Book Review – You Raise Me Up.

you-raise-me-up‘You Raise Me Up’ is a story of Aalok, a 27 year old chartered accountant living in Mumbai. His is a story of love, loss & triumph.

The Book is divided into III parts. The Present day, the past & back to present. In part I, we come across Aalok on his way back from Moscow to Mumbai via Delhi.He is your guy next door, a simple introvert who likes his routine & doesn’t really live outside the boundaries he has etched for himself.

Aaloks life is in for a makeover when he meets Priyanka, a young, confident Lawyer girl from Delhi on the return flight from Delhi to Mumbai. Priyanka is everything Aalok is not. Fun loving, spontaneous & lively. She seems to have a spell on Aalok as he finds himself pretty helpless against Priyanka’s wilful nature & seems to go on with everything she asks of him. Over a period of time, we see them falling for each other. But there is a slight problem. It seems something is holding  Aalok back, every time Priyanka wants to solidify their relationship.

We understand the reason for this holding back in Part II of the book, which takes us into Aalok’s past. We meet Tanvi, a family friend of Aalok’s family. We are also a witness to Aalok falling in love with her & choosing a career he doesn’t really love, just to be close to her. We also get to see an entirely different side of Aalok, one that is so very different from the Aalok we see him with Priyanka. What is it that happened between Tanvi & Aalok, that changed him so drastically?

The III part is where it all comes together. I won’t be giving up any spoilers here. You have to read the book to uncover the mystery.

My opinion about the Book?

Honestly the book grows on you. I did not really enjoy the I part of the book. I feel the author should have allowed some room for the relationship between Priyanka & Aalok to grow at a more slower pace. It all seems too rushed & unrealistic. But part II changed it all for me. We really get to know Aalok in part II & various dimensions of his personality.I particularly enjoyed the kind of relationship he shares with his twin sister.It is very relate able. I also loved Tanvi & the complexities that came with her character. Part II has a lot of depth to it & the author has really done a fantastic job with the various emotions of the characters in this part. The story really becomes gripping & I just could not put the book down from Part II onward.

The best part about the book is that it gives you a very realistic view of the way life & relationships work. It is not always roses & sunshine. This story is not your everyday romance. It is a story about second chances. It is about understanding that love is never perfect & sometimes the best relationships do not work out even if the love is strong.

Arjun Hemmady, the author of this book  is surely one to look out for in the future as well. His writing has the kind of maturity that will see him to many highs. Read the Book & know why I say this.

I will recommend this book to you my readers. The only advice I will give you is don’t stop reading until you have read at least ten pages of part II. I promise you, you won’t put the book down.

About the Author

PhotographArjun Hemmady is pursuing a career in Chartered Accountancy in Mumbai. He works in a manufacturing company. His pastimes include writing, reading & watching movies.

 

 

Have yourself a Good Morning – II

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the way I begin my morning has a huge impact on how the rest of my day turns out. So I make sure I begin my day on a positive note.

As I was looking into various practices suggested by the ancient Indian texts, the one thing that was stressed upon for a good, healthy & balanced life is the practice of Pranayam or Deep Breathing.

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Pranayam is a Sanskrit word that can be broken into ‘Prana’ & ‘Ayama’. Prana means ‘Life Force’ & Ayama is to extend. The Practice of Pranayam has a lot of benefits. It creates a steady a controlled mind, Reduces Depression, Cleanses Lungs, Improves the Lymphatic system, cleanses tissues, improves digestion & if practiced regularly over a period of time cures diseases.

After learning how to practice the Pranayam exercises, I decided to include them in my morning routine. After offering (Arghya) water to the sun god, I started practicing Pranayam.

After practicing Pranayam for about 2 weeks now, I cannot go without it even for a day now. It feels so fresh, alert & light after you have done it. My energy levels have improved significantly & so has my concentration. It does make a difference!

Rules for Practicing Pranayam.

a) It needs to be practiced on an empty stomach.

b) In the beginning start with a 5 minute practice.

c) Never overdo it.

d) Consult with a doctor before beginning any new exercise form.

Doing my Pranayams is my favorite thing to do in the morning now. If you are physically fit, You should definitely try it out.

Here are the links of 2 basic Pranayams that I practice everyday.

For those who already practice it, let me know how you like it in the comments section!

Love,

Arry

 

 

 

Have yourself a Good Morning – I !

For me, the way I begin my morning, sets the tone for the rest of my day. So I thought why not begin my Mind – Body – Soul Balance series with a post on working towards starting off the day on a Positive, Fresh, Happy & Balanced note.

So today, instead of hitting the snooze button & rushing with the rest of the morning, I resisted the temptation & got out of bed & freshened up.

I knew I wanted to establish an early morning ritual for myself & keeping that in mind , I decided to start my Journey towards achieving Balance in my life with a morning spiritual practice that is given a lot of importance in my religion, Hinduism & my country, India.

I decided to give Arghya to the Sun ( Offering water to the Sun).

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In India, Sun is treated as a God & According to the Hindu Vedic scriptures, offering water to the Sun God in a copper vessel is given a lot of important.

I think it is really important to begin your day positively and having a spiritual base to it. Connecting with the higher power fills you with a sense of peace & fulfillment. It also helps you get centered & focused. Isn’t that the best space to be in during the earliest part of the day?

Go on, Customize it your way. It can be something as simple as a Thank you god for another beautiful day & staying in that space of gratitude for a minute.  Just try & get into that space within yourself where you feel peaceful, fulfilled & supported. Most religions have their own morning spiritual practices. Why not follow some from your religion.

If you are not religious, go connect with mother nature, observe the sun rising, the bird chirping, the cool flow of morning breeze. Just have a little morning ritual, that gets you in the inner happy space.

Once you are in that space, happy & fresh get on with the rest of your morning.

What I do with the rest of my morning, stay tuned!  More on that in the next post.

What is your early morning ritual to get centered? Let me know in the comments section!

Regards,

Arry.

The Mind – Body – Soul Balance..

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In an attempt to lead a simpler life, I chose a Minimalist Lifestyle for myself. I cannot even begin to describe that kind of impact it has had on my life. I feel light, happy & sorted.

It was sometime during this process of becoming a Minimalist, that I started thinking along the lines of the Mind – Body – Soul Balance. What was it that I could further do, to live a healthier, more happier & fulfilling life.I spoke to a lot of people. Read a lot of Lifestyle books. I did come across a lot of literature on it. It seems our generation is doing a lot of seeking on these lines. Seeking, because we don’t have it.

I somehow feel, our Grandparents & Parents had a better understanding of this, Body -Mind- Soul Balance than we do . I am sure this was not even something that they had to seek. They just had it & lived by it.

It is not that they worked less harder than we do or had to face lesser challenges in their lives. It is just that they still had a sense of balance in their life, a simplicity in their lifestyle that we seem to lack.

They ate good, organic food. Led simpler lives ( without cellphones, Internet & wifi) Had a strong sense of community & family life. They had Balance in their life. They lived long & healthy happy lives. ( I say that looking at both my grandparents, who lived on for 80 + years & were in great health till they passed away of old age.

I think it is important, we really take a look at both generations & really think about the kind of lives we are leading & the kind of lives we should be leading.

So starting from March, I am going to make some changes in my life & try living in a way that will help me achieve the Body- Mind – Soul  Balance.

Minimalism was a very helpful first step towards it. It is life changing.

Now onto changes at a more personal level. Diet, Exercise & an effort towards a more Holistic Life.

Stay tuned for more!

Cant wait to share this Journey with you.

As always, I would love to hear about your stories towards seeking balance & towards living a better life. Leave them in the comments section!

Love,

Arry.

 

Sharing is Caring – My Favorite Posts This Week!

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Dear Readers,

Lately, thanks to the Blogging101 Course that I am taking, I have been reading a lot of new blogs by some amazing Bloggers here at WordPress.

Ever so often I come across posts, so beautifully & articulately written, that it makes me want to show them some love & share them with my readers.

So I have decided to add a new weekly feature to my blog, where I share the posts I have loved reading that week.

Every post that is & will be mentioned here will be by a Blogger who has a unique style of writing. Deep, edgy, funny, serious. I will share them all.

Here are my favorite posts for this week!

Letter to a Younger me – Part 1 by Gabby Clark – By far the most beautiful & bare it all Letter to a younger self I have come across. I think Gabby is a very talented writer & is one Blogger whose future posts I am looking forward to.

If we were having Coffee by Carin Nicole – This straight out of bed, wearing something inside out kinda Coffee sounded so real & so me! I absolutely love Carin’s style of writing.

Dirt Bike Girl by Jodine Butler – This beautiful post reminded me of the day my Dad got me my first cycle. A beautifully narrated short story.

Films of Maurice Pialat: Van Gogh by Lupita Peimbert – A beautiful post about a movie on the life of my favorite artist Vincent Van Gogh. Beautifully written, makes me want to watch the movie asap!

Do visit these wonderful bloggers & show them some love!

How do you like this new feature?

Let me know in the comments section down below!

See you next week!

Regards,

Arry.

On My Bookshelf – January 2016

The Theme of the my year 2016 is ‘Making a Difference’ ( Check out my post Blogger with a Cause to know more) It only made sense that the first book on my Bookshelf be by somebody who has make a difference in somebody’s life already!

51lJn0uVAML._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_I came across this book ‘ The Promise of a Pencil’ by Adam Bruan accidently, when I was going through the Kindle store & I was very intrigued by the title itself & decided to pick it up.

The book is a New York Times Bestseller & is the story of how the author met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in his life, simply answered – ‘A pencil’.

This apparently tiny looking request led to a staggering journey across many countries & eventually led to Adam leaving his prestigious job to establish ‘Pencils of promise’. He started with just $25, & this small looking step has grown by leaps 7 bounds & has resulted in the establishment of more than 250 schools across the world today. The book is his journey & how he managed to accomplish this amazing feat! How can you not want to read it!

I will do a review, once I am done reading the book.

Why not read the book with me?!

If you have read it already though, let me know how you liked it in the comments section below!

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Regards,

Arry.

 

Have a Dream & a Coffee Can!

I personally believe that so important to have a Dream. Something you wish to do, wish to have, wish to experience. Something that keeps you going in life.

My dream ever since I was a child was always Traveling around the world.

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When I was 7, my Mom got a Game for me that came with a World Map & a Couple of knowledge cards. The whole purpose of the GAME was to help me improve my knowledge of the world ( Life of an Asian Kid! ) It involved 2 players. The first had to point out a place on the map & the second player had to ask a Question relating to the place from the Knowledge cards & vice-versa. The player that got the most correct answers would win!

I would play by the rules with my mom & dad but my childhood best pal Nikita & I, we had our own interesting version of the game! We would each take chances at picking a location on the map & pretend we were out to explore that place & would have our own Imaginary adventures!

Other times we were owners of a pretend Travel agency. Air-hostesses the next. But it was always something Travel related. This went on for a very long time with the two of us!  It was very clear to whoever witnessed our play, that we would both suffer from a chronic case of Wanderlust as adults!

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Yep, that’s her!

Today Nikita lives in Australia & travels around the world in her spare time & tries out all the adventure sports there are to try out! As for me, I travel enough to have Travel Blog.

I think the only reason why both of us did end up seeing the world as Adults is because every since we were children, that was our greatest Dream & coupled with it was also an intense desire for it to come true & doing everything we could that would help on the way to it.

I often get comments on my Blog, where people tell me that they wish to Travel, see the world, meet new people & experience wanderlust for themselves, but cannot. They have their own reasons as to why they cannot do so. They vary from having a family to look after, an old person to care for, a career that does not allow them to take time off or financial issues. And honestly, I get it. They are genuine reasons. I always wondered what the right response to these comments was.

It was yesterday when while watching a previous Super Soul Sunday episode of Oprah with Elizabeth Gilbert that I found the answer.

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Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the amazing Book ‘Eat,Pray, Love’, narrated a story a reader of hers shared with her. I am going to share that story with you.

The readers mother ( lets call her Amy) was born in a typical Irish catholic home in the 50’s & did what her mother & her grandmother & every other woman in her family had done before her. She got married at 18 & went on to have 5 kids in a row.

When Amy was 28, her husband left her. Just up & left. Amy was then left with 5 kids to raise. Her eldest then was 10 & the youngest 2 months old. The burden of holding her family together was on her & she did it take it upon herself to look after them as well as she could. It took a lot of efforts & sacrifices on her part which was pretty heroic in itself.

But there was also this one thing that she did, when it dawned upon her that her husband was never coming home again.She promised herself that her life would not always look this way, filled with so much sorrow, so much poverty & so much oppression in it. She promised herself that one day she would travel the world on her own.

She then got herself a coffee can, a regular coffee can. She kept it at the back of her cupboard where her children could not see it & everyday since the day her husband left, she put one dollar a day in it.

Amy knew there were always going to be hard times & there was always going to be trouble with money but one dollar was something she could spare. She never touched those coffee cans all the years & continued to put in one dollar every single day filling coffee cans after coffee cans.

After 20 years when her kids were all grown up & when her last kid left her house, that she finally cashed in those coffee cans & brought herself a ticket to travel around the world alone, as she had promised herself she would do!

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This exceptional story of heroism & Dreams answers almost every question relating to our quests. Whether it be traveling the world, writing a book, running the marathon or something else. What I want to convey through this story is simple.

Don’t give up on your quest! Keep the dream alive! Have a plan!

If you don’t have a Dream yet, I encourage you to have one from this coming year.

Take a birds eye view of things. Sometimes we don’t get things instantly. We have to wait for the right time for them to come true & honestly that’s okay. It took me a long time to make my dream of traveling the world come true, but now, almost 20 years later it is finally happening for me. It will happen for you too.

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Get a dream, keep your dream alive & get that Coffee Can ( A literal one or a Planner in its place, whichever is relevant)

Let us together declare the coming year as ‘The Year of the Coffee Cans ( & have lot of coffee in the process, wink wink 😉 )

I would love to hear about your dreams & plans too! Do leave them in the comments section of this post!

Much Love,

Arry.

 

Writing Spaces!

Every writer has a specific writing set up where he/she feels most comfortable. A cozy corner of their own, a proper study, a beautiful little coffee shop, a Garden, whatever gets the writing flowing! Writers, professional or amateurs alike, I find, are choosy when it comes to writing spaces. Creativity brings with it certain Quirks!

For me Personally, person-woman-apple-hotel-large

This is how I write – Sitting up on my bed, in my room at home, with a cup of tea or coffee!

I usually write on my Laptop! Although when I started Blogging, it was from my cell phone! It was a random idea to blog! I had always maintained Journals, but never went online with it. It was a couple of blogs later when I really got serious about blogging & wanted perfect themes & backgrounds. It was then that I moved to my Laptop.

I like perfect silence while writing. I hate being disturbed when I am writing. It makes me irritable very quickly, when somebody interrupts my flow of writing & I lose my chain of thoughts. I find it very difficult to get back on track, hence need to have a quiet environment & no disturbance. It makes me wonder how people find coffee shops a great place to write! You need to be incredibly focused to not get disturbed by all that noise!

I sometimes find inspiration when I am running in the morning at the park. So once in a while I do write mini posts from there as well. Usually its mostly my observations or Aha moments that I try jotting down( What is it with Mother Nature & AHA moments!? )

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It takes a long time for me to write. I usually start building a post by jotting down ideas in my Writing Journal & when I am sure I have covered all the points I need to convey, I finally get down to writing it. I write, edit, write, edit a million times before finally Publishing a post! That’s just me!

I have reached a point where I have a schedule of posting & its not random. Unless of course I am taking a blogging class ( which I find are very helpful ). Even when I ideas pop up in my head everywhere & anywhere, my writing space now is mostly my room ( which I totally love, Its my Zen place! )

What about you guys? Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have certain quirks when it comes to writing? I’d love to know! Leave a comment down below!

Love,

Arpita.

Are You My Target Audience?

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My Assignment today at Blogging101 is to Identify my ‘Target Audience’. To be very honest, I don’t really like the words ‘Target Audience’ for my readers here at ‘It’s Arpita’s Life’. It seems very business like to me. Not my style.

The thing I have always looked at my Blog as an Airport Lounge of sorts.

When you are Traveling & waiting at the Airport Lounge to board your flight or in between flights, you don’t really know who is going to come & settle in the chair next to you. But sooner or later, somebody walks in, settles down, either of you says hello, the usual conversations take place. You exchange stories about your Travels, the place you are from & where you are headed, so on & so forth. But there are also certain instances when you meet a person as a strangers, but when you part, you part from a friend. (True Story)

So basically my ‘Target audience’ is everyone & anyone with a story to share, those willing to turn from a Stranger to a friend & those who love a hearty conversation over a cup of Coffee/Tea ( you at your place, me at mine, till a better way is worked out by WordPress)

Somehow, I find that I have succeeded at finding my Target Audience! I have met so many wonderful strangers from exotic places here(Every place is exotic) who later became dear friends today.

There is so much I have shared that is close to my heart. Life Lessons I have learned, Books I have loved, My move to my new Apartment, my lifestyle choice of Minimalism & my love for Charity. You share stories this close to your heart generally with your friends, right? So I have it figured out I believe!

To all my new readers, from Bloggin101 community & otherwise, I say this – Come as a stranger, leave as a friend.

So are you my Target Audience???

-Arry.

 

Scholar PU Magnet Notebook Review!

Scholar Stationery is premium quality paper stationery brand in India since 1958. I personally have been using their Notebooks since my school days.

You should know by now that I am an absolute fan of Diaries, Planners & Notebooks. I am always looking out for beautiful ones that are easy to carry around.

So the other day when I came across this cute little Notebook by Scholar Stationery I decided to get it.

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The Scholar PU Magnet Notebook is a perfect for taking notes on the go. It comes with a Premium Italian PU Cover which makes it look really good.

The size of the paper sheets used in the Notebook is A6 which is an ideal size for me as it fits comfortably in my handbag.

The Notebook has rounded back & corners & has a magnetic flap for closure. The magnetic flap holds the notebook together & the pages are safe from being crumpled, which is something I always look for in my Notebooks & Planners.

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Lets take a look at the pages inside.

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The name page
The Notebook is very simple but has some unique features.

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The Notebook comes with 192 pages that are ruled. You do not have the option of Blank Pages. But here comes the part that I love. On the top of each page you have a date option which you can put in your self & also next to it you have the day option. You just have to tick the day of the week your are jotting the notes on!

I always wanted this feature in my Notebook. Helps me remember the day I took down a particular note.

The Notebook is relatively inexpensive & costs around 4$ which I think is very less for a notebook of such good quality.

Pros

The Price.

The Looks & Quality of the Notebook.

The Date & Day Feature that one has to fill in on ones own.

The size

The Magnetic Flap.

Cons

I wish they came up with a Blank Pages version along with the ruled one.

Summing it up

I absolutely love the Notebook. Its Simple, yet looks really great. The Quality of pages is also pretty good. The best thing however is the Price!

Will I recommend it – Absolutely!

Rating – 4.5/5

For Indian Readers – The Scholar PU Notebooks are available on Amazon & Flipkart. You can also visit their website to look at the available color options http://scholarstationery.com

Regards,

Arry.