Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Giggles & Cackles

Do you remember the time... when all that there was in this world was giggles & cackles...
do you remember the time.. when you were actually the center of this universe...
do you remember the time... when you could do just about anything, even snort & get away with it...
do you remember that time???

wasn't life so wonderful then?
when all that was expected out of you was laughing?
when the motto of each & every person around you was just to see you giggle one more time...
when you would step into a room & all you heard was awwwwww...
& all life had was gugus & gagas & gigies.. oh! & hugs & kisses all the time...

how we grow up & stop being loved like that?
how we grow older & stop loving like that?
how things change.. you get embarrassed if you laugh & suddenly snort...
how things change... people stare at you when your heart aches & you begin to cry...
how things change... when you fall, people try to control their laughter & just walk by...
how things change... you try so hard but the innocence is lost...

how did things change???

why did things change???
isn't life all about the giggles & cackles?

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Way You Make Me Feel...

& it really starts.. when i start gasping for breath...
i feel it... the blood rushing to my face...
i feel it... flush right through my veins; & into my cheeks...
i feel it... traversing through the ventricles...
i feel it... entering my blood vessels... & then i hear it...
the thump in my ears... my own personal orchestra...
but i keep going...
i keep going till the noise becomes deafening...
so deafening that it resonates & reverberates through my entire body...
& that's when i raise my hands to this euphoric high... this endorphin rush!

i run through the streets...
people watch me... but i don't care...
i run through busy roads...
cars honk at me.. phew... & i don't care...
red lights... green lights.. & the blinking oranges scream...
so, i violated a few lights.. bwaah... i don't-don't-don't care...
kids race me... women wonder what's happening... men ogle & comment...
but my music is so loud... like i said... i don't care...
the smell of katthis & dimsums fill the air...
but the legs just keep going... & somehow... i really don't care...
cuz i can feel it through my bones... & in the sweat that's breakin' in...
that IT IS here... the sweet rush of dopamine!

oh running.. how you make me feel..
no lover comes close... the way you make me feel...
you're the answer to everything.. that's what you make me feel...
if i have too much candy.. you get me outta of it...
if i don't fit into some cloth.. you get me into it...
if something is loose on me... you make it look sexy...
i'm happy... & i think of you...
i'm stressed... & all i want is you...
i'm depressed... & you can pep me up...
i'm all high... & you can calm me down...
i can taste you.. feel you... breathe you...
oh! that sweet taste of adrenaline!

hey you... reading this..
don't get me wrong..
i'm not obsessed...
it's just that...

P.S. The post is not only dedicated to running, but also to Midnight Scribbles for reading my mind about writing this post!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Let's Make a Difference!

I hate waking up early... even if that means getting late for office...
Yet, i wake up early every weekend.. so I don't get late for my guitar lessons...

Every saturday morning... when i'm up & having my tea or reading the morning news; there is a bell that goes off... sometimes i ignore it.. sometimes they go away... other times they ring a bell again... sometimes i just scream whose there... at other times i answer it... i inevitably always know who it is going to be... yet, sometimes, i just go & see & from the balcony of my 1st floor, i look down upon an orange singlet clad Shani Maharaj.. I look at him in anger & scream "kitni baar bola hai humari ghanti mat bajaya karo! (how many times have i asked you not to ring our bell)"... it angers me how an able-bodied man can go door-to-door begging... for God's sake, his belly is bigger than my dad's... this begging thing, really gets on my nerves!

If you have your hands & feet intact, why resort to begging? there are a million things you can do... pull a rickshaw... polish shoes.. mop the floors... you can even do nautanki.. at least you will entertain people in exchange of the money... what about selling balloons, or books on the roadside.. or even home made candles & agarbattis... there are so many things you can do apart from begging! I know people say, don't say you understand, cuz you don't, you are not in those shoes... but the fact is... i have seen poverty.. & begging is no way to emerge out of it... there is no pride in it.. there are a million who are poor... just go to the villages of Kerela (my home town) or Bihar or you know what, i can count multiple poor places.. & none of them take pride in begging... they take pride in their culture & stand for themselves... just check out Raghurajpur... the people there are poor.. but they don't beg... in fact, they have created a legacy & made Raghurajour the heritage crafts village of Odisha.

Isn't it a wonder that a poor farmer started a legacy? he turned the whole village into a sea of artists.. have you ever witnessed such fan following of a poor farmer that the whole village aspires to be him???

Can you imagine, that to ensure his legacy continues, the village has a Gurukul that is free of cost??? Here in Urban India, we pay tons & tons of tuition fee for vocational trainings for our children that they are least bit interested in pursuing as career... & there, they create employment opportunity absolutely free of cost... they create their own motifs.. natural colors... & their own artwork.. it is creativity at its best... & what makes them happy is the awe-d look on your face when you see it... buy it... that is the real passion for work... isen't it? & how fair is it that these artist put in all their creativity.. all their passion... all their hard work into a piece of art that they create in time ranging over days & weeks & sometimes even months; to get not a fraction of the real value of the master piece that they so rigorously created? How fair is it that the middle-men pocket almost all of the profit? How fair is it that these people do not fall down to begging but the middle-men fall down to stealing from them? Of course this is stealing... mark ups are not supposed to be more than 17%!

It's not fair & it's not right... If these artist are in the lines of utmost dignity, nobody should have the right to leech off them... there should be a way to surpass these middlemen so these artist can get what they righly deserve... Let's give them a platform that they rightly deserve... a platform that can help them showcase what they have to the world.. & it does not take a lot.. all it takes is a website that links them to the whole world (of acknowledgement & opportunity)... These artist with their everyday moves makes our lives colorful... let's return the favor & make their lives just as colorful! Let's make a difference!

This post has been written for the "Do Right!" contest.
#DoRight helps many such causes... Want to help the poor stand for themselves... visit DoRight!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

You Love Who You Love!

Is hard to find.
Yet I see it everyday, all around me.

It empowers you.
Yet, I have seen how it over-powers everyone.

Won't you just do anything for it?
How far would you go? Would you go a thousand miles?

Love knows no boundaries.. no caste... no creed...
Love knows no riches.. no poverty.. no lies.. no politics...
Love knows no skin color... no language barriers...
All love knows is you love who you love!

These are the things we have heard... I mean seriously.. how many of us believe love knows none of the a fore mentioned!

Funny as it may sound.. I do... I believe in all of it.. cuz in spite of the fact that I am yet to find the one true love... the fact is.. I know that its there... cuz i see it all around me... & i see it everyday!

I see it when my mother smiles at my dad when he comes home & asks him how was your day... its not funny man.. they have been married for 30+ years... I see it when my father tells me he secretly has been stacking up some cash to give mum a surprise on their anniversary... its really not funny.. we are a family that migrated from poor to middle just about a few years ago... I see it when we order from outside when dad is not around... not funny again.. mum loves to cook, but doesn't feel like when dad isen't around.

All of the love knows no boundaries.. caste... creed etc. are true for them... Dad is far south - Malayalee.. mother is right up top - Sindhi.. dad speaks Malayalam.. mum speaks Hindi... Dad only knows there are Hindus & Christians... Mum talks of Sindhi & sub castes in Sindhis... Dad is dark as night.. mum is white as day... dad ran to delhi to overcome poverty... mum used to wear designer sun glasses before she was even working... dad did not know what aalu ka parantha is & mum had never cooked in coconut oil... but the fact is, you love who you love! & dad loves mom & mom loves dad!
Can you see the love in their eyes?

I see them romance everyday & I wonder how they did it... if someone asks me to let go of the amenities that I enjoy everyday & settle down with someone in a rented 1 room acco where I have to cook & wash & clean & scrub all by myself; just for the sake of love.. i wonder how I would feel? I wonder if I can actually do it just for the sake of love... i wonder how my mother felt & i wonder how strong the love was/is to leave all the good stuff behind.. if someone tells me that i will have to buy a house, raise a child, make money & also pursue a degree just so i can give a better life to someone I love.. i wonder how I would feel? I wonder if I'd be capable enough to do it for the sake of love.. i wonder just how my dad felt & i wonder how strong the love was/is to not crack under such pressure! i really wonder how they did it.. cuz it is commendable.. yes, there are the Tatas & the Birlas & the Ambanis... but they did not raise me... they are not my super dad... they are not my super mum... my own folks are... cuz to maintain being in love across all the hardships needs super strength.

My dad recently discovered that my mother loves ice-cream & ever since he discovered the same, he brings her ice-cream every summer night... that's love.. black suits white people, but my dad hates the color, so my mother never buys anything black irrespective of how much she loves it... that's love.. I wonder if i will ever be able to love like that... love so strong that no matter how many odds are against you... you stand strong... love so true that you accept the whole of the person, not just the things you love, but also the things you don't... love so simple that its visible in every smile & every tear drop! i wonder if i'll ever have such as love??? & if i do.. will i actually be able to go that far... but I guess when you love like that... it takes you far & beyond your imagination.. everyone deserves that kinda love.. everyone needs that kinda love!

This post has been written for the "Go further to get closer" contest.
Click BA to visit British Airways.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Time to Change.. Time to Clean Up!

Well.. it's a fact.. so let's face it... we Indians.. we are the spicy kind... don't get me wrong.. I mean we love spice.. especially in our food... the more condiments that go into our food... the more aromatic it is.. the more we love it... whether it be the home deep-fried-pre-marinated-in-namak-lalmarchi-dhaniya-pepper fish that makes our eyes & nose water or the local markets i-dont-know-how-many-spices-used-to-marinate tandoori chicken that have fire blaring right out of our ears... this really is what we love.. not to mention our national love for onions & garlic... I have actually seen men eating raw onion like nobody's business while waiting for food...

Well.. who am I to complain about any of this.. because the fact is.. I love it too... in fact, I may be a step ahead... cuz when my throat is burning with the firecrackers from all the spices, I like to top it with a hot cuppa tea! Wooooah! Now if you've done it.. then, you know that really IS something! It's much too obvious that with our immense love for such great food including the gaseous ones like cholay & rajma & the gobhi & mooli which let a guy sitting 20 mts from us know what we got for lunch, that we too bask in the aroma of what we eat! After all, you are what you eat.. right?

Well.. be what you wanna be.. eat what you wanna eat.. but what about me? what about me when I'm standing next to you? Oh.. let me rewind a little & give you another fact.. we as Indians.. don't believe in the concept of space... if there is a line & if there is any space between any 2 people, the fact is, it is our birth right to invade that space & make it ours.. so.. why leave it to chance?? why leave any space?? which brings me back to the "what happens to me" when I'm standing next to you?? I mean I share my space with people everyday... so really.. what happens to me??

What happens to me when I'm standing next to you in a bank's queue on a Saturday morning?
What happens to me when I'm standing next to you in a metro & you shove your armpit in my face?
What happens to me when I'm sitting next you on a bus & you decide that you need a stretch & place you arm on my head rest?
What happens to me when I'm standing next to you & you wave at a friend you see at a distance?
What happens to me when I'm standing next to you while you are presenting & throwing your arms up in the air over & over again to make a point?

I'll tell you what happens to me... I die a little!

Because you decide to eat all of what you like to eat & then decide that the body needs to secrete it beautiful juices naturally & do nothing to tame your awesome odor & to top it decide that it's just too cold to take a wash for 3 whole days... I die.. I actually do.. I'm not asking you to not eat what you want... but brushing.. bathing & deodorants are basic hygiene! & no.. I'm not singling out our Indian men here... this one also goes out to the ladies //read stink-o-mania here//

Now that you know that I die a little.. you know what dying people do? They tell the truth.. So, let me tell you what happens to you... What happens to you is I ask you "what's that smell, boss?" I ask you cuz I don't care that you will be offended... most people tend to get embarrassed about this.. many tend to fix their act.. move as little as possible.. sit with their body parts as close to themselves.. stop sticking to me.. some tend to cheekily say must be him or her when they know I am talking about them.. a few tend to smell their armpit & get embarassed... but every once in a while.. there are few who turn around & ask me what my problem is.. we live in a free country & we are free to do as we may choose..

I'll tell you what my problem is.. its a free country, alright, but did you know darling, that your freedom ENDS, where another person's NOSE begins? & this is my nose... & your scent is not welcome in my territory! Cuz you know what.. I am done changing my metro boogies because you need a grip... I am done looking in every other direction & avoiding breathing just because a Saturday morning is an inconvenient time for you to take a wash... I'm done ditching my seat on a bus just because you wanna stretch... I am done taking 2 steps back when you wave to your friend... & I most definitely am done just changing slides so you can wave your hands & do all the talking! Its time that you change your boogies... Its time you respect the distance between us when we are standing in a line at the bank... it's time you keep your hands to yourself when sitting in a bus... its time that your friend stops hugging you cuz you leave your stink on them as well... & its time that i make the presentations & you change the slides... its time to change.. its time to clean up! Try it... you may actually enjoy it!

This post has been written for the "Close Encounters of the Smelly Kind" contest.
Check Racold out on facebook.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wrote To Fly & Won #Goibibo

The thing about a Business trip is – well... you go places.. attend the conference.. head home!

The thing about Goa is – who goes to Goa on a business trip?
Well I did – what I did at the business trip (Wednesday – Friday) is boring... all I did is within the walls of Marriott’s.. & then I thought to myself.. I cannot do this.. I am in Goa “the fun place”... so I put up a facebook update “Anyone in Goa?” & extended my stay till Monday morning & the only thing on my mind was partying! So I hailed a taxi & told the cabbie to take me to a happening place in Goa.. & off we were to Britto’s@Baga Beach... While I was getting outta the cab, I got a call from a friend’s friend (thanks to FB) & he told me he is Goa... “Great, let’s meet” I said.. he responded with “Cool.. if you come to Baga.. lemme know”.. “I am at Baga”, I exclaimed... “Oh great.. I’m at Britto’s with my frenz.. are you nearby?” was this a coincidence or what? & he introduced me to his gang.. I gate crashed a stranger’s party.. & the funny part is, they all welcomed me with open arms! I made friends with my friend’s friend’s friends... & Right from that moment, it was helluva ride!
& it started with Karaoke.. right beside Britto’s is a Karaoke bar.. right in front is the Baga beach.. where we din’t just wet our feet.. we actually took the whole dive! Who cares about the running mascara when you’re having so much fun!

I checked outta Marriott’s the next morning & checked into the resort they were staying at (Nazri).. of course you cannot compare Nazri with Marriott’s... but the fact is.. North Goa is more fun when you share your room with likeminded people; than when you just enjoy the luxuries at a 5 star. We headed off to a place called The Synq... we danced all night... with strangers from across the globe... In Goa.. nobody cares if you are an Indian or Portuguese or Latin or American.. as long as you smile & dance with them... That day.. I made a bunch of friends with people from across the globe. After all the dancing, I & my new found friends headed to the Sinquerim beach... & then we hit the Anjuna beach too... we played in the waters like free dogs & buried our bodies in the sand like a bunch of 5 year olds.. we danced without any music like love struck teenagers.. sang like we are American Idols.. counted stars like we actually could & then, we saw the sun rising as it kissed the waters.. that’s when we decided to head home!

We had a 3 o clock brunch the next day... the Goan fish like everyone says is to die for... & then we hit the Aguada fort... the weather was warm & so were the people... no matter where I looked, there were smiles... almost everyone there was celebrating their friendship.. & is there a more perfect way to do the same than the classic dil chahta hai pose at the DCH fort? We hit the Aguada beach right after... Tried to sneak into Taj.. failed miserably.. So we boarded our scooties to head back home to change into some party clothes.. I actually learned how to ride a scooty while coming back...

After we were all dressed up.. I even drove to a place called LPK – Love Passion Karma... The non-dancer in me danced all night & on a pole.. day before, I made friends... this day.. I made fans! With the amount of pole dancing I did.. LPK could actually pay me for being their showstopper “star attraction”!!! That night we relived last night all over again at the Candolim beach.. the dancing.. the singing.. the water.. the sand castles.. the stars & then the SUN.. that’s when I realized.. I have a flight to catch!!!

This post was written for the goibibo #writetofly contest.. & lookie I won!!! :D

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Heights of Love… #YouLoveMeButNeverWannaSeeMeAgain!!!

They say, its funny but you find what you are looking for, at the very last place you look…

Its NOT funny i say… it's definitely not ironical… & I’m definitely not being cynical… what I mean to say is… we stop looking when we find it… its obvious it’s right at the last place we look! The thing is.. when you find what you are looking for… you know… THIS IS IT!

Henry had been the perfect gentleman… he would open doors for Grata… he would be absolutely protective... hold her hand & walk on the traffic side of the roads… take her by the shoulders when crossing… drop her right to her place & escort her inside… everybody loved Henry… from Mel to Scott… even Nina & Bob... who met him just once... & drove Grata crazy baddgering her to date him… Nina said “what??? If I wasn’t with Bob… I would have wanted him… he looks awesome… bad boy looks with the good boy behavior… is nice & adorable” “is boooooooorrring” added Grata! Grata’s parents loved him… her sister loved him.. the only problem was… he was not the end of the search for Grata!!!

But Henry was good for her & she had gotten better… with the craziness coming back to her… she had started doing the stupid bubbly things she usually did…

one day... as she saw the lengthiest line at Starbucks, she walked upto the guy right at the front & very cutely said, “would you mind getting me an Apple Pie Frappuccino, pleeeease?” & as the guy smiled at her, the old hag behind sternly said, “flirt your way out somewhere else… you’re not getting her that drink SON!” Absolutely flushed, Grata smiled & decided to get in line… 3 stops ahead & Adam pulls her out of the line & hands her the Apple Pie Frappuccino!

He said, “you’re weird, I hope you know that” as he walked away from her… Grata ran after him, tugging him by his shirt “I wanna know wh-y were you there that dawn & who were those people?” he replied, “look lady, I know I said I love you… but now im saying I never wanna see you again… & for the record, im a vocalist & not a lot of guys can handle their lovers swooning over another man!!!”

#TrailOfThoughts //what does he mean by that??? am i swooning over him?? huh.. & even if i were... who is watching me?? Henry???// "Don't walk away from me" she murmured as she looked around for Henry... but Adam kept walking... away... "Don't you dare walk away from me Mister..." she raised her voice... "Hey Y O U" she screamed!

Adam turned around, red in his face... "I demand an explanation... I deserve an explanation" she said from the distance... Adam walked right upto her... bent down so his face was parallel to hers.. "Why?" *blink "Why do you want an explanation? Why do you DESERVE an explanation?" She wanted to kiss him... but she looked straight into his eyes... "Because I do.. & you know it".. Adam straightened his back.. took her by her hand.. opened the door to his Impala.. signaled her to get in.. held her take away Frappuccino cup while she got in.. handed it back to her.. closed the door... walked to the other side as she watched him.. & got into the driver's seat... "Should I drop you back home?" he queried!

She brought her knees up.. folded.. & sat crossed legged on the co-drivers seat... pulled out the customized cup holder... kept the cup... crossed her arms & said "I need to pick up my Boxter from the garage, 2 blocks from here.. I can walk.. but I am not going anywhere until you tell"... Adam got rid of his Man U cap & ran his hand on his shaved head "well.. the day we met.. rather that morning... when you saw me beat up those 2 guys... it was entirely self-defense... we had performed in a near by pub.. some girls were absolutely drunk & were getting all over me when I was getting a drink post our performance... 2 guys tried to challenge me for tryna get fresh with their girls.. I said, I'm not interested.. & actually walked outta the bar... the guys followed me out & tried to take me down... I gave it back them.. probably when you saw me.. so that!" //Pause

He unfolded her hands... took her hand... removed the Frappuccino from the cup holder... & placed it in the opening of her hand... "Now drink up your Apple Pie Frappuccino" (he mimicked the Apple Pie Frappuccino in the same cute flirtatious manner in which Grata had requested the guy who stood 2 people ahead of Adam at Starbucks) & then he became angry "Does that work for you? Flirting?" & pat Grata responded "Almost always... Are you planning to steal my thunder???" & she giggled in a way that made Adam's heart melt... he wanted to kiss her... right now... but he just drove her the 2 blocks to her garage instead.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

You Make Me Smile!

"Hi, this is Diana"
"I need to speak to somebody by the name G! who has a blog called"
"This is me... my name is Geeta" I said with a chuckle!
Diana had called 2 days in advance to reconfirm if I was coming to the Indiblogger meet... & I sure was going!

A day before the event... i had a mail sitting in my inbox imploring me to share my travel pics... so there is a contest before the event even starts.. in fact, the event starts with with the results of a contest... great way to have people come to your event in time... & a stupendous way to make your hash tag a trending hash tag.. woah #skyscanning... a successful hash tag helps you build thousands of followers within a day.. imagine if the same hash tag was being promoted by 400 people at one time!!! woah... huge!!!

You may think what a weird thing to mention.. but the fact is.. as a marketer.. i tend to notice such things... so when i reached Le Meridien (dot on time)... there were a handful of people... as it was my first time at the meet... knowing anyone here personally... was sorta impossible... so I just struck a conversation with a lost soul.. she looked like an introvert... so i asked her what is it that she blogs about & travel it was.. i was like... cool.. a travel enthusiast & blogger at a meet that has been organized by a travel search engine... I many be a misfit... but we continued talking & she asked me how many people will be coming.. i said, this is my first time here.. but my guess is even if there is a 3/4th drop ratio.. it still should be around a 100... that's the ratio we marketers in the IT field use... so it was my estimate!

By the time the registrations opened... the place was flooded... my estimate of a 100 was definitely surpassed.. I was surprised to see that apart from the singlet bloggers... there were couples & families.. commendable, i thought to myself.. on one hand.. my family does not understand what i keep keying into my computer.. & other hand, there are families that are doing it together... so cool... I was so amused by this... so amused, that I was amongst the last few to key in my name into the registration lappies in front of us...

By chance, the lady in front of my registration lappy was Diana & I asked her if she could let me know how this event will pan out... (she remembered me... as the somebody by the name G!... i must say commendable.. to remember the people who registered with your event for the 1st time! I was pleasantly surprised!).. she guided me to Karthik.. he first offered me a lanyard & then we walked & talked... the man is patient... with the no. of things he was supposed to do (including the transfer of gifts from lobby to inside the Sovereign ball room, which he had right there in his hands), he still answered my questions... till he got a call... he suggested to have fun.. well.. that was my intention in the first place!

I recced the ball room.. a round table set up with 7-8 chairs per table... a big podium... the stage was at least 1 feet high... 1 backdrop.. 2 screens... 2 each of 3 uniques standees.. the white & light blue colors (a standee also had a green).. so soothing to the eyes... i noticed that gift wrapping was in silver.. it all felt joyous. I have been in the same room before.. last year I attended a CII Infrastructure Management Services based event here... they only used half the space though... the funny part is... I don't recall much more about the event except that even though it was in the same location, that one was dull... but it did bring a sweet memory.. The Le Meridien fish! As I turned my head to the food area.. my sight was flooded with people... Alright.. I remembered... we start the meet with lunch... Oh yea.. the foodie in me was exhilirated! The fish there.. & the jalebi.. if I would have died right then.. I would have gone in peace!

But because I did not die... I made friends.. The networking guy in me made me wanna meet as many people as I can... within 30 mins of chit chat I had found 4 people who were connected with me via IndiVine... I got to know that the most common form of blog is the "Personal" blog... people tend to find their niche basis their passion off the same... travel.. technology.. food.. fashion.. they are a subset... that become your niche basis your knowledge!

There were about 400 unknown faces there... but somehow.. it still was so warm & welcoming... you could just walk up to anyone & start like with a fresh page... I even made blogger friends in the little ladies room.. actually, I made a red pants blogger sister team with the IndianHomeMaker... She had been to 4 - 5 blogger meets before.. so she assured me it will be fun... & was it fun!!!

I mean.. we started the meet with lunch.. followed by the contest results (the tripod selfie guy won the domestic travel tickets... hmph.. So Jealous man!) hmmmm, i thought now will be some serious stuff.. so I seated myself... I sat with a bunch of 4 boys.. we introduced ourselves... 2 of them were tech bloggers... 1 was a love & relationship blogger & the 4th one had a personal blog... 2 more guys joined us.. both of them were tech bloggers too... this table has too many engineers I thought to myself... Note - I am an engineer too! & you know what engineers do when they are in a class... They Sleep... So bring on your salesy pitch Skyscanner.. we are ready to sleep it off... But Indiblogger surprised us... there was yet another contest... The selfie contest!!! more hash tags for skyscanning i thought!

If you know me.. you would know that I am soooooooooooo not a fan of the selfie... unless it is the coveted selfie I take at my photographer friend's studio (click Aman Shaw if interested in a folio).. who is it that I wanna go with on a domestic vacation here??? you know who I chose? The bhoot.

My tag line - Merepe travel ka bhoot chada!

you know who won?
ofcourse... not me...
it was the honeymoon couple...
they are happy & gay... (sheer pun - nobody sue me, okay!)

we had the power to choose which 2 people go for the domestic tour... & off the 4 pictures selected... maximum votes went to the honeymoon couple.. if only Barney Stinson was here.. he would have witnessed the Indian bromance!

This was followed by a very brief session about Sky scanner... when.. where.. how... I am in love with everything English.. so I was interested in the story... the fact that Skyscanner was formed by 3 Scottish men because 1 of them was having troubles finding cheap flights to ski resorts.. makes me believe "in every trouble, lies an opportunity" (if nobody said that already, I'd like a copyright)... such an inspiration... We simultaneously had the tweet about your International travel dream destination contest (more hash tags.. btw.. i won a cool wrist band USB for my tweet - if I find it cool as a marketer... imagine how the non-marketers feel)... Then we moved onto actually learning about the Skyscanner app.. okay, so.. I have been to multiple events.. trust me when I say, this was the most fun!

I mean who does a Treasure hunt to teach someone how to use an app... this was sooooo much better than doing a regular demo.. there is something about direct interface... & skyscanner got it bang on.. by giving us a treasure hunt... they were able to teach us how to use the sky scanner app... it is a user friendly app... I can say so.. because i was the designated find out the cost as per the permutations of travel from location X to Y in my team... This also helped skyscanner learn the thought process of their end customer & they may be bring in some tweaks to suit their Indian customers... we din't win this one.. but it was great fun working with so many people for the first time.. & there was no fighting or screaming.. or expectations... we all wanted to win... but it was pure fun & games! I even got the Indiblogger photographer to take a group picture of our entire team!

This was followed by hi-tea (how english :)) with the croissants & the pastries... oh sweet delight... but what was sweeter was the fact that a fashion blogger walked upto me & said "you're a fashion blogger.. right?".. She was a quite sure that I am... & complimented me quite a bit for my style.. I told her how my sister is a fashion merchandiser & just hates my style... but she re-assured, that i look awesome... now c'mon... let me bask a bit in this... all women like to be complimented... even if it is fake.. & this one felt damn real!!!

It had been a good day by far... & then started the share your travel stories... I was grinning ear to ear when the doctor couple (wife) told about their their sweet love story... it sounded like travelling binds them! i was all "aaaaaaaaawwwwie" in my head... & must have laughed at something when the Indiblogger photographer took a solo photo of me.. I am photogenic & I think the picture came out cute... so thank you!

Then we had a open panel on the safest places... you know.. which is the safest place.. SINGAPORE!!! Like Singapore.. seriously?? In 1945, (right after the war - Battle of Sgp & Japanese Occupation) Singapore had shortage of food... no electricity... no water supply... & hence... extreme crime & violence.. & India preached non-violence in 1947.. & Singapore is the safest country??? It is... It really is!! In 2011... Law of Index ranked Singapore in the top countries surveyed for Order & Security.... If Singapore can do it.. so can we.. right? We also discussed about the safety of women.. I have already penned down my thoughts about the same here. That was some brainstorming I must say.. but the fun wasn't over... Becuase.. I have never seen a 400 people single shot picture taken before... & it happened right there... woah... what fun... & a great meet came to an end...

So... we all walked outta the door... in a line as suggested... it amused me that 400 people actually cared enough to follow instructions after a meeting.. I mean my experience tells me that after a 1/2 a day event... everyone rushes at the door like it will magically expand & allow everyone through!!! hahaha... but not here.. this sorta discipline... just fabulous... & it had a perfect reason... as we all moved outta the room... we were handed 2 tee-shirts each (both skyscanner & indiblogger - i love the fact that I now have a tee shirt that I can proudly wear & which clearly states that "no animals were harmed in the making of my blog"... we moved along & were handed a pouch & a tag... I loved the tag... as marketers... we like to give souvenirs that people will keep & use... I mean.. if im travelling & have an skyscanner tag on my luggage... not only is it easier to locate... but also draws attention of fellow travelers... & the pouch opened up into a bag.. so damn cool!!!

The day ended at that & I got home to unwind.. thought about adding a few fellow bloggers i met onto my Indivine network... & got to the indiblogger page.. & voila.. the pictures from the event were uploaded already... I mean none of my vendors has ever given me the photographs/videos of my event before 2 days & here.. it was a matter of few hours... & there already were likes & tags & comments.. & a fellow blogger asked me if I had struck a deal with the event photographer for taking solo pictures of me (I got 2, you see).. & all i had to say was, oh dear boy... I'm photogenic... a photographer's delight! He's delighted & so am I.. hahahaha!!! & the day ended on this high note.. I must say.. this Indiblogger-Skyscanner meet made my entire day an absolute delight!

Thank You - You Made me smile!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How Airtel Wrongs its Pre-Paiders!

I am a marketer... & I've been working for over 5 years now... my work involves long hours, late nights & traveling... all the things that people dread.. but i still love my line of work! a key thing about being a marketer is we always need to be connected.. to work... to colleagues.. to vendors... to partners... to clients... we hapta be available online 24x7.. not that we don't have time for ourselves... but what happens if you have a delivery time line for 12 midnight today & you expect the vendor to send you the .tif file at 9PM... what do you do? do you stay in office till 9 for a .tif file? Do you come home & sit on your lappy till 9? or do you just have the outlook installed on your iPhone so you can receive the .tif file & forward it to the printers in Singapore via a touch while you are partying out with friends???

The last one sounds like a good option eh? I do that... I am always online... even when I am on leave.. the mail exchanges never stop... hey.. can you share the no. of the vendor who made the travel backdrop... contact shared via iMessage... vendor shares the layout of the eDM... it gets finalized over BBM.... what a great event we hosted.. posted on twitter! Boss gets awarded the leader's choice trophy... picture posted on facebook... Wanna make the picture look vintage.. Instagramed it right on my phone... have a meeting at a location i don't know.. hey you "google maps"... during the meeting the vendor suggest why not use flash banners like ABC company did at their website... google Friend calls between the meeting to check on tonight's plan.. *call disconnect.. whatsapp sent - In a meeting.. will call you back..

The life of a marketer is exhausting.. so what do we do to relax? I love listening to new music... so i tune into Jango from the phone while heading home... sometimes i go for a run... i track my distance & calories burned with mapmyrun... i also unwind by running around (i mean temple run).. sometimes i watch movies.. thank you so much bookmyshow app... sometimes i jam with my club... or house party at my photographer friends' studio... we take a few pictures.. share them via whatsapp... omg.. the no. of whatsapp groups that I am on is not even funny man! but, the fact is... all these are the things that make my exhausting life exhilarating!

one day... one of my office colleagues asked me for my phone to make a quick call... as soon as he disconnected the phone & was in the process of returning it back to me, he noticed something amusing... "Last call charge - Rs 3.42, current balance amount - Rs. 286.39".. i think he was more like in a shock than amused... he handed me the phone & said (like I am not aware of this fact) - "you have a pre-paid" (it sounded like i gave him my phone a post-paid & he did something to it that made it a pre-paid... i said "yes" & he just looked at me... absolutely befuddled!

See, the thing about working is, most people carry a post-paid... & the thing about iPhone is.. there are so many things (read updates) that keep happening (read installation) to it automatically... that carrying an iPhone without an Internet pack would mean you must be the kid of Tata/Birla/their equivalent... see.. accessing the outlook... exchanging iMessages.. chat over BBM/whatsapp... twitter/facebook updates.. using instagram/google/google maps/mapmyrun... tuning into Jango... playing temple run... all these things require a tap into the world of the Internet.. not to forget the numerous app updates & software upgrades... all these things require the Internet... it is obvious that anyone who knows how much I use the Internet would be more than shocked on knowing that I am on a pre-paid plan..

But this has a reason.. my dad is on the post-paid plan & neither him nor I can ever understand what the extras are that he is billed for... Did you know that these telecom companies thrive on their post-paid clientele & bill them for VAS like it's nobody's business; they actually think post-paiders are too ignorant too check their bills... The fact is.. pre-paid is safer than post-paid because -
a) you see an immediate update for every deduction that happens
b) you are not on the radar of these telecom giants, their focus really is minting from the post-paiders
I have kept both a pre-paid & a post-paid connection... & I know for a matter of fact that when my pre-paid billed me INR 500-700/-, my post-paid charges were INR 2200-2500/-

I have been a loyal customer of #Airtel for over a decade now... & I noticed this pattern on the 2 - 3 times i shifted from pre-paid to post paid.. Though, i never could figure out how my 500 became 2500, the fact is... i know it did... & i guess i have a rough idea how.

Recently, (the last week of December'13), I got a message from #Airtel saying "your Internet pack will be renewed within 3 days".. I checked my balance & it said 150 something... so I relaxed... suddenly just before New Years, I was unable to access my FB or send any whatsapp/BBM messages or even send regular text... What the hell... i check my balance & at 11 in the night, it says, 0 balance... 0... i had not seen a 0 balance in ages.. i could not even connect with the customer care cuz you have to pay 50 paise for every 3 mins, you know. So i got myself a recharge & called the customer care the next day... they told me that as I did not have enough balance.. my Internet plan was not renewed & hence all my balance was used up  for Internet usage.. They said I had 120 & needed 125 for the recharge... My obvious question was.. should I not at least get a message from you saying it has been deactivated???

That's when the customer care mentioned that the renewal is showing as pending hence I did not get the deactivated message... They suggested that now as my no. is recharged, the pack will get auto renewed & I should relax... so... anger subsided.. I thanked them for resolving my query & disconnected... 3 days later I was unable to Google something... I tried facebook, didn't open... whatsapp, the network just dint come... & then I did the *123# & to my horror.. it was 0 balance again. Oh the hell! How on earth is this possible. I got another recharge along with the Internet pack & called the damn gold care thingy in the glory of my anger.. "namaskaar.. #Airtel me aapka swagat hai.. mai XYZ aapki kya seva kar sakta hu"... Hi, Im Geeta... i called about this before.. my Internet pack dint get renewed... pending... recharge... will get auto renewed.. 500,.. now 0..." i told him my entire story... "ji, madam, mai aapko batana chahunga ki aapnay Hindi IVR mei call kia hai... kripiya apni samasya hindi mei bataye"... this had it for me... I am angry & the ass is asking me tell him my problem in Hindi, instead of English... so, here's is the concern with that.. As I am born to a Malayalee father & a Sindhi mother, the language that comes to me naturally is English... & its a known fact, that when people are extremely angry or extremely loving, they converse in the language they are most comfortable with... so, when i am shouting/fighting.. it is english... my hindi just fails me there!

so i tell the guy transfer my call to someone who knows english... he tells me he will arrange for a call back within 4 hours... I get a call back the next morning & we reach a conclusion that #Airtel will reimburse the 620 hit that I had to take as my Internet pack was not renewed & i did not get a deactivation message either. I casually also told them that I need to be connected to the English call center instead of the Hindi one next time on... they told me how to change my selected language... I told them my selected language is English, they asked me to try this one more time & then call back. I tried & called back & someone said the same "Namaskaar, #Airtel mei ...." script. I asked him if he knows English, he said yes... I told him that I was just checking if changing my IVR language worked or not for changing my call center preferences... & then disconnected.

A month passed & i forgot about this incident... & then I got the Internet pack will be deactivated message.. I called the customer care saying I want this to be auto renewal.. "yes... autorenewal... i do your Internet pack... autorenewal.. yes.. no" I was connected to the Hindi call center again.. i told the guy that I need to be connected to the english call center.. he said "main aapko batana chahunga ki apni bhasha ko badlanay ki liye.. kripya XYZ karay" I told him my language is preset to english.. so he pretended he did not hear that & hung up the phone in my face... I got irritated, but as the Internet pack was done, I did not bother calling again!

Another month passed, we are at 28th Feb 2014 now & I got the Internet pack will be deactivated message again... what the hell on this earth??? I called up #Airtel again to ask what this deal is.. some guy (think his name is Abhishek) answered who knew English.. he told me "maam, I can do an Internet pack on your phone which will be auto renewal based... but I will advise you to rather call back after 2 days & get this done on March 2nd, as you have enough & more balance on your current pack"... satisfied.. i hung up.. I would have even recommeded that this is the best Gold care executive of #Airtel that i have spoken to in the last 4 - 5 years, if i would have gotten that survey #Airtel used to send before... I personally feel their quality of Gold Service Advisers has drastically dipped... I wonder if they are even trained in the processes... & i wonder if that's the reason why that "give your valuable feedback" thingy has been stopped... Guess #Airtel already knows how much their current Gold care advisers suck!

so, 2 days later when i call.. its the same fight.. OMG... somebody talk to me in Enlish.. "I will make you call back.. my supervisor.. u dont understand.. I dont understand" at 9 in the morning, while trying to make the guy understand my complain... i wanted to bang my head on the wall so hard that it smashes... I called 3 - 4 times as the advisers kept hanging up on me.. I was told how to change my language (which wasn't my complaint).. i was told that someone will call me back (nobody did)... so i got pissed & wrote #Airtel a mail... & guess what response I got from Mr. Santhosh Rao.K

Dude... Did you even read my mail... it clearly said my language is preset to English.. & thanks to you, now I know that #Airtel charged me an extra 36 for Hello tunes... I always suspected you charged me twice/thrice for the Neon ringtone I have had for years now.... how many 36s is that 1 accountable for?

The #Airtel dude tells me the steps to change my IVR language to English, when my mail clearly stated that your "brainless gold care executives" tell me the process of changing my IVR language instead of registering a complain that I am being connected to the Hindi call center instead of the English one... This is something that #Airtel has to look into not I...

Most of the times I call #Airtel... its gold customer care has trouble following me as they do not understand English... they conveniently pretend that they cannot hear a thing & they hang up... if it were a one off incident... I would have ignored... but I think its a part of the Airtel strategy... If you cannot understand the customer & the conversation is becoming a drag for you our darling gold care executives, feel free to hang up the phone in our pre-paid customer faces.. they do not mean much business to us any which way!

All I wanna ask is -
Hey you.. #Airtel... is that really the way you are planning on treating your loyalists? Really? If this is how you treat us pre-paiders... i can't even begin to imagine how you loot your post-paiders.

Signing off!
An infuriated-wronged pre-paider.

P.S. Am I only the one who has noticed this?

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Wandering Mind!

Dove Go Play IndiBlogger Contest WinnerEver had a break up?
The one that devastated you beyond anything?
The one that had your parents & your friends sick worried? The one where you just lay right there in your bed & cried for hours? The one that magically made your hunger, thirst & sleep disappear?

The one that made you go 6 weeks without threading... The one that made you so depressed in life that people had to come visit you at your home while they tried to pep you up & you just sat there in your worn out jersey, payjamas you wouldn't be caught dead in & hair so greasy that running your hand through your hair would make your hands oily?

Sounds tragic, eh?

I've had it...
I'm sure everyone has been through this phase...

I belong to a family that is not into the party late or go outta town with friends type... but you know what... when you are that devastated... your parents ask you to go out... they ask you to go meet your friends & party!!! Funny part is - you still don't feel like!! Your parents push you to your friends' wedding outta town... fresh air.. new people... new place... might be some good for you... but you can't go to a wedding like this... now, can you?

So I booked myself for a salon visit... hmmmm... while I'm here why not get also a mani, pedi & a fix of hair... "chop off those split ends" I tell the hair dresser & pat comes the response... "why don't you go short?" "I don't know, I have tried so long to grow them.. maybe next time.. only split ends" I say & he responds, "I recommend shortening the crown area at least... will give a little definition to your hair..."

mmmm... I think a bit & say "ya, that's alright! as long as the hair is not shortened"... he takes some time to wash & untangle my tragic hair & then, takes out his scissors & starts his magic.. while he is at it, he tells me that I have such gorgeous hair.. & I wonder //my frizzy South Indian hair... really???// he continues to tell me how many women would love to trade their hair with mine... & I am like really??? he goes on to explain... for everything w.r.t. hair.. styling.. cutting.. straightening.. curling.. perming.. coloring etc. people hit the salon.. but the fact is, more & more chemicals mean damage.. so density of hair decreases with each styling... so good volume is important for a stylist... he then quietly also slips in a comment or two about how i look (maybe he wants to bill me for makeup as well).. he said "you look a bit pale, may I suggest shortening the length just a bit & a few highlights on your crown to brighten up your face" & I immediately respond with an okay... I have no real idea why I agreed, but my guess is I needed a change!

I realized, the conversation with my hair dresser was the longest conversation i had in about 2 months time & he had managed to do 2 things with my hair that I would never really agree to if i weren't "let's say - sad" - shorten my hair by 4 inches (yea, that's how much "just a bit" is for hair dressers) & given me multiple blonde highlights! When he was finished styling my hair & I saw myself in the mirror, I realized I had The Rachel![1]

So, I got highlights.. & they felt good... I hadn't felt this good in quite a while... I had become so used to seeing the dull gloomy side of me.. the blonde highlights did bring spark into my life. My changed hairstyle was the 1st step towards moving on. Have you noticed, that when people are trying to get over a breakup, a new hair style is the first thing they resort to? Do you know why? - It's because hair is one of the defining characteristics of mammals.

So now you know that the first step to getting over a break up is - Go play with your hair!
Have you ever noticed (& I know this is particularly true for women) that the day you have a bad hair day, Murphy[2] becomes your best friend? So I say, let's avoid Murphy as much as we can... After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry! So, let's never have a bad hair day! I just love playing with my hair & I can testify that reducing your bad hair days drastically reduces your overall bad days.. its a simple correlation actually. you have a bad hair day... you are conscious of it... you wonder how many people around you are thinking that you look stupid... you cannot give your one hundred percent... you end up screwing your work... your work ends up giving it back to you!

You know the amazing part about evading a bad hair day? You get to experiment with you hair... some of these experiments are damn easy... for eg, did you know that to get the barbie doll high pony, all you have to do is 1st tie half of your hair around your crown (leave out about 1 inch of hair around your hairline) & then tie these up too into the same pony with another band. Even if you have the worst ever hair day, you can make a really cool messy bun... all you have to do is tie your hair into a pony, twist the pony & wrap it around the center, yank it from random places & secure with bobby pins! You can carry off this look even with greasy hair!

Some other things that I love to do with my hair, include braiding... yes, the plain & simple braids... sleep on it... & the next day, my south indian hair gives me a cross between the permed & the soft curl look... though I do absolutely love the salon achieved soft curl look... I still keep it for occasions... the amount of blow dry & styling gel that it requires makes me a little nerves... I also love to flat iron my hair.. but the amount of heat this requires really makes me nervous... I also love to color my hair... apart from the blonde highlights.. i have also carried the red look... but the amount of chemicals.. pre-bleaching agent.. bleaching agent.. coloring agent & then the heat... Oh my God!

I love the french, layered & the fish tail braid & sport them extremely often... I tend to accentuate them with swarovski studded pins & add glitter... but getting rid of glitter is a task.. sometimes i ribbon braid (learned it courtesy Dilli Haat) ... i also love the french twist, but it is achievable only with a bit of mousse.. the princess curls (i sleep with the curlers if i have time, the dreaded hot iron curlers are only for quick fix)... & I absolutely love the romantic twisted braid.. i don't mind the multiple bobby pins but i'd like to avoid the spray mousse.
hmmm.. i wonder how i went from break ups to bad hair days to actually talking about how I like my hair & what all i don't like about hair styling... I guess my mind wanders a lot!

Signing off!
The Wandering Mind!

[1] The Rachel - Jennifer Aniston's layered haircut was named "The Rachel" after her F.R.I.E.N.D.S. character.

[2] Murphy's Law - Anything that can go wrong - will go wrong.

This post has been written for the "Dove Go Play" contest. Click #DovePlay to visit them @twitter!
Dove made me & 49 other women happy on Women's day by announcing us as the winners!!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Heights of Love… Quiet Commotion!!!

Life - has its means to amuse us… baffle us at times as well… Just pause a little & look at us… our lives… we don’t ever respect what we have… it seems we are always after something… someone… somehow… we are always running behind… running around… trying to be running along… running insanely… yet always really running late…

Adam was playing games & teasing Grata & now she was out with another man… was he running late? Henry was intellectual, educated, fine dresser, respected the ladies, knew his boundaries, had a great business acumen… & to top it, he was not just easy on the eyes, but was an absolute delight! In short, he was a keeper! But, what is it that he was running behind? was he running behind a girl who has someone else running on her mind?

In the little ladies room, Mel said to G, “ I know how much you like this Adam guy… but you should date Henry… he is SAFE!” Grata just quietly looked at Mel knowing what Mel said is absolutely right!

That date night, Grata was torn between the nicest guy sitting right in front of her & the lurking unknown that was staring at her from across… when Hysteria got off the podium, they took a table across them… Adam’s line of sight did not wander anywhere else through the night… he was fixated… & that made Grata weak in her knees & Mel anxious… She knew that G! was capable of walking out on Henry & right into Adam… After all, she was famous for not thinking twice before what her heart wants.. Infact, Mel was surprised that Grata was still with them on that table till now!!!

Henry suddenly said to Grata, “I believe you really liked them?” G – “I’m sorry?”, Henry – “You have been looking at the band since they sat on that table… Do you wanna go say hello?” Grata just smiled & declined… Henry continued, “I. don’t. think. I can out dooooo their performance… & I sure hooope-h I don’t have to fight them to impress my laeeedy here?” The 4 of them burst into chuckles at that!

Henry was great.. & knew how to maneuver a conversation to his side easily!!! but did he know how to maneuver a lady in his favor?