not a fan of The Body Shop Argan oil range. Somehow the fragrance doesn’t work for me! So when I walked into the store to avail my birthday discount coupon I only half expected me to buy an argan oil product. But, I was in for a surprise.

This dry oil wasn’t as strongly scented as the rest of their products in the range. Also, it’s light on the skin, making it a perfect summer oil. I used it right after a hot shower and it turned my skin satin. It didn’t provide a heavy moisturization to my very dry skin. But, it did make my skin visually pleasing for the next few hours.

It retails for Rs.1795 for 125mL. But I could have been happier if they made the packaging a wee bit sturdier in that price. I lost the cheap plastic cap of the bottle in the first week itself. The spray bottle would have been travel-friendly with a sturdier cap.

Pros

  • Perfect after-shower massage oil
  • Mild fragrance
  • Satin finish

Cons

  • Very mild moisturisation; not for dry skin
  • Flimsy packaging

I’ve always been a fan of face and body oils, no matter how messy they are. So this oil is right in my alley. You should give it a try if you are into oils as this Argan oil, being a dry oil, isn’t even messy. So I’ll be reaching out to it quite more often. Let me know how you find it.

Make-up, Uncategorized

Eye Told You So! Smudgeproof Eyeliner & Stroke of Genius Heavy-duty Kohl by Sugar Cosmetics

Eye makeup is, without a doubt, any girl’s go-to if she is remotely even into makeup. And, I just found my eye makeup holy grail. Presenting, the Sugar cosmetics  Stroke of Genius Heavy-duty Kohl and the Eye Told You So! Smudgeproof Eyeliner.

Let’s start with the eyeliner. Trust me when I say this- that to land on the perfect eyeliner wand sugar-eye-told-you-so-waterproof-eyeliner-black-swan-review-6is nothing short of a miracle. I’ve juggled between Maybelline, Lakme, L’oreal and god-knows all the regular drugstore brands. I even tried The Body Shop liquid gel eyeliner, which, FYI, was godawful!

Until Eye Told You So! happened to me, which I first received with one of my FabBags, I’d been living off a staple of the Lakme ones. Somehow, the Lakme ones are the only ones that are economical and manage to have the best wand to make your wings. I, personally, like the slender long wands to do my wings. Abd this one has exactly that- a long, slender applicator to make your eyes look long and winged. The only con I found in them is that they wear off quite easily, which is a bummer. But, it’s a gift on those super busy days when you can’t wait to get done with your eye makeup but still want it to look pretty. It retails for Rs.699 for 1.7mL.

Pros

  • Slender, manageable applicator
  • Matte finish
  • Paraben and Formaldehyde free

Cons

  • Wears off soon
  • Easy to remove
  • Expensive for the quantity available

 

Moving on to Stroke of Genius Heavy-duty Kohl. Let me start by saying this is by far the softest kajal 01-sog-b2b_grande_89c51ba7-9cdc-4a24-9e9b-a62bc518ee5eI’ve used in all these years. Now, after using this kohl pencil I may never use another kohl pencil after this. It just glides over my waterline and tight-lining my upper eyelid has become very easy. I have even started using this kohl pencil to line my upper eyelash instead of a liquid or gel eyeliner. Using the sharpener provided with the kohl pencil making a fairly thin line is pretty simple. And this is the first kohl pencil I’ve successfully used to replace my eyeliner, and I’m not an expert makeup artist! This one is truly a stroke of genius, but, it isn’t exactly smudge-proof for the Indian tropical weather. On all those hot summer days I find the kohl smudged to highlight my under-eye circle, which is not exactly how I like it! But that doesn’t mean you have to touch up every now and then. Quite the contrary, actually. I have, not once had to touch up the kohl. It lasts a good 10 hours without any touch-up. The kohl is also free of mineral oil and paraffin. It retails at Rs.499 for 1.2gms.

Pros

  • Highly pigmented
  • Soft texture
  • Free of mineral oils and paraffin; vegan product
  • Reasonably priced

Cons

  • Light smudging

Sugar Cosmetics have increasingly grown to be one of my favorite brands. So, I am definitely going to be a fan of the Stroke of Genius Heavy-duty Kohl. I will definitely repurchase it, as you can already tell. If you plan to by the same I would suggest you buy it online from their website https://in.sugarcosmetics.com/. They have a reward plan which benefits returning customers. (They also have some really good lip products which I can review for you if you so want.)

Let me know how you liked it. Don’t forget to let me know if what else you’d like me to write about.

Coffee, Uncategorized

Iced Cold Coffee

Monday mornings are a horror, but Mondays in general are always boring, Don’t you think? So I devised this super strong way to shake me up this Monday. I love a good, strong cup of coffee. And being raised by a lovely, bold & strong woman with Brahmin roots, my mother, introduced me to filter-coffee pretty early in my life. Ever since, we haven’t NOT had atleast a cup of filter-coffee a day. We as a family own atleast 3 filters of different sizes, all meant to make the decoction required for filter coffee.

Coffee filter

What is a coffee-filter you might ask! 

Coffee filter is a 3-piece metal device to make decoction, used to make coffee, from ground coffee beans. It has two tumblers, one of which comes with a perforated bottom and the other with a normal bottom. The tumbler with the perforated bottom is to be stacked on the other tumbler, and the sieve-umbrella is to sit in the perforated tumbler. The ground coffee powder goes into the perforated tumbler, and the sieve-umbrella is positioned on the coffee powder slightly pushing it in position. The tumbler is then filled with boiling water. Now the decoction gets collected into the tumbler below. Coffee-filters come with lids that you may put on and store away the decoction for future use.

(In case you can’t find a coffee-filter in a store near you click here.)

I’ve had friends come over just for a cup of hot n steamy, not to mention creamy, cup of filter coffee that I may almost always serve. But sometimes a hot coffee is not something you crave for. So I looked up at how I can turn this sweet and energizing shot of caffeine into a chilled and refreshing mocktail. And here is what I came up with.

Ingredients


Coffee powder(ground) 2-3tsps

Water                           1/2 cup

Condensed milk            3/4 tbsp

Milk                              2-3 tsp

How to make the decoction

Put 2-3 teaspoonfuls of ground coffee powder into the seived mug and press down the unbrella over it. Then pour about half a cup to a full cup of boiling water onto the umbrella structure. Wait till the decoction is collected in the lower mug. Now to make the coffee.

Iced-cold Coffee

The sweetness of the iced-cold coffee all depends on you. So I’ll refrain from telling you how much condensed milk you need to use. But all you need to do is get your tall glass and place a good number of ice cubes in it. Then you need to pour a good 3-4 teaspoons of decoction and a spoon or two of condensed milk; and you are good to go!

Enjoy your chilled Iced coffee with a solid good book to read on a comfy sofa.

Random Musings, Uncategorized

For love of the written word

As a part of my plan today I opened the Microsoft Word to pour out my heart onto it and I realize that the written word we trust in.

I remember buying my first autograph book, back when let alone selfies, but, even cameras weren’t readily available as today. It was one of those routine trips to the book-store that both my papa and I used to enjoy; I largely get my love for books from him. I’d wander around the book store taking in the smell of freshly inked paper and feeling the vibrant stories vaporize from the pages and blend into my skin. To this day every book-store I walk into still reminds me of the Paico at Kozhikode. That’s where he told me that I was a big girl now and that I could read the “grown-up” books; it was my initiation into the unabridged versions of Sherlock Homes and Jane Eyre when I was barely 8. And, that is also where I fell in love with stationary. Quite often than not, I saw my father hoard on stationary that he mostly only collected and never used. So,when I began hoarding stationary who better to understand than my papa. He’s the man who “spoilt me” with my first Parker pen, when at 9 or 10 I had just begun using a pen at school. So that’s probably were I get my love for the written word too.

When I came across an autograph book my father told me that people of his generation carried autograph books to get it signed by celebrities whenever they came across one. I was instantaneously intrigued and wanted one. I got a thick, leather-bound, maroon coloured rectangular book with pastel coloured pages in it. In my excitement, I couldn’t wait till I find a “celebrity” to start filling in the pages. So I got the book ‘inaugurated’ immediately by my hero, the one man who meant everything to me-my papa. I don’t remember what he wrote in it and I have hence lost the book; which I will forever regret. Inspite of a number of photographs I have with my papa, his written word will always remain special to me. His tiny, well-rounded letters, neatly stacked on a line, expressing whatever it is meant to, in brevity, is a vision I can never forget (He loved to take notes in uppercase, but in tiny font size).

Writing a word, a phrase or a sentence exclusively for someone, to me, is intimacy because I’m accountable for those words and I need to feel strongly to write those words. It’s a frozen moment of expressions that even pictures rarely express. I feel that when you write something for someone you leave a portion of your soul to them; for them to savour. And, because I’m old-school like that, when in love, I’ve always insisted for a love-letter, which my ex blatantly refused on grounds that he didn’t have a way with words. I guess it comes as no wonder that he’s an ex.  That is why reading a book, printed out verses for the world to read, is still an intimate sort of conversation between the author and the reader. But, no matter what you write and for whom you write I believe what a reader relishes from your written word says more about them than about the writer. So, when I write to you I’m letting you set a tent somewhere in the density of my soul and it’s for you to decide what fruit you want to pick from the site. And, if you care enough to light my soul, look no further and write to me, because the written word etches its weight into the soul with a power like no other.

Book Review, Indian authors, Uncategorized

Rozabel Line

 

I’ve made it a point this year to read more Indian authors, and that, my friends is my only New Year resolution so far. And hence this book. But, before we get into this book, the universe wants us to talk about Dan Brown because the entire universe has been comparing this book with The Da Vinci Code. Now, Dan Brown is a diligent researcher. Period! I had to read two of his books, The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons, to reach this conclusion. Don’t get me wrong, but I’m not judging his literary skills here (I’m not up to do that!). I’ve read the likes of Amish Tripathi and Devdutt Pattnaik, who are better known for their ideas, perspective and stories rather than their literary proficiency, and I have enjoyed their works boundless. So, mythology is not a new genre to me. And yet, my bone of contention with Dan Brown is exactly that. I appreciate both his consistent and diligent research and his dexterity in piecing one and one together to get the story going. And that brings us to Ashwin Sanghi’s Rozabal Line.

This story is the saga of the three. It has three storylines merging into one to finally reveal what the whole book is about. There is an American priest, Fr Sinclair whose regressed memories from past lives start emerging causing him much surprise and terror. Then, there is an elite army of 13, who call themselves Lashkar-e-Talatashar, with Armageddon as their agenda. And then there is the Rozabal tomb in Kashmir which holds the key to a riddle that will unfold the Armageddon. The story has enough twists and turns to entangle you into confusion and chaos, much because of the absurdity of the tangents the story goes into defying logic all the while. I cannot deny that the research that went into this book is pretty neat. But that’s about it. This book is all research and no story with some fiction that goes all over the place.

But if you like conspiracy theories and history and mythology, like I do, you might like this book here and there. So, it’s neither all bad, nor all good. It’s just one of those books you like, but not in its entirety.

Rating: 3/5


Verdict: If Dan Brown’s  research are your forte, if you hated the way he completely ignored Indian mythological texts in his extrapolated conspiracy theories, and you hate his extremely repetitive plot-lines, then Ashwin Sanghi is most definitely what you had been waiting for. You will L-O-V-E this book.

Continue reading “Rozabel Line”