Monday, April 22, 2013

When Te Amo... I LOVE YOU met Hussain Kuwajerwala

It was pleasure meeting Hussain Kuwajerwala, who is not only a fine actor, dancer and host, but a humble human being too. I gifted him Te Amo... I LOVE YOU, and he has promised to read it and revert back with his views.

Here are some pictures :

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pehli Nazar ... a song (in Hindi)

Kuch aisa lagaa ik ajnabi se mil ke

Jaise janmo se hai us se dil ka rishta koi…

Koi jaadu kiya uski ik jhalak ne

Jaise baithe the sirf uske sajde mein kahin…

Wo kaun hai? Uska naam kya?

Koi hai pari, ya koi apsara…

Mere chain-o-dil mein wo samaa gayi

Pehli nazar mein hi apna bana gayi…

Ab to na khud ka koi hosh hai

Uski aankhon mein main kho gaya…

Uski har adaa, woh maasumiyat

Wo ban gayi hai meri rehnumaa…

Wo kaun hai? Uska naam kya?

Koi khabar nahi, wo hai kahaan…

Zindagi pal mein wo badal gayi

Pehli nazar mein hi apna bana gayi…

Kuch yun hua us ajnabi se mil ke

Dil jhoom utha, dhadkan ruk gayi

Uski ik jhalak ne aisa kya kiya

Kyun wo ban gayi hai meri tishnagi…

Wo jo bhi hai, dil ke kareeb hai

Mujhe dil-e-ishq wo sikha gayi…

Uska bholapan, uski ik hansi

Pehli nazar mein hi apna bana gayi…

P.S. This is my first attempt to write a song, in Hindi. :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Guest Speaker at Jaipur Engineering College and Research Centre


Mahi and I at JECRC
Delhi ... Mumbai ... Chandigarh ... Amritsar ... Bangalore ... London ... Dallas ... Paris ... Las Vegas ... These are some of the cities which I have visited in the past few years, and there are many more beautiful cities, around the globe, which I would love to visit in the future.

One such city, which I always wanted to visit, was Jaipur - the PINK CITY of India. The opportunity fell into my lap on 21st March 2013, when I received a call from Prerna Jain, student coordinator at the Renaissance fest at Jaipur Engineering College and Research Centre (JECRC).  She requested me to come over as a guest speaker for an event on March 24th, to motivate the students and also invited me to talk about my debut novel ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’.  She informed me that they have also invited my friend and fellow author, Mahi Singla, for the same purpose. Both Mahi and I gladly accepted their kind invitation, and eagerly waited to interact with the youth audience of one of the best colleges in Rajasthan.

We had a small duration of two days to do the entire preparation for the event – the speeches, the presentations, the videos etc. Thankfully, Sunill Kaushik from Ink Studios, shared our burden, and prepared one such video for our upcoming short story anthology '12 HOURS'. He did a commendable job, in such a short time-frame. Meanwhile, Mahi and I worked on our motivational speeches, and prepared a video presentation as well.

Finally, with all the preparation done, we reached Jaipur on 24th March. The college authorities were kind and supportive enough to provide us with the travel and stay facilities. After a bit of rest and tasty food, in college’s guest room, we reached JECRC at 12:30 p.m. Our event was scheduled at 1 p.m.

I was highly impressed by the care and concern which the college authorities showed toward us. We received a very warm welcome, both from the students and the teachers, right at the entrance gate of the college.  We roam around the college a bit, and saw various other events that were going on. The fest, Renaissance, was in its full throttle. It was a festive atmosphere, and it reminded me of my own college days. Yes, I still miss the days when I used to dance on the stage.

Our event started right on time. All the preparations were immaculate. When Mahi and I entered the auditorium, it was already bustling with audience. They welcomed us with a loud cheer and applause. It was good to see that there was an audience, who was ready to attend an event related to authors and books, when events like dance/singing were going on in parallel. It certainly gave me the much needed confidence boost. I must admit, no matter how many colleges I have visited in the past, there is always a sense of anxiety just before an event. 
Finally, the event started with my speech. I gave a 12-15 minute long speech, and stressed upon the elements like success, failure, dreams, and of course, I spoke about ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’, and a bit about '12 HOURS', too.  I narrated my journey of becoming a writer, from an engineer, and tried to motivate the upcoming engineers of JECRC. I am not sure how motivated the students felt after my speech. The video presentation that depicted the journey of my debut book was received with overwhelming response.  The trailer of ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’, titled Celebration of Love, was then played, and the audience was transfixed to the screen. The trailer was welcomed with much bigger response. Somehow, the video presentations always work better than the boring speeches.

But, Mahi proved it wrong. She received audience applause three times, during her 10 minute speech. It was her first speech, and she hit the bull’s eye. She spoke about how she became a writer accidentally ... her meeting with the bestselling author Subhasis Das, who offered her to co-author him in his book – ‘I.T. Hurts’.  She also spoke about her love for reading and writing, especially writing short stories. She narrated her journey of scripting '12 HOURS', and how she and I ended up co-authoring it. Her one-liners in Hindi were hugely applauded by the audience. The trailer of '12 HOURS', which Sunill Kaushik had prepared for us, was then played after Mahi’s speech. The trailer was received with the big thumbs up by the audience.

The next was the audience interaction round. I must appreciate JECRC audience for being so interactive. I loved their questions, and replied to them with all the honesty. Mahi and I had deliberately thought of making the event more interactive. Hence, we invited students to showcase their talents, like  - singing, poetry, dance etc.

JECRC audience crossed our expectations. They participated in a big number, and we gifted them the signed copies of ‘Te Amo... I LOVE YOU’. It was followed by the formal book signing event, and the photography session.  JECRC also presented us with the beautiful trophies, and the event came to a successful closure.  

On the whole, the event was perfectly managed by Prerna, Nishtha, Rishi, and their entire team. Thumbs up to them! I am very thankful to them, and the entire team of JECRC, for inviting us to their college, and giving us an opportunity to share our thoughts and work. I am also thankful to them for the warmth, love and care they showered on us.

Sadly, I could not see the real Jaipur city. It was a Sunday, and everything was closed. Maybe next time! But Prerna, along with Parul, took Mahi and me to a mall, where we enjoyed shopping and food. Let me correct ... the girls did the shopping ... I enjoyed the food!

The day ended on a great note, when I saw my book at ‘Maheshwari Book Stall’ at Sindi Camp Bus stand.
Overall, it was a memorable day in Jaipur! JAI HO JAIPUR! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' has been nominated for the prestigious COMMONWEALTH BOOK PRIZE 2012. 5 Winners are selected across the world... 1 winner from each region. 'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' has been nominated for ASIA ZONE.

Special VALENTIN EDITION Cover of 'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' with 
Commonwealth Book Prize tag.

Journey of 'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU'

B&TB Literary Agency awards 'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU'

'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' launched in Manav Rachna International University

'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' with Mrs. Kiran Bedi


'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' is a Roller-coaster ride' - HINDUSTAN TIME

'Story of Isabella and Aryan reminds us of Romeo and Juliet' - Mahakhabar 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sample Chapter of Te Amo... I LOVE YOU, available for ANDROID USERS.

The Sample Chapter of 'Te Amo... I LOVE YOU' is now available as an app. in Playstore. So, if you have any Android Device, you can download the same, and read it.

Here is the link:

Te Amo App

The book is available on various online stores like Flipkart, Infibeam, Homeshop18, Amegabooks.


International Users can order their copies from:

Bookshop of India - For International Readers

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Book Review - Spicy Bites of Biryani by Ashwina Garg


Genre: Romance/Fiction

Publisher: Srishti

‘Spicy Bites of Biryani’ is the first novel by Mrs. Ashwina Garg. It is the sweet and spicy tale of four completely different characters – Sanjay, Aditi, Mayank and Jayshree. Sanjay is a US returned software millionaire, who has returned to India, after selling his company, tolook for a perfect bride. He is already into his thirties and feels that his life has reached a point, where he should have a wife. Moreover, he recentlyhad a breakup, when his girlfriend, Sheetal, ditched him. Aditi is a young, beautiful, but a commitment-phobic writer, who has switched boyfriends constantly, and has perfected the art of breakups. She is chirpy, fun loving, outspoken,a typical girl next door, who is going through a horrendous writer’s block. Mayank and Jayshree are married to each other, a picture perfect couple, at least in pictures. Their wedding is marred by the expectations of the relatives and families, monotonous work and hectic schedule, which leaves them with no time to enjoy their togetherness. They work. They fight. They love, and they fight again, and they work!

Now, when Sanjay lands up in India, after selling his software company, he meets Mayank, Jayshree and, their friend Aditi. Sanjay was senior to Mayank in their college days, and he was senior to both Mayank and Jayshree when they worked for Apache. Sanjay befriends with Aditi, and the latter takes up the responsibility to find the perfect match for Sanjay. She even fixes his date with one of her friends, Sujaya. But Sanjay finds the calorie conscious Sujaya completely opposite to his choice. Meanwhile, the relatives are too excited to see an eligible bachelor, and they all get busy in the match-making. But, Sanjay slowly gets attracted towards the bubbly Aditi, who is afraid of any sort of commitment. They both then decides to enter in a contractual-based relationship, where there will be love, commitment, but no future. They all then go on a vacation to Phuket, and the relationship between Sanjay and Aditi, and Mayank and Jayshree goes through all sorts of ups and downs. Aditi tries her best to prove the perfect companion to Sanjay, shedding her change-boyfriend-everyday image. She takes care of him perfectly, and also tries to change herself, just for him. Sanjay, jolted by a breakup, tries his best to keep Aditi happy, but his over-possessive nature results into constant fights. Mayank and Jayshree’s marital life goes through a lot of ups and downs. Mayank wants to have a baby, where Jayshree is not ready. Moreover, their hectic work schedule leaves them with less time for each other.And, the constant nagging from the relatives adds icing on the cake of their marital woes. Now the question is – Will Aditi overcome her phobia, and agree to marry Sanjay? Will Sanjay be able to shed his over-possessiveness and accept Aditi, as she is? And, will Mayank and Jayshree solve their marital issues, and will truly be a perfect wedded couple? To find out, savour the spicy Biryani of their lives, by reading this book.    

Now, the REVIEW...

‘Spicy Bites of Biryani’ is a well-written fiction, a bit different from the usual college romances. It is matured, it is humorous, it is witty, and it will definitely make you laugh. I loved the extent of detailing Ashwina has done. Be it the clothes, or the food, or the surroundings or the mood, the authoress has detailed them to the perfection. I also loved the way she has portrayed Aditi's character, showing various layers.  She is sweet, she is bubbly, she is outspoken, she is adorable, she is bold, she is innocent, she is caring, she is dumb at times, she is protective, she is cooperative, she is friendly, and she has shades of fragility too. Without a doubt, she is my favorite character in the book. The narration is another highlight of the book. Ashwina has a very good control on the language, and I congratulate her for this. The book is lighthearted, and some of the scenes (and lines) will definitely make you smile, or even laugh. There is a scene when Aditi asks Sanjay if he will wear anything she buys for him, and conducts marriage as per her own choice. To this, Sanjay agrees, with a fear that she might buy a green colored Shervani, with belly dancers shaking their hip at the wedding mandap. And then there is a scene, when Aditi is afraid that someone will rape her, but she thinks that she is not even dressed for the occasion to provoke anyone to rape her! And one of my favorites was –when Sanjay tells Aditi that he was imagining her in a monster truck(because Aditi owns a small car). To this, Aditi sadly mutters, “Most men imagine women in lingerie!”

I can assure these situations will look much better when you will read this book. Apart from humor, the romance and the drama has been highlighted and expressed decently well. As a first time writer, Mrs. Ashwina Garg has done a good job. It is a decent read, a quick read, and will definitely make you smile. Aditi’s character stays with you, even after you are done with the book.

A few negatives...

The book starts off very slowly, with too many characters thrown-off instantly, and a reader may feel confused. The book takes time to grow, and picks up after Aditi and Sanjay decides their relationship rules. Apart from Aditi, I personally felt that rest of the characters were under-developed, especially Mayank and Jayshree. There are moments when the reader misses them in the story. Continuous reference to sex was also a put-off, and reminded me of earlier days of Durjoy Datta. The first kiss scene between the lead couple is always important. Somehow, the first kiss scene in this book failed to ignite any spark, though the romance scenes in the later part of the book are much better. Although, the authoress has successfully thrown the humorous quotient; the story somehow fails to grow in the reader’s mind. The story moves at a single pace, which is neither too exciting, and nor too boring. But, the major negative, which I personally felt,was the predictable story line and uninteresting climax.

On the whole, Ashwina Garg’s ‘Spicy Bitesof Biryani’ is a good and impressive debut attempt. It is well written, well narrated story (ignoring a few editing flaws), and is humorous in parts. It is different from the usual college romances, but still remains predictable. I had actually planned to give it a bit higher rating, but the climax spoiled the fun, for me.I am going with 3.25 out of 5 stars  for Ashwina Garg’s ‘Spicy Bites of Biryani.’ When most debut authors are writing college-love-breakup-boring stories, Ashwina has delivered something different - a lighthearted, humorous and witty story. I will definitely buy her next book, for sure!

Verdict: It is Spicy! It is Humorous! But,in parts! Recommended for chiclit lovers.