Saturday 29 March 2014

Ich will!- Kotak Launch Party

It was a Sunday and a tempting offer in the name of 'B-bar' with an open bar enticed our thirsty souls to unite for the Indiblogger meet sponsored by Kotak Mahindra Bank for its newest product #JiFi.
I alighted fron metro on Malviya Nagar station and started walking toward the Select City Walk (DLF malls) for the venue. As I reached, I started chatting up fellow bloggers on myriad issues from politics to religion but as soon as the announcement of the bar being open was made by Nihal (Team Indiblogger), all conversations came to a screeching halt and we all headed towards the bar. I grabbed myself a beer and soon a 'selfie' contest was announced. The social lubricant that beer is, it made me offer my photogenic profile to various selfies being clicked.

This was also the most social I had felt at an Indimeet due to the novel concept of selfie contest. I made so many friends in the blogosphere and met so many faces that I had already seen online. Then came a weird funny moment when we all headbanged to a German song "Ich Will" which had pretty funny lyrics.

Then came the turn to introduce the product. By that time, most people had already started swaying due to the generous amounts of alcohol in their systems. I wonder whether Indiblogger had anticipated this, the city being Delhi. Simultanously, we were introduced to the chief guest of the event- Chetan Bhagat who was present in body at the Mumbai meet and in spirit at Delhi and B'lore also. Frankly, we'd have liked the body too. The product i.e. Social Banking #JiFi which connects your online twitter and FB profiles to your bank account seemed to be a novel idea. I am pretty sure it can make banking addictive by the sheer accessibility and added features like zero balance account and shopping offers and coupons on the basis of points earned.

It is ideal for youngistan which practically breathes twitter and Facebook. Then came the Q and A session where Chetan took up audience's question over the reliability and accuracy of the system and answered them satisfactorily. He even took up my tweet through which I cleared my doubt about the adherence to KYC norms by the product. Sadly, for KYC, we do need a manual application but they'll soon digitalize the process hopefully. Later on, the product manager from Kotak took up questions from the Delhi audience. It was a nice interactive session.

Then I gave an interview to a camera in a half inebriated state. Let's not talk about it. The table at which I sat was full of interesting people from all walks of life. I met lawyers, a liver transplant consultant, a physics teacher, a Biotech PhD student (Ok, I already knew this one- Nimi Vashi) and many more awesome people.
Later the food was served which was noodles and rice which made me jealous of the people in B'lore because my friend Aparna Lanka in B'lore told me that they had Italian.

All in all, it was a fun meet - the proof of which is the whatsapp group that we formed after the meet. We're called "Blogger Buddies" if anyone wants to know! :P

Thursday 27 March 2014

How Indians Shop!

There is perhaps, a unique tendency in us Indians to bargain with the economically weak business owners and spend delusionally on overpriced international products. 'Be Indian, Buy Indian' might be too much to ask for the modern generation but 'Be sensible and buy sensibly' might be something that we can think upon.

There are restaurant chains which claim exorbitant prices on their menu items and then there is the street vendor who might be using good quality ingredients but getting paid less. These international chains lure customers by offering a sense of achievement by giving discount coupons, loyalty points and cashbacks etc. when actually their product pricing is such that even discounting them cannot make them value-for-money. Take pizza places for instance, you go to a good Pizza restaurant and a hearty meal would cost you nothing less than Rs 700 for two people. Now compare this to a street pizza joint. There is a stall called 'Pizza On Wheels' on Munshi Ram Sethi Marg in Patel Nagar, New Delhi. Good pizzas, hygienic preparation, copious amount of cheese and a small double cheese pizza costs just Rs 60. Now, I am sure this pizza guy will soon close down due to lack of business as there is a Dominos a few blocks away.

I also see people bargaining for small grocery items and vegetables with the street vendors, trying to almost get the item for free; knowing that these people already have so less margin of profit. On the other hand, the same people would happily hand their cards to the shopping mall agents and big bar, restaurant owners so that they can overcharge them and fuel the capitalist setup. Need of the hour is not to uproot the big businesses or treat small business owners as handicapped but to judge the products objectively and get rid of the colonial hangover that anything used or purchased by the West is automatically superior. It is about time we grew up!

Websites like are doing a great job in this regard by bringing such Indian retailers and products to the fore and offering them to the Indian customers along with offers of coupons and cashbacks that really seem good.

This post is a part of the Shop, only to Save More! Activity by in association with

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Blogadda Contest-

This post is a part of the Shop, only to Save More! Activity by in association with

blogpost (5)

"Come darling, we're getting late for shopping"- the wife said loudly as the husband gazed helplessly at his wallet and its deteriorating health. "Have you considered therapy?" he asked timidly to which the wife, hiding her smile, rolled her eyes. "No, I am serious. You are a shopaholic!"- he quipped. The wife ignored this friendly fire and said- "yea, right! I am the shopaholic, now get ready!" This baffled the husband! He raised eyebrows- "So, you think I am the shopaholic?" "No, no, you just go there for the amazing cashback schemes." she said while almost dragging him to the bathroom. He said while getting pushed, and from the half open doors of the bathroom- "That in fact is true. I think if you'd relax with all the spending, we could save up for the future. Shopping can wait! But no! Why would you understand.." and then his words converted to mumblings.

As they reached the mall, the wife looked quizzically at the husband's face. It was not the mall they had planned for. The husband smiled and asked her to get down. Wife was a little taken aback. "I don't know if they have the brands here which I wanted." she said sheepishly. Suddenly a choir by the fountain started singing her favourite song. She turned around. The car was taken away by the valet guy and the husband was standing there smiling. From the parking area, a car decorated with roses came up, the husband opened the door for her. She was smiling with a mysterious glow and the blush of a bride on her face. She mumbled under her breath- "You remembered!" The car took a few circles of the fountain, inside, she was served champagne and they clinked glasses. When they got down, the scenario had changed. The entrances of the mall had "HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MR and MRS SHRIVASTAVA" written in bright neon lights over them.

As they entered, there was a kathputli dance showing their love story. People threw rose petals and confetti  from upper floors. The wife was moved to tears. Then they went to their favourite restaurant and had the exact same meal they had at their first date 10 years back. Instead of the bill, at the end of their meal, the waiter presented them with movie stubs. They went to watch their favourite movie in the movie hall in the mall.

Then on their way back, a horse driven carriage came to pick them up. It was heavenly. Under the pale moon light, they kissed and that was when the wife couldn't control her tears. "All this must have been really expensive, right?" she said. "Oh, it was not a bad bargain for these tears", the husband said, smiling and wiping the tear drop under the wife's eye with his finger. They kissed again. "I had thought that I'll take you to the mall, buy you a gift and then embarrass you for forgetting our anniversary for two years in a row!" she said sheepishly. He replied- "You have to know darling, I don't commit the same mistake twice."
She frowned- "But what about my shopping plans?" He smiled- "Relax, I have got that covered too, my shopaholic wife!" and then he nonchalantly took out his laptop and logged on to The words "coupons, cashback and bargain" stood out among all other words in the wife's eyes. Her eyes sparkled and the reflection was visible on the laptop screen. The husband looked at the reflection and smiled.

Life Cycle of a Whatsapp Group!

Saturday 22 March 2014

Movie Review- Sunsilk Real FM : A Film By Anurag Basu

Thank you Indiblogger and Sunsilk for this opportunity to walk the red carpet for this film called Sunsilk Real FM directed by Akarsh Khurana. It premiers on MTV tomorrow i.e. 23 March, Sunday, 7 PM.

 Exclusive Screening of Sunsilk Real FM by Anurag Basu

About the movie-
As suggested by the title of the movie, it's about RJing and the 'real' challenges that these three friends face. The plot is pretty straight with no frivolous attempts to sensationalize. The movie's charm lies in its simple and sober treatment of a well knit, tight plot. The editing has been such that there are no loose ends, neither does the story drag anywhere. The screenplay is eventful and the dialogues are realistic. The heart of the movie lies in its music. It serves as a platform to all the delightful folk music we have in various nooks and corners of our country. I think, after Sneha Khanwalkar's musical experiments, this is another step in the same direction of bringing folk music and local artists to mainstream listeners. Aside from that, there are so many issues raised in the movie and so elegantly that they do not interfere with the pace of the story or the plot. The movie is about reclaiming India from the hands of those who lay thorns in the path of national unity. Discrimination against North-Eastern states' residents, the North- South divide, need for the much required Police reforms, parental pressure, waning patriotism and many suchlike topics have all been touched upon briskly and elegantly.

About the characters-
The three girls adorning the posters and trailers are the central characters of this musical comedy. Rhea's character is charming and stands out due to her fragile frame which contrasts with the rigid determination that she flaunts with nonchalance. Saloni is one character that grows on you with time. The third girl is more like the unsung hero of the film who lays all the groundwork. The film works because of its adorable characters that keep entering as the plot progresses. Be it the Chhattisgarhi goons who steal the show with their solid punchlines or be it the mini- Dabang character of Ajay Desai. Like any other comedy, the antagonists have relatively lesser role to play but their characters too leave a mark with the element of realism and square expressions.

About the screenplay and direction-
I think in the shorter films (In Indian context, anything less than two and a half hours is a short film.. hehe) there can be no dull moments or moments where you let the characters muse for extended periods of screen time. I think Akarsh Khurana has understood that and established the characters easily in a few lines and well- written scenes. He has understood the importance of keeping up the tempo with characters which bring fine nuances of human emotions in just two or three scenes. Be it Ajay Desai's crush on Rhea or be it the Punjabi singer's encouragement to bring out the talent in Saloni. These scenes touch your heart without much effort. There can be no spoilers as far as I am concerned for such movies because you have to watch these scenes, listen to those songs to feel these emotions; and that is the USP of this movie. It is emotionally rich and has a soul of its own.

It is also nice, and was brought up by a fellow blogger, that although it was a branded movie, they did not do excessive marketing. That helped keep the soul of the movie intact.

So, sit back with some popcorn this Sunday and enjoy Sunsilk Real FM brought to you be Sunsilk, MTV India and Anurag Basu!

And stay tuned for the photos from the Indimeet!

The Incredible Sulk

Saturday 15 March 2014

WOW- Picture Prompt- A mystery

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.
This time, it's a picture prompt... Hmm.. let's try and create something. Here is my entry-

The Star That Wasn't

It was a rainy night and the police had cordoned off the area where the murder had occurred. Mr. Rajeev, the famous TV actor was no more and all his colleagues and neighbours were shocked. Suicide was ruled out due to several factors, first- he had a happy personal and professional life and second, he died due to fall from the window of his apartment located in the city's one of the most posh areas; when everyone knew that he was afraid of heights. Detective ABD was on the case with his trusted aide Shrivastava. The case clearly had murder written all over it but there were very few clues to work with. ABD walked up to the the dining table and found two half-eaten pieces of what seemed like a birthday or anniversary cake and alongside it lay an ear-ring and a phone. Knowing that Mr. Rajeev lived alone, the earring seemed to be the clue to solving the case. It seemed like a simple puzzle with the answer right there in the history of Mr Rajesh's phone book. ABD picked up the phone and opened the call log. It was erased. The murderer had deleted the history but it seemed more like a futile attempt because the police could easily trace the records with the service provider. Moreover, the rest of the cake was right there in the fridge. Shrivastava soon brought the rest of the cake and it clearly read- "Happy Birthday Rajeev"

This was weird because ABD, Shrivastava and all other ardent fans of Rajeev knew that his birthday fell on 5th of June and not on or around 15th of March. This had given the case a weird angle. Whose was this earring and why was Rajeev celebrating his own birthday alone? Moreover, why was he celebrating his own birthday on the wrong date?

The next day, as the records came from the service provider, it turned out that the calls were not local but made to a far off nondescript town in Madhya Pradesh. The number read- 9810975586* and it belonged to one Ramesh Tiwari in Chhatarpur, (MP). ABD made a call promptly to that number and a frail, female voice picked up the phone from the other side. She seemed like an old lady. Ramesh was her husband's name who had died a few days back. She also had two kids- both males, working as watchmen in the nearby city Gwalior. She was clueless about the whole murder fiasco and could not give much details mostly because she was hard of hearing. ABD was finding this case to be getting more and more complicated. He had no clue what was happening and how a famous TV actor was murdered after making some calls to a family he doesn't even know. The case had reached a deadlock. The earring also did not fetch any clues as even after repeated enquiry and search, there was no one in town who knew Rajeev and owned or knew anything about the earrings.

ABD, after much running around and beating around the bush accepted his defeat and almost gave up on the case. Suddenly, in an epiphany, he realized that Rajeev was a TV actor and the clue might be in the episodes of the serial he was working in. The serial had helped him shoot to fame with his realistic portrayal of a fearless lawyer who takes on the system. His intense acting had won him many awards and he was popular among viewers of all ages. ABD had in his hands, the CDs of all seasons- 1 to 5 of the show. Shrivastava, his assistant, asked- "Sir, as the murder is recent, shall we start watching season 5 first and look for clues there?" ABD nodded but suddenly changed his mind. He asked Shrivastava to begin the show from the very start. As the episodes progressed, ABD's eyes grew wider. He could sense something creep up his skin. There was something which seemed off and ABD was almost sure he had nailed it. Before they were done with episode 27 of the first season, ABD sprang up and asked Shrivastava to bring the producers and directors of the show.

Can you guess the ending? Take a guess and Scroll down for the answer.

The detective noticed the minute change in the voice and facial features of Rajeev in season 1 itself. It seemed as if the actor who began his career in the serial was someone else but was replaced by a lookalike. Usually, there is bad acting in the initial episodes and it improves as the series progresses but here, Rajeev acted nicely in the initial 15 episodes and then suddenly started acting like an amateur for the next 5-6 episodes. Later, again the acting improved and there was this changed voice and pattern of facial hair. When grilled by the police, the producers confessed that they had discovered a lookalike of Rajeev during their trip to Gwalior. (It was the watchman of the building of the producer's relative who lived in Gwalior.)

They used to joke that if this actor doesn't do well, they could replace him with this lookalike. But when the actor died due to alcohol toxicity in a private party at the producers', they, in order to save their show, really replaced him with the watchman. To their joy, this new guy had good skills and soon learned. In his initial interviews, Rajeev had confessed his fear of heights and that's why the new guy also continued to repeat the same. But due to the loss of his real identity and the condition by the producers that he could not contact his home otherwise the game will be over, he felt sad.

That night, it was his birthday and he had ordered the cake for himself as only he knew his own real identity. The depression of being alienated from self was killing him. All the accolades were going to someone who was already dead and his own family was suffering back home. All of this drove the lookalike Kamal to suicide. The earring belonged to his mother and he made those calls to just hear her voice. The mother was later found to be an Alzheimer's patient and was not able to recall that her son had not come home and has been missing since past 5 years. 

About Malaysia...

I am participating in the MalaysiaJao Blogathon Contest in association with

Here's first a prayer to the missing flight MH 370. There is nothing else that can be done in these unfortunate circumstances.

My connection with Malaysia is deeper than what one would anticipate. I have done my graduation in Bapuji Dental College and Hospital, Davangere and we have a sizable population of students from Malaysia there. The culture fascinated me ever since and Malaysia has been on my travel plans ever since. There is also something about the people. Most well-behaved and hard-working lot from my batch! There is also a sense of independence and free-spirit in their demeanour. Staying so far away from their homes, they did their best to excel in studies and present a good picture about their country. Yes, there were exceptions, but by and large, there has been a good impression about them in my and my friends' minds.

You might be wondering what must be the connection between that and my travel plan. Well, at least for me, it is important that the place I am going to, should make me feel welcome. With tourism industry at its backbone, Malaysia, truly Asia is unmistakably hospitable in the true sense of the word. Here are the destinations I intend to explore, if given the chance-

(The details are courtesy Tourism Malaysia website)

1. Pulau Redang, Terengganu

From the website : "Pulau Redang, located 45km off the coast of Kuala Terengganu, is the largest of a group of nine protected islands dotting the South China Sea off the Terengganu coast. The island offers crystal clear waters and numerous dive sites for enthusiasts. Sheltered within the Pulau edang Marine Park, the waters here are rich in marine life. At midday when sun rays penetrate the sea, brilliant hues of coral, anemones and fish can be seen. 

The waters around Pulau Redang also contain two historic shipwrecks: The H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse, which sank here at the start of World War II, setting the stage for the Japanese occupation of Malaya. This paradise island is perfect for snorkelling, swimming, scuba- diving, jungle trekking, boating and canoeing. No fishing is allowed within a 3.2km radius of the island as Pulau Redang is gazetted as a marine park. The collection of corals and other aquatic life is also strictly prohibited. Berjaya Resort offers a golf course in an idyllic setting.

Now, the love that I have for marine life and the descriptions on the website perfectly coincide to excite the marine enthusiast in me. Also I cannot wait to be taken back in time with the historic ship wrecks. There is something about the majesty of such relics of the past that beckons the curious mind.

2. Genting Highlands, Pahang

From the website: "The fun never stops at Genting, City of Entertainment, perched on the top of cool, breezy Genting Highlands. One big attraction in Genting is the cool weather. Because of the 2,000m altitude, Malaysians like to visit just to enjoy the 'European' weather! 

In the evening, there is spectacular entertainment at the Genting International Showroom or Pavilion, be it a thrilling magic show or an ice-skating extravaganza. There are also opportunities to go shopping at First World Plaza, visit the indoor and outdoor theme parks and feast on a wide range of delicious food at the many restaurants

Genting seems like the romantic city one sees in his dreams. A city where you go down on your knees to propose to your girl and she is serenaded by the sheer beauty of the place so much so that she immediately says 'yes'. It's located on a hilltop and has all the modern facilities. Well, hello Europe! That too in truly Asia! And yes, the food! It has to feature in my top to-go destinations' list.

3. Dayang Bunting Lake, Langkawi

From the website: "The island, which is about 20 kilometres from Kuah town, is modestly populated on one side and virtually uninhabited on the other where the lake is situated. 

The legend of Tasik Dayang Bunting goes like this: The favourite bathing pool of a celestial princess named Mambang Sari was said to be Tasik Dayang Bunting (Lake of the Pregnant Maiden). A prince, Mat Teja, fell madly in love with her and tricked her into marrying him. 

Sadly, their child died from a mysterious illness at the age of seven days. Distraught, the grieving Mambang Sari left the child's body in the lake and returned to her heavenly abode. Today, some believe that barren women who bathe in this lake will be endowed with a child."

Just the pictures of lush greenery on one side and blue waters on the other are enough to lure the weary tired eyes of a traveler. The mysticism and folklore is something that an Indian can identify with. Being someone from a country of many faiths, I respect the story behind this majestic lake. 

4. Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur
From the website: "Interest in the Islamic arts has grown tremendously in recent years. Reflecting this awareness, in December 1998 Malaysia became home to Southeast Asia’s largest museum of Islamic art. The building occupies 30,000 sq.m., situated amid the leafy surroundings of Kuala Lumpur’s Perdana Botanical Gardens. 

The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia houses more than seven thousand artefacts, as well as an exceptional library of Islamic art books. 

The art objects on display range from the tiniest pieces of jewellery to one of the world’s largest scale models of the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca. The aim is to create a collection that is truly representative of the Islamic world. 

Instead of concentrating on works from the heartlands of Persia and the Middle East, IAMM also puts the emphasis on Asia. China and Southeast Asia are especially well represented. The third component of the Malaysian melting pot is India, which is also given special status. "

For an art enthusiast as well as someone who is interested to learn more about Islam and its origins, this museum sounds like a treat. India is given special status here which is an honour for us all. That and the beautiful location of the museum make it a "must-see" travel list item.

5. Langkawi Cable Car, Kedah
From the website: "At 709 metres above sea level, the cable car ride up to Langkawi's second highest peak is truly an experience not to be missed. 

Throughout the 20-minute ride, you will pass over jungle waterfalls and a thick carpet of virgin rainforest. On a clear day, you can see parts of Thailand towards the north and Indonesia towards the south-west. 

Travelling at a steep incline of 42 degrees, over a distance of 2.2 kilometres from the base station to the two mountain-top stations, even the gentlest breeze is enough to send one’s stomach churning. But once you get used to the sensation of being airborne, the ride quickly turns into an amazing, exhilarating experience. 

At the top, a sky bridge offers a breathtaking view of Langkawi. Remember to wear comfortable shoes as it is quite a walk up to the hanging bridge. 

The cable car operates from 10am to 7pm, subject to weather conditions. The service may be halted during strong winds. The cost is MYR 15 for adults with a MyKad and MYR 5 for children (prices subject to change)."

I don't think there is any reason to exclude this experience from the whole Malaysia travelogue. I can only imagine the view from the top and I bet it will be breath-taking. I can feel the winds gushing through my hair as I stand up there feeling like the King of the World! :D

I did find many more such amazing things to do and see in Malaysia on the website but I picked the above 5 like my limited genie wishes. I am sure I can never get enough of this amazing country just like I can never get enough of India ;-) 

See ya then!

Sunday 9 March 2014

IndiSpire: How will I survive if I am the only guy left on Earth

This post is a part of the Indiblogger initiative. To know more, log on to

The D-day was publicized in all newspapers and TV news channels. Most of the people remained skeptic and considered it to be yet another hoax warning. I too was one of the non-believers. Finally the day came, it was 15th of March 2014. The comet struck earth and everything changed. Channels of communication were broken so, I could never find out how much and how vast the destruction was but now, as I sit on this rock in the middle of nowhere, I realize that I might just be the only person left alive on Earth.
It was a nice fantasy question asked in "Truth and Dare" sessions but that too allowed for a "dream date" or "hot celebrity" stuck with you. This however, is depressing and the only way I can express this feeling is by slamming my fingers on the keys of this laptop. Soon, the battery of this one too will die out and since there is no electric pole left standing, the chances of recharging it are very slim. I did consider ending my life but the thought was depressing and I realized I have to make the most of this weird situation I have at hand. As the last man standing on this Earth, I do have the responsibility to give it a fitting goodbye this mother planet deserves from the human race. I think I can do so by enjoying its grandeur and majesty along with all its leftover resources before I die.

So, here is my survival strategy- I will first raid every human habilitation and pick all the perishable processed food item possible. Most shops will have food that can last for the next 2-3 years. Fire and wheel, the two magical inventions have already been invented in this pre-historic era and I will make use of them to the fullest. Also, I have to gather as many fruit seeds as possible and grow my own orchard before my food supply ends.

For leisure, I think I'll do what I always fancied doing, only, this time it won't be illegal. I'll rob a book shop. I had so many books on my list. So many thinkers waiting for me to hear them out. Max Weber, Karl Marx, Talcott Parsons, Emile Durkheim- here I come!

There might be a faint chance that someone else (preferably a female so that we can *ahem* repopulate the Earth) might be alive somewhere on some corner of this vast planet. I might need to set sail for that. I have to get myself a compass, a boat and some basic necessicity items with me and get going. I feel like a sailor already, wow! So, now I have a sense of direction, a hope too.

So, to conclude, I see myself as a traveler and with me some bags of chips and bags full of great books and graphic novels, in search of the one, with an orchard waiting for me back home. That's my strategy. What's yours?

Dental College life: Part 2 (well technically Part 3)