Sunday, December 30, 2012

Will the Real Men please stand up?

Even as I write this, there are thousands like me and you who are out there on the streets of New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Simla, Mumbai, Patna and various other states in India for they are angered. Nirbhaya or Damini or whatever name you want to call her with, the girl who was brutally gang raped in Delhi in a moving bus last week finally succumbed to her grave injuries today. Her death has instilled a fear in each one of us that we could be the next.

Even as her death is deeply troubling, so are some other issues that have happened since the incident.

I wrote about the gang rape just after it happened, and the article and my subsequent post on FB saw a lot of men taking offence.

They said I was attacking their gender.

Why didn't I write about the cases where women harass men and even kill them?

That women are misusing dowry laws to take advantage of men.

A virtual reader Partha goes on to say that "Whatever has happened in Delhi is barbaric (if true and no media exaggeration)".
Partha also says that "on one hand women always object to objectification and on the other hand they want to look sexy and wear all those revealing clothes to show off how independent they are. If men look at them or call them sexy that becomes harassment for them. If men do not look at them, those become impotent."

I was quite mortified after hearing Abhijeet Mukherjee's comments on young women whom he called hypocrites because they held candle light marches in the day and wore make up and went to discos at night. He also called the women "dented and painted". A few hours (and possibly a kick in the ass) later, an apology was issued by the President's son and the way he said "I want to withdraw my statement. It was not meant to hurt anyone's sentiment" clearly showed how it was just a cover up and he was completely unapologetic about it. But it did give us a fair amount of idea what kind of minds are ruling our country. But then, we have known that for a pretty long time. We are not new to moral diktats from the police or the govt. like "she invited rape by dressing in a certain way", or "by being out of the house after 9 P.M." and so on and so forth.

But what really churned my gut was when some fellow virtual people started attacking me for my blatant article which said that “anatomically having b***s doesn't make you a real man. If you are a real man, learn to protect and respect your women. Otherwise you are just another animal. One that needs to be herded and chained and invariably killed one day.”

I still stand by it. And I also want to address the above questions one by one.

Attack on a gender: 

Now, I am really confused here. Are women raped by women? No. Raped by men? Yes. Who am I targeting here? Men. Isn't LHS = RHS? What gender am I attacking? I am just stating the facts.

It’s quite sad that because of a large population of indecent, lewd, uncultured men, a whole gender is being targeted here. BUT. If you are a real man, I expect you to understand that. I didn't expect some of you to have such shallow egos that got hurt at the mere mention of rape. Did you ever think about countless women who have to experience something as horrendous, then face police and system apathy and get on with their lives?

YOU come out of your cozy bedrooms and get real.

2) Why didn't I read write about the cases where women have harassed women? 

Tell me, if your house was on fire, would you call up the fire extinguisher first or get your faulty plumbing fixed first?

The point I am driving at is the country and it's women are facing an unprecedented number of sexual exploitation cases in the form of molestation rapes, gang rapes and forced prostitution. In this regard, a lot of laws have been made and maybe a handful of women misused them for their own benefit. But does that take it away from the real issue its brutality? Don't you realize the gravity of the situation, if gangrapes start happening in the heart of the city, inside public transport ? What is the working class women supposed to do? Sit at home, to defend her honor? Not venture out of the house at all?

I did say in my article that we need the strictest punishment for the culprits. So what's wrong with it? I still demand it and I stand by it!

And we HAVE to address and fix this issue; before we go on to amend the existing laws at a human level and not on a gender bias.

3) Mr.Partha or whoever you are:
You don't quite believe in all the cases of women harassment that media has reported because you think that they are possibly dented and painted too like the women of this country.

You seem to be a spurned lover whose advances got a sharp reaction from a girl. Let me tell you something. The way you have the right to look at a girl (to admire or to scorn at her), the same way, the girl has an equal right to either allow your advances or put an end to it. Be man enough. Learn to take it in your stride.

If your ego is the size of a dinosaur, it’s better to turn to men who will understand your signals better. May be you will never have to "prove" your (im)potency to anyone, ever again.

People like these guys have no right to tell us women what we do/don't do right! Even if a women walks naked on the street, NO man has to right to force himself on her. We live in a civilized society, not in a jungle, where you pounce on anything that looks like a prey.

I don't know if capital punishment is a deterrent, or chemical castration is, or efficient policing and fast track courts et al. What I do know for sure is that if all the men around us pledge to protect us, to see us as equals and not as objects of sexual gratification, this country will be a far better place to live in. Where no mother will ever have to loose a bright and brave girl like Nirbhaya at the hands of drunk and perverted men. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Men will be men! But when did they turn into animals?

The nation is in an uproar over the gang rape of a 23 year old student in Delhi. People are up in arms against the government, carrying out candle light marches and protests, fighting for fast track courts for rape cases and calling for the most stringent and rigorous punishment for supposed "men" who commit such crimes. The common man is blaming the police and so is the government. But why suddenly this hullabaloo? Is this the first time that a woman has been raped? Or is it that we have become so immune to a rape that unless it assumes proportions of a monstrous magnitude like this one, where the girl has not only been raped by 6 animals, but also been tortured physically to an extent that she might not even survive. And even if she does, she will have to undergo various surgeries to fix her vital organs and will possibly have to depend on intravenous fluids all her life. I don't know what to want for her. Should I pray to God for her life, a life where she will always have to depend on others or should I want her to die - a life that was burning bright with dreams of a happy future but maimed, because six animals in our city couldn't control their perversion?

Reacting to news incidents like these feels like a joke now. Because what we are doing is just letting the frustration out of our system. It does not affect anyone. In fact, the people who matter will say that girls invite trouble by their dressing, or by being out on the streets "late" in the night. By that logic, Muslim women who are covered from head to toe should never be raped, or young girls (kids) who stay at home invariably unless otherwise taken out by the parents shouldn't be either. But that doesn't deter people from heaping the blame on a victim. The Khaps in this country have an unmatched sense of humor. They will blame everyone, from mobile phones to chowmein, but never their men for a rape. The problem doesn't lie with a few men, but with a whole society that is hell bent on covering up everything that points a finger at their men. What kind of a democracy is this? Where all the freedom is for the men and all the diktats (on how to dress and behave) for women?

The objectification of women needs to be put an end to. It’s not just rape. Women face eve teasing, molestation, forced prostitution and other such malice just because supposed "men" view women as sex objects. They possibly don't see them as other human beings who have as much right over their body as them. They possibly think that it’s fine to be lecherous, to pass lewd comments or touch them in inappropriate places or even force themselves on her. Who gives them this thinking, this mindset? Their fathers who beat their mothers to establish a patriarchy in the family? Or movies which show that men stalking women to express love is very cool, or how even a policeman doing pelvic moves and dancing around with an item-girl like heroine is "fun"? Or the women leaders who blame a rape victim of being morally unsound or too adventurous for having it brought it upon herself? Who is the real culprit here?

No matter what happens with these 6 men or countless others who are yet to be convicted or even those, who are still roaming freely on the streets, because what's been done is done. But will it really deter other animals before doing or even thinking about it? Attacking this evil at the root is an urgency. Every family needs to teach their sons the correct way to behave with women. The government needs to pull up their socks and make an example out of this case. Had they done this earlier - the Assam molestation case, the Dhaula Kuan rape case, rape of the German diplomat, the Mumbai case, maybe we could have avoided this. The need of the hour is to send out a very strong message, a spine chilling one and it needs to be understood by supposed "men" that anatomically having ba**s is not the only ticket to manhood.  

If you are a real man, learn to protect and respect your women. Otherwise you are just another animal. One that needs to be herded and chained and invariably killed one day.

PS: No wonder the Mayans said that HUMANITY will end in 2012.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wrong Means Right End - Book Review


Book: Wrong Means Right End
Author: Varsha Dixit
Publisher: Rupa
Price: Rs. 140


If you are a fan of Karan Johar movies, you will love this book. But for someone like me, a hardcore fan of Anurag Kashyap's gory and twisty cinema, this one was wan't up to the mark. BUT. That doesn't mean the book was no good. Its dependent on one's choices and perspectives.

Here's a summary of the book:
"After a failed marriage, Sneha, a single working mom, has no time, or inclination, for love. She resists every matchmaking attempt made by the overzealous Nandini, married to industrialist Aditya. But then the past intrudes in the form of the gorgeous and rich, Nikhil, who brings along Gayatri to break-up her ex-fiance, Aditya’s marriage. Sneha enlists Nikhil' s help to salvage the situation. But how does she even talk to a man who clearly loathes her? As Nikhil and Sneha try to grapple with their egos and combustible chemistry, love blossoms."

Like all novels/movies falling in the chick-lit genre, here too, you will find that the male protagonist is a multimillionaire drop dead gorgeous hunk (and not yet 30) and ALWAYS spurned in love (in the past, of course!). The lady is no less than a Charlie's angel - strong, feisty, making it all alone in a big bad world, and someone who will always be fit and sexy even though she hardly finds time to gym (like most of us office-goers).

The protagonists of the book Sneha and Nikhil are undeniably attracted to each other, and at the same time, they can't stand the sight of each other due to some past liaisons. Nikhil is a divorcee (AND multimillionaire hunk!) and Sneha, a divorcee with a son (AND a super sexy working woman of the world!). As much as Sneha wants to avoid meeting Nikhil, she is forced to, as he is the only one who can help her in saving her best friend's Nandini's (sexy lady!) marriage to Aditya (handsome multimillionaire hunk!). Bright? No?No? May be you should read on..

I did not anything profound or something very interesting in the story. The story moves forward with Sneha and Nikhil's expected and unexpected meetings, and the author goes as far as writing out their wild fascinations for us. Not once. Not twice. Many times over. Our very chaste good girl and good guy even try making out in the car. Eevrytime I read how Nikhil wanted to sweep Sneha off her feet in an Adam-Eve kind of way and do ermm...things to her, I was transported back to the Mills and Boon days. Frankly, I had expected better!

In parts, you do kind of identify with the urban settings and the stress relationships undergo. The characterization of Sneha's and Nandini's friendship is nice, but a little over the top! In parts, it did remind me of the Sex and the City girls. They keep going back and forth, helping each other out in tricky situations and even putting themselves on the spot for the other. In the last few chapters, you will find out how eventually Sneha and Nikhil give the book its name - They did use Wrong Means for their friends, but finally everyone got to a Right End!

The book has some glaring grammatical and editorial errors which are a huge turn off. Many of the situations and characters are so cliched that you get a feeling of deja vu more than once. Like Nikhil's ex-wife (uncovered by Sneha) is a drug addict, Sneha's son suddenly starts calling Nikhil Dad, as opposed to 'Nik' and the likes you know.

PS: This book is a sequel to the "Right Fit Wrong Shoe" by the same author. May be my verdict would have been different had I read that one. Or maybe not! You will have to figure it out for yourself. As I said before, you may like this book if you are a Chick-Lit genre fan. As for me, just a one-time read. Ideal for an overnight train journey or a 2 hour flight.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Blogadda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

An evening worth it's money @The [V] Spot Cafe Bar!!

Merry Christmas guys! No, don't get me wrong. I ain't psyched up yet! But it seems Santa uncle decided to meet me up a little early this season. The Santa in question being BlogAdda ;-) Now you had to guess that! Who else can play Santa to avid bloggers and readers like us?

So this time, apart from giving free books, BlogAdda decided to gift us an evening of fun too! These guys wanted me to do a review of the [V] Spot Cafe Bar. But how can you really review a place without actually being there? Or tasting their food? Or their drinks? ;-) And so BlogAdda indulged us  by giving us coupons worth 2000 bucks to visit the place, enjoy their spoils and then give you all an honest opinion about it. Talk about  mixing business and pleasure! :-P

Thank you BlogAdda for the coupons!
And so, H and I landed at the [V] Spot cafe+Bar in Saket located very close to the Select City Walk mall. It's one of the last places in a street that's lined up with bars and you can actually go bar hopping here. We found the place cozy, as Delhi is really chilly these days. The seating was comfortable and lighting just appropriate. I don't really like places that are too dim for comfort, and after a couple of drinks, they actually start looking spooky.

The look around!
Anyway. So the first thing that gave me an idea of the "coolness" quotient of the places was this:

Awesomely-freaky napkins at your disposal !!
They also had really interesting table mats that had detailed flowcharts on things like "How to hit on a girl without being too creepy" or "How to survive an evening at the bar without your laptop, if you are a nerd"!! LOLing over them, we called for the menus. Their menus are an interesting lot. It's a pity I don't have too many pictures of the same, but our nerves were duly tickled with drinks' names like "Rum-Balram", "Steve's Job" and "Son of a Peach". And yes, the drinks were as good as their names. If I must suggest one drink, you MUST try "Swarg" - a cocktail with an amazing blend of tequila and desi ingredients like lemongrass! I loved it!
Our drinks (on the house) ;-) 
Next we ordered the starters. A (veg) Snack Harem (for me) and a ChickenZilla for H.

Don't these look absolutely delicious?
The presentation was as good as the taste. The veg starter had Arabic sauces and trust me, it was really different from all cuisines that I have had so far. Good music played in the background, and H and I had some really sought-after quality time that day.

And yes, how can I forget to mention their washrooms? They are so interesting, you might end up spending more time there than in the bar. The walls are covered up in potty-licious banter and you'll never feel bored sitting in there for as long as you want. ;-)

We also ordered main course and dessert and were pretty satisfied with the service, the quality and taste of the food.  The general ambiance was good too.

Polishing off the great food with the pretty dessert!

However, I found this place quite suitable for clubbing after a long day at office, for unwinding with friends over a drink. This is not really the place to go if you  are looking at getting sloshed, meeting hippies or junkies  or really loud music that doesn't let you listen to your own voice. In fact, I was kind of intrigued at the really low turnout on a Friday evening. But the manager assured us that they got the maximum crowd on Wednesdays and Saturdays as they were the Karaoke nights or some band was performing.

They also some cool stuff like a video booth where you can use the iPad, click yourself and appear on Channel [V].

A very creative wall with graffiti!

Over all, I really liked the place, where you can actually chill out with friends without burning a hole in your pocket. The menu is quite decently priced. The food is well cooked, the drinks are perfect and the service prompt. You can guess how much we enjoyed from the fact that we overshot our quota of the vouchers and actually ended up paying half a grand extra for the spoils!! Aren't we something!! :-P ;-)

This place definitely gets a thumbs up from me. And I am definitely going back there again.
If you have been to the place, I would love to know your comments on it. And if you haven't, please do and then let me know your views on it :-)

This review has been written as a part of BlogAdda's Sponsored Reviews.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being a Woman...

I had done the Being a Man post long ago. And had thought about doing this post soon after. But somehow, it didn't happen. Majorly for the reason that women are too versatile to be taken up completely under a single post. And so I never got around to it. But off late, there have been so many things happening around, things that I have gone through myself, things that my friends are going through and it doesn't make any sense. Or is it only me? And opposed to the funny Man, this Woman is pretty serious.

There are a couple of female friends who have apparently turned a "marriageable age" according to the parents. The girls believe otherwise. They are pretty happy with their single status and no-responsibilities-for-a-while life. Quite visibly, the parents and daughter have a difference of opinion here. But what completely evades my sane mind is why the parents choose to convince the daughter of their own opinion in an almost abhorring way. And no, I am not talking about some remote village in Haryana or Rajasthan, but about parents who always instilled confidence in their daughters that they were no less than a boy, had every right to good education and were brought up to be smart, confident and financially independent girls. And suddenly, these parents wonder about the fate of their girls if they weren't married at a ripe age. What would the society say? They purposefully make her believe that she is indeed a burden on their shoulders until she goes off to her marital home. WHY????? I am not even trying to take any sides here, because 18+ years is a valid age in our country to get married and who am I to question it. But why are the girls always shoved onto someone else as a responsibility when they can clearly be on their own very comfortably? Isn't there a better way to make them understand the point of getting married at an age their parents deem fit? Or do the girls have no choice at all? She can do everything like a boy, and still be a responsibility? I wonder how a stranger is ever going to treat your daughter as an equal when you so visibly don’t.

Another couple of friends have that someone special in their lives, but are finding it difficult to convince their parents of the same. Now again, I wouldn't want to start the Arranged marriage v/s Love marriage debate, as different things work for different people. But what I clearly find distasteful is the way parents want to stick to the conventional way of Arranged marriages, wherein they are made to act like the ladkiwaala whose sole job is to appease the ladkewaale's demands. The girls of our generation have been brought up with a mindset of boy-girl equality and no dowry policy. How do the parents even think that these girls can go on and live peacefully with such guys and their parents? Even if the girl doesn't want to get married to such a moron to defend her parents' honor, she is not allowed to do so. After all, appeasing the groom's family is the norm...isn't it? We are confused. If the norm of killing the girl child at birth wasn't followed, then surely this doesn't need to be followed too..isn't it? What's the point of making her aware of her choices and then denying them? Wasn't she better off not knowing them? Isn't ignorance really a bliss? Are you really that desperate to get your girl off your back that you are ready to pay any amount of money and goodies to a complete stranger to make way for her into their homes and lives?

I feel sorry for women who have been relegated to such behavior, spanning generations and across centuries. But I feel worst when I see parents doing it to their love-you-till-death "ghar ki izzat" daughters, who themselves are well read and in tune with the times. I know we have come far from those days when the girls were not allowed to study nor do anything of their own free will. But at that time, at least the people had some logic behind their behavior. They didn't let the girls out of the house, the girls obviously didn't know the kind of opportunities that existed for them outside the four walls of the house and were content with the house work. But it’s really worrying to see parents who have let their daughters let go so far and suddenly want to go all traditional when it comes to marriage and even expect the daughters to do a complete U-turn from their beliefs hitherto, and conform to the whims and fancies of a stranger and his family.

It would be an understatement if I said a woman's life was tough. It was perhaps my naivety that I thought that girls were meted out an equal treatment in today's world. Have you ever imagined what a girl would feel like when she is made to believe that she is only a responsibility on her parents? And when she does get married, she is always the outsider in the husband's family. Is there nobody she can actually call her own? Somebody who will lover her for her person and not just doll her up so that it would be easy to get rid of her, the burden that she is? Will this regressive behavior meted out to girls ever go away? For no reason do they say, "Charity begins at home". Perhaps some "new-age" parents do need to learn from the age old adage.

More than anger, I feel extremely frustrated and saddened. And lonely. 
And perhaps, that's the reason why some people feel sad at the birth of a daughter. Because they understand that apart from fighting the demons of female infanticide, eve teasing, molestation and her physical vulnerabilities, she will also have to face the trauma of always being a burden on either her family or her husband, and still feel like she belongs to none in the world.

Quoting a few lines from one of my favorite books "Gone with the Wind" that aptly sum up what I feel about a woman's life:

"Her life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was a woman’s lot. It was a man’s world, and she accepted it as such. The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took the credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him. Men were rough of speech and often drunk. Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words. Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happiness ... on land and in water....

And so, after the fiasco last time, a lot of precautions were taken this time around ( read: the balcony was left for the mommy pigeon to play around) and the pigeon pair is back in our balcony. And not once but twice over. One pair hatched a week ago, and one just yesterday morning. You have just got to see those little pink fluffies to believe how small they can really be. They are yet to open their eyes, and are still being kept warm by their respective mothers, and in the same way before the eggs hatched. I don't know how the kids are eating though, because I haven't seen them eat at all. Even when the mommies go out to eat, the kids just lie still, or poke each other which is the cutest part, because they can't see and just move their heads randomly. 

Check these pics out. And please pardon me for the quality of these pics. These have been taken very conspicuously with my phone camera because I didn't want the possessive mommies attacking me for fooling around with their babies!!!

The week old babies
The possessive mother hanging around!

The just born "pink"babies

And on a totally unrelated note, it was my nephew S's birthday two weeks back and we got him this. 

S's b'day gift: A fish bowl :-)
It's got 4 beautiful fishes. (4 seems to be our lucky number these days ;-))

S is thrilled to have these. And loves feeding them because they run around the most at that time. They almost come to the surface to grab the food and generally run around a lot inside the bowl. But apparently, S didn't like what we had named the fishes. I don't blame him though. He's too young to understand the humor.

One of the four is black and the most active in the group. So we named him Che Guevara for his revolutionary behavior.
The second one is silver, very pretty and lady like and prances around smoothly like a belly dancer. We call her Simi Garewal.
The third is orange colored with a bold black mark right on the forehead which looks a crop of black hair. He is called baba Ramdev for he matches the saffron robe and black hair seamlessly.
The fourth is completely orange in color and we call him Tango Charlie.

Since S didn't like the names mentioned above, he's decided to give them uncomplicated but rhyming names.
The black and white pair is called Honey & Money, while the orange colored pair is Top & Hop. Simplicity!!!!

We are yet to name our pigeon babies. Would love to hear back from you guys on any name suggestions before our babies fly the coop ;-)

Also, it’s our babies’ first Diwali tomorrow. And like every year, this year too, we won’t be bursting any crackers because we don’t want to scare the poor things. I hope you will do the same for all the new born and old people around who can’t take the loud sound and have difficulty in breathing because of all the smoke and pollution in the air. 

Celebrate Diwali in its righteous spirit with lots of sweets, smiles, friends and family. Have fun. Spread the happiness and take care.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The German affair...in Delhi!

Recently, I got an opportunity to do something new - attend the press preview of a high profile event in Delhi. You'd ask how. Another perks of being a decent enough blogger! Ah, the spoils ;-)
And so, I got this email from the PR team managing the Indo German Urban Mela 2012 in New Delhi. At first, I thought this was just a spam email and was about to delete it, but then something just struck and I decided to give it a read. And Thank God for that. It was an email from the PR team asking me to attend the press preview of this week long affair that was to begin on Oct 27 and carry on till Nov 4. A day prior to the inauguration i.e Oct 26 was the press preview. H was sweet enough to come along and give this a shot!

And so we reached the venue a modest half hour late (thanks to the traffic) and didn't think much of it, since these kind of events hardly start on time. Oh! But it was a face-palm moment. We were ushered in quickly as the event had already started and we quickly joined the rest of the team. But before I tell you what we did or what the agenda was for the day, let me tell you something that was the high point of the day for me (apart from the consideration that I got for being invited to the event exclusively). It was the Press ID card that was issued to us. *Collars up* Call me a show off but it did feel special to be at an event venue a day before it opened for the general public and being briefed about the entire thing.

That's Me flaunting the Press Card! (Click on the photo to view the enlarged version)
The Indo German Urban Mela is being held in Delhi to commemorate 60 years of diplomatic relations between India and Germany. Its being held in the Indraprastha Millenium Park, near Sarai Kale Khan. Its a unique blend of technology, science, culture and entertainment. The huge park is divided a into number of pavilions which are basically partitions or areas allotted to each company that are participating there. A lot of big names like Volkswagen, Deutsche Back, BASF, Bosch, Airbus 380 etc are present. What we got to do was something really interesting. Apart from the sneak peek that we got into the cultural events that would happen at the mela, we were given a personalized tour of the mela by the installation artist and designer Markus Heinsdorff himself. There were beautifully designed tents which give a different appearance depending on the time of the day.

That's a night view of two pavilions!
We were then taken inside these pavilions to get an idea of what was to follow in the coming days. The companies had some really great ideas on how to make urban lives easier while safeguarding the environment. BASF has designed a special car which has solar panels on the top and runs on sunlight, while the Deutsche bank is supporting a research that has apparently built an aircraft which runs entirely on solar energy. They have even tested a prototype that could survive 2 hours in the air, from Switzerland to France and are trying to find a break through to make it more viable for long distance flights too. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research had a lot of information on the various German universities that you can apply to and for job opportunities. It has a whole lot of information out there for you to grab, understand and make use of.

A glimpse inside the pavilions!
While I say that, its not all serious stuff. The week long mela has a series of cultural events lined up for you to enjoy like dance and theater workshops and book reading sessions by famous novelists on the last day. We were also invited to participate in the food-tasting ceremony, basically German delicacies  that would be available for the general public after the inaugural the next day. And while I am still gloating, let me also state that the food is managed by none other than Vivanta by Taj. We got to meet their Food Manager as well as their Head Chef! A lot of firsts for me :-)

It was great fun to be there and very informative too. If you are in Delhi, you MUST visit this. Its a great place to get a lot of ideas and learn, and if nothing else, enjoy German dishes, the Beer Garden, the Rock events and the dance workshops happening live. You seriously got nothing to loose!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Successful Failure?

I have read and heard a lot about how people change once they achieve success in their lives. And the one thought that always came back was Why? Why couldn't people go on working with the same grit and enthusiasm as before? Why did they have to become arrogant and over-confident? Wasn't all the adulation and fame coming their way enough to keep their morale up? Can we really call it Success when it's actually the first step towards a disaster?



I started blogging when I knew nothing about it and wrote just because I loved doing it. In the past one and a half years, a lot of people came back and said they enjoyed my writing. I couldn't have been happier that what I thought was crap or something that was special only to me did ring a bell with other people too. I continued to do this till some time ago. Sorry if I sound like I am gloating, but believe me, right now that's the last thing I am up to. My horizons expanded after I took up blogging - I have met some amazing like minded people, got opportunities to do things that I hadn't ever done before like book reviews, product reviews, going to blogger meets, participating in online contests and actually winning stuff - you know...lots of new things in a short span of time. It kind of became a vicious circle. People liking my work and myself getting opportunities for new stuff, in turn making newer people to contact me for their pleasantries and acknowledgement. I wouldn't say I am not happy with this arrangement. In fact it has instilled a lot of confidence in me to go ahead and follow my dream of being a writer and the best one at that! But you know, success, however small, does go to your head.

I have taken up so much work that a procrastinator like me can ever hope to finish. And that’s because I thought I could do everything. Not that I doubt my capabilities, but I did kind of overestimate myself. I also started writing less on the blog, concentrating more on the other opportunities I was getting. I would be too judgmental if I said I was lured by money, but it was just the beginning of what could be something in that direction. But today I was thinking about the umpteen number of things that I have experienced in these past few weeks and that I never wrote on the blog about. Because I never got the time. Or I was too busy pursuing other opportunities. And it was then that I realized why only a few people in this world can keep a sane head and not let their success go to their head or affect their work negatively. Sometimes I really wish I blogged anonymously :-\

 I never thought I would ever sideline my love for blogging for anything. But apparently I did. And I feel worse for it. And then it dawned on me that people who do behave weird after getting famous don't really ask for it. Maybe the change comes over so gradually they don't even notice. And by the time they do, it’s really late. So may be all that's required to be successful in life, apart from a little talent and sincerity, is the ability to realize when the change starts coming over and preparing yourself to not let it affect you. And now that I have decided to return to my first love with a vengeance, be ready to be mesmerized all over again! :-) And some days later, if you do find an anonymous blogger who sounds like me, humor me ;-))


*Picture courtesy Google

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Do you WeChat ???

My friend N recently moved to US for higher studies. Initially we tried to make do with WhatsApp but it proved to be too exhausting with so much of texting. We needed something more instantaneous, something that could connect us instantly. Skype did help to an extent, but then again, we had to schedule our timings, sit in front of a laptop and then Skype religiously for an hour or so, because we knew that for the next 24 hours we wouldn't be able to do that! Everyday international calling for gossip, that too on a student budget, was out of the question. And then what happened was a Godsend! I was sent a mail by the BlogAdda guys that I was one among the chosen people to review a chat application called WeChat. I was happy, but I didn't know then that this was a godsend opportunity to not only do a review but also solve my communication trouble with N.

I immediately installed WeChat on my Android phone and started exploring its features. You can also download this application for your iPhone, Windows or Symbian OS from their website http://www.wechatapp.com, absolutely free of cost. As I went on a discovery spree, I discovered the most unique, important and incredible feature i.e. Video/Audio calling, Voice Messaging and group Chat - text & voice. It's like Skype "on the go". Quick, comfortable and great to have. The chat feature is both one on one as well as group and has an extensive range of animated and custom emoticon and emoji art, and customizable backgrounds. Like various others chat and texting applications available in cyber space, WeChat too has provisions for photo, music, video sharing, location sharing and contact information exchange.

Some other new features like "Shake" and "LookAround" are totally cool. You literally have to "Shake" your phone and it will list out various WeChat users you can befriend. LookAround makes use of your geographical location to list out various "friends" and WeChat users in your vicinity. It's completely secure, robust and has a good response time. The Voice Message feature's really cool too. You can record messages any time and send it to the other person. It's like a sweet amalgamation of the texting and calling features - being able to listen to somebody talk at your own discretion :-)Integrated social media connect with the app is again a novel feature to discuss all the gossip happening in real time ;-)




However there were a couple of things that I find better in WhatsApp....like it shows if your message has been read by the recipient or not, or at what time it was "seen" by the other person. It really puts me at ease if I know that N has read my message. Since we are in different time zones, instant replies are a luxury. But the knowledge that your emotions are halfway across the world intact is close enough to luxury that we can afford :-D

Till now, all these chat applications and plug ins have been limited to the Android and Windows market, but WeChat's Blackberry version is going to be launched soon too. And with that, the incompatibility issues of Android and Blackberry will be a thing of the past. Language barriers have also been broken as it currently supports 17 languages with more languages coming soon. What more can I say? It's the next best thing in the chat era with a host of features, just a button click away and absolutely free of cost. No wonder this application already has 200 million users worldwide and it's the No. 1 Social app on iOS across 24 countries. Need I say more? Go check it out for yourself.

This review has been written as a part of BlogAdda's Sponsored Reviews.