Monday, 23 March 2015

I wish I had a smartphone!

I have never used a smartphone before. Earlier I didn't have the requisite money. Now when I have, I am too comfortable with the basic Nokia phone that I have been using. Most of my friends who got costly phones have been making fun of me, calling my tiny phone names that ideally it doesn't deserve. But they are true as well: I miss out on so many things because of my oldish phone.

Two of my friends have turned into ace photographers because of using their phones. They had never held a camera before but because of the high quality cameras in their phones, they had started clicking every little things of interest. With a smartphone, it was easy to instagram them and now they are quite famous there too. I have been always interested in photography, ever since my parents had bought their first Yashika camera when I was seven year old. But the cost of getting rolls and thereafter printing hindered my indulgence. When I came to Delhi as a seventeen year student at Delhi University, I was inducted into the photography club. I didn't have a camera of my own, but I learnt whatever I could with the mediocre college camera. I just wished that I had a phone with a camera, so that all the interesting moments that I just wished I could capture, but never could would be snapped and preserved for eternity, besides sharpening my eye for details.

Over the years, i have started clicking with borrowed cameras and have created my own FB page called Saumya Photography and Artworks, but I don't always have an access to a camera and many moments that I wanted to capture have gone amiss, which shall not happen in case I have a smartphone with a smartphone camera. Consider this picture, which I clicked in Chandni Chown, just because I happened to be with a friend who had a camera phone.

It is during such a state that I encountered the advertisement of Moto E. It's tagline itself says: #ChooseToStart your smartphone journey with the all new Moto E, which makes me very excited about it. Upon seeing its description, it turns out that it's one of the sturdiest phones ever, and at a price that completely takes care of my wallet. 

Image courtesy; Indiblogger

It is:
  • Shock proof, water resistant
  • All day battery life, something that I can't stop feeling happy about since it'll be able to compete with my basic phone along with all the additional features it is providing.
  • Smart design, which makes Moto E a very presentable device
  • Different coloured holders, which makes me feel like having a new phone every few months,
  • Quick Capture: My favourite of all the features. it allows me to shuffle between the front camera and the back camera by just a small shake of the cellphone
I can't wait to start a new life. 

P.S. Do check Moto E, I'm doing the same, here: Here's a great product description:

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Friends Forever, Friends Together

The story belongs to the time when I was in my 3rd grade. I had a best friend then, he was called Ranjan. We struck great friendship in class 2 and though our sections had changed in the 3rd grade, we still remained the best of the buddies. Ranjan was the son of Acharya sir, one of the strictest teachers in the school, who taught us Hindi. Acharya sir didn't like the fact that Ranjan was friends to me - a below average student, and often contemptuously remarked in front of me to Ranjan to befriend the class topper Ankit and be around him, rather than me. Though it hurt my childish sensibility but it failed to affect our friendship, which grew stronger with time. 

Ranjan's birthday was an important day in my life. It had been my endeavour to make sure that his birthday turned out to be very special, and from months before, I used to start preparing for it, thinking of the right gift which would spark up a brilliant smile on his face. My grandfather came home during that time and he brought me a big box of assorted Hajmola candies, around 500 of them and I realized that those candies might be the perfect gift for my dear friend. The day before Ranjan's birthday, I packed 50 candies in a box of a moisturizer used by my mother, wrapped it in gift paper, wrote "Happy birthday to my best friend, - From your Best Friend" in my horrendous cursive handwriting. I engraved a thin-line on the top of box to enable Ranjan to later use the box as a gullak, a piggy bank, to collect coins. I had told Ranjan on the previous day that there is a birthday surprise waiting for him, which made him bubble with excitement. 

The day arrived, I stealthily took out the gift packet from my bag during the lunch time and just when I was about to go to see Ranjan in the adjacent section, students around me having caught hold of me, shouted in unison, 'Saumya has got a gift,' and snatched the box away from me, ripping the wraps like monkeys. I screamed and yelled that it was not for them, but for Ranjan, my best friend, the birthday boy, Acharya Sir's son, but they didn't care. Hajmola candies commanded more respect than Acharya sir, apparently. I tearfully watched my gift being squandered in the hands of the wicked few. The class comprised of 40 students and each one of them stole one candy each, leaving behind 10 candies and a wretched moisturizer box behind, which I collected with my disappointed hands. I didn't know how to face Ranjan, who was waiting deliriously for my present in the other section. 

Dejectedly, with those ten candies wrapped in a four-line ruled sheet pulled out from my English notebook, I plodded to the other section. Ranjan, upon seeing me, rushed forward with a hopeful smile. I handed over those ten candies cloaked in the paper with dismay, which he opened with utmost delight and upon seeing what was inside, all he could do was flash an ear to ear smile, a smile which I had never seen on his face, a smile that was full of amazement. I was too perplexed to say anything. He hugged me and said, 'You gave me the best gift of all - Hajmola candies, these are my favorite. I had never had somany of them together.'

Written for that asked me to write about my most memorable day. This is it!

Two Drops of Tears

It was the Parents Teacher meeting of my class 12th, and as always my Dad was accompanying me. With me always being one amongst the top three rankers of my class since the late childhood, my Dad had got used to praises from the teacher during such meetings, which was quite gratifying experience for me as well as my Dad.

But that time, the case had been pretty different. I had performed dismally in almost all the subjects except Maths, and my class rank had crawled down to stand amongst the bottom fews.

Those days, the mighty preparation for JEE with numerous everyday assignments and test-papers left me completely enervated to concentrate on the school studies and thus, the result was more or less expected. But, I feared that my Dad would feel bad about it and might scold me, since he didn't know how much pressure the studies for JEE had on me. As we entered the class-room, my class-teacher immediately stood up from her chair and with a worried look on her face, approached my father.

'Mr.Pathak, your son is going nowhere. See the decline,' she said, pointing at the dismal marks in different subjects, 'the highest is 99 out of 100 in Chemistry and Saumya has got just 67. His rank has slid down to 24th, from 2nd in 11th class. This is not what we expect from him. He's certainly not studying. He's lost his spark.'

My Dad looked at me with a serious face. I was expecting a reprimand, a reproach echoing my teacher's words, to hit my ears.

'Madam, don't you worry about Saumya. He's working hard, I can assure you. He will do better the next time. And mind it, he has not lost his spark. It's right there.' My Dad said with a reassuring smile as his palm caressed my head softly.

The teacher was dumbstruck. She had nothing more to say. Handing over the report card, she moved back to her chair and greeted other parents. My Dad put his arms around my shoulder and asked, as he always used to do when I secured a rank, in a delighted tone, 'So, which ice-cream do you want to have - butterscotch or chocolate chips?'

I looked into his eyes, smiled and blinked. I had butterscotch, with two drops of tears, thereafter.

One year later, I topped the boards as well as cleared the JEE. That time, he had butterscotch, with two drops of tears. I did #StartANewLife.

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Friday, 6 March 2015

How I Pampered My Uggi?

Most babies like to laugh. There is not a more pleasing sight than a laughing baby. And not a more annoying sight than a wailing one. Don’t you remember that one annoying baby in the bus or the airplane or the cinema hall who made your life miserable? Most often, crying babies are either hungry, or hurt, or wet. When babies are with their mothers and fathers, with milk bottles, would they be hungry? No. If it’s a healthy baby, would they be hurt. Very rarely, they would be. So why do they cry? It’s because they are wet.

I have a baby. His name is Utkarsh, and we call him Uggi. Uggi was born exactly a year ago, the same month, March. The last one year has been quite a journey for me and his father. Uggi is not a crybaby. He enjoys going out. Take him to a mall, let him see the fancy lights and smell the soothing fragrance, he will pass an ear to ear smile that outgrows his face. Take him to any well lighted place, Uggi turns crazy with happiness. What he hates, and what we hate too, thanks to him, is taking him to a cinema hall. Once we took him to a cinema hall and we had made wear a diaper, a common brand, and he kept crying. I tried to feed him, but he was not interested. He wasn’t hungry. He didn’t seem to be in pain either. His hands kept inching towards his diaper, as if urging us to remove it for him. I opened the diaper to find out that despite the promise of keeping my baby’s bottom dry and sealed, the diaper was damp. His buttocks were wrinkled and red. We were angry, so were the people around us because of our wailing Uggi, and we stormed out of the movie theater and rushed to a Chemist’s shop.

We asked for a brand that could seal the pee, that could help keep my baby dry. There wasn’t one he said. It was not until this year that I found out that finally there is a brand which can help Uggi remain the outdoor baby that he is, who loves going out, who loves lights and cinema, who loves the dryness promised by the new Pampers Baby Dry. Its Magic Gel locked in moisture so helps Uggi’s skin remains dry and healthy for up to 12 hours. Besides, Uggi never complains. It’s like a baby diaper pampering him, true to its name.

Written for Indiblogger's Happy hours. Check Pampers:

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Story of My Motorcycle

As soon as I graduated from college, I fought with my parents to allow me to go full-time with my start-up. They didn’t approve of my choosing an uncertain course over the secure path of campus placements and there was an unsaid tension between my parents and me. I became taciturn during that phase, and would answer in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ over the phone to my parents’ anxious questions, often evading most of them. Since they lived a thousand kilometers away, they were understandably concerned about my well-being. Most of their questions were directed at my company and almost always ended up calling it futile. I would hang up, frustrated. Fighting it out with abject poverty, I painted a rosy picture of my life to my parents saying, ‘I am making a decent half a lac rupees a month,’ so that I would be relieved from at least one end, while figuring out a revenue model that worked for my venture. 

It was the end of the second month of full-time entrepreneurship and a very difficult time for me. I had rented a 2 BHK apartment in Malviya Nagar, made one room the office and the other, the living room. The rent, shared between my partner and me, was fifteen thousand rupees per month besides an additional three thousands for electricity  My partner’s parents knew  his dismal financial condition and they  supported him, whereas my self-respect forbade me to ask for my parents’ help. As the date of paying the rent came closer, tension in the house grew. My partner started pestering me to arrange the money, and I retaliated by asking him to generate money from the venture instead. Owing to my slackness, the rent was delayed and my landlord, an astute Delhi businessman, got pissed and gave us a notice to pack our bags. We begged him for one more day and my partner stopped speaking to me for a day so that I knew it was entirely my fault. I decided it was time to let go of my ego and ask for my parents’ help. But before I could dial the number, I saw an unread message in my inbox. It said, ‘Rs. 60000 credited in your SBI account’. It was my father.

My eyes became wet as I dialled my father’s number. He answered on the third ring and said, ‘It’s your birthday next month. You always wanted a motorcycle. Allow me to gift you one. With the money transferred, buy it for yourself. It would help you in your business.’ Unable to say anything without giving away that I was crying, I cut the call and sobbed uncontrollably. The money he credited sustained me during the next six months of pathetic poverty. I struggled hard, the windfall in my bank account reminding me of my duty towards my parents every day. Six months later, I found an investor for my company. For the first time in life, I was in a condition to buy a motorcycle for myself, which I did.

When my father came to Delhi last month to inaugurate my venture’s new office on my birthday, I made him sit on the pillion of my six-month old motorcycle while going to the venue. He said to me, ‘You have maintained it really well. It does not look like it’s a year old.’ 

‘Yes Dad, I had to. It gave me hope when there wasn't. Thank you.’

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