My Reading habit and Book Reviews

Most of the time, I don’t finish the book I begin reading. There… I said it! A fancy cover or a good review prompts me to pick a book, but a few pages in, I lose interest or the plot is too scary or sad or something, and I just set it aside and grab another. I seriously admire people who read all sorts of books , good or bad, and review them. Me? If I review a book, then it means I have thoroughly enjoyed the book and have been dying to get it out of my system in the form of a review!

Anyways, I read a couple of books and re-read them immediately a while ago. First time I read a book, I’m in a rush to know what will happen in the end. But the next time, I try to go slow, figuring out the missing pieces of the puzzle, untangling the knots I didn’t notice as I sped by in a race to get to the end. So you can see that in all the time that I should’ve spent writing and blogging, I was busy reading and re-reading! Of course, there were other things too- Travel, Kids’ education and being involved in a number of (mostly tiresome) activities that are needed to be done in preparation for a big wedding in the family. But really, the main reason behind my lack of posting is my reading. Reading is the easiest, most pleasant way there is. At least for me…

So… the books that hijacked my brain and left me quite dazed for a long time are-

  1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  2. Perks of Being a Wallflower

I wonder why I always end up loving books for teens or with protagonists in their teens. I think it’s because I never read such books in my adolescence. Or, because I truly feel for young adults and the anxieties and the fears that they go through as part of growing up. I think that growing up is a tough thing to do, especially in this day and age.

Now coming to the reviews-

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- I guess this book doesn’t need much reviewing. The 8th installment of the popular Harry Potter series written in the form of a play. Those of you who have followed this blog (Thanks a ton, by the way!) know how crazy my sister and I are about the Harry Potter series. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Imagine the thrill I felt when the book landed right into my hands without even ordering the book myself! It was a gift from my sister! (Sisters are the best!). As I read this, I could imagine my favorite HP characters, Hermione, Ron and Harry (in the order mentioned!), now parents, juggling parenting and magicking (Is there a word like that?!). It was heart-breaking to read about the friction between Harry and his son and the yearning Albus feels to right the ‘wrong’ he thinks his ‘famous’ dad committed.

There’s so much magic and time-turning and transforming happening in this book, which moves at a quick pace, you (or at least someone like me!) will find it hard to grapple with the happenings in one read!

I am sure Harry Potter fans will love this book, but others, who aren’t familiar with the setting, the characters, the spells and the history might feel lost. I loved it and will be reading the whole series and the play again soon.

This kind of book makes me want to read more plays. Any recommendations, anyone?

Perks of being a wallflower- This book is not an easy read. I picked it many times before, but couldn’t muster the strength or the interest to carry on. Not because it is boring; Far from it, it is actually a very good book, but it has some disturbing aspects to it. Beautiful but disturbing, can you believe it? It is a series of letters written by this kid, Charlie, to whom is not quite clear, at least in the beginning. He begins writing before the first day of High School. He is anxious and alone. He has just lost his best friend to suicide. It is quite disturbing! But if you have the will to keep reading, it will be a book you will always remember, not just because it will introduce you to some of the best characters ever (Love you Sam and Bill!) and to new kind of music (like the ones by The Smiths or Simon and Garfunkel or Nirvana), but also because you will be rewarded with a beautiful, heartfelt ending. Like always I found myself crying by the end of the book. That’s how I want my books… Simple yet Deep. All encompassing!

I hope some of you will like it just as much as, or maybe more than, I did.

Here’s to more reading and more loving!






It was a beautiful sunny weekend; We decided to drive to Lindau on our motorboat. Lindau is a major town and an island on the eastern side of Lake Constance, bordered by Austria and Switzerland.

We reached Lindau at noon. We decided not to dock the boat at the main harbor (which is usually occupied by the bigger boats) and instead chose the side harbor to moor. (Docking costs around €11 per night, which also includes WC/ Bath).


After a couple of sandwiches and a salad at the local diner, we wandered around the harbor, enjoying the picturesque views of the mountains, lake, magnificent ships and boats on one side and restaurants and shops bustling with people on the other.

The entrance to the harbor is very popular and beautiful. It is guarded by a majestic statue of a Bavarian Lion (Bayerische Löwe) and the new lighthouse (Neue Leuchtturm).The six-meter high, statue of the lion (completed in 1856) overlooking the lake is the work of a Munich Professor, Johann Halbig. It is made of sandstone and weighs about 50 tons.


The new lighthouse is 36 meters high and measures a base circumference of 24 meters. It is one of the few buildings of its kind that has a clock on the facade.

You can enjoy the views from the lighthouse’s observation deck at the top after climbing about 139 steps. The inner walls of the tower are decorated with amusing anecdotes and detailed information about Lindau and Lake Constance. The lighthouse is open to public depending on the weather and demand. (Admission costs € 2.10 for adults, € 0.80 for children).

I highly recommend approaching Lindau using Water transport, even if it means taking a short ferry trip for this purpose! The vistas, I’m sure, will take your breath away.

The beautiful streets of Lindau invite even the least athletic visitor to explore on foot. Lindau’s market square is lined by a series of sturdy and attractive old buildings. You’ll see many shops housed in buildings built in the 15th and 16th century.


The Old Town Hall (Altes Rathaus) is one of the most beautiful buildings in Lindau. This historic building took around 14 years to build and was completed in 1436. It is in Gothic style and is covered in murals on the façade. One of them depicts the time Emperor Maximilian I, held a deliberation here in 1496.


The city library (Ehemals Reichsstädtische Bibliothek, ERB) is truly magnificent. It stores around 13,000 books that hold within its thick, leather book covers, adventurous travel stories, philosophical observations, detailed analysis of ailments and other stories of bygone generations. I was totally in awe of this library. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take any pictures inside.

The island of Lindau is connected to the mainland via a small bridge accessible to cars, bikes and pedestrians. There is also a train which travels from the mainland to the island. We strolled to the mainland while enjoying the surroundings and ended the evening on our boat, relishing a delicious Pizza from a local Kebab shop..

Next day, we had a lovely breakfast at a Hotel/ Restaurant called Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Our Breakfast included Omlette with onions and herbs, sauteed mushrooms on the side and bread with homemade butter. Every bite tasted heavenly! Ah! What an amazing way to spend a weekend!



Decorating my new home

I’ve always been interested in Interior Designing. If it was not for the “Engineering” or “Doctor” degree trend during the 90s, I would have chosen ID as my profession. Well, so what if I’m not an Interior designer, that doesn’t stop me from trying and using my creativity to spruce up my home. I’m always on the look-out for home décor ideas on Pinterest and implementing them in my own ways.

This is not a post about interior designing, where I tell you how to work with your space and transform it. I just wanted to share with you the things I have used (some handmade, some bought and some gifted by loved ones) to make our home extra colorful and warm.

  1. Entrance

At the entrance to our home is a simple white lantern. We call it our guardian as it stays outside, by the door. We bought it at a store called Mauch at Hilzingen (in Germany).


  1. Hallway

In the hallway, I’ve hung 2 beautiful frames of Egyptian art on the wall. They are made of papyrus and were given to me by my mother-in-law, who purchased them in Egypt during her travels. I’ve used golden colored frames to give them an authentic look.

On the door as you enter our home, I’ve displayed a wall-hanging given by my mom that is usually found in most Indian homes.

  1. Shoe stand

I got the idea for a shoe-stand from this website. The store sells wooden boxes in different types and colors. You can make shoe stands, coffee table, book cases, showcases etc. using them. We chose rustic-brown colored boxes to make our shoe stand.

Shoe stand

  1. Guest Bedroom

For our guest bedroom, we hung these beautiful frames showing birds during different seasons, gifted by my mom. She bought them in one of the stalls at  Global Village, Dubai.

Guest Bedroom

  1. Living room 

a. Most of the furniture in our home is made of wood. We have a wooden flooring too. To make all the elements in our home more cohesive, we have chosen mostly wooden/ rustic/ golden colored items to decorate our rooms. Even our curtains are golden in color. Beside the curtains, I have hung golden hanging chains to give our living room an oriental look.

Living Room

b.Side boards: I don’t have a show-case to display the souvenirs I’ve collected during my travels. So I’ve placed them on this wooden side board in the living room. It has valuable pieces from Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Malta and India. What you see at the center that looks like a cave is called “Amethstdrusen”.

Living Room 2

c.I’ve hung family pictures, again in golden colored frames. I bought the frames at Madal Bal in Schaffhausen.

Living Room 3

d. I’ve placed statues of Lord Ganesh, on handmade Crochet mandalas on a vintage style table. I bought the table at Madal Bal.


Living room 4

  1. Kitchen

The idea to use this closet from Ikea was inspired by my mother-in-law. As soon as I saw this in her kitchen, I was eager to buy one for our home too. But sadly I couldn’t find this in any of the Ikea shops I knew. My sweet mother-in-law drove all the way to St. Gallen to buy this for me for my birthday.


  1. Bathrooms

I have used handmade crochet mandalas as mats to place our toiletries..

  1. Winter Garden / Library

I bought the bookshelves online from here. I wanted strong rustic shelves with an antique look. I placed small knick-knacks from Mauch, along with the books. The Golden lantern is from Morocco, again a gift from my Mom- in-law and the black lantern is from Mauch (They really have some nice stuff for home).

Library 3

These are some of the things I have chosen to make my home a bit more vibrant. I adhered to my “shopping” budget as I went around beautifying, instead of splurging all our hard-earned money. You can do the same, by putting in some extra hours of searching (online and at local stores) and going the diy route whenever possible.

Happy making your home sweet home a tad more sweeter!



29 things I’ve learnt so far

30 is a big milestone in everybody’s life. I remember my husband’s morose face when HE turned 30. He was acting as if his life was over. And then came 31 and age stopped bothering him. When I turned 30 a couple of months ago, I felt surprisingly calm. It didn’t bother me that I would never be a kid or a 20 year old anymore. In fact I felt I was at a better stage than ever before. For the first time in my life I felt like I knew myself.

On my birthday, Prasad asked me to look back over the past 3 decades (Wow! 3 decades of life on earth!) and make a note of the highlights of years gone by and my plans for years to come. I sat to do just that but decided to list out the things I’ve learnt so far instead. I like to think that I have learnt a lot of life lessons over the years, but here are a few, 29 to be exact. These are the things I keep telling myself over and over. I hope it helps some of you…

  1. Every morning brings a fresh start. So quiet that inner voice that pesters you with past regrets and future fears and start every day with a big smile and a few deep breaths (This one really helps I tell you. Anytime you feel stuck or scared, remember to do it. And tell me if you don’t instantly feel better).
  2. And about that big smile- don’t care what people think of you. Just keep smiling. Some people might think you are crazy or naive, let them!
  3. Slow down! There is no hurry. Nobody loses anything if you arrive a bit late or take time to do something. The worst thing is, you could be scolded or lose a job. But if you rush, you could lose your life.
  4. Make time to do stuff. To make stuff. Something. Anything. Every. Single. Day. That’s how you can keep that monkey brain calm and productive. Plus, you will have something tangible, useful, pretty at the end of it.
  5. Get up early if you have to. Get THAT THING done. Ha! Not the chores and all. That can wait; your other stuff, the stuff that lights you up.
  6. Most problems can be solved over a cup of hot beverage and with cool friends.
  7. Don’t hold grudge or think ill of others. You know not what they’ve been through.
  8. There’s something you can learn from every situation and person.
  9. Listen to your body. It knows what you really want.
  10. Love yourself. You’re just as special as the people you admire.
  11. Eat well. Eat everything. Eat healthy. Eat in moderation. Stop before you feel too full.
  12. Sleep well. Most problems are caused when you are not well-rested.
  13. If you find something interesting, even a tiny bit, like a topic, a book, an idea, a dream, then chase it by all means. Learn everything you can about it. Make it happen. It need not be useful. Sometimes it is and at other times it might lead you to something else, utterly amazing.
  14. Write everything down. It is the easiest, cheapest therapy ever.
  15. It’s the simple things, you guys, that give a lot of pleasure, like getting away for a shared cup of coffee with the husband, reading a good book and enjoying a good meal with the family; not buying more stuff.
  16. Money is very important. It lets you live the life you want. Earn it. Use it wisely. Save it. Don’t let it become your boss.
  17. Believe in God, a higher power, whatever. Just believe in something other than yourself. Keep doing whatever you are meant to and leave the rest (anxieties, worries etc.) to that God, higher power or whatever you choose to believe in.
  18. Be grateful you are alive. Every single day. Do not take it lightly that you are still breathing and functioning, especially with all the craziness that’s happening in the World.
  19. You could spend your whole life just admiring the beauty of God’s handiwork- our complex brains, the colorful birds, the gentle breeze etc. You need nothing else…
  20. Faith is one the main reasons why there is so much hatred on Earth. Practice the edicts of your faith and let others practice theirs. Respect and admire the beauty in diversity.
  21. NO phones or other digital devices around the kids! Be wholly there and spend endless time with them.
  22. If there’s something you think you will regret not doing, later, just do it today.
  23. Hold onto that child within you. Stay curious. Stay crazy.
  24. There’s so much love within you. Spread it.
  25. Likewise, there’s so much creativity in you. Share it.
  26. How will you know not to do something again, if you haven’t tried and failed at it at least once?
  27. Stumble. Fall. Dust yourselves off. Restart.
  28. You cannot punish someone for the mistakes THEY make. There’s someone else who’s keeping a count on all that. You can only show the right way and hope they take that route.
  29. Honesty is good, yeah, but not at the cost of hurting someone. Always find something nice to say first, before being critical.

Do you have any life lessons you can share?

30 Things to do in 2016- May & June update

The beginning of school year has been crazy. We are still getting used to longer days at school, packing 2 boxes, Weekly tests and lots of other novel stuff. It feels like my life is totally revolving around the kids and their schools and classes and I am running around in circles all day long, without being able to lift my head up and look at the big picture. And by the end of the day (or even during the day), I have no time or energy or enthusiasm to do just the things that perk me up like crafting or reading or simply enjoying a cup of Tea. Hmmm…

I keep telling myself, like everything else in life, nothing lasts forever; these crazy, busy, fleeting days will pass too. So “hang in there Manasa. You’re doing Great! Just Don’t drive yourself and everyone else up the wall, Please!” 

Hey, here are the things we still got accomplished, despite the craziness called LIFE-

1. Buy a sewing machine 
2. Learn basic stitches
3. Sew a summer dress/ skirt for Medha 
4. Paint a wall hanging for our hall

5. Scrapbook with Medha of her cousin’s visit. 

6. Make a photobook with Medha’s pictures.

7. Make a photobook with Madhav’ s pictures
8. Turn the spare room into craft/reading room
9. Post before/after pictures of craft/reading room project.
10. Bake a cake and decorate it with Medha – We baked a cake for Medha’s Birthday. To make the process easy, I bought a Cake mix from Pillsbury. I made costumes out of newspapers for the kids and we got baking! All 3 of us took turns mixing and folding the ingredients. The kids had fun decorating the cake with frosting and gems. And guess what, the cake tasted great too! 

Delicious Cake
11. Throw a handmade birthday party at home for Medha and Madhav- It wasn’t all handmade, to be frank. I didn’t cook all the food or make the return gifts myself, like I wanted to. I bought Poster colors, Paint Brushes, Coloring books and Stickers as party favors so the kids could “Make their own MAGIC”. But still, I enrolled Medha and Madhav in making the decorative banners and wraps for candies. And our friends all had a great time. It was one of the best parties we’ve ever thrown. 

12. Read “Big magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
13. Read a kannada book
14. Read the photography book Prasad gifted me
15. Complete Spark ecourse
16. Complete Onward and Upward ecourse
17. Have pictures taken with my sister for the blog
18. Write thank-you letters to the most important people in my life ( I know who they are)
19. Volunteer at Madhav’s playschool 
20. Write to a magazine/ newspaper.
21. Visit a National park
22. Learn to drape a saree beautifully
24. Add 10 new followers to the blog ( to make the count 90)
25. Change the blog’s “about” page
26. A weaving project with Medha 

27. A plush doll with Medha

28. A garland with Medha- Medha, Madhav and I together made a few garlands as part of the decorations for the kids’ birthday party. I wanted to sew a fabric garland, but couldn’t. I will try to make one soon.

29. Visit a historical monument/palace with the kids
30. 365 days of journaling

So guys…. do the best you can with the time and resources you have. And please…. remember to have fun along the way!




Mandala – A Crochet Project

One of my recent Crochet projects is a  “Mandala”. I followed this pattern from a great blog called Red Agape.  This website has many patterns for Crocheting and a lot of other Diys too. Do check it out.

Final Mandala-001

I had never heard of the term “Mandala” in Crocheting before. I was too surprised to come across this Indian word when I was looking for something new to try. It was a breeze to crochet this pattern and now I’m hooked! I’ll be making many many more of these Mandalas, and using them in tablecloths,as coasters and giving some away as gifts too.🙂

You can make it using a single colored yarn or you can mix and match different colors and textures to make the final piece even more interesting.

I used the same wool I’d used for making the valance. And I used my 3.5 mm Crochet needle.

Wool- Mandala

Here are the steps in pictures-

There’s a good pattern for a mandala on this website too. Do try it and let me know if you need any help.

Set of 3 Mandalas

Mandala Project

PS- I made this Crochet tablecloth for my sister-

Tablecloth for my sister

  PPS- And she totally loved it!🙂

Here’s to more “Doing” and more “Giving”…



Insel Mainau

A few weeks ago, we visited the Insel Mainau, a beautiful island off the shores of Lake Constance. Insel Mainau is small, about 45 hectares, and lies on the far south-west part of Germany, close to Switzerland and Austria. This island is called the “Flowering Island” as it is full of parks and gardens;  It is covered in flora over 150 years old!

Beautiful Gardens

On the way to the island, we stopped at my mother in law`s house to take her along with us. It is an hour-long drive from our home to the mainland of Mainau. You must park the car on the mainland and cross a small bridge to reach the island. Entry to the island costs 19Eur per person and 5Eur for parking a car.


Millions of Tulips, Rhododendrons, scented Roses, Dahlias and perennials cover the length and breadth of the island, looking like colorful carpets. People had come from all over to view this splendor, making the place a bit crowded and stuffy, but we didn’t mind. We were having a good time!

Flower power

First, we went inside the Butterfly house, shaped like a Butterfly, with its inhabitants fluttering all around.

Our next stop was the ancient Teutonic Castle, completed in the year 1746, and the Palace Church of St. Marien. These monuments with their ornate detailing were built in Baroque style of Architecture and have a lot of history behind them. The castle has now been converted into a Souvenir shop where many kinds of artifacts are sold.

Teutonic Castle

Interior of the Church

A beautiful garden surrounds the castle and from here you also get a picturesque view of Lake Constance.

Lake Constance beyond

The Grand Duke Friedrich terrace, named after the Park’s founder, Grand Duke Friedrich, is breath-taking! It is an Italian Renaissance Garden with a staircase adorned with colorful and exotic flowers and a waterfall cascading down to the lake from the top. Benches are placed at the bottom by the lake for visitors to relax and soak in some fresh air. From the terrace, visitors can also have a pleasant view of the Arboretum.

The Grand Duke Friedrich Staircase

As you walk along the shore, you enter another garden and a petting farm with animals like goats, cows, rabbits, donkeys etc. Kids seemed to be having a gala time there.

There are a few fancy restaurants and some fast-food joints too. As they were too crowded, we did not get a chance to dine. However, we had a really good time at the island!

Family time