Tuesday, 18 April 2017

My Indian Jugaad

Flash back to the year 2002's I find myself in a foreign land as part of a team where I am the lone Indian. We are visiting a remote site for project evaluation.

One of the foreign team members has a digital camera and I am quite enamoured by the technology.
On my part I am carrying a roll camera. I click pictures and they would have to be developed and printed on to a photographic paper before they can be used.

My foreign counterpart is merrily clicking pictures so that he can use to create the project report or email them to everyone.
I am fascinated by the technology, My colleague is gracious and lets me handle his tech toy. He explains the features and tells me how technically advanced it is. In the evening on our way back we are greeted with rain and thunder storm.
There is a lot of moisture in the air. My foreign colleague is merrily clicking pictures of everything around.
The next morning when he turns on his camera it just would not come on. There is just a blob of wetness in the areas of the display screen. The non functioning of the camera makes him panic. After all it has almost 3 days of pictures related to work that he would like to use in the project report. Just to calm him down a fellow colleague jokingly said looks like you camera caught a cold. But this did not amuse my colleague. Luckily his camera came with a phone support option. He called up and had a long talk. The support guy took him through a number of steps but did not get any success. Finally he reached the conclusion that the camera would have to be sent back to the factory for fixing. Either they would fix it or give him a new one in case it cannot be fixed as the camera was still under warranty. However in either case the photos stored in the cameras internal memory would be lost. That particular camera had an internal memory storage which could not be removed or backed up in a non functional camera state.
This meant that all the work would had to be done again.
This news caused a lot of panic in our team. There were frantic phone calls made to the office as a result our team was told to travel back again to the site to complete the report and the evaluation. This is the last thing that we want to do but what could be done? With heavy hearts we started packing ….
Then my Indian mind came up with a very Indian Jugaad
For those who do not know what a Jugaad is, it is a hack or an innovation.
I told him that I would like to make an attempt to fix his camera.
Rightfully he seemed doubtful about the outcome of my attempts to fix the camera. I could not blame him for his doubts. He was the technology expert and it was his country with access to so much technological advancement. Even the tech support team had given up on fixing up the camera over the phone and in all probability the photographs had been lost. Yet here I was standing in front of him sans any tools or technology offering to help him fix his camera and perhaps even recover his photos. Reluctantly he gave me the camera. I inspected it and took it to my room. Outside my room it was quite sunny. I could feel the warmth of the sun and that is all I needed to fix the camera.
I took a polythene bag and put the camera inside. I then hung it outside my window. The camera hung there in the warm shade not under direct sunlight, I let it remain there for about two hours.
Then there was a knock at the door I opened the door and found my colleague standing there he was curious to know how my attempt was going along. When he saw his digital camera hanging outside my window in a polythene bag he was quite petrified and I saw his jaws drop. I accompanied him to the window and carefully took the polythene bag holding the camera in. I unwrapped the bag and tried to turn on the camera. With a flicker of red light the dead camera came to life. I handed over the camera to him and he frantically scrolled through the pictures saved in the memory. They were all intact. I suggested that he should back up the pictures. It was an advice he promptly followed.
So that day when some of the best technology had failed an Indian Jugaad had saved not just the day but also saved us from a lot of trouble at the office. From now on my tech savvy colleague began to see me in a new light. I became the new tech expert, the expert of Jugaad the Indian way of looking at and solving problems. I am not the only one wherever we Indian's go we make our mark. People around the world take note of our talents and try to emulate them bit.ly/2oQTj8q


Friday, 17 March 2017

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini the perfect Holiday Destination



Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini the perfect Holiday Destination


Yes you read the title of my post right. There is no typo. Traveling on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini in particular can be a memorable experience.
Ships have long been used to transport goods and people from one place to another. However in today's world luxury Cruises represent the epitome of luxury and comfort. I experienced this first hand when I got the opportunity to travel on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini.



To begin with it is a luxury cruise liner that can accommodate over 1500 passengers.
To make this journey comfortable they have a staff 1:2 ratio who manage the ship and look after the guests and keep the cruise liner in top shape.

Different people have different reasons to take a cruise and I found people from various nationalities and age groups.

There were families with children, young couples who had chosen this cruise as part of their Honeymoon and there were Senior Couples who were enjoying a leisurely life that SuperStar Gemini has to offer.
Life on the ship can be luxurious as well as rewarding. Star Cruise SuperStar Gemini offers a number of activities, food and entertainment options to its guests. I found the game of Bingo “Go for gold Jackpot Bingo” was not just easy to play but also quite rewarding as I witnessed quite a few guests walk away with winning the Bingo games .If you want to try your luck there is a full-fledged casino.
The best part is that I found that this cruise offered something for everyone. For those traveling with children there is a full-fledged activity center. It has a care taker and a large number of games and activities to keep the young ones productively occupied. It is an experience that every child should have for a positive Impact on their lives.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Activity Centre


Apart from this there are regular activities like Cake Decorations ,Pizza Making,ice cream party ,paper art, Pajama Party and the list goes on and there are enough activities to keep the young ones not just occupied but they can also learn a new skill and enhance their knowledge about the ship and the world.
   
For the entire family there are game shows that the entire family can play, experience the Chinese Tea making demonstration or simply go to the deck and enjoy breathtaking view of Sunrise and Sunset.
For the honeymooners and the young couples there are plenty of opportunities to bond and spend quality time together. If you want to spend quality time with your loved ones then Star Cruise SuperStar Gemini is the place to be.

You could laze on the deck 11 breathe in that fresh air that is so refreshing.
Go for a Jog together on deck 7 or maybe request a song as the live band plays peppy music at various places and locations of the ship. One can request a song and if the band knows it then they eagerly play it for you. I heard beautiful Bollywood song renditions by the various artists on the ship.




The cruise lays a lot of emphasis on entertainment. So there are a number of shows lined up for you when you are on board.
These add to the charm of being on board Star Cruise SuperStarGemini and without attending them the experience would never be complete.



Food: Star Cruise SuperStarGemini has a number of restaurants and places to eat and drink. They offer a wide range of cuisines to suit its various guests. They serve Indian , Chinese ,Asian  and Western Cuisines.
There is so much food with so much variety to suit each palate that one cannot possibly go hungry if one is looking in the right places. If you are a vegetarian or a Jain, do not get worried these meals are readily available.
I have listed the restaurants on board Star Cruise SuperStarGemini. These specialize in different kind of foods. The restaurants on board are of two type’s  all inclusive restaurants that one can go to and eat without paying anything extra. You can go and eat here and your meal cost is covered in the ticket. The restaurants not in the inclusive list are the ones that one can go eat and pay.
For each day you can check the list of inclusive restaurants in the Navigator which is the Navigation tool or map to follow the activities for the day on the ship. This is the daily sheet of paper delivered to you in in your cabin.
For the early risers there is Observatory Lounge/KTV on Deck 12 Fwd
Mariners on Deck 9 Mid offer International & Indian Cuisines (Pork and Lard Free)
Dynasty Deck 11 Aft
Bella Vista
Blue Lagoon is the 24 Hour Open restaurants
Taipan: Chinese and A La carte
Topsiders Bar : They offer some wonderful Wraps and Hotdogs


So when you are traveling on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini be prepared for having a fantastic experience on board the ship.



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Rs2000 Genuine or Fake

Do you know that there are 17 Checks to find if the Rs2000 note is real or fake.


To find out hold the note with the Mahatma Gandhi's image side facing you



1) When held against the light
Check the see through register. Here the 2000 can be seen when held against the light
2) Tilt the note to check the latent image of 2000.
3)Devnagri Denomination of 2000.
4)Portrait of Mahatama Gandhi
5)The Micro letter of RBI and 2000 (These are missing on the fake note)
6)Check the color shift security thread. This has 2000 and Bharat written.
7)Guarantee Clause & The governers Signature & RBI emblem towards right.
8)Check the watermark of Mahatama Gandhi and electrotype 2000 numeral.
9)Number Panel with numerals growing from small to big on top left and top bottom right sides.
10) Check the Denominational numeral with the rupee symbol and 2000
11) The Ashoka pillar emblem should be visible.
12)Check out the rectangle with rupee 2000 symbol on the right.
Feel it with finger. In the original it feels raised. In the fake one it is not a raised print.
13)Check the 7 angular bleed lines In the genuine currency they are raised but in the fake currency they are present but not raised.
Now check the reverse side



14)Year of issuance (2016) for the first set of notes
15) Check the Swatch Bharat Logo
16) Check the 16 Languages, language panel

17)Check the Motif of Mangalyaan.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Superstar Gemini Where the food never fails to surprise you









The food on board superstar Gemini never failed to surprise me. It was a positive surprise to find so much delicious food on a cruise ship. Whatever your preference in food and whatever part of the world you are coming from you are bound to find plenty of good food.

There are plenty of places to Wine & Dine on board Superstar Gemini they are namely
Mariners
Bella Vista
Dynasty
Oceana Barbecue
Blue Lagoon
Taipan For chinese Food
Food & Beverage Outlets
Observatory Lounge / KTV
Maxims Lounge
Topsiders Bar
Rendezvous Bar
Champs Bar

For a daily schedule and timings of the restaurants  check out your copy of the Star Navigator that is delivered to your cabin everyday.





A guest travelling on board Star Cruise's Superstar Gemini can also tune in to Star Navigator channel on the in cabin TV and view the Star Navigator for the day.









Friday, 3 February 2017

Live a Royal Holiday at ITC Mughal Agra

Why does a tourist go to Agra?
More often then not it is to visit the Taj Mahal and if you are a true romantic like me you cannot help but imagine the luxurious lives the mughal emperors and their families would have enjoyed?
When they could so painstakingly build the Taj Mahal the ultimate epitome of undying love of an emperor for his beloved queen so what would be it like  to live the grandeur experienced by the mughals at the peak of their glory.
Fortunately for me this dream of imagining the grandeur was to be transformed seamlessly into a reality when I booked a stay at the ITC Mughal, A Luxury Collection Hotel at Agra for a weekend stay at this beauitful 5 star property.
The beauty of booking a weekend break to Agra is that it is so well connected by road that it seems to be the most obvious choice for a weekend destination. The newly built and the well maintained Yamuna expressway was another incentive for me as I was driving to Agra from Delhi.

The distance between Delhi to Agra is about 232.7 Km via the Taj Expressway / Yamuna Expressway.
It  can easily be covered in about four and a half hours.
I found the road to be good and the drive was smooth and quite enjoyable.

To live like royalty I had opted to stay at the ITC Mughal located at Taj Ganj, Agra It is a strategically located property from where all the major attractions of the Agra city can be easily accessed.

The moment I stepped into this hotel I realized how correct I was to book my stay at this magnificent property sprawling on a 35 acre land.The hotel is situated close both to the city centre and the gardens and Agra's main attraction the Taj Mahal.
Being here I was never too far from the Agra fort built by Akbar.
Even Fathepur Sikri which was built by the side of an artificial lake is not too far.In fact it is about 3 Km away

On the advice of the concierge I visited the Sikandra tomb which is a combination of the muslim and the hindu style of architecture.

Talking about architecture and style my hotel ITC Mughal did capture and recreate the grandeur and luxury of the mughal era for its guests.
To experience the royal luxury with the addition of modern amenities and technology I had to look no further.
There is opulence all around you.


What would you stay if this is the view of the main entrance


The view of the lobby left me speechless.


With so much opulence around me I was at a loss for words





View of Taj Bano my favourite place to eat.

With every step I was taken into a deeper realm of luxury.



bagh e bahar lounge. It seemed the time stood still.


Who says you have to be born as a king. You can always opt to stay here in the Royal Mughal suite and enjoy the modernized luxury of the ITC Mughal




If you want to step back into time just visit the SPA reception and be mesmerised by the view. This is what I saw

  

SPA Reception at Kaya Kalp the royal Spa.
Need I say more, it was a timeless classic royal holiday at ITC Mughal A Luxury Collection Hotel.
Here the food was great and an experience beyond words.


“I am blogging about my luxury stay experience for an activity at BlogAdda in association with MakeMyTrip

image credits: http://www.starwoodhotels.com

Luxury in the heart of Mumbai

The one thing I like best about going to Mumbai is the moment when my plane lands
and I step out of the aeroplane. There is something magical in the air.

“ I always get the feeling that the big city of Mumbai spreads its arms to welcome
me.”
“The warmth filled breeze at the Mumbai airport and the bright
sun kissed tarmac never fails to fill me with a new found enthusiasm and vigor.”

As I stepped out of the airport I found a person from the Novotel Juhu Beach
waiting for me at the arrival. Dressed in a crisp white uniform he was there to
welcome me and lead me to my car.
A cool breeze escorted me and gently caressed my face and ruffled my hair ever
so gently and made me feel so wanted and welcome in this big and beautiful
city.
The ride to the Novotel Juhu beach hotel is short as the hotel is not very far
from the airport. En route I found a large sea of people who were going about
their business of life.
As my car meandered through the Mumbai roads I wondered
"So these are the people who make Mumbai tick and make Mumbai the city that
never sleeps"
So many people always on the move making it a sea of people, it felt good
however my eyes were searching for a sea of a different kind.
I was looking forward to get a glimpse of the Arabian Sea. As the hotel car in
which I was traveling took a turn I got my first glimpse of the Arabian Sea.
The sun light drenched waves appeared to have donned a silver edge and were
merrily dancing to the song of the sea. I rolled down the window of my car and
I could experience the cool see breeze getting mixed with the air of the car
air conditioner. I felt excited and I wanted to get out of the car and run towards the sea but I resisted the temptation as I knew that there would be many opportunities to observe the Arabian sea at close quarters as I was going to stay in a Sea facing room at the Novotel Juhu beach hotel.
The Check in
The Check in was smooth and quick and I was escorted to my room.
I could not wait to see the view of the sea from my room. Moving the curtains to one side I got a breathtakingly beautiful view of the Juhu beach from my room.
The A.C was on and I was sipping my welcome drink observing the bright shimmering waves hitting the clean sands of the Juhu beach.
As a hotel guest I could access

Free WiFi
work space
32-inch LCD TV
Lavish buffet breakfast
24-hour fitness centre
O2 Spa
Sauna
Choice of flexible spaces for hosting an event

A Hotel by the beach in a city like Mumbai is indeed a luxury and my eyes searched for a path to go to the beach. I found a door in front of the hotels swimming pool leading to the beach.
“A mere 2-3 meter walk to the clean part of the Juhu beach from my hotel room! “



The luxury was getting even better.
I hurriedly made my way to the beach through the exclusive hotel gate reserved for its guests and walked up to the waves that were playfully inviting me to join them in a game of sorts.

Luxury continues ~ No place is too far from the Juhu beach.




Spending time at the beach had a calming effect on me and I got geared up to take on the hustle and bustle of Mumbai's city life. The twin effect of the rejuvenating experience at the beach and the fact that the Novotel is so centrally located in Juhu makes it easy to travel to any destination. I for instance wanted to visit the Sidhi Vinayak temple to get Bappa's blessings and it was a short drive away.
So was a trip to Bandra linking road.

Rubbing into celebrities at Novotel Juhu Mumbai ~ The trip is getting better and better.
In the evening when I returned to my hotel and entered its main gate I witnessed Mr Anupam Kher walk out of the hotel. That was not all My Akshay Kumar and Prabhudeva were also spotted on the next day. The feeling of being in such close proximity of such celebrities indeed adds to the experience of your holiday.
It Food Food and more Food
There are a plenty of food options at this beautiful hotel

GADDA DA VIDA-Chic Sea Lounge
I found this to be a great place to sit and relax. Enjoy a drink and a quick snack as I watched the boats and the waves of the Arabian Sea.
Olio is the go to place for Italian food. The hot Pizza from the wood fired oven is a must try and made me go here again and again.

BAGEECHA-Indian Dining
This place is so wonderful. I enjoyed siting and dining here in the evening and it used to be a great sight to watch food being prepared in the open kitchen. The aroma of fresh hot food mixed with the fresh air from the sea never failed to work up my appetite.

SAMPAN-Chinese Dining
This place offers fine Chinese dining options at the hotel.

THE SQUARE-Pan Indian All Day
This is the place where I could find delicious Indian food throughout the day and I loved eating here. The range of food was elaborate and it becomes difficult to make a choice as to what to eat and what to leave.

PECHE MIGNON is my favourite part of the hotel for it is Juhu's Only French P√Ętisserie. It presents a lavish array of fresh and vibrantly flavoured pastries, breads with a variety of chocolates.

At times when you are travelling to a new city finding food of choice can be a luxury however the next morning I had a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the restaurant and was a great way to begin my day.
The French pastry shop is another attraction not to be missed at this facility as It is a famous and renowned french pastry shop in Juhu that lives to its reputation of offering authentic french pastries and breads.
Since It was a Sunday morning I got to experience a lot of activities that were planned for the hotel guest. There were activities for kids and a bangle maker was making lakh (laquer) bangles for the ladies.


A few laps in the open air pool were enough to work up a good appetite. There were a number of food options available from an open air restaurant to an interior air conditioned seating.


Sitting under the shade getting a good view of the pool and the ocean beyond, biting into some hot, delicious and nutritious lunch with not a worry in the world is the best luxury I could wish for at that moment and more then wishing I was living it.


“I am blogging about my luxury stay experience for an activity at BlogAdda in association with MakeMyTrip

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Warmth of Friendship

It is often said opposites attract but who ever coined this phrase did not know about me and my classmate Suraj. We were complete opposites. I was meticulous and studious and he was the complete opposite, always busy playing pranks and troubling me. Being the son of a teacher he got preferential treatment from the rest of the teachers. If this was not enough injustice he was always assigned to my group. So I was the one who did all the hard work be it any class projects or any activity but he would walk away with all the laurels. Even in the school plays he was the one who would get the best roles and most of us including me would be assigned some insignificant part. From raiding my lunchbox to hiding my homework and getting me into trouble was his favorite past time. One could say that ours was a love hate relationship. I hated him and he loved to create more trouble for me.
The fact that he was also my lab partner made things even more difficult for me. It was the time of the year when the school session was coming to a close and the only silver lining for me was that since it was boards exams time I would no longer have to be the target of the pranks of Suraj.
On the penultimate day of school during the chemistry revision practicals he spilled some chemicals on my practical note book ruining it completely. As it was the record of a full years of work which was now lost due to his prank made me feel miserable. I was angry and I sulked but what could be done all my hard work had been wasted. As it was the year of my board exams so I was required to present my practical workbook in front of the external examiner. I felt very depressed and I fell ill and skipped the last day of school before the exam preparation holidays began.
Even at home I found it very hard to concentrate on my studies even when I recovered from the illness. The anger and frustration made me very bitter. I was neither able to focus on my revision nor was I able to rewrite my practicals notebook.
Then one day in the morning the door bell rang. When I opened the door I found the same bully classmate of mine Suraj standing at the door. He was the last person whom I expected or wanted to see and even before I could react he extended his right hand. In his hand I saw a practical note book neatly covered in brown paper. On its cover was my name handwritten in bold letters. I took the notebook from him and flipped through it. It had all the records of the experiments and the readings recreated and completed. He had even got it checked and signed by our chemistry teacher.
I was surprised and asked me how did he manage to do this to which he said that as he was my lab partner he had all the readings in his notebook and all he had to do was to copy it in to a new notebook. Being a teachers son had its perks and he had no problems getting it checked and signed by our chemistry teacher, As he said this his cold impish grin did not seem impish anymore. Instead what I saw was a new warm side of Suraj. He had sacrificed almost a week of our study leave in completing my project book and yes he had admitted in front of our chemistry teacher that it was his fault.

Till date I have preserved that practical notebook with great care as it holds for me warm loving memories of #MagicOfWarmth moment of finding a new friend.

“I’m blogging about my #MagicOfWarmth moment at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advansed Hot Oil






Thursday, 19 January 2017

10 reasons to buy the All-New Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote Streaming Media Player

The Fire tv stick with alexa voice remote is the new kid on the block that lets you do so much more with your voice.
So no more pressing the remote instead talk to it.
Speak into the remote to switch channels or launch a particular program and fire stick from Amazon would do the job after all this Alexa voice controlled

device makes your TV into a Firestick TV. Wondering what exactly is the Fire TV stick with voice remote. Then consider this...

When you purchase a fire tv stick with alexa voice remote you get a USB stick

that fits into your TV. From now on lets rever to it as the fire tv box. What remains in your hand is the fire stick voice remote.

Now instead of pressing buttons you can command this Alexa voice driven device by speaking into it. You could launch your favourite game by speaking into your remote's microphone or you could launch an app. It lets you dim the lights and even order the Pizza by speaking into the remote.

If I were to list the 10 things One could do with the Fire TV Stick with Alexa voice remote.
Here they are.
In case you prefer watching it as a video here is the video



Or if you prefer to read here is the list

10 reasons to own the Fire TVstick with Alexa Voice Remote

So it is goodby to pressing the remote buttons instead speak into it. Here goes

my list.
1)Speak to the remote to search for the fire tv apps

2)Like a conventional remote you can control the playback but instead this time

 with the fire tv stick with alexa voice remote or as firestick remote that

some people like to call it you can simply speak to your remote and it would

execute the desired play instruction for you.
3)By speaking into the fire stick voice remote you can play the music of your

choice or launch your play list.
4)Order Pizza by Speaking in to your fire stick controller or the voice remote

(as you may prefer to call it that)
5)You can control and dim the lights by speaking into the Alexa driven firestick remote.
6)Enjoy over 7,000 apps, games, and Alexa skills including Netflix, Hulu, HBO

NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video, NBC, WatchESPN, Disney, and more. Subscription fees may apply.

7)No cable or satellite? No problem. Play live TV and sports from AMC, HGTV,

ESPN, FOX, and others with a subscription to Sling TV, or top-rated primetime shows with CBS All Access.
8)Prime members get unlimited access to Prime videos thousands of movies & TV

shows at no additional cost.Plus, members can add over 90 premium and specialty

channels like HBO and SHOWTIME—no cable or satellite subscription necessary.
9)Plug the Fire TV Stick into any TV’s HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi, and continue watching.
Play current favorites or quickly discover what to watch next directly from the Home screen.
10)Best of all it costs only $39.99.

The tv fire stick is indeed a wonderful device it lets you do so much more from controlling the lighting connected to   an Alexa compatible device to launching the "Game of Thrones" by speaking in to your remote to Plus, play music, find movie show times, order a pizza, and more - just ask.
No cable or satellite? No problem. Watch the best of live TV and sports from AMC, HGTV, ESPN, FOX, and others with a subscription to Sling TV, or top-rated primetime shows with CBS All Access.
Find the best way to watch with universal search results from over 100 channels and apps including Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video Prime members get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost. Plus, members can add over 90 premium and speciality channels like HBO and SHOWTIME cable or satellite subscription necessary.
Pick up where you left off. Bring hit shows and movies with you when you travel. Plug Fire TV Stick into any TV’s HDMI port, connect to Wi-Fi, and continue watching.
Play current favourites or quickly discover what to watch next directly from the Home screen.

You can buy it at here from Amazon.com

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