Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Shop Style On The Go

Come October, you find freshness in the air, brightness in the sky, and sparkle in the eyes of every being. The lined festivals one after another bring joviality, happiness to everyone’s heart and mind.

I love this season. Autumn followed by Winter! All through the year I wait for this time.

In this season, you get to see people flaunting in marriages, parties, offices. Especially in corporate, you surely get to see ladies gathering in various cubicles…to envy each other on their new shoppings. You will get to hear one praising another, asking cost and address, discount etc….then plan to go out from the office in between…after lunch or after office hours… As a day is not enough for a lady’s shopping, again plans to go with husband or boyfriend. Shopping with a husband is too tough. While shopping, he will surely say, “Hurry up” at least ten times, or he will have head ache/tummy ache or search for a public lavatory nearby. And if you are taking your baby along, nothing like that – you will never get a chance to choose. You will surely end up buying the stuff found at ease only.

Today’s fast paced life does not allow you to spend enough time on shopping in a market, but sit comfortably on laptop and select the most desirable products in the wide spread collections of various online stores. Thanks to online shopping which helps housewives to make themselves busy, mothers to spend more time with their children and working women to give more time to their family…same with the men too….

And also, if you can ensemble and get your craving products at your door-step, why to waste your time searching in markets, carrying your cloths to match with your bangles or earrings?

Shoppers Stop really stopped me to look at its tempting products and the discounts they are offering! It was quite challenging to pick and ensemble the products as all were so unique and beautiful, but tried to bring out the best upshot according to my taste.

My Western attire :

I picked up stylish, fashionable and sufficiently casual Allen Solly Ladies Wrap Dress. To match with it, I took a Lucera Silver CZ ring with contemporary designs in work, prĂȘt and evening collection to complement various moods of the modern and fashion conscious woman of today. To add elegance and exquisiteness, I picked up a beautifully crafted Infinity bangle, a pair of Infinity Rhodium plated earring with clear crystal, a Lucera Silver CZ Pendant, trendy and bold Lemon Pepper – Footwear. To bring brightness to the face and whole attire, I added a red French Connection wallet and United Colors of Benetton’s reddish sunglass.


For traditional wear, I picked a simple red Kashish printed Georgette Saree, as I believe in “Simplicity is beauty”. To match with that, I picked an Infinity Bangle, a pair of cufflinks designed Infinity earring, 18 Kt Gold plated Infinity necklace with clear and Siam crystal, Fossil -  Watch, Carbon Diamond Ring and a red Hidesign- Wallet.

Shopper Stop! You are really a wonderful one stop shop with excellent quality products!

Hope, you will like my picks.


N.B. This post has been written for 

Shoppers Stop Perfect Look 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lakes in Bangalore

Just raise a question – “what kind of place you wanna live in”. I bet almost all answers will infer directly or indirectly to a place with serenity, tranquility….. small dose of natural beauty, where you can escape from the stress of day to day life, feel refreshed, relaxed, get up with the melody of chirping birds and at least no water problem J!

I have recently shifted to Bangalore. Though I made few official trips to the city earlier, I was dillydally how the place would be to settle down.…..With hundreds of questions in mind, like, will it be better than Delhi or my home state Assam, how will be the people, food etc., I came to this city last month.

Depositing a good amount of money, we took a rented house. Rent is quite high in this IT hub, for which we started searching for a house to buy from the next weekend of our arrival. While flipping the newspaper pages- specially the Property supplements, and the sites like Magic Bricks, 99acres etc., we found there are lots of lakes in Bangalore. Lots of properties are using “Lake View” as their selling point. We targeted some of these sites.  And yes, that’s true….actually many of these properties are situated on the bank of the lakes, such as Bellundur, Ulsoor, Vatkal, Domlur, Munekolala etc.

While exploring various locations within the city, I found Bangalore to be a beautiful place, full of exquisite landscapes. There are numerous lakes in Bangalore, though there is no river close by. Most of the lakes in the Bangalore region were constructed in the Sixteenth century by damming the natural valley systems by constructing bunds. But, unfortunately, so many places are facing water problem, some places have dried out bore-wells, most of the places in the city don’t have Kaveri water supply. The cities of Bangalore, Mandya and Mysore depend almost entirely on the Kaveri for their drinking water supply.

Urbanization has taken some heavy toll on the beautiful lakes, the flora and fauna in Bangalore. Most of the lakes have vanished due to encroachment and construction activity for urban infrastructure expansion. Some of the major lakes that disappeared over the years are changed to stadium, sports complex, bus station, golf association, market area, sewerage collection tank, college, residential layout etc.

The city once had 280-285 lakes of which 7 cannot be traced, 7 are reduced to small pools of water, 18 have been unauthorizedly encroached by slums and private parties, 14 have dried up and are leased out by the Government. 28 lakes have been used by the Bangalore Development Authority to distribute sites and build extensions for residential areas. The remaining lakes are in fairly advanced state of deterioration. Now, only 17 good lakes exist as against 51 healthy lakes in 1985 in the heart of the city.

We are shortlisting a property on the bank of such a lake. We will have to pay some extra from our pockets for the so called “Lake View”. But, a thought is engulfing our heads if the lake will be dried-up or else if government will transform the lake into a stadium or a market place..…?

Thoughts are still on…..

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Driving through the Delhi roads

I am not a bad driver….I am sure, atleast better than Michael Schumacher! J

Schumacher drives in lane, I can drive in narrow bylanes. Schumacher drives in a free road, I can drive in crowded roads… He drives when people cheers, I can drive through people who love living on the edge.

I am an employee of a nice organization which offers flexible timing. So, I usually go to office just after the common office rush timing. But…so many red lights (Ofcourse traffic signals! J) I have to bump into, all the way of 14 kilometres road : Delhi to Noida! 

Such a week day, as usual, I started for office dressing as a gentle lady wearing nicely pressed cotton Saree. After crossing DND Flyway, I faced the first red light at Rajnigandha. I have the habit of switching off the engine in traffic signals as a conscious citizen J, so I did so. Suddenly, my car started shaking…..I wondered what happended all of a sudden…I looked at the other cars which were in front, left and right side, and thought was there any earthquake. After a small break of few seconds, it again started shaking…! I looked back….saw an Indica trying to fit in the gap between my car and the other car standing in my right side. When it could not fit in, again it went back….

I saw in my side rear mirror, my car got injured badly…. White stretch mark on my Maroon car! I got down, just opened my mouth to scold them, but then saw that the driver was looking like a Daako of Kabristan….He was accompanied by four men. The Indica probably met many accidents already in its last many years. Though I was very angry and wanted to shout very loud, I lowered my voice and just asked why he did that, couldnot he assumed that there was not enough space. He just gestured with his hand which indicated, “What’s a big issue? What is done, cant be undone! And now just move ahead!”…….. By that time, it was green light, all vehicles in my back started whistling continuously……I could not do anything except silently sit on my car and move ahead with a sorrowful and defeated mind. After few seconds, the indica intentionally overtook me and all those guys sitting in it just shouted something and tried to make mockery on me. Once I thought to note down the number and complaint to the police, but then thought what will be the result…nothing…just will extend the case, so left that idea. 


Have you ever seen hardly any vehicle, taxi, bus, auto-rickshaw without a single dent, in Delhi? I can bet on that. If you are extremely lucky, and your car is without any scar, be very careful, somebody at least from your society is eying on it, and someday while you are relaxing in your bed, the task will be done.  You will get to see next day, and you will shout for nothing!!!

In Delhi, everyone drive according to his/her own wish. All seems in a big rush. Once, you are in the driver’s seat, you are a warrior. One hand on horn, one on cell-phone, loud music, foot on accelerator, eyes on female bystanders : that’s a common habit of the drivers.

People need no reason for honking. They honk when they start the car. They honk when there is nobody on the road. They honk when they find somebody to ask for overtake. They honk when they overtake the vehicle. Honk is louder when a red light turns into green at the traffic signals. And the list goes on…

Traffic signals are rich of scenic affairs. Bikes zigzag between cars and buses, trying to get into the front. Cars do not care about lane lines and invade into any free space. Beggars and hawkers weave around the vehicles. And when the traffic light turns green a thousand impatient horns go off. If you are late in reving up your engine, you get countless glares coming your way.


Another day, my husband and me both went to one of my relative’s place in Faridabad. While coming back, it was quite late. My husband was driving comfortably as the road was free enough and we were belly full with delicious dinner. Suddenly, a car was behind us…continuosly putting horn to give a side. I looked back and saw, a Sardarjee was driving accmpanied by another guy. We were driving in the side lane. The road was four lane wide. We just wondered why the car was continuosly honking. We acceleared the speed, but the car behind also put into the same momentum…in this way we atleast crossed 2 kilometres. Then we thought to give a side by shifting to an another lane. The car now overtook us, driving through the same lane he was driving. While overtaking, on the contrary, he shouted at us! Strange!

It’s totally a discordant anarchy. Heavy traffic, poor infrastructure and absence of a road culture are bringing out the worst in drivers.

If somebody yet to take this quintessential experience, take a drive down in the capital of the country! All the Best!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rain Rain Come Again or Rain Rain Go Away?

The churning sound of drizzling! The pearl shower...! The drops on glass windows... Who doesn’t like these?

I love rain. I love to listen to the melody of rain from inside a straw hut or a house-roof with aluminum tin sheets! I love to enjoy the stunning sight when clouds play tricks with the sky, cocoon the sun after playing hide & seek and then bring the showers to the arid earth, the thirsty dusts quench its thirst and turn into vapor yielding a sweet, serene aroma! …..And I love to take delight of this milieu with garam chai and pakoda or some other scrumptious snacks, sitting in the verandah, welcoming the sprinkles to raise my every sense.

Rain grows some wonderful grains in the paddy fields, brightens the farmers’ lives and refreshes the river; Bestows the fish-eaters to be belly-full, livens the flora, and after all, sooth the scorching summer.

But does it have only the greener side?

India is among the countries which receives seasonal rainfall unlike the countries like Germany where rain occurs throughout the year. Most of India receives rain for only around 100 hours every year. The monsoon is extremely important for India as it fills up water reservoirs, replenishes ground water and is essential for the Indian agriculture of which around 70% are rainfed. Ofcourse, Northeastern India is a bit exceptional. It usually gets more rain in comparison to other parts of India. Mawsynram is a village in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya state in north-eastern India, 65 kilometers from Shillong. It is reportedly the wettest place on Earth, with an annual rainfall of 11,872 millimetres (467.4 in). Charrapunji is a subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya again which is credited as being the second wettest place on Earth.

A few weeks back, Delhi was longing for rain. Regular power cut, desert heat,  low water supply had become the key problems before the onset of monsoon.

By the middle of the last month, the monsoon finally landed the Metro and gave some relief from the hottest summer in the country’s capital in last 33 years. The urgency has gone, but the susceptibility of people across India to an increasingly unpredictable weather remains a serious cause for concern. An unexpected deluge can be destructive and deadly. Luckily not in the capital, but, 14 people died in Jaipur and Shekhawati regions of Rajasthan as torrential rains lashed several parts of the state last few days. On the other hand, 11 farmers committed suicide in last one month in Gujarat because of drought.

The monsoon accounts for more than 80% of India’s annual rainfall, feeding crops and filling the nation’s reservoirs. Weak rains can mean less to eat for millions. Major FMCG players like Dabur, Emami and Godrej are  concerned about the overall negative economic sentiment hurting demand as the late arrival of monsoon can have an impact on rural sales. India’s economic growth rate slipped to nine-year low of 6.5% in 2011-12 and current account deficit (CAD) has touched a high of 4%. Inflation, meanwhile, was high at 7.55% in May.

Apart from the impacts on country’s economy, in most of the cities or urban areas, monsoon comes with its bag and baggage, which includes water logging, traffic jam, water-caused diseases, humidity etc.
Heavy rains make many parts of the city to suffer from water logging, whether in posh or poor areas. The rainwater infrastructure, if it at all exists L, is not satisfactory to assure the drainage of the water and the lower areas to not get inundated. Roads get blocked leading to traffic jams; pedestrians have to stride through flooded streets. Besides, the urban poor, living in slums or trespasses have their homes often damaged by the rainwater, which may take several days to retrocede.

The polluted water with the mixture of the garbage and waste that is littered here and there also becomes a big risk to health. Not only that, there are so many manholes without cover, all over the cities. In a submerged street, these holes become invisible and cause a serious threat to pedestrians and the two-wheelers.

Though I have almost forgotten in my metro life, the greeting and gushing new feelings rain brings, I still try to eavesdrop its melody amidst these problems and try to say, “I love, sometimes I hate, but hey Rain, please you never be late!!!”

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ignorance about North Eastern states of India

Big B’s ignorance about North Eastern India has been recently making big news.

But many people like me would not be surprised about these kind of mistakes….I am sure, half of India must be confused about the seven sister states of North East India.

A survey conducted by North East India Image Managers, the group of communication professionals from the North Eastern states, (I am too part of the group) reveals a shocking ignorance of professionals about the North East (NE) states. It is a sad fact that 87 percentages of the working professionals cannot name all the NE states and 53 percentages shared highly negative views of these states.

“It’s a place with insurgency and most unsafe place in the country” or “people with mongoloid features, weird food habit and an alien culture”, were the responds from some who were interviewed in the survey. Surprisingly 30 percent of professionals don’t prefer to work in this region, even if that best suits their career interest. The survey showed how these professionals are preoccupied with some wrong notions and how deeply they are ignorant about NE states.

Infact, I was asked very weird questions by some of my ex colleagues, (especially north Indians) who even didn’t know or care to know even the names of the capitals of the states. How we stay in such insurgence, do people there carry pistol all the time, does some people in village still wear odd dresses like  – leaves, if we eat snakes, dogs etc.

Hundreds of students come every year from the NE to seek admission in Universities all over the country. But, the joy of seeking admission is often cut short by the difficulties faced (particularly in the national capital) like racial discrimination, language barriers, sexual harassment and trouble finding accommodation etc. Many people like to refer the NE people as CHINKIS  as they have Mongolian features.

One of the honored moments for the NorthEastern people was at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2010. The Indian contingent was led by Abhinav Bindra, proudly carried our Indian flag. Before him, the lady who was holding the signboard, was wearing the Mizo tradition Puanchei dress. But the leading daily - The Times of India carried a photograph of the Indian contingent in the front page next day, saying “All the teams were led out by girls wearing saris in different styles, except for the Indian team, which was heralded by a girl in a Naga dress.”

Now, though boxer Mary Kom is not the only athlete from the NE to represent India at the London Olympics (another woman archer is Bombayla Devi), Kom's Bronze medal is trying to be a catalyst in bringing attention to this region of India, where big B’s tweet is adding fuel to the fire.

NorthEast India is a vast land with almost 50 million people. Assam produces approximately 55 percent of India’s tea and 60 percent of its plywood and a substantial part of its crude oil. But, the Central Government is not doing enough to develop this region and to bring it on par with other states of the Indian mainland.

Central Government opened its eye recently, when Dragon was at the Bay! Central government put some attention to Arunachal Pradesh, when China was trying to include this beautiful state in its geographical map. The Manipur State Budget is less than the annual budget of one single department under the Andhra Pradesh Government. The government often mentions the presence of many revolutionary groups in these states, but do not try to solve the main reasons behind, like not releasing adequate funds to the region, not looking at the illegal immigration of the Bangladeshies in all these states etc. The Indo-Bangladesh border passes through Assam (263 Km), Meghalaya (443 Km), Tripura (856 Km) and Mizoram (318 Km), where there is enough porosity for illegal migration into the country. These all show that the Central Government is not much interested in the development of the region, but only in the region's Natural Resources.

So, its time, that the Indian Govt. should try to solve the insurgency problems in the region through good will and look at development and genuine concern for the region and its people. Also, the State government representatives, the MPs, Ministers etc. of the region should raise their Voice, explain the genuine issues to the Central Government and try to solve the problems and engross in developing the region instead of planning how to be rich in 5 years!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Metro or Town : Which one is better?

Life has truly become competitive. The war is continuously on… to cleave on to the rat-tortoise race, first to survive, then to boost our ego by possessing a house, a car, 60 inch LED tv, iPad and leading not only a comfortable, but also a luxurious life.

We do not have enough time to visit neighbors, pass time with our friends, think or do something for the society. An occasional call or an SMS takes care of maintaining a relationship. I believe even a busy bee has some time for all these stuff.

Fitness is in vogue (Ofcourse for a good reason!). For most of us, it is important to get in shape and a visit to the gym is a must. A prescribed breakfast by a dietician, work out in the gym or do yoga under an instructor, rush to the office (if one has a car, then lucky, otherwise hang on the public transports), face the traffic jam, come back home and cook food if you don’t have a cook, fight with the full time maid if you have, spend some time with your family if your body permits, go to sleep and start all over again next morning.

If you are single or double, then weekend adds some flavor with the visits to the disco, or watch a movie and end up with a dinner at a restaurant. If you are triple or more, you can not do that also, does not matter, be it your Sasu Maa or your kidoo.

When I first came to Delhi, I was very excited. Deeply impressed with the high-rise buildings, big roads, fast life, countless career scope, and uncountable restaurants to taste delicious food from all over the world, like Chinese, Japanese, German, Turkish, and what’s not. Completed my studies, started working….with a handsome salary. But I used to be left with no money at the end of each month. Rent of the room, household expenses, travelling costs, phone bills all used to be so big that my good salary used to never suffice. Sometimes, I used to think, did I take a good decision to come to Delhi, leaving a luxurious life at Assam… a big house with big loan, all facilities, two maids, the special care of Mom and where there was no such competition. In fact, there were jobs available there too. I too got jobs – one in TV centre to anchor in one particular program and another in a college. But I wanted to study further and make my career a bit different…and thus I stepped into Delhi.

Life is moving on...., but a  question often arises in my mind where life is better, in a metro or a small town/village?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Indian Railways

My Maahi (Aunt) and her family visited us last month for couple of days….on her (She is a school teacher) and her children’s summer vacation. She lives at Sibsagarh…yeah my favourite place. My Moha (Uncle) is the Jailer of Sibsagarh jail. They stay in a quarter in a beautiful place, just on the bank of Sibsagarh pukhuri (pond), whose water level is above the ground (I talked about it in my ‘About Sibsagarh’ blog). Simplicity is the special jewel of the family.

They came by Rajdhani Express to the country’s Rajdhani – Delhi. They were very excited. I went to receive them from the station.

Train was almost on time: Indian time; just 25 minutes late. As I reached early, I had to wait 40 minutes in the station. Initially, I thought how would I pass that 40 minutes, but it was quite easier when I started observing people around.

While the platform was dazzling with diversity of human being, spits of paan masala, garbage, dust, wrappers, food-wastage, dirty water, mud all were increasing the muckiness of the whole platform. Stink of stool was on the air. Some people were lazily lying, some were sitting, some were playing cards, and some were running for other platforms.

Just beside me, one family - husband, wife and three small kids were just sitting on the floor, probably waiting for their train. Smallest one, almost 2 years old baby was sleeping on the floor, keeping the head on Mother’s lap. Other kids were having some biscuits. One biscuit fell down from one kid’s hand, he immediately picked up and started having again in front of the parents. After sometime, the couple took out their lunch, probably Roti and Sabji, kept on a newspaper which they were sitting on.

Suddenly a dog came running, passed by me spreading a stink, splinting few drops of black water on my light coloured attire. He was just running in the platform, was supposed to hit a chana masala vendor. Alas! The poor vendor lost his balance. Half of his chana, khira etc. fell down on the platform. But, he was smart enough. He didn’t wait a second, acted very fast to pick almost all the fallen objects. In a minute, everything was set and he started selling like before.

A girl was also waiting in the platform, just few meters away from me. She was probably waiting for the same train I was waiting for. I could see her continuously talking on phone. Suddenly, a lean and thin man, with not very clean attire marched fast towards that girl. Thank God! The girl was conscious, she changed the standing angle in the last fraction of a second, and the guy could just hit her shoulder. He did not turn back, went away in a fast speed as if nothing happened. 

All these scenes reminded me that we are in the third world country. The key hitch for all these is the attitude of majority of the Indian population. We Indians, generally consider public places as ‘our’ or ‘government’s’ property and do not feel responsible. This is the plight for all these. We spit the ‘paan masala’ anywhere; if we are eating something, we will throw the wrappers anywhere; don’t put water after toilet in public lavatory and the list goes on.

I could see adequate number of dust bins around me. But these must be not cleared in time. And bins are used for spitting ‘paan’. There are approximately 3467 railway stations in India. I believe, most of them have the same situation. I am sure, the government is devoting resources to keep the country clean, but the people fail to utilize those resources.

Does every year see us going one step forward? We cannot move ahead, if we don’t do our bit and take care of our surroundings and if we be a part of that littering and spitting.

I believe if the people chose to be conscious of their duties, the state would be forced to deliver better.

After the ‘40 minutes’, Maahi and her family arrived. I started bargaining with the Kooli. I saw Maahi putting her pallu of the Saari on her mouth to save herself from the stinks…..

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No good political power

It was a midnight of someday, two/three years back!
We were just in our dreamland; Midnight muse was about to caress us to take to her fantasy world.

Suddenly, there were big bangs in our neighborhood! Some sounds of explosion. We jumped up from the bed, and ran to the balcony to see what was happening….thought the ways how to save our lives.

… Luckily…it was nothing, but just the crackers…..! But, it was continuous….with hazardous sound effects…continued till half an hour. Cottons also could not save my ears….There was no place to fly away also. Thank God, that time I did not have my baby, neither was I pregnant!  

Everyone in the colony got up, gathered. My hubby dear went downstairs to know what was the occasion. I was too very much anxious and kept counting the waves of seconds to know the details.

It was the Birthday of one of our neighbors - a Punjabi man of almost 60 years. His son who was studying in Australia had come home that day. Obviously then ….it was an occasion to celebrate. Why should one care for the neighbor’s dreams, health, or for the environment, if somebody has enough money to waste and reasons to celebrate?

Next day morning, it was a topic of the discussion among the neighbors. The oldee is a so called politician for no good, belongs to no political group. Always, we get to see him in white clean Safari suit. From his look and health, anyone can guess that he must be a diabetic patient. Hardly, he goes out from home. He has three/four vehicles, probably, two SUVs and two Sedans. And he ensures that his sellas including two drivers, two body-guards also wear white shirts and pants with white shoes.

Since morning, the sellas keep roaming on the road in front of his flat. They pass their time gossiping, looking at the girls, ladies and putting their effort to fight with the fruitwalas, vegetablewalas etc. In the evening, they change their dresses and sit in their room to play cards or drink. 

I got to know from one of my neighbors that couple of years back, the oldee’s son was involved in doing crimes, like beating innocent people, eve-teasing girls who used to take tuitions in our colony and lots others. Looking at that, his father sent him to Australia to continue his school studies and then the college too. So, after his graduation, he was back to India. All were hopeful that he got some maturity now.

Couple of weeks later, I was parking my car. I saw the oldee’s son driving an SUV, which was just behind my car. He was also looking for a parking space. As almost all parking spaces were full, he parked his car in front of the closed back-gate –of our nearby hospital, where the ‘No Parking’ banner was already hanging. This gate is used whenever there are some specific requirements from the Hospital’s store and hostel which are inside our colony. Unfortunately, just after few minutes, even when he was in the car, one old person from Admistration of the hospital wanted to open the gate from inside. While the gate was not opening, he peeped through the gate and saw the vehicle. He asked the guy to remove the car from there. The old man asked if the boy had not seen the ‘No Parking’ board. That was not in a very decent language, though it was not so much abusing tone J ! But, the guy replied so badly, that I felt so ashamed that I had to run away from that place. I heard the guy using ….Maa ki, Behen ki…..all those all-time favourite gaalis of Delhities; Threatened the old man of shooting him.

Fight went for long….I could see a gathering of people, few on-lookers taking masti of the incident. Ultimately, the vehicle was removed from there. A meeting was called for next day to manage the parking area inside the colony. Through the incident, the oldee’s son was also able to show his presence and power by using filthy language in loud voice, indirectly trying to strengthen his father’s ‘no good’ political power.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Social Media

Life without Mobile phones =  Can not imagine!

Life without Social Media = Can we think of???

China is the largest and India is the second most populous countries in the world. But the way, Facebook is picking up its speed, I am sure it will overtake these two countries and set its position as the most populated realm, so that no country can break the record.

In case of other social media components like blogging, micro blogging, news sharing, website sharing,  video sharing, music sharing etc., social media is a powerful tool to aggregate people, bring popularity to individuals/ organizations/products and build the brands too.

Now, gossiping is becoming open….organizations started believing that one’s personality reflects in social media. A groom is chosen believing in the statement – ‘a man is known by the company he keeps’ – looking at the social media friend –circles.

Though social media consumes huge time of the youth, and the young professionals mostly, interest based networking has started making its impact. Common goals, hobbies, social causes, government indecisiveness, eradicating social evils are such areas where social media can evolve.

To give an example, I received a mail from Rajiv Vausdevan via Change.org for signing his petition asking the defence minister to help the brave NSG Commando, PV Manesh get reimbursement for his Ayurveda treatment. Manesh was injured while rescuing hostages in the 26/11 attacks. He has been undergoing Ayurveda treatment that has helped him significantly, but the Army rules don’t allow for reimbursement of Ayurveda treatment. So, Rajiv started this campaign to help him.

I am sure that this kind of common causes can be eradicated through social media collaboration. I believe, the ADVT. of Idea mobile of gathering votes from millions of people for a common cause, now also can happen in a big way through social media. That’s even more effectively as social media is free to cost. 

Not sure if social media can change our political and social systems and processes or not, but will emerge into something very different which is hard to say, as the future will be more connected and more engaged.

And….as the networking rides on the mouse!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mobile Vs No Mobile and Internet Vs Liveliness

I was talking to my Guwahati University Classmate, Diganta couple of days back. We talked about our university days. Became a bit nostalgic about those days…..the evenings at versity market, hostel raggings, busy schedule during versity weeks and youth festivals, hostel freshers’ day and what not!!!

Diganta stays very nearby to the University, and has a Restaurant chain in Guwahati. I asked him when he last visited our University and he said that he very frequently has to pass through the Versity campus.  Knowing that, I asked him with heavy excitement, if the girls still tease the guys from the hostel balconies and windows!  He said, “No, not at all. I doubt whether they can spare time from internet to spend some time in the balcony or peep through the windows….!”.

His answer took me to my versity-hostel days. My hostel was RCC-1. In this girls’ hostel campus, there are six hostels: RCC1, RCC2, RCC3, AT3, Law hostel and Research Scholar hostel. Those days, there was no internet facility, no mobile connection, even no land-line phone in the hostel. In my second year, one lady – Lota didi opened one PCO booth in our campus. She used open the PCO from 6 am till 10am and in the evening, from 5 pm till 9 pm and on Sunday, it used to be open for whole the day. And, Lotadi was treated as the most important person of the campus. To call up my parents, I had to be in queue for hours. And the girls who used to have distant boy-friends, like me J….had to take double trouble as one person was not allowed to call up twice at the same time.

Gone are those days. Now a days, every girl/boy, it would not be wrong if I say – student, has mobile, if he/she does not belong to an extremely low-profiled family. Now, PCOs are of no use. Lotadi has gone through a great loss.  She is no more important like before.

Another important thing which takes maximum time of the students, off-lately is the PCs or laptops. With internet connectivity, Social networking is winning more and more consumers day by day. Facebook, Orkut, Twitter etc. are becoming the bridges to make friendship, gossiping and connecting with each other. So, now, updates on Facebook are getting more importance than passing time with roommates/wall mates or hostel mates.

I remember, my lovely and active roommate, Jyotika used to open the window to let in the morning breeze at around 5:30 am. Then, she used to wake me up giving the tooth brush in my hand, putting the tea saucepan on the stove. Lazy me, after having tea, I used to study a bit. My table was in front of the window from where we could see our hostel’s, RCC I and 3’s guest meet room. At around 8 pm, I used to peep through my window if any ‘longing to meet his girlfriend’ visitors had arrived. If yes, I was generally the one who used to start the Shouting/Teasing Show. My voice was not bad that time…..I used to start ….. “Oooo’ Moina ….”. In university, all girls and all boys were called Moina. While I used to start, Pratibha, Juri, Mala, Borno and some others from another hostel used to start pouring dialogues….sing songs….The atmosphere used to become very lovely…and energetic! Same kind of situation used to happen in other girls’ and boys’ hostel campuses also.

I have not visited university many years. But. I heard from some classmates, that no girls tease visitors or passerby now. Have they become more studious? Or serious? Or extremely gentle? Or internet maniac? Hope, all these are happening for some good reasons.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why PR is more Credible than Advertising?

BRANDING is important. A strong brand can make any organization, or any product or service immensely easier to sell. Branding is the emotional binge that a customer feels when thinking about your product or your organisation.

Many times, we see entrepreneurs throw away thousands of dollars, trying to grow their businesses with various branding techniques, looking at others doing it. Many organisations, whether they are small or big, are really confused where and how to allocate marketing funds to build the brand, drive sales and increase revenue. Now, Public Relations (PR) and Advertising are the two main arms of marketing which can solve this problem.

Another question often arises is, which tool to use and what works better, Advertising or PR. In this article, I will talk why PR is better than Advertising.

What is PR and Advertising?

PR is a powerful way to generate awareness and brand recognition for any business. It is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Common activities include working with the press, speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, and employee communication etc.

Traditional public relations tools include press releases and press kits which are distributed to the media to generate interest from the press. Other widely used tools include brochures, flyers, mailer campaigns, road shows, newsletters, annual reports etc. Now, as time has changed, technology has created new ways to build and brand your company. Beyond traditional techniques, increasingly, companies are utilizing interactive social media outlets, such as blogging, microblogging, social media updates etc.

Advertising messages are usually paid, by the sponsors and viewed via various traditional media, including newspaper, magazines, online media, television commercial, radio advertisement, outdoor Advertising or direct mail; or new media such as blogs and websites and text messages.

Which get more credibility - PR or Advertising?

Publicity in the media through PR is more credible than Advertising. Many big players are relatively light purchasers of Advertising but heavy proponents of PR. There are many organizations that use less Advertising, but are frequently featured in business magazines and the general press, which carry tremendous credibility.

Noticeably, public relations can make a long-lasting impact on public awareness at a small part of the cost of Advertising. Getting publicity through PR happens in a low cost and sometimes even free. It is considered to be a low-cost alternative and more effective to other marketing tactics such as traditional Advertising and media buying.

So, what is the reason behind?

In case of PR, the organization does not pay for the space or time to get into the media, but only pays for the PR person to develop and circulate stories and manage certain events.

The media is always in hunt of interesting news. If you target the right media at the right time, nothing like that. If the company develops an attention-grabbing story, it could be picked up by all the news media and be worth millions of Rupees in equivalent to Advertising. Besides, it would have more credibility than Advertising as it is the process by which one can create a positive image and customer preference through third-party endorsement. Some experts say that consumers are five times more likely influenced by editorial copy than by Advertising.

Advertising, no matter how intelligent, witty, dramatic or aesthetically pleasing, is self-promotion. Some people are very skeptical of advertisements. Furthermore, Advertising is very expensive, especially if you have a big market to cover. On the other hand, PR goes through a filtering process. The editor or reporter scrutinizes the information before publishing, and picks the matter which is newsworthy and thus has more credibility. What PR lacks is it has no control over how the media which presents your information. But, the crisis management can rectify the negative coverage. Besides, media is not compelled to cover your event or publish your press release just because you sent something to them.

Advertising claims, uses refinement, comparisons, and borrows from the arts and psychology to try to influence decisions. But, PR is based on information, not seduction.

So, PR is better than any marketing tool including Advertising. The creative use of news events, publications, social events, community relations, and other PR techniques offers companies a way to distinguish themselves and their products from their competitors and build their brand.

A survey done jointly by Worldcom Public Relations Group and the Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN) found both PR practitioners and Advertising specialists think that PR is making better use of social media.

Though PR can bring more credibility, Advertising can reinforce it. It's what we call PR-oriented Advertising. PR first establishes the credibility of the brand, and Advertising then reaffirms and reinforces the brand's credibility and brings more popularity.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Assam Silk

Assam silk – A traditional dress material - unparalled!

I love Mekhela Chador. Usually I wear it for office, and love to wear in various occasions. Many a times, I am asked by my non-Assamese peers and colleagues, what it is called, what material it is, what are the costs, where to get etc. So, I thought of writing few lines on Assam silk today.

Assam silk signifies the three types of indigenous wild silks produced in Assam—golden Muga, white Paat and warm Eri silk.

Muga silk is the product of the silkworm Antheraea assamensis unique only to Assam. The larvae of these moths feed on som (Machilus bombycina) and sualu (Litsaea polyantha) leaves. The silk produced is known for its glossy fine texture and durability.

Due to its low porosity the Muga yarn cannot be bleached or dyed and its natural golden color is retained. This silk can be hand-washed with its lustre increasing after every wash. Very often the silk outlives its owner.

Assam is the largest producer of this golden silk across the globe.Assam has received a geographical indication for the production of Muga.

According to the records of Assam Government, about 2625 hectares of land are utilised for production of Muga Silk, in Assam. Approximately 30,000 Assamese households are associated with Muga Silk production. There are 15 Muga Silk Reeling units in Assam.

Paat silk is produced by silkworms which feed on mulberry (Morus spp.) leaves. It is usually brilliant white or off-white in colour. Its cloth can dry in shadow.

Approximately 40,000 families of the state are engaged in the production of Mulberry Silk. The total area under the cultivation of food plants for the mulberry silkworms is about 2300 hectares. In Assam, the Mulberry Silk Worm culture is practised on a large scale in the districts of Upper Assam, like Lakhimpur, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh and Jorhat districts etc.

Eri silk is made by Samia cynthia ricini which feed on leaves of Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis). It is also known as Endi or Errandi silk. Because manufacturing process of Eri allows the pupae to develop into adults and only the open ended cocoons are used for turning into silk, it is also popularly known as non-violent silk. This silk is soft and warm and is popular for Eri shawls and quilts.

The total area under the cultivation of food plants of Eri Silk Worm in the state counts for about 2993 hectares. Currently, the state has 21 Eri Silk Spinning training centres. Approximately 1.28 lakh families of Assam are linked with the rearing and production of Muga Silk.

Another variety of silk is Paat Muga, which is very popular in Assam. It is the mixture of both Paat and Muga silk.

There is another type of silk which is close to Assamese ladies' daily lives - called as 'Kesa Paat'

The weaving style of Assam is very unique.Although, silk is produced in many districts of Assam, Sualkuchi is the main silk weaving centre of Assam. Half an hour drive from Guwahati, Sualkuchi is also called as the ‘Manchester of the East.

Few pictures from my family occasions:

My Sister in Law (cousin's) - Recently got married:

Me with my sister Ashapurna on my marraige :

My Mom and me :

With my Sister, Aunts on my Brother's marraige:

In juron:

Friday, May 18, 2012

Maintain the Gap

It was a kind of celebration when my Mom told me that she had got and confirmed one maid for me. The girl belongs to the village where my parents’ maid is getting married; Belongs to the Tea-Garden community. She must be 13/14 years old. Her name is Pokhila.

My Mom arrived Delhi taking her along on the 21st day of my son’s birth. I felt very relieved. My Mom introduced her to me. She was silent, sat quietly in a stool; And kept sitting till I asked her to wash her hand and feet and be fresh. My Mom asked me to connect my mobile to her uncle in Assam. I did. I talked to him first, gave assurance of keeping her nicely and then handed over the phone to Pokhila. She took the phone, said something in her language and started crying. She talked for at least half an hour in her language.

From very next morning, my Mom started teaching her various tasks. I decided that I will behave her like my own sister so that she also loves my child and cares for all of us. My Mother-in-Law is very simple, easy going; She never said, but, my Mom kept saying me that maintain some gap with Pokhila. My Mother –in –Law, my husband and me started behaving her like our family member.

Mother-in-law went a step ahead. She used to give the biggest piece of fish to Pokhila in dinner and lunch; if she is giving me or my husband one piece of sweet, she would offer Pokhila two pieces at least. May be, she did all these so that she takes care of us nicely, in her absence.

It was winter time. And I allowed Pokhila to sit in my bed, under the same quilt. We also allowed her to have food in our dining table. She started accepting us. My Mom went back. Pokhila got that much of comfort level that she started singing loudly while doing any task. Our TV became her own property. The TV programs started running according to her wishes. I used to be busy with my son all those days. And my Mother-in-Law used to assign her works.

After couple of days, Pokhila came to my room in a bad mood. I asked her what happened, taking her in confidence. She said in a very bad language – “I have not come here to fight with that old lady. Please make her understand that.”

She started saying ‘No’ whatever my mother in law used to ask for. It became an Every-Day issue. Gradually, we realized she will do whatever she feels like, else she will retaliate.

I thought “Thank God, she is not showing attitude with me.” and discussed with my Mother-in –law. She said, “Be prepared, she will start her actions after I leave for Guwahati.”

Few weeks later, my Mother in Law left. First few days were going fine. Gradually, Pokhila started showing her colours with me too. Whatever I used to say, she used to reply me in negative way. Not only that, without any reasons, she started making a swelled mouth and would not have food for days. I used to be very furious, sometimes. I used to feel like slapping her. Once, she did not have food for three days – and that’s for a small reason – I asked her to wash her hand after brooming the rooms. As a result, she developed gastritis. I had to take her to the doctor, had to serve her for three/four days. Does not matter for me. But, when she was fine, again she continued with fighting. I kept tolerating, as I was planning to join job while my baby was five months.

This way, I passed four months with her, scolding a bit, tolerating rest of the times. I joined an organization which allowed me to come home in between, offered flexible timings and which was located near to my home.

After getting my first salary, I wanted to buy some stuff for Pokhila as she was looking after my son. Also, there was a marriage ceremony of my husband’s colleague at Meerut. We planned to go. We thought to buy a good dress for her to attend the marriage too.

So, next day, after coming back from office, we both husband and wife went to the market, though we were quite tired. We bought couple of dresses, cosmetics etc. to her. We took some time in the market and were a bit late in returning. While we reached home, she was not talking to any of us. She just handed over our baby to us and went to her room and sat making her abusing face. I felt quite bad. I thought that I would give her surprises and the situation was quite bad. We were tensed as next day was a working day. And after coming back from office a bit early, we were planning to go to Meerut. If she continued with such a mood, I would have to take a leave next day and the plan would be spoiled.

I went to her, talked to her sweetly. I presented her all her gifts and told her that we will be going to the marriage next very day. And crossing the fingers, came out from the room. After 10/ 15 mins, she came out from her room and started doing her work silently. Her bad mood was still reflecting in her face, but better than before.

Few minutes later I went to the balcony to do some work, which is adjacent to our guest room and her room too. I was shocked!!!!!! All the gifts I gave to her, she tore the bags and threw all the dresses and cosmetics in the balcony.

Extreme level of temperature I felt! I thought what to do. When she saw me going to the balcony, she started singing a song…..may be with a delight of triumph….or what!

After few minutes, making myself understand, I came inside. I asked her and my husband, who had thrown out all those dresses. She replied without any delay – “I thrown out. What will you do?”…..

My consciousness betrayed me….I could not wait anymore. I slapped her….one, twice, thrice……But situation became bad. She also retaliated. She also started beating me…..My God!!!! My husband came in between……

I talked to her Uncle. He said that she creates this kind of situations at home too. He talked to her and said something, don’t know what. At last, the situation became cool….somehow. We decided to send her back soon.

Now, almost every week situation repeats…..But, I tolerate, as I don’t want to get slaps from a maid. Off lately, I realized that whenever I talk to my friends, colleagues, family members, I just talked about her to get my this toxin out of the body and mind.

Also, I feel……what level I have now……A lady who was bitten by a maid without a reason…! Now, I eat my angers on the maid, sleep on angers on the maid and dream also on the angers on the maid.

Now, my mom consols me …and accuse me of not maintaining any gap from the very beginning.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Power of Mobile Mania

Billions of people are talking on mobile-phones in every second. Whether they are cooking, driving cars, watching television or relaxing in their bedrooms. Can we now think our lives without mobile-handsets? Even a day….or few hours?

We are far away from our parents, childhood friends..relatives….But mobile does not allow us to feel the distance! What a miracle it is!

But, how this mobile mania is effecting some people’s lives?......Here is an example from my family.

I got to know from my mom few weeks back …that one of my cousins, Biju (Not disclosing the real name), who was brilliant, bright student did unexpectedly bad result in his exams. He was very fast in playing games in mobile, writing long SMS in fraction of a second, and could fix various handset related problems without taking any training. He used to be the most favorite student of the teachers always. He used to rank among top 3 since class I till class IX. We all relatives knew and expected that he would rank among top 10/20 in Assam board exams.

I frequently used to get sms from him, something like – “Hi di, hw r u? Say my hi 2 Gju!” , “Whn r u comn 2 Assam? Waitn…!” etc.

Now, it’s been couple of months now, I have not received any sms from him. So, I asked my mom what happened to Biju, how was his result …My mom told me that he secured second division, and it was all because of his Mobile mania.

I felt bad. Wanted to know how it happened ! What is the reason of Biju’s downfall!

I enquired with his parents – my aunt and uncle. They told me that last year, they got complaint from the teachers that he was not writing the answers properly. He started answering the questions in short , infact started using the SMS language – even the short cut of the words. Despite of warning him again and again, he continued to do so. And thus, that was the result in the final exams.

I asked Biju too what was the reason. He believes all his answers were right, but yes, he wrote the way he writes SMS. I asked why he did not try to correct his habits. He replied that he tried, but he was so much into smsing, that he could not come out of it. Ofcourse, he is repenting a bit.

Few weeks back, his parents snatched away his mobile. Now, he is depressed, does not get interest in anything, does not feel like eating, roaming, reading and interacting with anybody. He complaint that he wants it back and requested me to ask his parents to give him back anyhow.

One question raised in my mind - what’s the difference between drug addict and mobile addict?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Beauty of Assam Bandh

What is ‘Assam Bandh’?

This is a kind of holidays , which are well signified in Assam. These holidays give sudden visits, without coming according to the calender, with maximum frequency in a year.

The biggest festival of Assam is Bihu…..which comes thrice in a year…. But Assam Bandh comes at least 10-15 times a year. It is a day for celebration for some, and a time for relaxation for others.

I visit Assam once or twice in a year, and this is a record, that I never missed an Assam Bandh during my visit. Lucky me! But, sometimes it becomes troublesome too.

Last year, I went to Assam for 20 days. I stayed couple of days at my in –Laws’s place and then went to my maternal place –Jorhat to stay few days there. My mom informed me beforehand that we would have to visit Grand-ma’s place at Sibsagarh to attend a family Puja, the very next day we would reach Jorhat.

We reached Jorhat at 8 pm as we drove from Guwahati to Jorhat, enjoying the natural beauty of Assam all the way. Reaching Jorhat, I called up my sister who used to stay in Agriculture University hostel, to ask her if she could accompany us. She replied me in a shocking way…. “How come will u go to Sibsagarh…? …Tomorrow is Saka (Wheel) Bandh!” We were not aware of that as no newspaper, we read, carried the news. The bandh was declared by Bodo student union.

We got worried. What to do now?

Bodo population is extremely thin in upper Assam. And, we did not want to miss the Puja at Grand ma’s place. We decided to start our voyage…became ready to face all the troubles, all the way to Sibsagarh. My Dad said that he would not accompany and wanted to take rest at home for the day. So, my mom, me and my son, my husband and my maid were the travelers.

Next day morning, at around 9am, while we were supposed to start our journey, we suddenly realized that we did not have enough petrol to drive whole the way. It was around 80 kms from Jorhat to our destination. In fact, we checked Dad’s car also, but it also had not enough petrol.

Thinking that may be some petrol pump would be open on the way, taking some risk, we started our journey. Checked all the Petrol pumps on the way…..all were closed. Roads were completely empty. We drove fast.

Suddenly after crossing around 20 kms, we saw two/three people sitting with 10/15 bottles with some raddish water….. They were sitting just opposite side of a closed Petrol Pump in the national high way. Oh…….those bottles were full of petrol! ……My husband immediately stopped the car….and went almost running as if he had got some diamonds!!!

I observed him from inside the car and could see the vivid transformation of his face from a tensed red face into a bright one. He bargained…and bought 10 bottles in four times higher than the petrol price. We were happy! And the sellers too…! Some good feelings also flowed out from our hearts for those people though we were in lose.

So, we reached Grand ma’s place… all uncles, aunties, relatives - all were present in the Puja, despite it was a working day – ‘Wednesday’. All were relaxed…..as it was public holiday – called ‘Assam Bandh’!
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