Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Irreversible Change


P.S. - Some people and circumstances in life change us permanently, for good or for worse. There's no going back though.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

10 Yahoo Smileys I Miss Most ~ Ten On Tuesday

Do you remember those good old days when we used to chat on Yahoo Messenger? There was a phase in my life when I used to be online on Yahoo Chat all through my waking hours. I had even installed a Yahoo Pingbox on my blog's sidebar, so that my readers could ping me on Yahoo while they were visiting my blog! Planned an entire bloggers' meet in New Delhi via that Pingbox!

But, you know what's the one thing I miss most about Yahoo Messenger? It's those smileys!





Today, I've written a guest post for Shilpa Garg, on the 10 Yahoo Smileys I miss the most.

Please do check out my post on her blog here! :)



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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Breaking the Indian "Puppet" Mentality!

Did you know that Dharmendra and Hema Malini changed their religion just so that they could be legally married to each other?

I didn't. I only found out about it yesterday!

"Love ke liye saala kuch bhi karega!" Right? :P

Well, I'm not going to judge here whether what they did was right or wrong. In fact, I don't even know what right or wrong really is.

Besides, what might be right for me might not be acceptable to somebody else, and what might be right for someone else might just destroy my life!

So without getting too deep into right and wrong, all I want to say is that I'm simply amazed at the guts these guys showed, to live their life the way THEY wanted to!



And to think that they took this bold step so many decades ago... when even today, despite all this so-called "globalization", influence of social-media, and foreign education too at times, most of the people I see around me are simply "puppets"--of their parents and of the society!

They have no control over their lives. They cannot decide what subjects to study in school. Most of them cannot take up a career of their own choice. Choosing their own life partner is still a rarity in India, and usually involves a lot of struggle.

Oh, but even after marriage, the "strings" are not cut off! They cannot decide for themselves when to have kids, how many kids to have, and even what gender of kids to have!

Yupp! You read that right. I personally know someone (know her very well, in fact) who was "forced" to abort her second child because the "tests" showed that it was going to be a female and the "grandparents" didn't want "another grand-daughter"!

I wonder when we Indians will stop living in bondage and learn to take our lives & our destinies in our own hands.

I wonder when we will REALLY become independent. All of us. Not just "freak examples" like the couple above.


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Monday, May 18, 2015

Book Review: Get Corporated Before You Get Fired by Rajeev Rakesh Tamhankar

Review: Get Corporated Before You Get Fired by Rajeev Rakesh Tamhankar

Get Corporated Before You Get Fired
Author: Rajeev Rakesh Tamhankar
ISBN: 978-9352013111

Buy from:

Flipkart

Amazon.in

Amazon.com


Get Corporated Before You Get Fired, by Rajeev Rakesh Tamhankar, is a short, funny, satire on corporate dynamics between an employee, his boss, and the various corporate verticals like HR and Marketing.

Blurb from Get Corporated Before You Get Fired:

Despite the best preventive HR policies of randomly reorganizing the department and designing incomprehensible appraisal processes, Sid, an employee has got promoted within a short span of five years. And the HR vice president is absolutely not happy about this! He needs an RCA done and he needs it fast!

Meet Sid-an average employee who gets thrashed by his boss, duped by his HR and confused by the management. Join Sid in his corporate journey of launching a new smart phone brand. Discover the corporate work culture as he makes his way through various graphs, pie-charts, bell-curves and what not-all to save his job!


When I received this book, I thought it was going to have a lot of corporate jargon that I would find difficult to relate with. Launching a new smartphone seemed like it would involve a heavy course in technical and marketing related stuff. But, I was totally wrong!

Get Corporated Before You Get Fired, by Rajeev Rakesh Tamhankar, is a simple, slightly exaggerated, sarcastic take on the usual "office politics" that all of us who have ever worked in the corporate sector will be well aware of and will easily be able to relate with.

Sid is a classic "over-achiever" employee of an Indian online retail giant. You know the kind of employees who always come on time, work hard, do overtime also at no extra pay, and never get promoted? That kind. The story is about how he launches a new smartphone, and, more importantly, WHY he launches that new smartphone! Oh and also HOW he got promoted! That's the best part!

The story takes you through all the typical (and somewhat cunning, if I might add) practices of corporate heads, HR executives, and Marketing teams, in a humorously entertaining fashion, without ever becoming predictable. It is the story of thousands of junior-level employees like Sid, who face these situations daily in their work life.

Written in a contemporary style, with a simple story line (no complicated plots or characters), Get Corporated Before You Get Fired makes for a light, breezy read. (It was less than 125 pages long.) I was able to identify so many of the character sketches from my previous workplaces. In fact, as I read the book, I wished more than once that Mr. Tamhankar had written it 12 years ago, when I had started working in the corporate sector! It could have been so useful to me back then! :P

My rating: 4.5 out of 5. Get Corporated Before You Get Fired, by Rajeev Rakesh Tamhankar, is a must-read novella for all those who are working, or have ever worked, in the corporate sector. Although, I must add here... the HR, Marketing, and Management guys might not like the joke on them! :D

Buy from: Flipkart | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for reviewing, but that has, in no way, affected my rating and opinions.


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Sunday, May 17, 2015

My Reading Preferences!

Here's another tag, i.e. blog meme, that I picked up from Sunday Stealing, once again, courtesy Shilpa Garg! This one is about books, so how can I NOT do it? :)


Picture Credit: http://cakesandcupcakesmumbai.com/

So these are my reading preferences, as asked in the meme:

  • Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror?
    Science Fiction preferable, then Fantasy, no interest in Horror.

  • Hardback or Trade paperback or Mass market paperback?
    Any paperback would do actually. Hardbacks are difficult to read, plus they occupy more shelf-space.

  • Amazon or Brick and Mortar?
    Amazon without a doubt, because:
    1. I've become a fan of reading books on the kindle app on my phone. (So many books in just one phone!)
    2. More eco-friendly as less paper products are consumed.
    3. I'm running out of shelf-space in my books almirah! (Do take a look at its picture.)

  • Barnes & Noble or Borders?
    Never used either of them. Besides, Borders shut down some time ago. Anyway, Flipkart is best for buying printed books in India as it gives some great deals usually. Here, check it out...

  • Bookmark or Dog-ear?
    Book marks, please! Who wants dog-eared pages in books? Blasphemy, I tell you!

  • Asimov’s Science Fiction or Fantasy & Science Fiction?
    Haven't read Asimov, as far as I can remember, but any science fiction usually works for me.

  • Alphabetize by author, Alphabetize by title, or Random?
    Why so much focus on 'alphabetizing'? I arrange my books according to the space in my shelf. I must keep books from one author together. That's my only requisite.

  • Keep, Throw away or Sell?
    Keep, as far as possible. My sister gave away at least three cartons of my books to our uncle in Patna when she and Dad decided to join me in Noida. She thought it was only for safe-keeping and we would get it back when we returned. Alas, we never got them back! :( I had such a big collection back then... some real gems! Sighhhh. I should learn to let go...

  • Keep dust-jacket or Toss it?
    Keep them, of course. They look kind of cute. Never understood their purpose though. I mean what would keep the dust of those dust jackets?

  • Read with dust-jacket or Remove it?
    I remove them while reading.

  • Short story or Novel?
    Novels, preferably. The thicker the better. Although in 2013, I read my first book of short stories since completing school. It was The Labyrinth: Short Stories (English) by Litizen.com. The stories have been penned by several Indian authors. I actually quite enjoyed this book and gave it a 4+ rating. Have been planning to do a proper review on it for quite some time. Nevertheless, you should definitely check this one out. It's available on Flipkart, Amazon.in and Amazon.com.

  • Stop reading when tired or at Chapter breaks?
    Honestly, I usually stop reading only when some other "pressing chore" cannot be held off any longer. My Dad now gets terrified the moment he sees that I've started on a new book!

  • “It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
    Out of the two, I like “Once upon a time”, 'coz it's a kind of universally accepted standard for stories. Reminds me of my childhood days, you know! :P Although, normally I prefer something more creative than both of these.

  • Buy or Borrow?There are some books that you simply MUST HAVE in your collection on your book shelf. You may want to read them again and again. Naturally, it makes sense to buy them. Then there are some you just want to read once and then forget about them. Borrowing works for those.

  • Buying choice: Book Reviews, Recommendation or Browse?
    It's usually a combination of the three. Sometimes, I come across a book while browsing an online store and then check out its reviews before deciding to buy. Occasionally, someone known to me recommends a book to me and then I double-check his/her word with other online reviews for that book. By the way, do check out my reviews on this blog.

  • Collection (short stories by the same author) or Anthology (short stories by different authors)?
    As I said earlier, I haven't read too many short stories after school, but, I think both will have their benefits. If it's a tried-tested-and-liked author, then you'll naturally enjoy his/her book. An anthology, on the other hand, will let you get a flavor of the writing styles of many different authors in just one book.

  • Tidy ending or Cliffhanger?
    NEVER a Cliffhanger? I hate cliffhanger endings in books! Cliffhangers are for Ekta Kapoor's stupid TV serials. Books should have tidy endings. No loose ends. No incomplete threads. Everything should see its logical end.

  • Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading?
    Anytime reading. Anywhere reading. Period.

  • Standalone or Series?
    Standalones are okay, but, Series are the best. Especially when all parts of the Series have already been released and you can read them all one after the other without break! Ahhh! Bliss! The characters become part of your family. It's almost as if their lives and your life get intertwined in inexplicable ways. When I completed the Lord of the Rings Series, I actually went into a depression for days!

  • Favorite book of which nobody else has heard?
    I read this Hindi book long ago (I must have been less than 6-years-old, I think). It was called "Panda Mere Ghar Aaya". It was the first time I got to know of the existence of Pandas and Bamboo plants and I really loved that book. It had a lot of illustrations along with the text. I remember having preserved my tattered copy of it for years, even into my adolescence. I can't find this book on Google right now, so I'm guessing nobody else would have heard of it.

  • Favorite genre series?
    So far, it's Wilbur Smith's Ancient Egypt Series. (Wiki link). You MUST read it if you haven't already. I have read the first four. I just realized that the fifth had also released. Must order it soon. Here are the books of this series in order and the links for ordering them.
    1. River God (1994) - Flipkart | Amazon.in | Amazon.com
    2. The Seventh Scroll (1995) - Flipkart | Amazon.in | Amazon.com
    3. Warlock (2001) - Flipkart | Amazon.in | Amazon.com
    4. The Quest (2007) - Flipkart | Amazon.in | Amazon.com
    5. Desert God (2014) - Flipkart | Amazon.in | Amazon.com

  • Currently Reading?
    Chase of Choices by Dr. Hari Parameshwar. The author sent me a free copy to read and review only yesterday. You can either wait for my review of this book or check the book directly on Flipkart, Amazon.in or Amazon.com.

There you go. All done. If you are a book lover, consider yourself tagged. If you don't have a blog to post your answers, use my comment form. Oh yes, I don't mind sharing my blog's comment space with non-bloggers. You can make it as long as Blogger would allow.


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Friday, May 15, 2015

Foto Friday: Silver Lining!

Every cloud has a silver lining, and sometimes, all that silver is so bright that you know your humble phone camera won't do any justice to it at all! Still, you cannot refrain yourself from capturing those moments of glorious beauty that the Nature let you witness.

This is the sight that greeted me the moment I stepped out of my apartment gate to head for my shop after my lunch break today...





I couldn't decide which of these looked prettiest, so I posted all three of them. Can you pick any favorites?

P.S. - You know, I never got to see such amazing views of the sky back in Patna!


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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Making Life Easier With My Airtel App

Managing an entire household, along with a retail store (even if it’s just a small neighborhood store), can be extremely demanding on your time. It can turn your immaculately planned life completely upside-down.

There was a period in my life when everything was scheduled carefully days in advance, and then executed exactly as scheduled. Bills were paid on time. Insurance premiums were never forgotten. Cell phones never ran out of balance, neither on talk-time, nor on data. In fact, I used to stay several steps ahead of my schedule.

Then my shop happened, and it was “Goodbye” to “advance planning”. Now, I’m just rushing along from one moment to the next, making up my schedule as I go. In the initial days of opening my store, I used to work with to-do lists, but now, I don’t even have time to make those lists!


See the 'last updated' date on this list?

Recently, I got to know about this Airtel App for my phone. It boasted to take care of all my DTH, Broadband, Postpaid and Prepaid services from one place. I’m actually looking for such services nowadays. I think very soon I’ll need a Personal Assistant, but for the time being, I’m ready to try anything that helps me in completing any part of my schedule on time.

So I decided to try this Airtel App on my phone.

There are three things that I especially liked about this app.


  1. The “I Want To” Tab.

    I can make shortcuts on my home screen for the stuff I need to do regularly, like checking the phone balance, recharging my phone, keeping track of my mobile data usage, keeping track of when I last recharged with what (there are STVs also, you know, and they don’t always have monthly validity, so it can get very confusing).

  2. The “Recharge any Airtel Number” option.


    So I don’t need to open up the Airtel online recharge site on my phone browser anymore. (My phone browser is anyway too slow! I can hardly ever open up any website on it!) Now I can recharge any Airtel number directly from this app. Oh by the way, ever since I opened my store, I rarely get the time to turn my PC on at home and work on it, except on my one weekly off (Saturday).

  3. The “Safe and Secured Payment” Options.


    I can confidently pay for my bills and recharges via Debit Cards, Credit Cards, Net Banking, or Airtel Money. It also lets me “Save” the Card details so I don’t have to enter it each time I recharge or make a payment. Plus the interface is quite easy to use and responsive.

These are the three features that I loved most about this app.

There’s actually one more feature that I really liked, and that’s the “Airtel Surprise Coupons” scheme with every recharge.



I’m guessing it must be a limited-time offer to promote their app, but, hey! Who doesn’t love discount coupons? And they’re offering these coupons across so many brands, including flipkart, ebay and amazon! It feels awesome to receive coupons for sites/places that you actually use for shopping.

So there you go. This app has taken care of at least some of my problems, and, in the meantime, I’m still looking for ways to help me remember the rest of my monthly/quarterly/annual schedules.

Picture Credits: The last FOUR images in this post have been taken from http://www.airtel.in/myairtelapp/. First one is a screenshot of my own cell phone taken today.


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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Snakes & Ladders for Android

A recent Facebook conversation reminded me of this post I was supposed to do a couple of months ago. It's about my favorite Android version of the popular game Snakes & Ladders.



I installed several different apps of Snakes & Ladders on my phone, but this is the one I finally retained. It offers a variety of game modes, has decent graphics, and I especially love the board layout. Here take a look...



See all those snakes in the 90s row? And see that big one on 66? And that loooooong ladder on 20?

I figured the game can get over in minimum 3 moves by a single player. Here's how:

  • First move - You get a 4, take the ladder to 16.
  • Second move - You get another 4, take the ladder to 74.
  • Third move - You get a 6, take the ladder to 100.

Game Over.

This hasn't happened with me yet though.

As for the maximum duration of the game... there is no limit actually. My personal record is 49 minutes. Both the computer and I kept taking turns at feeding that mammoth of a snake on 66. I actually got eaten up by that one snake three times in a row in that single game! Then, of course, there were other snakes too... not to forget those three on the top-most row of the board!

You should have heard me swearing and shouting at Mr. Sixy-six that day! And you should have also seen all those flying kisses I sent him every time he ate up the computer! Hehehe! :D

I don't play this game too often though. It can get very noisy, you see... and then Dad threatens to throw my phone away. Not that he will actually do it, but, still...

It's got a 'Survival' mode too, which is a mixture of Snakes & Ladders plus Pacman. Here's a screenshot...



This one's really difficult. These pacmans are even more brutal than the snakes 'coz they keep moving! You might land on the big ladder at number 20, only to realize that a red devil is waiting for you on 74! Oh and these brutes keep growing in number as the time progresses! VERY difficult!

But DO download it on your phone and give it a try. It provides good mindless time-pass for those times when you have no customers at your shop and nothing else to do either. Just try not to make it too "personal" with Mr. Sixty-six though, or people might seriously consider packing you off to a mental asylum.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kasin Websoft

One change that was long overdue - the name of my online portfolio.

Kadzilla's eStudio is now Kasin Websoft.



Sounds more professional now, doesn't it? Also easier to spell!

I just need to update it now with fresh content.


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Friday, May 8, 2015

Foto Friday: Godzilla Trapped!

This is what I saw in my shop one day, when I looked up to see what was fluttering/flapping on the wall behind me!



So okay... this is not Godzilla... this is just a poor lizard... but 'Godzilla' made for a more catchy title, didn't it? :D

Anyway, this poor lizzy (I think she came with my shop, unless that was some other lizard and I've mixed them up now 'coz they all look so alike!) was stuck in a tiny hole in the center of the cover of that electric connection box on the wall! And she was flapping her tail wildly, trying to get out... or in... I couldn't really make out!

I'm guessing, the direction wouldn't have mattered much to her at that time. Her sole intent must have been to get her ENTIRE body on ONE side of that cover! To me, it seemed an impossible goal to achieve with THAT waistline!

Anyway, I, immediately, fished for my camera in the drawer of my table, the customer completely forgotten for the time being!

Lizzy sensed the attention, I think, 'coz she stopped flapping her tail and became absolutely still. I got my picture. And then there was nothing else I could do. So I went back to attending to the customer.

Dad and I left for lunch soon after that. When I returned a couple of hours later, Lizzy was nowhere to be seen. For several days after that, we had no clue what happened to her. Whether she died in that hole, or escaped... no clue whatsoever!

Then, a few days ago, she resurfaced! As much a fatso as she looks in this picture! :D

Sighhh! Life is back to normal now. I am so happy. Except, of course, when she's in a "hurry" to grab an insect, 'coz she can be really disruptive to the immaculate display in my shop during one of those phases.

P.S. - In case you're wondering about my inexplicable fondness for Lizzy, then you MUST read this earlier post on 'Kaddu Vs. Lizzy'. You probably haven't read it yet.


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