Crafty baby, DIY, Festivals

Make Your Own Rakhi – 2017

If you have been following the blog for some time you would probably know that every year darling daughter and I make hand made Rakhis. The festival of Raksha bandhan holds a special significance in our close knit family and making our own Rakhis makes it sweeter for us. Staying outside India this is one more way of keeping my kids closer to our culture and traditions. 

When VMJ was younger I would choose the kind of Rakhis we made and did majority of the work. Now that she’s a big girl of 5 she insists on choosing the design and shopping for supplies on her own. These days she is into reading and writing so alphabets were heavily on her mind while picking a rakhi pattern. She decided to make name bracelets for her brothers and picked up colorful letter beads from the craft store. Since heart is her favorite shape and she loves colors, she also picked up a box of colorful heart beads and string in bright colors. I would have preferred regular cord over the elastic one but the elastic one had more colors and glitter so was darling daughter’s obvious choice.


The rest was easy. We threaded beads in the string – full names for the younger brothers and only initials for grown up brothers, added heart beads on both ends.


VMJ’S eldest brother got married last winter so this year we were excited to make our first lumba rakhi for her new Bhabhi. In case you are not familiar – lumba is a special, more decorative rakhi for brother’s wife. Instead of the typical rakhi thread a lumba had a loop of string that is knotted around the bangle. For lumba we had bought special charms that dangle from the main loop. A smaller charm from the set was added to our rakhi to make it into a set for VMJ’s Bhaiya Bhabhi. This is how our rakhi and lumba set looks.

The best part about these rakhis was that darling daughter was able to make them on her own, I did help with tying the knots and making the lumba but that was it. 

I love how they have turned out, hope you like them as much as we do. 

Hurry now! Get your supplies and make some pretty ones for your Bhaiyas and Bhabhis.

Happy crafting!

– A

    Kitchen and food, Recipes

    Super Soft Protein Packed Savory Pancakes (Cheela)

    Being a vegetarian I’m always struggling to manage my family’s protein intake. Some recipes are not tasty enough, some not easy enough and some are not nutritious enough…. It’s an everyday stress to decide on a dinner menu that meets all criteria.

    To include more proteins I replaced roti with besan cheela (chickpea flour savory pancakes) in my dinner. Sometimes the cheela would be too dry so I grated Zucchini and added finely chopped onions to the batter, but the results still varied. One day I had a eureka moment and added lots of crumpled tofu in the batter along with the veggies. The result was a soft, tasty and super healthy cheela. Even my fussy kids happily ate it and asked again the next day. 

    Recipe is pretty simple.

    You need:

    1 cup Besan* (Chickpea flour)

    1 cup grated Zucchini (or Bottle gourd/Lauki)

    2 tbsp finely chopped onions 

    1/2 cup crumpled Tofu

    1/4 tsp Ajwain (carrom seeds)

    1/4 tsp Amchoor (dry mango powder)

    Salt to taste

    What you need to to:

    • Mix all ingredients together and add water in small quantities to reach pouring consistency
    • Whisk well so there are no lumps
    • Let it sit for 10-15 minutes 
    • Heat an iron skillet (tawa). Once its hot, add a few drops of oil and spread with a brush. Be more generous with the oil for making the first cheela
    • Pour couple of spoonfuls of the batter on the hot skillet, spread evenly and cook well on both sides until done
    • Enjoy hot with green chutney

    *Notes:

    • Depending on my mood and availability I sometimes add a couple tablespoons of Jowar flour, Oats flour, Sooji or Ragi flour while keeping besan as the base. You can get as creative with the type and quantity of flour you are using.
    • You can add veggies like carrots, beans, cauliflower, spinach etc. in addition or in place of Zucchini and Onion. 
    • I don’t usually add chilies because my kids don’t eat very spicy foods but if you’d like you can add finely chopped green chilies. They lend a great flavor to the cheelas.
    • Don’t make the batter too watery, else the cheelas will take ages to cook. You can add more besan to thicken the batter.

     

    Happy cooking!

    -A

    Crafty baby, Disciplining your child, DIY, Parenting

    DIY Calming Bottle/Glitter Jar

    As darling daughter is getting older she’s growing more sensitive to the idea of time out. If I ask her to go in a corner she sulks and pouts and outrightly refuses to do that. But there are times when I do need her to calm down for both her and my sake. In order to make time out fun for her I considered making a calming bottle. Of course there was added advantage of doing a craft together which is darling daughter’s most favorite thing to do!

    Things we used :

    • Empty glass bottle (I used glass bottle that came with Starbucks frapuccino)
    • Glitter glue 
    • Extra glitter 
    • Confetti and assorted beads/tid bits
    • Hot glue gun (to seal the cap close)

    How we made it :

    • We squeezed out one part glitter glue in a bowl and added 2 parts hot water. 
    • Whisk it together until there are no glue lumps in the mixture. 
    • Pour it in the clean bottle and add confetti, beads and more glitter as per your liking. 
    • Let the mixture cool down. Once cooled, close the lid and seal it with hot glue gun. 

    Now give it a good shake and enjoy the glitter floating in the liquid. Your glitter jar is ready!


    Notes:

    • It would be advisable to use a plastic bottle when making it for young kids.
    • If the mixture is not completely cooled before you close the lid, the plastic bottle may shrivel and ruin your efforts when it does cool down. 
    • Adding too much glitter glue would make the mixture too thick and glitter won’t settle down.
    • Closing with hot glue gun is important so the child doesn’t spill the contents while playing. 
    • This glitter jar is not perfect because the glitter does take a little long to settle down. I’ll experiment with other mediums and keep sharing my experience. 

    Darling daughter enjoyed making the jar, she carefully chose stars and snowflakes from the confetti mix I got from Walmart. We used her favorite Frozen themed acolors and she was thrilled with the results. It’s another thing that we haven’t needed to give her a time out since we have made the calming bottle so I can’t really comment on its effectiveness… 😃

    Do try this fun and easy project with your little one and share your experience with us!

    Happy crafting!

    -A

    Parenting

    What Scares Me Most About Neha Rastogi’s Case

    I was forwarded a news article on Neha Rastogi’s story with the caption “why read fiction when real life is equally disturbing”. Neha Rastogi worked with Apple at a fairly good position, she was married for 10 years and was abused right from the beginning. She now has a 3.5 year old daughter who has witnessed the husband’s violent behavior and would possibly be affected by it. What I read rattled me and I couldn’t read until the end. Then I got to know there is a video that she had recorded and presented as evidence. Oh my! I heard it and can’t get over her helpless voice saying “please don’t hit me.”


    The first thing that comes to my mind is why would someone so successful and intelligent be willing to put herself through such torture on a daily basis? When someone with that kind of education, financial standing and social independence cannot break away from her abusive marriage, how do we expect any other woman to do the same? In the last few months I have come to know of 2 women who are in abusive marriages. One is staying because she just had a baby and fears the social stigma that will come with divorce. The other says with her average education she won’t be able to support her children’s current lavish lifestyle if she were to separate. I have tried to understand their reasons but they don’t seem convincing enough to me. Since I am not in their shoes I have tried rationalizing it in my head – maybe if they were more secure financially, maybe if they were stronger mentally, maybe….. What struck me most with this news is that when a person like Neha Rastogi took 10 years to finally take an action, how ordinary women would find the courage to raise their voice with their limited resources.

    The husband is a beast, a monster in the garb of a human, a disgusting loathsome creature. What makes him worse than all uneducated men hitting their wives is that he is a man who is expected to have some civic sense because he is well educated and worked with the top notch professionals in a progressive country. Education is not just about academics, it also exposes you to finer things in life, makes you aware of the nuances of society and basic etiquette, teaches you to respect fellow individuals and disagreeing with grace, makes you a gentleman from a mere human being. It’s unfortunate to see that education and exposure didn’t teach any of this to the despicable Abhishek Gattani.

    Education also teaches one to be strong and independent, to understand what is right and acceptable and what’s not, to learn when to bear and when to quit. Neha Rastogi failed many aspiring girls by not using her education for THE most important thing it was supposed to do – to empower her to be in control of her own life. I can’t help but ponder over the whys and whats. Why did she tolerate it for so long, why did she not separate, why did she bear the beatings helplessly, why did she not oppose and hit back, what was she thinking  by bringing a  child in the picture, what made her so docile, what was the reason for her weakness and submission to the violence…. The questions bothering me are too many.

    As I think about the possible reasons I wonder if maybe our culture is to be blamed for it. Are we teaching our daughters to be ‘just a little bit’ adjusting and submissive, and pumping egos of our sons ‘just a little bit’ just because they are born with a Y chromosome? Are we unconsciously giving them different toys to play with, enrolling them in different extra-curricular activities, expecting different behaviors from them and preparing them for different social roles? Is this what made Neha Rastogi suffer for so long before good sense prevailed?

    One may say things are changing and our culture is evolving, but is it really? Let me share a small seemingly-insignificant conversation I had with a college senior last week. So this person was my senior during MBA, is now connected through Facebook but we are not otherwise in touch, nor have I really known him as a person even during college. In relation to something on Facebook we struck an offline conversation. He asked me where I am working these days and I told him I am a full time mom. His response was “Thats cool! And must be the busiest job you’ve ever done.. Lol”. I gave him the benefit of doubt, ignored the “Lol” at the end and replied “Yes it is the busiest and craziest time of my life so far.” What he said next infuriated me. He wrote back “Yeah yeah… Lot of time to read and watch movies… Hectic indeed.” I have hardly had a personal relationship with this man, we went to college together which means we are (or were at that time) on the same intellectual spectrum, he knows nothing about my life yet had a negative opinion he wasn’t ashamed of sharing. Even as an outsider he felt he had the right to judge and comment on my decision with respect to my career and personal life. I felt sorry for his wife, thanked my lucky stars that I am not married to someone who identifies with such thought process and quietly unfriended him. It is not directly related to the case I was writing about but it is an example of the kind of misogyny women in India have to go through every day. Patriarchy still exists and somewhere, to a large or small extent we have succumbed to it.  It is the impassive acceptance of it that probably made Neha Rastogi suffer quietly and the deep internalization of patriarchal principles that made Abhishek Gattani assert his superiority over his wife and abuse her.

    As I agonize thinking about this incident I can’t help but worry about my daughter. I am raising her to be smart and independent, giving her the best education and exposure I can, but then Neha possibly received the same. How do I make sure my daughter doesn’t let what Neha let happen to herself? How do I make sure she’ll be strong and courageous enough when it’s most required? In this unfair world with its lopsided scales how do I let my daughter out of my sight?

    I always thought education is the answer to most social evils. I believed education will empower us and make us superior culturally and intellectually. I hoped education will bring awareness and equality. Today I am sad for Neha Rastogi but feel worse with the knowledge that education is not a cure for animals, that education cannot correct the deeply ingrained social behavior. It is something we need to do at a whole different level.  We have a huge responsibility, let’s take that seriously. Let’s raise our daughters and sons equally, and by equally I mean not accepting that girls are softer and more suitable for activities like dancing while boys are stronger and should pursue a sport, not buying dolls for girls and cars for boys because we feel they should play with such toys, not believing that boys are born rowdy so need not be disciplined when they play rough, that girls are not supposed to talk loudly and be the dainty little thing everyone adores. The change has to begin from us. Let’s not create more Neha Rastogis.

    -A

    If you haven’t read about the case yet read it here https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/flip.it%2F-g9Ogv-silicon-valley-ceo-pleads-no-contest-to/f-b296c17902%2Fthedailybeast.com

    Kitchen and food, Recipes

    Tandoori Gobhi

    Every party needs a plat du jour or the center piece, and if you are a vegetarian, the choices are few. Presenting the very fancy and delish Tandoori Gobhi, the perfect center piece for your vegetarian dinner table.
    The best part of this dish is that it does look elaborate but is really easy to make. The ingredients are also readily available in most Indian kitchens. So, lets see how you can surprise your family with this deliciousness. 
    What you need:
    • 1 head of Cauliflower – choose the whitest, and freshest one you can find in the market
    • 1 cup Hung curd (I didn’t have time to make hung curd so used greek yogurt, its thick so worked equally well. if you are making hung curd at home please note that you will need to hang about 2-3 cups of fresh curd to get 1 cup of hung curd)
    • 2 tbsp cream cheese
    • 1 1/2 tsp Ginger paste (I used store bought but you can use fresh)
    • 1 1/2 tsp Garlic paste (I used store bought but you can use fresh)
    • 1 tbsp Oil (whatever cooking oil you use)
    • 1 tsp Garam masala
    • 1 tbsp Kasuri methi (crush in palms and warm in microwave for 15 seconds)
    • 1 tsp Red chilly powder
    • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
    • 2-21/2 spoons Tandoori masala
    • A pinch of Ajwain
    • Salt to taste (I used 1 1/2 tsp for a big head of cauliflower)
    • Lemon, Onion and Chat masala to serve
    What you need to do:
    • Scrape all black bits from the Cauliflower and remove the stems. Cut the stem close to the base so that it sits nicely. Wash it well and  put it in a ziploc bag .
    • Microwave for 4 minutes. My Cauliflower was very big in size so I had to microwave for 6 minutes. For a medium size 4 minutes should be enough. Take it out of the ziploc bag and let it cool down.
    • In the mean time mix all ingredients to prepare the marinate. Get your hands dirty and apply the marinating mixture generously all over the cauliflower. Be careful to get the marinate inside all the nooks and crannies of the vegetable without breaking it.
    • Let it marinate for at least 30-40 minutes.
    • Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the Cauliflower for 20 minutes and then broil for  5-7 more minutes. 


    Your Tandoori Gobhi is ready! Sprinkle with lemon juice and chat masala and serve on a bed of Onion rings.

    -A

    Book Review, Books

    Big Little Lies – Book Review

    I became a fan of Liane Moriarty when I read My Husband’s Secret (read my review here). She has a gift of writing complex stories with multitude of characters and effortlessly merging all small stories in the end that makes you wonder how could you not see it coming. Her books overwhelm me in the beginning – there are too many characters, too many details about them and a lot going on. I found myself struggle with it in The Husbands Secret but later realized its okay, it’ll all fall in place as I read further. Big Little Lies overwhelmed me all the same, especially with the story going in flashback and people’s comments going in the present after the ‘incident’. It took me a while to even know what the ‘incident’ was.

    With her impeccable way of story telling and her complex but well carved characters Liane Moriarty has created a fantastic suspense thriller. She keeps you guessing right from the beginning – what’s the incident everyone is referring to, who was it, was it just one or were there more, who did it and how. Within a few pages she takes the reader from the innocent, almost boring musings of Mrs Ponder to a roller coaster ride through the lives of parents of Pirriwee Public School. Within a few chapters the unsuspecting group of parents become individuals with compelling personalities. And the best part is that each passing chapter unfolds a new motive making you uncertain of who could be the victim(s).

    Like her previous books, Big Little Lies is a women dominated plot. It’s the story of women who are competitive, women who are insecure about losing their teenage daughter to the ex-husband, single mothers who are struggling to find a footing in a new place, women who want to protect their children, women who are dealing with an emotional trauma, women who are going through domestic abuse but justify it one or the other, women who bitch about one another and women who support each other, women who are willing to sell their virginity for women they would never meet, women who are willing to lie under oath for women they hate, women who are willing to kill for women they are not even friends with!! Oh calamity!!! 

    The book moves at a slick pace and there is a big build up to the grand finale – the school trivia night. The book consumed me with its intricate plot and crazy anticipation of what happened at the fateful night. I couldn’t put it down, even when I did the book stayed on my mind. I found myself holding my breath at some places. When I finished reading Big little Lies it felt as if I just got off an emotional roller coaster. 

    Liane Moriarty has again touched upon 2 very sensitive topics in the book – bullying and domestic abuse. (She did it earlier with infertility in What Alice Forgot). It’s commendable how she could weave such serious  subjects in the story and yet keep it fun.

    Like I mentioned in my earlier review, Liane Moriarty has original stories but her characters resemble each other more than they should. This was the reason I gave a long gap between What Alice Forgot and Big Little Lies. I still feel the overlap between her characters in the two books but having read the previous book some time ago I don’t remember the details too well to really draw parallels. 

    The book scores full marks on entertainment. It’s an intense enthralling read and I enjoyed every minute reading it. One of the best murder mysteries I have read lately! 

    Bedtime, Parenting

    15 ways to ask your kids about school 

    Starting school is a big milestone for a child as well as the parents. It’s the beginning of your child having a life independent of home and family. Most parents look forward to this big step and almost all parents are anxious to know what their little ones do at school. Parents religiously ask the child what he learnt at school only to receive vague replies, if anything at all. 

    What I have learnt over the last couple of years since darling daughter started school is that children get bored answering the same “What did you do at school today?” everyday. If we want detailed answers from them we need to get creative with our questions.

    Here are some tips and questions to get your child talking about school and more:

    1. Make it a point to know the names of other kids, all teachers and nannies in your child’s class/school van. With random names ask questions like Did your friend XYZ come to school today? What color was Miss ABC wearing today? 
    2. Did you have fun at school today? When the child answers usually it’ll be accompanied by what made the day fun and vice versa. If not, you can ask what made the day fun.
    3. Did you play any new games at school?
    4. Kids are usually very excited about birthdays. You can ask if any of their friends are having birthdays in the next few days. 
    5. Who did you sit with today? Did you enjoy sitting with this friend?
    6. Did you learn anything new from a friend today?
    7. Did you learn anything new at school today?
    8. Did you learn a new word today?
    9. Did anyone get a timeout at school today? Why did they get timeout?
    10. What was the best part of your day at school today?
    11. Did anything make you sad at school today?
    12. Did you help someone at school today?
    13. Did someone at school helped you today?
    14. What did you play most with today?
    15. What was the best thing your teacher did today?

    These work well if asked at bedtime as well since many kids are usually chatty just before they sleep. Don’t go about asking all the above questions in one day, pick a few randomly and play it by the ear. 

    Do leave us a note on the tactics you use to get your kids talking. 

    -A

    Kitchen and food, Recipes

    Grilled Paneer

    Who doesn’t love Paneer! The creamy crumbly texture of cottage cheese goes well with a variety of flavors and is a treat for the taste buds. Here is a very delicious recipe which is surprisingly easy yet high on taste.

    Ingredients :

    250 gms Paneer (Cottage cheese)

    2 tbsp chopped green cilantro

    2 tablespoon Srirancha sauce (a kind of Chinese hot sauce. If you don’t have it use a mixture of chilly flakes and vinegar)

    1 tablespoon white Vinegar

    1 tablespoon Soy sauce 

    2 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (or regular onion if spring onion is not available)

    Salt to taste 

    Few drops of oil to brush the pan with 

    Method:

    1. Cut cottage cheese in medium sized pieces of about 1/2 inch thickness 

    2. Add all other ingredients and mix well 

    3. Marinate the Paneer pieces in the marinating mixture for about 15 minutes 

    4. Heat a shallow pan (I used indian cast iron tawa) and brush it with a little oil

    5. Once the pan is hot put the Paneer pieces on it and cook until it’s nicely cooked and crispy from one side

    6. Flip the pieces and cook the other side too. On a hot pan it’ll take about 8-10 minutes to cook both sides. 

    Your yummy starter/side dish is ready. Serve it with green cilantro dip (Green Chutney) and onion rings. 

    Enjoy!!

    -A

    Kitchen and food, Recipes

    Red Chori (Adzuki Bean) Salad

    On my last visit to Indian store I picked up a packet of small red beans called Red Chori. I had never seen or heard of them before so did a quick google search to find that they are a nutritional powerhouse.


    These are also called Adzuki beans and are quite popular in Japanese and Chinese cultures. Like other beans Adzuki is high in nutritional value – rich in protein, fiber and folic acid. 100 grams of cooked beans contains about 28 grams of carbs, 8 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and less than 1 gram of fat. Carrying about 1.3 calories per gram, Adzuki beans make a low-energy-dense food, meaning they are a dieters delight!  

    In addition they pack good amounts of Potassium, Iron, Phosphorus, Copper, Folate and Manganese and are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. While having a high protein content, Adzuki beans do not contain all of the essential amino acids, making them an incomplete source of protein. It is therefore required to supplement your diet with other protein rich foods. 

    Having no previous knowledge of how to cook Adzuki bean, I looked for an easy recipe and came across a Japanese bean salad which I modified to suit my Indian palate. Here is the salad recipe I tried:

    Ingredients :

    1/2 cup dried red chori beans

    1/4 cup finely chopped spinach 

    1 teaspoon olive oil 

    1/4 cup finely chopped coriander leaves

    1 tablespoon vinegar

    1 pinch crushed red chilly flakes

    1 tablespoon lime juice

    2 carrots, thinly grated

    Salt to taste

    * 1/2 cup chopped green onion (Optional)

    * 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (Optional)

    *1/2 teaspoon grated garlic (Optional) 

    Method:

    Soak beans in water for about 8 hours. Drain them and pressure cook with fresh water and a teaspoon of salt. Turn the gas off after 1 whistle. Drain and set aside to let cool completely. 

    Combine all other ingredients and gently toss with cool beans to make a salad. 

    Enjoy!

    – A

     

     

     

    Book Review, Books

    Karna’s Wife – Book Review 

    Mythology was never a genre I paid enough attention to until I read The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Divakaruni. I was highly impressed by the book (read my review on The Palace of Illusions here) and it made me want to read more books on the subject. 

    While Mahabharat is full of interesting characters, I found Karna a tad more intriguing than others. He was a good man but he supported the wrong side in the war, he was a noble person but he encouraged public shaming of Draupadi, he was the most generous soul but he craved for his birth mother’s love until the end, he was the greatest warrior but he died a pitiful death. I hoped Karna’s Wife would shed more light on his mysterious personality. The book does that but there are many things I could not digest. 

    For starters, the book portrays a larger than life picture of Uruvi, who by the way is a fictional character created by the author Kavita Kane. Since she’s the main protagonist she was everywhere, she was even one of the reasons for the enemity between Karna and Arjun. I understand why the story has to revolve around her but putting a fictional new character in the centre of an epic I have heard and watched umpteen number of times made it sort of confusing.

    Quite surprisingly Draupadi is mentioned everywhere in the book too. When Uruvi is having an intense conversation with Bhanumati about Karna and Duryodhan they don’t talk about Draupadi or anything that could be related to her yet the author writes about Uruvi’s feelings about Draupadi and Karna pining for each other. When Uruvi and Karna are relishing family time and talking about Karna’s sons Uruvi brings up Draupadi out of the blue. These frequent and unexpected references start feeling repetitive soon and Uruvi comes across as highly insecure wife thinking of Draupadi and Karna all the time. 

    The book has glorified Karna beyond reason. Everything about him has been revered, even his role in the Vastra Haran. What Arjun did, rather didn’t do was shameful but what Karna did was no less. Uruvi’s mother and Kunti both tell her Karna is a better man than Arjun and that’s good enough to stay married to him.

    I’m not convinced how someone with a heart of gold can be so spiteful that he forgot all boundaries and dignity. And he’s supposedly in love with the woman he publicly wanted naked!!! What kind of twisted love is that? How can someone glorify this disgusting emotion? How could Kunti of all people say it was OK to call Draupadi a whore because that’s what she is…. Maybe that was the mother in her talking, but I was so disgusted that I almost stopped reading the book. I was as aghast as Uruvi herself and couldn’t buy the logic that because Kunti was called a whore herself its no big deal if Draupadi was called one too.

    Because of the same premise I continued to compare the book to Palace of Illusions, I know it’s not fair but I couldn’t help myself. It doesn’t even come close. The language is fine but the author has spelled out every single thing to the readers which I found very annoying, especially because it’s something we have watched, read and heard atleast a thousand times already. For example there was absolutely no need to tell the Arjun and bird’s eye story, she could have just referred to it and moved on with her tale. Similarly few scenes between Uruvi and her parents seem to have more dialogue than required. Overall there seem to be too many words in the book, and considering Uruvi is the central character more than required are written on Draupadi and Karna.

    Uruvi’s confrontation with Kunti is the best part of the book. It’s harsh but spot on. Although here also the author has said the same thing in a couple of different ways making her arguments a bit repetitive. 

    While the book has its flaws, the author did her research well. I learnt some new things about Mahabharat which is a huge deal given the number of times we have heard the story before. There is a tale about Shakuni’s brothers which tells why he pledged to end Kuru clan, then the story of Duryodhan’s defeat at Dwaitvana and seize by Gandharva King resulting in his fast unto death and some more. 

    Despite the lengthy details there appear some gaps in the story –

    “Arjuna shot another astra—the Aindrastra—at him. Karna could have invoked the invincible Brahmastra to counter it but he suddenly froze. It was as if he had lost all his ability to think! I tried to distract Arjuna so that Karna could have time to retaliate, but it was futile. It was as if no one stood between them now—it was just Karna and Arjuna.”

    So what happened after the Aindrastra was shot but not countered by Karna?? How was he not hurt? 

    Kavita Kone writes that Salya was impressed by Karna’s skills the day of his death and had apologized to him, if it was indeed so why did he not help when the wheels were stuck. Kavita Kone hasn’t mentioned Salya even once during the duel between Karna and Arjuna, even though Salya’s behavior that time ultimately lead to Karna’s death.

    At some places the book lacked the right emotional balance. Like after the war when the Pandavas visit Vrushali and Uruvi, Uruvi starts naming the six people who deceived Karna and how. The facts she presents and the details she shares make it seem like a well rehearsed speech rather than a mourning wife telling Arjun to not feel guilty of killing his own brother. During the same visit Krishna telling Uruvi why they had to kill Karna the way they had to feels more like another way to sing Karna’s praises and lacks the right emotion given the situation. And why did they say they have come to take Uruvi and her son with them, why not Vrushali? Vrushali was their brother’s wife too!

    Overall, it’s a very detailed and lengthy read which didn’t meet my expectations. I feel the book can be edited and made more crisp and enjoyable. If you do want to read it please do that before picking up The Palace of Illusions. If however you have already read The Palace, you should skip this one.

    If you enjoyed this review and love reading books please join me on The Book Club .

    -Aparna