Real Happiness


In this day and age where people have no time to acknowledge the role that family members play in their lives, it is quite rare to find good friends and relatives who not only play important roles in our lives, but also acknowledge the contributions that we make to their lives as well.

I remember the stories that my dad used to tell me about growing up as a joint family with six brothers, two sisters and countless cousins in small town Kerala in the 50s and 60s. Almost all these stories had at least one brother or a cousin or an elderly uncle who had helped out with something or the other that has had a lasting impact on my father’s life; it could be something as simple as developing the habit of cleanliness or something as complicated as helping out in learning and mastering the discipline of Financial Accounting. However, one thing that stood out in all these stories was the unadulterated gratitude that my father has for all the contributions that all these people have had in his life.

As for me and my generation, given that almost all my friends and me have to endure terrible commutes to office on a daily basis and have to face extreme work pressure in extremely competitive workplaces, means that we probably don’t recognize or thank all the people who have had a positive impact on our lives. And on the rare ocassions that we do, those days turn out to be celebrations, no less.

And these days are celebrations of the happiness of the good times in life that are probably a direct or an indirect result of the wonderful contributions of these people. All the contentment, laughter and banter that are part of these days end up creating memories and form the topics of conversations for future get-togethers and gatherings. And the best part is that these celebrations don’t necessarily have to be large scale parties in posh hotels or pubs. They could be something as simple as a bunch of four or five friends getting together at a common friend’s place, having some good food coupled with some awesome conversations. And add the omnipresent Coca Cola to the mix, and lo and behold, you have some memories which last for a lifetime.

I am blessed enough to have at least three good friends who have been with me through thick and thin for the last three decades of my life. And to double these blessings, the family that I married into brought some wonderful relationships in the form of my in-laws and a wonderful co-brother as well into my life. This small group of people make up my small relationship circle, and whenever I am spending any time with these people, either in groups or individually, means that I am having a really good time. In fact, this post itself is being typed out at the fag end of one such weekend where my wife and me have driven down to Hosur, just to spend some time with my sister in law and her husband. Although there was no fixed agenda to the day trip, the fact remains that we are having quite a bit of fun, and that, to me, is what true happiness is about; spending quality time in the company of people who don’t judge you, don’t make fun of you, don’t expect anything in return, and who only have unconditional love and companionship to share with you.

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This post is part of the Coca Cola campaign to celebrate the International Day of Happiness. Check out their awesome TVC below

Start A New Life


Having grown up in a strictly middle class family meant that while I was not denied anything in my childhood, I grew up without having too much of an exposure to the ‘cosmopolitan’ lifestyle that Bengaluru (then Bangalore) was opening up to in the 90s. While I personally didn’t miss that particular lifestyle and was happy with my own, it became somewhat of a hurdle when I joined my first job.

Right after college I was lucky enough to get recruited by a ‘boutique’ consulting firm and on my very first day on the job I realized that my situation was akin to that of a fish out of water. The rest of the employees there, my colleagues, were from relatively well-off families compared to mine and lived a lifestyle which was somewhat different from mine. While I carried a lunchbox to office, they didn’t mind spending a couple of hundred rupees everyday on food. While I wore my dad’s old shirts (impeccably maintained I must admit) with his old ties (once again in pristine condition), they didn’t mind shopping for new clothes every weekend. Although they didn’t behave in a manner where they discriminated against me, I was all of twenty years old and desperately wanted to fit in with the crowd. If not for them, at least for myself, to prove to myself that I had it in me to be part of the ‘hep gang’.

And that is how I happened to stumble upon the easiest way to break barriers in a corporate setting. By smoking. Yes, believe it or not, the number of friends and acquaintances that I made in the smoking corner of office outnumbers the number of friendships and relationships that I had carefully cultivated over twenty years of my life so far. And funnily enough, smoking as an action was completely democratic in nature, in terms of the fact that all smokers respected each other and shared bonhomie irrespective of class, creed or social strata. The smoking corner was a place where barriers of corporate hierarchy, income levels and formalities were broken and all of us were friends. Added to this was that a lot of my colleagues used to smoke to overcome the pressures of the jobs we were all doing.

What began as a method to ‘fit in’ with the crowd soon developed into an addiction that I started struggling with. Although I wasn’t a great athlete while in school or college, I was fit enough to run a few kilometers, play cricket or soccer or basketball for around an hour or so without feeling tired. But after taking up to smoking with great gusto, I soon found my lungs struggling for air. And without oxygen circulating in the blood stream, you can guess how my sporting endeavors had to take a backseat. And it was not only sports that took a hit, but my overall fitness levels.

The worst indicator of my overall fitness levels happened on a trip to Sravanabelagola, a hill shrine on the outskirts of Bangalore. During my last 4-5 trips to this place, I had happily climbed the steep 600+ steps to the shrine very easily, even beating my school and college classmates while doing so. But on an official trip to the place, I could barely climb 45 steps and was already panting for breath and struggling with cramps. My lungs were screaming due to all the tar and other carcinogens which had made their home there instead of allowing oxygen to circulate. That trip was an eye opener in more ways than one.

That day I decided to literally ‘kick the butt’ (the cigarette butt) for good and quit the habit of smoking. Even though most of my colleagues found it hard to believe that I could quit so easily, especially given their own unsuccessful attempts at doing so, I was determined to stick to my guns. And quit I did, once and for all.

My own motivation to stay healthy and stay fit for a long time won over my addiction to cigarettes. I chose to #StartANewLife that day and haven’t looked back since.

While I had my own motivations to #StartANewLife, I am sure some of you would have your own wonderful stories when you have affected change in your own lives and started things anew. Share those wonderful experiences as part of this Housing.Com campaign.

You can follow the wonderful folks at Housing.Com on Twitter or on Google+ and in case you are still not convinced, go ahead and watch this wonderful video of theirs below

Go sleeek with the new ASUS Eeebook and AIO


WeightLet’s face it, most of us use our laptops only for browsing, the occasional blog post publishing and mostly for listening to music, watching movies and consuming social media. And in such a scenario, it goes without saying that the lighter the laptop, the better; and any laptop which allows us to perform these tasks competently without being too much of a burden, either on our shoulders or on our pockets would be nothing short of God-sent, would it.

BatteryIf you agree with my thoughts on the paragraph above, well then, all our prayers have been answered with the launch of the ASUS Eeebook X205. Picture this, a computing device with a full keyboard and trackpad, weighing less than 1 kg, a battery which allows 11 hrs of video viewing, 12 hrs of web browsing, 13 hrs of music playing, with Intel Inside, a free one year subscription to Microsoft Office 365, four vibrant colors, and all this for less than INR 15,000/-. Can you ask for more? Wouldn’t it be too selfish to wish for more?

PriceSo then, what are all you wonderful folks waiting for. Head right over to Flipkart [Link] and explore as many details as you want about the device itself and click on the Shop Now buttons to make it yours as soon as possible. Remember it has already run out of stock once since its launch a week ago, but fret not, the company has promised as much stock as we need to satisfy our mobile computing needs.

As if the launch of this one wonderful product wasn’t enough, ASUS also launched their latest offering n the All In One (AIO) space, the ASUS AIO ET 2040. Now, this device is designed in such a manner that while your entire family can use it for all its computing needs, it is also designed keeping convenience and the aesthetics of your living room in mind. After all, most AIOs today find a place in the living rooms of our homes where they double up (or is it triple up) as media consumption, entertainment and social media devices all at once. Weighing at less than 3.5 kgs, with a nicely designed swivel stand and enough ports to connect it to any conceivable accessory (such as printers, scanners, TVs, external HDDs, etc), this device packs a punch that is way bigger than its weight in kilos.

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I am more than sure that most of you are already torn between the choice of purchasing the laptop and the AIO, but this post would surely be incomplete without the wonderful launch event co-organized by Indiblogger and ASUS for these devices.

I mean, how many product launches feature 200 of the best bloggers from Bangalore, a live band, a five star hotel ambience, fun impromptu events and some sumptuous food at the same time. Trust Indiblogger to pull out all the stops and organize what will probably remain one of the most memorable blogger meets that Bangalore has ever seen.

I guess as the saying goes ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ and the gap between the previous meet and this one probably contributed to the fact that the team went all out to make this a memorable product launch, and in my opinion, they succeeded in this endeavor quite well.

My Day


The date is 10th of January, it is The Supreme Ruler’s Day today.

King01As is the norm, my faithful minions would have worked around the clock to ensure that all children below the age of 15 yrs have been delivered with books appropriate to their age and reading habits. After all, it is critical that future generations of this wonderful universe are equipped with a broad enough point of view on things which only a wide variety of reading can give them. Of all the good things done on this day, the book distribution remained my favorite one.

I still remember the first Supreme Ruler’s Day and how it was conceived all of a decade and a half ago. On that fateful night of 9th January, the clouds finally parted way to let in a bright beam of light (funnily enough looking just like that light before the massive explosion scene in the movie The Independence Day from sometime in the 1990s, all those years ago). And then all of a sudden a voice which funnily enough everybody in the world understood informed them that going forward me, mahabore, of all the people would be their Supreme Ruler and that from the next day, the 10th of January when I turned 19 yrs old, they would have to abide by my rules.

King02I was as surprised as everybody else was, but who was I to question the powers that be. And in honor of this joyous occasion, my first order of duties was to declare 10th of January as The Supreme Ruler’s Day.

This would be a day where the administration took it upon itself to cook and serve food to the entire kingdom at official expense, provide all citizens with one fresh new pair of clothes based on their occupations, provide at least one book to all children below 15 yrs of age based on the specifications mentioned in the first paragraph, and overall a day of great celebration.

On this national holiday, the citizens of this great kingdom would take a day off from their regular occupations and celebrate the joy of being alive, active and thank The Supreme Ruler and the powers that be for their bountiful existence. Between what nature had provided them with, their own hard work and prudent exercise of authority by The Supreme Ruler, the citizens had everything they required for a comfortable life and were never found to be lacking in anything that was required to keep them happy.

King03On this day, the citizens therefore thank me, The Supreme Ruler and the powers that be for all the good things in their lives and hoped and prayed that they wouldn’t have to return to the dark days of yore where institutionalized religion and dirty politics played in the guise of democracy had effectively ensured that mankind had reached the brink of extinction.

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This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was that I had been declared the Supreme Ruler of the universe and I had to describe a holiday or festival I had created in my honor in great detail.

CLAIR = Clean Air


Disclaimer: The following post is a work of fiction; science fiction even, given that neither am I technically qualified enough to be making these assumptions nor am I knowledgeable enough about the various types of air pollution to even dare attempting to resolve the issue. But, hey, as I mentioned before, this is a work of fiction and here goes.

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It has been only around two decades and a couple of years since that fateful day when field tests of “Clair” were declared successful and commercial production of the same was initiated by governments around the world. With the US and UK governments taking the initiative, showing belief in the invention and subsidizing the entire production costs of Clair for the first five years, it was just a matter of time before the rest of the world followed suit and began production. After all, the future of the entire world and the survival of the human race was at stake here.

Clair, I must admit that the name gives away the very purpose for which it was founded. CLean AIR – CLAIR. Not getting into the technical details of the product, the concept goes thus.

NaNoSpheresEssentially small hollow polycarbonate balls around 4 cm in diameter filled with nano particles capable of sucking up almost all types of Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM) which mostly consisted of chemicals and other items which pollute the air, Clair would ensure that when the nano particles were filled to the brim, they would gently descend down to the ground. And even if by chance the larger sphere containing 24 of these balls landed in water bodies (such as seas, rivers, etc) the fact that the sphere was airtight with the polluted nano particles carefully sealed inside meant that they would not escape into the air again.

GammaRayCannonAs for disposal of the polluted nano particles, the various gamma ray facilities built specifically for this purpose across the globe would ensure that the spheres were disintegrated into thin air leaving behind no traces of their earlier composition.

With Clair, my team had essentially revolutionized the way air pollution would be tackled ensuring that over the course of time, we would clean up all existing air pollution while ensuring that alternative modes of preventing and reducing further air pollution continued to be pursued.

What seemed like a wild dream back in 2000 when I conceived the idea stands vindicated and is a true game-changer as far as reducing air pollution levels in our atmosphere goes.

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This post has been written for Project 365: A post a day where the intention is to publish at least one post a day based on the prompts provided. Today’s prompt was to imagine, in great detail, an invention that could help reverse pollution and describe how it works and how it would help save the planet.