Univercell Sync – A New Experience

The Indiblogger Team has hosted multiple events in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and Chennai just did not get a chance. Then there was a notification of an event organised by Univercell mobile showroom group. I registered and awaited the event and then I realized that there was a function that I had to attend and would miss the Univercell event. I still wanted to visit the showroom at a later date. So I just called the event coordinator Nihal and checked with him if I could visit the showroom on a later date and still write about my experience. Nihal said it was perfectly fine and by not going on the date I would only miss out on the snacks that would be served and interaction with other bloggers :(.

I have always wanted to play a spy/secret-agent and there is a bit of an actor in each one of us. So one evening after finishing work I landed up at the Nungambakkam – Univercell store. The store is really spacious and tastefully done up with dedicated sections for music phones, work-phones, gaming and entertainment, etc. Essentially rather than just focus on the Operating System of the phone; the chief purpose/requirement of the buyer has been kept in mind in arranging and displaying the phones.

The staff are courteous, helpful and polite. Prospective buyers can handle the phones and experience the phones before buying them. Special offers on mobile theft insurance, pick-up-and-drop service and a wide range of accessories are also there.

When we check twice before buying vegetables for Rs 50; it is imperative that we spend time when buying a mobile phone that costs much more 🙂

The prices of the phones keep fluctuating, hence the price of the product is not mentione din the display-area.With cut-throat competition from online retailers and companied like Asus, Xiaomi, Motorola and Oppo deciding to go for only online selling; it is very important that showrooms like Univercell offer an innovative buying experience to woo buyers.

The Univercell Sync concept is a step in the right direction and I wish the store all the very best and thank the courteous and polite staff-members at the showroom.

Learn more about the event!

The Perfumer’s Poem

Have you travelled all alone,
With just a basic kit-bag,
Seeking peace, calm and quiet,
Away from the maddening pursuit,
Of bonuses, salaries, congratulatory emails,
And all those celebratory team-lunches?

Boarding a bus from the terminal,
Late one night after a maddening week.
I knew not the destination.
It was a relatively less crowded bus,
With some other state’s vehicle registration number.
Inviting me to board the bus.

There was a distinct smell of grapes,
When the conductor asked me for tickets.
He smiled; I smiled – we both knew,
He had consumed a peg to keep him steady!
I paid for my ticket, I said ‘last stop.’
He smiled again and gave me the ticket.

I stared at the motley crowd within the bus.
Newly wed couple right at the end,
All smiles and content headed for a honeymoon.
The middle-aged couple headed for a pilgrimage.
Some more people who seemed lost in their world.
The sisters from some church dressed,
In an ash-colured dress holding the rosary.

The bus cut through the traffic,
Leaving the madness of the city,
Fighting with space on the roads,
Evading cabs taking the IT crowd home duty.
Lorries transporting vegetables and fruits,
Other buses headed to other destinations.

As the darkness of the night,
Enveloped me in a safe hug,
I slept, wondering where this bus,
Would take me to?
I woke up after a few hours,
It was early morning.

I looked out of the window,
The smell of the hills,
Herbal mist with a dash,
Of citrus and tea-leaves,
I was happy heading into the hills.
The bus stopped at a point.

A small stream in the background,
A small hotel up-front,
Tea; pooris and aloo-subzi and jalebis.
There was a wait for a while,
Then the journey resumed,
The bus climbed into the mountains.

The countryside was picturesque.
I refrained from clicking pictures,
Just soaking up the beauty,
Of Mother Nature in its glory.
Finally we reached our destination.
Pushpagiri – a place in the mountains.

An abode of Lord Shiva.
It was a pilgrimage of sorts,
A redemption for the atheist,
Who seeked perfection in work,
Answers to troubling questions.
And a purpose in life.

The temple bells rung clear and calm,
The fragrance Of the incense and the flowers,
The stream that babbled away,
The wind that had the slightest
Hint of pine-cones from the trees,
That grew further up in the mountains.

I was at peace absolute peace!
This was indeed a journey,
A strange and necessary journey,
That I had to make.

This post masquerading as verse has been written for the ‘Inspire a Fragrance’ competition organised by Godrej and Indiblogger. The fragrances that I would like to capture and make a part of the range of fresheners and purifiers made by Godrej Aer are:

1 – The fragrance of freshly pressed grapes a fruity wine-like aroma.
2 – The fragrance of various aromatic oils – lavender, rosemary, thyme, patchouli all rolled into one.
3 – The fragrance of saffron and milk that one gets when eating some special Indian sweets (kesar rasamalai)
4 – The fragrance of flowers and incense sticks – the fragrance one gets in the sanctum sanctorum of a temple after the first aarti/puja of the day.
5 – The fragrance of green tea and pine woods!

So what fragrances would you like 🙂

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 🙂

THE ARCHERS REVENGE by Rajesh Kollu @ Destination Infinity

I first met Rajesh at an Indiblogger Meet @ ITC Grand Chola; calm, quiet, and clicking away to glory with his camera! Little did I know that this calm person was the famous Destination Infinity of the online world!

Rajesh has done his fair share of work and is now a full-time blogger and author and also does a bit of consulting work on renewable energy sources. He is an avid traveller and two of his books on the Top Places to visit in India have been pretty successful. Rajesh blogs on all things under the sun – from movies and music to ice creams and organic food. He has a simple, non-complex style that is not very easy to emulate by people like me who have an obsessive manic disorder of typing long sentences!

Rajesh released his latest book, a novel – ‘The Archers Revenge’ on Kindle! I got the file and converted it to e-pub and read it using a Firefox browser plug-in! Here goes my review of the book.

The cover designed by Agnisha Ghosh is smashing!

The Story in a Nutshell – A revenge saga, starting with an assassination attempt on a central minister! The would-be assassin discovers startling truths!

I am not going to put in too many spoilers; the book is a quick read; Rajesh covers many of his pet peeves and ideas – renewable energy, archery, bike rides, solitary living, a higher education degree in the UK, Tirupati, etc.

The novel starts with a bang to hold your attention as an elaborate assassination attempt plays out. The bid fails! The novel goes on to describe subsequent attempts and shows us why the killer Aryan wants to terminate the minister Guru. There is a massive twist at the end, which seems very artificial at the end; but the novel is a good attempt!

Final Word – Paced like a script of a Telugu pot-boiler I would love to see this novel get a filmi treatment with a bunch of new young stars as the protagonists. In Hindi, we could have Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha or Alia Bhatt in the lead roles. Plus for the politician – only one character actor – Nana Patekar!

Good job Rajesh!!!!

Get the book!

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!