Google+ Consumer Psyche: 2015

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Blues: Be An Angel

If their smiles could be the reflection of what is going on in their little minds you would be misled. The chirpy naughty childish innocence is just a mask to their troubled homes, broken families, and suppressed hunger, wiped away tears that still have their stains on the little cheeks that are subject to abuse, lack of basic amenities and sheer helplessness.

I met these young children selected by World Vision to be sponsored in their Child Sponsorship program. They had dressed up in their best and assembled in their school for me to come and interact with them. The agenda of the meeting was to get to know these kids and see what they were now from where they had come from. The naughtiest bunch of kids I have seen in a long time and it has been long since I was in school. Their energy levels and bubbly attitude was contagious and I was upbeat in no while.



As we warmed up to each other and started talking without their teacher hovering over them, the real stories came through. I am amazed to see how they could maintain such a positive attitude when their tomorrow is doubtful and they know now where their next morsel would come from. Their guardian angels are not very rich or powerful but their will power is amazing. These kids were sponsored children. Children sponsored by normal people like you and me. The group consisted of Hindus, Muslims, Christians and other religions. Without any discrimination, they were blossoming as flowers of the same plant. This was amazing to see.

World Vision's Child Sponsorship is a unique relationship between you and your sponsored child. When you become a World Vision Child Sponsor, you will help a child break free from the clutches of poverty and gift the child a future full of hope. It is also a relationship that extends to the child's family and the community. For just  Rs.1000/- a month, you can make a lasting impact. 

Your sponsorship with World Vision will provide a needy child, life's essentials like education, safe drinking water, basic healthcare, food and immunization against killer diseases. A small contribution of Rs. 1000/- or  $ 20/month would transform the needs of a child and give them a chance to look beyond their broken dreams, financial troubles, drunk fathers, old tattered clothes that are held by safety pins and encourage them to dream. To dream bigger of a brighter life and give them a chance to transform their lives to a normal one like you and me. A life where they have enough food to stay alive, decent clothes to wear, money to pay their fees and let them concentrate on education, having fun and play - exactly what a child of their age should have. You have an option to change few lives or at least one. 



World Vision has committed staff who wake up everyday to make a difference in the lives of these children, are very passionate and love what they do. I simply fell in love with their enthusiasm and their connection with their children and their problems. You need to see them interacting to believe it.

Take up the child sponsorship today. Donate that pizza money or the coffee money you have and let a child have food and thank you and bless you. Give them a shot at being normal, being equal, being positive. Skip that pizza or new tee and be an angel for someone. Would you do that?

I am covering some stories from this group for Talk To Tiger and you can check them out here.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The first person I can think of who is #MadeOfGreat

Made of Great! Well, I know someone who matches this description. While I have heard some stories about what this person used to do, I have seen on multiple occasions how he influenced me and changed how I felt and what I did. He has been an inspiration not just because he is related to me but because he is a good human being. Let me list out some of the lessons he taught me over the last few years.
  • Be passionate about what you do: Born into a farming family, he was educated on his own and has been able to achieve what very few in his generation could. He had more than 7 job offers in hand (When getting one itself was an achievement) and chose the one he felt would let him help others. He takes pride in work and I have on many occasions seen people thank him from their heart for his guidance and help. He still goes to work much earlier than others and gets more work done than the youngsters half his age. 
  • Keep learning: Regardless of being at a very high post in a Government firm, he still keeps himself updated and never says no to learning. He is an avid reader and motivational speaker himself but still is always game for learning new things.
  • Being compassionate: Despite his busy schedule, he takes time to help others, guide in business, life and is deeply compassionate. I remember him donating most of the salary to others when we were in dire need and would just smile when people told him that he was not doing the right thing. His philosophy is that God is compassionate to people who help others. We can't eat two biryani's for dinner, right?
  • Being Simple: His dressing, hair style, food habits and many other things have not changed in the last few decades. He follows a clean strict schedule and is never too demanding from his wife or son and always asks them to be simple and go easy. I still have to learn this from him.
  • Having a clean conscience: One of the things he has taught me is having a clear conscience. Never go to bed with anger and wake up the same person. Mend the bridges as soon as you can and forgive or seek forgiveness if needed. I don't know how he can be so patient but I guess it comes with age.

I can continue all night listing more lessons but when I saw that Tata Motors has signed on Messi and the tagline of #MadeOfGreat I couldn't stop thinking of the one person who has influenced me the most in my life and am proud to say I am his son. I can trust him blindly, count on him, seek his advice to be the strong pillar of strength and courage. Thank you Dad for being there in my life. 

While Messi has been an inspiration for us all, Tata is the sign of trust and respect for over the last few decades. An awesome winning combination. Do you think Tata Motors' vehicles are as deft and sturdy as Messi's maneuvers. 

What do you think of Tata Motors'association with Lionel Messi?
Do you have an interesting answer for this? I get to give away a Rs. 750/- coupon from #Amazon for one of you. Do comment below and you never know! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The best gadgets to buy this festive season 2015

One of the leading techbloggers from Bangalore and my friend Giridhar presents to you the best gadgets to buy this festive season. Here it is...

Festive season is the best time of the year to buy new stuff. Be it sweets, clothes or gadgets, shopping is always fun. This is the season when people are looking to buy things which they have been wanting to own. When it comes to gadgets, there are many who ask me for suggestions and then I thought of putting my recommendations together so that it would be useful for many more, than a handful of my acquaintances. 

Best Mobile to buy under Rs 10,000:

This is the segment of mobiles that has seen some fierce competition this year. A large chunk of the devices launched this year belong in this segment. Also with the increasing adoption rate of 4G across the nation, mobile manufacturers have been introducing affordable mobiles with 4G capabilities. Frankly almost all the mobiles in this segment were failures but for a handful. Mobiles manufactures don't care, because mobiles are like bollywood movies. Movies make profit in the first 2 weeks in the box office, before people realize its worth. With the flash sales model, mobiles are sold in lakhs within few minutes of its launch before buyers realize its worth. But as I said, a handful of the lot came out truly victorious. The Lenovo K3 Note is the best mobile under Rs 10,000. I personally have got it for my sister and I can vouch for it with confidence. The K3 Note offers the best in all dimensions of a smartphone in this price range. Lumia 640 would be my suggestion if you are looking to buy a Windows mobiles. If you are really constrained in budget, the Redmi 2 prime is the mobile you should get and you will be spending just Rs 6999 for this little beauty. 


Best Flagship device:

The term flagship has been grossly misunderstood by many. Lenovo even called the A7000 as the flagship of the masses. Let me give you my interpretation of a flagship device. A flagship device must have the best of both software and hardware that the manufacturer can offer with no compromise. OnePlus 2 is the best flagship device that I would recommend. The Oneplus 2 offers top notch hardware and amazing camera capability. It would cost you less than Rs 25000 and you can be rest assured that you will not look to buy another mobile for two years. But if you want the best camera mobile with no compromise on hardware spec, the LG G4 is the one you must own. The Sony Z5 is another fantastic device this year has given us, but its a bit expensive. Ofcourse, if you know me, I wouldn't recommend any Samsung mobile, so lets stay out of that conversation. 


Best Fitness band:

Fitness band is the growing fad and this festive season, you must definitely gift yourself one. Fitbit has made their grand entry into Indian market. I have used the FitBit Flex for over an year in 2014 and then I moved on to the Mi Band. The Fitbit flex was not a well built band and it gave away within 3 months of usage. Fitbit USA offered me a replacement free of cost, but am not sure if you wil ge the same level of service in India. Fitness bands are known for their erratic behaviour and people complain that it counts their steps even while on flight. Well, they are nothing but glorified pedometers and any movement of your hand would be counted as a step. Of all the bands available in India, the Mi Band is the best. It costs just Rs 799 and a single charge would last for 100 days. 


Best Smartwatch:

Moto 360 was launched last year in India and it was a huge success. Though not sold in volumes, the Moto 360 was successfull in defining smartwatch to the Indian consumers. This year the Moto 360 2 is expected to be launched soon. I also got a chance to play with the Apple Watch and Sony Smartwatch 2. Finally I decided that smartwatches are not for me, yet! Smartwatches are unnecessary intrusion and a nagging mini mobile cuffed to your hands. If you really want a smartwatch, go for the Pebble time or the Moto 360 2.

Best compact camera:

Without any second thought, I would recommend the Sony Cybershot RX100 Mach II. Only the Mach 4 excels the Mach II, but its very expensive. The Mach II has got the best imaging capability for a compact camera. It may not offer you good zoom, but it is best suited for family, kids and vacation shoots. If you are thinking that only DSLRs give good quality images, you haven't tried the RX 100 M2 yet. If you are looking for a cheaper option, then the Nikon Coolpix s9700 should be good. 

Best DSLR:

If you are still convinced that you need to buy a DSLR, go for mirrorless cameras. I have made the shift from a regular DSLR to mirrorless DSLR and I thoroughly enjoy the experience. A mirrorless DSLR is much more compact than a regular DSLR. Though the lenses are expensive, if you know the range of lenses you need, look no beyond. I would strongly recommend the Sony A6000 with 3 lenses. The kit lens, 35 mm f1.8 prime and a 55-200 tele zoom lens. This package would cost you about Rs 1 lakh. On the other hand, if you are looking to learn photography grab the Nikon D3300 and slowly you can graduate to full frame DSLRs like the D810E. But before you make the decision, do think your motive and double think your commitment to photography. 

I have given you the cream of the suggestions and if you have any other questions on the above recommendations do reach out to me. If you need recommendations on buying any other gadgets, you can always ping me on twitter @cgiridhar and I would more than happy to help if its within my capacity. I thank my friend Tiger for letting me share this post in his blog. 

About Giridhar
Giridhar is a User Experience Designer by profession. He works for a software firm, based out of Bangalore. He is a film buff and recenlty he got addicted to TV episodes like Big Bang Theory, How I met your mother, Mentalist, Marvels series and more recently Heros Reborn. He has been blogging about gadgets for over 12 years now. He writes for his own blog www.phonelicious.in and also reviews gadgets onwww.gadgetdetail.com and www.mobigyaan.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pamper me Soft!

“We have a little guest coming so have to prepare our home to welcome her and it is going to be a tough job”. We were on the mission to welcome a little guest who would change the way we live, eat, think, work, sleep and even dream. 

The little guest would be our special guest for the next few years and would change our lives forever. But first we were to child-proof our home to ensure that there are no sharp things, no corners open, no nails, no plug points, switches and harsh surfaces that were protruding and harm our little one. Though this mission started much before the the little Tigress arrived, we were ready. Bedsheets changed from posh silk ones to cool cotton, pillows became softer, paddings were used to cover the furniture. Everything was ensured to be the softest thing available. Grandmother’s sarees kept for this particular purpose, specially worn, softened in natural organic fabric wash were cut to size and kept ready to be the first touch between our baby’s skin and the already soft blankets. The wraparound was also selected weeks before, thoroughly washed and ironed.

Our shampoo changed because it was slightly harsh and might irritate her. Our soaps changed, detergent changed, my cologne changed, we stopped the use of perfume, stopped wearing a formal shirt as it was leaving the button marks on her feather soft skin when I hold her during lunch or before going to office. I started wearing cotton tees, wify skipped all the decorative work-kundan-designer dresses and shifted to cotton ones so it was easy to handle. I started shaving every day to make sure my stubble doesn’t hurt the little one. Pillows, cushions grew multi-fold on our bed, on the floor around the bed. So everything around was which didn’t fit the softest in the world category was shown the door and we moved to the softest and the most natural one to do.

Then came the question of nappies.





Some suggested the use of cloth, some suggested the use of some pant model ones, some said use grandmother’s saree, some suggested napkins. We were also searching in Google, with doctors, friends and everywhere possible. Our primary logic was to ensure the baby’s skin doesn’t get rashes and the nappy shouldn’t hurt her. No compromise on that. No compromise on freedom of movement too. We didn’t want the legs to be too tight or hard to obstruct her freedom to move her little legs and do her cutsy things. We didn’t want her to feel wet either and get disturbed in the night or just before going to sleep. Comfort, peace of mind and safety were our primary concerns apart from a thousand other things all parents are worried about.

Then we found pampers. Pampers gave us the freedom to let her rest comfortably and move around as much as she wants. She wore them to sleep, wore them to parks, wore them when bored, wore them to fights, wore them to pin me down when wrestling, boxing, biting, fighting, basically wore them everywhere. She never felt that they were obstructing her movement. She loved them and to be frank, we change them very often. We also play with the colorful elephants, giraffes on the pampers. I keep joking that I have a masters degree in pampers changing. Thankfully no rashes, no leeks, no other problems in the last two years. Won’t we all choose the best for the baby? After all nothing is more important than her care and comfort. So why compromise!?

Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy. This post is a part of the Pampers #SoftestForBabySkin activity at BlogAdda.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Monday Blues: Take Timeout

Every now and then we are bogged up with routine and the way things are going at home and work. 

As it is important to have a break from work (usually on our week offs), we also need some space from home/family routine. This applies for both husband and wife and kids. Basically, you need to get a chance to step out of the treadmill, monotonous schedule and get a break. Yes! Monday blues can be handled better if you catch a break. So today's post is about beating the Monday Blues or Tuesday Blues by taking a time out and relaxing.




Now you must be thinking that everyone knows that a break will help and what is new with this post? I am not talking about the break from work. I am talking about the break from family. Special timeout for you from your family. I agree that holidays with family are relaxing too and would help in your rejuvenation but the best way to take a break personally is to just go out of the family and let yourself unwind. I am talking about the break with your friends, childhood mates, other people who would help you unwind. 


Once you step out of the family, you would have enough freedom (pun intended) to do whatever the hell you want to do or not do. This will reset your clock and attitude and help you realize how important you are for your family and vice versa. Thus Monday Blues wouldn't have a chance to creep back to your family life and would be purged regularly.

I for one believe in letting my partner off the hook when it comes to chores sometimes and also believe in letting her relax alone with her book, music, movie or her friends or go shopping without bothering about our kids, dinner or anything for that matter. These ME-timeouts would help both of you. Just like once in a while you tend to take out your phone battery and let it relax, you need to give timeouts and take some too. This would unclog your brain and help you come back with more passion, more love and more respect for what you have. 


So go ahead and take your timeout today. Kick the #MondayBlues with a #Timeout. Be where you can be, want to be and who to be. Make a difference in your life and in the lives of people who interact with you. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Book Review: Punjabi Thali

Things change after marriage. Any change is good but usually the change is met with resistance. Some people fight it and lose. Some people welcome and win. I had a friend called Shalini. She got married about four years ago and went out of touch. It was a love + arranged marriage and we all went to the wedding. Soon after the wedding we lost contact though we were on facebook and stuff. I heard she was doing great from other friends but she rarely met us at any of the social gatherings. 

Recently I met her at a mall and we got to catch up and over coffee the chatterbox that she is, she told me everything that happened over the last four years. We had so much fun. I loved meeting her. I always wondered if this bubbly chatterbox, Shalini would get tamed at her in-laws or would they get bugged by her. But she surprised me. She fit right into the Punjabi family and won their hearts with her sincerity and love. 




Now I am not talking about my friend Shalini but the protagonist in Swati Gulati's book - Punjabi Thali! Yes, Swati manages to build a character so interesting and lucid that she wins over your love and makes space in your close friends list. Shalini is married to in to a Punjabi home and has to cope with the pressures of a joint family and a well oiled machine like life where the diktat of elders is final and any change is questioned. It doesn't end there. 




What actually troubles her is that her all caring, loving husband is neutral to the fights that happen at home and rarely ventures to defend her. Her mother-in-law is a lovable mom but turns all her anxieties amplified towards the new claimant to the house. In this situation how does Shalini cope up with the Punjabi Thali and understand all the nuances of life is what ensues in the book.

Though the book sounds like a long complaint, it actually is readable with the pleasant narrative used by Shalini with ample doses of humour and anecdotes woven in. This book is the story of every woman married in to another family and how she matures to be the Bhabhi or Wife. This transformation happens to everyone in the family and is very pleasant if you want it to be. Unfortunately very few put in the effort to make the journey happy. Shalini's in-laws are much better to be frank and Shalini is smart in her ways too. 





So why should you buy the book and read it? Buy it to see how you can make your journey from a girlfriend to a wife fun, buy to know why you should take up the cause and not the sides, buy to see how you can fall in love with a family, just like in the movies. This book is fun, joyous and true in its core, a tad bit direct. A plate full of sweet, sour, hot, spicy, chunky and fun just like its name.

Buy Punjabi Thali here on flipkart.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Why I need to #ProtectHerHeart

When I met her for lunch for the first time, we spoke a lot, we laughed a lot, ate a lot and planned to meet again. Few days later we met for my coffee and her tea at the Taj and spoke over snacks. As our relationship progressed, our foodie expeditions moved forward too progressively increasing in time, space and quantity. The whole relationship was bonded over a good dose of food, frolic and fun. 

The numerous coffees that got cold as we spoke or ice creams melted over our engrossment in each other, or the hundreds of cold coffees that turned hot as our fights turned to silent waiting out to hear a sorry (It was always me by the way and never her). Life is good. We cherish the moments we spent with each other and will spend with each other. But most of these additional calories that got added to our tummies were burnt in the long walks we took after food though our car was parked next to the cafes and restaurants. If sharing food isn’t accompanied by the friendly chats, silences and walks later then it is no fun at all and in the process I won her heart.



Then we got married.

I make her breakfast, coffee and prepare food, milk for the little one and slowly wake them up. We still love our tea (She converted my coffee to tea! And I didn’t even realize?!!!), snacks, chats and the time we spend together over food. She tries to replicate my mom’s recipes and her mom’s snacks. Remember the word ‘try’ and then look up The Kitchen Story. She likes experimenting in the kitchen, cooks and plates mean food that makes me clean the plate. She waits while I taste the dish and tell her how good it is and then lets me enjoy it.




Then The Little Tigress stepped in to our lives. I don't just have one or two but three little hearts to protect and #ProtectHerHeart I will. 

Healthy options crept in. Though initially we hated the tastes, we started to love them. I gave up on all the food that she had stopped eating. So no snacks, junk food, Mcd, KFC, burgers and pizzas or colas and coffees. We were watching what we ate. Our food changed, choices changed. Then came the cravings. Biryanis. Many of them. We binged on everything and then once the little angel came into our lives, we decided to get fit to be there. I still cook for her. She makes so many nice things for the little one and I am forced to eat what is left out :)



Today, after checking out the Weight-Heart Test at www.saffolalife.com, I decided to tell you all as to what is our secret to #ProtectHerHeart. Here are the five things I would do to #ProtectHerHeart.

  1. I will make you laugh every day and keep you happy and pamper you with so many gifts that make you smile
  2. I will take you out for walks, talks and those street side hot teas while kids are at school
  3. I will eat good food with you with all the calories and eat all the ice creams, pizzas, but in moderation
  4. I will take care of the little one and give you ‘Ýour Time’ so you can have free time for yourself and do whatever you want to do
  5. I will adhere to your strict diet that you have been pushing me to start and take my health and yours seriously
Most importantly, I will not break your heart and promise to protect your heart all the time for it is mine.

I am joining the Saffolalife #ProtectHerHeart initiative and pledging my support to better heart health in Association with BlogAdda.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Moto G 3rd Gen Phone Review: It's a steal

For about a week I was searching for a good phone to gift but couldn't finalize on what to buy. That is when I came across Moto G 3rd Gen and ended up buying it. So here is the Moto G 3rd Gen Review with first impressions. 




Screen Size: The device is handy (a bit more than what usually is comfortable in your hand) but the extremely good display keeps it interesting. The display is one of the clearest I have seen in this price bracket and the design makes it more than convenient to watch a video, movie or play a decent game. With two variants - 8 GB + 1GB Ram and 16 GB + 2 GB Ram available, and with a powerful 1.4 GHz quad-core processor the phone can be really magnificent.





Camera: With a 13 MP rear camera and dual LED flash and a selfie friendly 5 MP front camera, the phone can whip up some amazing photos to stop you from carrying an additional camera when you decide to lave your DSLR home. 


The Moto G 3rd Gen is also Water-resistant and Worry-proof. You need your phone to be there for you, even in less-than-ideal conditions. IPX7-rated water protection keeps your phone safe from splashes and drops in water. After an accidental splash into a puddle or sink, just dry off your phone and keep going.Also the water proof/rain spill protection comes in handy to the Indian conditions. I am not sure about the other covers that are available from third party vendors but the original one has a beautiful texture to it and gives a good grip.






The battery is well packed and has 2470 mAh giving a mixed usage up to 24 hours. We used it for a full day, played some videos, clicked some 50 pictures and made some 2 hours worth calls and still the battery is decent. Being in built, there might be a difficulty if you need to replace it in a year or two. But who uses a smart phone for more than two years?


The device is pocket friendly too with the 8 GB variant coming up to 11999/- and the 16 GB version coming to 12999/-. I honestly think you should go for the 16 GB one as the additional 1000/- is worth it for the price.






Though wify and many of us want to cover it up with a screen guard, I am dead against it. The new Moto G 3rd Gen comes with a Corning Gorilla Glass display. If y
ou need a phone that can stand up to your demanding lifestyle, Corning Gorilla Glass 3 spans Moto G from nearly edge to edge to help keep your phone protected from unsightly scrapes and scratches. So skip the cover and have fun.

Here is the list of all specifications of the Moto G 3rd Generation phone that makes it a great deal. 

  • Advanced water resistanceIPX7-rated protection from splashes and accidental drops in water
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5 MP front camera
    Includes a colour-balancing dual LED flash
  • 12.7cm(5) HD display
    Brilliant display quality and the strength of Corning® Gorilla® Glass
  • Expandable memory
    Slot for an optional microSD card with up to 32 GB capacity
  • All-day battery
    A 2470 mAh battery lasts all day
  • 4G LTE  speed
    Browse, stream music, watch video, and play games at blazing speed

What can be improved: The camera is a little fuzzy when you click pictures in continuation and pixelates indoors. If I have to wait between pictures, then it defeats the purpose. It would have been great to have a battery removable option for longer life. 

You can pick up the Moto G 3rd Gen phone here. Should I say I fell for the Motorola dimple or for the chop-chop action that turns the flash light on and off or for the twist action that turns on the camera in 3 secs? I would go for the dimple. Chop-chop!





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Behavioural activation for Monday Blues

As a part of our Monday Blues series, we will talk about behavioral activation to single out our stress factors and how do we beat Monday Blues.



Though the theory is detailed, let me try and explain the essence of behaviourial activation. Every day as you start out at work, make a list of tasks that you want to do or complete during that work day. Now once the list is done, assign difficulty levels to each of these tasks and see which ones are more difficult than the other. Once you have this sorted out, try out the most difficult one first and then move on to the next difficult one. While this is one of the suggestions from behaviourial activation, it also means that you would be finishing the most toughest of tasks early in the morning when your energy levels are high. Once you move on to the next task, they get easier and easier to help you solve better.

As a result of this model, you would be rejoicing and easing away as you move on to the easier tasks as you pass through the day. This is extremely helpful in a desk job as you can easily get carried away. So try out the listing on tasks, organizing from the most difficult to the easier ones and breeze through them.

Most importantly this helps in creating a positive mindset to help overcome stress and any avoidance behaviour in handling various tasks that you ought to complete. You can use this every day to a great professional success and skip the avoidance behaviour and waste less time. Try it and let me know what you think. Beat the Monday Blues and have a great day!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Book review: The Fall of Shuruppak

Are you someone who likes fantasy books and appreciate a technical writer who uses his creative writing skills to recreate history? Are you someone who loves academic writing and non-fiction books that makes novels look like a mirror of a civilization readable? 

Well then you must love Dr. Shankar Kashyap. I was asked to review his latest book - The Fall of Shuruppak. In this book he brings to life the ancient kingdoms of Harappa with a finesse of a surgeon with the chaos of the magic from the ancient civilizations as if he has been there really traveling with the protagonist hero and his small group of truth seekers who take up this adventurous journey through the ravishing jungles, fighting ferocious creatures, long sojourns in treacherous rivers, storms and shipwrecks.





What makes you buy this book is the impressive storyline that will grip you and keep you inspired to read more. The interesting, awe inspiring well planned cities of ancient India thump your pride as the doctor uses his years of research to paint a very realistic picture for your reading pleasure. When the lovable protagonist Upaas, a doctor himself, is accompanied by his wife Lopa and the crown prince and the fearless soldier Parthava narrates the story to you, you just sit there and listen.


The interesting turn of events take them in search of various sages while they encounter extraordinary people, scientific discoveries, new lands, threats, fire fights, abductions, miraculous and close encounters while being street smart and move on to the next location.





If this book were a movie, you wouldn’t have anything less than the Lord of The Rings scale. Unfortunately we don’t have many books celebrating the great civilisations of Harappa and Mohenjedaro around Indus Valley with their advanced technology, know-how and what not! When I came across Shankar’s book, this was pure joy.


The epic battle between a mythical creature demon and Enkidu and the great loyalty and friendship between Emperor Gilgamesh and his journey to seek a solution helps us understand the great cultures and values of the Sumerian civilization and their practice of medicine, cultures, religions, how they treated their people, visitors and guests, their economy and what not. The Fall of Shuruppak is less of a fantasy book and more a journey of self-discovery and bonding while educating us about one of the greatest civilizations of the world.


For more book reviews check out this link.

Rating: 3.5/5
Verdict: Pick it up just for celebrating our ancient culture

12 ways to beat Monday Blues

Faced with Monday Blues?
Want to know how you can beat Monday Blues?


Everyone around me have come in with a grumpy face to work and it reminds me that it is a Monday! We face Monday Blues meaning that we all face some issues with the situations every day. So here are 12 easy ways to handle Monday blues. 




  1. Start with a smile! Monday blues are more about your emotional needs than physical and need not necessarily mean you have to suffer. Once your emotional needs are tended to, the situation can improve a lot. So start your day with a beautiful smile or share a joke, spend time with someone you love and come to work. See the Monday blues disappear. Smile your Monday Blues away!
  2. Identify the problem: Ask yourself this. What is the reason for my feeling this way? Why am I prone to Monday Blues? How do I avoid Monday Blues? Is it because of someone or something or is it because you have a problem with someone? Most of the times, it is essential to identify the reason to solve the problem. So identify, then face it.
  3. Look forward to a Monday: I would suggest you look forward to working on Monday. Have goals, plans, meetings, schedules and also plan something interesting as to how you will go and achieve your goals that day. It is very important to get that in place as it would assure you a sense of purpose. So plan and look forward to a Monday to beat Monday Blues.
  4. Plan some exciting things to do: Every Monday, have something exciting to do. I know what you would say. Monday Blues and excitement don't go hand in hand. Which means you need to plan something very interesting like a tennis match with your buddies, a family cook out with your loved ones which is there to look forward to once your day at work is over. Even a working lunch would do a lot of good for you when you plan. So make exciting plans for Monday to beat Monday Blues.
  5. Unwind on the weekend: Make sickening plans to enjoy your weekend. This is to ensure all your pressure weans off once you finish your weekend and come back recharged when you come back to work. plan to beat Monday Blues with a party.
  6. Eat well: One of the greatest motivators is good food. Have a good healthy filling breakfast on Monday. Go fully on to work and beat the hell out of your Monday Blues.
  7. Listen to good music: What jives you on? Plan that music playlist and keep it going so you can work your magic while your favorite tunes take you away! Music is such a good mood enhancer and in most cases helps your performance too. Sing and dance your Monday Blues away.
  8. Wake up early: Start your Monday early to beat the feeling of Monday Blues. A good start to your day could be reading your favorite book, listening to something you love or just go for a walk. Start your day with blazing colors to make it happen.
  9. Be cheerful: A cheerful person would spread joy around. (S)he would also help in creating a happy, warm, positive atmosphere around her work space and it is very important to get that moods right. not just on Monday but every day. So by default, be cheerful and happy! A cheerful attitude takes your Monday Blues away.
  10. Help someone: At work, on the street, from your team, friends and family. Help someone so you can take that positive energy to work and meet your expectations. You can always use some positive energy anytime of the day. So genuinely help someone. Helping someone beat their Monday Blues helps you beat yours.
     
  11. Hydrate yourself: Keep yourself hydrated. Grab that coffee, juice box or that bottle of water. Keep yourself hydrated and refreshed. It will help you come out of the boredom and stay active throughout the day. So be on your toes and be healthy. Keep sipping. Flush out that sad Monday Blues feeling and some toxins out.
  12. Power dress for success: Yes go ahead. Pamper yourself. Grab that green tie that you like, wear your favorite jersey if that is your mojo. Dress to your confidence and make it count. Once you have your confidence in Monday Blues rush to their exit. If you need to relax, do that. If you dress for power, do that. Doesn't matter what you wear as long as you wear to success and go ahead.
Now that we have 12 ways to counter the feelings of the Monday Blues, go ahead and make a positive contribution to your team, company and most importantly to yourself. Say no to Monday Blues and have a great Monday!

For more tips, read our Monday Blues series here.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A part of India's life for 100 years

Understanding consumer psyche is a tough job. Like I always say, understanding consumer is the most important person in any business. Collecting consumer insights and using them to get in to your consumer's head to tweak your message to meet their expectations and understanding what they would like to see is very important. Nestle is one of the brands that managed this successfully over a long period of time. The latest ad that the brand floated is one of the best and most compelling that I have seen in a long time. Watch the advertisement and add this to your consumer behaviour notes or consumer behaviour in marketing and their implications in marketing strategy. 



So Nestle comes up with this ad which traces the important moments in Indian history. It is very nostalgic, communicates the greatness of our nation with historic references to show that they have been a part of our culture, our memories and have been there always. Brilliant concept. Very easily one of the best advertisements for 2015 from the grand old Nestle.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Say Hello to The Conditioned

His name is Ramundo Arruda Sobrinho and for 35 years, this 77-year-old homeless man spent his days doing his passion: writing poetry and short stories. But his work remained completely invisible to the world until one day in 2011, he befriended a woman named Shalla. 

The video below is a critically acclaimed documentary called “The Conditioned” and it tells the incredibly story of Ramundo’s life and how it changed after giving Shalla one of his poems. Shalla was so touched by Ramundo’s poetry that she started a Facebook page to share his work with the world. What happened next is nothing short of a miracle.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

One Day At A Time, Sweet Jesus



I'm only human, I'm just a woman. 
Help me believe in what I could be 
And all that I am. 
Show me the stairway, I have to climb. 
Lord for my sake, teach me to take 
One day at a time. 

Chorus: 
One day at a time sweet Jesus 
That's all I'm asking from you. 
Just give me the strength 
To do everyday what I have to do. 
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus 
And tomorrow may never be mine. 
Lord help me today, show me the way 
One day at a time. 

Do you remember, when you walked among men? 
Well Jesus you know if you're looking below 
It's worse now, than then. 
Cheating and stealing, violence and crime 
So for my sake, teach me to take 
One day at a time. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Social Media Leader of the Year

The new age marketing has been redefined by the social media interface. The amount of time people spend on social media is amazing or in other words overwhelming. Managing a brand's presence online and offline is a tough job and gets more difficult when you are pitted against the best in the business - clientele. In this context, this comes as a blessing and recognition to the hours spent in achieving what we wanted. A big shout out to my team, family and friends. Thank you.

I won the Social Media Leader of the Year award at the 'National Awards for Excellence in Digital Marketing and Social Media'. Some of the pictures from the event.









Illuminate


Illuminate while you can. Life is short. Make it bright.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book review: Doppelgänger Short stories

If you like reading, you would love a good book with a good story. Wouldn’t you? How about 18 of them in one book? Well that is what these 18 stories with varied emotions, varied themes and interesting twists have in store for you. Doppelgänger: Short stories promises to be a great read.



Promising to keep you interested with its dexterity of characters that spring out to your side and explain their versions and share their life with you. It is interesting to say the least as some of the stories really touched me. The pain, emotions and the easily forgotten small incidents we all encounter in life are portrayed with flamboyance. Madhavi S Mahadevan has carefully strung 18 different unique pearls, sorry soul stirring stories, on a nerve and served it up to us in this book.

Doppelgänger, published by Alchemy Publishers, short stories explores the themes of isolation, anger, passion, inexplicable relationships, responsibilities, love, hatred and pure aggression among others and delves into looking at life as a roller coaster of events, small but significant, to change our perception about what normal life is. After all what is termed as a normal life? What goes on in the life of a normal individual? 

How often do we really care about the people who love us and care for us in the first place? Can you put a price tag on the love of a parent, sibling or the value of a relationship until you lose them? What can be the correct measure of passion or abuse? Hard to explain unless you get a close up chance to stare at the naked reality of truth and confront the hard blatant complexity of a double life or an extra marital affair and how these strange situations, characters come out and make bare their stories and life experiences with you. 

Overall the book is an excellent read and I love the selection set in modern India are highly recommend. To close here is a quote from the book.


"Rangi ko narangi kahen, banay doodh ko khoya
Chalti ko gaadi kahen, dekh Kabira roya"

Pick it up from Flipkart here.

Rating: 3.5/5
Verdict: Pick it up!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

I'm trading my sorrows



I'm trading my sorrows
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying them down for the joy of the lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the lord

We say yes lord yes lord yes yes lord
Yes lord yes lord yes yes lord
Yes lord yes lord yes yes lord amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted but not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
That his joy's gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Del Monte Bachelor Pasta Salad

Here is an easy recipe to kick Cholesterol and stay healthy. Del Monte bachelor pasta salad. 

Though this cooking exercise is to star in the Blog your way to Italy contest, I chose to make it a simple recipe that you can make at home without straining yourself. So here we go.



Cooking time: 12-15 mins




Ingredients:
  • Del Monte Pasta pack: 1 (We are using 1/4th of the pack to serve two)
  • Sweet corn: 50 grams
  • Zucchini: 50 grams (cut to size)
  • Carrot: 25 grams (cut to small cubes)
  • Sprouts: 25 grams (of your choice)
  • Lettuce: 1 leaf
  • Cheese: Mozzarella
  • Add any other peas, nuts, fresh cut vegetables like tomatoes, as ingredients.



 Steps for the recipe:
  1. Blanch and lightly boil the pasta to gain tenderness for about 8-10 minutes
  2. Cut carrot, zucchini to small cubes
  3. You may add any fruits or nuts if you have at home
  4. Once the pasta is boiled, strain off excess water and plate it
  5. Add the carrot and any other nuts or sprouts to taste here. We add them first to help the heat of the pasta helps them soften
  6. Add the sprouts, lettuce and herbs if you have any
  7. Add salt to taste and pepper to taste and toss the salad
  8. Add scrapes of Mozzarella cheese on top
  9. Add Del Monte chilli sauce and tomato sauce to taste



And serve hot with a fruit juice if possible.

As you can see this is probably the easiest pasta recipe and can be made easily in 15 minutes. As we have a lot of fresh vegetables, nuts and fruits in the recipe you are bound to enjoy a variety of flavours which would keep you interested and munching towards better health.

So go ahead and make your own recipe and add what your favorite flavours are to make it the salad of the day. 

Adapt