And The Mountains Echoed: Book Review

I never read Khaled Hosseini before. No one suggested either! Then why did I pick ‘And The Mountains Echoed’?


Well, it’s a paragraph on the back cover of the novel which prompted me to buy it.


Basically, it was my desperation to know what happens afterwards; to what extent the brother would go for his little sister?

Indubitably, the opening story builds up ample interest; you find yourself yearn for more. Later you realize that it, in a nutshell also foretells the fate of the precious and tender brother-sister bond. As you further turn pages, you understand that this book don’t just revolve around Abdullah and Pari, but showcases myriad hues of human relationships.

Whether, it’s Parwana-Masooma’s unfortunate sisterhood which forces Masooma to choose death over miserable life, or

the cold alliance of wealthy Mr Wahdati with Nila which kind of lead to separation of a brother from his dearest sister, or

Nabi’s fantasy love longing for Nila because he thinks she considers him her resort, or

Nila’s stoic behaviour towards Mr Wahdati whom she leaves when he needed her most, or

Nabi’s platonic love for Mr Wahdati which in the absence of Nila compels him to stay put and even look after him till he breaths his last, Or

Nila’s affectionless yet obligatory relation with Pari whom she considers less of a daughter and more of a Punishment, or

Pari’s guilt ridden affair with Nila’s boyfriend which further worsens the already strained mother-daughter relation, or

Sympathetic inclination of Idris for Roshi which pulls him near her and even makes him to promise arrangements for her expensive surgery, or

His superficial bond with brother Timur who believed in overly display of power but ends up doing miracle for Roshi, or

Adel’s outlandish pull towards poor Gholam who always talks rubbish about his father, or

His plain adoration for his father on witnessing one public interaction, or

Marco’s unusual friendship with Thalia whom he considered ugly and dejected, or

Odd amity of Odie and Madaline where later always looked former for rescue, or

The poignant sacrificing tale of a daughter whose father is suffering from Alzheimer, who on one hand is afraid of losing people and on the other, has his spit and vinegar days often, or

Last not but least, the relation of two doppelgangers, one of whom always lived with other since her childhood whereas, the other lived as if some part in her is missing for almost all her life.

Actually every character in this book is very unique and strong in itself. All are struggling with double sides of their being. They have one thing in their minds, and always end up doing something else.


There are stories within one big story. Each being complete in itself, still the author has intertwined all, somehow. For a reader, lot of brain exercise is there. It’s like you sleep in one place and wake up in another unfamiliar one, probably, trans-located in sleep. You search around, perplexed, for some hint. Not finding one, you start living in the moment; meaning, you get yourself involved in the new story. Once into it, you are totally clenched.

“A story is like a moving train: no matter where you hop onboard, you are bound to reach your destination sooner or later.”

Hossieni weaved the story at different locations. It opens at an imaginary village Shadbagh in Afghanistan, and closes in Paris, also orbiting Kabul, USA, Greek island of Tinos, and touching India as well, slightly. Without any doubt, there is too much happening. Author has given great details. He played the emotional card well as I found my eyes moistened at places.

Abdullah as a bother disappointed me but as a father he scores well. One of the cutest thing he used to do is…empty his daughter’s mind of nightmares and fill it with pleasant dreams every night, a fresh one, and she in turn always wished him one, the same dream, the one he always longed for, the one so dear to his heart.


And to the pleasure of heart, in the end, she does fulfil his dream.

What is this dream? How Abdullah reacts when he sees it in real after a wait of lifetime? Does he even react? Or was it too late for any reaction?


Read on to get your answers. The tale of mix of no love, conditional love, unconditional love, friendship, anger, discontent, sacrifice, betrayal, search, and fate.

“And The Mountains Echoed.’

“It’s a half bridge, really, as only four of its original arches remain. It ends midway across the river. Like it reached, tried to reunite with, the other side and fell short.

What I Missed

More Some efforts on Abdullah’s part to find Pari; To my surprise he left Shadbagh for USA but could not manage to go to Kabul once. He could have easily found Nabi, who never left Wahdati’s house. At least, he would have got some idea of Pari’s whereabouts, but, Alas! he never tried. How come?

I was hoping to see more of Abdullah and Pari in the book.


Do’s And Don’ts While Visiting Shimla for New Year

So, we are here, in the last month of the year. Soon we’ll be bidding farewell to this year, welcoming the next.

Many of us are already busy making resolutions for the coming year whereas some (like me) are still struggling with the ones of previous year. No matter how real you keep them, somehow you find excuses not to keep them or may be it’s just me. Whatever!

Oh, but this post is not about new year resolutions; We are talking about the New Year Celebrations!

You know a lot of people visit the Winter queen Shimla during Christmas and New Year. Most of them come from other North Indian States. However fellas from all corners of the country and beyond can be spotted easily. It’s a hit among tourists it seems.

So, for those of you who has Shimla as one of the hot spots, I have some concerns. Please, go ahead with your plans. Do go there, make fresh memories.

But please try to keep a few things in mind:

  • Shimla is not just a tourist place, it’s home to lakhs of people as well. So when you go, please remember to pack a few empty bags along in your cars. Why? For all the chips wrappers, mineral water bottles and other trash which otherwise you are going to throw out of your windows! Yeah, try to keep your treasure to yourself. Trust me, no one needs to see them lying and flying on roads or on their wind screens. It is not good guys, neither for the environment nor for enjoyment. Let the people of hill stations live the life they are blessed with by Nature itself or they will have to go more uphill in future to have the feel. I hope you are getting my point.

  • One piece of advice especially for honeymooners. God bless your love life but does it need to be expressed by carving the hearts or names on tree trunks? No, I guess. If you like, Take long walks in the solitude, capture as much as beauty as you want in your Hi-tech gazettes. Camp, trek, or do whatever pleases you. But don’t harm Nature. Please.

  • A visit to Shimla is incomplete without the famous ramp on The Mall Road. Isn’t it? This is one thing Shimlaites always miss when they move out of the town; it is kinda part of their routine. No wonder, if you find the crowd on the mall road a mix of Local and global. And yes, the denizens are way too modern for your expectation but that doesn’t mean they have lost it. Tourists mostly ignore important things, and sometimes forget the difference between ‘display of affection’ and ‘obscenity’. The point is- this place is equally celebrated by folks of all ages. The chilly weather definitely asks for some coziness, but do mind the place. Everyone is there to have fun after all!

  • Tourists beeline the place, clogging the narrow arteries making it difficult for the town to breath. It’s a kind of blessing in disguise. The town still welcomes you. Just remember that this town is already overdoing it’s capacity. There are no flyways you see. All you have is a single two-way road. Learn to give way.

  • You have to follow the rules of hill driving. You just can’t rush ahead in the wrong lane, it doesn’t work like this here! You are adding to the chaos. Have some patience, and save some of it for such tough times. Long jams are nothing new for a hill station so in demand!
  • It’s winter, and it really gets cold in Shimla during New Year. Sometimes it snows as well. Though it’s your personal choice but do remember to bring warm clothes. Kids and elderlies could stay back if it snows. “Jaan he to Jahan he.”

However, there are zillion things one can do in Shimla. But if you are there just for New Year Celebration, here is the list of things you can do:

  • Roam on the Ridge or ride a horse. Don’t forget to Savour the Softy. it’s a mandate.
  • Feel the post Christmas vibes in air
  • Have lunch in the Goofa restaurant or its open terrace and relish the beauty of winter queen.
  • Skating in ice rink down towards Lakkar bazaar bus stand
  • Take a rope-way to Jakhoo where a 108 feet statue of Hanuman adores the highest peak of Shimla.
  • For reading buffs, there is a book cafe slightly above the Christ Church. Sip your coffee, and pick your favourite piece for reading.
  • Buy wooden souvenirs from Lakkar Bazaar and get some calligraphy done.

I think this is enough for one day. What say?

Wish you a great stay in Winter Queen. Keep the hill town clean, so that more people stand chance to visit it future.


Pic credits;


What A Broken Arm Taught Me!!!!

Limbs covered in Casts fascinated me when ofcourse they belonged to others; and now here I am…living my fascination…

Happy or sad, I don’t know…but all I can say… it is challenging enough. It could have been easier to handle had I been normal but the freaking virgo inside believes in making things complex by doing everything on its own.😫

Hi…I am Mann, an experimenter, an observer, and this is what I have observed and learned in first few days of living with a fractured arm (adamantly, on my own)…

The blue colour of the cast was no doubt very pleasing on eyes, and the attention I got from people, was matchless too. I mean every second person is concerned about how it happened? Even the strangers whose eyes do a lot of talking, felt sad for me!

I know it is very sad…and thankyou very much for these sympathetic looks…but Who needs them??? Sympathy is one thing I always detested in my life.

I enjoyed the importance for a while; it was like a birthday, I mean the calling, the messaging; wasn’t coming to an end at all!!!

Attending the calls is a social obligation especially in such situations or in no time I would be tagged rude or may be a weirdo, who doesn’t fit in the norms!

Okay…so, after receiving the flood of attention, energised, I heard my tummy growl, that is when I realised that this ‘Calling thing is good for filling my heart but how am I gonna fill the tummy’?

I was not at all able to efficiently handle anything in the kitchen. Everything was spilling out, one hand is s-i-m-p-l-y not ENOUGH. 😳 Even then I dared but how long can someone survive on one handed dishes like rice, dal, Maggie; I can’t even chop onion let alone vegetables and fruits???

I was going bananas, then I saw banana 🍌, and it became my favourite fruit in last few days.

I was determined to go solo ☝…refusing the help being offered from family and friends. So what if I have a job, I’ll manage, this is what I thought initially but trust me, it is not akin to a walk in the park.🚶

Bathing, tying my hair, and the whole getting-ready part is one big struggle keeping in mind it’s WINTER! You have to wear a lot of clothes, most of the earlier ones don’t allow the casted arm in, means I have to go shopping! Yay and oah!

Then there is school going kid in the house who is not easy even with two hands; she literally needs to be dragged out of the bed in the morning, forcefully thrown into uniform, after pushing a bite or two into her mouth, making a clean pony tail is the biggest achievement if I succeed.

And did I mention that it hurts as well! You can’t find a comfortable position so that you can sleep without twisting your arm!

How long would I be able to do it singlehandedly? Frankly, I tried. It was pathetic.

Finally, I reconsidered my decision. May be it’s time to give up this ‘I can do it everything‘ attitude and… let the actual help in…and I did.

Guys, What is this big fuss about SUPERWOMAN?👼

I accept…I am not one.👩

BNLF Dehradun: 2nd Day

I heard something, a voice… as if coming from under the water…yeah somewhat similar…once again, then felt like someone just pulled me out of that water, holding my collars…and… I was like w-h-a-t the…

Hey, It’s six thirty! Aren’t you getting late? I realised this is Mr CoolHead.

Where am I supposed to go? What is he talking about? I tried to remove the pillow from my head.

Oh we are not at home… it’s a hotel room, and I am at BNLF…

I jumped out of bed, and tickled pink at 7.25 , joined the Indie crew at hotel Madhuban; it was time for a heritage walk down the memory lane…of RUSKIN BOND.

A pretty young girl Sargam from an NGO ‘BEEN THERE DOON THAT‘ was our guide during the walk. She, being a research scholar, had huge enthusiasm, and gave us as much peeks into Ruskin’s life as possible.

For a moment I felt a connection with Dehradun, because of the British-Indian thing but to my displeasure, I missed the feel soon because nothing is preserved, nothing at all. but I was glad that Shimla has preserved the history, (atleast tried to) so that if such a walk happens there, you get a new story at every step along with the real feel as a bonus.😊

Intermittent visits to the past along with a light drizzle, and a lot of walking ultimately took us to BIKANERWALA to treat our taste buds whichever way we wanted.

It resembled a scene during one of the past college trips; everyone was so delighted, and chirpy. Gladly had a chance to talk to Ambika Gulati and Shalini. I munched on my sandwiches with smile; my whole day ahead was planned, and something big was also waiting for me in an obscured corner of DEHRADUN.🤗

This is it…this is the place… just like what I was expecting it to be….

With a feeling of awe on my face, and rented red slippers on my feet, I along with my gang stepped in the crystal clear water flowing out of a gigantic rock’s mouth. A feeling of satisfaction seeped in with every step ahead.

After all the twists and turns, there it was the hidden FALL; for me however, there were two of them!

The one which was mysteriously beautiful, and the other ungraciously painful. Yeah before I could capture the beauty of the Water Fall, the cave captured me at wrong point, and I found myself in water up till thighs, with a stiff hand, an excruciating pain, and a shock!

What just happened?

I was clueless…😲

And with this my adventure inside Robber’s cave came to an end…a sad one.

While moving out, I was mentally numb. What now? But there’s something about Rajpoot blood, it never stops boiling 😤 (Folks, I am not being racist here, it’s just a saying😊). So even after this, we went to Sahstradhara fall though it wasn’t enjoyed like it should have been.

After coming back in the hotel room, I had two options: Either I take the pill and rest like I was supposed to be…

OR…I be… where I wanted to be, where I have come this far to be.

Obviously, I went for option two. But thanks to the accident, and the traffic, one session was already missed. I missed the launch of Sinjini’s book ‘Elixir’.

I Met the fellow bloggers in the Hotel Lawn, and waited (greedily) in que to get my blog’s name calligraphed by very talented TARA NAIR.

At Dinner table got a chance to bond with more people like Alok Vats, Shwetabh, GAUTAM, Anand ji, and ofcourse Kishor and Archana. It was the time spent really well with lots of light discussions, unlimited food, and background music.

The main Indiblogger event started afterwards where much of the action took place. The Indi team tried to make the environ as light as possible by playing some gimmicks; the temperature of the hall though arose with many hot yet meaningful debates between bloggers.

I observed everything keenly, and realised how MUCH these people know!!! There is so much to learn, to do. Two awards were announced, one of the recipient Sid, shared his experience on stage. Then Antrik’s story added some more spice to the already churning mind of mine. But ‘How he travelled for a year without a job’ is still not down my throat! No offence dear Antrik’s, I’ll read your blog for that.😋

It was late no doubt, thanks to the a midnight coffee (or tea it was! I don’t remember, proves I was having tough time 😝); I got the kick to carry on with the programme. It was lovely to hear about numerology stuff from Ishieta. And yay…My vocab is richer by words like HUR HUR…JIGS after this meet.

It all ended on a very warm note, a group photograph,

and a freebie😝.

Eventually all said their goodbyes.

Thankyou Indibloggers‘ team: Anoopzombie, Renie, Karthik, and all whom I didn’t get chance to interact with. You guys were amazing hosts. And thank you each and every blogger coming from near and far for being great companions. We couldn’t bond with everyone but we’ll keep meeting, and Growing.

when I started my journey to Dehradun, my mind was full of doubts;

And two days after when I started my journey back home, my sac was full of goodies, buddies, memories and above all learnings.

Best experience at BNLF was to see how real, how down to earth people can be…Which means our race can actually do without all the show-off buzz.

So lovely people, keep exploring, keep experimenting, and keep expressing, but keep your roots intact because… this is what really matters, what actually makes us do what we do today and tomorrow…


PS. No one is being intentionally ignored…I just wrote with the flow…my apologies in advance.

Blog Now Live Forever In Dehradun; First Evening

After meeting a bunch of bloggers for real, yeah, I finally feel like one now.👸 Though I am not a biggy, I gladly watched , listened, interacted with many aces while staying very much in my own skin.✌

Since this was my first such kind of meet; every minute was extremely special, and there’s no doubt, I lived each to max. The event, BLOG NOW LIVE FOREVER, was organised by and Valley of Words.

I write on WordPress, but one day while experimenting, I also registered myself with these guys, and thank God I did or how would I meet such a tornado of talent!

Indibloggers’ team interestingly chose Dehradun as the venue which I didn’t even think once of negating. However it’s some 5 hrs drive, I decided to give it a shot, and with the nod from Mr CoolHead, things fell in place easily.

It was snowing in the mountains, the weather in Dehradun was however surprisingly pleasant. My Glowingal’s viral almost disappeared as soon as we knocked the gates of the city.

I was immensely nervous about the event but the Indi team was amazing and super concerned about our whereabouts. Incredible guys.👍

The hotel I opted to stay was on the same road where the venue i.e. Hotel Madhuban was, but the traffic my God, is a big nuisance in this city; I hardly considered that while booking.

The moment I entered Madhuban’s main entrance, there was a lot of hustle bustle. People were busy in deep chit chat. I tried to mingle (which is not very me!). For a moment I kind of thought may be coming alone wasn’t that good an idea untill I met Archana and Kishor from Delhi; we stuck together almost all the time. Thanks Guys.

Also I tried to do some match-making in order to find those familiar faces on twitter but it wasn’t easy. (Most people don’t stay up to date😋).

After registering ourselves for the event, we headed to the lawn where a live concert was on. On the way, for the first time had a chance to talk to Anoopzombie…he was very warm (not warm warm ✌, friendly wala warm🤓 sorry Anoop).

Bobby Cash played many awesome tracks on his guitar; he is like one man band! Super amazing. 😀

There’s a secret …’I didn’t know HIM!!!’ In fact I even asked him for directions earlier to BNLF while he was posing with fans (probably he thought I might be in the que; I wasn’t😝). My bad Bobby. 😀

We swayed with music until a point… you know, there’s only one thing which according to me is universal and brings people closer. No no… it’s not wine 🤓; I am talking about dance💁.

Mr Shashidhar, spilling oodles of energy initiated the spark, and there…the lovers of dance…of music…young, old, learned, amateurs, man, women…all set the stage on fire. That was one awesome thing to do.

I met Neha Bahuguna there, without realizing who she was, instantly connected with her. We had hell of great time dancing together. This is only later that I realised she is one big shot. 😊

The food and fun was followed by the ‘only’ Bloggers’ session. I was amazed to get introduced to this whole bunch of talented, accomplished at the same time down-to-earth people; the joy and motivation flooded the air completely.

Vikram@sprortsmirror, I can’t believe the simplicity that you own; you are too simple to believe!🙌 Manpreet, you have a very young energy. A booktuber, you never feel like keeping things to yourself; very expressive and ever smiling beauty with brains and…voice👸.

Actually each and everyone was so inspiring; It’s difficult to contain them all in one post. Some have been blogging for more than a decade! Some have just joined and broke the records. Some write as a hobby; some as a full time job. Motives and results varied but eventually… it’s blogging that we all do, therefore we are! 👍 How could I forget that ‘after-dinner’ Pizza session… DOMINO’S…tin 🔔🔔

Indiblogger team was very cooperative; they took care of each and every person and made it sure we reached in our respective rooms safely. Kudos Indiblogger team👏.

What an evening!! Abolutely Unforgettable.😊

It was time to try to sleep…next day was going to be long…

Lost and… Lost!!!

Though a new day has dawned, I still feel like my eyes are denying the fact. Actually it’s happening for last few days; as if I haven’t slept in ages…

There are thoughts bothering the peace of my mind…There are questions to which no one has the answers!

Life and it’s probabilities…

The people you work with, spend your time with, become a sort of second family. You become used to them, and their presence; You get used to see them in a particular way, and suddenly everything changes…

One of my such beloved friend, lost her companion all of a sudden. We are left aghast; she is such a bubbly person, and very young!!!!

I keep imagining our time together; the thoughts of her grief stricken face stop my heart beat for a moment; It all looks like a bad dream. I keep wondering at the unpredictiblity of life! Being apart, I am unaware of the happenings there; but my imaginations constantly keep me under a scarry spell.

How weird is this; you hear about countless deaths due to myriad reasons on daily basis but the life’s merciless nature strikes the hardest when a close one is taken away!!!!

I keep thinking and thinking…so naturally my sleep has made its distance…

I know it’s not going to be like this forever…I will soon befriend the reality, and obviously my sleep would come back to normal. But my heart bleeds to think about my friend. It’s impossible for me or for anyone to feel the pain she is going through.

Who is going to answer her questions? Why it has to be her?

Helpless, not getting the answers, possibly…one day, she will also have to leave all her questions, and choose to…’live’ again…

For, death leaves no hints behind; there is only one way to seek the answers…

And that is…by LIVING….

One Odd Morning Out Of Many…

It happened…

One morning, she wakes up startled…with a strange feeling…probably…it was of emptiness…as if there is no purpose in her life…as if she is lost…she looks around…nothing excites her…nothing attracts her…as if nothing is worth…

Bizarre…but it happened…

She keeps sitting…blank…staring at zero…listening to the sounds…coming from the outside…slowly her inner voice starts functioning…she looks to her side…a bell rings…’you have ‘this’, your family’.

She feels blood rushing in her veins…it reminds her of the duties…of necessities…slowly she moves back from the non-purpose to purpose…her heart kicks her inside…’move your bum…and get going‘.

Half awake, she leaves the warmth of bed…walking unsteadily…just to cross the mirror…

She turns to look upon the figure inside…’oh that’s me…why do I look lost…what is wrong?

She stares… and stares… numerous thoughts cross her mind…in a fraction of moment…countless memories…good and bad…all…and she raises her eyebrows…

What? I do have a good life…it has been great till now…I am a fighter…always a survivor’.

She figures out that one thing missing…

She smiles, ‘now…I look fabulous‘. She ties her hair high,

‘And…here…I am…all ready for a new day’.

She moves to the kitchen…

She badly needs her morning tea….

Picture source:

Sublime You Were.


Hand in hand

We walked far,

Through thick and thin

Facing life, Fighting every war.


Without complaints

Crossing countless milestones,

stopping at none

With the goal set higher

As soon as attained the previous ones.

With hearts quite hopeful

minds completely engrossed,

Fearless, we sailed

to see the other end of cosmos.



a flashlight, a daze

For a fizzy

Shifted my gaze,

Blinding me briefly

Made the weather bit strange,

I fastened my hold though

Still lost my partner oh

to that maze of hungry haze.

Looked down perplexed

Scanning the periphery,

Asked myself

where you vanished?

Leaving me aghast

in such dreadful misery.

Now hapless, helpless

I am scared to the core,

Urging you to stop the play if it is

right now, act no more.

Finding hard to move ahead

without you, not fair…

In your absence

Who needs to breath this air?

All I want is to follow you

Just leave me a hint,

To which direction you left

I don’t see any foot print.

I scream around, I shed tear

Which All but you see and hear.

How could you be so mean?

How could you leave so in between?


The vows in front of holy havan,

To stick together

through every dusk and dawn

Till eternity, till all the worlds go down.


We dreamed of a world of our own,

Where only love was to reign,

No place for hatred like emotion

Was such a brilliant plan.


You forgot every promise

As I stand here

in this lethal gloom

All Alone …

You were no different

A Fibber…

and I…a clown.

How am I gonna step ahead

All by myself,

How am I gonna come to terms

And believe…that

We are together no more

You are for good gone,

And from now on

It’s me, and only me

On my own, All alone…


Pic credit:

Where Were You?

Are you left alone????

Fight back… that’s it. 👍

Read my complete post via Where Were You?

A Garden Where The Rocks Rock 🗻

Imagination has no bounds, very rightly said. But how many of us actually succeed in converting it to reality?

Well Nek Chand did.

A common man with an uncommon vision, Nek Chand worked in PWD. Normally such a person would go on site, work, and come back home, but this man searched for things as meagre as broken plates, tiles, bangles, switches etc instead of coming home. By using this waste, He created a world of his dreams for real…and surprisingly kept it secret for more than a decade.

Once the place was revealed, a brief storm did visit the creator and shook things a bit. Eventually, the Sun shone on Nek Chand, and bestowed on him a good post in the department, and a permission to carry on his dream project… The Rock Garden.


Amid the hustle and bustle of the city Chandigarh, this sculpture is standing Rock strong. It is capable of giving surprises at every turn in the narrow and wide, high and low passages. It wooes thousands of visitors of all ages on daily basis.

However the man behind the project is no more; his dream is still in progress. There’s also a museum dedicated to Nek Chand where you can have an idea about his struggle and achievements, as well as the vastness of the Garden.

After a lot of walking, The culmination point treats the visitors with numerous swing rides. An aquarium displays few fish varieties. There’s an eating point, an amphitheatre, and a dolls’ museum. The ticket costs 30 Rs for adults, Rs 10 for kids.

And, the place is very picturesque with no prohibition on photography.

Awesome. Isn’t it?

Now tell me, Did you ever think that things as waste as your broken crockery could make something this beautiful???