In pursuit of higher studies abroad

So young Padwan, all set to fly toward greener pastures? The lands of opportunity where the streets are paved with gold and rivers overflowing with milk and honey welcome you, eh, my starry-eyed lad? The foreign lands will be laying out red carpets and eagerly be awaiting your landing and comely damsels waiting to throw flowers along your path and and escort you to the waiting Rolls Royce which will drive you to your palatial quarters. Alas! My friend. If but wishes were horses…. Yes, some foreign countries do have better courses in certain specializations and general standard of living is better if one manages to migrate there. But getting the right university, then a job and finally settling down in a foreign land is no cakewalk. As they say there is many a slip between the cup and the lip.

Did I just bring your hopes crashing to the ground? Well, old technique of the masters you know. First bring the pupil to the ground and then slowly raise him up again. You must have seen all those Karate Kid movies, Kill Bill and all that. So, am I calling myself a master? Well, I at least helped one student though this ardent journey and got him to his Valhalla. And I have seen cousins go through this process though I myself never have. As they say if you can’t do, teach.

So, here’s where you start – decide which universities you want to apply and which countries. Don’t even imagine for a moment that you can just shoot in the dark. Each of these application forms cost upward of one grand and you can easily end up losing a fortune in the application process itself. So, choose wisely. First zero in on target countries. Primary criteria would be countries which have colleges with medium of instruction as English. If you think you are going to do a 2-week French or German or Swedish crash course and be able to sit through technical lectures in these languages, you are kidding yourself. Play it safe and pick English unless you are already master of some foreign language. Then decide why you want to go abroad. Is it for some specialization that does not exist or for dollar dreams? If it is for specialization, choices are straightforward. If it is for migration, you need to think through a lot of things. First of all, how is the country’s immigration policy? Lot of countries are tightening screws on immigrants. So last thing you want is to come back home with a useless foreign degree from an unknown foreign university to take up the same BPO job you would have got even without the said degree.

Once you have chosen the countries, you can start looking at which universities. If you are a topper, the choices are obvious. If you are not, you have to start optimizing between value of a degree from an university and your chances of getting in. For both these you have to research on the net, read the university websites and talk to students and alumni. On the value front, you must look at professors, courses, profile of fellow students and internship and final placement opportunities. For chances of getting in, look at the various criteria the college uses and profiles of past students and how much your own matches up. One you have done that you would have narrowed your choices.

The next thing you look at is costs. There is the basic tuition fee, the local housing, food and other costs. If the college provides cheaper accommodation within campus, considerable costs are saved. One must also look at scholarship options, part time jobs and loan opportunities. And most importantly how much funds you can mobilize by yourself. This will help narrow down further.

By now you will hopefully have a list of 10-12 universities. You now have to go about applying to them. Most universities require something called a Statement of Purpose. This is a whole topic in itself and is one of the most critical aspects of the application that make or break the deal. The next most important thing is recommendations from college professors and other eminent persons. Even this has lot of nuances. It is best to seek personalized guidance on how to go about these two steps as well as preparation for interview if there is one.

The other critical element is aptitude tests. Some test logical and reasoning abilities. Some test technical aptitude. Some test language aptitude. Language aptitude is where #DefinitelyPTE comes in. It is one of the newly introduced English Language Tests. The other popular tests are IELTS and TOEFL. Often universities specify which test they will consider. But often universities also offer a choice of tests. In that case #DefinitelyPTE offered by Pearson has certain distinct advantages as against the other options. Following are key advantages:-

1. Tests are conducted all 365 days a year as against the others which are available only on specific days

2. Test is entirely computer based taking away any subjectivity that comes with human involvement and makes the process also much more faster. Results are expected to be available in 5 days.

3. Pearson has a wide network of centers – so it would be easier to find a center in one’s own town probably even closer to one’s own home.

4. Scores can be sent to unlimited number of universities at no extra cost

5. A large number of universities all over the world have begun to use these scores. Almost all universities in UK, Australia and New Zealand are covered. In US and Canada as well, some top universities such as Harvard, Wharton, Purdue, Texas Agriculture and Medical, Stanford, Princeton accept these scores

6. There is also lot of options to understand the test and prepare for the same. This is the official site for prep material. There are other online and classroom courses available as well.

So that’s the part up to the application solved. Once all the applications are out, it is time to keep your fingers crossed and wait. Once an admission comes through, that is the beginning of a whole new story. There are so many more things to take care with respect to visa applications, booking tickets and accommodation and other formalities. Well if you finally managing to get to the country of your dreams after going through all the hassles, you have probably arrived literally as well as figuratively. #DefinitelyPTE simplifies one step of the whole rigmarole which is the English aptitude test if all universities you are applying to accept these scores. Rest you still have to do yourself.

There you go. Now sit back and enjoy lovely ad on #DefinitelyPTE before you get started on realizing your dreams of migrating abroad.

Rising from the Ashes - Review

Having been brought up on rich diet of Indian mythological stories told by my grandfather supplemented by Ramayana and Mahabharata serials on television and Amar Chitra Katha comics, I had almost begun to feel there could hardly be a story from Indian mythology I would not be aware of. That is one of the reasons I do not have much interest in books based on Indian mythology.  So it is always a pleasant surprise to discover a new story. When I picked up Rising from the Ashes by Rubina Ramesh, I had no idea which mythological story this book was based on. And it turned out it was based on a story I was not aware of. That way right away the book managed to excite my interest.

The story starts in an interesting manner with a lady Mayavati in the clutches of an Asura Sambara. And he is trying to force her to marry him. As usual, as is the case with most mythological stories, Narada makes an appearance to add fuel to the fire. Then we are introduced to the protagonist's dream of her would be husband and it is not Sambara. The story takes us through her emotions as she tries to figure her way out through the situation. And it is soon revealed her husband is not even born. She is to find him and raise him and then marry him. Not this is an interesting premise. I was reminded of a story of a serial on television of an older woman who married a child and there were lot of protests. There was also lot of discussion around the French President having marrying his teacher at school. So, it would have been interesting to see how this author handles this subject of love between an older woman who has been a mother figure and a child, probably not when he is a child as depicted in the serial in question but after the child has attained adulthood. But the problem is there as the woman always knows the child she is raising is going to be her husband. Literature has many more instances of the vice versa - love between a woman and a man who is a father figure.

Anyways the author does not get into the full story here in this book. This book is supposed to be a teaser to her book on mythological tales. So the story stops with the situation being revealed to her. That way this book would be a disappointment to anyone who buys it expecting a full standalone story. It is like the prologue of a book being made into a booklet and sold.

The language and narration is good and it makes an engaging read. So an interesting read for readers if they are fine being left hanging on the cliff. I am sure many readers do not mind given the huge fan following people like Robert Jordan, George R R Martin and Patrick Rothfuss have. Only this is much smaller in size than the individual books of their series.

You can buy the book here or read it for free if you have Kindle unlimited.

A Short Story: Prequel to Knitted Tales 2 
Rubina Ramesh


She was one of the most beautiful woman Asura Sambara had laid his eyes on. 

Possessing a beauty of this magnitude became his passion. Sambara kidnapped her and whisked her off to his palace. 

Mayavati knows she has no option but to bow down to his wishes. But what about the young man who always haunts her dreams? She had no clue why she was in this palace but after speaking to the mischief making Sage Narada, it all started making sense to her. 

Who was Mayavati and what was she doing in Asura’s palace? 

Was Sambara her destiny? 

Disclaimer: This short story is a mythological fiction and should be treated as such. The author does not claim it to be a retelling of the Puranas. This piece is a product of her unbridled imagination. 

Grab your copy @

About the author

Blog Tour by The Book Club of DESTINED by Rubina Ramesh

Rubina Ramesh is an avid reader, writer, blogger, book reviewer and marketer. She is the founder of The Book Club, an online book publicity group. Her first literary work was published in her school magazine. It gave her immense pride to see her own name at the bottom of the article. She was about 8 years old at that time. She then went to complete her MBA and after her marriage to her childhood friend, her travel saga started. From The Netherlands to the British Isles she lived her life like an adventure. After a short stint in Malaysia, she finally settled down in the desert state of USA, Arizona. Living with her DH and two human kids and one doggie kid, Rubina has finally started living the life she had always dreamed about – that of a writer.

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Generously Yours - Review

Every story is a journey of sorts - an imaginary journey on which the author takes the reader.  Sometimes it can be a casual walk down the drive taking in all the sights and smells; sometimes it can be a tour around the town on top of a bus; still other times it can be a complete roller coaster ride. And these journeys can be physical or mental. As Yudishtra of Mahabharata says "The thing that travels fastest is the human mind." Journeys of the mind cover the longest distance. Inderpreet Kaur's "Generously Yours: His Gift from Beyond is one such journey of the mind.

We start with Diya brooding over her husband. This story avoids exposition and jumps right into the story allowing reader to figure out what is happening. She is thinking about her past and her future. She picks items in the house one by one and each triggers a memory. Through the memories we learn of the life she has lived so far. And we come to know her husband Viren is no longer in the world. The story is about how she copes with the situation and builds up positive thoughts.

She gets the answer from her husband himself - from her memories of what he said and finally finds succor. That is the "His Gift from Beyond' in the title.

The story is told in a stream of consciousness format and keep the reader engaged with its smooth flow.  When you talk of stream of consciousness, first name that comes to mind is Virginia Woolfe. This story is somewhat similar in format to Mrs. Dalloway - all the events in the story happen over a single day. And most of it is flash backs. Of course this being a short story, lacks complexity and layers. This is a much more straightforward story of a problem, a mental journey jumping across space and time, a finally a resolution.

Overall a well written book that can serve as a quick 10 minute read to fill in the empty hours of your day.

The book can be bought here.

This book was given to me as a review copy as part of the Book Club Tour. 

Inderpreet Uppal


‘Love is forever’ or so thought Diya. 
Shy, bookish and loving, Diya never thought she would ever need to be anything else. Her charmed life slips away from her in ways, she never imagined. 
Will Viren be able to sort the jumble of their lives or is it already too late? 
A bittersweet story of life, longing, and lasting love.

Grab your copy @

About the author

Inderpreet writes for her love of writing, edits manuscripts,  and reads endlessly. A sprinkling of fiction, a dash of books, and a bit of opinion add to the eclectic mix that is Eloquent Articulation. She is a Masters in Human Resources Management and an Army brat, she now joins her adorable Army hubby across the country. Books, editing, reviews, freelance writing, posts, and blogging keep her busy whenever she gets a breather from mothering her ‘too tricky to handle son’. She has recently published her first book on Amazon, GENEROUSLY YOURS,       


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For whom the bell tolls

A book of faces