Plan Your Travel Online To Save More

Online shopping has become more frequent these days due to many factors. Of them, more savings that you get doing online shopping is the main factor. Deals, offers and coupons that are available in online shopping by various stores help you get the best discounted price in anything that you buy.

You not only can get discounts in various products but also when you travel. Now, you must be wondering how this is possible. The fact is that you can save a lot of money when you travel if you do it via online. There are many sites that are available online that gives you plan tariff at the lowest rates possible. Check out these online sites that helps you save more while you travel.

Make My Trip

Make My Trip is the leading online travel company in India which caters to all the needs of a traveler. They claim of having the best deals, offers and savings package that are sure to attract any travel maniac.

make my trip

With Make My Trip, you can book your flight, bus or train tickets to any destination at cheap rates, and if there are any deals or coupons, redeem them to avail more discounts. You can even get rated hotels at affordable prices. They have provision for combo deals for two destinations which is applicable for their flight and accommodation package.

If you are planning to go out for a vacation this summer holidays do check out for exclusive holiday packages, offers, deals at Make My Trip for availing the best discounts on your travel. Also, check out for Make My Trip Coupons to get surprising discounts in your travel rates.

Goibibo

Goibibo is yet another online site that helps you to get best comfort and care in your travel, getting you best deals, offers and discounts. The main advantage of this travel site is that you get all your travel needs including tickets and accommodation under one roof. Be it a travel with your family or a business oriented journey; you can crack the best offer with Goibibo Coupons.

goibibo

Family packages, Honeymoon packages and Wildlife packages are some of the best deals that are offered by Goibibo for combo offers. Check out their website for more attractive and interesting combo offers for various other packages as well.

Also remember to use your credit/debit cards for payment while you travel as they offer cash back or points on your miles which you can redeem later.

Yatra

Yatra is one of the most leading travel brands that help anything and everything related to travelling. Be it the booking of your flight, bus or train tickets, accommodation in good and rated hotels, or a complete package including flight tickets and accommodation in hotels.

yatra

Yatra do offers good packages and discounts during seasons as well as during off-seasons thus helping you to have a reasonable travel which you won’t regret in future. Check out at Yatra Coupons, offers, deals for having a cheap and wonderful travel.

Yatra offer super saver packages, helps you recommending good and reasonable hotels, it helps you find the lowest fare for your destination, they have holiday package recommendations for you to pick the right choice within your budget, they have a list of special offers from various hotels so that you can stay which ever you prefer, they also have featured deals on their site that helps you choose tour destination if you are confused where to go for the vacation.

IIT Bombay : A Glimpse

Sometime ago, I had shared about a collegedunia.com, a search engine for the students, parents, and those in education industry, seeking information on higher education in India. In continuation to my earlier post, today I give a sneak peek about a premier institute of our country.

The IITs were built with a vision to provide technical personnel of international calibre, who would act as leaders in technology in independent India.

Established in 1958, the second of its kind, IIT Bombay is recognised worldwide as a leader in the field of engineering education and research. Reputed for the outstanding calibre of students graduating from its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, the institute attracts the best students from the country for its bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programmes in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Research and academic programmes at IIT Bombay are driven by an outstanding faculty, many of whom are reputed for their research contributions internationally.

Over the last five decades, more than 34,000 engineers and scientists have graduated from the institute. It is noted for its strong research groups in varied areas of science and technology that are making substantial contributions to national projects. Educational programmes here extend beyond the physical sciences and engineering into social sciences like English, Philosophy, Sociology, Economics and Psychology, including the recent School of Management

An island of dappled green, the campus at Powai is nestled amongst hills and flanked by the Powai and Vihar lakes. It is special both in terms of its physical beauty and location — a place where you could be away from the world, yet still be a part of it. Education and research are the twin pillars of this institute and the ambience is one in which new ideas and creativity can flourish.

IIT Bombay is academically organised into 14 Academic Departments, ten Centres, two Schools and three Interdisciplinary Programmes. On an average, it admits 650 candidates for the undergraduate programmes and 1,050 candidates for different Ph.D/Postgraduate programmes every year.

The institute provides the best, and it ensures that its students are also of exceptionally high quality. Admission to IIT Bombay is enabled through its various entrance examinations, like the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for the undergraduate programme, the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) for postgraduate programmes, the Common Entrance Examination for Design (CEED), MET for M.Phil, JMET for the Master of Management programme and JAM for M.Sc and M.Sc-Ph.D Dual Degree programmes.

One of the key goals of the institute is to provide an ambience in which higher studies and research thrives among the students and faculty. Along with fundamental research, many R&D projects offer opportunities to tackle ‘live’ problems. Its commitment to merge education with the creation of knowledge provides a fertile setting for productive research, which has led to a range of scientific and technological achievements.

To know more about IIT Bombay, check out the details at collegedunia.com.

Online Education Portal Raises Over $150K in Angel Funding

Delhi-based Collegedunia Web Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates the education portal CollegeduniaCollegedunia.com, has raised Rs 1 crore ($162,787) in angel funding from MIH-acquired automobile site Gaadi.com’s CEO Umang Kumar, along with a bunch of undisclosed investors.

The funds will be utilised in enhancing the technology, operations and for marketing.

Founded in May 2014, Collegedunia offers information about 700 colleges across the country. The information ranges from admission criteria and fee structure, faculty details to hostel fee. It is a comprehensive search engine for exams, colleges and courses.

The company is planning to add data on 7,000 to 8,000 colleges in six months. In the long run, the site will also look at listing coaching institutes, polytechnic institutes and entrance exams details. According to Sahil Chalana, founder, Collegedunia, it plans to become the Zomato of the education industry.

The start-up makes money from combination of listing and lead generation. Currently, it has 30 employees across technology, content, call centre and sales departments and plans to hire 40 more in six months. It claims to be attracting one lakh visitors per month and is hoping to increase this number to a million in six months.

This news article also appeared in the technology news from VCCircle and iamwire.

Angelic Beats

Title: Angelic BeatsAngelic Beats
Author: Sarita Singh
Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
ISBN: 978-93-84226-50-3
Number of Pages: 247
Price [INR]: 175
Genre: Fiction

Angelic Beats is the story of a boy in his late teens who falls in love with a married woman. Both defy their ages; the woman for her looks and innocence and the boy for his confidence and clarity in life along with integrity. The journey of the boy for his passion also becomes journey of love for both that finally takes them to more meaningful destinations. It unfolds the changing perspective of a young boy and a married woman in various situations of life treading the path of love and success together. How they carry on with love and friendship as a responsibility is quintessence to their journeys.

Love can make one completely blind or it can candle all the darkness in life.

Sometimes destiny becomes the greatest magician. It brings two opposite people, Sahil and Aakanksha, on one platform. Even their personal statuses do not match for one is married and the other single. One is confident about making choices in life, whereas the other is always scared of making a choice. One is always positive, and the other is negative in outlook.

Unlike mathematics, where “+” and “−” always make “−”, sometimes in real life, “+” and “−“ do make a “+” together.

On the road leading to his passion, he happened to meet the first love of his life too. Before going to the National Defence Academy for the journey to be a commissioned officer in Indian Air Force finally, he introduced “love” in her and his own life and pledged his heart to her. The arrows of cupid struck her also.

Do their final choices engulf all other relationships like a storm and rage and bleed their self-esteem? Or are they able to carry their choices gracefully through their quest for happiness?

When I read the blurb of Angelic Beats, I was immediately reminded of Second Thoughts by Shobha De. I had read this book some fifteen years ago. It’s a love story of Maya who struggles with her marriage. She meets and finds solace in Nikhil, her charming college-going neighbour. Soon the stage is set for an explosive tale of love and betrayal. I had found it be a good read then. With thoughts of Second Thoughts, I applied for review of Angelic Beats.

I had high some expectations from the Angelic Beats as the story line is pretty explosive and had the makings of an intense and interesting read.

Here’s what I liked about the book:

  • Insights of life at National Defence Academy. It was interesting to know the schedules, the tough training and life in general for the officers at the country’s most prestigious institute.
  • I liked the clarity of thought and confidence Sahil had in his abilities and vision for his life at such an young age.
  • Simple and lucid language is used in the book to share insights about human relations, love and life.

What I didn’t like about the book:

  • Editing. Less said, the better!
  • Angelic Beats is a dull story. Except for the newer activities and trainings at the Academy, the love story has hardly any twists and turns. The story lacks emotional depth too.
  • The blurb at the back of the book is too descriptive and then there’s even a summary of the story before the prologue. A summary in a business report or an essay is common, but in a fiction!? Why would one want to give away the essence of the story in the first few pages in a fiction?!

Angelic Beats had a promising story idea but somehow it missed somewhere and it didn’t work for me.

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The Great Indian Litterbug

Resume of The Great Indian Litterbug

Name : Great Indian Litterbug.  My friends call me, GIL! You can call me, Gily.

Address : I am omnipresent like God. But unlike Him, I am visible in every nook and corner of this country. You don’t have to pray hard to find me. All you have to do is just step out of your home and look around. Yes, just look around! And I will be there to greet you with a smile drenched in paan-red lips.

Skills and Strengths: Spitting around. Yes, I love doing that. I can do it anytime and anywhere… place, time, absolutely no bar. I can thrill you with a variety of sounds that accompanies my spitting. Of course, my personal favorite is ‘pichak’ and ‘peetch’ that is produced after having a mouthful of gutka, paan masala and/or paan.

The perennial cold that I suffer from makes me cough all day long! Aah! The unhygienic conditions we have in our country! The forceful expulsion of the phlegm with accompanying sounds is another skill set that I have. Doing aak-thoo especially from the bus or train window or when somebody stops me for asking directions or just about anytime is my passion. Since the phlegm is sticky, thick and viscous fluid, it can cause discomfort and congestion of your nasal passage and throat. Getting rid of it with distinct sounds is so gratifying. You have to take my word for it! Try it sometimes! Man, you will love it too.

Additional Experience : Pissing anywhere. Well, it is an age old practice. Relieving self out in the open without any fear or shame is kind of liberating. And also, when a man has to go, he has to go. Place and time cannot stop him doing what he got to do. I have had the pleasure of sharing many walls with even the rich getting out of those luxury SUVs and sedans. The passers-by pass our watering walls with covered noses as if they are inhaling some horrific smell. I wonder why they do that. The piss rolling off the wall and onto the pavement does not bother me at all. What bothers me though is placement of pictures of Gods of all religions on my favourite walls in the city.

Aim : My aim in life is to paint the town red… and yellow too. I am steadily and consistently inching towards my larger goal. Public spaces, buildings, walls, corners, pavements, bazaars, railway stations, bus stands, restaurants, hospitals… are witness of my scarlet and ochre works of art.

I look forward to meeting you for a personal interview and would love to share more of my achievements and accomplishments.

Aak Thoo. I mean Thank you!

This post is written for Indiblogger and http://greatindian.timesofindia.com/

Is Laundry Only a Woman’s Job

laundry

I believe, this quote was written for our family!

Laundry is considered probably the most boring chore but not at our home. With three small kids, my mom had her hands full and laundry baskets fuller. Of course, her passion for cleanliness /hygiene, pushed some additional clothes in the laundry basket. In those days, washing machines at home were unheard of. The clothes were washed by hands then. Though I don’t remember seeing my dad washing clothes but he helped in making soap at home. blog photos 053 Yes, those days, making laundry soap at home was a fad. The soap was made and then solidified and stored in big tubs. Dad helped in carrying the buckets of washed clothes from second floor to the terrace and helped in tightening of the clothesline.

And once the clothes were dry, mom would fold the laundry and arrange them in cupboards while Dad ironed clothes. As we grew older, we started helping both of them in folding and ironing. I remember, pestering Dad to let me iron the handkerchief in the end. Laundry was a family affair at our home.

When KG and I set up or our home after marriage, with both of us working long hours,  household chores were a joint responsibility. Till date, we have never classified the various chores as ‘His and Hers’. So, right from cooking, washing dishes, dusting to doing laundry, we do it without labelling it as one person’s domain chore. Of course, I have the upper hand in finding faults in his laundry and it is his prerogative to pick on the food that I cook.

When, I saw these statistics from Ariel, I was surprised. I pondered over it for a few minutes and realized that while Dad helped in a lot of chores at home, he never really washed clothes and most of our male friends don’t do laundry either.

statsariel

Washing laundry in a washing machine has become the go-to method for everybody now-a-days.  And we have strong soaps and detergents which give clean and effective cleaning in minutes. It is no longer the tedious process of washing with hands and with soap bars that would lather with difficulty. So, I am amazed that despite the advancements in every sphere,  laundry is still considered a woman’s job. And that inequality is still prevalent in  our homes.

I think the men who were a part of this survey were either from my Dad’s generation or have a story which reads like this..

“I’m never letting you do my laundry. Again.”
“I didn’t know the red towel was in there,” Prophet protested.
“You did it on purpose to get out of doing laundry.”
“Maybe. But it worked.” – S.E. Jakes

Jokes apart, just as so many men are entering kitchens and dominate them too, it’s time, they enter the laundry room and …

Laundry 2

What’s the laundry story at your home?

“I am writing for #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.”

Never-Ending Winter

Drabble

“It is for the best”, he said and looked at her one last time before leaving the room slowly.

She heard the words but they didn’t register. Her mind was racing in different directions while her eyes scanned the pictures of her new pret line.

She knew he wasn’t being himself lately but he will have to wait.

Moments later, she heard a gunshot.

Shocked realization dawned on her like a million bricks falling on her soul.

The sight before her turned her heart cold. And it would stay that way… like the never-ending winter, for a long long time.

Never-ending winter

Linking this to Wordy Wednesday at Blog-A-Rhythm (Never ending winter) Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

My Experiments with Baking

Baking cakes and muffins has been on my bucket list for a while now. I had baked a few cakes earlier, but most  of them were made from ready-made cake mixes. And we all know that baking a ready cake mix is no baking at all. So, nearly three months ago, I had this urge to bake. I scanned the web and found a very simple and easy recipe for cupcakes, here. I gathered all the ingredients, followed the recipe and voila! my first cupcakes were out of the oven. And…. they turned out real good! Friends and family appreciated the taste and flavour, the texture, moistness and the softness of these lil cupcakes. I was ecstatic so much so that I admonished myself for having not tried my hands at baking much earlier!

Inspired by the initial success, next, I baked Red Velvet Cupcakes. They looked good from far and were dry and a bit hard! Also, they were far from velvety!2014-10-04 17.09.05

I was not at all deterred by this setback, and I thought of repeating my first success story. My father’s birthday was around the corner so I planned to bake cupcakes for the special day. Once again, I followed Annabel’s basic cupcake recipe. This time, the cupcakes did not rise (to the occasion) and turned out all flat and wrinkly as I looked at them with disbelief. The saving grace was that they tasted all right!

2014-10-09 21.09.43

Intrigued but not discouraged by these failures, I read up all the reasons for the fall of my cupcakes and even chatted on Whatsapp and Facebook with some baker bloggers.

Some said baking powder could be the culprit, so I tested the baking powder for its efficiency and despite the poor powder passing the test, I banished it from my kitchen and in fact changed my baking powder thrice in 2 months!

The experts say that exact measurements are crucial for baking a perfect cake. Though I have measuring cups and spoons, I bought a kitchen weighing scale to get the measurement EXACTLY right… to the last gram!

A friend believes that an electric hand whisk is an essential piece of kit when making cakes. I thought I was beating the living daylights out of the batter and overbeating is also one of the common reasons why cakes sink. So, I invested in a new electric hand whisk too and learnt the technique of folding the batter from YouTube videos.

Over the next few weeks, with new gadgets, new techniques, lots of reading up on the internet and watching innumerable YouTube videos, I tried some more cupcake recipes and baked ‘my first (and the last?!) successful attempt recipe’ a couple of times and the results were the same…  flat, deflated cupcakes!

Oven temperature could easily make for a falling cake, some websites said. I looked at my rarely-used-till-a-few-months-ago oven and it stared back at me accusingly and seemed to say, ‘Don’t accuse me if your cupcakes look like erupted volcanoes. It is truly a case of pot calling the kettle black!’

I believed what my lil oven said and immersed myself in self-depreciating thoughts!

Till…

…To be continued!

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

Why I Read

Books are a uniquely portable magic. ― Stephen King

I am sure there isn’t anyone who can refute King’s thought. Reading a book is  truly a magical experience. The books have the amazing ability to transport us in a different land, time, culture, evoking different feelings of sadness, joy, anger, anticipation – it just all depends on what we are reading.

To me, reading books is truly a rewarding and a unique experience. Here are some of the reasons as to why I read…

  • I like the entertainment value a book provides. Simply love the suspense of watching a good plot unfold. The adventure trips to places I may never get to go, the pleasure of meeting so many characters- good as well as bad and the many lives I get to live when reading, is simply amazing.
  • It helps to forget the troubles of the day. Like last night, I was stressed about something. It was not in my control and couldn’t do anything about it, other than worrying that is. I decided to pick up a book. I started reading it and within minutes, I was smiling as I turned pages one after the other. In fact, this morning, the first thought I had was, will Alafia get a man of her dreams!
  • Books are the goldmines to discover information. How else would I have known about trials and tribulations of a person with person with deteriorating kidney function or how the frauds are committed in the financial world, or the life of an army wife, or legal jargon or mythology or life in Afghanistan… Books are a fab way to benefit from the author’s research.
  • Books have helped me to learn and grow as a person. There are so many books that have inspired and encouraged me, shared a new perspective, helped to understand people and problems better.

I had aimed to read 50 books last year and ended up reading 71 books. This year, I plan to read 100 books. And I am planning to read diverse genres, old and new, classics and the ones spanning eras. I am aiming to re-read the books which I have read when I was in school and college. Books by Enid Blyton, Jane Austen, Emile Bronte, Charles Dickens, Harry Potter series,  are ranking high on my list. I am also keen to read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid which is a hit with kids now-a-days.

There are a lot of 2015 Reading Challenges doing the rounds on the internet. These 2 caught my interest.

2015 reading challenge

2015-reading-challenge 1

I am sure that I will be able to tick off most of the book types from these two lists easily, but some would be challenging. For instance, finding a book written by an author with your same initials, or reading a translated novel or a book your mom loves (My mom reads newspapers and magazines and solves Sudoku puzzles). But what’s life without challenges!

What are your reasons for reading and what are you reading currently?

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

Get. Set. Bolt

This weekend, we were at the World Trade Park, doing what we love the most in a mall! Yes, shopping. On the ground floor of this world class business and entertainment centre we saw the display of a new car from Tata Motors.

About six months ago, I was a part of the launch event of another new car from Tata Motors. That was Tata Zest. During that launch event at Goa, the product specialists from Tata Motors had taken us through the technological aspects of Zest in a Master Class. So, I was keen to know about this yet another new car from the Tata Motors’ stable.

I immediately rushed to the display area and had a chat with the sales guy. This is what he shared with me…20150103_132455

Tata Bolt is the new hatchback in the Indian market.

Bolt means speed and  it is truly represents that as it is powered by a powerful Revotron 1.2 turbocharged MPFi petrol engine, 5-speed manual Transmission, a Power  of 88.8bhp @ 5000rpm and Torque of 140Nm @ 1750-3500 rpm.

For the first time ever in this segment, Bolt comes with a Multi-Drive in three modes ie SPORT, ECO and CITY.  These three modes allows the driver to set the engine action depending on driving needs. Sport mode is one when need a burst of power, Eco mode is when needs excellent fuel efficiency and City mode is for a perfect balance between the two.

Tata Bolt comes with generation next safety with 9th generation Anti-lock Braking System by BOSCH, corner stability control and standard dual-airbags.

Bolt has many features, superior space and comfort which are usually seen in luxury cars. Cabin space is pretty good and there is enough space for three adults at the back. With Bolt, Tata Motors are making the luxury features affordable and available to customers in the hatchback segment.

Tata Bolt comes with a Harman infotainment system which has a 5-inch touchscreen display. The music system supports AUX-in, Bluetooth, USB, SD card, iPod and FM/AM connectivity. So, howsoever you listen to your music outside the car, you can listen to it in the same way inside the Bolt too. Bolt has blue tooth connectivity with voice integration, SMS read-outs, touch operated AC controls. These features are in Tata Zest too. But Bolt has two additional features of video playback and navigation. Video files stored on any device can be played and navigation function is based on Android’s phone’s built in GPS and MapMyIndia app.

Bolt is an impressive car from Tata Motors which is  a class apart with innovative features, modern engine, connectivity and comfort. So, Get. Set. Bolt…

20150103_132904

Along with me are Aaryan and his friend Vedant. Yes, we love getting clicked too!

 This post is a part of the Get. Set. Bolt. activity at BlogAdda.

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

I See

Drabble

‘Everything’s going great and is happening as per the plan’, he said excitedly, his fingers caressing the sides of the tea cup.

He sounded very confident of success for his new business plan. He was brimming with passion, inspiration and drive.

Why was I feeling so sceptical? They say enthusiasm is infectious but why was it failing to touch me?

My restlessness was making me miserable. I got up from my chair and started pacing around the room.

Absentmindedly I picked up his cup and gave it a swirl.

The tea leaves told the story… and that confirmed my premonition.

Tea Leaf Reading

Tea leaf reading also referred to as tasseography is a fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves.

Linking this to Write Tribe’s100 Words on Saturday Prompt and Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

New Year Resolutions

2015… It’s the brand new year. It is that time of the year when we look back at the past and get another chance to get it right. It is that time of the year when we see the change in the year and we yearn to bring some changes in ourselves too.

Of course, no one stops us from acting whenever inspiration strikes, during the year.

But new year is that special time when we promise and plan some goals for ourselves. These goals are to give us a new direction or to attract something in our life. The new year resolutions may help us to accomplish or see growth in different spheres of our life. These resolutions could be big or small and they may help us come closer to our goals.

And yes, for some, new year is the time for a new start on old habits. And for some the new year resolutions can be meaningless, unrealistic and fake promises that break even before any action is taken on them. These goals can just add more misery and guilt too.

Even though most of us may not stick to our resolutions for long, it still implies that we have that hope and belief to change or be who we really want to be.

Whether we make new year resolutions or not, the thing is that we all have 365 days. The only difference is what we do with them.

image

I am opting to turn right.

And  my Word of the Year 2015 is Mindfulness. It is about living in the moment and awakening to experiences. We have such a hectic pace of life. Multi-tasking is the buzz word for us. We fold laundry while keeping one eye on the kids and another on the television. We plan our day while chopping vegetables or making breakfast. But in the rush to accomplish the daily chores, we may miss connecting with the present moment—miss out on what we’re doing and how we’re feeling. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing our attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment.

Of course, it is not an easy road, but not an impossible one. I am going to take one moment at a time!

Which way are you turning this year and what is your Word of the Year 2015?

Whichever path you choose, may your journey be a pleasant one and may life smile on you, everyday! Cheers! ♥

Linking this to Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

First Impressions Last

Fiction

Festivity was in the air, in our home. My father couldn’t stop beaming and my mother’s happy tears wouldn’t stop. I had finally given in to their wishes. After all, for how long can one bear the weight of permanent worry lines on your father’s face and premature greys on your mother’s head.

Yes, I gave in without any tantrums. I gave in to their dream of arranging marriage for me. It was a dream that they had been nurturing since the day I was born. They wanted a groom who had some super amazing stats… good family, lots of money, well settled… All things considered, that is how it worked for them. My parents had seen each other for the first time during their marriage ceremonies!! So, the idea of marrying without love is perfectly ok with them. Love and all that jazz can happen after marriage, they believe. Their long healthy marriage bears testimony to that.

To their misfortune, my education was coming in their way of realizing their dream. I was no longer the sweet and nice little girl but, a woman of 25 with a mind of her own. They can’t trust me to find a ‘life partner for myself and also that I am a bit picky does not go down well with their sensibilities! Plus they have societal pressure to marry me off as I would soon be considered past marriageable age.

I understand the stress my parents were under and I understand their motivation too. For this very reason, I am agreeing to their emotional blackmails and fulfilling my karmic destiny and agreeing to go for an ‘introduction’ meet at the cafe. Needless to say that all this would be happening under the watchful eyes of both sets of parents.

So, here I am, in all my finery sitting across him. When our eyes met… I sighed and thought, ‘Oh, this can’t be happening to me!’ I swallowed back that feeling of shock. Who comes up looking like that for an occasion like this? He had a blank expression on his face. His chin was black with several days’ worth of stubble. I connect stubble not just to a shabby look but also with people who are depressed, untidy and unwell.

I looked at my parents and hugged them mentally, for their eyes mirrored my thoughts too. Sorry dude, you only get one chance to make a first impression. And you lost it. After all, early impressions are hard to eradicate from the mind. When once wool has been dyed purple, who can restore it to its previous whiteness?

I was tagged by Aditi and I am tagging Nabanita, Manjulika, Ideator, Shaznin to share their #WillYouShave stories.

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette.

Come Alive in Melbourne

Last year, my sister had been to Melbourne, Australia and she is all praise for this city. She believes that every one must visit Melbourne at least once in their lifetime. From mountains to museums, markets to meaty meals, merry-making to mind-blowing, modern to majestic, Melbourne has it all. After listening to her Melbourne tales, I have fallen in love with this city too. Here are my reasons for falling in love with Melbourne, which is the most livable city in the world.

  • The best of food is here : Thanks to the Food Safari, a television series hosted by Maeve O’Meara, we got to explore virtually the diverse culinary influences of Australia. Melbourne is a serious culinary hotspot, with everything from burger joints to swish eateries with big-name chefs, cutting-edge cafes, bakeries and heritage tearooms, French fine dining, Italian regional cuisine, tempting Spanish tapas and more. It is indeed a paradise for foodies like us!
  • Pubs and clubs to drink and dance the night away : Drinking beer has been part of the Australian culture for many years, and Australia is known as a beer drinking nation. It is said that Melbourne invented the rooftop bar scene. And ‘shouting’ with friends over tap and bottled beer and cocktails at The Emerson, Black Pearl Bar would be so much fun. The Rooftop Bar
  • Walk in the steps of great sporting legends : We are sports crazy and so is Melbourne. Melbourne has the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground which is home to Australian football, international and domestic cricket, concerts, special events such as international soccer and rugby matches.  Seeing all this in reality, which we have been seeing on TV all these years, would be truly an enlightening, enriching and an exciting experience for us! Have heard that MCG Tour allows the visitors to see and know all about MCG along with access to areas including player change rooms, the Ron Casey Media Centre, member only areas of the Melbourne Cricket Club such as the Long Room and a walk on the hallowed arena. It would be like walking in the steps of great sporting legends. And wouldn’t that take the sporting buffs like us on cloud nine!
  • Shop till you drop : Melbourne is a city that takes fashion very seriously. And that’s the reason that there is a big presence of international retail giants  along with local designers, all set to spoil us for choice. Shopping in Melbourne comes with a bonus, with laneway discoveries and cafe culture add adventure and pleasure to the shopping experience.rose-street-artists-market
  • Explore and more : It is always interesting to go behind the scenes to discover how do they do it. Yes, it would be cool to explore the vineyards that date back to the 1850s and still produce long-lasting wines and the boutique wineries that produce Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. Vineyards
  • Graffiti art that’s class : Melbourne is known as one of the world’s great street art which showcases unique expressions of art on approved outdoor locations thereby contributing to a vibrant urban culture. LygonStreet

Cosmopolitan, elegant and chic, Melbourne has a passionate soul and a welcoming heart. From thrilling world class events and renowned architecture, to café-lined streetscapes and verdant parklands, there’s a lot to discover in Melbourne.

A CONTEST FOR ALL THE READERS HERE…

Answer this question in the comment section and you can win a gift voucher worth Rs. 500  from Indiblogger and Tourism Victoria

Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?

The contest ends on 5th Jan 2015. So, rush in your answers NOW!!

The Light of Truth

A successful new product launch drives the growth in pharmaceutical companies A new brand rollout requires a lot of preparation; it’s like planning a wedding!

I was handling one such new drug that was to be launched with big fan-fare. As a brand manager, I was working hard day and night, meeting deadlines, getting all the promotional material in place, coordinating with various agencies, making presentations, getting the work done from various departments…. And finally, it was the D-day.

We were all set to launch the new brand to our internal audience ie first batch of sales team. For this mega launch, the CEO of the company along with the heads of various departments, the brand and the sales team had checked in the hotel, the evening before the launch.

After overseeing all the launch arrangements in the hotel,  and ensuring that everything was as per the plan, I finally retired to my room.

Before calling it the day, I decided to have a look at my power point presentation and the brand promotional material. As I was flipping through the visual aid pages, I spotted a spelling error on page 3. Visual aid is the most important marketing tool for pharmaceutical marketing professionals as it contains the promotional communication for the brands. A spelling error on a visual aid which would be used by the sales team, day in and day out for at least a quarter, was a blasphemy. I was sweating on a cold winter evening.

Till then I believed that my real strength was attention to detail. I was proud of myself for being meticulous. And here a spelling error was staring back at me from the visual aid. I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How could I miss it? How did it happen? There were so many people who had seen this visual aid in its various stages of production and nobody noticed this error?

One thought that was taking shape and form was to ignore it and hope that nobody noticed it too. But I knew that sooner or later, somebody would spot this error.

The second thought was to tell the Marketing Manager about it. But how would I face him? This spelling error translated into negligence and embarrassment. It had cost implications and even a job could be at stake.

I paced up and down nervously in my room. It was like caught between the devil and the deep sea! I thought and thought and with every passing second, I was getting gripped firmly by anxiety, panic and fear. I had never felt this terrible before…

I reached for a glass of water. It calmed me a bit and I realized that I have two choices… to tell the truth or to hide it for the time being. But a bit more introspection revealed that I actually had only one choice and that was to tell the truth.

Without wasting a moment, I called up my boss and told him about the goof-up. I was expecting him to blow his top and go ballistic, any moment. He surprised me by asking me for the solution to the problem at hand. I told him that a sticker of the correct word can be a quick-fix solution. He okayed my suggestion and shooed me to get acting on it. After sharing the truth with the boss, I was so relieved. I realized that once exposed, a secret loses all its power!

It was 10 in the night and I called the Printing Agency. The manager at the Printing Agency understood the gravity of the situation and arranged to get the stickers printed immediately in the night shift.

A ringing door bell woke me up in the morning. Standing outside were two workers from the Printing Agency. They had a small pack of stickers in their hand and requested me to hand over the visual aids to them, so that they can hide that obnoxious word with the sticker. Relief washed over me in the form of an awesome wave.

The brand roll-out was a big success. The strategies, the promotional inputs, the media plan was well received by the entire team. I was glad that nobody ‘noticed’ the sticker. I smiled and was about to thank God and the Marketing Manager and the Printing Agency, when the CEO came over to me. He congratulated me for putting up a super show, and I was beginning to float on cloud nine. And then he said, “I hope you know that God is in the details”.

Two lessons were learnt that day. Little details have special talents in creating big problems and our biggest fear is not in expressing the truth but that we will be attacked or belittled because of our truth. But we must still go ahead and spread the light of truth.

Have you seen the benefit of telling the truth in your own life?

This post is written for Indiblogger and Kinley 2014 TVC

How We Met

The College Years!! Those were the days… left the comforts of home for the first time.. made a group out of the first few people we met… hanging out together between classes… sitting together during lunch and dinners at the mess… staying up all night with a steady dose of tea and snacks to complete assignments. Complaining about anything and everything, learning to share opinions, discovering ourselves and forging some wonderful bonds….

And then life happened… new jobs, different cities/countries, marriage and then kids… The ‘nice and wild’ days were all left behind as we embraced the newer roles and challenges of life.

One fine day, out of the blue, years later, a mail in my inbox popped out. It was from a college friend from the distant past. The heart did a time travel across emails and then Facebook, on and off, for a good two decades. The mails saw us exchanging stories of our lives, marriages, kids, work, friends and experiences.

And then we happened to be in the same city at the same time. ‘Can we meet?’, the question popped up in one of our chats. Of course, we can and we must! And as the day came closer, anticipation was killing me. What if, he is not able to make it? What if, there’s an exigency? What-if… What-if…

Finally, the day arrived and I could barely contain my excitement. And thankfully, all went well for me, no exigency, no traffic jams and I reached before the scheduled time. As I sat by the window at the cafe, lost in some last minute anxiety-laced-thinking… ‘would it be awkward… after all we would be meeting after two decades?’…

Someone tapped me on the shoulder — I turned around and found myself looking at hisIt's Coffee twinkling eyes and a beaming smile. As I got up and extended my hand, he engulfed me in a big bear hug. Thoughts of awkwardness on meeting a friend after a long time simply vanished and as we sat drinking coffee and talking… Talking about mutual friends, remembering the nicknames we had given to professors and some friends and telling stories we had forgotten…

As we emptied our first cup of coffee, two excited voices broke our chain of conversation. We looked up and added more to the buzz around us. In front of us were two batch mates. Oblivious to the minor pandemonium that we were creating, we chatted animatedly. Remembering and sharing the inside jokes that still sounded sooo hilarious, re-living the memories of life at the campus…

We talked about how we had expected our life to be and how it played out for each one of us.  We shared so many stories that time simply flew by… so quickly!

We realized that though the greys and a few wrinkles, along with adipose layers at unflattering places had changed us physically but underneath we were still the same wonderful people who were friends decades ago.

Though, Facebook and Twitter had united us again but there’s nothing like meeting our friends in the real world. No matter how far we were all these years, we were able to pick up right where we left off… We all laughed so much that day and our happiness knew no bounds. The emotional connect cannot be replaced by the smileys on the internet chat and comments on Facebook posts. The bond is strengthened and deepened when we connect in the real world with real friends.

We realized that reunion reveals friendship potential that haven’t yet been emerged in the past.

It is true that good things happen when we get together! And this is reflected in Starbucks first ever brand campaign, ‘Meet me at Starbucks‘. This campaign encourages people to meet and experience genuine moments of connections.

Do share your interesting ‘#HowWeMet’ stories at http://www.meetmeatstarbucks.in

Dettol Multi-Use Wipes : Review

I am a cleanliness freak. I wasn’t like this always. I don’t know when it happened but over the years, the general regular habits of having neat and clean things around somehow transformed into obsession. The plates and spoons at the restaurant have to be wiped clean, always. The serving spoons at the buffet have to be held with a napkin.  The hands need the mandatory wash before eating. The dust on the laptop or the hand prints on the dining table glass are never missed by my hawk eyes.

Thank God for the wet wipes which I carry in my bag all the time. Needless to say, that when I heard about Dettol Multi-Use Wipes, my cleanliness-obsessed head and heart did a little happy dance as Dettol is the name that is synonymous with hygiene and disinfectants. I used the Dettol Multi-Use Wipes in and around my home.

Dettol Multi-Use Wipes 1

  • During travel, a wet wipe helped to get rid of dust and grime on face, neck and hands and gave that fresh feeling. Dettol Multi-Use Wipes are alcohol free, and are gentle on the skin and I liked its pleasant fragrance too. The wipes are of a good size and thick and durable too.
  • Cleaning hands before eating in a restaurant and even wiping the not-so-clean table was easy.
  • Removing eyeliner and lipstick swatches on hand with Dettol Multi-Use Wipes was impressive. And this is considering that the eyeliner was smudge proof and doesn’t comes off easily. Also the emollients present in the wipes kept the skin moisturized.
  • Wiping dust and grime from gadgets like Laptop, TV Remote, Smartphone, Tablet was simple and effective. Dettol Multi-Use Wipes are sufficiently moist to give a thorough cleaning of these surfaces.
  • Cleaning kitchen granite countertop, laminate kitchen cabinets, microwave, refrigerator, food processor, glass table-tops and even sandwich maker ensures germ free surfaces. And keeping the door bell, the door handles, faucets bug free was never so easy.

The cleanliness freak in me is happy with Dettol Multi-Use Wipes because of following reasons:

  • Protection from a wide range of germs.
  • Since it is alcohol free and has moisturizers so it is gentle on skin.
  • The fresh fragrance is mild that lasts for a while.
  • Good size, thick and durable napkin ensures instant and thorough clean-up of all surfaces.
  • Convenient and easy to use wipes for fast and hygienic surface cleaning.
  • Each wipe is easy to pull out easily unlike some brands where two or more wipes end up coming out of the pack.
  • Re-sealable pack, prevents the wipes from drying out.

Dettol Multi-Use Wipes have a shelf life of 24 months and are available in packs of 10s (x3) and 30s and are priced and Rs 120 and 115 respectively!

Dettol Multi-Use Wipes provide protection from germs for both skin and surfaces, at home and on the go. Needless to say, that it is an integral part of my bag and I am going to keep one in our car too.

You can buy Dettol Multi-Use Wipes online on Flipkart.

Fun Activities for Kids

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We all want our kids to have fun on their holidays, but looking after young children can be exhausting enough, without worrying about new and exciting ways to keep them entertained. Thankfully, the internet is your friend and there’s no shortage of wonderful blogs and websites with inventive ideas for kids activities. Because having fun with your family doesn’t have to mean leaving the house or breaking the bank, and here are five of the best tried-and-tested ways to help inspire your child’s imagination:

Mini Olympics

Burn off some of that excess energy by holding your own mini Olympics. Ask each child to Sack Race choose a country to represent and dig out any old clothes, fancy dress or face paint in their chosen nation’s colours. Here imagination is more important than either space or equipment, and your tournament can be made up of anything from racing laps around the house to a pillow-sack race, or even tug-of-war with a piece of old rope or a dressing gown belt.

Into the Kitchen

The best kids activities are ones that are as useful as they are enjoyable. Teaching your child Baking With Children new skills will fill them with confidence and improve their ability to help out at home and entertain themselves (win-win!) Kids love to cook – and eat! – so a great place to start teaching them useful skills is the kitchen. Choose a recipe that you can all sit down and enjoy together, varying the difficulty of the dish depending on your child’s age and ability. Simple cakes and bakes are great for younger children, while older kids can take on savoury dinnertime dishes and more advanced recipes. Studies often find that children who cook have a healthier approach to food and nutrition, so be sure to involve them in the whole process, from selecting a recipe and shopping for ingredients to chopping the vegetables and serving up to eat.

Build a Castle

Help your child transform the living room or their bedroom into a life-size play area by building Tent a castle from blankets, pillows, rugs, chairs and any old cardboard boxes or junk. Creating a space removed from everyday life will help spark a child’s imagination and provides them with the escapism they need to conjure up fantasy games and make-believe. Indoor tents, forts, tunnels and boats can all be fashioned from everyday household items, and you’ll be amazed at how inventive kids can be when they’re given the freedom to do so.

Treasure Hunt

Treasure hunts always make brilliant kids activities as not only can they be set up in advance, Treasure Hunt but they’ll also entertain any number of children all afternoon. Prepare clues based on the age and gender of the children taking part, and make sure you have enough ‘treasure’ for everyone involved (kids aren’t best-known for being the most democratic competitors when it comes to prizes). Small, inexpensive treats such as sweets, hair accessories or water balloons all make great prizes, especially as the real fun is to be had in the hunt itself!

Fashion Show

Children love to be the centre of attention so why not turn your corridor or hallway into a Kids Fashion Show catwalk and encourage them to put on a fashion show? Girls in particular will relish the opportunity to glam up in their favourite outfits, but it’s surprising how often boys love a bit of fancy dress too. Lend them any costume jewellery, extravagant hats or unusual pieces from your own wardrobe and help them choose a playlist to accompany them down the catwalk. Give them control of the light switch or torch (flashing lights are a must) and make sure you’re there with your camera to capture them as they strike their finest poses.

How are you going to engage your children these holidays! Hope you  pack in a lot of fun in their holidays!  And happy holidays to you ALL!

Travel with Kids

One day, a friend M who was in her family way lamented with a sad and desolate look on her face, “I think, I’d be losing all freedom in a few weeks from now. I’ll be tied down with baby care for a long long time. There’d be no cozy dine outs, movies in theatre and even the vacations would be on a back burner! What have I got myself into? For how long will this state last for me?”

Seeing her having baby blues before the baby arrived, we tried to cheer her up. And then another friend S, remarked, “Oh, you’ll be able to do all these things, whenever YOU are ready!

This made M sit up and listen. S could see an attentive audience, so she elaborated… Sharing some entertainment ideas, survival strategies, and practical advice, S shared that make travel with kids, magical and happy.

Agree that traveling with kids for a vacation is not as easy and simple when compared to travel that is solo or with friends. But it is not all that difficult and in fact having them around makes for some great fun times, with some beautiful memories.

The most important thing that needs to be taken care of is the needs of the children. Yes, that’s right!  If we pay attention to their needs which are actually 6Es, we are sorted, yes, even on a vacation.

Enthusiasm. Check. When we plan and talk about the forthcoming trip with excitement, it kind of rubs on the children too. After all nothing is as contagious as enthusiasm. Disinterested and uninvolved children can dampen the holiday cheer. Let them help in packing. I know, how much of a help that is, but still! The idea is that they too should be looking forward to the fun and exciting times. And half the battle is won.

Expectation Matching. Check. Going for a trek or a visit to a fort on a hill with toddlers can exhaust you physically and mentally.  (Of course, such excursions are pretty do-able and manageable, if you plan well!) Going for a vacation and doing things that all in the family enjoy and love results in happy smiles all around.

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Engage. Check. What do kids love the most? Playing games, obviously! Bored kids can be very cranky. So, how about taking their favourites along with you, like UNO cards or Beyblades or Chess or whatever interests them. For example, on one vacation with our friends, the kids played UNO and we too learnt it from them which graduated into marathon UNO sessions involving all the adults and children. Needless to say, who had fun beating whom… initially!!

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Enjoyment Galore. Check.  With our modern lifestyles, indoor culture and addiction to technological gadgets, our children are far more removed from nature than us. Vacations are perfect time to relax and let children be children and let them  recapture the simple pleasures of dancing in the rain or climbing trees or playing with sand.

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Explore. Check. Children are such curious creatures. They explore, question, and wonder, and look at everything with a different perspective. A trip to a museum was such an enlightening one, only because we had two ten-year olds with us. Their steady stream of questions made us read up and hire a guide and that was truly enriching.

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Expect the Unexpected. Check. Not everything goes as per the plan always. There would be surprises and there would be surprises. Like once a child had a tummy upset, so we had to take frequent breaks during our road journey. While the parents took turns in taking care of the child, rest of us made the best of our time by capturing memories in our cameras and chatted with the villagers around and soaked in the beauty around.

Rumi said, travel brings power and love back into your life… and children pack it with more power and love along with fun and happiness and lots of magical moments and memories!

See the world, with your children. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. So where are you heading these vacations?

This post is written for Indiblogger and Teddy Travelogues from Club Mahindra

All the pictures used in the post are personal.

Road Safety is in Our Hands

Some years ago, T, a 20-something-son of a family friend met with an accident. He was driving his bike when a van hit him. The van driver fled from the scene leaving him bleeding and in intense pain on the road. His head had hit the pavement and he died on his way to the hospital. They say that the bystanders took a long time to take any action. The doctors said that if medical assistance was provided to him a bit earlier, he would have survived and a helmet would have prevented the fatal injuries too. T’s mother took his death to heart and died eight months later. T’s father lives alone and is a sort of recluse.

One accident changed the life and fate of a family!

If only…

The World Health Organization in its first ever Global Status Report on Road Safety revealed that more people die in road accidents in India than anywhere else in the world. At least 13 people die every hour in road accidents in the country. According to the Road Transport ministry report, a total of 4.97 lakh road accident was reported in 2011. A majority of road accident victims – 51.9 %  – are in the 25-65 age group followed by 30.3% in the 15-24 age group.

And they say 80% of road accidents are due to human error! 80% – human error… that’s huge!!

I believe, making our roads safe not only for us but also for motorists and pedestrians is in our hands. Here are are some of the steps that we must follow which incidentally are the road signs by the Border Road Organization that we came across on our road journey from Srinagar to Leh, to make our roads safe:

  • Do not be rash and end in crash: Drive like hell, and you ‘ll be there. Speed thrills but it kills, after all it’s a highway and not a runway.
  • Drive on horse power and not rum power. Drinking and driving should never be mixed.
  • Short cuts may cut short your life : Avoid overtaking from wrong side. Life is short, but don’t make it shorter, because a slip and there might be a hospital trip. Be Mr. Late but not Late Mr.
  • Make road sense as your common sense. Like seat belts and helmets are life saving. And that high beam and low beam lights in a vehicle have a reason and specific purpose. Use them wisely. Use indicators timely!
  • Lane driving is safe driving : In fact, lane driving should be mandatory especially on highways and expressways.
  • Peep-Peep, Don’t Sleep. Always Alert, Avoids Accidents.  Driving with care, make accidents rare.
  • Be a good Samaritan : What goes around, comes around. So help those in need and in distress.
  • Safety on road=safe tea at home. Safety on roads should become a habit. As safety is simple, accidents are not.

The key to road safety is in our hands. Each one us should respect and know traffic regulations and signs and follow them religiously. Each one of us should have a responsible attitude on the road and avoid road accidents and their serious consequences.

Road safety is a state of mind, while accident is an absence of mind. Since, life does not comes with a ‘reset’ button, drive safe, always!  And there should be no place for ‘If only…’ on roads.

This post is written for Indiblogger and Nissan Safety Driving Forum

Rise Above Fear

I am not an outdoors person. Or at least that’s what I thought till some time ago.

Some four years ago, as part of an adventure based training program, I had to do rappelling  Rappelling is a controlled descent down a rock face or a wall using a rope. After the safety and activity brief, we were to climb down a steep wall of 40 feet height.

A lot of participants showed enthusiasm and were lining up on the terrace to rappel down. I was like rooted to the ground. I slipped my hands into my jacket in an attempt to dry them of their clamminess. I had never done anything of this sort earlier. People were oohing and aahing with excitement while I was paralysed with fear. ‘I cant do it’… ‘I can’t…’ kept reverberating in my head. The brief said that we were safe on every millimetre of the rope but the panicky alarm bells in my head were ringing wildly.

The trainer could see through me and gave me a little pep talk. He suggested that I watch the other participants from the terrace. I pushed myself to at least go to the terrace, though I was convinced that I wouldn’t be doing this activity. Even after seeing so many people go down so easily on the rope system, my head and heart were not giving me the ‘Go for it’ sign.

And finally, I was the only person left on the terrace along with the adventure coordinators. They signalled me to wear the safety harness. Fear was writ all over me.

I looked at my instructor and asked him: “Do I really need to do this?” He said: “Not if you do not wish to. But I suggest that you do it. This experience will change you”.

I had a minute to decide. Slowly, I turned and wore the safety harness and stood on the ledge of the wall. The world looked different when seen while standing on the edge of a 40-ft wall. The cool breeze did nothing to soothe the raging nervous energy inside. The crowd at the bottom was cheering me and I was all set to… chicken out. Their motivating words could not reach the fearful stories my head was busy concocting.

And then the instructor asked everybody to keep quiet and looked at me and said, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

Something connected somewhere and I ssshed my racing nerves. IMG-20101217-00178I focused on the instructions and gingerly took the first step down the perpendicular wall… and then the second… and then the third… And by fourth step, I was like ‘not bad’… and then it was ‘Aha!… and with every step my confidence kept on increasing and a tiny little firefly was buzzing around above my head with excitement.

And when I reached down, the first thought was that wish the wall had more height! This thought amazed me…I mean this was coming form somebody who was chanting the “I can’t’ mantra, moments ago.

I realized that my dread, my fear, had been a huge overreaction. My self limiting beliefs and my fears paralysed me from taking that first step. There is enough strength within us to overcome anything in life… including our worst and biggest fears!! I realized that no fear is unconquerable. All you have to do is TRY and RISE ABOVE FEAR!!

Today, white water rafting, trekking, valley crossing, flying fox/zip line excite me and I can’t wait to explore para-sailing and bungee jumping!

This post is written for Indiblogger and Mountain Dew India #RiseAboveFear

Hygiene is Two-Thirds of Health

Hygiene is two-thirds of health.

2/3rd of our health?! Hard to believe??

It is a true fact.

Hygiene is a basic human need and we know that it is common sense to practice it in our day to day life. But the number of diseases that are spread by the very lack of this ‘common sense’ habit, is staggering!

Sanitation and Hygiene play a big role in our everyday lives. With the kind of health risks that pose a threat to us today, it is more important than ever, for us to maintain good hygienic habits. And it all starts at home!

Hygiene, which is basically practicing certain activities in our life that lead to maintenance of health and prevention of diseases, is divided into three categories:

Personal Hygiene : Studies show that, 80 percent of infections are transmitted by direct and indirect contact, thus, hand washing is the most important thing we can do to protect our self! And others!  Every hand we shake, every hand rail we touch, every door knob, every light switch, every counter top, every dog we pet…simply everything we touch can place dangerous germs on our hands.

The importance of hand washing can be assessed by looking at the spread of germs found on human hands. Given below are a few examples:

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Here’s a checklist of times when we need to wash our hands. I know, this may sound so petty and trivial and something that we all know. These are the basics… right! But mostly the basic rituals are the ones that are most often forgotten and ignored! Just check, how many check marks (✓) you get…

    • After using the washroom at home or at any public place. 6 Steps of Washing Hands
    • Before as well as after eating food.
    • After visiting a patient at the hospital.
    • Before and after one starts cooking food.
    • After changing a baby’s diaper.
    • After touching pets or cleaning their faeces.
    • Before touching young infants and children.
    • Before and after touching injured areas and changing the dressing of a wounded person.
    • After collecting and throwing out garbage.
    • After sneezing, coughing and blowing our nose.
    • After cleaning around the house.
    • After being outside (playing, gardening, walking the dog, etc.)
    • After handling dirty laundry.

Also hands should be always washed with a soap. If that is not done then we are actually  smearing the germs all over our hands and giving them a wider surface area to operate and/or if we are not washing well or long enough then we have got live germs on our hands ready to transfer to our foods, friends’ hands we shake or even people we hug…

Home Hygiene : We love keeping our homes clean. But are they really clean? However clean a home looks, the deadly little germs can still be lurking around. The door knobs, the handrails, the upholstery and bedding, the TV remote, computer keyboard, toilet brush, soap dispensers, kitchen napkins, vacuum cleaner are all hotbeds of bacterial and viral activity. Take a moment to check this cleaning time-table. If you are managing your home as per this schedule, you are doing great!

Several Times in a Day Once Every Day Once -Twice Every Week Once a Month

Wash dishes and cooking utensils after each meal

Sweep the floors

Wash the floors

Clean cupboards, windows and walls

Clean kitchen slab before and after food preparation

Empty the kitchen rubbish bin

Wash the bed linen

Clean refrigerator, gas stove

Clean toilets

Dust the surfaces

Get rid of cobwebs

Food Hygiene : In a survey, 15 per cent of squeaky clean-looking fridges were heavily contaminated with bugs. Hard to believe. Right? But then it’s true. How many of us wash the milk packets and then keep them in the fridge. And what about the vegetables and fruits? Mostly, a refrigerator is used as a cold cabinet. So the vegetables and fruits are kept either without washing or in the carry bags we got from the market. Imagine the dirt and the germs that we are allowing to stay and thrive in our refrigerators.

How about washing the pack of bread or the eggs or a juice tetra pack or a cold drink can or the pack of chips… just about any eatable pack? And is it hygienic to pack food in newspapers or letting the newspaper soak the oil as we fry hot yummies?

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Sanitation and hygiene begins at Home! Implementing good hygiene practices, personally and at home has both health and social benefits. What is your take on this?

Swachh IndiaThis post is written for Indiblogger and Banega Swachh India #SwachhIndia

On My Mind Now

I saw this prompt from Blogadda and thought of writing a blog post around it!

  • On my mind now is the time travel that I undertook this afternoon. I wanted to check a picture which I had uploaded on an old blog post! And guess what, one thing led to another, and I ended up reading so many of my old posts! It bought back so many memories which were accompanied with smiles. I am still thinking about the nearly forgotten snippets of life that I have been sharing on my blog since the last 5 years! I am so glad that I started writing on my blog and that I am recording the journey of our life and times. Thank you M for inspiring and pushing too!
  • On my mind now is the anger and the frustration over rapes in our country! When will this sort of depravity vanish from our society? When will the mind-set of men in our country change? Truly sickened and disgusted by the state of affairs.
  • On my mind now is my new house-help! After working for 5 days at a stretch, she goes missing for 3 consecutive days. This is her third week at work and she has already taken 6 leaves. The weekend is just around the corner and we are expecting some guests at home, I am truly dreading her vanishing act! Her creative reasons for taking leaves are simply amazing. The only reason I don’t feel like finding a replacement for her is that she does the work efficiently. But in my heart, I know that I may have to let go of her if she continues on her leaves taking spree.
  • On my mind is the book that I have to read and review. The initial pages are unable to hold my interest. Will try again, tonight!
  • On my mind is the dinner which should have been warmed and served, some thirty minutes ago!

What’s on your mind now?

Rescued by Love

Title: Rescued by LoveRescued by Love
Author: Shilpa Suraj
Publisher: Harlequin India
ISBN: 978-93-5106-495-4
Number of Pages: 184
Price [INR]: 150
Genre: Romance

Naina, the only child of a Supreme Court Chief Justice, runs away from home to Leh, to avoid getting married to ‘Fatty’. Fatty is chosen by her father to advance his political career.

She is kidnapped by terrorists and kept as a hostage, days before her father must sentence the leader of the terrorist group. Lt Col Arjun Rathore and his team  are sent on a mission to rescue Naina and bring her back to safety. And they do it with skill and tact.

As they trek back through the hostile terrain of Ladakh, Naina loses her heart to him. He is smitten by her too but turns her away for he believes that she is mistaking gratitude for attraction and also that she is way beyond his league.

Back in safety, the real world and its very real problems threaten – as do their own perceptions of the differences between them.

They must separate – but will life rescue their love?

Rescued by Love is Shilpa’s second book. I have read her debut novel The Girl He Left Behind and enjoyed reading it! And what do I say about this one! Well, that I was simply blown away! I could not put this book down. My heart was racing through as I turned page after page and joined Naina and Arjun in their tumultuous love and life journey.

Rescued by Love is a heart-warming story of the power of love, parting and re-uniting in love and finding oneself in the process. I simply loved Arjun, he made my heart flutter madly too. Shilpa did a great job with his character! Naina’s character as a strong yet sweet girl despite the odds against her has been etched out beautifully. Excitement, passion, wit and humour are woven in beautifully in the telling of this story. The development of the characters and the plot which is well written with vivid descriptions, pulls you in from the first page.

Shilpa’s writing is amazing, I love the way she has written this story with passion and humour and with enough realism.

This is one book that you will keep reading way into the night and I am re-reading it again soon! And did I tell you that the first half of the book is my absolute favourite! The ending is a bit melodramatic for my taste but that’s ok.

Rescued by Love is highly recommend for anyone looking for a refreshingly beautiful story with and some realistic romance and action!

Well done, Shilpa. I’ll be keeping an eye out for your next book!

Rating : 4 Stars

Buy Rescued By Love @ Amazon.in and Flipkart

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The Mouse Charmers

Title: The Mouse Charmers – Digital Pioneers of IndiaThe Mouse Charmers
Author: Anuradha Goyal
Publisher: Random House India
ISBN: 978-8-184-00492-2
Number of Pages: 299
Price [INR]: 334
Genre: Non Fiction

The advent of Internet has been a significant game changer for our generation. Mouse Charmers are a new breed of entrepreneurs in emerging India powered by the Internet and the opportunities that it offers to create new markets and to cater to old markets in new ways. Some of them have already achieved success where they can be called iconic and inspiring while others have powerful ideas that put them on the same path.

Anuradha Goyal tells the stories of digital entrepreneurs like Flipkart, Zomato, ImagesBazaar, IndiBlogger; how they started out, the innovations and technologies involved, their business models, and unique marketing strategies. Inspiring and useful, The Mouse Charmers is an essential guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Internet has changed our life enormously. It has influenced all spheres of our life and has changed the way we live, interact, work and do business. Today, life without our multiple communication devices is unthinkable. Websites like Flipkart, Make My Trip.com, Zomato have become an integral part of our lives.

Thanks to the internet we have a new breed of entrepreneurs in India who have used the power of internet and have created new markets and also cater to the old markets in a new way. These young entrepreneurs have changed our image in the world from that of Snake Charmers to Mouse Charmers.

In her book, The Mouse Charmers, the author profiles the success stories of 12 companies which are the digital pioneers of India. These 12 companies are categorized under :

  • Commerce : Flipkart, Make My Trip, BigBasket, CaratLane
  • Content : Zomato, Games2Win, ImagesBazaar, Chai with Lakshmi
  • Connectors : Shaadi.com, Rang De, CommonFloor, IndiBlogger

The book gives some detailed insights on the business models of these companies, the innovation they brought about in their field, the differentiating factors, the journey so far and their future plans. It also shares the challenges and opportunities these first generation entrepreneurs faced during the course of time.

Reading The Mouse Charmers was an enlightening experience. The success stories, the strategies these young entrepreneurs used, what worked for them and what didn’t made for a fascinating and an inspiring read. Anuradha’s voice in the book is clear, concise, organized, and jargon-free. The book has facts and figures, tables and charts, graphs and infographics along with content that is taken from company websites, news articles, and in a few cases, conversations with key personnel of the companies.

The Mouse Charmers will not only charm and inspire the budding entrepreneurs but is a must read for all cybernauts out there!!

The review is part of IndiBlogger Book Review initiative.

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