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Thursday, December 11, 2014

AkshayaPatra - The Inexhaustible Food Vessel

 

Akshayapatra (Sanskrit: अक्षयपात्र) meaning "inexhaustible vessel", is an object from Hindu theology. It was a wonderful vessel given to Yudhishthira by the Lord Surya, which held a never-failing supply of food to the Pandavas every day.


That's Mythology !!


In the modern world, Akshaya Patra is an initiative to feed children.

Here are 2 videos that you should see ... both are mind-blowing in their own ways ... 



Monday, December 01, 2014

An almost Missed Life

It is absolutely rare that I make a back-to-back blog post but the time and situation kind of demanded it.

 

I just made a post few minutes ago related to yet another interesting activity by BlogAdda.com and told my wife about it. She read it and told me something that I had never known before. Something related to the stubble and the unshaven look.

 

I still can't stop laughing but still managing to write this … So here goes the story.

 

As mentioned in the earlier post, I shave alternate days and you can imagine that the end of Day 2 is the worst. It was on such a fateful 'day2' that I got a call from Dad asking me to come to a CCD (café coffee day) … straight from office.
 
The reason was simple. An integral part of the arranged marriage process is the 'boy meet girl' and my father being slightly modern, preferred the informal setting of a café/restaurant where the 'boy-n-girl' could take another table and talk. So here I was, with a day2 stubble and a call from my dad to reach the place within the next 45 minutes.

 

I met the girl and talked and decided to meet again and then again and finally decided to say Yes. And we have been happily married since then and have a cute little daughter.

 

Well, so that's what happened several years ago. What happened just a few minutes back was … after my wife read the blog post I made for the Gillette activity, she told me something about that 'first meeting' day.

 

She told me that when she saw me approaching the table at CCD that day for the first time … and looked at me (with the day2 stubble) … her very first thoughts were ….

 

"Oh My GOD !! I have come to meet HIM? He, who would come so casually (read – unshaven) for an important life-changing meeting as this … will he be serious (or sensible) in life"

 

Yes … those were literally the exact words that rang in her head. She has kind-of 'rejected' for I had miserably failed in the 'first impressions' test. It was my way of speaking and making her comfortable while talking to her at the 'separate table' and the overall gentle personality … which ultimately managed to chang her opinion and she later said YES. But had it not been for my charm, we wouldn't be together now ...  

 

WOW. The stubble might have actually cost me not just an Europe trip but also my life-partner !! Scary !!  Isn't it …

 

This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette

The (Missed) Europe Trip

 

Life is strange and so is the human body. And of course, the same can be said about fate and luck.

Whats with this whole body hair thing? And let's suppose that there is some biological need for all that hair, why facial hair?? And let's assume that even that is required, what's with the world's (in fact humanity's) preference for the clean shaven look. There are times when I felt that it was a well planned marketing illusion created by razor companies.

But then I have seen myself in the mirror when I have been unshaven for 3-4 days  (ya, just 3-4 days) and I did not like wee bit of myself. The clean shaven look is definitely 'neat' besides maybe sexy or professional.

I generally shave alternate days and then occasionally it just happens that I miss or forget or am too much of a hurry to shave on the third day and I end up with quite a stubble! Don't like it but haven't got around to using an electric shaver (if I had, I would have kept one in my office bag always)

This alternate day shaving also has its problems … cos the week has even number of days. It is not as if I would end up with a shave every Sunday and often it is simply difficult to know whats gonna come up in office.

This was a long time ago … I had gone to the office and it was unfortunately a '3rd day' where I missed the regular shave and ended up with a stubble in office. My manager saw me in office, shook his head and remarked 'you missed a chance' and walked off. I did not get head-or-tail of what was going on and I did not see him for the rest of the day. I did not wonder about his strange reaction …

The next day, the real story came out when talking to a colleague of mine. A senior manager from our overseas office had come visiting our office the previous day and had requested one of our team members from my manager to go along with him for an important / critical / deal-closing meeting with one of our top clients. My manager had my name in mind since I had experience on the subject matter at hand and would have been best suited for the meeting. BUT, the stubble on my face (which he said was 'unprofessional' and 'un-presentable') discouraged him and he sent my colleague for the presentation (who was good but I was the best on that subject).

Well, it was definitely a chance missed to impress our senior manager as well as the client but I did not really realize what I had missed until the end of the year. My colleague who went along gained the client confidence (and also that of our senior manager) and he got the responsibility of that project. Although a small project, it involved meeting the senior members from the client organization … who were spread across 6 different countries in Europe !! !

That's what the missed-shave cost me … a freaking Euro-Trip !!

 And there are times when i feel the stubble on my chin, look out of the window into distant horizon and think about the 'missed' Europe trip !!
This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette  ((a brand I have been absolutely loyal to, ever since i used the Gillette Sensor Excel <twin blade>. I have not used any other brand of razor for the past 20 year  ...))

 

The rules are pretty simple and straightforward: You need to write a post of 300 words or more on the topics mentioned below. Tag your friends too at the end of the post. There's lots of goodies in store, including an Apple iPad, a MotoG phone and gift vouchers aplenty. 

 

Open your hearts and write about the impact that a stubble or lack of it, has had on the life.

Here are the themes for your blog post-

 

  • (Missed) Opportunities – Stories or instances where you missed out on an opportunity because of a ungroomed look. (Like I did above)
  • Luck or Confidence? Will you leave your fate in the hands of destiny or will you step up and say yes to a well- groomed face to be at your best everyday? #WillYouShave?

 

Ladies, you have a say in this too! Write a blog post about the men in your life on the following themes.

  • An instance when a stubble came in the way of a man's chance to make a good impression.
  • An instance when a well groomed look ensured that they struck gold on an opportunity given to them.

 

I am extending an invitation to my fellow-bloggers (tagging them) to write their own story on #WillYouShave … (Don't forget to mention in your post that I tagged you J )

 

The (clean-shaven) Gentlemen - Roshan, Nirav, Tushar, Shoumik, Shwetabh

 
And the lovely Ladies – SharuSneha Sri

 

 

Book Review: The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

 

Book: The Great Zoo of China

Author: Matthew Reilly

No. of Pages: 500

Genre: Fiction, Action Thriller, Suspense

Publisher:  Pan Macmillan Australia

 

Matthew Reilly (MR) is back in his elements with a bigger-than-before and stranger-than-before action thriller.

MR does it again ... In style - At a grander scale - With dizzying visuals and absolutely high-octane fast-paced unbelievable-but-believable action-suspense – and as an MR fan; I loved every minute of the fun-tastic roller-coaster ride that MR creates in the Zoo.

There are sentences which would never make sense in any other author's novel but in MR's high-octane mind-numbing action thrillers; they seem perfectly OK. How else do you explain a reader being OK with a line like "Oh My God! The dragons are throwing cars at me" and that is just about the 'tip of the iceberg' since there are MUCH LARGER things getting thrown by MUCH LARGER dragons in the story which only gets bigger by the moment.

MR has introduced a new set of characters in this story … which I hope will appear again in future. CJ is a hard nut to crack and a multi-layered character (just like Scarecrow or Jack West Jr) and it will be good to see her again along with her brother.

The Great Zoo of China is actually a wrong title … as is said in the story itself, it is a temporary branding for the 'The Great Dragon Zoo of China". MR has taken a mythical creature and brought them back to life (just as the Dino's were brought to life in Jurassic Park). He does a swell job of it and continues to amaze the reader at every step of the story. The scale of this novel is simply HUGE as compared to anything MR has written before and at times, you take a pause and wish you were watching a Hollywood rendition of the book (and I really do hope this one gets converted) 

The story builds the suspense for the readers since they not only suspect that the story will only get bigger and bigger (and wondering how could it get any bigger); MR keeps throwing in suggestions of an impending suspense.

MR has gone larger than life and if a movie gets made out of this movie (and i would love to see it) ; it would be a combination of India Jones meets Jurassic Park meets Godzilla meets Jason Bourne (and you can add your own action thriller here) ....

An absolute un-put-down-able!!

The book actually has different cover designs for different regions and all of them are pretty interesting. All 3 of them follow completely different themes and even schemes and it's a delight to see how the publishers perceive their audience (country/region wise) and interpret their preferences.

 

I have been an MR fan ever since my best friend Shraddha made me buy his first novel CONTEST. After that, I have read all his works (except Troll Mountain). I am now eagerly waiting for his next Jack West Jr. novel … It has been quite some time since the last one.

Note to MR: At the end of the Dragon Zoo story, CJ moved to Australian outbacks … which is where Jack West Jr also resides. My best friend and I feel that CJ and Jack coming together will be a formidable team … as formidable as Scarecrow and Mother. And yeah, that will only help you take your novels to the next level of Big Bad Adventure!!!

I would readily recommend this book to anyone with even a mild sense of adventure (it will be like an espresso shot to their adventurous streak). The book is available on Amazon.in and the Great Online Shopping Festival (GOSF) introduced by Google is also around the corner (10th to 12th December) with some amazing GOSF deals. In addition, you will find some really good offers on books (and other things too) using the Amazon coupons at CupoNation.in (probably the largest online couponing website around).

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 3.5 / 5

Writing Style: 4.5 / 5

Characters:     4.0 / 5

Story / Plot:     4.0 / 5

Climax:            4.5 / 5

Overall:           4.0 / 5