Google+ Consumer Psyche: July 2015


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam. 1931-2015

Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam. 1931-2015. Blue jeans. Grey trousers. Long hair. Unkempt hair. Ever smiling. Bright eyes. Impossible dreams. Eternal hope. Devout Muslim with Hindu values. Missile man. Rocket scientist. Project director. Eminent scientist. People's president. An extraordinary Indian. Eternal teacher. Ignited minds. Long silver hair. Tamilian accent. Carnatic devotional music lover. Prithvi missile. Agni Missile. Nuclear architect. Buddha smiles. Buddha smiles again. Beloved President. Children's President. Make in India. Vision 2020. Inspiring speaker. Nationalist. Pokran architect. Marg Darshak. Ideal scientist. Bharat Ratna. A Teacher forever.

10 leadership lessons you can learn from Dr. Abdul Kalam!

Ten leadership lessons you can learn from Dr. Abdul Kalam!

  1. He was an early riser: Staff at his office and Rastrapathi Bhavan later had to change their timings to match his schedule. As an early riser, he had extra hours for thinking, planning and relaxing.
  2. He was meticulous: His planning was perfect. He was always ahead of his schedule and finished his tasks to perfection. He also had small breaks to ensure there is enough space if there needs to have overflow.
  3. He was a leader: In thought, ideas, plans and execution. He was always ready to shoulder responsibility. It is rumored that Atalji wanted to speed up the nuclear programme that PV Narasimharao started and despite being low on resources, Kalam accepted it as a challenge and fulfilled it.
  4. He could see ahead of his time: This was essential to set goals. Dr. Kalam could see much ahead of his time. While all the new world and Asian countries were looking to send satellites to the moon, Dr. Kalam looked beyond and set his eyes on Mars - Hence Mangalyaan.
  5. He helped solve simple problems: While this is a famous story about Abdul Kalam and his team made lightweight crutches, he was ready to spend time in solving simple, everyday problems to common people. Being extremely busy with his work at the Nuclear research and working on rockets, he was able to take time and motivate his team to come up with a cost effective, easy, usable solution to many people.
  6. He was a voracious reader: Tea and books were his companions till the end. He read a lot of books. I was told that he spent most of his free time at Rastrapathi Bhavan at the huge library or in the park reading and thinking. At 84 years of age, he was far more smarter and knowledgeable than many youngsters.
  7. He loved youth: He was always thinking and working with young men and women to help them achieve their goals. Most of the people who spoke to him had the privilege to cherish his ideas and his thoughts all their life. He believed in coaching, motivating and setting goals and achieving them.
  8. He was humble: One of the most important factors we could see about him was that he was very humble and down to earth. He always had simple tastes and choices and lived frugally. I was told that the first day at Rastrapathi Bhavan, he chided the people not to waste so much food and wait on him as he would love to have two idlies and one wada in the confines of his room. Simple man, simple choices, humble lifestyle and extraordinary vision.
  9. He skipped protocol: Many a times, he broke protocol and mingled with children, youth and common people. He was more of a people's man than to follow the rules. He always had a jig in his step and was very spontaneous.
  10. He was a great communicator: He conversed mostly in small sentences carefully worded with simple easily understood words. Though he has an amazing arsenal of languages, he was true to his diction of Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi and could quote many verses easily. He told so many stories and anecdotes in his speech that people would remember what he said clearly.
  11. He was a great teacher: As his twitter handle says, he is a teacher forever. Once you learn something, make sure you teach that and add value to many people. He was a great man and could just relax in his retirement years. He chose to teach and as you saw, he was teaching even a second before his death.
May his soul rest in peace. No. May he make more shooting stars and send them to many unknown planets.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

10 tips to improve your lifestyle

Here are ten tested tips to improve your lifestyle.

  1. Skip the negative feeling: Stop being negative. Whenever you have a negative thought beaming in your head, postpone it and say, " I will not let you spoil my mood!" Let the thought disappear and see how you would be relieved.
  2. Move, physically: Whenever you feel down, just get up and move. Take a stroll, to the water cooler, to the window, to the dashboard... Just get up and move. It will help you realign your body and mind. Make this a good habit.
  3. Have a juice: Include some juice in your daily routine. While it is easy to say that you should have 6-8 meals spread through out the day, it is tough to maintain. So just have a juice in your diet and keep sipping slowly and re-hydrate your body and brain and relax when you do that. You would get your positive energy from the juice and relaxation to your brain.
  4. Be honest: As difficult as it sounds this would set you free. You would be more honest, serious and committed. Once you start being truthful, you would also be more fruitful and efficient. Though this cannot happen in a day, you should try and start today. As The Bible says, the truth will set you free!
  5. Talk to your friends, build a good community. Your friends, family and community are the fortress around you. Build a good fortress of people who would improve your life and efficiency. I would strongly encourage you to look at hanging around your community that would bring the best in you.
  6. Laugh more: Do you know that the average 4 year old laughs 300 times a day while the average 40 year old only 4? I don't know what you think, but it is scary! We lost our sense to appreciate small little things and enjoy life. We are turning into robots! Stop it. Right now. Laugh!
  7. Appreciate enough: Say 'Thank you', 'Sorry', 'Appreciate that' more often in your day. Add those little words in your communication and see how people change around you. When you are thankful for what you have, the world is a better place. Appreciate your family - your partner, your children, parents and everyone who loves you.
  8. Pick your Mojo: Have a mojo. Something that drives you. Plan to run in a marathon. Train to be fitter. Go for a run. Play an instrument. Cook a wonderful dinner. Do something that matters to you other than what you do for work. Have a mojo. It will change your life.
  9. Travel: I love traveling, even if it is a small short trip. Travel to new locations. Explore people, places, food, music, life, culture. As you travel more, you look and appreciate life more. As you learn more, you will be better. Travel. Get out!
  10. Face your fear: Do things that you are not comfortable about. Like diving, swimming, losing weight, whatever you are afraid of. Facing your fear will give you the best push you would need ever. Some of my clients have confessed that taking the roller coaster with their kids had given them the boost and thrill they never experienced in their life. However small, face your fear.
  11. Bonus! Do extra, be awesome: Do more than required. Put your personal touch into it and deliver more than you promised. Viola! You are the super hero. Do extra, the extra is what gives you more satisfaction. Both to you and the one who receives it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review: The Faceless Saldirgan

Simply put, it is not your regular story of two people falling in love and the killer trying to avenge some long gone mishap that happened in his life and all this for the sadistic pleasure he gets out of killing and hurting people. That is what you expect out of a murder mystery. Not when you are talking about the new book on the shelves - The Faceless Saldirgan.

Written by a cool kid in glasses who looks like Vishwanathan Anand and you might think has a cool brain that is worried about maths and science or his next exam, this psychological thriller is quite manipulative, layered and a puzzle that lures you in and makes you helpless. The style is contemporary and pleasant. Quite a fast read and the events in the book hurl at amazing speeds though the story unravels itself over the official timeline at Greenwich.

The Faceless Saldirgan is a breath of fresh air in the growing stories about murder, rape, pain and abnormality as it doesn't just focus on the murder but is quite a lot about the psychology of the killer or the killer instinct, if I must put it that way. The ease with which the Saldirgan executes his meticulous plans and reaches his goal is amazing. While you would be intrigued by what happens in the end and are clueless in the puzzle about who the killer might be, very few could actually guess who the killer is and understand the grand finish the plot is reaching out for. I could :)

I usually get bored if the details are more and are not related to the story or, how do I put it pleasantly, not actively contributing to the story, but this was an exception. I actually read through the passages where biology, chemistry, psychology, quotes of religious texts were mentioned verbatim. This was because these small trinket of information was more to do with the story than to show off the knowledge the author had about the topic or pointed out how lazy you were for not checking that on Google. The Faceless Saldirgan could comfortably bring out the beauty in the characters and build the plot effectively.

The characters are lovable and reasonably delightful and are good in what they do. You are given a good detail about how they go about in their day and don't waste any time to become friendly with the characters. Jack, Ralph and John live an interesting life to say the least and Jack has the best of everything happening to him along with the beautiful Danielle who adds the jing to the story. Danielle is unfortunately killed off in a horrific manner right in the beginning and the Saldirgan makes a grand appearance albeit being faceless. From then on the story picks up pace and is a good read till you get to know who the killer is and how and why he was hell bent upon ruining Jack's life. Alec, Lucy and all the other characters play their roles pretty well in the shadow of the killer while you search for some clue that the author might have left in there somewhere.

Towards the end, I wished it was faster but you can never get a perfect pause to the explosive end. While the deaths were dealt clinically, I would have preferred slightly more effect to the process. Overall a good read, especially if you like murder mysteries and love a quick read. Sahil Loomba has a winner for his first book.

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday Blues: Delegate

Have a plan today and delegate some of your work if you have a team or outsource what you can get done from others. A good leader is one who can delegate and get it done. Some of the best things in life are things that happen when you are not doing them and hence it is important to loose control sometimes and get things done by others. 

Some problems we have with delegation are that we don't trust others to produce the results like you expect the to do in a way that you want them to do. Not necessary I guess. While it is important that the result is the same or close to what you want, it is important to let the other person add some personal touch to what they are doing. I mean allow them to function in their own style and way that they want to so it adds more fun for them to complete the task. If you control too much and demand too similar then it takes the fun out of the job.

Let them have their fun and get them do their work in their own way but focus on getting things done. DELEGATE.

Pic is from here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Deep fried fish

We were at the beach side dhaba/eatery in Doha, Qatar and the chef's recommendation was this freshly caught fish, prepared and fried to our taste. Decked and marinated in five different herbal and spices paste, the sigh was left to marinate for 1 hour and quickly fried in searing oil for 5 minutes. The sumptuous salad was superb too.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Why the all New Jazz from Honda is turning heads!

The story of my search for a true premium hatchback started much before the recent launch but quite some time back in 2009. Back then the Jazz offered enough space and comfort that we wanted but was a huge tick off on the cost part when compared to the pricing and hence was off our list. I still remember its look when it zoomed on the road. My understanding was that the market wasn’t ready to spend a lot on the car though the brand, design and the power packed performance was commendable. 

Now the 2015 New Honda Jazz has all the goodness of the old Jazz and more and that too in an affordable pricing starting a little over 5.3 lakhs. With the new design that commands a second look and available in many color options like Carnelian Red Pearl, Sunset Orange, Urban Titanium Metallic, Albaster Silver Metallic, Taffeta White, Golden Brown Metallic, White Orchid Pearl you have an excellent choice for selection. 

Under the hood: The 1.5L i-DTec engine gives you a 27+ kms mileage which is decent. On road it seems to give around 20-22 kms and I think it is pretty decent when compared to the speed it can generate from its powerful engine(100 ps max) with the new 6 speed MT. The all-aluminium construction helps it to be low on friction and increases efficiency. The 1.2 L i-VTEC petrol engine with its 18.7 kmpl mileage is a tough competition too. 

 Here are some of the features that makes it worth your money. 

  1. Tilt steering. Helps you adjust to your height and comfort. Works expecially well with extremely tall people or women who love driving without heels. Gives you an extra comfort to stop straining your back.
  2. Several USB ports and coffee cup holders are very useful for working on the field people like me. I need to charge on the go. The all new Honda Jazz helps recharge my phone and holds my coffee too while I am driving. There are 9 cup holders in all!
  3. The driver seat adjuster added with the tilt steering is a superb solution to drive comfortably.
  4. Ample boot space with 345 litres allows you to pack off many things and head out with your family. This is very useful when you are planning a road trip with your family. With the magic seats tucked away you get about 880 litres of space. That is HUGE!
  5. The handling of the machine is very smooth and is very good in turns and twisty roads. It comes in handy even when your second-choice driver is at the wheel.
  6. The best feature I am really impressed about is the reclining back seat! Let me explain this enough. They aren't called Magic seats for nothing. If you plan properly the back seats recline comfortably and help in resting. I have always wanted this when driving with a a driver in my car. Except in my Mobilio, I can’t rest well when I am in the back seat and my driver is driving the car. This special feature would be of great help when I have a long day and feel the need to be driven. Thank you Honda for thinking about my back :)
  7. Ample leg room in both front and back seats helps you relax your feet, especially in long distance drives. This is very thoughtful as you end up sitting in the same posture when you are cramped up for space.
  8. I liked the angular lights that disappear in the hood design blending with the minimal chrome design and the dull finished grill. The unique wheel design is eye catchy.
  9. I loved the interiors with dull black up market feeling and light colored touches add to the killer looks.
  10. The silence… in the car when you are driving it and the insulation was too good. The ac was powerful too with its calm demeanor and we were comfortable when driving it for about 30 mins. You could really enjoy the music on your pen drive.
  11. Safety first: Impact mitigating head rests are new. ABS with EBD, dual SRS airbags, ACE body structure, seat belt pretensioner with load limiter, armrest console and the step illumination, what else can you ask for?
The all new Honda Jazz has all the check boxes ticked right this time with the localization in pricing, design, looks and matches the name and hype. You can call it the new super star on the block. If you are a Honda fan with long time wish to get a Honda City or even the old Jazz, you should look at this for sure. I would also recommend the Petro automatic version, which would be very comfortable when driving in the city traffic while zipping to office or dropping off kids at school. I liked the fact that the transition from one gear to another was really smooth and it picks up speed well and behaves well on the road. 

Considering the leg room, head room, the well thought off magic seats, lots of small storage spaces, composed behavior at high speeds and the stand out design and looks, Honda comes out a winner in this test. I am all excited to see how it performs in the Indian market. Like I mention always, the brand that does the thinking like the local consumer and actually listen and works on their product offering always is welcomed. The all new Honda Jazz does it this time and does it right true to their theme, Honda calls it man maximum, machine minimum. 

I would have loved to see some more comfort in the back seat, especially for thigh support and you might find constantly cleaning the colored touch screen for finger prints, the Jazz has almost everything going for it. 

Rating: 4/5 

Verdict: Buy

Pics are by Giri and here.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dabur Baby Massage Oil review

I was sheepishly hesitant when I saw her for the first time as she was wrapped in green cotton sheet and was handed over to me. I was holding her like I was holding a hot glass bowl or the egg of a precious bird. She was my little angel and I was seeing her for the first time. I cannot tell you how it feels to fall in love instantly and for the second time. This was a beautiful experience for me and I wanted to preserve that memory forever. This was to a point that I was always at her side, at her beck and call, even at the slightest call, muzzle or mumble. And I do it even today. I always wanted to give her the best of the best things available and in that process have not compromised on anything. Touch wood. May my #FirstLove stay the same - in the pink of health.

When it came to give her a bath, all the tub, wrapping towels, soap, soap case and everything else was the best of the best available in India and abroad. When it came to oil, we opted for a trusted brand and it shocked us when her tender skin developed rashes and upon a little googling and research, I found that the ingredients are not always natural and in this case, they were clearly mentioning that some mild chemicals were used. The product went straight to dustbin. Never to return to our shopping carts again.

Thus started the hunt for the best oil to massage my little one, not just to prepare her for bath and help her skin stay lush but also to help in the formation of strong bone, growth of muscle and tone of the skin. Was there a solution that provided all these and yet be natural and mild enough so her skin will not erupt with rashes and reddiness? Apparently there was and it was from our own tested and trusted brand - Dabur. The baby oil and Lal Tail are regular items on our shopping list. To take it one step forward, wify has started to use them too for herself to help in the tissue softening and it has done wonders.

The new baby massage oil comes in a cute little bottle of 100 ml and is priced reasonably at Rs. 110/- for the small bottle. The packing is good and the curve on the bottle doesn’t let it slip even with a slightest pressure on it. This comes in very handy when you are managing a baby in one hand, towels, wipes and the oil bottle in another. The cute little elephant makes it cuter. 

Dabur Baby does not encourage the use of any form of artificial colours, paraffins, and parabens. Dabur Baby Massage Oil is a unique blend of premium natural oils like - Olive & Almond which provide the baby the required nourishment. Olive is known to help provide nourishment to the baby’s skin, while Almond is known to gently moisturize your baby’s delicate skin making it soft and supple. The Olive oil provides the nourishment needed to reduce the pressures and pains (body aches) in the little one and helps her relax and sleep. 

Check the product out and I would suggest you check any product from Dabur first before opting for anything else when it comes to kids. I also would suggest that you try out a small quantity on your little one to check if she is reacting in any way and then use any product.

Check out more about the goodness of Dabur and the Baby oil here.

“I am participating in the #FirstLove activity at BlogAdda in association with Dabur.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

An over late!

Since the black and white EC TV came home one day to sweets and loads of tea, since the time we had to climb up to the roof precariously to adjust the antenna to get clean image and reception on TV, since Kapil paaji lifted the cup and Sunil Gavaskar lifted it's lid to see what is inside, we are a cricket crazy nation. Every time I went out to bat in my street, all our audience were empires giving us verdits of out and not out. Sometimes when there was a power cut despite all the precautions taken by out Ramana uncle, who worked in the electricity board, he used to come home much later in the night to avoid hate-filled glances as people were left to press the Radio close to their ears and listen tot he commentary.

Skip forward a few years, Sachin was just beginning to become a phenomenon and we all wore blue Adidas tees and posed with dummy MRF bats and did the famous groin-drop ceremoniously even when facing a 10 year old local kid we faced everyday. And we drank Pepsi even in rainy season and watched cricket. I remember watching the matches standing on the street outside the shop that sold TVs and would broadcast the match to a window outside so we can watch. 

Then we got the color TV. Things changed style changed. Still we would go out to the streets to watch the match. The atmosphere was electric when Sachin took us on against Australia in Sharjah singlehandedly. We jumped and jumped and shouted at the top of our lungs and hugged random people on the street out of pure joy and felt India ruled the world.

Things changed as I moved to college, got my Saching signed MRF original bat, started to work and got a place of my own. Now cricket still rules as the hidden page on the browser with several windows which I would frequently sneak and the muted celebration when Harbhajan swept Australians away. As I grew in my corporate ladder, the browser was more prominent and net connections got better but still I love to buffer it up before actually watching the action. An over late. I know. But still better to let it load. And Yuvi hit those sixers. Six in a match. I was a punjabi that day :) Sachin hit the double hundred. Rohit hit the grand double. Dhoni hit that six to get us the cup. All an over late. An over of confusion. An over of stress and nail biting. An eternity.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tiger reviews Renault Lodgy

"Looks bulky", I told myself when I saw the new baby from Renault for the first time. She had come to give us a taste of her speed and was standing in front of The Leela Palace at Goa. I love any new vehicle and this was especially enticing as it had just rained and some little droplets were hanging on to her. There was an entire fleet of 10 vehicles and we got the most powerful one with 6-gears to test out.

The first few minutes I was trying to figure out how she would respond to my finicky fidgety approach while trying out the shifting of gears and adjusting the seat height, angle of the steering wheel and fixing the indoor temperature and the music system (touch screen).

Once we got off the road from Leela and went on to try the driving at the main road I could feel the power of the machine. The MPV segment’s new baby from the Renault family had it packed well under the hood. I was amazed at the dexterity it could maneuver the turns and the wet paths on the rainy Goan roads. Well... while I can go on and on what I tried, let me tell you what comes as a package when you pick up a Renault Lodgy.

Control: I tried doing some stunts that the Renault team wouldn’t have agreed but ya… I have tried. The vehicle is under control when making sharp turns, does well in slopes when climbing up an incline. It also does well when braking suddenly. Though their reports say it is the best when it comes to the coverage of distance while braking, I had no reason to doubt. The ABS + EBD + Brakeassist, rear defogger, airbags and all the other security features makes you comfortable when with family.  

Real estate: The best feature was the space available in it to pack so many things and have the whole family, extended family and some luggage for picnic and drive off. The air conditioning was powerful too and with vents out at the third seat, the cooling was superb. We were around five people in the vehicle along with some stuff and still could be cooled properly at the first point. The boot space is amazing. What did I like here? The two tone dashboard, leather wrapper steering wheel, a fine looking 3 panel instrument cluster, leather upholstery, a built in medinav system with colored reverse camera display, roof mounted dual AC and electrically adjustable rear view mirrors, central locking, key-less entry...  

Comfort: Apart from the height adjustable seat belts, seat belt reminder, door ajar warning, impact sensing unlock, speed sensitive door lock, a rear wiper & defogger and front fog lamps the Lodgy was comfortable and there was no noise! Coming to noise, it was pretty silent despite all the rush and rain outside. The acoustics were done neatly and the music system with its touch screen option along with the Bluetooth connectivity to take a call and dial was superb handy. Giri tried calling his wife and we checked the functionality. The buttons for the call handling are right behind the steering wheel and could have been better if connected to the steering itself but that was handy too.

The vehicle is prepared to match the Indian roads when it comes to humps and speed breakers and with a considerable amount of weight has good clearance to handle the challenges. I am particularly impressed with the suspension and it was after all a family car with a specific need. 

Looks: The size isn’t big when you actually look at it that way and can be used comfortably in city traffic. The design is impressive with a lot of chrome work running around it and the arrow head hind lights were cool. The reverse park-assist camera and the proximity signal would come in handy especially when you are in a fix to find parking space.

I would have loved it if it had come in black but the Royal Orchid was close enough. Six more interesting colors make your choice easy. The gear box is a bit shifty and you should get used to it soon. I have a fairly good rating to it for the comfort of driving a really biiiig car and Renault has everything you need in the Lodgy. 

If you are in a big family and love traveling long distances every week or take frequent trips, this is the best you can opt for especially being the pocket friendly option. Renault Lodgy has been launched in India with an introductory price range of INR 8.19 to 11.79 Lakhs (ex-showroom in New Delhi) which I believe is very competitive for its features.

Check out Giri's review for more technical version or Renault Lodgy website.

Rating: 4/5 (The vehicle gets about 3.5-4/5 but when you look at the cost and the product offering it gets 4/5)

Verdict: Definite buy.

I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by in association with Renault India.

Some of the pics and video are from Giri.