Sunday, July 27, 2014

#WhatTheBlack

From old times, Black is considered evil by puritans. Do you know why? I say, because it's seducing!

Blogadda has brought us a new contest, #WhatTheBlack, where we have to write about five black items that we wish for and why. As I think about the list, here are some black gadgets that have put spell on me. Wish I had these.
 
5) Play Station 4 – Why just play Candy Crush alone ? We can sure have fun with friends at altogether different level!
4) Wacom Intuos 5 – With an apt designer tool at hand, I wouldn't see any of my sketches just waste away on papers.

3) iPad Air – Anyone with an iPad or Mac would be a proud owner, isn't it? The sleek and alluring apple gadget exude finest design and technology.


2) Camera Lenses – Anything that I am desperately want to have my hands on, Filters, Lenses - Fixed, Wide angle etc. Technique, practise and good lenses are key to better photos..


1) The Magic Hat – How about having the black magic hat? I wouldn't bother with a bunny though. I have better and longer list!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Amazing Things Your Smartphone Can Do

I'm sure we've all had "Aha!" moments. Why, when I upgraded my old phone to a smartphone, I've had them everyday. It took me a surprising while to get the most out of my phone. Well, aside from the obvious - calling and texting, taking pictures, listening to music and playing games, did you know that there are other cool uses for your smartphone?

Health Monitor

With accessories that you can use with your smartphone to measure your blood pressure and blood glucose levels and apps that can track your daily workouts, weight and diet, monitoring your health and fitness has never been so fun and easy.

Tracker

Want to keep a watchful eye on the family? You can locate your loved ones by tracking them on your smartphone.

Remote Control

Do you know that you can replace your collection of remote controls with your smartphone? Yes, you can use your smartphone to control various home appliances.

GPS Unit

If you need a GPS unit for your daily runs and bike rides, you can download GPS apps or maps that you can use offline on your smartphone.

Digital Cookbook

Can't get enough of your favorite recipes? Download cooking apps and recipes and turn your smartphone to a digital cookbook you can carry everywhere.

Scanner

There are tons of apps that will let you use your smartphone for all your barcode or QR code scanning needs.

eReader

If you're unwilling to splurge on tablets or eBook readers, you can use your smartphone as a digital reader. There are lots of apps, both free and paid, that you can install on your smartphone to make it a decent reading device.

Digital Wallets

You can now hold your payment and banking information on your smartphone and enjoy cash-free transactions, making carrying credit cards a thing of the past.

Webcam

You can video chat using your smartphone.

Television

Always on the go? Don't worry, you can still watch your favorite soap via live TV streaming on your smartphone.

Mobile Hotspot

Don't you find it annoying every time a friend has access to the internet and you don’t or vice versa? Good thing you can turn your smartphone into a wireless router and share your data access with other devices easily.

Measuring Tool

You may not have a tape measure or a ruler with you at all times (really, who does?), so if you need a measuring tool to measure height, width, distance, area, and what have you in a jiffy, by all means, whip out your phone and measure away.

Do you know of other practical uses for your smartphone? Please do comment share below! And for anyone in the market for a new smartphone, you can compare plans and get free information at http://www.no-contract-plans.com.


BIO

Sage Harman is a frugal living enthusiast, wife and mother. She runs http://www.no-contract-plans.com, a site dedicated to providing free information to consumers trying to find viable no-contract phone and internet plans.

P.S:.Thank you Sage Harman for putting together some helpful tips. It will help many of us. And thank you for being my first Guest blogger :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Turning

Isn't it true that travel makes you wiser and it is also travel that brings yourself to you? I love to travel and among all I love to travel the mountains. Be it the Himalayas or the Sahyadris. When I say this, it would be ironic to mention about my fear of height. But that's the sad truth I have to live with or in time overcome it. But the phobia doesn't stop me from planning to visit these beautiful mountains.
 
It is their grandness that overwhelms you, it’s beauty that makes you feel loved but it is also their steep fall that makes brings the reality of your mortality to you. When we planned our trip to Kinnaur,  Himachal Pradesh in March, I was looking forward to seeing the beauty of Himalayas in off season. Tons of snow, calm appearing glaciers and the vapour released by your each breadth, a dream for a Mumbaite, isn’t it?
 
After enjoying most of the snow in Kinnaur, we started our travel to Manali. We were in our rented Innova and on the helm was our driver Mr. Vinkel. Vinkel had been a good driver and host. We took the Jalori Pass over the longer route via Shimla.
 
 
Jalori Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 10,800 ft (3.120m) above the sea level, situated in the Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.
 
 
A few hours had passed and we were gaping at the steep path ahead. Vinkel pointed out to the top, “See there?”, he said. “The top of the trees are white. It means there is a snowfall at the top. If we do not pass it before evening, we will have to stop. It could be a trouble”. We looked at the faraway forest dumbfounded. What we gathered from his statement was not that snowfall could be a trouble but the thought of going up there so high. I looked down the steep slope from the window to my left. It was terrifying.
 
We kept travelling up. We heard Vinkel say he hasn't seen any vehicle coming down the other way. We nodded and he kept on the pace. After a while there was a vehicle coming down. The two drivers greeted each other. The other man said the snowfall has started at the top. He heard from someone a car crossing the pass some thirty minutes earlier. And that would be less risky for a car like Scorpio than ours like Innova to attempt it.
 
We all agreed to keep going b’coz if we’d stop, we would be stuck there, we wouldn’t know when the roads will be cleared. “We should cross the pass before it gets dark”, Vinkel said. We nodded, not wanting to be left behind of the schedule.
 
By the time we reached the top, it was dark. And there was snow every where. I looked around. The check post looked like an abandoned village now gripped under snow storm. Vinkel sighed. The snow and the darkness had finally got us. My parents and I were struck, now realising the gravity of the situation. It would be difficult to drive down. Going up wasn't much but going down needs grip on the road with a steep slope, especially the one covered with snow. But without proper shelter, staying the trip was also not an option.
 
Vinkel got out and inspected the situation. When he was back he said, he could see tyre marks, probably of the supposed car which had passed thirty minutes ago. “The snow is soft”, he said, “if we get down before the snow hardens we would be lucky. We have to move”. My parents were wide eyed.
 
The snow was coming down hard, and when I peeped out, it looked very beautiful white against the black blankness. It was the first time I had seen snowfall and I felt like blessings coming down upon me in the dark.
 
The damp air was clouding the windshield. So Vinkel started the AC. And with it came a gust of fragrant air with a crispness of green and a hint of flowers. The freshness was so assuring at the moment, that we all took a deep breath, filling our body and mind with confidence. Ready?, Vinkel asked. We sucked some air, the pure fragrance, soothing our tension, just what we needed. “Yes”, we replied.
 
Slowly, our car moved forward, running over the tracks left behind by the previous car and finally we reached down safely. When we drank hot tea in our hotel that night, each one of us was silent, trying to understand, the experience sinking in and thanking God repeatedly. But the real hero was our driver Vinkel, who did not loose confidence and took us to safety (later he confessed it was a first-time situation for him too).
 
Nature can throw you into a storm but it will also give you the strength and courage!


This post is written for Indiblogger contest - #InspireAFragrance. To know about different inspiring fragrances, check out GodrejAer website.

PS:.This post is not fiction, in fact I left out a lot of details for brevity. I wish I had taken a few pics of the night but we were very busy in watching the path ahead and clearing the windshield off the dampness. Our hearts were in our mouth!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Long run

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 47; the forty-seventh edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

imagesManu lied down in the dark space. He could hear distant sounds of dogs barking. It was the sound very close to his body that was making his heart beat faster. He did not want to die of rat poison. At least not before he could arrange something for his family, to save them from dying of hunger. He had found shelter in this big city.

Back in village, his little farm had turned to cracked dried mud and the very little food they had in the house was reducing to nothing even though he and his wife were eating negligible to feed their two year old child. From the frequent gatherings of the farmers that he learnt that a new tax will be levied on their village as was seen in neighbouring villages. The question that the farmers were mulling was if they should meet their Raja? Most of them were in the favour, but many were of view of finding alternative ways to earn. But they were farmers and  kheti was the only work their ancestors had done for years and so had they. While they were cursing their fate came Guna, like God. Guna was a young kid of seven when ran away from home, nobody knew where he vanished. Now that he had returned he claimed he had travelled west towards the sea. He had seen ships big equal to mountains. And in such ships he had found work as a helper.

Manu had never thought of being anything else than a farmer, but a decision was instantly made in Manu's mind. Today he was in the big ship city, people here called it bandar which he found extremely funny to name it on an animal. This sheher was drastically different from his village and he found many goras moving around on horses and magical moving objects, gaadi, as they call it. He planned to stay as far as he can from them. He had found work at a shop which supplied materials required for the ships. Who would have thought he will find work the very first day? Guna was right about that. He thanked God and Guna in mind. Guna while had raised disappointment over little crammed places, Manu was more than happy to find shelter even though it was a dark small place under the building(structures he found overwhelming) stairs.

He was lost in thoughts when he heard the sounds. They were coming from his seth’s home upstairs. He decided to stay where he is and listen for hints. There was crying, but suppressed, like someone was in pain but was trying to hide. The sounds continued for sometime but he decided to stay away rather than doing anything foolish and loose whatever was in hand. After sometime, his tired body gave in and he dossed off to sleep.

Days passed and he found himself settled in the routine of the city life. He found a small puppy abandoned on the road who in time turned to companion with whom Manu shared his feelings. They filled each other's emptiness. The work was simple and good. Tomorrow looked hopeful. Only puzzling were his dreams at nights. He saw himself in his village, running along the narrow path towards their hut clouding the air with the dust. He always saw himself smiling and hopeful while he ran. But his daughter and wife, who were at the door looked very sad like in a perpetual wait. They saw through him as if he was invisible. He woke up sad, not once he saw himself reach the door. It was like a run for lifetime.

But these dreams never bothered him. Each day he found new courage and hope to start afresh. He had to collect enough to send it home through Guna by the end of the month. After the days work, when he returned to his shelter, there was trouble to sleep. Some days due to the sound of the sobs while other days in its anticipation. The beatings were regular and after a few weeks he had concluded that his seth who otherwise (supposedly acting) gentleman to others was very cruel towards his wife. They were childless which he guessed the reason behind his brutality and which was confirmed when he once heard him call her baanj. He felt sorry for the woman he had never seen. But more than that he felt anger towards the neighbours who kept mum over it. But at the same time he also knew how they all shared the fear of losing which in their case was a home, all of them being seth's tenants. There was always silence over these events as their seth was wealthy and influential. Besides who would be namak haram to the one who is providing meal? Over few days he gathered that the one staying with his seth was his second wife. He had exiled his first wife to her maika and had married another woman for a child.

Days had passed and Manu had accepted his reality of cowardness. But it was the cruel Sunday when things upturned and his hopes fell apart. That day he saw his seth leaving the building. A few minutes before that he had heard beating and crying sounds. These usually happened during night so Manu wondered what had caused seth's ire early Sunday morning. Manu could still hear the painful crying. His brain ordered his body to settle in the hollow but something was twisting in his heart. When he needed to cover his ears he took a step towards the stairs. He could see himself taking the step like he was outside himself. And this estranged spirit also kept mum as if it too was convinced it was the right thing to do, screaming silence must be heard. Before he realised, he found himself up to the end of the stairs. The crying was coming from the room at his right.

But what was he supposed to do? What should he say to her? He is from a neech jaat. Is his presence before a uchha jaat woman be right? He realised he might be in trouble. He was brought to reality with a squeal and he noticed that he was carrying his puppy and was unknowingly strangling him. He didn't know why, but he lay him down and knocked the door. As if his floating spirit still had the wit, it shook his body. He heard payal approaching the door and anticipation took over him. His body drenched with sweat. This is not right and he may land in deep trouble. Instinctively he ran to the stairs and peeped through the small gap. The door opened.

She was a young girl not more than sixteen or seventeen. Her face was round and eyes had shape like lotus petals but were swollen and red. She was beautiful but her face and body was fear-afflicted. It was maybe his movement that she looked directly at his eyes through the hole. With fear he turned to run when he heard swear words and felt a punch in his face. There was terrible pain in his nose and he could taste metal in his mouth. He felt a little imbalanced but seconds later when he opened his eyes he saw his malik dragging him up. Seth’s wife was still at the door, her body shivering. Her face was contorted stricken with fear. She had the puppy in her hand who was squealing while she made repeated pleas to her husband.

Manu’s mind started to make sense. Seth must have seen his wife and him, looking at each other, in the same frame and his crude mind put the pieces together albeit wrong. “You kutta get out my sight otherwise I will kill you. Don't show your face again” his seth yelled. Manu began to beg. He had done nothing. Seth was taken it all wrong. But this turned Seth's face crimson and he struck his leg on Manu's face, who was on his knees. Manu went rolling down to the street.

When Manu stood at the street, he realised it was all over. He wiped his nose to his sleeves. People were rushing around. Nobody stopped to see a man beaten and kicked. Nobody cared there were two mouths suffering in hunger miles far. Nobody would care even if he just jump off the bandar and drown himself. His wife’s and child’s face hovered over his eyes. He felt dizziness. But he cannot kill himself. He sighed. It wasn’t over. He started to walk to nowhere in particular. He has to make a way.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 17

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Purpose

The wild bird perched on the branch high
Looking forward to the intimate sky
Ready for the jump ahead... BUT
Only if he knows, WHERE and WHY

*Just what I am feeling now, directionless and anxious.