Mackinac Island (Part II) : Flying through the waters (5 min read)

 

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The cruise to Mackinac Island

 

At the other end of the bridge, the rain had ceased. It was a relief and we were again gaining back our faith in the American meteorology. Though I had started off in a kurti, I had a jacket and a sweater as a backup. After the horrible experience in Paris (about which I shall write later) I never leave without my faithful jacket. The weather was quite chilly and thus my jacket came handy. The cruise was to arrive after 20 min so I had plenty time to change into jeans and jacket.

After we boarded the cruise, all three of us (my better half’s junior ‘R’ accompanied us) were brave enough to take seats on the upper deck. Now, one can be brave under two circumstances: one, not having the least idea about what is going to happen next and secondly to be courageous enough to face the dangers again. We belonged to the former category. The sky above us was covered with clouds, though the rain had stopped the Sun was yet to show its face.We looked at lake water below us, you could see the bed of stones quivering in the clear water. After the captain had made all the necessary safety announcements, the cruise set sail.

Journey on the waters brought back many memories, this was not my first cruise ride. We had boarded cruise during our trip to Interlaken. The memory of the mild cruise ride with all the beauty of the environment will always remain etched in my heart. And how can I forget the frequent boat ride to Belur Math from our very own Kuthighat!!

Entangled in the thoughts of sweet past, I was brought to my senses when I realised that the cruise had taken up immense speed. It was no long sailing but flying through the waters. All the passengers on the upper deck were almost frozen, the chill air stung the skins like needles. Most of the people left the upper deck and went downstairs. I along with our companion R also joined them. My better half decided to brave the chilly air for a little long since he wanted a good shot of the lighthouse the cruise was to cross soon.

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The Lighthouse

 

People were far more relaxed on the lower deck. It was quite warm, the fathers were busy pointing seagulls to their children and mothers busy in fixing their upturned hair. I won’t lie, the swift-moving air had tangled my hair too, so I pulled out my hairbrush to fix it. After some time my better half arrived, quite steady and unaffected by the rough chilly air. He didn’t mind that his hair was all disorganised because he had managed to take a perfect shot of the lighthouse, and was quite glad about it. I handed him the brush to adjust his messy hair. Much time was not left now; soon the cruise would touch the harbour of the Mackinac Island.

To Be Continued…

Mackinac Island: Setting off on a long drive (1min read)

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The Mackinac Bridge

 

The journey had started smoothly. I was planning to read a little during our long drive. I was flipping through the pages of Brida (Paulo Coelho), quite an intense read I must say, when all of a sudden I heard the tires screech. My better half had pressed the brakes hard to avoid collision with a huge wild stag that jumped over our car’s bonnet and in a fraction of second disappeared among the tall grasses! Spotting deer and stags in the outskirts of cities is quite common and is risky too! Coming across to the animal can not only cause serious injury to the animal but also cause damage to the vehicle. After the jolt and my mini excitement session, the journey resumed.

Now, Mackinac island is quite a popular destination for the tourists during the summer. Ideal for short trips on weekends. We started off expecting a bright and sunny weather but our drive was interrupted again by heavy rains. We waited for few minutes near the rest area hearing the loud drops battering against the windshield. We are quite used to the inaccurate weather forecast of Alipur weather department, but realizing that the weather department of USA could be unreliable was disheartening. We had almost traveled half way and the thought that the entire weekend would be a waste made us sad.  When the intensity of rain reduced we started off again; our energetic spirits crushed, hoping that the bright sunlight would embrace us on the other side of the bridge.

To Be Continued…

10activiies that bring nothing but solace to your life! (3min read)

employee-satisfactionWhenever the question arises to help others we think “what’s in there for us?” When the question arises for hard work, we raise the question “what shall we gain by doing this?” Our life is bound by the “give and take” policy. How many times do we consider doing things not for gaining anything but solace for ourselves?  To engage in something for ourselves? In the rush of life, running after calculated benefits we often forget where our true pleasures lie. Today I am penning down 10 things you can do to gain nothing but satisfaction in your heart:

  1. Reading a book of your choice.
  2. Feeling the things around you; chairs, tables, bed, etc.
  3. Having a peaceful sleep.
  4. Enjoying your favourite delicacies.
  5. Sharing a laugh with someone special.
  6. Taking a walk and feel the natural environment.
  7. Taking a bath to feel refreshed.
  8. Spending some time alone to understand yourself and your desires.
  9. Going through old photographs and reminiscence the days of the past.
  10. Helping a living being without any intention of gaining anything in return.

I have started incorporating all these things in my life. It is not compulsory to engage in all these activities at once. They are supposed to bring pleasure to your life and not pressure. There are many things that can be incorporated into your daily life, which I too look forward to including in mine like exercising, keeping yourself hydrated, etc. But I didn’t mention them because to preach them I must practise them myself.

So, are any of the above-mentioned activities part of your life? How have they affected your lifestyle? Please mention in the comment section below.

That is all for today! I shall be seeing you again tomorrow.

Love, M@dhu.

 

Pushing myself!!!!!!!!!! (1min read)

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I am a very lazy and disorganised person! No, I am serious! I never complete what I start, I have changed my career numerous times and have heaps of course materials and academic books in my possession! I am a woman in her late twenties without any career ambition!!! Therefore when I informed my mother that I am into booktubing, she didn’t seem to take much interest; perhaps dismissed it as my latest fantasy which again would be left unfinished. When I uploaded my first video I got loads of support from everybody; including my mother, who still believed it to be my fantasy and not passion. I don’t blame her, for I was inconsistent about my last venture that I considered passion: blogging. Although I started youtube, I am not posting regularly, not because of my irregular nature but because I am tired of leaving leftovers. To start something new I must take care of what is left behind. Take care and nurture it, not end it abruptly! I purposefully mentioned that I shall be posting every day on my blog, to push myself! I know I don’t get many readers on my blog but I also know that it is not easy to reach the heart of people. If you can’t reach their heart, don’t expect their time! And to gain their time and attention I must provide my love and hard work to this little venture of mine. Now when, on one hand, I am trying to reconstruct my crumbling blog, my latest venture demands my attention and equal hard work. I hope I shall be able to balance both. See you soon on my Youtube Channel. My channel awaits your love and subscription!

Love, M@dhu

What goes around comes around!! (4 min read)

Today Camille invited us to dinner. She is one of the two friends I have here in Lansing. Camille was not always my friend, she was actually one of the acquaintances of my better half. We became friends during the period when my better half was out of town to attend a conference and Camille agreed to sleepover at my place for those days. It is over those five days that we bonded. I am writing this not only to express my gratitude towards her but also because her warm gesture towards me has restored my faith in a high esteemed lesson preached by my mother.

A few years back when I was staying in the hostel, one of my seniors asked me to sleepover to her room as she was frightened to stay all alone in the ground floor. I did not dismiss her fear, for during the holidays when the hostel rooms are devoid of the chattering noise of girls, a creepy feeling is bound to make your hair stand on its ends! I agreed with her proposal and every night I used to carry my bedding from the third floor to the ground floor to accompany her. Many of the other hostelers were astonished at my gesture though they never discouraged me to help a fellow hosteler. Anyways, I had stretched out my hand to help without expecting any help in return. My mother always told me, “If you desire to help anyone, do it without anticipating anything in return. If your help is not a selfless one, it has no value. If the assistance doesn’t come from the same person, someone else would surely return the favour.” My hostel days are the ones I would cherish my entire life! I have some lovely memories with my best friend as well as the senior in whose room I spent many nights. I don’t know if she would have ever helped me in distress, I neither got the opportunity nor had the intention to test her. I was happy to help and nothing else mattered.

Anyways, after coming to Lansing, the situation turned around and I found myself in similar circumstances as my senior when my better half informed that he had to go for a conference for five days. I was under a panic attack. I am not used to sleeping alone in a room, let aside staying in alone in an apartment that too in an unknown neighbourhood of a foreign land! For the next few days, I cried every day either to convince him to postpone his conference or to prepare myself to combat my loneliness. Then relief came in the form of Camille. Learning about our situation she had agreed to sleepover at our place for those few days. We had a gala time during those nights. After she returned from work, we had dinner together and she chatted with me for hours despite being tired! She, for me, is a girl with a golden heart who relieved me from my frustration and, I again found value in my mother’s words, “……someone else would surely return the favour!!”

Thank you for reading,

M@dhu.

 

The American dream!! ( 1 min read)

Today I had to cancel my library visit as one of my Indian neighbours wanted to visit my place in the afternoon. I couldn’t decline her, in fact, I didn’t want to decline her. I know that spending an entire day alone is difficult. Far away from home when you have no one to talk to, when the only person with whom you travelled this far is engrossed in work, when you know you can’t call your parents or friends because they are fast asleep by now, then the excitement of living “The American dream” takes a back seat. Loneliness slowly nibbles on your existence, and you realise that you are just like the bird who can’t take pride of its GOLDEN CAGE!!!

P.S: The post is not to encourage disappointment. Living under the H4 visa is difficult as it does not issue EAD ( equivalent to work permit) or Social Security Number for the spouse, thus they are unable to work or to take up any useful course. Especially in small towns, there isn’t much activity to take part in. H4  visa leads to depression for many, I shall request all my fellow expats to have patience, keep themselves engaged in what they love and spent some quality time with their husbands. Hold on to your faith and consider yourself blessed, because trust me, many people have much less!

 

The book that petrified me!!!!!! (4 min read)

I was still feeling cold in the basement of the library. It was the special edition section, books are to be read on the spot not to be borrowed. It was a bad idea to vlog, I thought, especially in such extreme weather condition. The video didn’t turn out well and now I am shivering in cold! I looked at the skinny woman, deeply engrossed in searching the book I asked for. She is ideal for her job, calm, soft-spoken and careful in handling books. She is in heaven I thought. I looked around, the environment was calm. Few people were present in the room. A group was studying from an ancient book placed carefully on a stand, the ones we usually use for holy books, and why not, a library is no less than a holy place.

“Here’s your book”, the lady with the calm voice placed the book on the desk in front of me. I was petrified by its appearance! Well bound, shining cover, the jacket of the book highlighting the picture of a spectacled skinny boy, riding a broomstick: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

I was amazed! I had waited so long to read this book and here it was, finally!! I was not so much excited while watching the movie or while visiting the Universal Studios, as I was today! I placed my hand on it, and with trembling fingers opened it.

No sooner did I open the book, I heard the theme music of Harry Potter movies, a subtle tingling music! What is that? I thought! My imagination can’t be wild to such an extent! I looked around and saw a young casual dressed girl turning her mobile phone off. She looked at me and mouthed the word, “Sorry”. I tilted my head to say “its ok”. I opened the book and begun reading silently, but I was highly amused at such an amazing coincidence!

Much time was lost In fulfilling the formality to gain permission to enter the special edition room and thus I couldn’t even reach half way through the book. I shall be visiting tomorrow again since I am hungry for more!

P.S.: What was your reaction when you came across Harry for the first time? Be it book or movie, share your reaction in the comment section below!!

PERFECT mornings!!!!!!!!! (4 min read)

Yesterday evening I came across a beautiful Youtube channel Pick up limes. If anyone reading this have come across the channel then please let me know what you think about it. I personally am overwhelmed to come across this channel. Sadia, the host, is so pretty and poised; her voice calm, and has the capability to effortlessly convince you to lead a healthy life. In one of her videos, she mentions that after leaving the bed in the morning one must spend some time with oneself. The mornings must not be rushed. Take notice of what is around you: what you see, feel, hear and even taste. Avoid any electronic devices, at least until breakfast. If possible get up a little early so that the mornings is not rushed.

I am deeply affected by her words! I decided that from today itself I am going to follow her words. I am a late riser and therefore my mornings are always rushed! Moreover, my morning means it’s evening in India and I need to call my parents before they have dinner. In order to stay ahead, I had prepared food the previous night. All seemed well. I got up, brushed my teeth and sat on the sofa trying to interact with the surrounding through my senses. The colours of spring and the chirping of birds, the warmth of the tea and the sweetness of the cookie. Why can’t every morning be so perfect??

PERFECT!!!! Damn those words! To expect that your day can be perfect is blasphemy!

After enjoying the warmth of my tea, I went to the kitchen to put the cup in the sink. Dishes needed to be done. The sink was overloaded. In the attempt to make some space for my beloved cup, I lost the balance and within a fraction of a second, the cup fell on the ground and…..shattered to pieces!!! In my vain attempt to save it, I got a prick from the shattered pieces!! A small prick, led to the oozing of blood!! My sensitive better half took over the charge of the kitchen for the rest of the day.

So much for a perfect morning, eh??

IIlish/Hilsa on Sundays!!!!!! (3min read)

ilish macher paturi

Pic source : internet

Sundays are not always eventful. It is the most relaxing day of the week. It is the off day for me from the kitchen. On Sundays, the entire kitchen belongs to my better half. He enjoys complete off day from work on Saturdays while I do the same on Sundays. We never planned our Sunday in this manner. It is a kind of untold agreement we both signed on. Nobody taught me to be a  boss of my better half and instruct him to do his share of chores on Sundays nor did anyone advise him the same. I believe, no one can teach you to help until the desire to help resides in you. Spouses can help each other by sharing household chores as well as the cost of living, simply, the desire to help must be there,  may be in dormant form, waiting for a final push or stir, but it must be there! Just like the fact that the witches did not make Macbeth evil. Evil was always a dormant part in him, they just stirred it!

 

As I was saying, there never was any hard and fast rule that it is my better half’s duty to handle all the chores on Sundays. It just smoothly got incorporated in our life! And it even gets altered at times depending on mood and situations! My better half sometimes prepares dinner on weeknights when I am not in the mood, and on some Sundays, like today, I cook for us.

Today, he got Iilish/Hilsa fish from the nearby Indian store. I prepared it with mustard sauce. It was the first dish I made in my in-law’s place. That time due to some adverse circumstances, my better half missed his share. His parents were all in praise of the dish and since then he is waiting for an opportunity to taste it. And today was the day!!

So,  cooking Iilish/Hilsa fish in mustard sauce is an Indian dish extremely popular among the Bengali communities. The aroma of the dish itself makes you salivate. The cooking process is extremely simple and it needs very few ingredients! Here is my family recipe of Iilish/Hilsa Fish cooked in mustard sauce:

Ingredients:

Iilish/Hilsa: 700gm

Mustard powder: 4 tablespoons

Mustard oil: to fry the fish

Onion seeds: 1 teaspoon

Green Chilli: 3 to 4 (slit or finely chopped)

Salt: according to taste

Preparation:

  1. Soak the mustard powder in water and little salt for an hour or so.
  2. Add little mustard oil to the paste and beat the mixture so that there are no lumps.
  3. Clean the fish and then add turmeric and salt to it and leave it for some time.
  4. Heat oil and add onion seeds and green chillies.
  5. When it becomes aromatic add the mustard paste and stir it for few minutes.
  6. Add a little water.
  7. Add turmeric powder and salt if needed.
  8. After the gravy thickens add fish, coat it with the gravy and cover it to cook completely. If you want you can slightly fry the fish before hand, I prefer using raw fish.
  9. Add one tablespoon of mustard oil and cover it again for a minute.
  10. Turn off the stove and serve the aromatic fish curry with rice.

 

I hope you find this recipe interesting. If you try it then please let me know. And what do you think of my today’s blog?? Eagerly waiting for your response in the comment section below!

Love,

honeyleafs 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about the idea of daily blogging?? (1 min read)

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Every Day is a new beginning 🙂

How about the idea of daily blogs?? I am a lazy person. Yes, I am and I have the courage to accept it! But however, if someone else points it then that makes me depressed ( So please don’t hurt my feelings!) So the basic thing that I am trying to say is that I am a person from whom you must not expect of doing daily vlogs which have gained extreme popularity on Youtube. And furthermore, I presume that my middle-class life has nothing entertaining worth of watching! But I would love to do a series of daily blogs, especially when a major part of my life is commencing towards the End! I know that I do not have much interaction with my readers on my blog, yet I would love to know what you people think of it! Please leave your thoughts at the end of the post.

 

P.S I shall be limiting my bookish posts to my Youtube channel and Goodreads, and shall only be sharing links to those at the end of my everyday posts!

Love, M@dhu

The Book Thief (Book Discussion)

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The book thief  by Markus Zusak

A review by HonoyLeafs Blog

Author: Markus Zusak (Australian)

Published In: 2005

Publishing House: Picador

Genre:  Historical fiction

Why I picked up the book:

 I really regret of not picking up this book earlier! However, I picked up the book majorly for three reasons: 

(a) it is a historical fiction

(b) it is a sensation on book tube

(c) I was fascinated to see Death as the narrator.

 Plot:

The book thief depicts a story that takes place during the devastating second world war. Needless to say, that at that time Hitler, was at the peak of his powers and hatred for the Jews was a common phenomenon. In this state of confusion, Death narrates the story of a girl named Liesel, who he observes carefully. The story spans over 4-5 years. Liesel is perhaps the ideal book lover one comes across, she doesn’t have a fascination for any specific genres of books but picks them up or rather steals them from every available place: be it a graveyard or a library. She at a very young age has understood the power of words and so engages herself in reading. She finds solace in books, she escapes the horrors of war through books and ultimately we find her penning down her own story.

The Writing:

The writing style of the author is engaging and it is narrated in such a smooth manner as if you are hearing a lovely story from your grandparents and not reading something from a book. The words of the book touch you at the right places. The German words and phrases are included in the narration effortlessly, and it gives an authentic feel to the writing. You need not be intimidated by the frequent use of the foreign words because the translation is smoothly included as well. The author successfully transports you to the dark times of Nazi Germany and you become a part of the experience of the characters depicted in the story.


The Characters:

 

One of the most important factors to fall in love with this book are the characters. They are beautifully portrayed and are relatable. Let me give you a glimpse of them: 

Liesel Meminger is the protagonist of the story. At a young age, she has experienced a lot. She is a fighter, she fights for herself as well as for her adoptive family. She cares for her friends and at certain instances also portrays her presence of mind. She is intrigued to steal books and it is only reading that she finds solace in. 

Then there is Rudy Steiner, who has the appearance of the boy next door; he is the sidekick of Liesel in her actions and also her best friend. 

Liesel’s foster father Hans Hubermann, is a loving father. He is a man of his words and believes in humanity more than racism. He is practical, so he goes on to join the club of Nazis despite the fact that he hates Hitler’s attitude. He is caring and would do every possible thing to protect his family. 

Liesel’s foster mother, Rosa Hubermann is a loudmouthed woman who always uses curse words but has a loving heart. 

Then comes Max Vandenburg, a Jewish fist fighter who takes shelter in the basement of the Hubermann’s. His struggles not only include keeping himself safe but also the continuous guilt feeling to abandon his family and to put the Hubermanns in danger.

And finally, we move to my favourite character DEATH.  Death helms the burden of being the narrator of the story, and what better way to dictate a story that has war as the backdrop than through the eyes of Death. We come across many literary pieces where Death is personified but only to have an omniscient presence. Here Death is a character of flesh and blood. He is affectionate, he wants to be friendly, he believes he is amiable but not nice; because obviously, death has nothing to do with being nice. He has an omniscience presence as well, he knows the past as well as the future. At certain points in the story, it would appear that Death is acting as a spoiler but in Death’s own word, he is simply preparing us for the coming shock. You would be told that a mishap is about to happen but you cannot guess when and how it would take place.

Others: There are many other characters who play a significant role in forming the sub-plot of the novel. Every character has their own suffering and Zusak makes sure that we bond with them, and to such an extent that the suffering they go through would wrench our heart!

Criticism: If I need to mention a drawback of the book, it would be that it is a very long read. There is a lot going on, the story shifts between past and present and a number of sub-plots are also functioning simultaneously. But it is hardly any flaw because the events are arranged systematically and don’t make us confused. The story is not dragged and the sub-plots that majorly serves as the back story of many supportive characters, actually help us comprehend the horrors of war.

There are a lot more things to be said about the book, but I should stop typing now otherwise the review would not remain a spoiler-free one. If you get any chance to lay your hands on the book then please do read it. Even if you don’t fall in love with the book, there is a lot to take back. The book would always be close to my heart and I rated it 5/5 stars on good reads.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                  Keep on reading,

                                                                                                                   love Honeyleafs 😊

As an Indian book tuber :)

Hey, beautiful people! I am very happy to announce that I have launched my book tube channel on youtube. I am very grateful to my friends and family who supported me, and I have got 99 views on my first upload! Last but not the least a big thank u to the book tube community 🙂 Check out the link below:

newbie book tube tag

The channel shall be posting book related videos as well as re-visiting movies every week. Though I have not decided specific days for it,  I shall post about it as soon as possible. Please do subscribe to my channel 🙂