Monday, June 21, 2010


I have subscribed myself to 5 magazines!

Femina: I have been subscribed to Femina for 3 years now, and I totally love the magazine. It is amazing how many things they put into each issue. I especially love those special issues where they feature Femina through the years. Since Femina has been around so many years, it gives glimpse into the changing fashion, evolving social trends and most importantly, women. No other women's magazine even comes close to Femina! I got this for 50% on 3 years subscription, certainly a good deal, since I know I am going to read it forever! I would have gone for 5 years, if there were such a deal. (Image source: Pinkvilla)

BBC Good Homes: It is one of the best interior magazines around, featuring awesome knick-knacks for homes and superb ‘real’ homes. I have bought a lot of stuff after finding it in this magazine and found inspiration for my own home. I got this for 50% off on subscription for 1 year. I am certainly going to renew my subscription for 3 years atleast. (Image source: BBC Good Homes)

Living etc: Another fabulous interiors magazine, brought into India by Images group. Got the deal for 40% discount and also 4 free back issues. I think these kind of magazines should offer free back issues on their own, because these are not really news items or celeb dates which will go obsolete in a week. These are trends, which remain for a while! (Image source: Images Group)

Outlook: I have subscribed this quite recently, and my subscription hasn’t started yet but I got a great combo deal of Outlook and People for Rs 2999 for 3 years. I think it is fabulous and there are some subscription gifts as well. Outlook is really the best general magazine around right now. India Today has lost its shine long time back, while I do like some issues of “The Week” but “Outlook” is the best in the category. (Image source: Outlook)

People: I had read international editions of PEOPLE long back with Jennifer Aniston on the cover. I read the first Indian edition one year back and loved it. Since I am a big one on celebrity fashion and news, I lapped it up. What makes it stand out is, it is not about the scandals and trashy news-bites, it is about celeb lives, fashion, events, new movies and even books. I buy a lot of books, after findig it here. It is certainly not in the genre of Filmfare  and the ilk. (Image source: People)

And well, I love each one of them……………….! I was just about to subscribe for Outlook Money, but who am I kidding, I am not into finance so much. But for those who are, it is a great personal finance magazine. I love the way it is able to connect to a common man.

Other than above, I sometimes also buy “Better Homes and Gardens”, “Good Housekeeping” and “Ideal Homes and Gardens”. All these interior magazines are increasingly becoming similar-looking but I love peeping into beautiful homes for inspiration. So, be it!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Miracle in the Andes by Nando Parrado

In October 1972, a plane carrying rugby team from Uruguay on their way to Chile, crashed amidst the treacherous, icy terrains of Andes. Miraculously, several of the passengers survived the crash but found themselves stranded at about 12000 feet above sea level. Nando Parrado was one of the survivors who spent 72 days without proper food, shelter and any help, some of them seriously hurt, some succumbing to injuries, cold and hunger. This book is a first person account of Nando Parrado, on how they overcame all odds to survive.

The story of these survivors can send chills down anybody’s spine! Here were a group of people, completely inexperienced to such terrains, putting all their efforts initially in the hope of being found by the rescue party and later to cross the Andes and get help.

Though a little slow in the beginning, the book starts getting its grip after a couple of pages. Nando has given a built-up of the incident by some background on the various people on board, their journey route and also about rugby as a sport. Nando was unconscious for the first 3 days after the crash. He loses his mother during the crash and his sister after a few days. The book dwells on the leadership and spirit demonstrated by a lot of his friends in trying to make things work for them. With only the wreckage of their plane to protect from cold, seat covers to shield them, meager food items and some liquor to satisfy their hunger; on the face of it, it is completely unbelievable how so many of them eventually make it to beyond Andes.

First of all it was shocking to know that they had to resort to eating the flesh of their dead friends, and you tend to get judgmental, but what happens to you several degrees below normal temperature and in the back of beyond, could be only understood who have lived through it. Definitely, it would have been difficult for them to resort to eating the flesh of their friends, but perhaps they did what they had to without dwelling too much on what was right or wrong! I am still not comfortable on whether it is better to embrace death rather than eat the flesh of your friends. People die for their friends but who can decide what is the right thing!

What works for the book is the unbelievable story of survival against all odds and how the survivors rescued themselves. What slightly disinterested me in a few places was Nando’s constant proclamation of his love for his father. He loses his mother and sister in the same crash. He does dwell on them, but in the later days, not much! The qualities he highlights in his co-survivors are repetitive. The book also inclines towards making Nando the unlikely hero. Perhaps, what I as a reader wanted was the triumph of this group and therefore, I was reluctant to consider Nando Parrado as the one person responsible for their rescue. Perhaps, to some extent, he did play a crucial part, but some of the others also played as much important role. Nando definitely treads on a diplomatic path and accredits a lot of people and their efforts during their stay in the Andes.

So, go ahead and read this amazing story. 

Image credit

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera

While reading about “In the Name of Honour”, I cam across the topic of honour crime and then to this book called “Shame” by Jasvinder Sanghera. Last month when I watched ‘Love Sex aur Dhokha’, I was deeply disturbed by the first story which revolved around honour killing and really filled me with disgust at what level people stoop to withhold their so-called ‘honour’……their own flesh and blood!

The starting is quite OK, when the writer tries to establish that she was not the one to follow the trend set by her elder sisters. As her mum keeps pointing out, “why should you be different?”.

I have always wondered about these kids from Canada, UK and a lot of places abroad, who have even more conservative upbringing than us in India. Although living in the face of apparently an ‘open culture’ (read western culture), they are expected to not be affected by it. 

What is happening in the villages in India, is rarely different to what is happening to a lot of youngsters from this twilight region. They run away from home, get married, only to be hunted down and killed in a gruesome manner…yet again their own flesh and blood. After all, it is a matter of honour!

Thankfully, there’s no murder in this book, but this book brings an important issue to the limelight…forced marriage! The writer, Jasvinder, is on the verge of getting married to a stranger just like all her sisters did. She had seen the lives of her sisters, not surprisingly, none of them were happy. She runs away with her boyfriend, one fine day, and creates a life far from her family.

Her boyfriend Jassey comes across as a loving and dedicated guy, but surprisingly, she tells a couple of times that she never really loved him. You feel pity for the guy because he supports Jasvinder in all the way he could. I even hated Jas, as she is known to those close to her, in between for cheating on Jassey.

Anyways, her marriage does not work out although they have a daughter. That’s just some part of the book, and I really don’t want to give away the whole book.
The book is really good in the later part, and you tend to take sides with Jas, when she struggles hard to juggle 3 children, complete her education, do society work and also take care of her parents. 

I liked the book. Read another review here