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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

My WeChat Group!


Here is a link to WeChat's YouTube channel- http://www.youtube.com/user/WeChatIndia?feature=chclk



1.       Batman – 
Well, who wouldn’t want the world’s greatest billionaire cum vigilante on their WeChat group? I have been a fan ever since childhood and would love to get the latest updates from him as he goes around kicking criminals’ butts. Imagine this chat-

Me- Hey Batty, what’s up?

Batman- brb, Robin just set off the security alarm. So stupid, this one. I think I am gonna fire him.

Me- LOL

Batman- sdhgskjghskl dfs      dfsfd         dfdsfd dfg

Me-  What was that?

Batman (couple mins later)- Ah, nothing . Was banging Joker’s head on the keyboard.

Also, I’d love to read his statuses like- “Diffusing a bomb. Gotham city, hold your breath!” or “Chasing the riddler, I just hope for once he talks to me without puzzles.”




2.       Tintin- 

There’s no greater way to learn than to learn through travelling. Tintin is always upto some adventure. It’d be so much fun if he keeps the group updated with his latest adventures, taking us through the dark caves, steep cliffs, underworld mafia’s den and all other mysterious places of his interest. On a side note, I’d also love to see his Foursquare check-in counter as he keep trotting the globe. He could keep fighting adversities as the rest of us would bite our nails and sit on the edges of our seats. Waiting for the next message.

Tintin- OMG! This huge ball of fire is coming in my direction!

All of us- *gasp*

Tintin- I don’t know where to go run. The walls are closing in!

All of us- *gasp*

Tintin- Ah the floor moved. Survived somehow!!

All of us- *gulp* *sigh* *gasp*



3.       Amitabh Bachchan- 

With his social media savvy antics on twitter and tumblr. I think he is one of those people who have the ability to keep in touch no matter what. It’d be fun to have him on the group so that we can compliment him to our hearts’ content when he posts a new entry, wins an award or simply acts in a new movie. With years of wisdom, he can also guide Batman in times of self-doubt. He can be a great mentor to all of us.



4.       Cupid- 

The God of Lovvve. I have always wondered what goes on in his mind when he makes unusual pairs and how does the whole concept of love work? How great would it be if the God of love himself showed up to answer our queries.

Cupid- Just made a doctor fall in love with his patient. This should be interesting.

Me- But, why would you do that? That’d be so complicated and difficult.

Cupid- Well, like life, love is complicated and difficult. You just need to figure a few things out. Set your priorities and shun practicality if the need arises.

Me- Erm… there’s this girl in my class. I really like her. Can you do something about it?

Cupid- Well…..



5.       KFC’s Colonel Sanders

I am a self confessed foodie and I love and admire great recipes and what better than the greatness of the Colonel's world famous recipe. If we are any lucky, the colonel might even divulge his recipe on the group chat. There might be some other recipes that he has been keeping from the world that might come out inadvertently. Fingers crossed.

6. Ronald McDonald

Well, the colonel is no fool. He won't tell us all his recipes just like that! He'd need provocation and I think this clown can provide that. Also the repartee between to two of them who also happen to be professional rivals, can be the fodder for some laughs in the group.

 7. Rajnikanth

Well, there has to be Rajnikanth everywhere. That's the rule. Mind it!!

Book Review- Shoes of the Dead By Kota Neelima

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!



Author- Kota Neelima
Title- Shoes of the dead
Publisher- Rupa
ISBN- 978-81-291-2396-1
Price- Rs. 495.00
Genre- Political Fiction

This time I had the honour to review an uncommon genre thanks to Blogadda. It’s a topic that has been touched upon by many a thinkers and political columnists in India but it has seldom been depicted so vividly in the form of a work of fiction.
About the Author-
Kota Neelima works as Political Editor with the Sunday Guardian and is a research fellow for South Asia Studies at The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washingto, DC. She has previously written and published “Riverstones” and “Death of a Moneylender”.

About the cover-
The cover draws a sharp contrast between the two poles of developing India where the book title separates the world of famine-struck terrain to the world of power corridors in the nation’s capital. The sepia tone lends certain seriousness to the theme which is also undeniably grim and haunting for the mind.

The Book Title
Shoes of the Dead refers to the footsteps of the dead farmers who have committed suicides due to the dismal state of affairs in India; which need to be followed by those who seek justice. It’s, as the introduction suggests, an unequal battle with a definite advantage toward those who are in power. The title does justice to the book’s theme and lends a certain weight to the issue.

The Main Characters-
Sudhakar Bhadra- The “dead”. He is the farmer who commits suicide after successive crop failures and the burden of debt. The district committee of Mityala refuses compensation to the widow and thus begins the tale of injustice and fight against it.
Gangiri- Sudhakar’s brother who fights for justice to his brother’s widow. He is the protagonist of the story.
Keyur Kashinath- The antagonist of the Democratic Party. First time Member of Parliament and son of Vaishnav Kashinath- the party’s general secretary- An arrogant and fierce politician.

The Plot, Language and Myriad Other Aspects-
The tone of the book is highly empathetic and it seems to have a heart of its own. The language is simple and sentences are short. The book will cater to an audience which seeks to bring justice to those stuck at the claws of bureaucracy and politics in a timeless warp. It takes sharp digs at the system and its ability to corrupt the power hungry. The amount of research that has gone into the book is highly evident and at places, it does seem like you’re reading a real story straight out of a weekly news magazine. The events are believable and do bear resemblance to reality. The protagonist has his tryst with the fragility of morality in the course of story and it sometimes stops being a Mahabharata between good and evil but becomes a game of one-upmanship. This sort of humane rendition to the characters and the storyline makes the narration effective and easy to understand. The dilemmas associated with pride and poverty are very well-sketched. The dilemmas faced by committees and the discomfort faced by people are also nicely done. You can get the frustration associated with the inner workings of a government appointed committee and feel helpless and motivated at the same time. These emotions which are the quintessential components of any political novel are highlighted and well handled.
All in all, a good read. I’ll rate it 3.5 out of 5. The language could have been more technical and political but I guess that would have narrowed its reader base. Understandable compromise on the part of the author.

Watch "Book Review- Shoes of the dead" on YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwI_pvS7EEM&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Saturday, 18 May 2013

If my Dad was a politician

This post is written for the Weekend Contest in association with Shoes of The Dead at BlogAdda.com.

 If my Dad was a politician, I would have won myself this contest by calling up the office of Mr. Nirav Sanghavi and asking him whether he knew who my Dad was. It is such a common question in the power corridors of Delhi that it has become a joke format on twitter. (Tu jaanta nahi mera baap kaun hai?)

My student life would have been much more comfortable and less competitive. Instead of reaching school by struggling for a seat in the school bus, I would have been dropped and picked up daily by the govt on duty jeep. They would have made me the class monitor, school captain etc. without me having to do anything with the work associated with those posts. And since the seeds of procrastination would be sown in my soul from such an early period, all I'd need to achieve anything would be to wish for it.  After completing my 12th, I had to drop two years and study for pre-medical entrance exams. If I had my Dad in the health ministry, I could have just made a few calls and there would have been a seat reserved for me in my college of choice. If not through the merit list, I would have been able to enter the college through the "management quota" by paying 30-40 lakhs as if money meant nothing.

In third year of my college, in general surgery practical examinations, the examiner asked me a few questions during the viva, I fumbled a little but I had diagnosed the case correctly and was confident that I would clear the exams smoothly. There were friends who hadn't got their diagnoses right and also had a not so perfect viva. Later, when the results came, I had flunked in the practical while all those had passed. I came to find out that in practicals, the results are completely random. Previous years' exams were also like that but those who knew someone "up" there got the result reversed while those who didn't, kept suffering. I did go to the principal for help but he was apathetic to me and others like me because there were other matters of prime importance than such petty requests. Had my Dad been a politician, I would have easily made a call to the examiners, known my result in advance and made the proper bribe arrangements. I have come to know that these General Surgery examiners are highly underpaid govt officials who can tweak the results when offered a small amount. There are even official bribe collection campaigns in the whole batch to pay these monsters who play with our future. I am sure I would have stomped all over these corrupt officials with my own corrupt tactics, had my Dad been a politician.

After graduation, I have been looking again for a PG seat, with the fierce competition and high scoring exams, there is low chance for someone like me who doesn't like to cram facts only to score marks and join a meaningless rat-race. I have seen people who have completed their post-graduation and yet are struggling to find a job, especially in the healthcare sector. Those who have the money have already bought the seats through the "management quota" and are relaxed about their future. Their was a slight hope for people like us with the NEET PG system being introduced but the political and administrative nexus got a stay on that exam format by appealing in the SC. Every student knows that NEET would make the whole system more transparent and clean and that's why it's against the best interest of money laundering private colleges' administration. Had my Dad been a politician, I'd have been a part of the money laundering agency and not this pitiable majority of suffering students. I'd also have a job waiting for me in the public sector once I finish my PG.

Also, there would have been so many small perks; so small that I wouldn't even be able to realize how lucky I am! Free transport on govt funded vehicles, air-conditioned life. watching others struggle in life and wondering "What it'd be like? To fight for a job? To fight for a dream?" as I'd eat from my silver platter.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

To Mumma...

I am writing a Tribute to Mom in association with Parentous.com

 My mom is one of those people who'd be embarrassed when called upon stage to given an award. There is always an unsaid word of love between her and me, as neither she is comfortable with displaying love nor am I.  That's why when I am going to make her read this entry, she's just going to stand up and leave saying "I have a dinner to cook or laundry to do." I totally understand that and I actually love her for being so genuine and honest with me.

My mom's love is in her eyes, the way she looks at me when I eat asking if I want anything more every two minutes; the way she packs my tiffin-box always putting a few chapatis extra. Her love is in turning off the TV when I am watching it, not because she wants to annoy me, but because she thinks it's my time to sleep, because she cares. We are all so used to mom's care that we don't realize how blessed we are to have her.

She worries. She worries when I am late, she worries when I have pimples, she worries when I don't study. Sometimes she tells me, sometimes she doesn't. But I can see it. I see how while walking in a crowd, everyone keeps moving faster, trying to cut through the crowd but mom waits for me, patiently, to catch up. Now that I am all grown up, sometimes, I try to walk faster and move right ahead but never mom. She loves unconditionally.

She also has no attachment to things. If I bought a new game, I'd never share it with my brother, I'd not even show it to any of my friends. I am selfish. Mom? She never gets new things for herself. She bought a phone, my brother liked it, she gave it to him. She used to ride a Scooty. While growing up, I tried my hand at the two-wheeler and never knew when it became mine.

She shops for us. Now that we're all grown up, we tell her not to buy clothes for us because she has no taste in fashion and yet, I have never shopped for a single T-shirt, chappal or bermuda for myself. She buys for now and for the future too!

Mom's love is unspoken. It's not the typical Hindi movie love where the mother cries her eye out and the son deserts her. It's a poetic representation though. She dedicates her life to her kids and her life revolves around them. Kids are so used to the love and concern that they never realize how selfless she is.

With mom, you're always free to do what you like. Fathers have expectations, grandparents have ambitions, moms just want the kids to be happy. I have completed my BDS and looking at a few doodles of mine, my mom one day said, "You know, if you want to become a cartoonist, that's also ok. Do what you love." I can never forget that.

Whether it's your mom or mine, mumma toh mumma hoti hain. I remember reading this story from a newspaper which brought tears in my eyes-

'One day a guy who had recently lost his job set out to send a letter to his mom that he couldn't send the money order this year because he had no money to send. He had Rs. 20 and that letter in his pocket when he boarded the bus to the post office. On alighting he noticed that his pocket had been picked. He came back disappointed with life.
A few days later, a letter from village came- it read (in hindi)-

 "Beta, you are so good. I got the Rs. 500 you sent me. You never forget to send me the money. Bless you always, eat properly and take care." 

He was perplexed, couldn't understand what just happened. Next day he got another letter which read-

"Bhai, I had sent Rs. 480 along with your Rs. 20 to your mother. Why should she sleep hungry? Ma toh ma hai na? Kya teri kya meri?"

That about sums up the universality of reverence and love towards mothers. Happy mothers' day to all of your mothers.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul- My entry

I wish to get my story published in Chicken Soup for the Indian Entrepreneurs Soul in association with BlogAdda.com

Story Title- The Trick

No. of Words- 1185 (Word limit- 1200)

The Story-


“So how are we planning to pull this off?” I asked my friend. He was my best friend, philosopher and guide all along in college. We had taken our MBA degrees together and had decided in college that unlike others who get an MBA and then throw their knowledge in the dumpster and start working for multinationals, we would actually start a business. We had decided to be entrepreneurs but whether it just the whim of a young mind which had led us into unknown territories or was it something concrete was yet to be decided. The idea of starting a business sounds fancy but in reality, the task, especially for small fish like us is mighty daunting.

Suresh was in love with the detergent market and thought that the Indian soap and detergent industry although already rife with many foreign brands, could make room for an Indian company that provided great value for money. I had no such inclination toward any specific industry so I went with him. I was passionate about business just like him though. So we set sail and started with our business. A brand was created, capital was invested, advertisements at local TV channels were aired- we had expected to grow exponentially in small town India as the bigger brands like Surf and Tide had lesser penetration there, specially in rural areas of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. For the first six months, as we had expected, there was no big progress- but that was natural as we had thought- any product needs time to build a customer base. Loyalty needs to be earned. We tried to keep up the good quality and hoped to hit the jackpot soon. But as we later realized, there was no jackpot to be hit. Turns out, in business, you have to keep hitting the “jackpot” regularly and yet cannot be sure of success. The path ahead was quite scary. It was dark and there were people, our detractors, our own family members and friends nudging us to take a job and settle like everyone else does. After a few more months, we started running out on luck and there was no strategy at hand. We had hit a dead end and as partners in business, we shared the depression and anxiety equally.

“So what do you say we should do?” He asked one day. Perplexed by his hopeless tone, I replied, “I don’t know, you’ve been the leader all along; suggest a way out, I am sure we have options aplenty.” He was sadder than usual, “Should we just quit?” he mumbled. All my confidence was lying on the boulders of his fortitude and courage, he was the one who talked me into it. Now, he saw no hope. I felt I was all by myself. I had to think, it was something unusual. I was the executive but never the legislator in our government. I think that moment was also the most useful I had felt in all those months. I had stopped using my little evil brain at all. It was time to bring out the guns; I was ready to think out loud. “Ok, let’s not panic, hold it right there buddy, no one is quitting until it’s over and it’s not over until I say it’s over!” I said. He replied nonchalantly, “That sounds pretty heroic but, we are out of capital. Our product will reach its expiry date soon in the store.” I suggested, “Let’s use the Socratic method to think a solution for our problem- The method in which the learner and the teacher come to a conclusion by back and forth question and answer session with logical reasoning.” The idea seemed to have struck a chord with him. He began by asking- “Ok, so why are we not selling any detergent? We have a good quality product. What is holding it back?” I replied- “The basics in an economics class are the market forces of supply and demand. I think there is no demand for our product.” He promptly asked- “And why do you think that is?” I sheepishly suggested that maybe because there are plenty of great products in the market and that maybe there is no room for us. “Impossible! There is always room for quality! These foreign companies are selling their products because there are no rivals, not the other way round.” He roared. “Ok, I guess maybe because we haven’t won anyone’s trust.” I replied. To which he argued how could we win someone’s trust without even being given a chance? “Ok, so we need a chance!” I jumped in my chair- “This is good. I have an idea. I think it just might work!”

The next day, we sent one of our staff members to enquire at the whole-seller about our product. He offered to show him other products and told him that our product was very new and no one bought it. Our staff member, on our instructions, excused himself and came back. A few days later, we again sent another person to enquire about a product and three days later, again! “Sir, we don’t have any clue about Sona Washing Powder but please try our other products” the shopkeeper would say. Our guy would simply say that Sona is much cheaper and effective and he’d rather search for it some place else. The next time our marketers contacted the whole-seller about the detergent, he was already in awe of our product. He ordered a consignment and we had made our first deal! Now, it would have been unethical to lie about our product and cause loss to the poor whole-seller so, as a part of our strategy, we ourselves bought the product from him in a jiffy. He also sold a few packets to his customers urging them that this new product was easier on the pocket and was selling like hot-cakes. Unknowingly, he was acting like our marketer, and that too, free of cost. Soon as the stock started building up in his shop, he started marketing our product vehemently and urging customers to try out this product with his own seal of approval and recommendation. In that way, we reached out to the retail-shops in the residential areas of small town MP. Once we had a customer base and our name was a known one in the area, there was no need for the strategy and we could let our quality speak for itself.

This, actually, is a well-known tactic of creating demand for your product. Many companies start selling products that we never knew we needed. It is only when awareness about the need is pressed, that the people start coming forward and acknowledging your product. All you need to do is never lose hope and think of a way to reach out. When it’s dark and there is a dead end on the road ahead, I suggest you start questioning your decisions and moves. There is always light at the end of the tunnel for those who are willing to drop the map and just explore.

Monday, 6 May 2013

TRESemmé Ramp Ready Hair (For Men)

Ok, participating in yet another Indiblogger contest-TRESemme Ramp ready hair. TRESemme have a pretty nice YouTube channel where the experts teach you the basics of getting Ramp Ready Hair. The beautiful Diana Penty shows you around the site which is a delight. Here is a link to the cool YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/tresemmeindia They have a pretty awesome collection of DoItYourself Videos for different types and textures.

Well, I am here to talk about my hair and what I'd do to get my hair ramp ready. In college, I have had my share of ramp-experience when for different cultural shows, I had to walk the ramp and look my best with whatever resources I had. At these times, there are a few tricks that come in handy-
Me at College Fashion Show

Me at College Fashion Show. (In the middle)
1. The Cool Kat
Try this look when you want to look sharp. Just apply some gel on your hair and set them skyward in the aviator style. This look goes well with casual attire and can spice up brunch and poolside parties.

2. The Formal Gentleman
If you have short hair and want to look dressy in the evening, you can couple your formal attire with this hairdo. All you have to do is part your hair from the side asymmetrically and let the hair flow on the sides. It gives you a tied back look without making you look so uptight.

3. The Messy One
This doesn't take much doing. All you need to do is grow your hair really long, and then keep them clean and shampoo them nicely. Make sure you condition them for the rich texture and flowy-ness. Now, part them asymmetrically and let them lose in the wind. Keep a hairband with you in case they start getting tacky to handle. This style goes great with denims and aviator sunglasses.

Remember, to get your hair ramp ready, all you need is TRESemme, hair on your head, creativity and lots of confidence.

Rock on!

The Ignorant Bunny

Indiblogger continues to amaze us with the great contests and the latest in line is this Colgate Total Pro Gum Health Moral Story contest. Here is a link to Colgate's My Healthy Speak Blog. Being a dentist, I think it is my social responsibility to participate in this contest get the word out there.

The first sign of gum disease setting in is bleeding gums and it should be curtailed ASAP. We often ignore these warning signs due to the inconsistency in their appearance. Your gums bleed one day and then you wait a few days and then it stops. Problem solved. Right? Wrong!! Well, bleeding is just a warning sign that your gums are in distress and are seeking your attention. Then next stop is gum recession, then mobility and next time you check, your teeth are jumping out of their sockets.

So, to avoid the problems arising form periodontal disease and the resulting loss of tooth and pain, also not to mention the discomfort of undergoing tooth extraction and the costly bridges, dentures and implants; it is best to pay attention to bleeding gums and check the disease's progression. The solution lies in proper brushing techniques, choosing the right kind of paste and brush and regular dental check-ups.

I think, and I know the people at Colgate and Indiblogger will also concur, that fables have the widest reach among children and young adults among all story-forms. So, for the contest, I have decided to write a fable. Here is my entry to the contest-

The Ignorant Bunny
 
Once upon a time, there lived a family in the jungle. The family had a Papa Rabbit, a Mumma rabbit and their little bunny.
The little bunny was a little ball of fur when he was born but as he started growing, his fur started getting dirty, his teeth yellow and his build got frailer and frailer. He always stayed indoors and never went out to play with other kids. He peeped meekly through the window of their home in the tree and always wished he could go out and play like others but, it wasn't to be. He wasn't strong like others. When he went out, ever a slight gush of wind would knock him off his feet. He didn't know it but due to his yellow bunny teeth and dirty fur, he looked a little ugly and scary. There were some kids from the neighbourhood who were actually scared of him. They had even woven rumours about how he was actually a ghost trapped in a tree who looked out the window to prey on any helpless animal who had lost his way. The bunny had no clue that he had been made into a ghost by other kids and he kept himself busy at home playing with his toys.

His parents were concerned about him. They took care of his diet and also promptly gave him medicines whenever he fell sick but they had no clue why the bunny looked the way he did.One day, the bunny saw a pretty she-bunny from his window. She was playing with other kids. Little bunny had a little crush. He mustered up all his courage and trying saying "hello" from the window. When the she-bunny glanced on him, she got scared and hopped away in the meadows. Our bunny had no clue why she ran away. He wanted to see her again. He set out in search of that girl in the harsh sun. He walked a few miles and then found a lake. He was thirsty and tired. He thought he'd drink some water from the lake and almost waded through his way to the water. It was then that he saw his clear reflection for the first time! He had a close look at his fur, his teeth and his little paws. He was a little taken aback. He had never seen himself in full view. That was the time when his parents came running as they had spotted him from afar. They caught him as he fainted from the overwhelming sensation of seeing his own reflection. Papa Rabbit took him back to the tree and tucked him in his blanket. Mamma Rabbit made him some warm milk and cookies. He slept for almost two days after  that day.

One morning, as Mamma Rabbit made breakfast, she called out Bunny to the table but he didn't respond. Mamma panicked and looked all over the house, he was no where to be found. She told Papa Rabbit and both of them went out and looked all over the jungle, there were no traces of our little bunny anywhere. Finally, tired, they came back and wept all day and night. They thought they had lost their little one forever.

Many months passed, and then came the day of carnival in the jungle. The carnival was a day when the animals came out and partied all day to celebrate the spirit of life. Everyone eagerly waited for this day as on this day, all were equals and were free to dance away all the worries. The Rabbit couple didn't want to go but then came a notice from the Ministry Of Parties and Entertainment from the King Lion's court that everyone had to come out and compulsorily party that year. It was a strange notice but all hailed the king and his minister Hamster for making enjoyment compulsory. The festive spirit was high when the rabbit couple came out of their home to pay respect to the official order. They had forgotten how to smile after losing their son. Then came out the largest procession of the carnival with the Minister of Entertainment Mr. Hamster himself dancing in the middle. He was lifted up high by his subjects as he officially order everyone to party! From the height, he spotted the Rabbit couple and suddenly his expression changed. He made his way through the crowd and soon, he was standing in front of the Rabbits. There was a pause which ended as he gave them both a tight hug as shouted "Mom, Dad!! It's me!! The bunny!!" The parents couldn't believe their eyes and ears. "But, how come?" was all they could ask.

He explained- "After I realized the truth about my appearance, I left home as I wasn't sure who I really was. And after months of traveling and learning, I realized that my ugly short ears, and my build which made me a weird bunny were also the things that could make me a very handsome hamster.I later realized that all my habits, my looks, preferences were more like a hamster and less like a rabbit so when I stopped trying to be a rabbit and started being who I really was, I became successful. People started liking me, they really did..." and their son went on to describe his rise to fame and how his only obstruction in the way were his yellow teeth and weak gums which the royal dentist Dr. Abhyudaya Shrivastava fixed for him.


Papa and Mumma Rabbit hugged him and said, "Come here sonny boy, you really were a hamster, we wish we would have noticed your early signs..."

And the party went on....