A LIFE TO DIE FOR-IN CONVERSATION WITH NILAY SHAH

I recently came across and read a novel- “A Life to Die For”. I was impressed with the complexity of the book and even more so when I came to know that the book was translated from Gujarati to English and that the young author was a resident of Ahmedabad itself!

Accordingly, I got in touch with Nilay as I was very curious to know how such a young man had written such a compelling narration.

I will briefly narrate the plot of “A Life to Die For” without giving away too many details: the story is set in the fictional state of Jambola & Kushwarg as well as in Siran and Zayakistan. The story begins when a young girl is rescued from her solitary confinement. The girl herself cannot identify her captor and has clearly been abused. From there, the story branches into a number of plots and sub-plots as various characters are introduced.

“What does it take for someone to be someone?” is the question in the book that the characters in the novel strive to find answers to.

The first startling fact about Nilay is that he is only 23 years old and a Chartered Accountant to boot! However, he has always been inclined toward the arts and wrote his first short story at the tender age of 6 years old! What is even more noteworthy is that A Life to Die For was originally written in Gujarati as “Asammat” (published in July 2016) and was then translated into English by Nilay himself.

I was also surprised to learn from Nilay that he wrote the entire book in just 4 months. However he told me that he had the various plots in the book ready in his mind before he started writing his story. He went through 4 drafts of his book before the final outcome was ready.

Nilay decided to avoid the traditional publishing route and chose to get his book self-published. He confessed to me that he is extremely poor at marketing and publicising his work.

Nilay is currently working on his next story, to quote him, “a psychological thriller with an unusual narrative”. Nilay wants to be known for novels that stand out and does not even rule out film direction in the future. Though he loves writing in Gujarati, he admits that he has now started writing more in English.

“A Life to Die” For is not available in bookstores but a copy of the book can be ordered from ecommerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Infibeam.

Nilay can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as AuthorNilay. I would urge everyone to follow this budding talent and encourage him by reading his book. I am personally looking forward to reading his next work!

A TASTE OF SRI LANKA IN KHEDA!

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What are you doing for lunch next Sunday? Today’s post is about a unique dining experience that is scheduled to take place next Sunday, i.e. 25th March.

What is so special about this lunch? Well, first of all, it’s a pop-up lunch, a one-time dining experience. Secondly, it is hosted and curated by two very talented and lovely ladies, Purvi Vyas and Sheetal Bhatt. Both these ladies are very passionate about their food and the experience of dining as a whole.

Thirdly, the lunch will be hosted in a natural and unspoiled environment, a farm.

All the food that is going to be served this Sunday, is organic, i.e. it is going to be prepared from raw materials locally grown and sourced.

I’m sure that we are all aware that food prepared in this aesthetic fashion has a distinct taste, flavour and fragrance and is guaranteed to be a treat to the taste buds!

Summer has still not set in. Sunday morning is a good time to drive down from Ahmedabad to Kheda with family and friends. One can spend time on the farm before lunch and then partake of the delicious food prepared by Sheetal. Drive back home to Ahmedabad post lunch in time for your afternoon siesta!

In order to maintain the sanctity of the dining experience, there are limited seats available for this Sunday’s lunch. Don’t let the opportunity go by, do book your seat and avail of this wonderful dining experience!

WHY WE NEED TO PLANK

Planking is a fitness exercise that can feel like torture! I have always disliked planking and usually try to avoid it. But it was my trainer Mr. Praful Raval who incorporated planks as part of my workout regime and who ensured that I plank on a regular basis.

Plank exercises are deceptive as in they appear to be very simple but are actually not. The maximum benefit of a plank is when it is performed correctly. The numerous variations in the plank are the reverse and the side planks.

My trainer has explained to me that planking is essential for the core and the back muscles. As we all know, it is a strong core that contributes to our overall fitness.

But that led me to ask about why I had to do the side plank as well? I found it as strenuous as the regular plank, if not more!

I came to know that the side plank tones the sides of the abdominal muscles giving a good shape to the belly. Moreover, when we raise our body in the side plank position, our arms and shoulders take a lot of our body weight, which helps in strengthening our arms and shoulders.

Performing plank exercises help in improving our concentration as we need to maintain a perfect balance between our arms, legs and the rest of our body. Our technique of performing the plank is as important as the plank itself.

Plank exercises of any variation are the most effective when done after any exercise that help in reducing body fat.

The health benefits of the plank and side plank are many. I would urge everyone to incorporate plank exercises as part of their workout regimes. Go ahead and plank, you will surely appreciate the benefits of planking in a few months once you start seeing the results in your arms and your core!

I will endeavour to keep providing everyone with fitness tools and tips that are not complex gadgets and can be used on a regular basis.

So that everyone can avail of my trainer’s expertise, I am providing everyone with his contact information as under:

Mr. Praful Raval: 9998999577

He can be contacted via e-mail on meet.praful@gmail.com and followed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@PrafulRaval38)

BOOK REVIEW: MERCY- OF GODS & MEN

Book: Mercy- of Gods & Men

Author: Aditya Bhartiya Mathur

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Published by: Pblishing

Number of pages: 292 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

 

BOOK SUMMARY: Mercy is the story of multiple complex characters that face dire circumstances. Set in three kingdoms, the story revolves around rebellions, wars and political agendas. Explore the story of these foreign lands as the destiny of the characters unfold over the span of the series.

MY REVIEW: I have received a review copy of Mercy- of Gods & Men by Aditya Bhartiya Mathur from The Book Planet PR in exchange for an honest review.

I personally enjoy reading the fantasy genre of books. Mercy- of Gods & Men is supposed to be the first book in a 3-part series. The book begins with the telling of a legend about how three empires and the houses came to be.

There are three empires in this story- Deiosa, Helica and Luneta and about twelve houses, out of which the houses of the sun, the moon, the dragon, the phoenix and the hydra are given importance in this story.

So in this fantasy saga, there is magic, there is war, there are warriors and there are dragons! I particularly enjoyed the part where William makes his dragon hatch from the egg.

The story is enjoyable if one can keep track of the many characters and the multiple plots going on simultaneously in the book. The story ends with many loose threads as the author obviously intends to continue with the story in the subsequent parts.

The story also deals with emotions like love and jealousy. The jealousy of Reyna towards Bella and how she ends Bella’s life with magic is interesting to read.

I cannot help but compare the book to the Game of Thrones series. I am sure that the author is also a fan of the series like I am! The enjoyment of reading the book is only marred by the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the story.

However, I will say that this is a wonderful effort on the part of such a young author and I do look forward to reading the second part of the series. Mercy-of Gods & Men is worth reading if you are a fan of fantasy fiction.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Aditya Bhartiya Mathur began writing at the age of 5. He has won many awards for short stories. He has also written scripts and screenplays for short films.

THE BEST BUNDT!

I recently had reason to order a cake, the occasion being my husband’s birthday. Being a cake-lover, I am always looking for an excuse to eat cake! I decided to order my cake from The Good Wives, an account that I had been following on Instagram since a while.

I have been enjoying the pictures posted by The Good Wives as the goodies posted always seemed to be tasty and appealing. I got in touch with the lady behind the brand: Ashini Patel. Mutually, we decided to go for a lemon bundt cake. Ashini suggested this flavour to me as many of her clients had enjoyed it. I decided to opt for this flavour as my spouse enjoys trying different varieties in cuisine.

I met up with Ashini when I went to collect the cake. I sat down to have a chat with her as I was curious to know more about her brand and her products.

Ashini revealed to me that she chose the name “The Good Wives” for her brand as she wanted to convey the image of good quality, homemade food. As she was always interested in cooking and trying out new recipes, she started her venture as recently as June 2017.

At present The Good Wives caters to Bundt cakes, frosted cakes, cupcakes, muffins and crackers. The Good Wives also caters to preparing various types of starters and appetisers for dinners and parties.

Ashini revealed to me that presently she is focused on working from home so that she can work around her children’s schedules. But she is intending on expanding her repertoire on gourmet items and baked goods that she can cater to. She would also love to have her own patisserie in future.

I took the cake back with me and to the restaurant where we had invited the family for dinner. We saved the cake for the end of our meal, i.e. we saved the best for the last!

The lemon bundt cake was indeed extremely delicious with a chocolate chip taste in it as well. The entire family along with the children enjoyed the cake thoroughly.

I would certainly recommend trying out The Good Wives’ products as they are extremely well-made, visually appealing and reasonably priced.

Ashini Patel can be contacted on 98240 03500 and can be followed on Instagram under the name of The Good Wives. You will certainly not be disappointed if you go to her!

FITNESS IS PYSCHOLOGICAL!

On occasion of this Women’s Day, I thought that we should celebrate strong and fit women everywhere. Accordingly I decided to meet up with an old friend of mine, one of the most vibrant and energetic women that I know, who happens to be one of the top fitness trainers of Ahmedabad, Ruju Desai.

Since we hadn’t met in a long time, we caught up over coffee. One of the first things that strike you about Ruju is how vivacious and dynamic she is. As a person who has attended her workout sessions for a number of years, I can personally attest to the fact that there is never a dull moment in her class. Her workout sessions are always happening and lively due to the sheer force of her personality!

Ruju shared her personal fitness mantra with me: namely that fitness is psychological, i.e. fitness is a state of mind. According to Ruju, physical fitness is of no use if you are unfit mentally! It is equally important to be in a positive state of mind at all times.

She also shared her views on obesity and the incidence of conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol prevailing today: that fitness should start from the home kitchen. Ruju endorses eating at home and that too, simple home-cooked food. Following a clean eating routine goes a long way towards maintaining one’s fitness.

Ruju is currently running 3 classes a day at Sports Club and 2 classes a day at Rajpath Club, where she focuses on cardio, strength training and bodyweight exercises. She uses equipment like dumbbells, balls and bands in her fitness routines. Her cardio routines are extremely rocking as she incorporates a lot of dance steps in them, being a trained dancer herself. She also uses steps for her cardio workouts.  Ruju also tries to take a lot of yoga movements for her fitness sessions. Really, I would say that attending her workout session is getting a complete workout!

Ruju is also doing personal training but on a limited basis because of time constraints. She has been a judge for several competitions taking place all over Ahmedabad and regularly performs a warm up fitness routine with her team, on stage at the venue of various marathons taking place all over Ahmedabad.

Attending Ruju’s workouts is definitely value for money, not to mention a lot of fun! For any queries, contact Ruju Desai on 9824548060. She can also be followed on Facebook as Ruju’s Fitness and on Instagram as Ruju_Fitness.

A very happy and fit Women’s Day to all the lovely women out there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very happy and fit Women’s Day to all the lovely women out there!

BOOK REVIEW: STEPPING STONES

tempImageForSaveBook: Stepping Stones

Author: Lubhna Dongre

Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help

Published by: Notion Press

Number of pages: 293 pages

My Rating: 3.5/5

 

BOOK SUMMARY: As the sun consistently rises and sets, you too must approach your goals with the same commitment and steadiness, every day, like nature, and contribute to the world by passionately living your purpose.

MY REVIEW: I have received a review copy of Stepping Stones by Lubhna Dongre from Vinfluencers in exchange for an honest review.

The book begins with a list of leaders who have given guidance to the author followed by acknowledgements and an introduction by the author explaining what motivated her to write the book. Throughout the book, the author also thanks various teachers who guided and motivated her in different ways.

The book has been divided into chapters titled Potential, Purpose, Programming, Progress, Plan, Problems, Persistence, Power, Performance and Pleasure/Peace. The title of the book, “Stepping Stones” is extremely appropriate as the author attempts to give guidance to young people about how to go ahead in life.

With each chapter, the author focuses on urging the reader to set goals and to be prepared to break out of one’s comfort zone. On many occasions, the author gives examples of her own life experiences. I particularly enjoyed reading about Barefoot College and the night school in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

Lubhna Dongre has given valuable tips regarding utilising time, energy, being consistent, setting goals and working hard throughout the book. She has also discussed the power of positivity and gratitude.

The author has also discussed an interesting technique that can be used by teenagers and adults alike: to think about how we will be remembered after we die.

The book concludes with letters and emails received by the author by various leaders all over India.

It is commendable that a young person has written such a motivating book. The division of the book in different sections makes for easy reading. Though the book is targeted at a young audience, adults will also definitely benefit from reading this book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lubhna Dongre is a teenaged schoolgirl whose goal is to become an IAS officer.