Saturday, September 3, 2016

The House which will always be my Home

A house, technically, is nothing but a structure made of bricks, cement, wood, glass, and steel. However, it is the beginning and the end of one's world. It is the only place that is truly ours. Some houses see generations living and breathing in them. We remember homes by not how many square feet it has but, by the memories we made in it. The room where you grew up with your sibling, the kitchen where mom made your favourite dishes, the living room where you fought for the remote for the TV, the veranda where you rode your bicycle, the dining table where dad fed you green vegetables even if you hated their sight; these are memories which transform a house into a home.


I have lived in six houses so far, but the one house in which I spent my childhood remains the closest to me heart. I lived there from the time I was in the kindergarten to till the time I reached 7th grade. It was a fairly big house; the construction was like that of old houses. It had a big yard in the front and back, but the rooms were small. I used to ride my bicycle from the front yard to the back one while my brother sat in the backseat. We didn't have any park nearby, I played in only. Birds were rare and Trees were few. Some of my neighbourhood friends would come over in the evening to play and we had a lot of fun. My mother planted a lot of potted plants to make it look like a park. In the evening, when my dad came home, it would be my duty to open the gate for him so he could bring the car in. Every Independence day, I would go to the top to collect all the fallen kites which I later gave to my some of the older boys in the neighbourhood, as I didn't know how to fly one(still don't). Everyone knew me there, from the nearby pharmacist to the beautician across the street, they welcomed me to their houses and on every festival I got sweets. Most of them didn't have much money, but they had big hearts. It was my paradise and I loved it.

Eventually, we shifted to a new place. I finally got the park and the trees I wanted, but no one to enjoy them with. All the kids here were either too old or too young. My brother found friends of his own age and I was left on my own. Here I get to see a lot many birds, peacocks, squirrels, parrots, and eagles, but I lost my people. This is a much more opulent area, but people are covetous. They don't want to be better; they want to be better than the next person. Although, they have big houses and fancy cars, but they have small, shallow hearts. I don't hate rich people and I don't want anything from them, but I do feel sad that they are missing out. And I would be exaggerating if I said everyone is like this but many are. They lack the warmth, I barely know anyone here.  



So, this is for you my dear house, even though it has been thirteen years since I last saw you, I still love you and will do so till my last breath. You will always be my home and I thank you for all that you gave me.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Fountainhead: A Review

Author: Ayn Rand
Rating: 10 on 10

Being the girl who is hardly ever seen without her book, I'm always asked "which one is your favorite?". Until recently I did not have an answer for this, but not anymore. Yes, I have read books of various genres, but I could not put my finger on one specific book which I could relate to. This was until I read The Fountainhead.

I was sitting in a library and saw this book. I had heard the name before but nothing more. So, I picked it up and began reading. I was not through the first ten pages and I knew this is something I had to read. The entire argument of why use the same methods of construction for new material resonated with my thinking of "Question Everything". 

The fountainhead is not just a story, it is a concept; Objectivism. Ayn Rand, through this story, laid  the foundation of Objectivism. It is the philosophy of work above all. This is a story of a man, who is a natural creator and arguably the best architect this world has ever seen, but he is unconventional. He understands that just because it is the tradition doesn't mean it is right. Thereby, he makes structure which fulfill the need but stand out from the crowd. He values his work above everything else. He doesn't care what people think or if he is making money. His creations are sacred to him. On the other hand, is a man who is less constrained. He does what he is told is best for him. He has no particular talent but he can socialize and "sell" himself better. He has an easy life in the beginning but by the end he realizes that he hasn't lived at all. The central woman of the story is Dominique Francon. She is someone who Rand herself in her notes describes as the woman for the complete man where the complete man is Howard Roark. She too values creation above all and they have an interesting relationship. Many people find some aspects of this offensive but I think it is who these people are and that is how they submit to each other.

 This book talks about the path less traveled. And how that path is full of resistance and obstacles. It even gets too lonely. However, nothing worth doing ever is easy. Most characters are people you meet everyday. Some of them you detest and some are outright repulsive. However, some of them are what make this world work. Rand's writing is crisp and the story has a good pace. I think that there may be many Howard Roarks living and struggling in this world because they don't fit in and neither do they want to. in the end, it is them who change the world.




Sunday, July 10, 2016

Catch Up on Growth

One of the most worrying things for parents is their children's growth. They do everything to ensure their child reaches their potential. In a time, when height and looks play crucial role not only one's personal lives but also in professional lives, they are not in the wrong either.
Horlicks Growth+


In our country, according to recent statistics over 30% of the children are lacking in terms of height and weight. This is not surprising given the degradation of the quality of food. Also, fast food has replaced many of the nutritious and home cooked recipes. This has had a direct effect on daily nutrition. Moreover, since kids have more intensive nutrition requirements, it affects them much more severely.


In consequence, children are falling behind. This effect is so pronounced that it has a term called stunting. The definition of stunting according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) is for the "height for age" value to be less than two standard deviations of the WHO Child Growth Standards median. Height for age is the expected height of the child for that specific age. This depends on the region and the genealogy of the child.  Stunting is the primary manifestation of malnutrition. In this children reach significantly lower stature than their potential. Height is just one aspect of this. This is an indication of many severe problems like delayed mental development, greater risk to illnesses, lower immunity etc. This is also a contributor to many permanent defects.

Hence, it is of great importance to catch up on lost growth. Growth in terms of height can be an indicator of malnutrition. It is a sign parents must look to gauge their child’s development. Stunted growth could also lead to weaker organs and lower immunity. And that is a non-reversible effect. Once a child reaches maturity, there is no catching up on growth.

What can you do to catch up on lost growth?
  • -        First and foremost, monitor the child’s growth regularly so that you are aware if there is any problem. Many people realize it too late that their child is lacking in growth. By then the damage is almost permanent. Hence to avoid that, make sure that what is the expected height for age for your child and what is his growth rate. Also, weight is an equally important measure. Consult your pediatrician regularly especially for younger children.
  • -        Raw vegetables. Include leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce in the form to salads to get their maximum nutrients. When vegetables are cooked, they lose some of their nutritional value. Hence, including raw, uncooked vegetables is important. However, do note that not all vegetables are to be eaten raw like potato etc.
  • -        Key nutrients like iron, calcium and omega 3 are some of the most likely to be found deficient in children. So, focus on them should be higher. Foods rich in such nutrients should be consumed regularly in appropriate quantities.
  • -        Whole grains are also very important for good bodily function. Our country is blessed with grains like Ragi, Bajra, Jowar along with wheat and rice. These should be included in the diet to make is balanced.
  • -        Also, supplements like Horlicks Growth+ can also be included. This is specially designed for pediatric health of children of the ages of 3 to 9. It has protein and added micro nutrients to help children on lost growth. 


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Has Potential to do Better

"Has Potential to Do Better"

This is one line that I have always found on my every report card since third grade. I have detested this line all my life. I do not know what it means anymore because this is like a slap in the face. How do you know my potential if I can never reach it? What is the meaning of potential? Or maybe I am just bluffing with you? Maybe there is no potential; it is all me trying to pass as a superior version of myself which I may never become.

That is in fact my greatest fear.When I die, and if I am forced to meet what I could have been and it is what I fear it might be then I will definitely die again. Never reaching my potential. I try to stay motivated and upbeat about life and thing that should matter like careers and people. However, every once in a while I question the very relevance of this all. WHAT IS THE POINT? What are we going to accomplish? My success or failure is inconsequential to the world. Nature doesn't care how my rags I have locked in a concrete cage. And even say a century from now no one will probably remember who I was. It will be like my entire existence was a myth...... a bluff. And what is success anyhow? Money? Power? Happiness? I have neither. I don't really want more than a certain level of money. I don't care for fancy cars or jewellery or any such crap. I really don't. Power is just the power over me that I want. I want independence. Happiness.... ah well.

Open any wellness magazine, book or any website, the first thing they tell you is stay away from negative people. Be positive. Negative people will destroy your life. They will suck the happiness out of you and leave you just a shell. But what about people who pretend to be positive and smiling but really are very negative inside. I am one of those. I try to smile always. But I am so negative that I have lost all hope that I ever will reach my potential...... whatever that is.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

Datsun redi-GO : The Ultimate Urban Ride


Fun. Freedom. Confidence. The ultimate Urban Cross - Datsun redi-GO - the capability of a crossover with the convenience of a hatchback.

 
Courtesy: https://www.datsun.co.in/redi-GO.html


Datsun is a well-known Japaneses car brand owned by Nissan. It made a stellar debut in India and is now well known here. Datsun recently launched their Datsun redi-GO which is a mind blowing car in its segment. It is chic, classy, beautifully crafted and packed with features. It makes the ideal city car with its comapct design and a turning radius of 4.7m. Imagine that!



As a millennial soon to hit mid-twenties, my own car means a great deal to me. It is a statement that yes I can.  Datsun redi-GO makes for a smart choice out of all the others. It is really a breakthrough with its focus on fun, freedom and Confidence. These are the words by which every millennial leads their life. And the green color of the Datsun redi-GO is just the right amount of funk one needs. Here are some features I really loved of the Datsun redi-GO.


1. The Exterior with Yukan Design and D-Cut Grille

The first thing that anyone notices about the car is its design. The looks! Datsun redi-GO scores full marks when it comes to the exterior. The Yukan Design, which is often only found in crossovers, gives the car a robust exterior with a wide stance and a very sporty feel. The first word which comes to my mind when I see this car is FUN. It fun yet sleek with a Modern yet functional driver oriented feel. And this is not all. It comes with a classy and bold D-Cut grille which adds a character to the front and speaks of the quality of the design. The design is just specifically designed keeping the youth in mind and caters to their every need. It is the embodiment of the fun, freedom and the confidence of today’s youth.


2. 5-Speed Manual Transmission with Drive computer and Shift Indicator

Driving can be a perilous task sometimes especially for a newbie. We can always wear out those gears with lousy shifting and less efficient changeovers. Datsun redi-Go solves all this with its 5-speed Manual Transmissions, which guarantees better fuel efficiency and control, and its Drive computer. The Drive computer provides instantaneous and average mileage calculations. It shows the distance to empty and the fuel remaining which is very useful information especially when embarking on long trips out of town. The shift indicator is just a blessing. It is an easy-to-read indicator placed right on the front screen which shows the ideal time to shift for maximum fuel efficiency and great performance. This is truly important for newbies who are still learning these things.


3. Safety Ensured with the Datsun Pro-Safe 7

Road accidents are a very real possibility with odds in nobodies favour. They happen all the time and luck may not always be at your side. Datsun puts safety first and its redi-GO comes with Datsun Pro-Safe 7 which is a common thread across all Datsun Cars making them all safe, secure and reliable for all to use. It comes with performance augmented brakes which give the shortest braking distance ever. This is especially important in cities. It comes with a reinforced crash protection shell. This is a high strength body shell which is designed to absorb impact for passenger safety. It is optimized for torsional rigidity and stiffness and provides better frontal offset crash performance. It is also UN94 crash performance compliant. It also carries an adaptive electric power steering and a force absorbing bolster support for greater safety of the passengers.

 Datsun redi-Go provides great spacious interiors, awesome fuel economy with an I-Sat engine, superior air-conditioning and a turning radius of just 4.7m. If I got a chance to test drive this incredible car, I would definitely try it on Delhi roads where I’ll be using it the most. I would test this for the brakes, the performance and definitely the 4.7m turning radius. I would also like to try the Shift indicator which I think is a very cool feature to have. 

All these features of the Datsun redi-GO would just drive my urban driving blues away. Knowing that I’m safe in the car is a huge relief. Also the performance enhancing features are a major thumbs up. Hence, I’m a total fan of the Datsun redi-GO. For me, this is the best car for urban driving.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Best Navigation Apps for India

Gone are the days when the tea vendor at the corner of the road was the most reliable navigator. Gone are the days when you had to call XYZ uncle to ask where that place is, because they live nearby the destination. Remember when you had to ask every rickshaw puller "Bhaiya, ye ABC kahan hai?" and even if they had no idea about it, they told you some direction and at the end you ended up circling around.

Well, thankfully technology has replaced all these for good. Nowadays, navigation apps are the go to resource for finding locations, routes and alternate routes.

Here is a list of the best navigation apps in India:

1) Google Maps: Google Maps is probably the most trusted, most used and most relevant app in the market. They cover not only rural areas but are also quite accurate. This app can be downloaded on any platform and comes pre-installed om most android devices. Best part is that it is free. It allows the user to switch between walking, private transportation and public transportation routes. It includes metro train timings and bus timings as well. Moreover, it also allows voice navigation and traffic conditions. It highlights the areas of high traffic and even suggests alternative routes.

2) Sygic & Map My India: The biggest drawback of Google maps is that they work only when the device is connected to the internet. It does not work offline. This is where Map My India comes to the rescue. Sygic and Map My India combined forces to provide the best maps for offline users. It works purely on GPS signals and does not require internet connectivity. It has features such as house number search, places of Interest, sign post info, city guide, location sharing and geo-tagging images. It also gives speed limit warnings. It was earlier priced at Rs1399, but, now has been made free for users in India. Map My India not provides the most detailed maps in India but also provides 3D city views. Th application can be downloaded through Google Playstores and is compatible with Android 2.0.1 and upwards.

3) Nokia Maps: Navteq is the biggest mapmaker in the world. Since, Nokia owns Navteq, their maps show the world class quality and accuracy that Navteq stands for. This application comes pre-installed on all smartphones by Nokia. It is free. It works even in offline mode, however, some fatures such as terrain maps and weather forecasts might not. In high-end devices it uses GPS to locate the position and give turn-by-turn voice directions. Now, it has also added the traffic feature.

4) WAZE: This one is fast becoming a global favorite. Waze was recently acquired by google and since this acquisition, its service has improved significantly. Waze is primarily a community-based traffic and navigation application. It uses community tips to provide real tie traffic conditions and other such notifications. It also give turn-by-turn voice directions along with traffic density notifications. It suggests alternative routes depending on the community reviews. Each location has its own groups like Delhi Roads etc. The users can select anyone depending on their location and get instant access to real time conditions. While routing, it sources information from various other Waze users.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Peppy Books for Reading On the GO

In my opinion, traveling is the best time for reading. It not only utilizes the time which I would have probably wasted but also makes the journey seem less daunting. For the past five years, I have been reading while commuting via metro. I read about forty books each year and most are read on the go.

So, here is a list of peppy, light and engaging books for reading on the go, tried and tested by me.

1) Dan Brown Books, especially the Robert Langdon Series. I read all the four books in this series while traveling. The best part about these books is that they are easy to read with easy to understand vocabulary so one doesn't need the dictionary very much. Also, being thrillers, they shift one's focus from the travel to the story, so one may feel as if the journey just began and ended. Highly recommended for long travel.

2) Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. This book by Cheryl Strayed is a first person account of the journey she undertook while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The story is about how Cheryl hikes the longest journey she had ever undertaken while dealing with loss and emotional turmoil all alone in nature. It is an all-time bestseller and highly recommended from me.

3) The Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larsson: This consists of the books: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. It is a great example of best contemporary writing which breaks the clichés of society and challenges its norms. It is the story of a young but genius girl who has her own ways to deal with the world and her friendship with a well-known journalist. It is my favourite book series ever and I promise it will entertain you, engulf you into its world and you'll forget everything else.

4) Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh. This is a funny yet true account of the life of Allie Brosh. It is very engaging and very relatable at times. The writing is easy and very funny without trying too hard. Allie talks about her childhood, how she coped with depression, how a bird terrorized her house, and other such stuff. It was a bestseller when it was first launched and is highly recommended for the truthful nature of Brosh’s writing. It is a light, peppy read, great for reading while traveling.

5) The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This book was hailed as the latest “Gone Girl” when it was introduced first. Paula Hawkins is a well-known journalist and her writing is engaging and crisp. The book is about messed up people and at the centre our protagonist who is an alcoholic. AS the story continues, the people one liked before do not seem so likeable any more. It shows the ugly side of humankind and what we are capable of.

6) Runaway by Alice Munroe: This is a collection of short stories by Nobel Laureate Alice Munroe. Munroe being the literary genius she is, crafts detailed, crisp stories out of ordinary people. And the best part about short stories is they are perfect for reading while traveling.


This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.