KIDS PARADISE: PERFECT FOR KIDS!

Last week I decided to go to visit an old friend, Roopali Vijh who runs a playgroup and nursery in her residence in Navrangpura, Ahmedabad. It had been a long time since I visited her and upon entering her premises, the first thing that struck me was the treehouse that was in her lawn!

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I was so fascinated by the treehouse that I insisted upon going upstairs and inspecting it thoroughly. Roopali told me that they use the treehouse regularly for children to hone their fine motor and gross motor skills, do their easel painting and they also conduct their storytelling sessions there.

I then sat down with Roopali, the director of Kids Paradise and Jill Buch, the principal of the school to find out more about the school. They shared with me that Kids Paradise was started in 2010 and the idea behind starting the school was to blend the Montessori method with the Indian system of education in such a way that it acts as a bridge between the nursery school and the school that the child will eventually attend.

Kids Paradise has four air-conditioned classrooms and they have playgroup, nursery and Junior K.G. Aside from the treehouse, they have a sandpit in the garden and occasionally set up inflatable pools for the children to splash in.

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Roopali and Jill aim to have a new activity in the school every Friday. Rainy Day and Vegetable Day are just examples of their Friday activities. They also have a Sports Day every year and an Annual Day every two years.

In fact on the day that I visited the school, the school had their Rainy Day. The school was beautifully decorated with umbrellas. The tiny tots came out into the garden in their raincoats. Since it wasn’t raining, water was showered upon the children through a hose from above. There was a lot of excitement as the children thoroughly enjoyed getting drenched!

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I came away from Kids Paradise with a smile on my face after seeing the laughter and merriment there. I highly recommend Kids Paradise as an excellent playgroup and nursery school that combines learning with fun!

Kids Paradise can be followed on Facebook as https://www.facebook.com/kidsparadise03/  and on Instagram as https://www.instagram.com/kidsparadise03/

They also have a website: http://www.kids-paradise.in/

BOOK REVIEW: CHANAKYA

Book: ChanakyatempImageForSave

Author: Ashok K. Banker

Genre: Historical, Fiction

Published by: Westland Books

Number of pages: 154 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: Writersmelon provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This story is termed as “Book 1”, so it is obviously intended to be the first part in a series. Accordingly, the story does not take much time to complete as it is only 154 pages.

Chanakya of course is one of the most well-known figures in Indian history. This first part shows Chanakya or Vishnu Gupta as a seven-year old child prodigy and genius, who when asked by his teacher at the gurukul to memorise the first Paksha of Mandala Seven, memorises the entire Rig Veda instead!

Vishnu Gupta, with his parents and three sisters leave their village Chanak to go to Pataliputra, the capital of the Magadha Empire, as his father has to attend a conference there.

Pataliputra is an extremely sinister place, firmly under the control of the “Maha-amatyaji” Rakshasa, the Prime Minister of the Emperor Mahapadma Nanda. The Prime Minister is involved in and takes a cut out of every illegal activity that takes place in Pataliputra. The Yuvraj Dhana Nanda, is portrayed as an extremely demonic child! Another interesting character that is introduced in the story is Chandra, a young pickpocket, who helps Vishnu Gupta’s family.

Circumstances and fate bring Vishnu Gupta in contact with the Prime Minister and later the Emperor and the Yuvraj. It will remain to be seen how the story will go forward in the sequel.

I highly recommend “Chanakya”, as an extremely interesting story that has left me awaiting the sequel!

CHOCO’DALE IS DELICIOUS!

Marvellous! Amazing! Scrumptious! These are just a few of the adjectives that I have heard and I have myself used to describe Choco’dale’s creations.

One of Ahmedabad’s leading home baking brands, Choco’dale was started in February 2014 and has grown with leaps and strides since then. Every product of Choco’dale be it a cake, muffin, brownie, cakepop, theme based cookie or cupcake, bears Choco’dale’s stamp of individuality and creativity not to mention its impeccable taste! Today it’s time to meet the creative genius behind Choco’dale, Shruti Bhagat.

This soft-spoken and modest lady was a Fine Arts student who enjoyed sculpting. She has worked not only as a dress designer but as a web designer and a web developer, adapting her profession to meet the needs of her daughter.

Shruti, however, always enjoyed baking for her family and friends. Though she attended workshops to give her desserts a finished look, she never dreamed of taking it up as a profession!

But dissatisfaction with the products available in bakeries and encouragement from friends and family members led to Shruti starting with Choco’dale.

Shruti was very clear behind what motivated her to start her brand. She wanted to use the best and the most fresh ingredients for her products, the same ones she used for baking for her family and friends. She was determined to avoid using any extra preservatives and any premixes.

As a long standing customer of Choco’dale, I can also attest to the amazing variety of Choco’dale creations. I am continually amazed at Shruti’s imagination and her detailing in her desserts. In fact, I frequently joke to my husband that Choco’dale’s products are too good to eat! But at the same time, it is very difficult to control oneself from gorging on Choco’dale’s divine creations.

Choco’dale definitely specializes in theme-based cakes and desserts as Shruti is very conscious of aesthetic presentation. She also presents structural marvels like hanging, antigravity and rotating cakes.

Shruti gives credit to her family and friends for marketing her work and of course thanks her clients for their goodwill and the word of mouth publicity and praise that they have given her.

She has one request to all her clients past, present and future: that they should appreciate the time and effort put in by a home baker.

Shruti constantly tries to improve herself and keep herself updated. She attends workshops and even today spends considerable time online watching tutorials and doing R & D.

With this firm commitment to creativity, quality and taste one can be assured that Choco’dale is growing as a brand every day. I urge everyone who is reading this to not merely take my word for it but to sample a Choco’dale product right away.

For orders and inquiries Shruti Bhagat can be contacted on: 8128024448. Her varied and wonderful creations can be followed as Choco’dale on Facebook and as Chocodale_ on Instagram.

BOOK REVIEW: IT’S GOT TO BE LOVE

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Author: Prashant Kaul

Genre: Romance Fiction

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 254 pages

My Rating: 3/5

MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “It’s Got To Be Love” by Prashant Kaul in exchange for an honest review.

This story has all the elements of a romance, unrequited love, fights, serious accidents, misunderstandings and heroic stunts!

Dev Sharma lives in Chandigarh and becomes the best of friends with Vikram in school. The two of them also join the same college. At first, Dev is bullied in college but he manages to transform his physique through exercise and martial arts. Dev has this strange ability of having some of his dreams come true!

Dev falls for Carol in college. She appears to reciprocate his feelings but she also does not appear to be entirely committed to him. In the meantime, Dev connects with Vaani on Facebook, who lives in Delhi and two of them become good friends.

Dev meets Vaani in person when he moves to Delhi to pursue his post-graduation. As his relationship with Carol is going nowhere, Dev gets more and more close to Vaani and eventually falls in love with her.

However, Vaani and her family mysteriously disappear one day. Dev, aided by his group of friends, frantically tries to track her down. Whether he succeeds in doing so and whether the story has a happy ending, is obviously part of the suspense of the story and should not be revealed by me!

“It’s Got To Be Love” is a romance that will certainly appeal to readers who love that particular genre.

BOOK REVIEW: AGNIPUTR

Book: AgniputrtempImageForSave

Author: Vadhan

Genre: Thriller, Fiction

Published by: Bloomsbury

Number of pages: 354 pages

My Rating: 5/5

MY REVIEW: The author Vadhan kindly provided me with a copy of his book in exchange for an honest review.

It was extremely difficult to review the book without giving away the story!

The beginning of the story itself is extremely interesting with a necromancer conducting a black magic ritual. There is a mysterious energy in the castle in Gudem, a village in Andhra Pradesh.

This energy and its source is of extreme interest to crooked politicians and government agencies which then involuntarily involves Raghuram Surya, the descendent of the Surya family who owns the castle.

There is a Parch that attacks at night and a benefactor called P. Eshwar who shows up to help Raghu whenever needed. There are a lot of explanations involving quantum physics about the source of the dark energy.

There is a heart-warming romance between Raghu and Sheila Pitambar, the upright scientist who is trying to find answers to the mystery.

The story just races along until there is a confrontation between good and evil. Who or what is the “Agniputr” is one of the many plot twists in the book.

The end of the story, is extremely unexpected and was surely nothing that I anticipated!

I highly recommend “Agniputr”, as an engrossing and intriguing thriller! I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to this story.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Vadhan is a lawyer by training. He also aspires to be a politician and a reformist one day.

BOOK REVIEW: THE FICTITIOUS DREAM

Book: The Fictitious DreamtempImageForSave

Author: Ravish T. Ram

Genre: Fiction

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 158 pages

My Rating: 3/5

MY REVIEW: The author Ravish T. Ram kindly sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The story is fiction but the author has conveyed a motivational message by way of the story.

Rakvendra or Rak is a young man who suddenly finds himself in a dessert. He meets an old man there who leads him on a strange journey. At various stages in the story, Rak finds himself in a sanatorium, in a palace and in a forest.

He plays various roles, that of a husband, prisoner, guard and soldier. Is all this really happening to Rak or is this just a dream? What is the reason his life is taking so many twists and turns?

The story is worth reading in order to understand the underlying message the author wishes to convey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ravish T. Ram is a freestyle thinker and dreamer who wanted to become an author since early childhood.

BOOK REVIEW: LIFE IS WHAT MATTERS

Book: Life is What MatterstempImageForSave

Author: Alka Dixit

Genre: Non-Fiction

Published by: Srishti Publishers

Number of pages: 148 pages

My Rating: 4/5

MY REVIEW: The author Alka Dixit kindly sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

This book can be deemed as a “self-help” or a “self-improvement” book. But what I really liked about the book is that the author doesn’t preach to the reader. Instead certain pearls of wisdom are imparted very simply and clearly to the reader.

There are many things in the book that the reader may already know. But when we struggle with certain situations in life, we tend to forget these things. Reading the book certainly helped me to get a fresh perspective on how to approach my life and problems.

I will certainly recommend this book to readers as motivating and inspiring. People of all ages can understand and relate to the book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alka Dixit is a practising doctor and faculty in a medical college in Delhi NCR. She has been guiding people to live a better life by drawing inspiration from her as well as others’ life experiences.