The Festival of Lights

Diwali or Deepavali,
Crackers or lamps,
New clothes or sweets,
Cashew-bites or Almond drops,
Savoury mixtures or round murukkus.
First day first show,
Or TV premieres?

Partha Periappa or Kabali Mama?*
Too many questions,
Too many answers.
Get set for the festival of lights.
Set alight lamps,
Wear your new dresses,
Burst a few crackers,
But don’t make a nuisance.

Spare a thought,
For the ill and the old,
Our four-legged friends,
And our feathered friends,
Exercise caution, have fun.
Help the less fortunate.
Spread love, spread smiles!

HAPPY DIWALI

* – Reference to Triplicane Parthasarathy Temple and Mylapore Kabaleeshwarar Temple. Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva 🙂

Post is part of the #GharWaliDiwali Contest

See this video as well 🙂

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The Goddess to the Rescue

‘Brennen beginnen die Waffen'(Commence firing the guns) – Captain Karl von Müller’s voice was clear; the darkness of the night was suddenly illuminated with flames as the oil tanks exploded. The labourers in Madras Harbour were in deep sleep and it was absolute chaos. An alarm began ringing somewhere; the British officers lulled in a false sense of security never realised what hit the Madras Harbour.

As Captain Karl continued to oversee the attack – a strange apparition appeared before him. He was in absolute shock – it was an Indian lady with dark skin, long hair, deep red eyes and a red silk saree draped around her. From where had she come? Karl rubbed his eyes thinking it was a hallucination – but the lady stood before him – visible only to him.

She said nothing – all she indicated with a swift move of her arm was – ‘Leave at once’. Karl was a Christian and not necessarily a God-fearing man; but this vision was a bit too much for him as the lady vanished as suddenly as she had arrived.

‘Rückzug’ (retreat) – shouted Karl and the ship ‘Emden’ left as swiftly as it had entered the harbour.

The guarding spirit of the city of Madras had saved her! Was it Goddess Kali? We do not know!

All we know is that if Karl had wanted he could have inflicted maximum damage to the city of Madras but he chose not to and the city now known as Chennai marches proudly into its 375th year of existence.

Learn more about the Madras Day Competition organised by the British Council.

Thoughts on a Smartphone

‘We live in a world where we laugh when our friends slip and fall but are worried when our smartphone falls from our hands or is accidentally knocked down!’ – An anonymous quote posted on Facebook.

So what does that tell us?

Are we inhuman and insensitive? Well definitely not; it is just that that the sleek shining amalgam of plastic, rubber and polished metal is too valuable and fragile and that we are worried that a fall is all that takes for something to go horribly wrong with our smart phone.

The aim of this post written for a competition organised by the good folks at Indiblogger and Asus is to jot down a few points that one’s dream phone should have. The event is being run in synchronisation with the launch of the Asus Zenfone. I have been reading some reviews written by tech-bloggers who have received review units and everyone has good things to say about the phone and if the Sales Team at Asus gets the pricing right – I am sure we have a massive winner! Let us wait for the prices to be announced and go to the main post 🙂

Strength and Durability:
Remember those good old days when we got Nokia phones for Rs 501 bundled offer via Reliance – so many years back – well those phones still survive and run strong. Durability and strength are extremely important factors. When I pay upwards of Rs 10000 for a device – I expect a powerful and strong unit.

Battery Life:
I guess the i-phone and then Android as an OS kick-started a whole new product market – the portable chargers. How irritated we get when in the midst of a business call or a call with a loved one your phone battery dies! With the advancements in technology we expect devices that give us a solid usage time on a full-charge.

Features / Usability:
There was a time when the geeks carried a phone, a music-player, an e-reader, a handheld gaming console and a camera. Now everything gets plugged into one device, the evolution of an application marketplace has made developers go rich. Think Angry Birds the game that changed the fortunes of Rovio Inc. The point here is are users realizing that the more and more that they depend one single device for all their functions the amount of pressure they are putting on the core working components of the device and how they are reducing the life of the device that they use.

This is one side of the argument.

The other is an uncluttered world wherein as the line goes in The Lord of the Rings‘One ring to rule them all’ we now have ‘One device to fulfil all our needs.’ The future looks promising as we now have cut-throat competition among mobile-processor vendors to create the best value for money processors. The future indeed looks bright with octa core powered phones retailing for about INR Rs 12000. The prices should come down further!

Do not complicate the functionality of a device – Be it a five year old or a sixty year-old everyone should be able to use the phone with ease with a guided intuitive user-interface. Every phone should come pre-loaded with a user guide video built into it explaining every feature.

A Complete Package:
When I buy a product – I expect all the bells and whistles to come together in one neatly designed package. Do not burden me with buying additional headphones, OTG cables, chargers, screen guards, protective cases, etc, separately. As a consumer I want one complete package with everything neatly arranged labelled and packed with care. With online sales gaining prominence the onus is on the device manufacturer to ensure that products are packed in strong durable cases that can bear the brunt of travel and shipping.

Operating System Updates:
From Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Icecream Sandwich, Jellybean to Kitkat and now Android-L. The iterations, variations, added features are mind-boggling. Same goes for iOS users as well. Windows Phone OS is relatively evolving at a slower pace though the latest iteration of the OS looks stunning. Plus good old Blackberry – shaken and stirred and recovering slowly. Point of the rambling point 🙂 – is that the device should receive over-the-air OS upgrades.

Buy-Back Offers:
Popularised by Apple to a fair degree of success a device buyback guarantee program is sure to work wonders among loyal buyers of high-tech products.

After-Sales Support:
This is where every Indian mobile brand – Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, Spice, Intex all lag behind. I hope Asus will ensure a strong dedicated support system in every major city and ensure that devices are serviced with care and returned on time.

I do not want supersonic powers, invisibility, see-through scanners on camera-lens, in-built Swiss-knives and all such boyish secret-agent fantasies on my phone. I want a strong, durable, well-designed product that will help me maintain work-life balance. I hope the Asus Zenfone series will offer me a perfect package and fulfil my dreams.

Go Asus!!! Go!!! We are waiting 🙂

Amma

I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with BlogAdda.com.

This contest started initially as a post on someone who inspired you the most and then transformed into a post on why you love your Dad to celebrate Father’s Day. I am going back to the initial set-up on writing a post on the person who inspired me the most. Well in my case it has been my mother.

I am a product of a broken family; a child who had to go through the trauma of seeing a family break into pieces. My mother supported me with all she could do, cooking meals, preparing savories and snacks and I would dutifully carry them to houses and sell them. There have been days when I have stood in local grounds where children would play football and cricket and I would hawk snacks. Never once have I felt bitter about the fact that I had a very traumatic period between the ages of 15 and 20.

Till I was 14, I grew in the care of my maternal uncles and they helped me and my mother to the best of their abilities. There was an attempt at a reconciliation and mother and I embarked on a long trip one April afternoon from Howrah station and I prepared to meet the man whose DNA I have inherited.

As the initial euphoria ended, I realized that I could never ever trust my father and it was just my mother for whom I should live. It was a struggle to prove the many detractors that existed in the guise of relatives near and far that – yes a teen and his mother could fend for themselves.

Bit-by-bit we worked hard, very hard to ensure that food was available, school and college fees was paid on time, societal pretenses in the name of festivals and celebrations continued and anyone who chose to visit our humble abode never left hungry!

The years have moved, once I secured a job through the dint of my academic rigour my mother has finally found some peace; but the years of struggle and hard work have rendered her susceptible to illnesses. She battles multiple diseases and the two of us still exist, seeing each day as it dawns with a fresh perspective.

For me my mother will remain as the single solid rock of support who continues to guide me!

This is dedicated to every single child and mother who share a bond that goes beyond words and the manic advertising tactics of multi-national companies to keep buying insanely priced gifts. Go hug your mother, speak kindly to her, humour her and let her watch the TV serial even when a cricket match plays on another channel!

A mother is the greatest gift that the Lord has given mankind!

Hair-raising Experience – TRESemme Shampoo and Conditioner Review

For someone whose hair-style has always been that of a soldier in action in the driest deserts, taking up this blogging activity and participating in the TRESemme Event was a challenge. I was pleasantly surprised when I received the shampoo and conditioner packed in a black-pouch.

I kept waiting and waiting, wondering what I would write here. I have used various shampoos over the years and during the summers; the heat of the Chennai sun tends to cause a mild dandruff problem. Regular application of coconut oil and a shampoo wash offers relief!

I finally decided to stop admiring the beautifully designed bottles and used the shampoo and conditioner. The pleasant fragrance and the consistency of the shampoo as I rinsed my head offered a strange sense of calm. I just closed my eyes and I imagined that I was far away in the mountains, surrounded by mist and the pleasant fragrance of pine-cones and forest-berries. After soaking in the mountain-moment. I turned the shower on and let the force of water rinse through and I definitely felt refreshed.

EXPERT-TALK
My sister is a regular user of Pantene shampoo-products and was really impressed by the split hair remedy offered by TRESemme! Definitely impressive; for as long as I can remember my sister has either been using Pantene or Sunsilk!!!

I am not a huge fan of Chemistry; well the chemistry of the scientific kind! Chemistry amongst people is a different matter altogether; but going by my rotten luck – I draw a zero in that department as well 🙂 – Anyway let us not digress – this is about TRESemme not my repeated failures at finding a girl-friend!!!

The shampoo and conditioner do their job well and are priced appropriately for the sheer research that has gone into formulating a world-class product. Do try the product range, and get an experience of a salon-spa at home!

Three cheers for TRESemme India and Indiblogger!!!

Wish me luck in finding someone special as well 🙂

So all you lovely people who use shampoos and conditioners on a regular basis; what are you waiting for? Go to your nearest departmental store and pick up a TRESemme product right away!