May 22, 2013

2 Years and counting...

It's like a fairy tale. She never fails to make me feel so, at least. Every few days she will shoot her favorite dialogue - "tum bahut lucky ho ki mein mili hoon..."
Of course, I deny her the happiness of over enjoying this proud realization every time by saying something or the other. Mera bhi kuch to bhav hona hi chahiye...

But then, deep down I know, she is not incorrect. I'm indeed very lucky. She is a friend, wife and sometime a philosopher too. Most importantly, she is my biggest critic and opponent (on many fronts). She challenges me, to improve and to grow. I, being the lazy ass I am, would have got so easily satisfied from life otherwise. It wouldn't be wrong to put it in more romantic "she completes me".

2 years is not a long time unless these are spent in IIMA doing an MBA with your fiancee was doing MBA in TAPMI. It's not long specially when you've spent it in most amazing manner exploring aate daal ka bhav. From purchase of LCD (or LED) TV to color of the car and hunt from our dream home, there are new deciding factors, consideration angels and urgency elements for every decision in your life. They are new to both of us and thus make it a challenging yet fun activity everytime we face them.

There are many more such joys await us as we enter this third year of our marriage. I'm confident that they will be bigger, better and each one more fun than the earlier ones. That's the comforting fact of life. I say this directly from my heart as Sonam has made me believe so.

It's like a fairy tale. See I told you so.

May 14, 2013

Peace Time

I wrote most of my post in that first hour in office during my Lucent/Juniper times. I guess my punctuality made me one of the early birdies in the office thus giving me my sweet little peace time. It was a nice time to reflect on things around as nobody was around to disturb the chain of thoughts.

This scenario changed in Ahmedabad when the free time became a luxury. Howmuchever I try to think what made me stop writing regularly, I cannot pinpoint any particular reason (including studies and class work).

Later in Nokia days, morning time was the critical most hour of the day to plan for rest of the day (and be prepared for the daily sales call) and thus my writing schedules (however few they were) tended to shift towards evening. Same trend continues in Zovi now and I write this at 7pm in the evening waiting for Sonam to come.

[Finally posted at 9am the next day]

May 12, 2013

Bombay Talkies - (Rating - 2/5)

I'm not sure why I seem to be the only one getting very disappointed by this movie. If four totally detached stories were not enough, the last song with all film stars made it my worst investment in Hindi cinema in last few months. No doubt at least two stories are very good in themselves, but then I don't see a reason why they couldn't be a part of series of episodes on Hindi Cinena. I remember a couple of tv series on star plus and zee in early 2000 (Star Bestsellers & Phurjhari) essentially made for such things. How could this movie be a attribute to Hindi Cinema?

And yes, the song at the end made me feel like I had just watching Star Parivar event. Ridiculed to the core!

May 6, 2013

Walking Tours

Sandemans New Europe free walking tours was our first date with guided sightseeing of a city by walking. They were informative as well as fun. Our guides were young, enthusiastic, talented and most importantly very good storytellers. They knew their stuff really well (at least that's what we believed after spending the day sightseeing with them). They gave us innumerable stories to keep our day interesting. They laughed, ate, drank and danced with us. In the end, this is all that mattered for novice travelers like us who were in a hurry to explore the whole Europe in less than a trimester's time.
And if I tell you now that those tours were free, then it becomes a wow! We could tip the guide at the end of the tour or just walk away having spent a memorable day with a crazy set of people roaming in streets of an unknown city.

Can something like this be done in India? Ok let us leave the free part, can we still make a paid walking tour of our cities? Ofcourse, there are some such activities available in cities like Bangalore & Mumbai. But I want to see them in even smaller cities, towns & other tourist attractions. They should not be expensive so as to not lose its charm for students and travelers on shoestring budgets. And most importantly, they should provide an offering filled with a unique & memorable experience pertinent to the local culture.

I would be making my list of suggest walking tour plan of some cities (Indore, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Mumbai) for sure. Anyone interested in joining hands with me? Or working to develop this idea? My initial idea is to generate content, travel plans (directions, maps, point of interests and tidbits around it) to be made available online (tripadvisor, blog etc) so as to make the DIY guide for travelers. If interested, comment below or connect with me at

May 5, 2013

Souvenir Saga

We could have got these made anywhere in the world! There is nothing unique about these, nor are they specific to any geography. Still, whenever I will see them, I will remember the amazing time I spent in Krabi's Walking Street. That's the magic of good souvenirs.

Sonam and I are not the biggest of souvenir hunters, still we like to capture our memories in our own unique way. If my Eurotrip collection is a fun-filled collection of my memories captured during the exchange program, Langkawi collection goes a little further and helped capture those honeymoon days beautifully. Each and every item in our collection has a story to tell. It's a story of their origin, the place they were created, the people who made them, thoughts that went through our heads when we were there at those places and everything connected to those memories captured at those precise locations, times & people. The story is as much their as it is ours. It's a brilliant way to relive those moments.

We love our trips abroad for one simple reason - they have lots of new and creative souvenirs to sell. Every city has it's unique style and charm, so does the souvenirs that are sold there. Somehow in India, the souvenirs fail to capture the charm of our cities. We are selling the same old (or same new cheap factory manufactured artefacts) at most of our tourist attractions. There is nothing unique about them, nothing which will make us remember something about our times at those places. Our arts and crafts are not lesser to those in any part of the world, our artists are the best of the lot - still we have nothing to share. Forget those Cauvery emporiums & likes which are selling arts that are meant for those with heavy purses. We need those small little shops at every nook and corner of our cities selling unique memories. Memories that are not impersonal.

One thing that has inspired me from my times in Krabi & Bangkok is that personalization is the way to go. It's simple and can be a good display of our creative side. Moreover, it connects to anyone faster than any other way. I still feel so happy when I think of the moment I first saw my first iPod with my name engraved on it. The keychains bought in Krabi will have a similar effect whenever I will see them.

These are small things that  can make a lot of impact. These are our little mementos of joy.

Bangkok Krabi & Back

It's going to be a post consisting of some random observations/thoughts from the recent trip to Bangkok & Krabi. Randomness of these is a testimony of the amazing time I've spent in last one week.

1. Iphone iphone all along, no Nokia to be seen - they are using iphones, in all possible colors and forms (actually more than what apple has designed and dreamt of designing). Samsung must be the close second. They are using it continuously, chatting, playing games, taking pictures and occasionally talking. Where is Nokia? Well it's sold, and good number for sure. Most of the drivers, tour operators I met were using it. No Lumia, no asha - I wonder where is Nokia heading!

2. Ipads and Tabs are the way to go - people are using them in restaurants, trains, hotel lobby, on the beach, near the swimming pool and any other place you can imagine. They are taking photos using it at every tourist spot. Who says 42 MP cameras are the way to go! Give them just a couple of megapixels and people are just going crazy clicking photos.

3. Local markets are the places to go - they are lively, fun and cheap. You will meet crazy people, see and eat wild things and ofcourse shop for quirky stuff. Most importantly, you will see the life in as real as it can get. We had superb time in Krabi walk street. I wonder why we have forgotten all our local markets and resolved to have Mall as tourist attraction. 

4. I me myself - People in thailand like to click themselves a lot and I'm sure self-portraits in all possible poses must be filling the GBs of memory their mobile phones/ipads offer.

5. A city is a city after all - BKK is a metropolitan. It's building itself for the tourism and has accomplished good enough in doing so. Still it's a city in the end. So if you are on a short trip, better have your days planned well. A crazy weather, the distances and all the crowd will kill lot of your enthusiasm otherwise.

6. A good meal is worth all the pain - as long as you are able to eat one good meal in the day, you are guaranteed to get a fun-filled day. An empty stomach can become a spoilsport in no time.

7. Souvenir shopping is about getting the best experience and not the best deal - if you like it, if you feel you want to preserve some memory - just go for it. You might get a better deal later but then there are chances that you might not get it at all later. Don't bother much in saving those couple of Rupees.

more to be added soon...