Monday, October 29, 2012

The German 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, 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 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.