Lessons from the wild


The eyes just looked red, before I opened up my eyes to see the sun striking down on my face. Sid was just lying around me at that time.

“Wake up, you lazy bum” was what I said while giving a nice kick to the area in question.

He woke up and just stared at my face, as if I’ve done some cardinal sin, by waking him up.

“dude???!!!, what’s wrong with you ? Can’t you just let me sleep for God’s sake!!”

“I would have, had we been in your cushiony bed instead of somewhere in the middle of nowhere, trying to complete the exploration, so get off your ass and get ready”. I felt like some coach of a sports film, giving a lecture to motivate the lads.

Only I wasn’t.

Sid, laughed hard on my face, seeing my “seriousness” but anyways got up.

Both of us had taken part in this competition for exploring the forests of Jharkhand, along with a few other crazy kids from all over India. We were supposed to collect items from a list and find our way to the other end of the forest before the other teams. On paper it was adventurous and super fun. Instead, it was scary and highly uncertain.

The first day, we were able to collect just “satavari”, which is an anti-oxidant and increases memory and is found to be beneficial for the eyes. This was our third day inside the forest, the second day had ended without much luck to complete the lisy. We both were already out of food, except a few pieces of biscuits. The list provided to us, not only had the names of the items but also what they are used for. Having read that this “satavari” can be beneficial for our health too, we tried this too. I’m not sure whether that helped, or it was just pure luck that we were able to spot “gaduchi” , “bala” and “vidarikand”, each of them help in building the immune system and also rejuvenating strength.

We needed strength and taking these things was more of a necessity now. The good thing about trying out these things is that, being herbs, they can only give more of benefoits, rather than the fear of harming us in any which way.

The only thing we needed to complete our list was Ashwagandha and Amla. The day had almost ended and we were unable to locate these. It was almost close to dusk that we finally found these, but to get to these plants, we needed to cross a natural bridge of tree, which might have fallen due to some storm perhaps.

“Come on Raj, we have to get it” cried aloud Sid after half-way going across the way. I am not a fan of heights. Not a fan as in, I’m a little scared. So, I kept my steps very carefully. Hardly, halfway through it, and Sid screamed and fell, and I almost peed. He held onto the branch and shouted. I was reminded of a scene from the movie ”Ishq” (for the uninitiated, the movie starred Amir khan and Ajay devgan in a very similarly funny scene). Funny, in a movie, but it was scary here. Sid, could actually fall and die. And so could I.

But I slowly went ahead and pulled him up, without any more filmy drama. Went ahead to get the other items in the list. Finally, making our way out of the forest.

We did not win. Some other team, completed it in 2 days itself, while we took an extra day altogether. Had something to blame each other knowing very clearly that this trip inside the greens of the forest was better than any other prize, which in this case was a huge bounty.

We were all given big boxes of Chywanprash along with the participation certificates. While coming back, Sid read aloud the list which we were searching for, in the forest.

dabur 3x immunity

I was about to say, “stop, it” for rubbing our loss again. But then I saw him reading it from the contents of the Chywanprash box.

We were surprised and amazed to think that things which gave us strength to stay put and survive in the forest are more easily available in these boxes.

At a time when germs like bacteria and viruses are everywhere, your immunity system needs strengthening to be able to cope with various infections and diseases.

This post was written in association with Indiblogger for 3x Immunity contest for Dabur Chyawanprash

Interstellar: My Review


Cast: Mathew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain

Director: Christopher Nolan

Runtime:170 Minutes

 

There are movies. And then there are Nolan’s movies.

Watching Interstellar is like layers of detailed awesomeness, which you peel off slowly. You get to see some and you go, Wow!! But wait, you get more of it repeatedly, one after the other. That is Nolan’s magic for you, wrapped up beautifully. Opening in front of your eyes.

Interstellar is about a lot of things. It is about space-time travel. It is about promises. It is about the quantifiable power of love. And it is about faith. All of this scattered across the plot, finally shaping up to be one fine storyline.

Interstellar movie review

Interstellar movie review

The story is about a engineer-turned-farmer, Mathew McConaughey(Playing Cooper), apparently in future we ran out of food, and how a quest for life outside the earth leads him to abandon his family to go for the mission. Accompanied by a few others, including Anne Hathaway, for the voyage across a newly discovered wormhole to ascertain life outside the dying Earth. But is this so simple? When it’s a Nolan movie, it doesn’t end there.

There is the ultimate father-daughter bond which is the most pivotal part of the movie. Apart from space exploration, it is also about exploring grey areas of personal sacrifices and how it translates across individuals.

It would be wrong to assume that this was an out-and-out entertainer; it slags in a few scenes, mostly in the first half and takes an effort to fully grasp the 5th dimension realities towards the audience. But then again, this is a Nolan’s movie and the audience is of the same kind.

Mathew McConaughey is brilliant in the portrayal of Cooper, the engineer as well as his daugheter, murph played by Jessica Chastain is a class act. The film is detailed, not just in its physics (a lot of it) as well as portrayal of the galactic and space realities involved.

Jessica Chastian playing Murph in Interstellar

Jessica Chastian playing Murph in Interstellar

I’m going with a 4/5 for Chritopher Nolan’s Interstellar, it isn’t a movie but an experience of excellence. Don’t miss this.

Gone Girl: My Review


Cast: Ben Afleck, Rosamund Pike

Director: David Fincher

Runtime: 149 Minutes

Watching Rosamund pike in Gone girl will shatter all previous images of the actress, be it as a bond girl or as the Queen Andromeda in Wrath of the titans. Gone Girl belongs to the Girl, the gone girl. The story is poetically dark and leaves an aftertaste of bewilderment.

Rosamund Pikes in Gone Girl

Rosamund Pikes in Gone Girl

You might gasp at the pace with which the movie takes off initially and might get a little anxious too, but wait it out because you’re in for a blast. And believe me; you won’t have to wait too much. The story (Would not reveal anything, so don’t worry), is about a missing wife of Ben Afleck, in a very difficult marriage. Shows you two sides of the story in a rather interesting manner and how psychopathic tendencies are resulted and affect love-hate relationships. The movie is based on the thriller novel by the same name by Gillian Flynn. Good part about casting Ben in movies like these is the smug-face that he does so well (read he has one), makes you wonder whether he is really innocent or not ?

Gone girl movie review

Gone girl movie review

You also get to see Neil Patrick harris too, in a very non-barney-non-funny way, in a very important role. David Fincher, no doubt has always made sure you are hooked till the final scenes of his movies, and you remain in a state of amusement once the ending credits are rolled down as well. From Fight club to even a few episodes of House of cards, you get to travel to the dark human psyche and be back to reality through his films. This one is just another great addition to that awesome list of many. I’m going with 3.5/5 for Gone Girl. Go watch Gone Girl, and be blown away. Rosamund Pike, I’ve become your fan.

Travelogue: The Mangalore Chapter


Karnataka couldn’t have been explored better than a trip with a bunch of friends. Living in Bangalore paints a very different picture of what the interiors of the state are, and this trip to Mangalore, Udupi and parts of Karnataka made me realize just that.

Usually I prefer travelling via train. First because, its cheaper and second, I hate travelling in buses. This time we were travelling in a car. It was a very convenient option, as we had to travel hopping places. Although it was on the expensive side, yet for the sake of convenience and ease of moving around this was comparatively the best option.

Our first stop and anchor for the trip was Mangalore, it was where our hotel was booked. We started late at night and reach early morning while enjoying the Ghats along the way during dusk.

Our first stop after checking in the hotel, was at Diesel Cafe. Breakfast of sandwiches, omelette, Scrambled eggs and Coffee.

We moved to the church of St. Aloysious nearby, which is around 130 years old. Carved with intricate pictures explaining the life of Jesus Christ and other saints. It was indeed a wonderful experience. The church is surrounded by college and nusring home in the same premises as well. The chapel is an architectural marvel in itself, built by Italian Antonio Moscheni.

It was almost time for lunch, but the place we had bookmarked for our lunch was closed. Reason being “Dry day” (2nd Oct) and since the restaurant comes along with a Bar. Instead we ended up having our “lunch” in an ice-cream parlour, called Paabba’s Ice cream, with only Ice-creams. If you ever visit Mangalore, this is a not-to-miss place.

Evening was reserved for a trip down to the beach and enjoy ourselves.

The Day-2 of the trip involved a lot of travelling as we moved from Mangalore to Udupi, after finishing our breakfast. Again, it was Diesel Cafe and instead of the English breakfast, this was more of a little taste of Mangalorean food. Neer dosa, Rice Rotis were had.

On our way to Udupi, we stopped at the 1000pillar temple.

During the trip, my eyes just turned green with the sight that was before me. All throughout the trip, it was just the green trees spread across everywhere that I could see.

The Neminath Basadi Temple in Karkala, overlooking the Gomateshwara statue and finally climbing the stairs to see the Huge statue.

The best part of the trip was yet to come, and like every trip you take, there remains that one place which stands out. Malpe beach was that place for me. I’ve never been on a beach with rain for company, but with this visit even that has been accomplished.

There were cocnuts lying around the beach, and one of my friend even broke it up for us to eat. :P

Coconuts in Malpe beach

Coconuts in Malpe beach

Dead fishes were thrown across with the incoming waves and so was garbage.

But we enjoyed the fishes. No, not those of course, but these. I always prefer the river ones over the Salt water fishes, but these were damn yummy.

While the fish was being fried, we indulged in some Gola and bhutta eating.

Although we went to Malpe beach with the hope of going over to St. Mary’s island, but thanks to timing, we just missed the ferry that takes people to the island. Sad part is, we had to watch the ferry leave in front of our eyes. :(

Consoled ourselves with the view of the dockyard and the crazy smell of fishes all over the place :P

Finally it was time to head back to Mangalore and finish of the trip.

For me ,the trip ended here at the beach with the taste of the fish still amalgamated in my mouth.

Must say, although I love travelling alone, this one with friends was very relaxing. Agreed that I missed out on lots of places to visit, authentic food to be tried, getting to know the locals or travelling in public transport while interacting with them. But this had a certain charm in itself.

Social media Bootcamp: My Experience


It is not every day that you get to sit, talk and most importantly listen to people having the same interests as you. I was literally bubbling with excitement, after getting to be there in the Social media bootcamp in Bangalore, on Wednesday, 15th October. 

The camp was organized by Helen Issar, who runs the Social media Management group called Penny Lane Social. Coming with a vast experience in this domain from the dawn of social media, she has a profile to be envy of. Making things happen digitally, making brands come alive and register themselves in the consumers mind, is what she had been doing. Oh Yes, I am envious.

Social media Bootcamp, Bangalore

Social media Bootcamp, Bangalore

The 3-hour long, with a little break of amazing biscuits and cakes in between, session started with basics of Social media. It would be rude of me to simply say that this part was boring, as this was basics, but it was. Nevertheless, it was nice to start this off to ease everyone in, on the big elephant everyone is looking to tame, i.e., Social media.

As the session went on, things got interesting. From nitty-gritties of social media to tips on how to take care of twitter/facebook/Youtube to stats detailing how the full scope of Social media in India is yet to be explored completely.

Targeting: The target user profiling on each of these social networks vary. The stats throw up a beautiful picture on how this can be done effectively. Filtering out your target is a very important step in starting off your campaign.

Content Generation: The content generation requires empathizing with the reader and customizing it to their liking. Different rules apply on different social media platforms. While the 80:20 Rule of Curated: Created content works for Twitter, a 70:20:10 rule of Created: Curated: Promotional content works best for Facebook. The correct proportion will aid in making the recipe of engagement on these platforms better, and give the ultimate dish a great taste.

One size does not fit all, and hence content tone varies across platforms. While a blog reader is expected to at least read 300+ words, a tweet message has to be contained within 140 characters. (Makes me wonder, are you still there reading this “more than 300 word blog”? :P )

Pictures work wonder on all the platforms and so, a picture + quote + small description is ideally the correct syntax to be used to code for Social media success.  

Create stories: The most effective way to capture an audience is to tell a story to them. This can be in the form of a picture flow chart (A How-to guide?), making your users share experience of their use or sharing your knowledge about what you do best to the world.

Read insights and statistics: Tailor the social media content through insights and analytics gathered from user behavior.

Brand all your content, make it your own. Pictures/Videos/pdfs should all bear your logo, wherever you share them.

It all boils down to one very important fact, Create content to build a community with an expectation to build it into a marketplace.

Important question is not why to use Social media? Question is How to use it to our advantage?

 

…In search of Clarity..


Clarity.

Clean glass container filled with water, clean water, you see bubbles. That represents clarity. Nothing explains it better. You drop even a small pebble, a small part of anything which doesn’t dissolve and just wanders around. You watch it, move around, forming symmetries and asymmetries all along. That small pebble is irritating enough that has disturbed your view of the clear water and distracted you.

Imagine more of those pebbles jumping in. more distractions. Less clarity. To put it simply, that’s how life is.

Pebbles or problems keep jumping in from time to time. What we are always looking to do is, find that clarity again. At least I am.

There’s no one way, where this can be achieved. Or rather can never be achieved. But this does not mean we never try. The quest for clarity is the single most important things we should look forward to run after.

Life through its various facets gives us that chance to look for answers and look for clarity. It is not necessary to go to the Himalayas to attain that. It is something that you can find in between a very crowded market, or a park where all you could hear are the birds chirping. You can find it while travelling, standing on the door of a train or bobbing your head out of the window in a moving bus or even riding a bike too.

Answers are everywhere. Clarity too.

There are lots of pebbles and probably lots of questions to be answered to. But hopefully at the end of it, we can look back and say, yes!! We tried.

Clarity.

…just straight out of my pen…


It suddenly strikes. The zeal to write again, to immerse yourself in the beauty of the words. Words, written words, have a way to let you express yourself. They never disappoint.

A lot happens. A lot of ideas to write on, flows along the way too. but the effort required to open up the word document after coming from work, seems more hectic than the session in gym. At least, there’s a trainer to push you, to put those muscles to work. Back in home, that laziness won’t let you do anything apart from clicking on the play button on the VLC player while watching a random TV series. Such is life. Work life.

Although, I should add, it is just my attempt to throw the blame of this whole thing onto something. It has always been like that, getting into a shell where writing something which I want, get pushed away. Procrastination sweeps in and makes you sleep with it. and believe me, it is only the time when we are with it, it feels good, but just when we wake up next day, the intense hangover of having done nothing fills up the head.

I’ve been trying hard to get life a little disciplined. Starting to manage time a little better, and do a lot of other things that will just give me space and time to do things that I like. And yet, this ardouous process never seems to take off. But then, one should keep trying right ?

And so, here’s a start to a better disciplined life. Maybe it is too late, or maybe it is not. Heard somewhere, Your “rest of the life” starts now!! So, I’m making a start. To start writing again, just for the pure love of it, without any obligations to cater to. Just simply write. To express.