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Video Wednesday: Nostalgia

One of my favourite places to travel is down Memory Lane. I’m not making a wise crack, I really mean it. Childhood is a beautiful place now that I look back. Of course when I was a child I wanted to be all grown up. 😀

I have so many memories of those times, the things we ate, watched, played, felt, saw, experienced,… When I look back it seems the world is changed and so different from the one I knew. (And yet at most times the only world I know is the one I live in.)

In keeping with the feeling of nostalgia I’m enveloped in, here are couple of videos of things from my childhood. But first a list of 20 things I remember (partly thanks to the videos :D), things that make me smile; smile wide.

  1. pepsi colas
  2. Mario bros
  3. Chandamama magazine
  4. covering school books with brown paper
  5. going to the neighbours for phone calls
  6. Malgudi days
  7. Brainvita
  8. Air Mail
  9. fake Phantom cigarettes
  10. Bajaj ads not just of scooters but also bulbs
  11. the Surabhi program
  12. the rubberband game
  13. hopskotch
  14. Amul icecream
  15. spinning tops
  16. piggy banks
  17. T-series tapes
  18. Hero ink pens
  19. Nataraj HB pencils
  20. Goldspot

 

The ‘Jab Bachche They’ advertisement by Paper Boat

 

Woh Din – A tribute to the 90’s by EmotionalFulls

 

Old 90’s INDIAN Ads on DoorDarshan

All nostalgic? The videos make you all gooey and soft inside, don’t they? What do you remember from your childhood? How many things do you associate with from my list? How many can you list? 😉

December 24, 2014   No Comments

Video Wednesday: Rats, Socks, Cameras and Letters

I’ve come across a few really nice short films recently. Not sure if these can be called films, or are they just clips? Well, no matter what, each of them has made an impression – some funny, some touching, others baffling, stunning and what not.

One thing though common to all is that watching the video led me to hit the Subscribe button on Youtube. Let me know if you reacted the same way after watching them. 😀

Khat by Fully Emotional

A grandfathers advise to his new born grandson in a letter. Sounds cliched but I listened to it twice and want to keep coming back repeatedly, for it’s not often that you hear such sound advise.

Kamera by Purani Dilli Talkies

A little boy aspires to be someone who will put smiles on peoples faces. Then one day he finds a camera in the land fill and life is never the same again.

“OP” Stop Smelling Your Socks by Sriram Dalton

Remember I said baffling at the start. This is the video that has be baffled. Watch it to know why. 😀

Eli – A Sexy Tale by Black Money Productions

This one I saw sometime back on a recommendation by Che. It’s in Tamil but does have subtitles. Worth the watch with an awesome end but to really get it, you have to follow the story!

So those are my selections for this week. Have you watched anything interesting recently? Any recommendations?

December 17, 2014   No Comments

Video Wednesday: Emma Watson and the HeForShe Campaign

Along with the rest of the world I first came across Emma Watson in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where she played Hermione Granger. Of the three main characters I remember attaching more to Hermione more than the others. I guess this was a carry forward from the books but she struck a chord.

Over the years I watched her through the Harry Potter series and to a large extent wrote her off like I do most child artists. I usually expect child artists to grow up and become snooty mediocre actors. But Emma Watson proved me wrong.

Her choice of movies after Harry Potter had me sit up and notice her as a an intelligent woman. (If you haven’t seen ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, you should.) Her life off the screen had me in awe as she studied and followed the dreams she had before and outside of Harry Potter. She did get blinded by Hollywood.

Then I came across this… Her speech at the UN when introducing the HeForShe Campaign. It isn’t just the campaign that is beautiful, as I listen to her talk and I realise that here is a woman to reckon with, a girl who has grown up into a woman who knows she has the power to be heard and uses it to change the world.

The word ‘feminist’ has become a negative one in the last few years, a word most women do not want to associate with. Emma in her speech made me proud of being a feminist by reminding me of all it means and all that it isn’t. Kudos Miss Watson for reminding me that I’m a feminist and proud!

This video is an excellent follow to the video I shared earlier about gender policing and the work the organisation No Country for Women is doing. Emma Watson is the UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador and will advocate for the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign in promoting gender equality.
Here’s what she had to say about her about her appointment.

“Being asked to serve as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling. The chance to make a real difference is not an opportunity that everyone is given and is one I have no intention of taking lightly. Women’s rights are something so inextricably linked with who I am, so deeply personal and rooted in my life that I can’t imagine an opportunity more exciting. I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role.”

What do you think of Emma Watson’s speech? The HeForShe campaign?

December 10, 2014   No Comments

Video Wednesday: Awesome Threesome

I’ve been away from my blog again. And it’s been the same reasons, I’ve been ill with a blaady common cold for a couple of months now and it’s just making life tedious and then there is also that part of me struggling to write because I can’t seem to make it all fall into place. I can’t seem to find the perfect answer for what my blog is about.

Anyway, those thoughts are for another post. Video Wednesday is one of my favoured posts because I want to share and talk about so many videos I come across and Facebook is too short lived a platform for that.

So without much further ado… Here’s some videos I’ve come across recently that struck a chord…

Not a simple hula hoop…

Rachael Lust is a 26-year old mom from Ohio who started hooping first in 2011. Today she is quite a phenomenon, and if you’ve watched the video you know why. :)
Rachael Lust on Facebook

Push Button to Add Drama

TNT a TV channel in Belgium launched themselves by placing a big red push button on an average Flemish square of an average Flemish town. And when that button gets pushed, full drama happens. 😀

Day in the life of India

This hilarious yet thought proving film by Boot Polissh Films has won the won a Gold at the Spike Asia 2011. Directed By: Shujaat Saudagar Written By: Swati Bhattacharya Actress: Paromita Vohra
Boot Polissh Films on Facebook

Which one did you like the most of the three?
Have you come across some simply awesome videos recently?

December 3, 2014   No Comments

Friday Review: Quikr – Another Classifieds Site

A couple of weeks ago I came across an activity on BlogAdda to review Quikr, the offer was to buy something worth Rs.5000 or less, blog about it and get the amount reimbursed. Sounds cool no? So, I applied and got selected. (OK, I gotta say this, so here goes – This post is a part of Quikr activity at BlogAdda)
However let me say this upfront, I didn’t buy anything even after a lot of searching, but since I’d done all the homework, I figured ‘review toh banta hai’. :)

Let’s begin where it all begins, at the beginning… 😛
In the hope of buying something [for free :D] I headed over to Quikr. The site prompts the first time visitor to choose the city they live in, it offers a match and a lot of options.

Choosing a city causes the pop-up to disappear and the next pop-up to appear.

The pop-up for choice of city made sense but the pop-up about the latest TV ad was irksome. I didn’t need to see that or waste my time getting past it! I’d have preferred heading into the site directly.

Once past the TV ad, I landed up on the main page. The page is well laid out and quite clean. A quick route to seeing something is offered along with category choices for buying. There are also the most popular categories listed out if you need it.

Clicking on the Sign-in/register option led to another pop-up which gave me options to login or register. The sign-up process is simple and short with just the right questions being asked. You’ll need to intimate if you are an individual or a business, provide your email id, mobile number, current city and create a password.

Since a login is not needed for buying and really only needed to tracking a sale, an extra step to register or sign-in makes sense. However I’d have liked to see the city being choose by default, especially since I choose that as soon as I landed on the site.

The buyer or seller can verify themselves by giving a missed call on a number provided using the mobile number given at the time of registration. I’d have preferred an MS or a call from Quikr to the number I gave as my calling them didn’t work out and I couldn’t complete verification.

Completion of registration took me to ‘My Dashboard’. Like I said before registration works best for selling, the dashboard does not have much utility for buyers, unless you have email alerts for products maybe.

Sign-up complete I headed back to the home page to see what I could find to buy. I had a couple of things I wanted in mind. 1. a Bose speaker with iPod dock, 2. a Kindle

Quikr offers three ways to find a product –

1. Search

The search option which when you start typing gives you recommendations.

2. Categories

A grid of categories to choose from on the home page that help you find your product of choice. Clicking on a category brings up a list of further options to choose from in the category.

3. Alerts

Creating an alert for something you want.

I chose the Electronics & Appliances category which led me to further choices between laptops, kitchen appliances, and other options. There is also a fast search option where you can choose the appliance, the locality and your budget to get quick results.

Next I chose the music systems option. Quikr offers further options to refine your search in the sub-category. You can choose the brand, the price-range, the condition, the location and posting time to help you condense the results.

A choice of Bose and pricing in ascending order led me to a few Bose docks. Most of them were out of my budget but I did find one at Rs.4,000. (A quick note – the brand option to refine search worked but most other options didn’t make any difference to the results, especially when I tried defining my budget.)

However as soon as I sent the seller a message, the ad disappeared and I couldn’t find it again after. :(

After this hiccup, the search began anew to find something to buy and I next headed into a search for Kindles. This time I choose to search using the search bar.

I got 26 results but when I tried sorting based on price, I got thrown out with the message “Unfortunately, there are no ads in this category right now.”

Not to be deterred I started to manually scan for price on the list and started calling sellers in my budget. I called 4 people selling kindles and each one of them said it had already been sold. :(

And with that ended my saga of trying to buy something on Quickr. But before I go into a list of pros and cons, let me also list out my experience with the Quikr mobile app for android.

I found the Quickr app in the Play store and clicked install to get a list of permissions the app required. The list of permissions is really long, even longer and scarier than the Facebook Messenger list!

I’m still undecided on whether I did the right thing when I gave the app all those permissions.

The app works quite like the site and is easy to use. However I think the app would work better for selling than buying as you could take a picture of the product with your phone and upload it right from there along with details.

Selling anything on Quikr is a simple two screen process. The process as it is is easy and quick but since I haven’t sold anything, I can’t say much about the quickness of the sale. 😀

Pros –

  • The site and app are simple and easy to use.
  • The system to setup something to sell is easy.
  • The layout of the site and products in easy on the eye.

Cons –

  • Most products though listed are already sold. A way to track and remove sold items from the site would be helpful.
  • Some of the filtering options do not work when scanning listings.
  • Though the catalogue is extensive and categorised, finding what you want is still difficult. Searching is easier but even that does not work to perfection.

Overall –

Quikr is just another classifieds site, nothing specific that makes it stand out or be special. For that matter it would makes sense both when buying and selling to spread the net and use other classifieds sites too. That said Quikr could be a useful site, sometimes. 😀

Have you used Quikr? Bought or sold anything? What did you think of it?

November 12, 2014   No Comments

Friday Review: God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian

Title: God is a Gamer
Author: Anurag Anand
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books India (September 12th 2014)
Genre: Fiction
Read: Paperback
Stars: ***/5
Buy On: Amazon | Flipkart – eBook/Paperback

Summary: (Goodreads)
Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a highrise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai.
Enter Varun, parttime drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.

My Review:

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

Cover: Eye-catchy!

Paper and font: Ebony on Ivory!

Readability, language: Easy on the Mind.

Why did I choose this book: A book on bit coins sounded interesting, so I thought ‘why not’.

A simple email scam sets off an avalanche of scams, murders and complications. A US Senator is assassinated, an ATM heist is pulled off, a bank is put in jeopardy, a virus is released, virtual money is stolen, a bank chairman is murdered, and there is more. How all of this ties in, is what God is a Gamer is all about.

When I first came across the book, I remember the name striking me as an interesting name. Having read the book, now, I don’t see a connection between the title and story. The cover though well done is a typical thriller cover, not unlike the Dan Brown’s and Tom Clancy’s. The blurb is very unsatisfactory. It has more praise for the author than info on the story. And the little that is said, is said in such a convoluted manner that it muddles more than intrigues.

I have to concede that the plot is new and yet… I felt the plot was just too thick, Subramanian has packed the story with so many twists and sub-plots that after a while I was all lost. There was so much happening and the story was told in bits as it unfolds across the world in various peoples lives.

The story spans across countries but centers mostly around Mumbai and Washington DC. Subramanian’s descriptions of the cities are quite bang on, especially Goa and its hot spots. Yet some how it all feels disjointed.

The story is packed with characters, so many that sometimes I forgot who was who. I couldn’t figure out who was the hero or heroine even at the end of it all. There were just so much happening to so many people.

I took a day off to read the book and sat glued to it through the day. Thinking back it wasn’t because the story was that gripping but rather because it was all so complicated that I really wanted to get to the end and see how Subramanian tied it all up. The story is like a magicians knot, complicated, tied up, twisted and convoluted but one jerk by the magician and it all straightens out.

Subramanian hops about all over as he tells the story in small bits as it unfolds. This did make for difficult reading as I tried to parallel process all he was saying. Added to this were the intimate scenes with somehow felt out of place to me, almost like the author had to meet a target and so put them in there. The language though is simple and easy, the pace good too.

If my review seems all muddled, it’s because the book left me all muddled. There is just so much happening. I’m not sure if so many sub-plots were needed. There is just one too many a scam. A thriller doesn’t have to be so complicated, does it?

The cover carries the text ‘Is revenge a crime?’. This doesn’t make sense until you read the last four pages. Subramanian makes complex complicated knots on a storyline through the book and tries to untangle with a flourish at the end. Well, he did manage untangle them and explain it all, but was there a flourish, that is debatable.

A book for YA and above. Over all a good book if you don’t intend to use your mind while reading it.

About the Author:
An alumnus of IIM Bangalore, Ravi Subramanian is a banker who has used his industry knowledge to write five bestselling novels. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and daughter. See his other books on his website – www.authorravis.com.

Buy On: Amazon | Flipkart – eBook/Paperback

October 31, 2014   No Comments

It’s Not Tick Fever, It’s Auto-Immune

It’s been over a month since I first talked about Cuckoo getting tick fever. Che was traveling at that time and it was a extremely stressful week. I had read up on tick fever like a student before exams, cleaned house like a maniac and watched the dogs like a stalker.

After ten days of doxycycline as medication Cuckoo was due for another round of blood tests. Che had returned by then so it was possible to take Cuckoo across to Cessna while he handled the howlers. After another maddening trip to Cessna where Cuckoo peed in the car, slipped her collar and harness at the sight of the needle and generally went out of her way to give the Docs a hard time, we got the blood work results.

Her platelet count had gone up but not as much as the Doctor would have liked. Recovery was taking too long he said and things needed to be speeded up. They gave her one shot of prednisolone and put her on a 10 day course of it along with the doxycycline.

While discussing the treatment plan I asked the Doc about how we would confirm at the end of treatment that Cuckoo was not a carrier of the Ehrlichia canis organism any more. With six dogs that’s a concern because if she is a carrier all the other five will always be at risk. The Doc said that to do that we would extend her treatment plan to 6-8 weeks and also run the 4Dx Snap test on her blood to confirm that she isn’t a carrier any more.

4Dx Snap test… There was a test for tick fever? I promptly asked the Doc how much the test costs and why we hadn’t tested her until now. The test he said was Rs.1000 and was not needed now as he was 100% sure it was tick fever.

Armed with this information I left the clinic and updated Che with all that had happened. He asked the same question, why hadn’t we tested Cuckoo until now. The only difference was he wasn’t satisfied with the Doc’s answer, he insisted on the test being done. However the same blood sample could not be used as this test required blood serum and hence a fresh blood sample was needed.

Since we had already left the clinic there was no point in going back to take another sample, especially considering how much Cuckoo was freaking out. Two days later we got another Vet to come home and take a sample that we could personally take to Cessna for testing. This Vet saw Cuckoo for the first time that day and he had a diagonally opposite diagnosis that startled me.

He checked out Cuckoo, asked a few questions and declared that she didn’t have tick fever. And I was like ‘what?!’ He explained that considering her activity levels, physical signs and appetite were good, the possibility of tick fever was minimal. The spots I was seeing on her neck and stomach was most likely to be auto-immune disease.

Auto-immune disease was not that simple though and didn’t have a straight forward cure. Our best treatment option was steroids for about ten days in a tapered dosage he said. After that we could do a repeat test for platelet count, but the main thing was that we had to just watch and wait and hope it sorted out. There was no perfect cure.

He changed the daily dosage amount prescribed and wrote out the same prednisolone prescription. Dr. Morton didn’t think a snap test was required but we insisted he take a blood sample. After he left Che and I sat down to wait out the one hour it would take the blood to completely clot before we could transport it.

The test itself is simple and quick, not unlike a pregnancy test. And just like with pregnancy tests we were pacing to see the results of this one. The result was negative. Cuckoo did not have tick fever. We had given her doxycycline for ten days for no reason. Even Dr. Ramesh now told Che it was auto-immune and that that was why he had prescribed prednisolone two days ago.

At that point of time with all this news I wasn’t sure which was better and whether we had gone from the frying pan into the fire. What we did do though was watch Cuckoo like a hawk for the next ten days and gave her her medications like clockwork. The medication was a pain though as I not only had to make halves and quarters but also 1/8ths. 😀

It’s been a couple of weeks now and between steroids and homeopathy, Cuckoo has gotten better. The spots have gone away and have stopped showing up. After all that panic and palpitation, I may be breathing easier now but through it all Cuckoo has been herself, completely cuckoo!

Special thanks to Devisri who helped chauffeur Cuckoo to Cessna and manage her there (with a bitch like Cuckoo that is a lot!). :)

October 6, 2014   1 Comment

My Week in Photos: A Howler from Cuckoo

A glimpse of the past week with a random collection of photos taken by me and Che through the week. :)

It’s bath week and between Che and me we got 4 dogs done. Got two more to go!

 

Senti and William have been getting a little cozy this week. That’s a new milestone in their relationship!

Cuckoo has her very own TV at home. You should see her watch with rapt attention from this vantage point…

And if you haven’t had enough of Cuckoo you can listen to her too!

Morning Raga #indogadventures #chescuckoo #instadog #dogslife #dogsofinstagram

A post shared by Chenthil (@chenthilmohan) on

Here’s what busy mornings look like at Pawsible…

Che calls this photo “My Muses”, but I’ve put it here because I love how my hair is curling and that’s what I look like when I’m trying hard to catch up on some writing!

Bakri Eid is coming up on Monday and the cattle markets are in full swing… The same grounds that were full of Ganesh Idols and then Durga Idols, are now full of goats…

What had you been upto last week?

October 5, 2014   No Comments

The Saturday Tirade: My Dilemma on Bakri Eid

It’s that time of the year again when I feel like I’m in a Nazi camp. After all these years, I’m still shaken and upset by the number of deaths on one day. It’s Bakri Eid and I’m still struggling.

Some parts of the city are like cattle fairs running full steam. There are goats, sheep, cows and camels spread out and people haggling over them. The smell of cattle hits your nostrils way before you actually see the animals and then before you know it, you are passing through a sea of animals waiting for death. Over the years this smell of cattle has become the smell of death for me.

As a child of maybe ten or so I remember sneaking out to watching a sacrifice after being specifically instructed by my parents not to. I watched horror struck and ran back in shocked and terrified by what I had seen. It wasn’t the death I think that scared me, it was the slow death, the struggle and the fact that someone would take a life so easily.

Some years later my parents went through the whole ritual of a sacrifice. They brought in a goat, fed and kept it for a year and then sacrificed it. I went through those emotions of horror again, only this time it was heightened by emotional attachment. That if I remember right, it was the last time my parents did a sacrifice at home. (Now they do it in other ways)

Fast forward to now. Over the last 4 years I’ve been feeding my dogs raw meat. What that means in that I go to the meat and chicken shop and buy the meat. I haven’t watched a cow being slaughtered but I have watched tons of chicken being killed. After all these years I had thought that I had been toughened, that the slaughter wouldn’t horrify me anymore.

But that ride through the cattle filled street shook me up. I was all teary eyed by the time I got to the end of the stretch. The thought of what awaited those animals filled me with pain and sorrow.

Let me get something straight: I am a non-vegetarian and I eat almost every kind of meat and all of this seeing and feeling is not going to make me a vegetarian. It’s not the killing of a few goats or cows or chicken that has me upset. It’s the sheer numbers that will be slaughtered on Eid that shakes me. The numbers will across a million easily across the world.

That’s a million lives taken on one day. It’s a mass murder. And most of this meat will be wasted, or put away into storage, it will not be consumed immediately. So we aren’t killing for food but rather killing for religion, killing for what we believe in.

How is that different from what the Nazi’s did or what the jihad groups and militant groups doing? Or does the fact that they are not human lives make it ok?

I don’t have the answers and I’m still all jumbled and confused in my head and heart about Bakri Eid. I don’t know, I just don’t know whether to rejoice or drown in sorrow, I don’t know…

October 4, 2014   1 Comment