Saturday, 23 September 2017

Blog Tour : Cover Reveal - Kalki

Oh my God, you guys! I am SO excited to post the cover reveal for Kevin Missal's "KALKI" *throws confetti* 

I am so excited for this grand cover reveal of KALKI, and can we just take a moment to appreciate the beautiful cover!

Thank you for stopping by, and thank you, Kevin, for letting me be a part of the cover reveal! 



That's all, folks! I hope you'll loved the cover just as much as I did and I hope you're are just as excited as me to read the book! Happy reading! 

Links :  
Amazon pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2wdkESn

Pustakmandi pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2xmbJBW


Author Interview : Kevin Missal

Hi, guys! I am hosting a blog tour for author Kevin Missal's Kalki.  As part of the tour, I did an interview with Kevin and today's post is completely dedicated to that. I will reveal the book cover in my next post, stay tuned for that. Now without much ado, let's get onto Kevin's interview. 


Amazon pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2wdkESn

Pustakmandi pre-order link: http://bit.ly/2xmbJBW

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: 

Hi Kevin! Welcome to my blog! It’s a pleasure to have you here today and we hope you have a great time answering the questions we have for you. Here we go!

1.              Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you? What draws you to this genre?

One of the writers who have taught me (via Youtube) is Brandon Sanderson. He has these writing classes online where I learnt a lot about writing fantasy. The other is George RR Martin whose third person narration inspired me and how he structured each incident so personal to the characters.
          Whenever I think about what draws me to this genre, it’s partially the imagination, the sense of wonder, excitement, the idea of unknown. Fantasy plays around with a lot of genres like adventure, romance, thrill, mystery and I like this amalgamation.

2.             What sort of research did you do to write this book?

          Oh well my research is indirectly happening for four years. I am a History graduate and I learnt a lot about the Vedic Age. It always interested me. Then I began writing this book on Ashwatthama in modern times where Kalki plays a small part as a hero yet to born. The idea of Kalki kept growing in my mind and while I wrote an entire book on Ashwatthama which never ended up releasing, I got a ton of information about Kalki. Then I researched through Kalki Purana, Vishnu Purana, Bhavishya Purana and I learnt a lot.

3.             What are the upsides and downsides to being an author?

          The upside is you get to create a whole new world, get excited about events and characters. You are noticed and respected by your peers who think of you as literal. The downside is many people don’t realize young, amateur writers make pennies. Even older writers. Nowadays, publishing is like a business. It’s no more a creative endeavor. You write a book and that’s where your creativity ends. Then starts your management, finances and you are supposed to spend a ton of money to get people to notice you otherwise no one would care about it.

4.             How did you come up with the idea for your book?

          The idea was simple. I had just watched Bahubali and read Game of Thrones. And I was like “What will happen if both of them are mixed?” and voila! Kalki: the Avatar of Vishnu was created.

5.             What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?

          I don’t want them to hate the book out of religious reasons. I am a Christian and many Hindus won’t like a Christian boy writing on a Hindu God. Recently, in one of the teasers I published that got rave reviews, one person wrote why I am writing about a god who’s yet to come. I have clearly mentioned in my book that “Kalki: the Avatar of Vishnu” is a tribute to the popular culture like Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kalki Purana and taking such good influences from all of them. It’s to make a story that will appeal universally. Many didn’t know about Kalki but because of my book, people are revising their own knowledge. Kalki’s timeline, who’s yet to come is often muddled up. Aryabhatta had said Kaliyug would happen in 3102 BCE and like Aryabhatta there are so many other sources that don’t give you a correct date. For me, Kalki represents the goodness, the richness of religion and how a religious man is pitted against evil who he needs to kill and destroy. It’s classic good versus evil story.

6.             What does your writing space look like? (Show us a photo maybe.)

          You don’t want to see a photo. It’s my room, either in Chennai or in Delhi. It’s damp and dark and dingy.

7.          If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?

          I based the character of “Kalki” on Ranveer Singh and the character of “Kali” on Irrfan Khan or Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

8.            What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?

          Seeing your book appreciated. There’s no greater feeling than this. It just fills your heart when people understand what you wanted to write and how you wrote, the subtle metaphors you added.

9.             What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?

         Many. Rejections were so common in publication; I ended up building my own publishing house called “Kalamos Literary Services”.  It’s what they say. If they reject you, you build yourself and reject them.

10.         How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?

          I would say it has made it easier, feasible. But I never liked it. People do, so that’s fine.

11.          How long does it take you to write a book?

          This one took full month which is like longest for me. Most of the times, I finish it in two or three maximum.

12.         Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

          Kalki Hari is this all powerful boy who is yet to learn a lot of things. He remains in his protective village and he feels he’s bigger than everyone. He is arrogant and brash. He acts first, thinks second. What makes him special is though, that regardless of all these things I mentioned, he’s genuinely a nice person. He cares for his friends. He respects his parents. And he wants nothing but peace in this world.

13.         Tell us about the cover and title?

         The cover is made by Arthat Studio, the creator of “Sita: the Warrior of Mithila” cover. They have just worked their best and produced a stunning piece of art. The title is simple, understandable.

14.         What do you think of “trailers” for books?

        Oh, absolutely necessary. I just had a teaser currently and it is going viral. I am getting a huge response. But it should be live action trailer, with a lot of production budget behind it. Otherwise, animated trailers fall flat.

15.          What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

         I’ll be really practical and I would give an advice that most writers in this country don’t. Many established writers say “oh you should write with your heart, use this technique…” and blah, blah. They are bullshitting you. If you are an aspiring writer, you’ll eventually write well. Everyone does over a period of time. But during that time, start saving up. Build your budget for your book and when you have a lot of money, then publish because if you want to be a bestseller, you need to market it first like a bestseller.

16.         What would you say is the easiest and most difficult aspect of writing?

          You get distracted. You get bored writing the same story every day. It needs a lot of determination to write one book. I have this person in my friend list on Facebook who constantly updates about his latest books. He has written so many and hasn’t finished any which is sad. He’s a talented guy.

17. What books have influenced your life the most?

         I would say the books that actually inspired me were the ones I read when I just began reading. It was “Godfather” by Mario Puzo, “Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, “The Alienist” by Caleb Carr.


         Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Kevin. We appreciate you taking the time out to answer our questions and we wish you lots of happiness and success in life. 

        Thank you, dear readers, for stopping by! 

Friday, 15 September 2017

My Way Of Being Healthy



I believe that the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you. - Joyce Meyer

We do not value health, until sickness comes. If one is healthy, he has hope, the one who has hope has everything for himself. Every man's sickness and ill health is his personal property, I believe, which means we are all responsible for our health and also for the cheer we spread around if we are in the pink of health!

As a child I was always blessed with good health. And so I kept my parents away from the pain of carrying me again and again to the paediatrician. On the other hand, my baby brother was just the opposite. He kept my parents on toes as they kept rushing him to doctors. The greatest wealth and happiness is indeed health and not pieces of gold.

Many children of India suffer from malnutrition. The cause is within us, but fortunately, the cure too is within us. Children with good health are the wealthiest. “Health and cheerfulness naturally beget each other.”  ~Joseph Addison. How true, isn't it?

For the babies : Nutrition for toddlers should be food that is pure and natural - not processed with additives. Toddlers enjoy finger food. They need a break from purees and cereals. Feed them fruits or green vegetable snacks. Give apple slices and carrot sticks when they have enough teeth and ability to chew them. Be sure that your kids are up to date on their immunizations. Babies need strong bones, healthy weight to stay alert and active. Choose a natural drink for them - water. Don't let them become the slaves of TV and computers, push them to play outdoors and please, please - feed them healthy snacks! Raise happy kids : Raise healthy kids!

Parents ~ let your child grow, let his imagination run wild, let him be healthy, mentally and physically, both! Do not script their lives. Make them eat their meals on time. It is too simple a strategy for happiness. Let them refuel their growing brains with regular meals and sound sleep. Apart from your unconditional love, striking a balance between eating and doing physical activity is important for them.

Balancing what you eat is the key to healthy lifestyle. Eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions and maintaining a healthy body weight is something that everyone desires. Healthy eating habits can help prevent heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis too.

When you eat a balanced diet containing whole grains, meats, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, your body has the necessary fuel to run it efficiently. A balanced diet boosts energy and enriches the body, thus making it strong enough to combat diseases. Crash diets mostly fail because they try to fool the body. Rapid weight loss promises are metabolically unsound and unsafe. When a person suddenly goes on a crash diet and restricts calories the body needs, the body actually starves. This threatens the nourishment level of the body. Never, never opt for crash diets.

I try and stick as far as possible to healthy home cooked food, even if it is simple daal, chawal and subzi! A void junk food as much as you can.

To boost my immunity I do have a spoon of Dabur Chyawanprash daily. It does not have any side effects and increases resistance power against diseases and common ailments like flu and cold.

I exercise, if not daily, thrice a week, so that my body is active. 

We all know that honey has many advantages. But rarely do we know, that it helps to lose weight effectively and in staying healthy? A Times Of India report quotes that you can drop a dress size by simply consuming 1 teaspoon of honey every night before going to bed. Simple, isn't it? Honey helps burn a lot of fat and increases stamina. During sleep, honey works its magic and burns fat. Magical, isn't it? I make sure I have a spoon of honey before going to bed every day.  I also give a healthy start to your day with a spoonful of Honey with a glass of warm water. The key to being healthy is a combination of healthy diet, honey and exercise!

Apart from that, my tips on staying healthy, in a nutshell are:

-Get enough sleep at night. By not allowing our body sufficient rest, the immune system will sputter, and as a result, not function at full capacity and become vulnerable to common illnesses. A healthy, deep sleep is important!

-Consume plenty of water. Water washes away toxins, allergens and wastes from our body. It keeps our immune system operating optimally while improving the way we feel, look and live.

-Exercise. An increase in blood flow associated with moderate exercise helps to circulate antibodies along with white blood cells necessary to fight infection more quickly. As a result, this provides our bodies with an early warning system to ward off potentially damaging germs. In addition, the increase in body temperature as a result of physical activity aids in inhibiting the growth of bacteria; thus allowing the body to fight infection more effectively. Exercise can be something as simple as brisk walking.

-Eat a healthy and well balanced diet. To strengthen your immune system, you need to first avoid the things that weaken it. Cut back on junk and fast food, however tasty it may seem. Stick to fresh fruits and veggies. It is very challenging in the world we live in to obtain sufficient nutrition with the foods available to us. They are over processed and void of many essential nutrients.
-Cut down the stress. Stress can be avoided by partaking in relaxation activities such as yoga, tai chi, meditative breathing and muscle relaxation.

-Stay Happy. Have a positive attitude. If you are always complaining, always negative and always expect that things are bad and only getting worse, you run the risk of compromising your immune system. Instead, think positive, live in the present moment and do not take things too seriously.

-No alcohol, drugs, coffee or smoking. It depletes the immune system and body of important nutrients and eventually damages your overall health.

-Increase your intake of antioxidants. Our Indian culture is famous for Ayurveda, herbs. Our generation needs to relive such boons of the past for us to be an immune nation.

-Personal hygiene. Keep your hands washed before preparing foods/eating/touching your face. Use hand sanitizers or use anti bacterial soaps.

Health is wealth, is an old adage! ‘Jaan hai toh jahaan hai’, ‘Sar salamat toh pagdi hazaar’, well say it in any language, they all mean the same, “Save your head first, your possessions should not be your priority. You can buy worldly things anytime later, but not health.”

However busy you are, always strive to be #ApneTareekeSeHealthy. Do any activity that keeps you active, eat healthy and drink lots of water, don't skip this part.

P.S: I am joining Saffola #ApneTareekeSeHealthy initiative and sharing my ways of being healthy in association with BlogAdda.

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Season Of Romance



The kiss was spontaneous, hungry and wordless.
As the rain pelted outside,
Years of longing erupted.
Their hands and lips were relentless.
The thought of leaving each other's side,
Made their body twist into a million knots.
Every little detail in the world had become pronounced,
Colors seemed more colorful,
Sounds seemed more melodic,
Overwhelming : small word.
Big emotions.

// Bollywood has exploited the monsoon season to no end. And that’s great because we have some great rain songs to listen to. This is the season to recreate the magic. You can recall your first hug, first kiss and make more memories to last a lifetime. Believe it or not, there is no better season for love than monsoon.  

Friday, 4 August 2017

Why I Won't Ever Buy A Barbie Doll For My Daughter

Hi there! I have been meaning to write this since quite some time now. It is quite a controversial topic. Just recently, when I was gift searching for my cute little neighbour's birthday gift and visited Hamleys, I was sure enough, as I walked down the toy aisle,  I didn't want to buy her a doll; but what made my resolution stronger was the collection of Barbie dolls I saw.

There were various doll sets, many with kitchen sets, utensils, and what not. Because why not, 'it's a girls thing', isn't it? I was quite surprised to even notice Barbie's dressed as brides, and also Barbie couple sets, (I couldn't resist clicking :/) because it annoyed me, naturally the makers try to tell you girls, how important getting married is, and to find that suitable man for you.


While you want your child to have diverse toys and a rich imaginative play session, I fail to find reasons to brainwash your daughter right from a tender age to know that household chores are only her responsibility, that a marriage is only when you deck up and put on a red lehenga and adorn dozens of gold on yourself, that while playing "ghar-ghar", kitchen is always her arena and the boy always goes to office.

Barbie has possibly been the most famous doll in the world after her debut in 1959. She has represented fifty nationalities (she is a racist too : see below!) and has held over one hundred careers. Girls from age’s three to ten own at least one Barbie doll if not more. When people think of Barbie they think of a tall skinny supermodel woman with a perfect waist, perfect hair, perfect clothes, and a perfect life. 


But are Barbie dolls a good influence on our girls? I don't think they are. Many might disagree!

A role model shouldn’t be someone we imitate; instead they should be someone who opens up possibilities and choices of who we can be; someone whose qualities and characteristics should serve as the underpinning of our future selves.

But Barbie's come adorned with chunky high heels and hot-pink purse that according to them defines beauty and smartness. Barbie's are unrealistic perfection.

I don’t hate the princesses as people—they’re all really kind girls. But Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White are the same person in different bodies. They have no personality whatsoever, just superficial standards. Barbie life becomes #LifeGoals to young girls. Nothing in life, is ever so perfect. We need to teach our girls that.

We have definitely been a part of their journey that promised happy endings where the unfortunate princess-in-distress is rescued by a very handsome prince. We need to un-teach the unfeasible, sugar coated ideal of womanhood and instead, teach your daughters to save themselves from anything that affects their wellbeing, and put up a brave fight, despite a prince being there for her or not.

Some skeptics may argue that Barbie is just a toy and has nothing to do with reality. However, every child is influenced by the toys they play with. That’s why society is constantly giving children toys that are designed to prepare them for their adult life. Toys such as doctor’s kits, plastic kitchens, shopping carts, and baby dolls are all components to steering a child into typical and stereotypcial adult lives, sometimes, fairy tales and happy endings.

The only reason that any of the princesses get a happy ending is because they’re gorgeous. I have seen, heard, and read more Cinderella renditions than I can possibly count, and every Cinderella character seems to have one trait in common: She’s pretty. Cinderellas can also be active or passive, bold or shy, rebellious or submissive, outspoken and strong, or worn out and broken down. None of these qualities really matter because the only attribute she actually needs to get the prince is beauty. Imagine if the princesses were of average attractiveness. Cinderella is never noticed by her prince, Snow White’s prince never has the absurd urge to kiss a dead girl, and Sleeping Beauty isn't followed by Phillip in the woods. Aladdin would never become smitten with Jasmine, and so on. We’re telling little girls that physical beauty is their most important trait.

Princess stories repeatedly advertise love at first sight. Princesses marry a prince after only interacting with him once! Plus, these movies make marriage look like the end of the story (really, it’s just the beginning: you have the whole rest of your life ahead of you!).

I would instead teach my daughter to idolize someone who is independent, to look up to men who don't just find you 'hot' like you are a temperature and see only your outer beauty,  but chase you for what you are from within and see you as a whole being.

There are real life princesses who are bold, individualistic, independent and contribute tremendously to social and economic development in their countries and internationally. Time for a paradigm shift – next time you want to gift a Barbie to a five year old you might want to reconsider. Perhaps a set of boxing gloves or an enrolment in Karate classes would be a better idea. :)