Why Shiuli ?

According to Hindu mythology, the Nyctanthes arbor-tristis commonly known as the Night-flowering Jasmine first appeared as a result of Samudra Manthan , the churning of the milky ocean. Even the Gods couldn’t resist themselves on seeing its ethereal beauty. Lord Krishna battled the King of Gods, Lord Indra, to win over the Parijat ( Sanskrit name of the tree) and so his first wife Satyabhama demanded the tree to be planted in her backyard. The flowers of the tree, however, always fell on the adjacent backyard of Queen Rukmini, Krishna’s other wife and his favourite, which Satyabhama resented. This story speaks volumes about the skills of the clever Krishna who never failed to maintain peace between his two wives, both of which wanted the Parijat exclusively for themselves

The Beautiful Shiuli

The Beautiful Shiuli

My mother, however, told me a different version, one much closer to my heart. It talks about the princess Parijat who fell in love with Surya, the Sun God. Surya, however, had a condition before she could marry him – she should never turn away from him. Parijat agreed as she couldn’t even imagine turning away from her beloved. They married in Autumn and never knew when winter and spring flew by. During Summer when Surya’s power became immense, it became difficult for Parijat as even going near him would burn her. One day at noon Surya suddenly appeared at her door and Parijat flinched for a second. Becoming angry, Surya’s powers knew no bound and Parijat wilted. Surya, on coming to his senses, realized his mistake and turned to the Gods for help. The Gods knew Parijat had loved Surya with all her heart and so granted her another life as a tree. The sun now visits her during the night and the flowers are so fragrant because they have been kissed by the Sun. They, however, still can’t bear the rays of the sun during the day and so the tree sheds its flowers at dawn.

In childhood during my Durga Puja Holidays, a cane basket in hand, I would assist my mother to gather the fallen flowers from the ground. Later we would sew them into a garland to be offered to The Gods. I noticed that these were the only flowers which were picked from the ground; the others we plucked from trees. My mother explained that Parijat has a special status as the Gods’ favourite flower and so they didn’t mind giving it the loving name of Harsingar, the ornament of The Gods.

The Parijat, or Shiuli as we Bengalis lovingly call it, signals the arrival of Sharad and thus the Sharadotsava or the Durga Puja, a time for all Bengalis to shed our worries, spring clean our lives and rejoice.


The Missing Stair – A Flash Fiction

When anna saw the house for the first time, she was quite taken by it. She loved the oak wood paneling and the wooden floor. She liked how the Sun filtered through the massive stained glass window in the kitchen. The house had a certain ‘old world’ charm she was a sucker for. What she […]


New Book – The Prophecy Of Trivine by Tnahsin Garg , Srivatsan Sridharan, Pulkit Gupta

The Prophecy of Trivine  By  Tnahsin Garg,  Srivatsan Sridharan and  Pulkit Gupta   Blurb  An emissary of an advanced alien race travels to the Earth to undertake responsibility of an experiment that has gone out of control. The outcome of this fateful experiment, which was conceived millions of years ago by her species, now rests […]


Book Review – Don’s Wife by Vinod Pande

Don’s Wife is the debut novel of Director-turned-Author Vinod Pande of Ek Baar Phir, Yeh Nazdeekiyan and Sins fame. The movies were far ahead of their time and stirred up many Hornets’ nests so I was expecting nothing less from the book. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a story of love as well as crime, […]


Book Review – The Malhotra Bride by Sundari Venkatraman

Title : The Malhotra Bride Author : Sundari Venkatraman Publisher: Flaming Sun; 2 edition (February 11, 2014) ASIN: B00IE4R20U The Malhotra Bride is Author Sundari Venkatraman’s second novel, the first being Double Jeopardy. With this novel the author has forayed into the self-publishing world and I wish her lots of luck and hope she’ll sell […]


New Book – Love’s Labor by Andy Paula

Love’s Labor by Andy Paula The Blurb Piali Roy has run away from home and the two stubborn men who love her. One is her beloved Baba; a rigid traditionalist, he refuses to accept anyone from outside her caste and community. And then there is Sathya, the unsuitable outsider. He loves her truly, madly, deeply […]


Book Review – Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase by Parul Sharma

Tuki’s Grand Salon chase is a Chick Lit by Parul Sharma of the Bringing up Vasu: That First Year fame. Tuki is a talented hairstylist who is working steadily and diligently towards The Plan of her life, opening her own Salon Blues. When catastrophe strikes she realizes that she has nothing to fall back on; […]


Book Review – Done With Men by Shuchi Singh Kalra

Book : Done With Men Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra Publisher: Indireads www.indireads.com ISBN: 978-1-927826-32-4 Cover Illustration: Mariyam Iftikar Before I plunge straight into my opinion of the book, Take a look at this super cute book trailer:   Cute and fun isn’t it? This trailer definitely made me pick up the book and let me […]


Book Review – Grays Hill by Barbara T. Cerny

Barbara T. Cerny’s Grays Hill is an out and out romance but it is also a heartwarming tale of friendship. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and would recommend this to all the readers who love romantic fiction. The main characters of the story were well sketched and I can actually see OJ, Rafe, Geoff and […]


Book Review – Sirens Spell Danger

‘Sirens Spell Danger’ is a collection of three crime thriller stories by three veteran blogger-turned-authors and being a devour-er of crime fiction, I couldn’t resist picking up the book. My heartiest congratulations to the authors for taking a giant leap by self-publishing this book. As it is said – well begun is half done. True […]


New book by Author Sundari Venkatraman – Check out “Double Jeopardy”

Double Jeopardy by Sundari Venkatraman The Blurb Sanya doesn’t just have trouble, she has double trouble. Twins Arth and Ansh Sharma, are rich, sexy and sinfully handsome – what’s a girl to do?   Sanya last saw the twins when she was ten years old. Now, all grown up, she has come looking for gentle […]