Monday, December 01, 2014

Strike gold out of any opportunity

My neighbor Neel is somebody who is great at everything. From as long as I have stayed in my current house, I have admired his attitude. He is a perfectionist without being overwhelming, he is helpful without being intrusive, he is talented without being unbelievable, he is principled without being prudish and he is witty without being a show off. 

For a person who is almost perfect, constant scrutiny becomes a way of life. A lot of people are watching for him to make a mistake or show his true colors. But for a person like Neel, this is not an act. He seems to live his life based on the principle of giving everything his best shot. He expects nothing out of things he is involved in, his friends or relationships. And that is a philosophy that keeps him going in all situations. 

Recently I had the opportunity to observe another example of Neel’s great life philosophy. There was a pothole on our road that was troubling all residents for many days. We all waited for the authorities to take notice till we could wait no longer. Then two people went to the municipality office and told them the matter. No action. One person somehow found a contact point in a local newspaper and got a small article out. Nothing. Finally one day we heard that the local corporator, Mr. Rao, will be visiting to seek votes. 

We decided that this would be the only time we could get something done. Some people said we should shout at him and create a scene about his lack of efficiency. Others said we should declare we won’t vote for him. Trough all these arguments, suddenly I noticed Neel. He was sitting quietly. I asked him what he thought. He said that fighting would not help us in this matter. So I asked how we could ignore this guy’s carelessness. 

Neel said its not about ignoring, but about deciding which battles to fight. Right now the most important matter at hand was to get the potholes fixed and shouting at the guy would only delay matters. Given the fact that everybody was suffering so much, we should rather make him aware of our plight in the most cordial manner. Some other people heard Neel, and perhaps because he enjoys a great reputation among everyone, they agreed.

As discussed, on the d day, Neel came out of his house looking perfectly bathed, cleaned, dressed and groomed. He had notes and pictures to support our case. On a sheet of paper, he had a list of talking points. When Mr. Rao came, it did not take Neel more than ten minutes to explain the matter and win his support. We all noticed how Mr. Rao kept looking at Neel with a degree of respect. He seemed to notice his impeccable clothes, his perfectly well-groomed look and his pleasant manner. Within a week the road was re-built. It was almost like magic.

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette. This post is written in response to kitchenmummy's tag!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A click for a cleaner & safer India

In big apartment buildings or lavish mansions, you may see them beautifully tucked away in corners. In exotic hotels, you may seem them decked up like brides. Like them or hate them, you cannot ignore them. Toilets are as essential as air or water or food now. Gone are the days when defecating in the open among bushes in groups was as normal as having a community dinner. Now toilets have more than sanitation. They have become a part of our lives to the extent that most of us take them for granted as if they were always a part of the planet.

But do we realize that one-third of the world’s population still doesn’t have access to sanitation facilities? Currently, 2.5 billion people -- a third of the world's population -- do not have access to sanitary toilets or latrines. Just over 1 billion of them have no facilities at all and have to go out in the open. That so many people in the so called third world countries of the world who struggle to make both ends meet don’t even consider toilets as a normal part of things that they can expect to get like food or shelter? That people, especially women, struggle to defecate in ungodly hours so that they can maintain a tiny bit of dignity that they can keep for themselves. In this post, I wish to talk about the World Toilet Day which is a little known phenomenon in India and emphasized this highly critical aspect of our lives.

The World Toilet Day, which has been held on Nov. 19 since 2001, hopes to increase awareness about the need for basic sanitation and to teach people about better practices. The founders say: "World Toilet Day has a serious purpose: it aims to stimulate dialogue about sanitation and break the taboo that still surrounds this issue. In addition, it supports advocacy that highlights the profound impact of the sanitation crisis in a rigorous manner, and seeks to bring to the forefront the health and emotional consequences, as well as the economic impact of inadequate sanitation."

Lack of sanitation has many dangerous repercussions. They affect drinking water, cause water borne diseases, lower immune systems and cause large scale damage to health and economy.
But there is another side to this issue and that is even more worrying. In many places in India, toilets are considered ‘dirty’ and hence people don’t want them inside their houses! Based on orthodox and illogical reasons based on religion, caste, culture and dogmas, people force themselves to walk for miles to go to toilets when they can easily have this basic necessity within their reach! While men can still manage to live within these illogical rules and customs, it is the women who suffer the most. They have to go early mornings just because they are the symbols of their family’s prestige and esteem, while their men sleep peacefully without giving heed to such sensitive issues. This issue becomes more pronounced during menstrual cycles when women are even more vulnerable. Such age-old and blind practices need to be put to an end with awareness educational programs.

Factors like global health, education, women's safety and social cannot be ignored any more. They need to come to the forefront for every government, whether national or state level. Those among us who are privileged to have this advantage should pitch in to raise our voices for those who are denied this basic right. Thanks to Domex for bringing up this important cause out in the open!

You can bring about the change in the lives of millions of kids, thereby showing your support for the Domex Initiative. All you need to do is “click” on the “Contribute Tab” on and Domex will contribute Rs.5 on your behalf to eradicate open defecation, thereby helping kids like Babli live a dignified life.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

For the love of family

Have you been around a family where each person seems to be mirroring each other’s stress and actually fuelling it on?

Have you been in the company of parents on trips where they constantly obsess over what their children eat, do or say?

Have you been a parent who has gone through sleepless nights because of a sick or ailing child?

Have you been a child who has seen his or her parents struggle through your childhood?

Well, don’t get hassled by so many questions. Chances are that your answer to at least one of them is a ‘yes’ and so I can tell you the point I am trying to raise here. Essentially I am trying to get to the conclusion that a family means inter-dependence, it means getting affected by each other – each other’s moods, emotions and most importantly by each other’s health. And the last one especially applies in the case of parents and children. 

We all know that nothing else is as important as raising a child. This is an act that comes with enough stress, worries, anxieties and challenges of its own – but it is an act that affords satisfaction and happiness like no other. Our Children are our pride and joy. We love them and care for them and we let their warmth and energy fill our hearts and our homes.

Obviously it’s very important for us that our children always stay healthy and happy. When this precious source of energy falls sick, its effects are felt throughout the house and it sometimes feels like the house itself has fallen ill. And this brings me back to my initial point of how everybody’s health and happiness is interlinked in a family. My personal experience in this matter comes from my neighbor’s children. Living opposite each for so many years, we have almost becomes family now and I am very close to the kids. Each time one of the kids is unwell, I can immediately see the intense worry that the parents go through, how one of them takes off from work, leaves everything to be with the kid, and the other one is constantly worried even at work, I have noticed how their personal joy and satisfaction relies on their kids’ health and happiness. They wish that they kids stay naturally healthy and not dependent on endless medicines and chemicals.

While adults can take care of themselves, it is children that need the maximum attention. Sometimes being unaware and sometimes just being too small, they depend on their parents to feed them well, take care of their needs and give them the required nutrition. While in the earlier times, parents had to think hard about supplying this additional supplemental nutrition, trying to get ingredients from different places, these days a lot of reputed companies offer ready-to-eat food items that take care of many such nutritional requirements of children. Dabur Chyawanprash is one such food.

Dabur Chyawanprash, a time-tested, age-old formulation has a number of herbs like Amla, known to be one of the best antioxidants, Giloy (Guduchi), known to have immuno-modulatory properties, and more than 40 other natural ingredients. So if you are not sure of how to secure these 40 natural ingredients, worry not – you have something available near you!

Note: All images are free and from pixabay. This is a promotional post for indiblogger and Dabur Chyawanprash.

Monday, August 04, 2014

From Skeptic to intrigued... to loyalist?

There isn’t a day that I don’t read a news in the paper about changes or new products in banking. So I take all the hype with a pinch of salt normally.


Yeah, recently when Indiblogger asked us to sample the new Kotak Jifi account and write about it, I was my usual skeptic self. I did a lot of research, read the website and spoke with my friends. In this report I read, Jifi transcends digital banking by seamlessly incorporating social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook with mainstream banking.

I do believe that today's generation is moving towards digital-ization. Shopping, information-searching, house-hunting, holiday planning, job changes, reference and bill payments --- everything is happening online, because it is convenient, hassle-free and just the way things are going to be done in the future so you better get used to it now. So, I am actually thankful that one bank has finally woken up to this change and necesity by launching an innovative product. But, does it work? Is it as good as it sounds? Does it help me and my friends on my my social networking lists? Is it really going to help me manage my money, save money or even make more money? I decided to check it out, if for nothing else, then for finding faults in it! But I was not quite prepared to be happily surprised once I did !

Firstly I was quite bowled over the simple and efficient home page:

The first thing I noticed was that this account seems to be great for youngsters, who are active on social networking platforms, because they get to easily align all their various social presences into this bank account, and even make some loyalty / reward points oit of it! This ia great, fun and hassle-free proposition for tech-savvy Gen Y that prefers to stay online at all times.
Then I was equally intrigued by the way this video presented the account, the simple steps involved and everything else that one needed to know:

Simply put: Now one could enjoy all the benefits of a regular account, without worrying about tracking and maintaining monthly balances. Jifi is a non-interest bearing account, however it does not have any minimum balance requirements. What's more, it pays high interest on balances over Rs.25,000 by automatically creating term deposits with your spare cash.

Added to that, Jifi customers will have access to all conventional bank offerings as well, which include pan-India branch and ATM network, ‘platinum’ debit card, all-India toll-free number, net card and net banking access, etc. The trasactions and information will be safe too, and even in case of hacking only the reward points can be seen by somebody.
So despite being a die-hard skeptic, I have decided to give a fair chance and trial to Kotak Jifi account, if for nothing else then for these awesome features:
  • Log in through Facebook and get all your friends added too
  • Accessible any time any where
  • Plenty of loyalty rewards all simply tracked through social channels
  • Automated ActivMoney: The ActivMoney facility helps you convert idle funds above Rs.25,000 in your Jifi account by moving it to a term deposit(TD)
  • Exlusive services at select cities
  • Nominal charges
  • Platinum Debit Card
  • Referring a friend makes you win reward points
  • Get paid in points when you like on comment on Facebook!
 According to me, there are below features that today's youth look for in a bank account:
  • Speed
  • Accessibility
  • Social media integration
  • Reliablility and safety
  • Constant innovation
  • Better services
  • Unique and higher rewards

The new Kotak Jifi account meets all these requirements with a loud YES. You can not only open it in a jiffy, but also run it seamlessly acrosssocial platforms in a jiffy. In fact if you use the services of many other socially powered apps like Makemytrip, you will soon realie that Jifi will help you enhance your experience and rewards there too! Why don't you try it too and share your experience with me - let's share notes in this new world of socially powered banking! :)
Follow Jifi on Twitter and Facebook!