Social media lounge

New year is the time of year to party and celebrate. Thanks to Facebook we all got power to be page 3 celebrities!  After all, Social media is the new generation lounge.

So don’t be surprised when you hear about Facebook’s record breaking fact– 750 million photos got uploaded on New Year’s weekend by users.

Every status update, every photo album we upload is to show to the world, how awesome our weekend is going, how much hard work we do in the office and where we go for vacation.
Facebook now speaks about the life that used to be told earlier with personal touch. I wonder what we are going to talk when we really meet in person! Other than of course talking about people who are not updating status message or one who don’t have any new photo album from past one week!

How many times we login on facebook just to see the new activity! If life was actually so interesting, why would you update about it the time you are actually enjoying it.

Social media has real disadvantages; just other day I read how people started irritating others by sending fake ‘blood needed’ message. Funny how a live person dies, because of an unconfirmed tweet.

Social media really made a common man a self-certified media guy! He can publish his own page-3 content, and break out breaking news that can create panic in one tweet!

For sure sometimes social media helps. But was life not moving when we were not aware how much traffic is on which road or where what incidents happen? We were updated then also but now we are overloaded with information and when this overload becomes a burden, it directly hampers our lifestyles.

With an attention span of less than 5 minutes, who are we fooling when we can’t sit to do single task peacefully! Has someone tweeted back, or has a new like/comment been made on the last photo or is an unread mail in the inbox popping up every second!

You global personal reporter and trendsetter, better take life lightly.

Sari, no more for Nari!

Other day I thought of wearing cotton sari to office but someone disowned the idea. And earlier wearing sari for a working lady is elegant and makes her look sober and sexy at same time. But now a day’s woman wears only on occasion. Like when on Diwali time HR set the dress code ‘traditional wear’ or when a girl get married and joined office after a long wedding vacation with chuda  (handful red bangles) and sari. Or only a certain ladies like to wear like Indian Airlines airhostess. Even receptionist doesn’t feel pride in wearing sari and Indian hospitality business also changed dress code from sari to western wear.

So If I want to go office in starched cotton sari with sleeveless blouse I be prepared I’m not going to work whole day in normal way. Colleagues will ask- any special occasion, during lunchtime everyone in canteen area will give you a look.

So wearing sari for no reason for a corporate girl is NO unless you wear sari to office on a regular basis else you just can’t wear.

What could be the reason for decaying of such a nice traditional wear :-

– It is difficult to wear and manage. Most of the girls don’t know how to wear sari.

– Maintenance is time consuming. Imagine ironing and folding a nine-meter long sari.

–  Gone are days when sari used to be affordable. Now it cost a lot. And we want branded sari too, like, is it from Nalli!

– Changed lifestyles. Earlier we used to carry handbag. Now we have mobile, laptop and above all managing a dress! Too much!

– Western style toilet! Yes, that’s also a problem.

– Accessories. With sari you need matching jewelry and bangles while with trouser & shirt it’s not so important to have accessories.

– Outdated tag! If you wear sari on regular basis than you will be tagged behin ji type! But if you wear occasionally, you will be loaded with compliments!

Above image showing how to drape sari. Image source: Internet.

Ahh, such a classy Indian dress now a days hardly make any sense; so why to wear.

Aerobics vs Yoga

Me! Writing a blog post on exercise is really an exercise for my mind! Well, I never exercised in past years apart from school days where P.T. was compulsory. I was so petite that I was under the impression; exercise is for those who want to loose weight. How wrong!

Our own lifestyles teach us lessons and me, the olive (remember Popeye the Sailor cartoon) kind of looking started gaining weight due to sitting in front of computer all the time. Long hours in cab – office & computer- food- Long hours in cab- food- computer- sleep. Where is walk when you talk? And see, I gained weight! In past 2-3 years I am no more same as I was in college. Now the same people, who used to tell me to eat, started asking me to loose weight!

So I joined Yoga class few months back. Yoga is a trend globally from some time. In foreign people pay huge amount to learn yoga and in our country Baba Ramdev is spreading the ‘yog rog’.

Yoga has different asanas, meditation and slow movements. You feel the pain in initial days and gradually you become flexible and learn to hold for longer period. As yoga is relaxing and slow, you feel relaxed and calmer after it. Yoga interests every age group- from young soul to souls going to heaven soon.
BUT
Aerobics! It’s fast (of course fun too) there is music and variations are many and you can do floor aerobics or step aerobics- many types. But yoga also many types like bikram yoga or circus yoga. But there is lots of cardio work, fat burning and muscle definition where as in yoga you are under control of body & mind and soul. And mostly young and middle age group people do aerobics.

So after doing yoga for 3+ months I switched to aerobics as I was looking for a morning class in my premises and I find the class very professional, strict trainer and fun filled. BUT legs are hurting like hell and the day you work with dumbbells, your every part is going to ache! After that I can only say, yoga is easy and aerobics is crazy. Yoga is relaxing, aerobics is taxing!
Let’s see, will I continue my fitness gaga or sleep & laziness will take over the saga!

Image Source: MSU.edu and fitnesscafe.

Dubai dreams.

Dubai is a global business hub with 90% expat population, which makes it very unique. Recently I got a chance to visit Dubai. It is one of 7 emirates of UAE. It is a city that has so many things to offer from petroleum to real estate to one of the best malls and sand dunes for adventurous desert safari including harsh sun.

Burj Al Arab- Resembleing a billowing sail, a luxury Hotel, looks great in Dubai skyline.

Dubai to live.

Affording a home in Dubai is not cheap if you are not staying from few years. The rent of homes cost a lot of Dirham (Dubai’s currency). But it has few great residential properties like Dubai marina, which is the second largest man made marina in world. Aspiring to own a villa on Palm Jumeirah is only possible, if you are either born with a silver spoon or are a celebrity.

Cost of living in Dubai is not very high – it is just that water costs more than double of what petrol costs. You can get all the vegetables, fruits as well as Indian brands packaged items. Best is there is no personal income tax in Dubai.

Malls & Souks.

Aquarium at Dubai mall

Skiing at Dubai Mall

Name a brand and you will find it in Dubai. With so many huge malls in every corner, if they really have to stand out, have to offer something different. That’s how Dubai Mall,  world’s largest shopping mall has an under water zoo & Aquarium, ‘Mall of Emirates’ has Skiing, yeah can you believe skiing in such hot weather of Dubai.

one of gold shop in Gold souk area

Souks, which are traditional Arabic markets, are one of the more popular word in the city. Gold souks are more popular due to cheap price and varied options availability, which is why it is also known as the city of Gold. Though, I didn’t find it any less expensive than other places. Other popular souks are Spice souk and textile souk.

Fun

desert safari

If you went there and didn’t go for desert safari, then your visit is not completed. A humpy ride on golden sand dunes while sun is setting followed by Arabic barbeque and belly dancing and smoke flavored sheesha (hubbly-bubbly/water pipe) is just the right way to enjoy the time there.

Tip– don’t opt for over night safari unless in a huge group. We chose that and we were the only person left after meal so we had to come back.

a kid having fun with a belly dancer

Go for a night walk on Jumeirah beach, if you are lucky and all those tall buildings Burj al Arab, Burj Dubai are well lit you can click nice night shots. (I didn’t get any pic, so I was disappointed.)

deira creek area

After having a tough day at Media city; Dhow cruise really came as a relaxing option to spend the evening. Or just watch Hindi cinema in one of the multiplex. Reel cinema in Dubai mall has 22 screens with lots of movie choices. We watched 1st day show of London Dreams there.

 Something more.

You will like the men and women roaming around you in white and black dresses. (Men wears traditional dishdasha / khandura with ghutra and agal and women wear abaya (a long black cloak) with sheyla or hijab (a scarf).

Special parks for ladies are common there, and even in amusement park or Jumeraiah beach you will see a day especially for women and kids or family.

Cars are cheaper compared to India. Toyota is market leader followed by Nissan and Honda. Cabs are quite nice, most are Camry, Innova or Lancer. Before hopping in the city bus, make sure you got pass from some terminal or metro station as most of time bus drivers would not carry tickets/pass.

Now metro service is also started in Dubai, take a ride. In fact I got a better view of city from it.
Do some shopping at Dubai Festival city, can get good deals at IKEA store. Taste some Arabic sweets too; I liked it a lot. Most important, don’t forget to have as many dates as possible. 😉

Can find more Dubai’s shots here.

Are colors important in Mobile Phones!

Few days back I got a chance to meet Axel Meyer, Head of Nokia N-Series Design. He was in town to talk about latest Nokia’s N97. There were lots of questions about operating system, camera, battery, storage and touch screen.

Axel MeyerLots of comparison with phones available / or releasing soon in same segment also happened, like HTC Magic, Palm Pre, Toshiba TG01 and  Apple iPhone 3G S.

Form and design of all these mobile handset looks similar- thinner and rounded corner. But N97 has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Talking about QWERTY, people aren’t excited about the shorter spacebar and awkward placement. With huge storage capacity 32 + plus 16GB microSD, it could lead the pack but operating system choice make it less attractive to geeky guys. People were looking forward for LINUX based web OS.

Though N97 got both touch (resistive) + QWERTY, it is way behind iPhone which has capacitive multi-touch screen. In fact, Palm Pre has the best offering – Capacitive multi-touch screen + QWERTY. I also heard people’s opinion on slow response of resistive touch if they have used iPhone or own it. Now coming to the camera, being a DSLR holder, I can never enjoy the camera phone but let’s see what everyone is offering. N97 has 5 MP with Carl Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 optics and dual LED flash but N82 is going to launch with 8MP. Same time Sony’s Satio will have 12.1 megapixel camera with Xenon flash.

He talked a lot about India, culture and designing gadgets keeping in mind their needs. One important question was asked by someone-What are the most important aspects that you keep in mind while designing a phone” and Axel responded “It’s all about people; always taking into account people’s needs as a driving criteria”. Axel also said, “All Nokia N-series devices are aware of beautiful solutions”.
And when I asked why such a high end gadget fitted with lots of features & user friendly interfaces comes only in Black or white colors, I did not get a proper answer from him.

Why doesn’t smart phones come in user’s choice of colors? Take example of Dell, Sony’s laptops or digital cameras, which offer a choice of colors. Thankfully, Sony is quite a leader in matter of colors, heard Sony Ericsson Satio will come in multiple colors.

I also did a small survey to know people opinion- would they like more color choices when buying high-end mobile? The results were interesting- Black is the most popular choice, closely followed by wine. Other preferable colors are blue & silver.

Nokia N97

Final verdict– I doubt N97 design team did an in-depth research for colors. Like white color for Indian market and climatic condition is not so good. It’s not an appliance like washer, refrigerator that people will buy for neat & hygiene white feel. Form & design need more fresh approach to look different in league. Immediate improvement needed on multi-touch, camera and OS. It is expected to be priced at Rs. 35,000 +, pricey for sure but most phones are in the same bracket.

Your Environment day.

You love your family because they are part of you and you need them. You love you house because you put lots of effort to build it. You even love your job because it pays you.
But how much do you love your mother earth? Anyway, I am back to you. You love your family member than why most of grocery shopping is not organic or local veggie?
You love your home and appliances and gadgets than why you leave them alone to work? Switch it off. When you are a good team member why you don’t like the idea of car pooling?

There are so many small -small things that could make the change to environment system. We all are aware still we look for a bigger change; a change made by someone else, some MNC come and ask you to be a part and you join it for showoff. Let’s start from ownself. Please, stop fooling ownself. Going green is not a trend, it’s your NEED & DEED.

Start using what is needed, don’t create unnecessary requirement. Don’t discard your old mp3 player for the sake iPod or switch to new mobile just because it has that extra* feature, like GPS. Or really want to track, when get lost in a concrete jungle! Before disposing off the old xyz GB Hard disk, dispose off the useless stuff that’s lying on your computer and you too know, you are never going to check it.

Change your lifestyle; else this world will change so drastically that you will not find any comfort. So better adapt now rather than making adjustments later.
Please check Greendex 2009: Consumer Choice and the Environment survey report (as per report Indians are most Greenest! )  and also take this quiz and you will be amazed to know, how each of us are demolishing the nature.

If you want to know, how you can make an impact in saving environment, read these useful daily tips.
Also check my similar post on environment Green Alphabets and Start acting to save Earth and Need an earthy treatment.

Make a greener world for your own sake!

I see, AC!

In summer days all we want, as we enter the home, is a cool zone. Cool breeze, natural or artificial, flowing in the room and no more sweating or noise pollution. Thanks to present days Air-conditioners, they are energy efficient, make low noise, are slimmer and cool in looks.

This weekend I went to check split AC in the Indian market, and I was not surprised how AC companies are filling their pockets by talking to half-aware, half-confused customers about vitamin filter, dual display and filter with this and that technologies which hardly a customer understand but still pay his hard earned money to get some coolness (pun intended).

So what is selling in India-: If Indian Brands like Godrej has come up with Mirror and Silver finish, then Chinese Company Haier has come up with vitamin filter and AC’s remote with fluorescent buttons. An earnest plea Godrej – please improve the red logo print quality, it looks pathetic on all white AC.

Top image- Samsung Split AC, bottom one is Haier

Korean champion Samsung’s Air-conditioners have bio sleeplus feature. In finish, they are offering all silver panels on the front and also wine other than classic white. Nothing great but overall look is cool, due to neat & clean form.

LG latest Split AC range

Other Korean company LG, as usual is offering last year old floral patterns apart from latest engraved baroque style floral pattern on gold and white. This gives quite a traditional and rich look. But it is not suitable for most of apartment’s interiors. Their Vogue series offers cool big display for showing current room temperature. Color scheme is white & grey with one more flowers option on same.

Whirlpool has nothing new to offer other than wide silver panel but their energy meter card is good for consumers to understand the star-rating and monthly electricity bill savings.

whirlpool- Energy meter

Hitachi AC, Ace
Best of best is Japan’s company Hitachi, which rules with ‘follow me’ feature that follows your every movement and circulate air accordingly. Slimmer, neat and clean elegant look also set it apart. Off course, for all this, you have to pay higher price too.

So enjoy the Indian summer 🙂

Do “Not Mind”

How many times have you run out of ideas? How many times have your mind gone blank? Forget about out of the box thinking, you could not even suggest an ordinary idea. It happens with each one of us. Accept it or neglect it, choice is yours. And who gives this choice to you? Your tired, rotten mind!

After all, mind also needs a change, a change from the routine life. Just sleeping with a thought that an extraordinary idea will strike in your dream and you will wake up like August Kekulé; who day dreamt about snake and formulated the Benzene structure. That’s not going to happen. Better find easy and reliable method.

meditate everyday

Innovative ideas, creative skills and design skills depend on mind. Meditation is the key. Because in meditation you are not suppressing the thoughts or ideas rather your mind is in relaxation state. It is not running behind finding solutions. The peace, power and purity that your mind will experience after meditation, will be immeasurable.

Also mind it, doing meditation is not easy. In past, I tried and failed. Because, the mind keeps wandering and doesn’t stay focused for sufficiently long duration. A new thought comes and the mind again become active and starts working. Practicing it in a right manner can help. (One can try Sudarshan Kriya by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar). It will not only give you peace but also help you in concentration and focus.

Our day to day life stress and working style (all the time glued to computer screen) makes our mind linear and stressful, and it needs rather it “demands” NOTHING. Yeah, no more wandering mind or forever search for peace. It just wants to DO “NOT MIND” state.

Try this or join Art of Living beginner’s course. I am sure, you will love it. This article, I wrote specially for H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar birthday on 13th May.

So celebrate the silence of your mind by doing meditation. Creativity will flow after this golden silence 🙂

It’s a HOLI day time.

Festival of colors is around. It is one of the special festivals of India. I am not going to talk about this festival in details; you can read my old article on same that came on PingMag.

holi colors festival India
From past few days, I have been missing my childhood days. Is it the Holi fever or am I just getting nostalgic on few things, especially when I see children in park running around and playing with squirt and splashing water on each other? Today children are much more aware of simple facts; they use herbal, natural colors. They don’t play holi in such harsh way as it used to happen in our time. I still remember the days when putting silver paint on face and throwing each other in mud was quite common. Few activities like throwing water balloon in some streets are still a practice. Let me compile holi’s different types / styles.

Temple Holi- It is a traditional form of playing holi. Pandits and people play holi with Lord Krishna and Radha. It is like – 1st god play holi and the color that touched their holy feet will be used to play holi by their devotees.

Rural holi– a bonfire is set up by using the cow dung cakes and fresh harvest is offered to fire. In morning people put colors (gulal) on each other face and play with water colors, and in the evening they dress up nicely and visit the nearby fair.

In a city – people from the same location (apartments/ colonies) gather in park, and put colors on each other. Some snacks are there to eat. Of course, you have to pay for the same.

Page 3 holi– Music, dance and drinks. It is more like a party, either in a farm house or in a banquet hall, where people dress up in style and play in style. Entry is strictly by invitation!

Campus holi– it is full of fun. Best part is that students from different states, countries play together. It is complete fun. Even if you don’t like to play, anyway you will get pulled from your hostel room.

Street fashion– Some naughty boys will freak out on bikes and throw water balloons, harass people on street and make life difficult. It’s a non-decent form of holi. In small city and rural areas it is common. That’s how people avoid going out on road, using public transport like trains, buses & rickshaws.

Office holi– As HR has to do some event, so, a small event in office premises happen. Where little bit dry colors or flowers petals are allowed. You will get some munchies or holi special lunch.

Family get together– Family members and close friends will gather at one home. Some special dishes, specially gujiya, pakodas & thandai and lots of chit chat. Good time in today’s nuclear family time.

Bollywood holi– Indian cinema and a holi song in Hindi film is forever in demand, from classic film era to today’s niche class movies. If you are alone and nothing great to do just switch on TV (or search in You tube) and watch bollywood best holi songs 🙂

Get set go– It is actually a vacation time. One can escape from colors and have some relaxing time. It could be having a long vacation by using holi holiday plus some extended holidays.

holi, colors, people, festival, India

So in whatever way you are celebrating it, I just want to wish you a very HAPPY HOLI – day!

Shopping in recession time!

Being a Delhite, I am also fond of Sale time. The spring time generally comes with good deal on clothes, shoes and bags etc. But like weather, our economy has also changed and this change is pretty harsh.
This year the sale season started quite early. It came so early that it didn’t wait for 2009 to come. I could get my New Year party dress at great discount in December month only.

Splurge was the keyword early last year. People were spending money on decorating their home or buying branded stuff to buying new stylish vehicles. Then all of sudden various companies started to cut down on the expenses, thereby causing people to lose job. Home loans, car loans and insurance installments were same as before but shopaholics could not resist themselves from 50% to 70% discount.

Shopping in Recession timeShopping in recession time!

After all, just because there is slow down time, people do not necessarily stop pampering themselves. The joy of buying something always makes us feel good. In recession time, when we are more into depression, we need to shop. We just need to be a wise shopper.

Those ‘aspirational’ rich, metro residents and mall going people could not resist themselves by spending little less on their favorite Reebok sports shoes or Louis Philippe formal shirt. Even Bodyshop, Revlon etc are giving discount, and some brands like Lakme are coming with exchange offer on old lipsticks etc. It’s really hard not to shop, even in this hard time.

Future group ventures like Big Bazaar, Home town and Pantaloons are already giving great deals and people are really rushing to buy.

china-shanghai-nike-store

These cases were even seen in USA to China. When I visited China last December, things looked fine (at least from outside) but in USA major electronic stores (Circuit city) and few more were going out of business and were running huge store closing sale.

So how are retailers / store owners working on the mathematics of 50% + 50% discount. That’s something I will figure out. Till then happy shopping!