Friday, October 9, 2015

The Champ of SmartPhones

Ever watched Rocky? The movie of a boxer turned boxing champion, through the struggles and the trials and tribulations. That movie defines Sylvester Stallone as a champ. And so did the subsequent movies.

Then there is Gladiator, one of my favourite movies of all time. Russell Crowe's powerful performance in the duel scene just gave me goose bumps. The whole movie is a powerful story that shows Roman General Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the death of his family by just and fair means.

Then there are a string of movies that celebrate the victory of the victor. Those powerful movies stay within our memory for long. More so, they return to celebrate their victory once more. They are Champs.

Apparently the #ChampisBack. (No I'm not talking about Sylvester or Russell)

I'm speaking about the Champ of SmartPhones - LG NEXUS 5X - A sleek, lightweight phone that belies its powerful performance. Backed by a technologically supreme giant – Google – the Nexus 5X promises a championing all round performances of all its features.

The phone is due for release in sometime in October 2015, but here's a sneak peak of its features. In my opinion, the 3 features that set it apart from competition are as follows:

Marshmallow Android 6.0 O.S. Sweet goodness of a smooth and the latest operating system from Google.

The fingerprint sensor – A one touch fingerprint sensor to make your phone personally yours. Cool eh? And helps you keep it secure from data theft even if your phone get stolen. I’d like this, as my current phone does not have this feature. 

Primary Camera - The 12.3 MP, laser autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash camera can capture great pictures in any light thanks to 1.55µm pixel size accuracy.

I could go on and on, instead why don't you check out the champ yourself?

I am participating in the #ChampIsBack activity at BlogAdda.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Review: Yes, my accent is real - Kunal Nayyar

It has certainly been a while since I reviewed a book. My last review was on The House that BJ Built in July! Whoa! Long time.

So the Flipkart Book Review program had a book with an interesting title on review. Turned out it was Kunal Nayyar's aka Rajesh Koothrapaali's memoir book. And the Big Bang Theory sitcom fan that I am, I instantly signed up for the review.

So here's the review:

Book Title: Yes, my accent is real and some other things I haven't told you
Author: Kunal Nayyar
Pages: 272 
Genre: Memoir
Price (Paperback): Rs. 375 262  (Flipkart)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In the beginning I wondered why a man, all of 30 would like to pen down his memoirs when there's still so much of his life to go about. I mean, he isn't very famous for a TV star - Not an Oprah or a Ekta Kapoor. Yet, I was intrigued to know the backstory of the guy who made it big on TV with a hit sitcom and the journey of how he got there.

Overall this book is easy to read at one go, even in a single sitting. Simple, lucid language has been used throughout the book so that it appears that Kunal is talking to you through the book. 

I never did research behind Kunal, so I was surprised to know that he was India born and like everyone else, he headed to the states for his studies. So overall, Kunal shares his experiences from his childhood, his time in India, his time in the U.S. for studying, his calling as an actor and how 'luckily' he bagged Raj's role on the show.

Before you pick the book, let me burst your bubble. Big Bang Theory fans like me might presumptuously assume that there would be A LOT of references and experiences from Rajesh Koothrapalli time on the show - the behind the scenes, the deep secrets, gossips and the would-have-beens - et. al. Let me tell you, your enthusiasm will be kinda dampened.

(But there is a whole chapter and more dedicated on how he made it to Big Bang Theory, so there, happy? BTW, Kunal's character was earlier named David Koothrapaali, did ya know that?)

Throughout the book, Kunal initially sees himself as an underdog in every aspect - while making friends, academia, acting abilities, getting girls - until he grows out of those presumptions and eventually finds his ground. He finds his father his source of inspiration, and has a dedicated chapter to his dad and many references throughout the book. In the end, he talks on how he hit it off and finally fell in love with a former Miss India, albeit after several misses.

One must read the chapter on how he realized that acting was for him - the ssssssssss moment - his calling.

I specifically enjoyed reading his 'A Thought Recorded on an Aeroplane Cocktail Napkin' as the idea appealed to me - to have one's thought recorded then and there. 

Let me tell you, I have not read a single autobiography/ memoir book before this, as I find them to be rather self centered and dawdling about themselves on and on. But after reading this book, I kind of changed my perspective or rather presumption on how "boring" memoirs can be. Because in this book, there are certain events and experiences that one goes through in life - the trying times - that I could relate to and could certainly pick a trick or two.

So all in all a good read.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Health is where the Healthy Heart is

Image source:

I have always been a chubby kid. 'Plump', 'curvy', are other adjectives that I've been called to soften the blow.  Most of my life, I've been the size that is one size larger for Zara but one size smaller for an aLL clothing. Stuck between neither here, I'm not ashamed of it, but yes there have been moments that I felt I need to get in better shape, towards the more Zara size.

So like every other female species on this earth, I have gymmed and dieted on and off, even before my wedding day. Post marriage though, everything kinda went out of balance. New place, new home, new people, new habits, new grind - I adapted to the new me. But I was not the me, that I was.

I don't blame the whole marriage experience. It's not depreciating, though I felt in the process of adapting I kinda let go of my earlier control and habits.

And then reality check hit me hard on my face as soon as I gave birth to our little one.

Post-partum I realized that I had completely let go of my body, so much so I could feel it. My earlier stamina was lost, I was more inactive or lethargic and was eating unhealthy that I had put on oodles of weight. And no it was not because of the pregnancy as most mothers tend to blame. Here I was 27, looking and feeling like 37.
I had to get rid of this state. Any more delay and I would not recognize the woman staring back at me in the mirror. 

I am fixed on my resolve and have already started on making habitual changes, I took up the Saffola Weight-Heart Test.

Keying in a few metrics, I realized how much an extra few kilos can affect the health of my heart and my risk to Cardio Vasular Diseases.

The SaffolaLite Weight Heart test interface

The Results!

Like a kid who damn sure of flunking and is terrified of knowing the results, I was nervous. I found out that I had 13% risk for CVDs and needed to lose 3 inches to ward off that risk.

Saffola highlights some astonishing facts on Women and their hearts

And here I was under the popular notion that heart diseases are genetically for men, not women. 

I shared the results with my hubby. He was intrigued by this test and wanted to check it out for himself. This test was an eye opener for both of us on how our weights are affecting the health of our hearts.

We want to work towards our happily and healthily ever after. We want to be there for our daughter in all the milestones in life and not be struck off the earth as early as mid forties by a heart attack. The thought is simply indigestible. Not happening!

With a firm resolve my hubby and I pledge the following to #ProtectMyHeart and #ProtectHisHeart:

  1. To walk for an hour, if not at least 30 minutes daily. No excuses.
  2. To reduce our sugar intake. (I've incorporated Lipton Green Tea in my diet, and R has dropped one cup of tea from his.)
  3. To reduce fast food intake to once a week, not exceeding 400 calories in a day. (Considering our cravings for junk) That's one samosa or one KFC Chicken Zinger Burger only once a week.
  4. To switch to rice bran oil for home.
  5. More protein that carbs in our diets. 

To push it further, we're using tools on our mobile device through apps to keep a check on our progress:

  • For walking, I find using a pedometer through Google Fit app is really handy.
  • For diet, I maintain a chart of what I ate through HealthifyMe app.

This how we are making the first step. It's going to be a long journey together, but as they say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step - this is our first step to a healthy life together.

Image source:

“I am joining the Saffolalife #ProtectHerHeart initiative and pledging my support to better heart health in Association with BlogAdda.”

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

For the #WIN15 - The Event, An Experience & MY Achievement

In my almost 7 odd years of blogging (though not so regular) there has not been an awesome-r moment to witness my own contribution to a book being launched in front of a whole audience of veteran and renowned bloggers at WIN 15 (Write. Inspire. Network) 2015 an annual event by entered its second year and I was going to be a part of one of the the biggest events in the blogosphere - A book launch by bloggers!
I just could not miss this for the world!

So on 20th September 2015 - Blogadda's WIN15 happened, and let me take you through the event in pictures:

Yummy breakfast at the venue JW Sahar, Airport, Mumbai
Tagged and Ready for the conference.
Care for a fortune cookie? 

That's my fortune for the day! Nice touch BlogAdda!

The BlogAdda WIN15 Stage at JW Mariott Sahar, Mumbai
The poster of the Teams winning the Game of Blogs right outside the conference room.
My team is Team Tete-A-Ten.
A closeup of my Team and my Teammates.

The Master of Ceremonies and Master of Energy of the day
building up the momentum with his dramatic entry to the stage.

A lot of interesting sessions and with various topics at WIN15.
Sessions started with Lakshmi Pratury, Host & Curator of INK Conference on the aspects of storytelling. Next up Rezwan Islam talking about the influence of blogging and social media in current affairs of Bangladesh, followed by Ajay Jain; who wooed the audience with his charisma and travel mantra. Sure had me almost hook, line and sinker to take up Jordan as my next destination. He explained how a day in his life goes. Anaggh Desai (the God ) and Aditya Magal (the fake jhunjhunwalla on twitter) had a tete-a-tete that had all of us rollicking in laughter. Prashant Challapalli, Shrutijith K and Calamur delved more into the media aspects of social media and blogging.

After many sessions, the eminent speakers congregate for a photo op and receive their mementos.
Say Cheese!
 And then we break for lunch - 100% Pure Vegetarian!

The Indian fare I sampled - Dal was the bomb!

Vegetarian Sushi - A first for me!

Dessert Platter

Post a filling lunch, the workshop on Food Blogging
by Archana Doshi of Archana's Kitchen

The session with Suchitra Krishnamoorthy and Natasha Badhwar

The Pièce De Résistance of the evening, the book launch.

The GameOfBlogs book launch was the highlight of my evening. It was no lesser than an academy award ceremony for me as I stepped on stage for the unveiling of the book. I was rubbing shoulders with Writer Natasha Badhawar, Actor-Singer Suchitra Krishnnamoorthy, the representative of LeadStart Publishing and the CEO of BlogAdda, Nirav Sanghvi plus the writers of the other teams and it was oh so surreal!
We were handed a copy each and were asked to sign it. My first ever book signing!
A few words were exchanged with the audience and then I had it in my hand: My very First Book

All that transpired on that day was awesome to say the least. I learnt a lot of tips and tricks, met many like minded bloggers, savoured some good food and enjoyed the event.
Looking forward to the next WIN!

My win-win-win+ solution with TATASky+Transfer

As a mom to a energetic toddler who absorbs information like a sponge, I need to be on standby all the time to "entertain" her. Kids now-a-days know what they want and when they want it. And they always seem to want it NOW! Like NOW means NOW!

And then go do their routine tantrum of crying out loud, yelling and turning that happy face into a angry pout. Not just toddlers, it's all these munchkins till the age of 10. Surprisingly, they even say they're "bored" while a humongous pile of toys lie idle. In short, the Doreamons and the Pokemons can act as a potential toddler tantrum detonator to any mom!

My tot who never glanced at the TV screen in the first year of her life has suddenly found her fancy to Disney's creation -Mickey Mouse and his so called imaginary clubhouse.

So I've resorted to downloading the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episode and Sophia the First episode videos via the YouTube app on my phone. So there, win-win situation? NOPE, say my inflated mobile data bills!

That's right. Downloading those episodes in the offline mode will still cost me a bomb in data charges.

Then early September while surfing for the HotDog song on my phone, an ad by TataSky caught my eye. Already a TataSky+ subscriber, I was actually wondering if there was any free recharge up for grabs (wink).
Not quite. But what I discovered, could potentially be a win-win-win situation for me and my kiddo and my data bills.

#TATASky+Transfer Credit: TATASky
TATASky+Transfer is the innovative and first-in-its-kind brainchild of the folks at TataSky DTH to bridge the gap between watching entertaining TV recorded content on mobile. So the concept is, if you get the #TATASky+Transfer box home, you'll be able to download the entire series of episodes of Jake and the Neverland Pirates as they are aired and stream it LIVE on your tablet or mobile phone through the TataSky App - importantly -wait for it -It does not need an internet connection!

How does TATASky+ Transfer transfer the data to you mobile/ tablet? - was also my first question.
Through your home WiFi! Simple.

Even if you're away from home, you can order the STB at your command to record the special one hour special episode of Kumkum Bhagya that you secretly want to see that you curiously want to glance and then watch it on the go.

With 500GB storage on the TATASkyHD STB, movies on the go on your device is a cakewalk!

Now I can go ahead and recreate that yummy Sicilian pasta recipe shared by Chef Ranveer Brar on Living Foodz using the transferred video as a guide and avoid shuttling to-and-fro from kitchen to living room.
I can keep ogling at Harvey Spector of Suits whilst binge watching Big Bang Theory and guffawing on Sheldon's wisecracks.

Oh, this TATASky+Transfer box is going to be a keeper for sure!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Merawala Sea Breeze?

Do you remember the Asian Paintsadvertisement a couple of years back?

That hugely popular ad showed how a married couple traversed through the desert to lay hands on a Rajasthani man's powder blue colour pagdi, only because the wife loved its rich colour. When the befuddled man refused to part with it, the couple took their chance to snag it when he had gone for a dip in the river. To which the lady exclaims "Merawala Blue", leaving the Rajasthani man sporting the husband's chic beret.

Yet, I could not correctly visualize my vivid colours in the contrast of my now beige and boring wall.
I wish there was a tool to virtually guide me to take the decision of a colour splash on my beige boredom. I was searching for merawala colour guide!

I had the very same crazy moment when we were renovating my home. I love colours that stand out but do not overpower the overall look and feel of a room. So while renovating we had a plethora of options to choose from! From which colour floor tiles should match the shower curtain to which pillow cushions should complement the display wall in the living room - I was seeing colours!

Bed Bath and More have come up with this unique concept of viewing how your home will look like after it has be painted. So you can visualize how your virtually painted home will look like even before a drop of paint touches the wall.

This ingenious tool is called the PaintFinder.

  1. Go to #PaintFinder tool on the Bed Bath and More website.
  2. Click on your choice of shade of paint from the drop-downIt will show you various shade options available.
  3. Now click on any shade in the palette. (I clicked Sea Breeze)
  4. Choose any virtual room. You can also see the same colour for all the other rooms in the display.
  5. Preview a large snapshot of the room.
  6. Shortlist upto 3 shades and order your shade card. And you're done!
Bed Bath and More have an introductory offer running to get your colour shade card delivered to your doorstep for FREE!
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
How my Bathroom will look in the PaintFinder
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
Preview how your room would appear in the PaintFinder tool.
Bed Bath and More Paint Finder
The handy Paint calculator 

The PaintFinder sports a handy paint calculator, Key in the metrics in the calculator to evaluate how much cost it would run up to paint your home.

So goodbye cold wars from disagreements on paint colours and shades. And Hello to the PaintFinder from Bed Bath and More to visualize and colour your imagination into your home.

“I am participating in the #PaintFinder activity in Association with BlogAdda &; Bed Bath & More

Thursday, September 24, 2015

One piece of #SachchiAdvice for LIFE

Generally, people are not really great givers. But when it comes to giving advice, people love to give it. More so, people give advice better than following it.

I have been on the receiving end of many such sermons and pieces of wisdom from time to time in my life. Be it from my parents, peers, friends, distant relatives, close relatives, acquaintances; I have even received advice from remote strangers that I barely know.

Yet, there is a common thread between all of the genuine advises I've received; is that they care about you. And that's why they give advice.

Of all the pieces of advice we receive, there is always one or more nugget of wisdom that makes a permanent imprint on our soul. One powerful phrase; that one one small kernel of avuncular wisdom that we're set to carry forward with us in the rest of our life.

And here, let me share my piece of advice:
It was the time when I was completing my degree. I was staying away from home, loving the independence, yet within the reach of my parents. One result day, I was shell-shocked to receive a setback or what engineers call - an ATKT. (Allowed to Keep Term; a second chance given when one fails a subject in engineering)
My entire world had collapsed. It was a huge deal for me, as I had NEVER failed, well, before that day. Even so, I had sworn to myself at the beginning of the course, that I shall give my hundred percent and will not blemish my academic record. But, it had just happened, without any warning. What's more, is that I had less than a month to clear the re-exam along with the other upcoming exams.

That day I returned home- in no mood to enjoy my freedom and independence- earnest to yearn that much needed comfort and solace of my loved ones. I was sad, in no mood to interact. It was almost bedtime, when my dad sensed me out of my usual self- all tired and weary from work - asked me to sit down and have a talk with him, He told me to spill what was in my heart. 
I blinked back tears, all composure lost and said "I have failed, Dad." I hung my head low, unable to meet him in the eye. To me my dad is my academic hero - always among the first of the class and took matters of academics very seriously. And was strict.

A moment had passed.

"So what?" he said. Bewildered, I immediately looked up at him straight in the eye of his ludicrous comment. "It's okay, Gauri" he smiled and said, "This too shall pass"

I looked at him with intrigue of not being admonished, but being met with understanding and yearned to know the explanation of those four words. Sensing my curiosity, my dad went on to tell me a story of a King and his Kingdom. Here's the story in a nutshell:

There was a King who was in search of a single answer to all situations and called the wise men of his kingdom to seek the answer. A wizened old man wrote the answer on a piece of paper, but asked the King to only read it when he is in extreme danger and not otherwise.
After this event, the King's kingdom was attacked by his enemies so brutally that he had fled by the skin of his teeth. Cornered and alone,  in that moment the King remembered the old man and read his answer - "This too shall pass" - was all that was written. 
This made the King realize that sorrow or danger is only but for a moment and it will pass.

He returned to his Kingdom and later gathered his men again and this time he annihilated the enemy.. Basking in the glory of victory in his kingdom, he suddenly thought he was the greatest king ever. Then his attention drew back to the old man's answer. He reflected again "This too shall pass" was the answer he sought. Even happiness and life's riches are short lived and is not permanent.

The King had finally found life's answer.

"THIS TOO SHALL PASS" - This piece of advice that made a huge difference in my life. That day was a complete turnover for me. Of course I cleared the re-exam, rejoiced in the celebrations of completing my course and went on with life. Yet I remember this piece of golden wisdom that my dear father had given me, in every difficulty I faced and will face; and in every victory I enjoy and will enjoy.

I could now recall how he must have drawn strength and gone through with life when he faced difficulties and sought the drive to go on. And it is now my turn to move ahead.

This was my piece of #SacchiAdvice. But this advice is not to be kept with oneself. Like Grandma's wisdom, it needs to be passed on from one generation to the next. 

“I am participating in the #SachchiAdvice Contest by MaxLife in Association with BlogAdda.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...