To rephrase Keats, I would say, a beautiful garden is a joy forever. Big or small, a garden is a key link between man and nature. It can be your haven, and your very own personal sanctuary. It is a place that you lovingly tend, and that will give you bountifully in return as well.
In Ground Rules: 100 easy lessons for growing a more glorious garden, Kate Frey draws upon years of experience to present a simple rule-book on the myriad aspects of gardening.
The first section concerns planning the garden. Several tips cover the kind and variety of plants that you should be thinking about. One of the guidelines I found particularly useful is to use variegated foliage for an all-year-round colourful look. I also found the point about mingled planting quite apt. Another great idea pertains to using different containers and multiple plants in a single container in order to increase visual interest.
The next section concerns “The Joy of Plants”. A garden is made up of plants, and hence it is important to understand the nature of individual plants and what you want them to do in the garden. Some of the tips are pretty useful, such as, not buying root-bound plants for instance, and opting for plants that have roots that fill the container rather than stagnate it. Sometimes, these little tips escape our minds and it is good to be aware of them. This section is more practical in nature and has tips and practical suggestions for growing plants- timing them, understanding their requirements, composting, watering, choosing the right plants and so on.
“The Real dirt” talks about soil. Well, we all know that ultimately the soil maketh the garden. This section has some handy tips on recognizing the kind of soil required for your garden and nurturing the soil that you have. Composting, mulching, tilling and so on become familiar concepts here.
“Be Wise With Water” tackles the issue of using water in the garden heads-on. Planning the garden against the background of being aware of the water requirements of the plants, is extremely important as we live in a world where water shortage is becoming increasingly rampant. This section has some useful tips (such as hydrozoning) to ensure optimal water usage and minimal water wastage.
“How to be a good Garden Parent” tackles the topic of nurturing. “Birds, Bees and Butterflies” talks about how to create a garden that supports abundance of life. Yes, beautiful plants look all the more stunning when the garden thrives with little winged creatures! There are a few handy tips here, but the one which really resonated with me the most concerns the tip about how not to ‘stress’ plants, lest they attract pests and not helpful insects!
“A Garden of Earthly Delights” takes a look at the social and emotional benefits of nurturing a garden. I think this section is probably the best one. One can know about technicalities of gardening, but the emotional advantage of having a garden is one to reckon with, and this is exactly what the section purports.
Simple and easy…
The rules are quite straightforward and to the point. Each page has a different point and hence it is really simple and easy to navigate the book. Read it from start to finish or just open to any page and look at what it has to offer! If you are a beginning gardener, there is a storehouse of ideas that you can take from this book. If you are an experienced gardener, you may still find nuggets of inspiration that will add on to your beautiful garden!
Several photographs supplement the text, and this is indeed one of the best things about this book. These pictures focus not necessarily on variegated plants that add to the beauty of the garden but also on how the garden can be seen in context of the entire décor scheme of the house, or how the individual plants can be viewed against the backdrop of the entire garden. Hence, the pictures provide a context against which the reader can visualize his or her own garden space.
The author also gives several examples of plants that one could include in the gardens. It is a well-known fact that the best gardens support local vegetation. Hence, readers from other geographical locations would do well by keeping this in mind as they read the book.
As I near the end of the book, I have managed to catch quite a few tips for growing a more glorious garden, but what resonates the most is, to put it in the words of the author, is the fact that “Gardening yields both a material and inner harvest”.
Title: Ground Rules
Author: Kate Frey
Publisher: Timber Press
Genre: Gardening/ non-fiction
LIKEtoKNOW.it is a ready-to-shop content platform. With this book, titled LIKEtoKNOW.it: Stories from the Influencer Next Door, it now brings success stories of the influencers right on the pages of a coffee table book.
It features many influencers who are a part of the LIKEtoKNOW.it network. They are top global influencers in the lifestyle realm. They talk about various aspects of their influencer business. They tell their personal stories about how they started their business and the challenges they had to deal with.
Each person featured in the book has an interesting story to tell. The question answer format makes it easy to read and glean what is relevant and interesting. Most of the bloggers featured here belong to the fashion and lifestyle arena, and the majority of them are women. However, the lessons learnt are applicable across genres.
Many colourful and well-shot images add to the fun of reading the book. As a coffee table book, these images may just enhance the experience of browsing the book!
Here are some of the things the reader will know and understand about the influencer business: How do these influencers connect with their followers? What has made them find their USP and their niche? What led to the creation of their blog in the first place? What were they doing before blogging? What are the challenges that come along with the business of blogging?
There are little nuggets of wisdom and inspiration embedded in the stories of these women (and a few men). Many of them are parents, balancing the demands of a family with their work. They reveal their secrets in the pages. Some of them readily sought help from near and dear ones (many hubbies have turned photographers!) and that shows how one should ask for help from immediate family, especially in the early stages of the business when one needs to keep expenses low!
My takeaways about the influencer business gleaned from the book:
While the book has useful insights, I felt as if towards the end some points were repetitive. However, it does have plenty of encouragement for those who want to start their own influencer business. With the gorgeous photographs, it also makes for a good coffee table book.
Ashwatthama’s Redemption: The Rise of Dandak is set one hundred years after the Mahabharata war. The story begins when peace is paramount, but there seems to be an impeding warning of a war to some. Some ancient evil power threatens to destroy the world. Ashwatthama may have played the villain in the Mahabharata, but it’s time to play the hero. He is the only one who can save the retrieve the Kodanda- the lost bow of Rama. It is this bow that would redeem mankind. The mythological fiction story imagines the life and travails of Ashwatthama after the war. Do the demons of the past continue to haunt him? Or, is it time to turn the wheels of Karma? At one level, the novel is an exciting adventure story set in ancient India. At another, it is a tale of redemption, courage, and the futility of war.
Bookedforlife chats with the author, Gunjan Porwal, about the inspiration behind the story….
What made you choose to imagine the story of Ashwatthama? The Mahabharata has a rich cast of characters. What about him appealed the most over the host of others?
The Kurukshetra war was full of adharma events. There was no honest side. However, the legacy of Ashwatthama was ruined by one night of infamy, who otherwise must be counted as one of the greatest warriors of the Kurukshetra war. Also, apart from Karna, I found that Ashwatthama’s story had some layers of complexity – being the dishonored warrior, a loyal friend, a hated enemy, part-incarnation of Shiva. So, I decided to take up writing about him.
What kind of research did you undertake for the book?
The research included going through lots of online resources. One of the things I had to make sure was getting the lingo and small details right, like things that would be available in that era – lots of daily use items, or metals, some of them were not discovered during that time. For example, leather was not there, but tanned animal skin was there. So, I had to spend some time in making sure that the small details are right, and the reader does not get any false information. I do not wish for the reader to be looking up something and saying ‘This is not right. Glass was not invented then.’
Recently there have been many books that look at retelling or reimagining popular stories from our epics from different points of view. This genre seems to be creating a strong niche of its own. Could you share your thoughts on the same?
There has been a surge in Indian Mythology books. I feel it’s a great thing that the young generation is digging into that, and savouring it. There are lots of stories that are coming out, some of them fantastic ones. We have all been influenced by Western History, and Greek mythology. What better way than books and movies to preserve our stories for future generations! Indian mythology is one of the richest in terms of details, and it good to see so many new stories about characters that were unexplored before. On the other hand, the quality bar has gone up quite a bit.
The theory of karma and how it plays out across lifetimes is a theme that is brought out beautifully in Ashwatthama’s Redemption. Was it a conscious decision to add this philosophical element?
It was more of a thought that came during the writing process. Karma was always the underlying theme, because Ashwatthama’s redemption had to be tied to it. But, when I was writing the conversation between Ashwatthama and Urmila, I thought that this part must be more than just a retelling of what happened. It should convey a message to the reader, while telling the stories. Urmila is young, and she would learn the hard way. What better way for Ashwatthama to hand over the reins to the younger generation by sharing his knowledge and learnings? So, I decided to give it the karma angle, which I believe also ties later with the redemption part.
You work as an engineer and you are also passionate about mythology. Do let us in on your experience of writing this book. How did you balance it with a demanding day job? What is your writing schedule like?
It takes time to write the first draft. Post that, things are bit easier. Of course, it varies from writer to writer. For me, I started writing the first draft with a view to write a 200-page book. It could just be a 100-page story, but must be an engaging one. I had not outlined this one before. There were many points where I got stuck for days, and would not know what to do next. That took a lot of time. But it was refreshing to delve deep into mythology, and figure out facts that we did not know before.
As for the writing schedule, I hardly could find time during daytime. I wrote mostly during nights, and when I got time during weekends. That’s one of the challenges all part-time writers face. But once a schedule is set, it becomes easier.
Ashwatthama’s Redemption demands a sequel! Any ideas about what would follow “The Rise of Dandak”?
Yes, I want to explore Ashwatthama’s character further. A warrior like him has gone through much, and there are lots of other parts of his life that can be explored. The story also could not be so simple as to simply kill Dandak after his resurrection, after all the background set for him. So, a sequel is in the works!
Well, we’re sure that readers are waiting to set sail with Ashwatthama and delve deeper into his adventures!
Author: Gunjan Porwal
Publisher: Om Books International
Genre: Mythological Fiction
With an increasing number of Indian women moving out of their home towns to work and study- they have gained more exposure to dealing with various facets of life including more freedom to date and choose their own life partners. Financial independence has given Indian women many more choices which the earlier generation never had. The rising popularity of the Chick Lit genre seems to reflect this changing social scenario.
A typical chick lit novel will revolve around the life of a young woman, usually single, working in a metro, in the 20s-30s age bracket. A common theme noticed in these light reads will be of “finding love”, love versus arranged marriage, work place politics, internet dating, open discussions of sexual experiences, body image issues, female friendships etc. There will always be some sort of conflict between the social conditioning of being a good Indian girl versus trying to make it in the big bad city.
Plenty of authors have jumped on to the chick lit bandwagon and some of the recent chick lit novels include Encounters of a Fat Bride, The Wedding Photographer, One Indian Girl etc. Most of these do reasonably well. Given the rise of digital readership and self-publishing platforms there is always room for reaching the urban educated woman who is the target audience for these stories. Sometimes it may be hard to distinguish one chick lit novel from the other- and the story lines may come across as repetitive.
“I am too old to read fairy tales and I do want to find love- the protagonist in the novel could easily be me- her problems could easily be mine- going through a tough break up, not getting that promotion that you aimed for, weight issues, pressure to get married at the right age etc.- the funny way in which these are portrayed is extremely enjoyable to read and brings a big smile to my face”.
Well, I couldn’t agree more- I am going to raise my Martini to Chick lit, Cheers!
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When it comes to famous personalities, we often wonder who the person behind the larger-than-life personality really is. Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer who ruled the ring during his illustrious boxing career, comes across as a very different person, seen from the point of view of his daughter.
At Home With Muhammad Ali brings alive scenes from the lives of Muhammad Ali and his family. The memoir is written like a story, slowly unveiling the man behind the boxing champion that the world knew. Ali had nine children and was married four times. The writer of this book, Hana Ali, is the younger daughter from his marriage to Veronica Porché.
It all started with a series of tapes that Ali had recorded since 1970s. “If anyone is wondering why I, Muhammad Ali, am making these tapes, it’s because history is so beautiful. And, at the time we’re living, we don’t always realise it,” he mentions in one of these tapes. These provide the raw material for the book.
Accessing these tapes, old published articles and a rich storehouse of memories, Hana recalls her memories of her father, from her unique point of view. How was life with a legend? How did it feel when celebrities flitted in and out of the house like casual friends? How did it feel to ‘share’ her father with the world? Fremont Place, where Hana lived with her mother and sister (Laila Ali, who is also a boxer), somehow pervades the narrative and makes a strong appearance in the book.
“We all think we know our parents. Some of us may, but in most cases only half of what we think we know is true” writes Hana. One can feel the sense of loss and pain that pervaded her life as she grew up.
“You are not my father, You’re Muhammad Ali,” she says to him once. This statement reflects the mindscape of a child who had to “share” her father since he was a celebrity who was larger than life. To add to that, he had nine children from different relationships, and he was dedicated to all his children.
Despite the pain, there were moments of joy. When he was with Hana, he more than made up for all the inevitable absences. The little memories of daily life are etched in her mind. “Even when he was busy, he made time for us. My memories are rich because of it”, writes Hana. The book describes many of these seemingly little instances that enriched her life. We see Ali as a family man placed in the context of his immediate surroundings.
Ali’s separation with Hana’s mother Veronica is one of the themes that underlies this book. Throughout the narrative there is a sense of questioning why their relationship broke up. From blaming her mother for the inevitable, Hana attempts to see both sides of the story and finally accepts the situation. She also accepts her father’s role in this break-up. She presents his side of the story, without passing judgements. She is also open about the disappointments that she harboured.
There is a sense of catharsis in the memoir, as if Hana has finally exorcised the past and looked at the events with a new eye. Hence the subtitle ‘a memoir of love, loss and forgiveness’ makes perfect sense.
At Home With Muhammad Ali reveals a lot about him as a person behind the public persona. With all his faults and strengths, Hana attempts to present an honest picture of the man. However, it is equally an attempt to come to terms and make sense of her own childhood and the impact it had on her own life.
I wish there were more details about Ali’s other marriages and children, and their perspectives as well. This would provide the reader with a more rounded image of the man. Honest and poignant as it is, it is still Hana’s perspective.
Ultimately, this is a book about the relationship between a parent and a child, and how childhood memories form an indelible impression on young minds.
“Being a parent and being married is hard. My father may not have done everything perfectly, but he learnt from some of his parents’ mistakes, and my mother learnt from hers, just as Laila and I will learn from their missteps and do better with our children. I guess that’s what we all hope will happen until someone, someday, many years from now, finally has a perfect childhood” writes Hana, providing a fitting message to the readers.
Title: At Home with Muhammad Ali
Author: Hana Ali
Publisher: Bantam Press, Penguin
Genre: Biography/ Memoir
“At twenty-seven years old, I had been introduced to a man with no name. I had handled his body, cut it apart, and put it back together again. From that point on, I thought, every careless mistake I might make in the hospital would be a slap in his face, every success a tribute to him, my first patient. He had given himself freely – wholeheartedly-and now I had to give him back and leave him to restful peace,”
-Sandeep Jauhar, Heart: A History
The heart is one organ in our body that widely links to metaphor and abstractions. When the author of a book is a heart failure specialist writing on the heart, one does not really expect storytelling to enter in. But, that is maybe where the skill of Sandeep Jauhar lies. He ‘dissects’ the heart in this book, titled “Heart: A History”, and merges various disciplines to give us a comprehensive account of the most important organ in the human body.
You’ll find different kinds of narratives here as the book moves on- the author’s personal history and accounts, references to the heart in literature, interesting facts about the heart (such as the origin of the heart shape as we know it), medical and scientific information about the heart, the history of the research in the field, art that depicts the heart, the idioms linked to the heart, case studies from annals of research in cardiology as well as stories and facts drawn out from his personal experience. All these bits of information jostle together and find a place in the book, sitting comfortably next to each other.
What I found most interesting is the exploration of the link between the physical and metaphorical heart. Jauhar quotes from research studies and personal experience to highlight the fact that the biological heart is deeply linked to emotions. “We have moved away from the emotional heart to a narrow focus on the biomechanical pump,” he writes. Perhaps this call to give importance to how emotions impact the heart resonates strongly throughout the book.
As he uncovers the mysteries of the heart he also takes us through his personal journey- the first time he dissected a frog, studied a cadaver and came face to face with tragedy as he helped victims post the 9/11 attacks. Poignant stories from his family continue to pervade the pages of the book, giving us some deep reflections to apply to our own lives and to our mortality as well.
He quotes several pathbreaking medical research studies. It is impossible for the reader not to empathize with the brave cardiologists over time who have researched and experimented to better current techniques. Many of them have, often for moral and practical reasons, experimented on themselves! Often, this has come at great cost. How can one balance between innovation and safety when it comes to human lives? Cardiologists had to take tough calls and the book illustrates these stories though the ages.
As one reads the book one feels like a partner accompanying the author on this surprising and mysterious journey of the heart! There are moments when the research bits get a bit detailed, but at no point is the narrative difficult for the non-expert reader.
We also get a peek into two worlds. Firstly, the field of cardiology with its pathbreaking technological marvels that have indeed made a huge contribution to humanity. But more interestingly, we also enter his own personal world. The feelings of guilt and helplessness at not being able to help a patient, the fear of the huge responsibility that his job carries and the happiness and gratefulness at being able to make a difference is also brought out very poignantly.
Heart: A History by Sandeep Jauhar will take the reader through a very unique journey in exploring the human heart.
Title: Heart: A History
Author: Sandeep Jauhar
Publisher: Penguin books
On the very first page of Ruskin Bond’s ‘A Book of Simple Living’, is a very beautiful and serene illustration of a trail of ants. Even before I can immerse myself in the soothing words of this book, my mind goes back a decade in time. My now-tween then-toddler and I were in a park, staring at a long line of ants that he spotted. We had all the time to ‘stand and stare’ at the busy ants. I still remember feeling so calm and at ease, and experiencing a sense of solidarity with nature, even as the world around us went buzzing by. This is exactly the kind of feeling that reading ‘A Book of Simple Living” evokes.
Ruskin Bond has written a lot about nature. This book has crystallised nuggets which all stem from his relationship with the natural world. “Live close to nature and your spirit will not be easily broken, for you will learn something of patience and resilience. You will not grow restless and you will never feel lonely,” he rightly says.
But, is it really only nature that he talks about? As you read the short passages in the book, varied themes come out- the futility of war, the delicacy of love, sights and sounds that tickle the senses, the many pleasures of gardening, his take on collections and ‘hoarding’ stuff, work, vocation and creativity. Occasionally, a poem creeps in and these simple verses are equally enchanting. In short, these are his philosophical musings that will make our busy and wired lives happier.
This book will make you savour simple pleasures of life and the joy of little things. It is a way to detox mentally. Read it from the first to last page or just open up a random page and devour it. The writing is short, brief and simple, thus being accessible to the most busy or reluctant of readers.
If you have read other books by Ruskin Bond you will find that this book is a microcosm of his world. If you have never read a book by Ruskin Bond, this is probably the best one to begin with. And, if reading this book kindles any desire to express a few thoughts of your own, be sure to check out our post on a journal written by Bond- https://www.bookedforlife.in/reviews/ruskin-bonds-words-hills-collectors-delight/. This journal merges spectacular artwork and beautiful snippets from Bonds works, to inspire you to pen down your own thoughts.
Ruskin Bond’s ‘A Book of Simple Living’ is a book you may want to add to your collection. What is says remains timeless!
Title: A Book of Simple Living
Author: Ruskin Bond
Publisher: Speaking Tiger
If Nur Jahan were alive today, she would be what one would call, ‘a superwoman ‘. The Queen of Queens or Maharani, the 17th wife of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir, was a feisty and dynamic woman. In Empress- The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan, author and feminist historian Ruby Lal brings to the limelight the many accomplishments of the Mughal queen.
As a historian, Lal seeks out an objective and accurate account of Nur’s life. She analyses histories of what is known about the queen- both oral accounts and recorded ones, and then unravels what is hidden behind the more popular constructs of her beauty.
Yes, she was beautiful. But, she was also an accomplished politician, a poet, a culturally inclined person, an excellent hunter and master strategist. She won the respect and admiration of Jahangir. He made her his ‘co-sovereign’, something that was unprecedented in the empire. She has coins that bore her seal and royal orders issued in her name. However, the conservative patriarchal society of the times could not acknowledge “that she could be both womanly and a sovereign”.
Through intense research, often with unusual sources, Lal explains the reasons behind the rise of Nur Jahan due to a plethora of factors, rather than only see her as a beautiful woman who lured her husband with feminine charms. We get a nuanced story of a queen who was much ahead of her times; A queen who was a feminist, though no such concept existed back then!
The narrative style is quite interesting since Lal tells the story of Nur Jahan almost like a fiction tale. She recreates and brings to life the times in which the queen was born and her life in the royal household complete with the sights, smells, culture and mannerisms of the eon, including insightful descriptions of the harem and the Mughal court. This places her story in context.
In these realistic recreations of the childhood, youth and the life of Nur Jahan, she weaves in the story of the times. One gets a sense of how Nur came to be the person she was.
The Queen steals the show
As a feminist historian, the book highlights the gender politics of the age. What is interesting to search in the narrative, and what Lal also attempts to find out is how did Nur Jahan achieve what she did in the age and environment she lived in? What about her made Jahangir see her with a different eye? How did she navigate the complex world of patriarchy and harem politics to a more visible kind of power?
Nur Jahan was cognizant of the fact that history often overlooked the achievements of women. She ensures in her way, that such a fate should not befall her. While she handled the politics of power in a commendable way, her downfall was also inevitable. History is eventually a point of view. When Shah Jahan, Nur’s step son, ascended the throne, many victories and accomplishments of Nur were effaced from public records and memory. Even though they had once shared cordial relations, their relationship had soured.
“In the absence of a man in whose name she could fight, and with no nobles or family members supporting or celebrating her imperial service, Nur could take no further action to retain her position as co-sovereign. Her rise to power had been relatively swift. Her fall was even swifter,” writes Lal.
Empress is a bold attempt to take a relook at history from a different point of view. Time and patriarchy may not have done due justice to Nur’s legacy, but, as the author writes, “Some people will themselves into history”. Nur Jahan was definitely one of them!
Author: Ruby Lal
We’ve all heard the adage that beauty is skin deep. But then, why do many of us still look out for solutions only in external cosmetic products and treatments? If you want better skin and hair, the first place you should go to is your kitchen! Glow by Vasudha Rai dives into indigenous wisdom and emerges with some easy-to-follow and tried-and-tested ‘manna’ for great skin, hair and health!
Excerpts from our conversation with Rai…
You have been involved in writing about the beauty industry for a long time. What are your observations about the change in attitudes towards natural authentic beauty treatments and products over the course of all these years?
I think the treatments are broadly the same, but what has really changed is the attitude towards beauty. There is a lot more acceptance now of the way we look. Beauty is also more diverse, which means that a lot more of us are considered beautiful, instead of just that typical ‘gori-chitti’ aesthetic. In terms of products, there is a slew of natural beauty brands that have entered the market. It’s like a green revolution of sorts. However, in the next few years the brands will be filtered down. Only the ones that are scientifically formulated and are extremely effective will remain.
You have divided the book into the four pillars of beauty—vitality, clarity, radiance and peace, and then put different natural foods under each of these heads. This is indeed a new and original way to look at beauty. What inspired this approach?
I was a bit tired of the upside-down approach that we had for beauty. Skincare, makeup and facials are all great. However, true beauty begins from within – with good health and a great mindset. Writing on beauty for more than 15 years I have seen that outer care is a temporary fix. We have to be cognizant not just of the food we eat physically but the thoughts that we feed into our minds. Vitality stands for energy and strength: When we eat and live to be healthy, great skin and hair are just a side effect. Clarity is a real need these days – especially because adult acne is a reality, because of stress, poor diets, pollution etc. Radiance is the main tenet of beauty and I have chosen brightly coloured fruit, leaves, flowers and seeds for this section. But, for me the ultimate pillar of beauty is peace. Without peace, looking good is just superficial. When we are calm and peaceful there is an inner radiance that is magnetizing and there is no cream or facial that can replicate that sort of glow.
Can you talk about the research process that you undertook for this book? I understand that there were trials you undertook as well!
I wrote the book in four drafts (before I submitted it to Penguin). First, I wrote what I knew from experience. Then I looked at scientific studies to find new data and support my claims. The third layer was the precious knowledge that my experts generously shared with me. And finally came the recipes and recipe testing. My neighbours are now used to seeing me in weird face masks just walking around! Some of them know that I’ve written a book, while others think I’m a bit crazy!
One of the points that the book brings out is that many traditional fruits and vegetables which many of us may have enjoyed in our childhood are just disappearing from the scene. This surely points to something simmering that we are not aware of. How can one bring back and preserve, or rather reclaim what is authentically ours?
One way to do that would be to create a demand for our local fruits and vegetables. We must reduce the consumption of imported berries and other stuff because firstly they are unnecessarily expensive, and secondly, they spoil easily because they have been stored for too long. Lastly, God knows what they have been injected with to stay fresh for so long! Also, instead of shopping at the supermarket, go to your mandi, shop with the local subziwallah, support local businesses. It all begins with one person – just ask for local over imported and slowly, the demand will increase. Educate your friends and family to do the same.
Just as a quick takeaway for our readers… Which natural product would you use for the following?
Many people do want to go back to the ‘roots’ and our rich heritage of remedies for health and beauty. However, within the spectrum of ‘natural’ beauty products we are flooded with options in the market. What advice would you give consumers for distinguishing between what is authentic and what is not?
I would always say do a lot of research and see if the ingredients have been extracted using the best methods, and then formulated by a scientist. People don’t understand that natural ingredients can be very volatile and need to be balanced by someone with a degree in cosmetology. I believe in balance – I love eating clean, applying home-made hair oils and masks, but equally I love a good face serum or a dermatologist-office treatment. We can preserve our heritage and yet take advantage of the products that are modern and effective. We don’t have to choose between one or another.
It’s time to begin the journey to good skin and hair. Are you ready to bring on the inner glow?
Author: Vasudha Rai
A lot has been written and discussed about manifesting your destiny. The concept of visualising your life the way you want it to be and thereby manifesting your destiny has gained trajectory in the recent years. Yes, the publication of the bestselling book, The Secret may have had a role to play. But, the truth is that a lot more people have taken to living more consciously than they did before and believing that they have a more active role to play in their lives.
Create your dream life now: A workbook and guide for manifesting your destiny written by Darren Marc and illustrated by Joan Coleman is a workbook that guides people in a step-by-step manner to manifest their destiny.
Section 1, Let’s Start Creating gently leads the reader into birthing their dream by talking about intentions and goals, and then moving on to creating vision boards, Since this is a workbook there is enough space to write down your goals. There is space to note down goals related to different aspects of life: Personal, health, family and romance, fun, career, finance and spirituality.
Section 2 concerns Daily Spiritual Practice. Goals have been set, but one needs to achieve them! This is where daily habits come in. This section illuminates some active meditations, affirmations and creative visualisations, that aid the process of fulfillment of the goals. The section on affirmations is also quite comprehensive, with a few good affirmations to incorporate in your daily practice.
The book also emphasizes on the role of meditation in manifesting your desires. It talks about white light meditation, mantra meditation, japa meditation and mindfulness medication with a brief introduction to these. On the same lines it talks about yoga. At first, I could not comprehend why meditation (or even yoga) should be an integral part of a workbook that talks about manifesting your destiny. However, the premise of the authors, as they explain here, is that meditation cultivates mindfulness that ultimately filters into daily life and enables the person to consciously choose thoughts and actions that support specific goals in life.
Once the reader understands these concepts, the reader is led to write down his or her morning and evening rituals, which obviously are based on the concepts explained so far. This is the action sheet that ensures that the reader puts into practice what he or she has learnt from the exercise. To supplement these rituals, there are also some well-defined health tips given, which will work along with the spiritual habits and rituals for more holistic development.
Section 3 contains the 12 Keys of Conscious Creation. These are philosophical concepts that have been defined ‘operationally’ in this book. Then, there is space to note down how exactly the reader will imbibe these concepts and make them a part of his or her life. For example, one of the key concepts of conscious creation is being in the present. The book defines what that means. Then, it nudges the reader to write down how he or she will be in the present at all times. This activity kind of orients the reader towards the ‘keys’ being expressed, and encourages the reader to imbibe these in his or her consciousness.
Section 4, A Little More Inspiration adds on some more practical tips, and then eases the reader to now start independently applying the concepts learnt in the book.
I like to think of this workbook as a medium of gentle handholding in the path of setting and achieving goals. It is also visually quite delightful. If you’re buying the e-book, you’ll need to print it out since the book requires participation from the reader in terms of writing and noting down some points as the reader reads along. It is a record book as well, which you can keep going to from time to time in the journey of manifesting your destiny.
Author: Darren Marc
Illustrator: Joan Coleman
Publisher: Health communications, Inc.