Silly Saturday: Who's the Waiter?

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Weird Feather Ball!

Few days ago, Dad found this little thing perched on our clothesline in his balcony.

It was tiny... tinier that what it looks like in the photograph. In fact, with the naked eye, it just looked like a black ball of feathers, less than an inch in diameter. You couldn't even make out those colored feathers... blue, yellow and orange. Besides, it was pretty dark at the time, almost 9 at night! I managed to get such a clear picture because my old 5MP camera has a really powerful flash. And then I cropped and re-sized the photograph to have a better look at the little birdie.

I wonder if any of you know what bird this is! And I wonder what it was doing in our balcony that night, all alone. Did it get lost in the dark? If so, then was it able to find its way back home in the morning? Or did it end up as a midnight snack for one of our resident cats in the building? Or one of our pigeons perhaps? Do pigeons attack little birdies and eat them?

The Joys of Online Shopping!

So all of you know by now how much I hate shopping. Sure I love the end result of shopping… getting new stuff! (I’m a fairly normal human being in that respect!) What I don’t like in the process is dealing with all those screaming, haggling, pushy crowds!

All these years, my shopping excursions have mostly been limited to necessity shopping. All these years, shopping used to be the one chore that I despised the most. (Even more than cooking, yeah!) I’m glad that times seem to be changing finally.

Couple of years ago, I ventured into online shopping. Initially, it was very sporadic and restricted to occasional book purchases from flipkart, but gradually, I started buying other products too off the internet… like kitchen stuff, kiddies stuff, flowers & gifts, etc. And I realized something. I was getting better discounts online than in physical stores! (Plus all the fuel cost I was saving by shopping from home!)

Then a few months ago, my sister and B-I-L were on a visit here, and my B-I-L decided to take us all out for dinner. And for the very first time in my internet experience, I came across the concept of online discount coupons! My B-I-L searched for available restaurant deal coupons in my city, and eventually found one that bought us dinner at a reasonably expensive place, at a flat 50% discount from the total bill amount!

So the next time I wanted to order Dominos Pizza and discovered that I didn’t have any of their printed coupons left, I decided to search online for some. And I came across dedicated coupon websites that had loads of discount coupons and deals, from most of the online stores in India, including Dominos! For example, here’s one you could check out... CupoNation.

Using these websites is simple enough. I can search directly for the coupons/deals of a particular store, or I can browse through a list of all the stores. I can even browse through specific categories. For example, if I need to buy an electric appliance, but, I’m not sure which online stores sell electric appliances, I can simply browse through all the coupons/deals listed under the category for electric appliances. Once I find a coupon that looks good enough, I just click on it, copy it, and use it while placing my order on that store. The deals get activated automatically as soon as I click on the button.

Nowadays, I always search on these websites for discount coupons and deals before buying anything online or going out to eat. Who knows when it might just be my lucky day and I end up saving a great deal of money!

Wordless Wednesday: Fun with Food!

Fun with Food!

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Wordless Wednesday: Funny Indian Trucks!


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Inspired by Farmville!

So I was doing a google image search earlier, to ascertain the difference between the colors of ghee from buffalo's milk and ghee from cow's milk. And this image in the search results caught my attention...

Following the link given on the page, I discovered that the image was from the website of a sole-proprietorship export firm in Perundurai, Tamil Nadu, India. And guess what! The name of this firm is "Farmvillez"! ( Looks like somebody's been taking their Farmville quite seriously! :D :D :D

Anyway, the above image is not of ghee. It is of butter -- yellow butter, from cow's milk, and white butter, from buffalo's milk. (Remember I explained in my recipe for making ghee at home that we first get the butter?) Well, I didn't get that deep shade of yellow when I applied my recipe to a batch of cow's milk-cream, but it definitely was yellower than buffalo butter. This is what I got...

Pretty cool, huh? And yes, I HAVE become a maestro at making homemade ghee now! :D Gone are the days when I couldn't cook! Will soon be sharing some more neat recipes here... stay tuned!

Book Review: The Harlot by Saskia Walker

Review: The Harlot by Saskia Walker

The Harlot
Author: Saskia Walker
ISBN: 978-0373777365

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The Harlot, by Saskia Walker, is probably best classified as a Historical erotic romance, woven around a loose theme of mystery and revenge. The story takes place in 18th century Scotland, when the Witchcraft Act was in force, and females, accused of practising witchcraft, were being burnt at the stake. This book is the first in the Taskill Witches series by Saskia Walker.

Blurb from The Harlot:

Forced to watch her mother burn at the stake as a witch, Jessie Taskill was separated from her siblings in the aftermath. Jessie is similarly gifted, ripe with a powerful magic that must stay hidden. When she's accused by a rival of witchcraft, Jessie finds herself behind prison walls, awaiting certain death with a roguish priest unlike any man of the cloth she has known.

In reality, Gregor Ramsay is as far from holy as the devil himself, but his promise of freedom in return for her services may be her salvation. Locked into a dubious agreement, Jessie resents his plan to have her seduce and ruin his lifelong enemy. Especially when Gregor's lust for her is so compelling. She may agree to be his pawn… even as she plots to use him just as he is using her.

This blurb is what I read when I applied for this book giveaway on I figured it was going to be along the lines of the movie Pretty Woman, except with more mystery and adventure than just the simple 'love-hate-love' relationship. It was only after I received my very own author-signed copy of the book, that I read the author profile and realized that Saskia Walker is an established author in the genre of erotica.

We're not talking about Mills-n-Boons kind of amateurish sex scenes here, but the real stuff... adult stuff. So, while I was expecting a gripping suspense thriller, with a bit of sexually explicit content thrown in at a few places (considering the book is titled "The Harlot"), the book is, in fact, just the opposite! In simple words, it contains more of sex than of mystery!

I've been sitting on this book for over a month now, and managed to read just about 20% of it so far! (Needless to say, I'm not a big fan of this genre!) Nevertheless, from whatever little bit I have read so far, the plot seems engrossing, the writing seems unpretentious, and the two lead characters look quite convincing in their respective roles -- Jessie, undeniably 'the Harlot of Dundee', and Gregor, the wealthy man who's 'been there, done that'. I found some of the verbiage, used to describe certain body parts, a bit weird, but that might have been deliberate to represent the period and locale the story was set in.

I'm quite keen to find out what happens next in the plot and what role would Jessie's witchcraft play in it, but I'm really not game for all the "erotica" at the moment. And I realize that I wouldn't be able to give a fair review for a book in the erotica genre, if I skip all the erotica!

So, I asked Shilpa if she'd be interested in reading and reviewing The Harlot in my place. It isn't compulsory for goodreads giveaway winners to review the books they win, but this book was shipped to me all the way from UK, and it made no sense to waste all that postage! Luckily for me, Shilpa agreed! Saskia Walker also gave her consent for this alternate arrangement. So I'm passing this book on to Shilpa now. I will update this post with a link to her review once she posts it on her blog.

[UPDATE: Here's Shilpa's review.]

My rating: ----- (Not giving any stars as I didn't complete the book.) The Harlot, by Saskia Walker, has received mixed ratings by readers. Even though I didn't finish the book, I have a feeling that readers, who have a stomach for such textual pornography, will love it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I would also enjoy reading it someday.

Buy more books by Saskia Walker from: Flipkart | |

Disclaimer: This review is a part of the firstreads program at I received a free copy of this book for reviewing, but that has, in no way, affected my rating and opinions.

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