Orange County, Coorg: Where Uber Luxury meets Nature

A Resort Review

Marriage ceremonies and the endless shopping sprees can be an exhausting and taxing. Now add an operation, subsequent physiotherapy sessions and horrible hitting-your-head-and-clogging your-nose cold to the mix. So it was no shock to anyone that by the time I and the husband reached Bangalore post wedding we were totally exhausted!

Our plan was to leave Bangalore by train to Mysore the early next morning. From there the Orange County people were going to send a car to take us to Coorg.

Since our train was supposed to leave Bangalore station at 4 in the morning, we decided to reach the station the previous night itself. While the initial plan was to book an OYO room for some comfort, the hotel staff asked for the marriage certificate to prove you are married. The husband told them we can show you pics, but since we got married only a few days ago we do not have a certificate. They were insistent, which irritated us, and we cut the call. All this led to us sitting on a railway station in the middle of the night, sick to my bones, and enjoying the experience. The train ride to Mysore gave us a few hours of sleep. Unfortunately, the woolen hat I was wearing mysteriously disappeared while on the train. I swear it was on my head when I slept! We looked everywhere..it was my favourite one too.

So we reached the station and were greeted with a very friendly staff of Orange County, he asked if we wanted breakfast first, or should we drive to the resort directly. We choose the former (his saying it was complimentary did have a major role in our choice.)

Even the Innova smelt wonderful and it was so relaxing! There was a basket of juices and knick knacks which really revived us…The drive to Coorg was just so amazing, the view of the place, especially the last few kilometers was just like heaven!

On reaching the Orange County we were given coffee and were shown to our private pool suite. It is said that pictures tell a thousand words, so I will let the pictures do the talking as to how our room was:

The Staff was extremely polite and everytime you meet someone you are greeted with a Namaskaram.

The entire property is quite serene and quite. You truly get the feeling the feeling that you are one with nature.

There are number of activities to enjoy depending on your preference. So when you are not immersing yourself in your own private pool you can opt for there. We had opted for a plantation walk (where you get a guided walk and tour of the entire plantation area and get an idea on the entire coffee manufacturing process) and worker’s trail (where you get to don the worker’s uniforms, sit in a tractor to go and work in the fields) and a coracle ride. You would get an idea about different activities from the lively activity room.

If you are not in the mood for activities, you can visit the library. It is situated overlooking the river. The collection of books was really good, so if you have forgotten your books at home, you need not worry! You could even opt for a relaxing massage at the spa. The massage was indeed more relaxing than anything I have ever experienced, the prayer at the start and a hot cup of green tea at the end, you never want that experience to end.

There are three different restaurants here. One is granary, which is the main restaurant. You get buffet lunch and dinner here. You even get snacks overlooking the public pool in the afternoons! Other options are peppercorn (bbq) and another pure vegetarian restaurant. The food spread in all three restaurants was to die for. Pre-dinner you get to enjoy a cultural show that showcased dances from the area.

Special mention: The towel animals on the bed were so cute, they are really worth the mention.

This was a trip that will stay with us for ever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Under An Amber Sky

Author: Pamela Evans

Under an amber sky.jpg

Book Blurb:

A heartrending London wartime saga from much-loved author Pamela Evans.

For the Porters and the Mills, family and friendship are the glue that binds everything together. So when the Porters’ home is destroyed in the Blitz and only seventeen-year-old Nell and her little sister Pansy survive, all their lives are shattered. Peg Mills is determined to look after her best friend’s daughters. And, in time, the girls begin to thrive – Pansy, evacuated to the countryside and Peg’s loving mother, and Nell in her new job at the local newspaper. But trouble is on its way. Nell discovers her handsome suitor Gus Granger is hiding a dangerous secret. And, just when she needs him the most, her closest confidant Ed Mills is declared missing in action. Nell suddenly realises that Ed means much more to her than just a friend. But will she ever see him again to tell him her true feelings?

My Review:

This is a quick, fast and compelling read.

While this is not the best world war 2 book, this is a book that is a light read.

While the start of the book was very promising, while we get to the middle it becomes a bit tedious.

I liked the way the characters are portrayed. While I was a bit dismayed that they were not grey, they were really well sketched out.

But, if you are not in the mood for some serious read yet do not prefer to read those oh-so-predictable romance novels, this book will do the trick.

Buy Under an Amber Sky

Book Review: 18 Via Teen

Be Yourself

Author: Shreyasi Rhittika Phukon

Book Blurb:

’18 Via Teen- Be yourself’ the name says it all. It enumerates the various phases of a teen and the hopes, aspirations, apprehensions, ambiguity, insecurity, dilemma, restlessness and sensitiveness, associated with each phase. Each story vividly depicts the psychological aspects of a teenage girl/boy and how the intuition helps her/his to overcome the hurdles one after another, which in teen makes her/his matured.

My Review:

18 Via Teen is an anthology that depicts the trials and tribulations of teenage life in India. The stories have both male and female protagonists, so the reader gets an unbiased view of all the aspects of teenage life in India.

The story that I liked the most was the first one. It is a story of a girl who gets followed by a goon. Living in a college town during my bachelors’ time, I have come across countless such incidents. I especially liked the way the girl in question handled the situation.

All of the stories had interesting quotations at the start, but those were not credited. If it had the name of the person who said the said quotation that would have been better.

The cover of the book is also quite amateurish. A teen of the current generation would rarely get attracted to pick this book up.

The book had many grammatical and editing errors which hindered the whole reading process. Also, I had the e-copy and the fonts were going all over the place. The fonts changed in the middle of the sentences, sometimes half the sentence is bold, sometimes the font size differed and sometimes randomly ‘II’ character was inserted . The pdf also had a two-column format, which is good for reports, but while reading in an e-reader, it becomes a chore to go from one column to other. An ebook should always have one column book type format.

Buy 18 Via Teen- Be yourself

Book Review: Great Speaches

Words that Shaped the World

Author: Edward Humphreys

Book Blurb:

Great Speeches brings together the most powerful and stirring addresses delivered in the English language, capturing the significant historical events of the past four hundred years in the words of their participants. The selection includes a full range of inspiring speakers: kings and queens are featured next to presidents and prime ministers; great human rights leaders stand with great military leaders. There are speeches delivered at times of great hope, such as John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, and others delivered at times of great sorrow, such as Robert Kennedy’s remarks on the death of Martin Luther King. Presented chronologically, each speech is preceded by a brief introduction. Great Speeches also includes an overall introduction and biographical sketches of each speaker.

My Review:

An inspiring book with the best speeches from around the world!

While most of us, or at least those of us who are interested in history know of these speeches, reading them in their entirety is a completely different experience. Especially when you know the context, some of these speeches give you goosebumps.

Unlike other books of this kind, this book has a paragraph that tells the reader why the speech was made and a brief note on the conditions of that time. So as a reader, you get an idea as to the context in which that particular speech was being made.

This book has so many motivational and inspiring quotes.

Totally a must read to get a holistic view of the world.

Buy Great Speeches: Words that Shaped the World

Book Review: Aryaveer

The Guardian of Dakshin Durgh

Author: Mary John Williams

Book Blurb:

Aryaveer has always been the shield and armour of Bhupala kingdom, ever since he joined the army. The pain of betrayal that he nurtures in his heart from his childhood turns him into a strong, brave and ruthless warrior. In 1315 AD, following the death of their army General, Aryaveer leads his soldiers to victory by capturing the impenetrable fort of Udaygiri, thus putting an end to the prolonged war. Pleased by his valor and strength, King Mahindra appoints him as the new Army General. Under his leadership, Bhupala kingdom rises into a super power, spreading across the length and breadth of peninsular India[Dakshin Durgh].
His life takes a mysterious turn when he falls in love with Meera, a princess by birth, caught in the whirlwind of conspiracies and hunted by many. She tames his aggression and takes his heart away from war and bloodshed.
In the meanwhile the disappearance of prince Indra, the only heir to the throne of Bhupala kingdom, irks king Mahindra. The ego dented king, hatches a noxious plan to become the emperor of India and entrusts Aryaveer with the duty of executing his plans.
Will Aryaveer once again walk on the war torn path for his king, or will he try to protect his castle of love from the dark tempest of greed and hatredness?

My Review:

This book is surprisingly very good. It is hard to believe that this is the author’s first book. The plot is intricately woven and all the characters are well sketched out.

I really liked the book cover, especially the fact that the man’s face is hidden, it adds to the mystery and lures you in. Definitely one of the better covers that I have been seeing these days.

One of the first characters we meet is an Army General who is conversing with the king. I loved the fact that the author conspicuously mentions ‘she’ for the general, and then it hits you, the general is a female! We then go on to find out how much of an awesome person Dharmishta is. My only grievance with this book is that Dharmishta should have had more space…I loved her!

One more aspect of this book that I really liked is how the author writes war scenes. She writes the war from point of view of both the sides, so we, as readers, have a much better understanding of what is going on and thus become much more invested in the storyline.

The protagonist of this novel, Aryaveer believes in doing the right thing and does not give in to what people want him to do, even though if he gives in no one would bat an eyelid, this comes out strongly with what happened to the Dharmishta episode. I do not want to say much more, as it would spoil it for those who have not read this book, but the decision that Aryaveer took, really made me respect him.

As you might have already noticed I am writing of these characters as “people”, because the author has displayed a wonderful writing ability which paints a picture in your mind. So you are there when this whole thing is happening and the characters are more than just characters, they are flesh and blood.

While there were some editing mistakes like spacing issues, punctuation issues, etc they were not that much of a hinderance as the overall story line was amazing. But, the author could look into this in her next book.

While this is predominantly an action book, the romance angle is so heartwarming. The romance is so beautifully merged with the action, the balance between both is just perfect.

Totally a book worth a read!

Buy ARYAVEER – The Guardian Of Dakshin Durgh

Book Review: The Luminiaries

Author: Eleanor Catton

Book Blurb:

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky. Richly evoking a mid-nineteenth-century world of shipping, banking, and gold rush boom and bust, The Luminaries is a brilliantly constructed, fiendishly clever ghost story and a gripping page-turner.

My Review:

I DID IT! I FINISHED THIS GIGANTIC  848 PAGE BOOK!

Let us just say that this is not a book for the weak. It needs bravado to pick up a book this size, that also after knowing it is historical fiction. A genre that is not preferred by many.

But one thing is sure if you muster up enough courage to pick it up and start reading, you would be hooked from the word go. The story line pulls you in and then you become so engrossed in the book that you just do not want it to end.

I kept reading page after page not knowing how the story is going to turn out. The twists, the turns take you to an ending that is just unexpected. The brilliance of this book is just when you have finally figured out in your head how the story is going to come about, something or the other takes place and all your theories are flushed down the gutter..I just LOVE when that happens!

There are more main characters than I could count, and each come up with their own set of back stories that are somehow interlinked with each other. This is a complex book, you will need your concentration with you, but if you do, you will not regret it.

The book is split into two parts. In the first part, we see a man named Walter Moody mistakenly enter into an inn parlor where a secret meeting between 12 men is taking place. When Moody enters, it makes them 13. Now sine this book is based on lunar charting and symbolism, you just know now that they are 13 something wicked this way comes.

Moody finds out that these men are discussing weird happenings that have been occurring in the past few days. The first half of the book consists of each of the men recollecting their actions in connection with the larger events.

The second half of the book concentrates on what happens after the said meeting.

The Luminaries has all the right ingredients for a perfect book, it has death, disappearances, gold, theft, action, superstition and much more. No doubt this is a 2013 winner of Man Book Price.

Definitely the best read of this year till now!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Book

Sub Title:  On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

Author: Alan W. Watts

The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are Book Blurb:

A witty attack on the illusion that the self is a separate ego that confronts a universe of alien physical objects.

 

 

 

My Review:

As the title suggests, this is a non-fiction book wherein the author presents an array of ideas that one might not have thought of before. Like the Gaia theory, the author argues that everything and everyone in this world is connected. In most of his ideas, he shows the stark contrast between the western and the eastern philosophies. The issue that I had, as a person living in the said “eastern world”, I was already aware of what the author was talking about. Personally, the ideas did not feel so revolutionary to me.

No doubt there are some good points in this book, but they were not earth shattering.

The writing style of this book is pretty interesting, it felt like sitting in a conference with someone giving a talk. Which, after a while got quite boring.

All in all, this is not a book that I would recommend.

 

 

Book Review: Glittering Shadows

Poet: Manish Ranjan

Book Blurb:

Glittering Shadows, is not just a book. It is the beat of a heart – a heart full of endless and ageless love. It is a book that celebrates love, values little things of life and nurtures our soul. It is a book of word art where imagination and love get married in bliss. The poems in this book will take you on a virtual tour to the world of the author, where he weaves with his words, the different facets and shades of love.

“Words have power” – they say, and a poet has his words as a weapon; a weapon to fight against injustice. Glittering Shadows has the voice of protest against the misogynist attitude of our society and the nature of injustice we do to our women, who is a mother, a sister, a wife and a daughter. In some of the poems, the author has given a poetic expression on womanhood and a voice of protest against the atrocities on our women.

My Review:

This is the first review of a Poetry book on this site. So, I will try my best to give it justice.

Reading these poetries took me to a place where all is nice and sweet.  The poems are written in a simple language, yet reading them forms images in your mind and makes you feel the emotions the poet has written about.

Love and loneliness are emotions that rarely few have been able to escape. Manish does an exceptional job painting such emotions. To quote few lines from his poem “A broken heart walking ashore“:

I was a lonely heart wandering, and lost amidst the crowd,

Wherever I looked, I could see souls in love, holding each other.

These two lines just blew me away. In just these two lines the author manages to convey the feelings that we all have.

While all the poems are distinctively beautiful and poignant in their own way, a few just stood apart by their sheer brilliance. A few of them were:

“Silent First Love”

“A Tight Hug Was All She Needed”

and “Tears of Life”

I had once heard a saying that the best things in life come in short packages…this is one such book. You should definitely give it a try.

Click Here To Buy This Book

Book Review: I Cud Hav Had 17… But I Chose to Have 19 Chapters

Author: Ashutosh Srivastava

Book Blurb:

This is the story of a person who met a lot of temporary people in his life. If you meet a girl in a new place, be it a college, a coaching centre, a train, an office or any other place, and if you find her beautiful, you will definitely try to approach her. You will, maybe, send her a friend request on Facebook. She might accept your request or she might not. But, one thing is quite definite, that she will visit your profile for sure. This is us; this is human psychology or just the mentality that we have developed over the years. It’s a story of a person meeting different girls with whom he could have had some chemistry, but there was always some or the other ‘but’. He had some good features, but his bad ones outnumbered the good. He did some magic, due to which he was able to change his life. Being overweight for him was among his major tensions. However, he lost 30 kgs of weight in six months, and consequently, the people who used to hate him started liking him. The gym freaks are often considered as dumb and writers are often considered as genius. He acted of being both.

My Review:

After reading about the author, the witty way he introduces himself, I kind of had some expectations from this book.

But unfortunately, this book did not meet those expectations.

For one, I was confused as to the genre of the book. If this is a work of fiction, the author’s voice was so loud in this book that it overshadowed the story, and if this was nonfiction,it was too generic a story to warrant a telling.

There are enough books in Indian Publishing industry about a below average guy who is ‘crazy’ about the opposite sex. The only difference in this book was instead of one girl, there were many.

The author should have refrained from giving his opinions and meaning about every simple thing. The reason that people read books is to form their own opinions. I kind of felt that the author had very low opinion of his reader’s mind as he defined even the most mundane thing. For example,  where he mentions that the protagonist’s dad wanted him to go to a home tutor. Then he goes on to define that a home tutor is someone who teaches at home or calls students in one place. This level of defining every single allegedly ‘difficult’ words was a bit irritating.

Also, there were quite a few grammatical mistakes in this book, not to mention, the book cover has a caucasian male, where in the story it is an Indian fellow.

Book Review: The GAIAD: A Novel (The LOGOS Series Book 1)

Author: William Burcher

The GAIAD Novel

Book Blurb:

In a society increasingly buried under the weight of its own insularity, an ancient and shadowy group selfishly guards a secret with the power to change everything. Tonight, on a stage in front of thousands, one of their members commits a horrible, shocking act. In the audience is Detective Fleur Romano. Bitter and world-weary, she vows to uncover the reasons behind the horror she just witnessed. In the process, she’ll discover that she’s led her lonely life ignorant a fundamental truth, a truth first discovered by a man who walked the earth millennia ago, a man mysteriously familiar.

My Review:

This book was amazing on two levels. Firstly, the storyline was amazing. How the author managed to weave a story from two different timelines was just perfect.

Secondly, the way the author has managed to characterize females in his book is exceptional. Let me illustrate this fact with quotes from the book:

Garr-Eth and Aye-Lin were expected to provide counsel to one another,to lead the people as equals.

This part of the book focused on the society wherein there is perfect equality between men and women. Although the work is divided between both the sexes, if someone wishes to work in the line of the opposite sex, the society is completely accepting of the fact.

The most promising part of the story was when Garr-Eth visits other colonies, which has started “changing, which seems quite strange to him. The author has done a phenomenal job writing about the confusion and the shock that comes when he witnesses how few colonies have shifted their perspective from an equal society to a patriarchal one.

One of the subtle, yet powerful ways that the change is shown is how in an equal society when leaders talk about their followers, the word they use is “people”, but in a patriarchal thinking, this is now changed to “men”.

In the second part of the story, we find ourselves in present time. When everything is seemingly normal, an ancient cult is guarding a secret. This is a secret that, if exposed, could change the way of the world. Detective Fleur Romano stumbles upon this cult in a bizarre event where a famous singer lies dead in her arms.

Based on the Gaia hypothesis, the author amalgamates the past, present and the future to connect and reveal the story line.

This is one excellent read, anyone who loves mystic, fiction works, as well as for the feminist book clubs, I feel this book would be widely appreciated.

I am so looking forward to reading the part 2 of this series.