Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 at Glance - Bits and Bytes!

       It's the end of another year and I must say, this year has been a very good and productive one for me. As  it comes to end, here is a post dedicated to 2014. A recap of all the good and bad things.

       Coming to the good things,
  • I finally gathered the courage to start my blog. After almost an year of thinking, I pushed aside the uncertainties and started to blog. And I am glad I did. It gives me so much happiness.
  • I also set aside my fears and participated in more activities in college. It was a big step for me but I did it. I also won a few competitions and my confidence level has been boosted.
  • Made many new friends, some online (Thanks to my blog) and some offline. Met one of the blogger friends (Prasanna Rao)
  • Read nearly 35 books. Though it is less considering my craze for novels, it was a start. I had given reading a break due to busy schedule but picking up this old hobby was made me realize how much I missed it.
  • Learnt many things - Quilling, painting, cooking. It is always good to learn new things.
  • Had awesome time with friends as we went out partying or to watch movies.
  • Attended the first interview of my life and got placed in TCS. Yay!!
  • Got published in an anthlogy - GOOFY. You can buy it here.
  • Bought around 50 novels this year! Yeah, I am building a library :P
  • Traveled a lot with family. Oh, I love travelling.
Those were some of the good things. The list goes on but right now, this is all I remember. Here are few of the lessons I learnt (bad things always teach a lesson)
  • No matter how good you are, people always find faults. So it's better to ignore others and live life the way you want.
  • Some friends, no matter how best you think they are, will leave you one day for their own selfish reasons. It's better not to dwell on such person's memory. After all, nothing is permanent.
  • For some people, promise is just a fancy word and they use it lightly. It's better not to place faith on others blindly.
  • When you are among a crowd of strangers and the fear of 'what they will think' is stopping you from doing something you really want (something crazy or something daring), it's always good to remember that they don't know you! They will forget you within few minutes but the memory you created by doing the thing you like; it will last with you forever.
  • There comes a time in life, when even though you have so many people who care for you, you have to take your own path, lead your own journey to reach your goals.
That was most of it. I had fun, I made mistakes and I learnt from them. After all, nobody is perfect. I don't regret the choices I made. How can I? It made me to who I am today and I am happy with it. So that was a glimpse of 2014 in brief. Saying final goodbyes to 2014 with this blogpost (This happens to be the 150th post of the year!)  

       How was your year? Are you happy? Let me know. See you all next year ;)

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

The Fresher's Eve

       I glanced around, little nervous. My friends hadn't arrived yet and I didn't want to be the first one to go year. It was the time of 'Fresher's Party' and going in alone, that too first, was not a wise choice. It was like walking inside a lion's den saying 'Come Lion, eat me!' I shuddered as the line went through my mind. I felt a tap on my shoulder and I almost screamed in panic. But when I turned around, it was just my friend. Thank God! I wasn't alone anymore. We waited for few more people to come and finally when all my friends were there, we decided it was time to go in.

       The party started half an hour later. It was grand, as expected. It started with few songs and dance from seniors. We were served samosas and a drink called 'Ginger'. It was all fun but we knew this was just the start. The important part was yet to come - ragging! Of course it isn't like they show on TV, where the seniors make you do terrible things. It is just a friendly way to 'get to know' each other. But still, we were all on edge, not knowing what to expect. And withing minutes, the ragging began. Our seniors started coming and picking up people they liked and taking them to their group where they would give them tasks.

       I had been picked thrice. One group asked me to sing, another made us do drill. It was funny and embarrassing at the same time. The third group had asked me to search someone named 'V' but I had evaded them and was sitting in the opposite side of the room, hoping they wouldn't come searching for me here. Just when I thought I had escaped, another girl approached me and told me to follow her. I did; it's not like I had an option. 

       Her group consisted of 7 members - 3 girls and 4 boys. All of them were sitting in pairs except for a guy who was the odd one out. I didn't pay attention to any of them; as far as I was concerned, I had a task and I would finish it soon and leave. The girl who had called me here asked me to introduce myself. I had done this thrice already and repeating it again made me feel like I was reciting some answer I had memorized from a textbook. But I did what I was asked to. If I will be good, they would let me go soon. Once I was done with introducing myself, they told me to do something else. After series of questioning, the boy sitting in the middle pointed towards his friend who was sitting at the end of their semi circle formation and asked me what did I think of him. I looked at who he was pointing. He was the same guy whom I had thought as odd one out. 

       I stared at him, which I hadn't done usually. Being shy, I avert my eyes as soon as some stranger's eyes meet mine. But since they had asked me, I had to look at him now, while he sat there staring back. He was sitting sprawling his leg forward. His posture was relaxed, he was leaning back in his chair. There was something about his relaxed posture that felt charming. I would have said he was handsome but the stubble came in the way. Perhaps, if he had a well groomed face, I would have considered saying it but that stubborn stubble stopped me, forcing me to look away. I hadn't realized I was scowling in his direction until I heard the other guy, who had asked me the question, ask me what was wrong? The guy with the stubble smiled at me, a crooked smile, but it didn't make quite the impression. I turned towards the other guy and said "He is good" and shrugged. I didn't want to say anything more than that.

       But I had walked straight into the trap. I realized his only after the next task was laid out in front of me. "So how about proposing him?" another girl in the group asked me. I looked at her, expecting her to laugh and the joke to end but as I stared at her, I realized this was no joke and she meant it. Of course it was all just a prank but proposing him? I turned to look at him again. He was still smiling. I don't know what he expected or what the others expected but I knew that there was no way I was going to do what they had told me. I stared at him for a minute and before I knew I blurted out the words that came to my mind - "Sorry; I don't like guys with stubble. So maybe you can find someone else who could even out your group of seven" I didn't mean to say it out aloud! I wasn't supposed to. But it was too late now. The words were out of my mouth and I had no way of taking it back. I slowly watched each of their faces - frozen from shock and prayed to God that whatever happened next wouldn't be too bad!

       I was ready to do the next set of tasks that I was definite would follow my stupid blabbering. But what I wasn't expecting was them to laugh! Yes! They all started laughing! All but the guy whom I had commented on. He was scowling at me but the others were rolling with laughter. I was shocked and confused. I didn't know if I should be scared or relieved. I just sat there staring at their faces hoping someone would explain me what was going on. One of the girl controlled her laughter enough to say "Told you to shave it" and started laughing again. When they were all done, one of them explained it to me. "He is always like that. He doesn't listen to us when we tell him to get rid of that stubble. He thinks it is a fashion statement. But knowing what a girl thinks, it will help him a little now" One of them patted my back saying "Brave girl" and I smiled. I knew it was over now. The stubble had failed in creating a good impression about the guy but it had helped me escape the ragging session from that group.

PS: This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette.

PSS: Half of this story is fiction and half is true. For my friends who were there with me that day, don't ask me when the other half happened :P

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Melbourne - The Most Livable City

       To be honest, I wasn't really in love with Melbourne. Though I always wanted to travel a lot of places, I really had no idea which these places were. All I knew was I wanted to travel far and wide. That was my dream. And still is. But now if you remind me that I wasn't really in love with Melbourne, I will look at you like you are the craziest person I have ever met. Yes! While I was searching for places to visit in Melbourne, I slowly started falling in love with the city and now, I definitely want to visit this place at least once in this lifetime! Let me tell you why.

Melbourne is one of the most livable city in the world. It is the capital of the state Victoria. The friendliness and welcoming nature of this city is evident by the number of people from other countries settled there. The beautiful landscapes, the awesome beaches and the brilliant weather; they all make me want to go to this most livable city, to feel more lively than ever. Maybe my dream will be fulfilled someday. Here are some of the places I wish to visit.

The first one that caught my interest is 'The Great Ocean Road'. It is a 243 kilometers stretch of road along South-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torguay and Allansford.

See that? Imagine driving along that road in a car with rooftop open. How awesome it must feel to watch the ocean as you drive along this 243 kilometers road. A deep longing goes through me 

even as I imagine myself driving along this path. Then there are the 12 Apostles. They say these apostles began forming from constant erosion of limestone millions of years ago and the sunrise and sunset are especially beautiful at this place when they change colors according to the sunlight. Here is a video that shows the 12 Apostles from the sky.

Next on my list is the Penguin Parade. Have you ever seen Penguin? In real? I haven't! I have always been fascinated watching them over TV but never have I seen them in real. So I want to visit 'Penguin Parade' which is one of the popular wildlife attraction in Australia. Watching several penguins emerge from the sea around sunset and watching them march towards their sand dunes must be a spectacular scene.

Then there is the 'Princess Theatre'. This is one of the most spectacular landmarks of Melbourne. But this isn't the only reason. It is said that this theatre is is haunted by a friendly ghost and since I read that, curiosity has got the better of me. I have to visit this theatre once.

Next is 'Eureka Tower'. It is 975 ft. skyscraper. Even though I am scared of heights, I am definitely going to pay for the skydeck experience. I want to go on 'The Edge' which is a glass box 3 meters out of the building, almost 300 meters above the ground. Imagine the thrill! It's pure adrenaline rush. It will be once in a lifetime experience.

Oh I forgot! 'Peninsula Hot Springs'. It is said to be the first natural spring and day care spa in Victoria, just 1.5 kms from Melbourne. Just imagine soaking in this heavenly place, letting the healing waters work the magic as you relax! Too good to let go, isn't it? 

Would you think I would return back without shopping? Of course not! I would like to visit Harbour town which offers a variety of options for the shopaholics and I would spend a whole day here, exploring different sections, buying gifts for friends and family and some souvenir for myself, like I am taking a part this place with me to my home. Of course, if offered a choice to settle down in Melbourne, I would agree without second thought.

No no, I am not even done with all the places I want to visit. The list is long. Yarra Valley Wineries, Bolte Bridge, Melbourne Cafes, Melbourne Aquariums, Healesvile Sanctury, Dandenong Ranges National Park, Shrine of Remembrance, Luna Park... The list goes on. Oh, I want to travel on the trams too and ride on a hot air balloon. There is so much I want to see and do in Melbourne. I just hope I get an opportunity to go there soon. 

Do you wish to visit Melbourne too? Here is a site that would help you know more about Melbourne. Tell me which of these places you wish to visit and why? Comment below and you might win a shopping voucher worth 500/-. So what are you waiting? Go on, voice your opinions fast.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Monday, 29 December 2014

A Terrible Encounter at the Hospital

       I rarely read newspapers but my mom reads them with utmost devotion, without missing even a single day. I don't know what it is that interests her, but reading the stories of who beat up whom or which actor hooked up with which actress or rather which actors broke up; these are all stories that I really don't mind skipping altogether. But there is one column that my mom made sure I didn't miss. It is a column in our local news paper about health issues written by a local doctor. My mom, like every other mom, is worried about how I don't pay enough attention towards my health and thus she used to make me read this column and follow the tips sincerely. And I used to, well almost, until the day I met the person.

       A year back, I was sick; I had an allergic condition and it was worsening over time. And no medicine prescribed by any of the doctors seemed to work. So mom decided we would go to 'The' doctor from the news paper. After searching a lot (his place was little difficult to find) we finally found his clinic. It wasn't as ostentatious as I had expected considering how famous he and his articles were. It was a small clinic with the outer room manned by a middle aged woman who was in charge of medicines and the inner room was the consultation room. The doctor hadn't arrived yet; so we sat on a bench in the outer room overlooking the road, waiting for him to arrive.

       I was in a hurry as I had to attend drawing class in an hour and so I kept glancing out every minute, willing for him to come soon. Minutes passed and I was getting impatient. I started thinking of different ways of convincing mom to go back. Maybe she would give in if I was persistent. But I never got to test that as the doctor arrived soon, or at least I thought he was the doctor. A car came stopped in front of the clinic. I was curious to see who the person was, who writes such interesting articles. The door opened and a short man stepped out. His face was only half visible as the other half was dominated by beard. A shudder ran through me as I stared at his face. Well, it was just another patient. We would have to wait more.

      I got a call and I went out for a minute and when I came back, mom was standing, ready to go inside. I exhaled, relieved. I went inside and saw the man whom I had seen minutes ago, searching something in the drawer. I stared at him for a second and shook my head. So he was an assistant here. "At what time the doctor will arrive?" I asked him as I stepped inside. He paused his search for a second and gave me a sidelong glance and went back to whatever he was doing. 'What an attitude he has got' I thought to myself.  Just when I was about to ask him again, he found what he was looking for - a pen. He straightened up and went to sit on the doctor's chair. He gave me a pointed look and said, "I am the doctor here". I almost turned around and left out of embarrassment; almost!

       I don't know what I was expecting but it was definitely not this. The beard stood out on his face,giving an impression that he was probably sick. It didn't look hygienic. I had assumed him as a patient even! What an irony! He definitely was someone who knew a lot but the first impression I got when I saw him, it was no where close to the person I had imagined him to be. I am sure his knowledge is what counts but sometimes, just sometimes, looks do count in creating an impression and the unshaven face is definitely the kind of thing that can ruin this impression.

PS: This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette. I was tagged for this activity by Cifar and Soumya. I tag Nabanita and Nibha for the same.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Saturday, 27 December 2014

The Power of Truth

       From childhood till now, I have always wanted to be an all rounder and in some ways, I am one. I love to sing, paint, dance, write, read novels; the list goes on. If asked to pick any one favorite hobby among these, I won't be able to. While my mom supports me in all these, there is one thing she never lets me compromise on - studies. She doesn't want me to lag behind in studies while concentrating on others. And that's exactly what I did once!

       During my second year PUC, I started taking studies lightly and having fun became top priority for me. I used to hang out with friends, go to movies, chat all the time and laze around. That naturally had an effect on my grades but as the test papers were never sent home, I was safe. When mom used to ask how the tests went, I used to say 'Good' and that was it. Though I felt guilty lying, I was sure I would make up for it by scoring well next time. But the next time never came. Finally it was the preparatory exam and I had messed up that one too. But this time the stakes were high.

       The college I studied in, had a rule. They used to send our marks to our parent's mobile. Mine was sent to my mom's cell and thankfully I had it when the message was sent. I had performed well in all subjects except Physics in which I had passed but with very less marks. I knew mom would be furious if she saw that. So I quickly deleted the message and pretended like nothing happened; or at least I tried to. But I failed.

       I have never lied to mom and so carrying the burden of this was very difficult. I tried to ease my guilt by saying 'It's not lying. It's just hiding the truth' but either ways, I was miserable. Next day when my friend's mom had come home, all I could think was 'What if she asks about marks in front of mom? Or worse, what if mom asks about how her daughter was doing and her mom ends up saying about the message!' Thankfully, that never happened. My friend's mom was in a hurry and she left soon. But I realized one thing - I cannot hide the truth anymore! 

       So gathering all my courage, I went where mom was sitting reading a magazine and confessed everything. I told her how I was scared that she would scold me and how that drove me to hide the truth. I also told how miserable I felt hiding the truth. When I was done, I suddenly felt better. The guilt that was nagging inside me was gone and I could breathe much easier. Mom, who had been silent throughout, was watching my face and I guess she understood how I felt. 'I hope you have learnt your lesson' was all she said at that time. I definitely had!

       She helped with my studies from then, till I could get back on track. She even spoke to my lecturer who made sure I paid attention. In the end, I passed the final exam with flying colors, which would have been impossible without her help. Of course, I had to listen to some lecture from mom but it was easier to listen to her admonishing me than to carry the guilt of lying to her.

       Yesterday, I saw this video on TV which reminded me of this above mentioned incident

        As shown in the video, it is definitely good to tell the truth and shred that guilt. It is totally worth it. I have experienced it. Have you?

PS: This post is written for Indiblogger Happy Hours and Kinley Water.

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Friday, 19 December 2014

Rescued by Love - Book Review

Title: Rescued by Love 
Author: Shilpa Suraj
Publisher: Harlequin India Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 978-93-5106-495-4
Number of Pages: 184
Price: 150 [INR]
Genre: Romance

The Blurb:

When Naina Ahuja is kidnapped as hostage days before her father, a Supreme Court Chief Justice, must sentence a terrorist, the stakes are very high. Lt Col Arjun Rathore and his team are the only ones who can be trusted with the mission of saving her. 

During their arduous trek back through the hostile terrain of Ladakh, Arjun and Naina spend days in danger of losing their lives - and their hearts. Back in safety, the real world and its very real problems threaten – as do their own perceptions of the differences between them. 

They must separate – but will life rescue their love?

My Review:

Meet Naina Ahuja, strong and determined. She is the daughter of the Supreme Court Chief Justice who runs away from her home to Leh to escape the arranged marriage with 'Fatty'. During her escapade, she is kidnapped by terrorists who demand her father that he release their leader.

Meet Lt. Col. Arjun Rathore, brave and the man of his words. He leads the team of officers who have come to rescue Naina from her captors.

On their journey back home, both fall for each other but fate has different plans and they must part ways. When they meet again, will they be able to reunite or must they part ways again?

The story is amazing with so many twists and turns. Shilpa has done a great job in capturing the attention of readers throughout the story. The story gets interesting with each page and the twists and turns will make you wonder what will happen in the end? I just couldn't put down the book until I finished it.

I loved Naina and Arjun whose characters are portrayed so well that they feel like real persons. It is difficult not to fall in love with Arjun's personality as the story progresses and I was definitely not an exception to his charms! There is perfect balance of humor and excitement in the story to keep the readers interested throughout.

I just loved Shilpa's writing and I definitely look forward to reading more books by her. I recommend this for readers who are love romance.

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Buy @

Meet the Author

Shilpa was a year and a half when she was first introduced to the world of books. Her mother would park her with a picture book on the floor of the kitchen while she finished her cooking for the day. While it’s no longer the kitchen floor, you can still find her tucked away in a cosy nook somewhere with her nose buried in a book. While books in all genres interest her, it was romance that captured her heart. While racing through every romantic fiction book she could beg, borrow or buy, her over active imagination started to work overtime and weave its own stories. Years in the corporate world followed by a stint of entrepreneurship crystallised her belief that all she really wanted to do was give life to the stories bubbling inside of her. She briefly managed to tear herself away from the world of fiction to find her own personal happily ever after and now spends her time happily focusing on the two loves of her life – family and writing romances. 

You can stalk Shilpa Suraj @


This Tour is Hosted by 

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

A Shopaholic's Shopping Saga!

Whenever my mood is down,
And the world feels less of fun
There is one thing that never fails,
Shopping can lift my spirits again.

The wide range of products
And the unlimited choices I get!
Who said shopping is waste of time,
In my view, it's nothing short of heaven.

Oh that beautiful pearl set,
It will look beautiful I bet!
May be some matching clutch,
Of course! It would be a perfect match.

Oh what a pretty dress!
Its made just for me, I guess
There goes a matching stiletto,
Maybe what I just needed to go!

Wait! I forgot the books!
One or two, maybe more books.
The offers are so good to just let them go,
Add 'em all to the cart; lets go!

Go to the cart, lets check out
Seeing the bill I get a mini heart attack!
Not now, maybe some other time
And yet again, I promptly empty the cart!

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

An Unsaid Love Story

       Shreya looked in the mirror for the nth time to make sure she was looking perfect. After all, she didn't want to lose her chance of making an impression. She knew he would be there and she wanted to look her best. A satisfied smile broke her lips at the sight of her reflection in the mirror. She was ready to go. Saying a quick prayer and hoping her efforts do bear fruits, she left for her friend's wedding.

       Shreya wasn't her usual self when she reached the venue. Her usual confident look was replaced by nervousness. She looked around scanning the crowd until her eyes fell on him. He stood at the far end of the room, talking with the groom. If possible, he looked more dashing than ever. Probably sensing her gaze on him, he turned towards her and their eyes met for a moment before she looked away out of shyness. "Idiot! Idiot" she muttered to herself. This wasn't the time to chicken out! Gathering courage once more, she stole a glance towards him and it looked like he was smiling! Had she made a fool of herself? She didn't know. Cursing her bad luck, she walked towards the greenroom, where she knew the bride would be waiting for her.

       The function was grand. Love was in the air. Weddings are always a perfect place for the beginning of a new love story. Shreya didn't know if it was the ambience at the wedding or her own mind working, she kept stealing glances at him. She wished she could gather up courage and go talk with him but she knew herself too well. She was never good at initiating conversations and knowing her, this story would end even before it began. Wishing she was braver than this, she once again looked at the place where he was standing; only now he wasn't there anymore. Confused, she started looking for him when a voice spoke from behind her. "Looking for me?" he whispered in her ears. 

       Her heart beating wildly, she turned to look at him standing behind her. "You look beautiful" he said, making her blush. His smile told that her efforts weren't wasted. May be miracles do happen. It was a start. Someday, maybe someday, she would confess her feelings to him; how he had stole her heart at first sight. But for now, she would just revel in the happiness she was feeling at the moment. 

Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)

Swathi :)