Set in the 1950’s in Jaipur, The Henna Artist, follows the story of 18 year old Lakshmi who has escaped an abusive marriage, left her village and parents to start an independent life for herself. With time, she becomes the most sought after henna artist and confidante to the city’s most notable and wealthy families. Alongside her talent for applying beautiful henna designs, Lakshmi provides herbal remedies as well. As she moves in these circles, she must be careful with keeping their secrets safe and protecting her own reputation. She is stunned one day, when her husband has tracked her down after many years and shows up with a young girl, Radha- Lakshmi’s sister, who she has never met.
The Family Tree is Sairish Hussain‘s debut novel that follows the life of a British Pakistani family settled in Bradford, UK. The story begins when Amjad’s wife Neelam dies during childbirth leaving Amjad to care for his 10 year old son Saahil and his newborn Zahra. In his home, he is supported by his mother, Ammi, who is a caring and nurturing grandmother to the children. Amjad’s very close friends Harun and his wife Meana are just the support system Amjad needs and their son Ehsaan becomes like a brother to Saahil.
A few years later Saahil and his best friend Ehsaan are celebrating the end of university, filled with hopes and dreams, when an incident changes their lives forever. Meanwhile, Zahra has grown up to be someone who wants to voice her political opinions, and raise her concerns against injustice and pursue her dreams and aspirations.
Grilled Halloumi is probably one of my favorite snacks to eat either on it’s own or paired with a salad. This cheese is similar to feta, as it is more on the salty side, but once grilled is probably the only one that holds it shape well – making it perfect for grilling.
In this salad, I have paired it with some of my favorite ingredients. Candied Pecans – the sweetness of which perfectly offsets with the salty halloumi Pickled Onions – Raw onions can be overpowering, so this is a great alternate Berries and Pomegranate – Strawberries, Raspberries, Cherries – all work well here Fresh Mint – This just brings out the freshness in the salad!
The dressing is a basic mustard vinaigrette that doesn’t overpower, because you want the flavors of the salad to come through !
Best served warm, these chocolate caramel cookie bars are the perfect combination of chocolate and caramel. I use a little cheat with the caramel inside by layering Rolo candies that are chocolate covered caramel pieces of heaven!!
I find cookie bars so much easier than actual cookies, because they bake all in one pan!
If you are an instagrammer, who isn’t well known – for example, someone like myself, you may understand the struggles that we go through periodically! For the most part, Instagram is a tight knit community, but if you haven’t infiltrated the inner circle and are an outsider, it can be quite brutal.
They say the key to Instagram is to create good content, engage with others, post aesthetically pleasing pictures, and voila you gain followers by the day! And yet, here we are, doing everything right but are still struggling. We console ourselves by saying ‘Instagram changed the algorithm on me again’, and that’s why engagement is low. But we still struggle. Everyday! And today I thought I would share some of these struggles with you.
Disclaimer: This post was written in humor. Perhaps with some sad truth to it.The terms ‘popular’ and ‘better known’ are all relative. This post is not directed at anyone in particular.
You tag the morepopular bloggers in your post, in hopes that they will ‘like’ or better yet ‘comment’ on your picture. After you tag them, you sit there waiting. And waiting. Then you hop onto their Instagram page and check the ‘tagged pictures’ and ensure your picture has showed up. Yes, there it is. Yet there is no like or comment!
You purchase a product (or in my case a book) that you had seen on a bloggers feed. You figure this would give you both a common platform and a reason to connect. Then you post it, tag them, and write a convincing caption – ‘look what I just bought! Thanks so much for recommending it. This completes my life!’. They double click and ‘like’ your story mention – privately. All those dreams of collaboration quickly fade away.
You look at your number of followers every morning as you roll out of bed- eyes barely open. Did I get 3 new followers?! This gig is totally worth it! By the afternoon, never mind, I lost 5 followers.
You write a thought provoking caption, utilizing the thesaurus for good measure. Next you take a stunning picture, incorporating a ‘bokeh’ effect, because that is what good photographers do. You post it thinking this is the ‘post’ that will generate engagement! People will be nodding their heads, commenting and least of all, at least liking it. An hour later, there are two comments. Two! Coincidentally, the two comments come from friends you had sent Whatsapp reminders to, saying ‘I just posted something. Make sure you comment!’
You find out via Instagram stories that a PR or Media event took place in your city. You were the only one not invited! Or, PR packages were sent to all the ‘better-known’ Instagrammers, and you didn’t receive one! (Note to self: maybe they are the ‘influencer’, and you are the ‘influencee’)
You say you don’t want to buy followers or use applications, or bots. You are convinced organic growth is the way to go. But honestly, this is taking an eternity! I will die before I reach 10k! #thestruggleisreal
You convince yourself you need a better camera, better captions, better content, perhaps even new stationary (again me). After all those purchases, you are still the ‘lesser-known‘ instagrammer.
There are numerous posts that claim everyone should support each other and it takes a second to click ‘like’. So you go ahead and click ‘like’ on several pictures. Because let’s face it, it has to come back to you. And yet you are there left waiting. What happened to #womensupportingwomen and all those empowering hashtags!
In an effort to to grow your account, you plan to host a ‘Giveaway’. I mean this is bound to work. After this giveaway, “I will gain at least 100 new followers because people will tag others, and frankly this giveaway is downright amazing! So naturally people want to snag this up asap!” You gain 7 new followers and 3 leave after the giveaway ends.
You join Instagram pods, despite the negativity associated with them. This way at least someone will be ‘obligated’ to like and comment. Because at the end of the day, something has to work!
I thought of more struggles, but I wanted to keep it to ‘Top 10’, because SEOoptimization and all that jazz. See, I am trying all the right things!
If any of these resonated with you, and you nodded to yourself, please leave a comment either here or on my Instagram post (or both if you are feeling generous!). If you are a reader, and sympathized with this post, please also leave a comment. Taking all sympathy likes too! Don’t let my struggles go in vain.
Getting a book for a bibliophilemay seem like the quintessential gift, but more often than not, you don’t know if they’ve already read the book or prefer a different genre of books. If you are stumped for ideas, here are a few ‘bookish’ presents that are may win a few hearts over!
The exterior of the library designed to look like the pages of a book. Designed by the Dutch Architect Rem Khoolhas
The Qatar National Library (QNL) opens it’s doors to a literary space, with an amplitude of books spanning far and wide, modern contemporary furnishings, airy spaces with flooding natural light and state of the art technology that is unmatched.
Living in the digital age, the reliance on the internet, e-books and other digital resources of information is fairly predominant. But this does not eliminate the need for printed books. They are, and always will be a part of a library. Continue reading →
So I realized (after someone mentioned it) that my last blog post went out without the text! How does that even happen?
I just wanted to let you all know that the blog will not have weekly scheduled posts, as I am currently traveling for a short summer break!
However, if you would like to follow me on Instagram (@anintrovertedbogger), you can check out what happens when an expat goes back home. Also, my Instastories have some randomness going on. Just click on the logo to check it out.
With two pre-teens in the house, I witness my fair share of the latest craze making the rounds these days. We went through the Loom Bands phase, weaving one colorful rubber band through the other which I must admit was oddly satisfying!
After this we went through many weeks of the annoying bottle flipping phase.
Next up, was attempting to make home-made slime . Seriously we made slime We went through all our Elmer’s glue (essentially bought for school) and many, many boxes of cornstarch for ‘slime’.
And now, like many others, we are constantly spinning Fidget Spinners. In the car and at home, we have them with us.