TV Show Recommendations – If You Like Jane The Virgin…

TV series’ like Jane The Virgin are full of feels. They bag the family drama, romance and self-growth aspects like a pro! JTV, in particular, is one of my all time favourites. Not just because Jane’s character is super easy to relate to, but because of how well Gina Rodriguez brings that character to life and makes you want to be a part of her family. Watching the three (extremely short for my liking) seasons was a journey full of retrospection and wistful musings, for a TV show junkie like me. The manner in which her attitude towards life, passions, morals have been delineated allows us to believe in the power of perseverance and unity. It mirrors the success she ultimately experiences, while teaching us how wonderful it is to aspire. Hell, she doesn’t even let an unplanned insemination get in the way of her becoming an author! You couldn’t possibly have a better excuse than hers.

Here are some other television shows that grant us our daily dose of dramatic goodness, while urging us to follow our dreams:

  • The Carrie Diaries- Carrie Bradshaw knows how to take risks. When her law internship appears bleak in comparison to the job next door at Interview magazine, she jumps at the chance. With her charm, diligence and wit, she persuades Larissa, the editor to give her a full time job. Living the high life in Manhattan, Carrie comes to terms with making difficult choices with regards to education, friendship, love and family. The Carrie Diaries makes you fall in love with life all over again.


  • Younger – This is an endearing story of 40 going on 20. Liza, a divorced mother, realizes that while she was living her life as a wife and a mother, her career slipped out of her grasp. Now that she is ready to resume work in the publishing field, nobody wants to hire a 40 year old. So what does she do? She rebuilds her identity as a 26 year old, trying to fit into a world she had left behind. Her zeal for life is magically renewed donning this “younger” skin. Younger is a hearty TV series that explores the publishing industry through the eyes of Liza’s double persona.

  • Girlboss- Sophia is an eccentric character, barely surviving on her own. She has cut off all ties with family and friends alike, keeping only Annie (her bestfriend) by her side. She lucks out when a thrift shopping episode opens her eyes to the world of vintage fashion. After much deliberation, struggle and self-doubt, her eBay store gains momentum, with her refurbishing and selling vintage clothes. In the span of the 13 part series, we see Sophia unfurl and become a much better version of herself. She is a testament to what dedication to one’s job looks like. There’s a good deal of humor, sass and fashion in this show to make you want to binge watch.

  • Famous in Love – Paige, an ambitious college student, swings by a movie audition simply because her bestfriend insisted. Now, she has landed the lead role in the movie and has no idea how to juggle between her normal life and the one behind all the glitz and glamor. Friendships fall through the roof as new ones reserve a spot in her life. Does following one’s heart have to be so expensive?


  • The Bold Type – Three bestfriends, Jane, Sutton and Kat work for Scarlet magazine as an article writer, social media manager and fashion aspirant respectively. In a highly competitive and talent-driven world, these women experience the highs and lows of baring their soul to the society. You see, the devil may always come to collect his prize, but the social media trolls make life in hell look like a vacation. Filled with work woes, swoon-worthy relationships and mesmerizing shots of NYC, The Bold Type is quickly making its way up my favourites list.

There’s more than two months left for Jane The Virgin’s next season; enough time to indulge in the above mentioned lovelies. They are overflowing with empowered women and drool-inducing career paths. As a media graduate, writer and avid reader, these shows are my calling; their locations are undoubtedly made of Siren songs. Let me know if I’ve missed out any other TV shows that inspire you to give your absolute best each day. We all need such feel-good, quality content!

Book Review — Encounters Of A Fat Bride by Samah Visaria

Thank you Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Encounters of a Fat Bride unveils the humiliation and harsh circumstances that an overweight woman has to undergo in order to find a groom in India. Madhurima Pandey has learnt to set aside her complex about feeling like the quintessential DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend). While all her friends find fairytale-esque romances, Madhu has devoted her time to work and study, so as to steer clear of the reality that no man in his right mind would ever choose her. But as per societal norms, marriage is the most essential rite of initiation into adulthood. And soon, her middle class family begins to invite a bevy of eligible men in the hopes that one of them would accept Madhu into their household. Samah Visaria’s novel aptly reflects the age-old customs of dowry and arranged marriage, complete with nosy neighbors and body-shaming parents of potential grooms.

It should be noted that some people may view this novel as being offensive, but I assure you that it is not. The author, in no way, propagates discriminating against “fat” brides. She is merely trying to convey to the audience that women should be confident regardless of their physical appearances.

As lighthearted as this book is, it also approaches some very serious issues like that of fat-shaming, mental health disorder, the dowry system (wherein the family of the bride compensates the groom’s family in cash or kind for going ahead with the marriage) and gender bias. While a lot of these issues are dealt with rationally, I wasn’t comfortable with the way mental health disorders were handled. You begin to think that Madhu is a very mature and educated woman, but then her sidelining of mental instability as “retarded” or “losing it” is totally not acceptable. On the other hand, through Madhu’s strength of character, we see how other negative elements are treated strictly. Her acceptance of her body image and understanding that all genders ought to be equal attempts to remove society’s misconceptions.

What’s unique is that the chapter titles feature a countdown; so you are made aware of the ending but you don’t know how that transpires. See, there’s some mystery in there too. The author’s writing style is colloquial, humorous and incorporates few Hindi terms. There are a couple of cliches, but nothing major. She makes several references to the movie industry, juxtaposing Madhu’s behavior and feelings which made light of the situation at hand. The narration is so convincing that I’d feel just as infuriated at society as Madhu does. I mean, it is appalling that people expect you to be a certain way and if you aren’t, they rain down the most horrible comments on you. I really liked the plot because it is still so relevant. Some aspects of the story were a little over the top, but you can’t expect anything less from a dramatic character like Madhu. Her character arc sees quite a change throughout the novel. Initially, she is against the idea of arrange marriage, then tired of being lonely, she begins to crave it. Even her outlook undergoes certain essential changes. Without a doubt, Madhu’s funny quips renders the entire novel so enjoyable that I finished it in one sitting. I liked the book and I look forward to anything else the author may write in the future. You should check it out!

Ratings – 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review — Against All Odds by Danielle Steel

Thank you Pan Macmillan India for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Image courtesy of Goodreads

Against All Odds comes together in the most seamless manner, portraying all the sentiments and decisions that knit a family close together. Kate Madison, after the death of her husband, has adeptly managed bringing up 4 children. She has also made a name for herself in the fashion world with the success of her clothing resale store, Still Fabulous. Now that her children are all grown up, she is more worried than ever, for they seem to be testing fate and making irrational decisions. Izzie, Kate’s oldest daughter, has fallen for a drug addict, with no job and no sense of responsibility. Justin, one of her twins, is planning to have children with his gay partner outside of wedlock. Whereas his sister, Julie can’t fathom the change in tide that threatens to rip her apart from her family. Willie, the youngest of the four leads a sparkling life, disparate from his family, who know nothing about his whereabouts. Despite her warnings, Kate’s children are hell bent on having their way and pay no heed to her. How she manages to protect them is a tale told in delicate and homely fashion in this novel by Danielle Steel.

Family drama is a genre right up my alley and this one was no different. It has all the makings of a winter, cozy read, while still exposing you to the alarming nature of some people in this world. It brings to light the woes of a single mother, who stops at nothing to prevent her children from making mistakes. Danielle Steel’s writing style is very comforting and easy to grasp. Her descriptions aren’t heavy, but just right. One thing I found odd is the repetitive sentences, i.e. a single sentence would be written in two different ways back to back, which made the paragraph a little monotonous. Some scenes weren’t as fluid as they could have been. Apart from that, I have no complaints. The way this story is narrated is quite different from Danielle Steel’s other novels.

The plot is wonderful and circles three generations of a family, along with their differing perspectives. Grandma Lou is a fun-loving character, without a worry and brings to life the term “wanderlust”. While she shares her daughter, Kate’s concerns occasionally, she has a more modern approach to parenting. Kate, on the other hand, takes way too much stress. I guess, it’s understandable. But at times, she’s bit of a hypocrite. Izzie and Julie’s characters were beyond my comprehension. They failed to see what was right in front of their eyes, particularly for girls of such high caliber jobs. I wished they had been smarter in dealing with their personal lives and had been more open with the rest of the family. I liked the section’s pertaining to Justin’s story a lot. His determination to start a family of his own perfectly reflects the values that were passed down to him. I loved the bond that all six of them share. It was the highlight of the novel. Willie doesn’t make much of an appearance in the book, except for the last couple of chapters. Initially, you are wont to think that Kate’s fears are irrational. But as the story progresses, I began to wonder if she was a psychic or not. There’s nothing extraordinary about this book, but the emotions that hold it together, makes it so endearing. I definitely enjoyed reading it and I’d recommend the book to all those who like Contemporary Fiction.

Ratings – 4 out of 5 stars.

Thoughts For The Long Run

Image courtesy - Pexels

Image courtesy – Pexels

14th February brings with it a mixture of sentiments. The singles are about to be bombarded with cutesy pictures and quotes on their social media. The couples are scrambling to concoct the “perfect” gesture for each other. And the in-betweeners are standing around, awkwardly, wondering if their efforts are misplaced. Amidst all the hullabaloo, sometimes, one can forget to catch a breath and remember that love is the biggest gift of all. It is not a competition and it is, definitely, not built on ostentation. However if you are all about the show, then go ahead, create something extravagant. But more often than not, your loved one would appreciate the thought that went into the simple yet meaningful date ideas such as these. In addition to that, some pointers that would strengthen your relationship are:

  • Pay attention to your partner – when they talk and even, when they’re unable to talk about what bothers them. Chances are that, you’ll learn a great deal more about them. Sometimes, you can ease out the knots in their mind by just being there. Even if their passions don’t interest you, listen and learn. They have made you a part of their life. Surely, what brings them joy, you ought to hold in high esteem?
  • Even love requires TRP – Without Trust, Respect and Patience, you are hurtling towards a bitter future. Be spirited enough to not have to keep tabs on your girlfriend or boyfriend. You can’t hold onto something that has to be rushed or forced. What’s more, respect their wishes. They shouldn’t have to fake a smile, because you thought you were cracking a joke.
  • Don’t snuff out their uniqueness – As much as generalizations make life easier, they aren’t handy in social circumstances. Don’t assume that your girlfriend would love a gown over a pair of shorts. If your brain missed the train to the 21st century, maybe you should pour over these tips to dating a modern woman. And girls, don’t be mistaken. Maybe your man wants to watch the latest RomCom, as opposed to the Action Thriller. Who knows? Well, you should.
  • Be their cheerleader – It takes a small affront to discourage someone and a lot of confidence to convince them. Don’t ever try to dissuade your loved one from experimenting or taking up new initiatives. A road less traveled by is already scary enough, without you adding to their fears. Let it be known, that wherever they end up, you will be right by their side.

With that being said, Valentine’s Day is an occasion of love. While all businesses are trying to wring the occasion dry with their bundle offers, don’t forget to call an old friend or visit your grandparents. They deserve to have a shower of love, too!

– Meera

Of Denials and Freefalls

Hemingway once said, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”. Agreed. Our emotions are extremely heightened when we suffer a blow. But life is a game of juxtaposition, of myriad highs and lows – neither of which can truly assuage the other’s grasp on our disposition. So today, I am going to write about what makes me feel alive, what crackles on the surface and dives deep with the frequency of a tuning fork.

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Copyright (c) 2016, Mohan Nair.

Shrouded in denials
And elusive games, I
Was preparing to fly. Soar far
And high.

A lick
Of the future
Was enough to topple
Me. Ah! the magnificence of
The heart.

As the
Ground rushed to meet
Me, embracing winds peeled
Off the inhibitions. Tempted,
I smiled.

We cling
To our pasts for
We know what we want of
Our future. All immersed in ours,
I am.

At first,
there was nothing.
Then I tumbled head first
All limbs and emotions. Now I
Know not
How to be, devoid of that love,
I let course through me. What
Else would I be?
But this.

This new
Self that knows no
Bounds. This new thought, dauntless
And swift. A ricocheting orb
Of hope.

– Meera

Book Review — Glitter and Gloss by Vibha Batra

Thank you Vibha Batra for sending me a copy of your book for review 🙂

Glitter and Gloss chronicles the love and work life of Misha, a twenty something makeup artist, who unknowingly spites a MVP at an event, only to later realize who he is. Things snowball from there and somehow, her and Akshay’s relationship evolves into a close knit one. But fairytale scenarios do take place in real life too and Misha finds herself battling not only work woes but Akshay’s traditional family who is not too keen on accepting her.

Image courtesy – Goodreads.

While the issue of familial acceptance has been broached a number of times before , I was intrigued by the protagonist’s profession and how that would play a part in the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from the start, At no point does it get draggy or uninteresting. The narration, through the point of view of Misha, is done well. The author makes use of Hindi words to fully convey the essence of the situation through Misha’s perspective and I quite liked that. The element of humor keeps the novel lively all throughout and I was cracking up a lot. The chemistry between Misha and Akshay is great. They make an adorable pair.

I greatly liked reading about her work as it added another dimension to the story. The idea of playing with narrow-minded notions added an interesting flavor to the book. I was glad that Sammy, being a non-gay guy, was shown to be her roommate till the very end (much to the horror of Akshay’s elder sister). Cause if he had been done away with, then it would just fuel the one track mind of society. Poulomi is penned to be the elder sister – bestfriend character. There were some tropes  used that I wasn’t a big fan of. Such as that of the male lead being tall & handsome; that of the conservative Indian family including gossiping aunties. Sometimes I wished that Misha would think more rationally. That way she could have avoided a lot of trouble. Nevertheless, I liked the book on the whole. It makes for a fun read. I’d recommend it to everyone who loves Contemporary Fiction.

Ratings – 3.5 stars on 5.

Meera

Book Review — The Sunlit Night by Rebecca Dinerstein

Thank you Bloomsbury India for sending me a copy of this book for review.

Frances and Yasha’s paths cross at the top of the world. One of them has come to Norway to get away from family troubles by immersing  herself in the Yellow Room art project. The other is here on a family mission, one that pains and disturbs him a great deal. While Frances must deal with her family splitting apart due to various reasons, Yasha has to put up with his mother’s sudden appearance with her boyfriend in tow. Finding comfort in a stranger’s embrace, the two forge a relationship that help them cope with their respective worries. The Sunlit Night is a realistic fiction about finding light even in the darkest of times from unexpected sources.

I had earlier picked up this book but couldn’t get past the first few pages because it is a bit slow in the beginning. But the synopsis is so heartrending that I had to give it another try. This book is extraordinary in its simplicity. I felt that there is no looming sense of a structured plot or characters brought to life. What I really liked about the book is the very normal and endearing way the lives of two people have been followed. You sort of forget that they are fictional characters and begin to believe in their story. The book alternates between Yasha and Frances’ perspectives. The author’s writing style is different and lovely. Not too long sentences and fantastic descriptions. The references towards the midnight sun are so mesmerizing even though you can only picture it through Frances’ eyes. I felt that it depicted their polarized states. Frances and Yasha, who lived in US, have come so far for different purposes to a common end – peace. I didn’t quite understand Nils character and Frances’ connection with him. He was her mentor but his behavior was a bit odd and the way his story ends puzzled me as it felt incomplete. The abrupt shift (uncaring to persistently pursuing) in Yasha’s feelings towards Frances also seemed rushed. Nevertheless they made sense together. Its a cute story with a different air compared to the usual contemporary book. You should give it a go..

Ratings – 3 stars on 5

Meera