Cracking the Code – Book Review

Cracking the code: My journey in Bollywood, by Ayushmann Khurrana and Tahira Kashyap

Genre: Autobiography

Publication: 8 February 2015

Length: 153 Pages

Format: Kindle Edition


Cracking the code: My journey in Bollywood, is an autobiography of the one actor who has made a name for himself selecting roles that are completely different from the run-of-the-mill roles actors usually settle for. I think ‘experimental’ could very well be his middle name!

Ayushmann Khurrana, in his book published way back in 2015, recounts his journey from his childhood, to his days as a Radio Jockey, a Video Jockey, a singer, and an actor in the Hindi Film Industry.

It’s really a book that he has written for aspiring actors who leave behind their simple world, and travel to Mumbai–the city of dreams–to try their luck in the big, bad world of Bollywood.

Some of them taste success and have a longer shelf-life; some others vanish after a very short innings, and still others fail to make a mark or get noticed and return home, broken hearted, disillusioned.

It’s a book where he shares his codes for success–tips and life lessons that at once encourage you, fill you with hope, boost your morale, and act as a beacon for those setting out on a journey that’s riddled with uncertainty.



A book for aspiring actors is what he calls it – a book for those who have huge dreams of the glitz and the glamour of Bollywood.

A book for those who think they have it all to make their mark in the film industry, but, who, sadly, fail to make it despite their best efforts.

It’s a short book–153 pages–and one can finish if off in an hour or two. But, in these 153 pages, Ayushmann has packed enough gyaan that could be useful for whatever journey one might be on.

Not necessarily film industry, but any industry, any vocation you may have chosen, this book helps you know how to tread the path to success.


Give your best to whatever opportunities you get; never underestimate the significance of even the smallest of junctures. Your past actions will one day become your future redemption.


Ayushmann has shared lessons he learned through his experiences as he grew up from an “ugly”, stick-thin boy without the saleability factor into a commendable actor, who can carry an unusual story on his able shoulders with his craft, his screen presence, and the relatability factor.

The book has a conversational tone, with stories that resonate with you, and the struggles you face building up your career.

There are codes after every chapter to ponder shared by someone who hasn’t received his stardom on a platter, but who had to toil to achieve it.



The language he has used, the style, the tone, all of it makes you feel as if you are sitting with the guy in a coffee shop on a rainy afternoon, listening to him narrate his story about how he made it to Bollywood–his childhood dream.

How he went through all the ups and downs, the trials and the tribulations, the lack of confidence due to his not being “presentable”, but with enough confidence in himself, his capabilities, and his ability to give every job, big or small, his one hundred percent.

Not once does he come across as preachy, boastful, or Mr Know-all-ish.

His ability to laugh at himself, speak about his shortcomings, and share some very embarrassing moments with the reader, candidly, makes him endearing, and relatable.

You need not be a Bollywood aspirant to know how tough life is.

Whatever career you choose to follow, you have to face hardships, learn lessons, and find your way through the labyrinth of twists and turns.

It helps if there are words to guide you shared by someone who has been through an equally difficult phase but emerged from it a winner.

It gives you confidence and the will power to continue on the path you have chosen, and give every shot your best.




Frankly, there wasn’t anything I did not like.

In the past couple of months, I caught up on quite a few Ayushmann-starrers and was impressed by the ease with which he slips into the roles he picks.

This book, therefore, had to be read to get to know the person I see on the silver screen!


I loved the book. Period.

An easy read, you can spend an afternoon going through this book and glean a lot about how to deal with failure, with success, and with else everything in between.

It is an insightful read for youngsters who are on the verge of setting out on a career path. Movies, or no movies, this book will inspire you enough to do your best whatever the situation, the circumstances.

I give this book 4.5 stars. (It could have done with a little bit of proofreading and editing.)

So, if you haven’t read this book, then do pick it up at Kindle Unlimited–it’s free!


47 lessons I learned in 47 years.

Yesterday, I completed 47 revolutions around the Sun.

Phew! No wonder those aches and pains trouble me so much nowadays. It’s been a physically taxing journey, really. Emotionally, though, I don’t feel a day above 16. In fact, I still experience a childlike glee during my birthday week and I look forward to my friends and relatives wishing me and showering me with their love and blessings!

That’s how I wish to live for the rest of my life: young at heart, sweet 16, always.

Cupcake in Zentangle
My birthday cake 😛

Now, coming to the topic of this post – there are lessons I learned during the 47 years I have spent on this blue planet and today I am sharing those lessons with you all.

I am being honest here and would like to mention that these are my personal opinions, based on my observations and experiences. You are free to not agree with me. No offence taken.

47 lessons in 47 years:

1. Time heals everything. You will get over it all–loss, failure, rejections, heartbreak, people, too. Just give it some time.

2. Nothing is permanent. So, don’t stress the small stuff, and don’t stress the big stuff. It will all be gone one day.

3. With time, your circle of people will get smaller. Only a select few will stay, the rest will leave. Let them go.

4. Career first, relationships, later. Choose the work that gives you happiness (especially now that you have such a wide range of vocations to choose from.)

5. Learn to spend time alone, enjoy your own company. It’s liberating.

6. Have dreams, make plans, but be prepared to watch them getting trashed in front of your eyes. It will hurt, badly, but you will get over it.

7. Everything happens for a reason. You will definitely find answers to the whys and the hows of life some day.

8. Take one day at a time. Don’t live in the past. Don’t live in the future. Live in the present. It saves a lot of anxiety.

9. Life keeps changing all the time. Embrace the change.

10. What’s meant for you will find its way to you. Have patience.

11. Recognise your skills. Hone them and use them to further your progress in life.

12. Strengthen yourself to take rejection in your stride.

13. Be kind to everybody. They are all fighting a battle you know nothing about.

14. Be kind to yourself. You will be living with yourself all your life!

15. Take very good care of your body – from head to toe. Especially your toes, or feet, to be precise. They carry you every where!

16. Pursue a hobby. It will be one of your biggest support systems.

17. If you can, find a job, or work for an NGO. It does a world of good to your self-esteem.

18. Accept it that you aren’t perfect. Nobody is.

19. Never compare yourself with others, or your life with others’.

20. Everyone here is unique, and so are you. Love yourself. Make yourself a priority.

21. There will always be differences of opinion. Be graceful enough to accept others’ opinion the same way you would like others to accept yours.

22. Peace of mind is much more important than winning an arguement.

23. Talk less, observe more. Be a good listener.

24. Size doesn’t matter. Age is just a number.

25. Cherish those who truly care for you.

26. Your followers on social media are just numbers. Your closest friends will always come to your rescue in a crisis, not your 10,000 followers.

27. If something has to happen, it will, irrespective of whether you ask for it. And, please don’t bother God with it. But, remember to thank Him everyday for everything that does happen–the good, and also the not-so-good.

28. You are never too late or too old to begin a new career. Change your strategies, move with the times.

29. Do what’s good for your life, what makes you happy. Do not bother about society’s norms.. People will always have a problem, whatever you do.

30. A little bit of fiction is necessary to survive the chaos of real life.

31. Appreciate the body you are blessed with. And, if you can’t appreciate it, then work on it, maintain it. It’s yours, and the only one you will ever have!

32. Enjoy the food you eat–even junk food. Never feel guilty and spoil the fun. Keep your taste buds happy. They matter, too. But, maintain a balance.

33. Strive to feel beautiful from within more than looking beautiful from the outside.

34. Your mental and emotional wellbeing matters a lot more than you care to admit. Look after your mind and soul, too.

35. Leave God alone. Let Him do His work in peace. You mind your own business.

36. Believe in God if you wish to. God won’t take offence if you don’t. God isn’t petty the way we humans are. He will love you either ways.

37. Accept life as it is. Accept people as they are. It’s tough, I know, but you really have no choice!

38. Be careful whom you trust.

39. Never invest your emotions in people who don’t care.

40. Speak your heart out with only a chosen few, who have been with you for the longest period of time. They know you inside out and will not judge you. Ever.

41. When feeling miserable, cry out loud. Or curse. Let out the steam. It’s truly therapeutic.

42. People’s opinion about you can never change the person you are.

43. Don’t bother explaining yourself to others, especially in the virtual world. People really won’t care; they have made up their mind about you.

44. It’s OKAY to make mistakes. God does it all the time; we are mere mortals!

45. You might be embarrassed about yourself or your “pathetic life”, but trust me, no one cares. Everyone has there own problems to sort out. Your life doesn’t really matter to them.

46. Impressions can be deceptive. Maintain some emotional and physical distance with people. Open your hearts to only a select few.

47. De-clutter regularly–your house and your life. Give away what you don’t use/need. Lesser the better–unused stuff in your house, or unused stuff in your life.

So, that’s all for this year. Looking forward to learning some more next year, God willing!

Do you keep a list of lessons you learn from life?

Do share with me some very important ones you learned.

Thank you for your love and blessings!

Lessons from Life

Healthy eating for busy moms – Book review


Author: Dr. Surbhi Prapanna

Genre: Recipes, food, health & nutrition

Pages: 65

Available on: Blogchatter website: Download this book for free here


Healthy eating for busy moms - Book review


My blogger friend, Surbhi Prapanna, brings for us an e-book on healthy eating for busy moms.

Life for a mother is super busy. Balancing a career and home is a tight rope walk that she manages deftly. But meal planning can often feel overwhelming.

Taking into consideration the food preferences of her family and planning meals with high nutritive values can lead to confusion and exhaustion.

In this book, Surbhi shares more than 20 healthy and easy-to-make recipes for busy mothers.

Along with every recipe, she has shared the nutritional value and the nutritional composition of the ingredients used.

There are also helpful tips and tricks along with the recipes that promise to make life easier for the mother.



Surbhi had participated in the Blogchatter A2Z 2020 in April where she shared 26 posts and recipes for every letter of the alphabet. She has compiled them all for this book that is specially aimed at mothers who face time constraints or lack of healthy meal ideas.

The instructions are easy to understand, shared in a simple language and reader-friendly style.

Let me share some of the recipes from the book to entice you to download it for future use.

A – Amaranth paratha with tomato chutney

B – Barnyard millet khichdi

C – Chickpea salad with carrot soup

D – Dal Dhokli

E – Energy Buddha Bowl

F – Fenugreek thepla

G – Green roti with bottle gourd curry

H – Handva

I – Idlis with a healthy twist (Variety of idli recipes)

J – Jaggery paratha

K – Khichdi with multigrain nutrition

L – Leftover laziz paratha for lazy days

Well, that’s all that I am sharing with you here! The names of some of the recipes are enough to make you drool, isn’t it?

You will find ultimate meal-prep ideas and healthy eating tips that help the busy mother to plan her meals in advance. There’s also a note on how to involve your kids in shopping for, and cooking the meals.

You will find 10 bloggers sharing their own healthy eating tips at the end of the book.


Believe me, with so much information on healthy eating apart from healthy recipes, this book is a must in your collection.

Just download it here and you can start making those recipes right away!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Artwork for MAY.

My artwork for May consists of two quotes that are closest to my heart.

You matter



Be kind to yourself


Some very important words we forget to repeat to ourselves. We forget about ourselves as we try looking after those who depend upon us.

For me, repeating these lines to myself, especially when feeling sombre, gives me a feeling of being hugged.

Try doing it, if you haven’t.

Look into the mirror first thing in the morning. Look right into your eyes and say to yourself, “You matter.” See how it feels.

And, on days when life seems to slip from your hands, and when you feel neglected, remind yourself that you need to be kind to yourself. Self-care and self-love are important. For, you can’t pour from an empty cup, can you?


I also made this self-portrait with my pet Cookie perched on my shoulder, as always, giving me a kiss.

Self portrait in Zentangle



And, of course, there are my favourite, Mandalas, too.







Finally, I made some changes in my Instagram handle.

Earlier, it was linked to my blog, Metanoia, where I shared posts on health, food, books, pets and art.

Now, I will be sharing only my artwork on my Instagram handle. And, that’s why I changed the name from shilclix to shilpsart.

Here’s the link.


My other Instagram handle – @healthizms – will have posts on health, food and nutrition.

Do drop by for a visit there and leave your insta handle for me to follow you back.

That’s all for this month.

See you all with my artwork the end of next month.

Until later,

Take care and stay safe.



A simple guide to improving your immune system.

What is immune system?

Our body has an inbuilt army of cells and proteins that protects us from infections. Infections like the cold and flu, bacteria, microbes, viruses, parasites are all invaders that cause illnesses.

Our white blood cells, for example, are the sentries that can recognise the invaders, or microbes, and attack them before they multiply and lead to sickness.Our immune system, thus, defends our body from invaders by identifying and attacking them and safeguards us from infections.

Recommended:  Immune system explained for a detailed study on immune system and how it works.

What is immune system

What damages your immune system?

There are people who seldom suffer from cold and cough or any other viral infection, even during the monsoon, or when the virus is going strong. And on the other hand, there are some, who are always suffering from allergies.

This is because some of us have a stronger immune system, and in some cases, the immune system is too weak to defend the body from infections which results in frequent episodes of some sickness or the other.A weak immune system could be so because of various reasons, such as:

  • Immune deficiency, where a person is born with a weak immune system,
  • A disease that weakens the immune system
  • An overactive immune system that could arise out of an allergy
  • An autoimmune disease such as diabetes, rheumatide arthritis, or lupus, which results in the immune system turning against us.
  • Smoking and alcohol which also damage the immune system apart from harming other organs
  • An unhealthy lifestyle which lacks proper diet and nutrition as well as sufficient sleep and exercise
  • Diseases like HIV/AIDS that destroy the white blood cells
  • And, chronic stress that leads to a weak immune system which in turn increases stress-related mental health issues.

It’s a situation which requires a healthy lifestyle and a nutritious diet to change into a stronger system that will be better able to care for us.

Let us look at the 5 most common foods that help strengthen the immune system. Foods that are found easily and are present in our everyday meal preparations; foods like certain spices, vegetables and fruits that are packed with nutritients that help improve our chances at fighting infections.

Foods that improve immune system:


It is common knowledge that if you want to safeguard your system from cold and flu you should load up on vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables.Vitamin C increases the amount of white blood cells that fight infections.

Fruits that are high in this vitamin are:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Sweetlime

If you aren’t getting any vitamin C from its food sources, then it is important that you take vitamin C supplements. Our body cannot produce vitamin C and hence we need to outsource it! So, if not through food, then through supplements that provide the daily recommended amount of the nutrient.


One of the most common kitchen ingredients, garlic has been used not only for its taste, but also for its disease-fighting properties since ages. It contains sulphur-containing compounds that increase the white blood cells in our body which fight infections.

Garlic is also considered to be a blood-thinner and is prescribed to those who suffer from hardened arteries and high blood pressure.Crush the garlic and leave it for a while before using it, either in cooking or before eating. This improves its disease-fighting properties.


After garlic, ginger is another herb that has been recognised for its medicinal properties. It is for this reason that we are adviced to include ginger in our everyday diet, especially when we suffer from a sore throat and nausea.

The gingerol present in ginger contains cholesterol-reducing properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce chronic pain arising from rheumatoid arthritis.

Add some grated ginger to boiling water and have it first thing every morning to maintain a healthy immune system.


The golden yellow spice has been used in almost every kitchen since ages and is best known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.Whether you suffer from a sore throat, or sleeplessness, pain in the joints or nicks and cuts, turmeric is the go-to spice for instant relief.

Today, curcumin (from turmeric) in combination with piperine (from black pepper), has been added to the list of supplements that strengthen the body as well as its infection-fighting capabilities.


Yogurt contains live bacteria that encourages our immune system in its fight against infections. It also contains Vitamin D that improves our chances of beating infections.

Including yogurt, especially home-made, or one without any artificial sugars or flavours works best.

Regular consumption of yogurt will keep cold and cough at bay, improve your digestive system, and also strengthen the bones.


Supplements for a healthy immune system

Vitamin D and the immune system:

Vitamin D has known to be a bone vitamin. But it also strengthens the body’s chances at fighting respiratory infections.

A deficiency in this vitamin is found to cause respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, severe respiratory tract infections and tuberculosis.

We get Vitamin D from sunlight and from food sources such as:

  • Eggs yolks
  • Fatty fish
  • Mushrooms
  • Codliver oil
  • Tuna fish
  • Fortified foods (milk)

If for some reasons you aren’t able to include these foods, or aren’t consuming enough of these foods, then you need to turn to vitamin D supplements. Check with your doctor for the best vitamin D supplements, the duration and the dosage.

In these times of COVID19, it would be beneficial opting for a vitamin D supplement apart from including the foods mentioned above. It could keep you safe from catching the infection!

How to keep your immune system strong:

Our immune system can be strengthened if we make the required changes in our lifestyle. Here are 5 ways following which one can definitely benefit and lead a healthier life.

  1. Nutritious food
  2. Vitamin supplements
  3. Healthy lifestyle
  4. Better sleep
  5. Reduce stress

Just like improving our overall health, maintaining our immune system also requires us to make certain changes in our lifestyle. It’s simple, really, but needs a lot of willpower, patience and some fastidiousness on our part.


Effective ways to improve your immune system

5 simple ways to maintain a healthy immune system:

  1. Follow a healthy, nutritious diet every day. Include the above five foods in your daily meals, Look for simple recipes that are tasty as well as healthy so you can follow your diet religiously. Include vitamin supplements if you aren’t getting enough nutrition from the food you eat. Stay well-hydrated. Water is important for a healthy immune system, too!
  2. Begin an exercise regimen, if you haven’t already. Exercise boosts the immune system if followed every day. Moderate exercise of walking, or yoga should suffice.
  3. Give equal importance to your sleep. Our body requires sleep for our cells to repair and rejuvenate themselves every single day. Our sleep and our immune system are closely interconnected. If you aren’t getting enough sleep – 7 to 8 hours daily – you are bound to suffer from more infections and fall sick oftener. Switch off your gadgets at least an hour before bed time. Follow a fixed sleep routine–sleep and wake at the same time everyday.
  4. Learn to handle your stress. it isn’t easy, but there is help! If your stress isn’t manageable, please visit a counsellor, or a psychiatrist who can guide you on how to manage your stress. Chronic stress can weaken the immune system making the body susceptible to infections and illnesses. Include mindfulness activities even for half an hour during the day. Meditation works wonders, too, but can be difficult to master. Pursuing a hobby is a good alternative.
  5. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.


Our immune system helps safeguard our body from various infections and viral attacks. But in order to maintain our immune system we need to follow certain rules. Making dietary and lifestyle changes goes a long way in achieving optimum health. Making healthy choices ensures not only a healthy body, but also a healthy defence system. The choice is yours!

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How to strengthen your immune system

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