Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On this World Bloggers' Day

It has been more than 3 years now since I am writing blogs and just a year ago, I had come to know that 31st August of each year was known as the World Bloggers’ Day. It is a day dedicated to blog writers and readers from across the world.

My college has celebrated World Bloggers’ Day since last year with a blog writing/designing competition (of which, I was the winner in 2010 for my entry Thoughtful Thirst for Words). The event this year was a huge success as well. I didn’t take part this time though. I was happier as a member of the Organising Committee. :)

A bit of research on the World Wide Web for making a presentation for the event, told me what exactly was the purpose of marking this day as so important in the calendar- This is a day when every blogger around the world, writes about 5 new blogs that he has read and liked and would like others to read as well. When everyone does this, there would be loads of new blogs coming up into the purview of bloggers everywhere. And so, discovery of new things would be easily achieved and that too in a mode of fun.

Keeping with the spirit, here I bring to you 5 blogs that I love to follow and which are as diverse as the topics about which they are written.

#1. Samudra Sarangi’s ‘Scribbles and Blotches’ at
Penned by a man who calls himself ‘Creativity Error’, the blog contains ‘Unadulterated glimpses into the hallucinating mind of "creativity error".’ There are two important reasons why I like this blog. One, the author belongs to my hometown and was one of the first seniors I met at DPS Vasant Kunj Hostel and two, each entry made here is unique and never misses out on humour (which makes sure that you keep reading each entry till the very last word!)

#2. Arunima Shah’s ‘The Glow of Dawn’ at
From someone who believes in living in the moment, or at least, that’s what the blog description says ‘HAR PAL YAHAN, JEE BHAR JIYO… JO HAI SAMA, KAL HO NA HO’. This blog comes from one who I have known for years and only recently did I discover that she loved writing and blogging as well. Stumbling across this blog was an accident and the discoveries that the accident led to are worth mentioning. Awesome layout and design and such a huge variety of topics written about!

#3. Sahil Malhotra’s ‘Sporting Thoughts’ at
The first time I was given the link for this blog, I was thinking, ‘Why the hell am I being asked to read about a sport I am least interested in?’ Through till the end of the first entry and I was hooked to reading more. For the first time, I have started liking to read about cricket and in the process, I have learnt a lot about the game for sure. The one thing that amused me about this college-senior of mine was the ‘About Me’ section on his blog- Faadu! :D
#4. Love Garg’s ‘Revelations of a Wandering Mind…’ at
The newest addition to my list of favourite blogs. Reason 1- This comes from my ex-roomie who I haveen’t seen in a year and a half. Reason 2- The guy has gone mad in the last one year and philosophy has taken over his scientific blend of mind. Reason 3- He is good at whatever he does and expert advice can always be sought from him on any topic relating to life! Reason 4- He is not yet 19, and talks like he has lived 50 years already! Reason 5- I want to meet him and we need to discuss loads of stuff!

#5. Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘BigBlog’ at
I couldn’t have forgotten this one of course! This doesn’t belong to any of my friends, but to someone who every Indian knows for sure. This was the blog that had at the first place inspired me to start blogging 3 years ago. I still read it regularly and am awestruck by the fact that a superstar who is almost 70 and follows such a hectic schedule has time for blog writing and that too each and every day wherever in the world he is! Awesome!

So that’s my list of 5 favourite blogs. Do let me know what you think about this whole concept of blogging and the way the phenomenon has gripped the world!

Happy World Bloggers’ Day! Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Delhi Airport Metro: Balance Rs. 3/-

Friday, March 18, 2011
The Jhankaar 2011 Cover

I went to the New Delhi Railway Station today to see off my parents and sister. While returning I had some options to choose from to reach my Uncle’s house at Vasant Kunj. I could take the metro to Chhatarpur and then take any of the buses (717 or 715 or 534 or any of the many more) to my destination. I could take Bus No. 604 right from the station and could reach home directly. Both these routes would cost me around Rs 25 to travel from New Delhi Railway Station to my home. My wallet had Rs 140 and that was more than enough for sure. I need not go to the ATM right now!

I entered the metro station and wondered about the recently opened Airport Express Line of the Delhi Metro. I saw the direction label for it. I thought I can check out the new line right now. I went around and found the way and entered the pathway leading to the Airport Line. I was greeted by a few metro officials who directed me exactly how to go about it all. My first impression when I entered the atrium was that of no metro station I had ever seen- it was as good as deserted and had a completely global look about it! I got the token from an automatic ticket vending machine and got the token till IGI Airport Terminal 3. I thought I would go there and return back to New Delhi and then I can go about my first option (the Chhatarpur one)! I realized I had paid Rs 80 and now I had Rs 60 left in my wallet!! Well, I can’t return to New Delhi now for sure. After reaching T3, I will think what to do then!

And next was what? A thrilling 15-20 minute ride on India’s fastest train ever! WOW!!

I don’t think I need to describe exactly how everything looked! Everything in this Metro was so different from the other existing Metro lines of Delhi! Comfortable seats, not crowded train and stations, completely different and awesome looking platforms- Seriously one needs to experience it to believe it!

I was so engrossed in clicking pictures (There was no ‘No Photography’ sign any where!) and shooting videos that I seriously never realized when I had already reached Airport!

I exited the metro station via 3 long escalators and the new swanky Terminal 3 of the IGI Airport came in full view! This was just Waaaaaaaaooooooow! I stood there and took a 360 degrees view of the whole area- The long and huge terminal building, the huge parking lot beautifully architectured, the lush green decorations all around and the flights standing at a distance! I just wanted to capture everything in my camera!!

The article in Jhankaar
At that moment I realized I needed to find out a way that would take me home with a maximum expenditure of Rs 60! I couldn’t take a taxi- that would be unaffordable right now. I couldn’t sight any auto anywhere nearby. I couldn’t call up anyone who would come all the way to this place to pick me up. I asked a gentleman standing there where the bus stop was. He directed me and I reached the bus stop right in front of the terminal building. Two buses standing there- One to ISBT Kashmere Gate and another to ISBT Anand Vihar. I was happy. I could take the Anand Vihar one and go till Vasant Kunj. That was route no. 534. I then got to know that this was not actually route number 534 and was just a special route for the Airport passengers. The conductor told me what I could do. I got in the bus and paid Rs 25 till Mahipalpur. Balance Rs 35.

I got down at Mahipalpur and saw a huge traffic jam there on the road to Vasant Kunj. I spotted 534-A at a distance of about 200 metres and ran to catch it. By the time I neared it, the bus started moving and I left hope and waited for the next bus. The samosas at a nearby stall were highly tempting but my wallet didn’t permit me at that moment to relish the flavour. I saw that same bus standing there again at a distance and this time I made sure that I shall run to catch it and I shall catch it for sure chahe kitna bhi durr kyun naa bhagna pade! After probably 500 metres of running and clicking photos of a memorable excursion which was now being completely enjoyed by me, I finally got on the bus! Balance Rs 25.

I got down at Vasant Kunj and clicked the picture of the bus stop to remember the end of my expedition! I treated myself to a Mother Dairy Ice Cream of Rs 22 and called it a day!

I did manage to reach home safely on a completely unplanned and unexpected round tour! Loved it!

Balance Rs. 3!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

On this 65th Independence Day...

Long years ago, the first Prime Minister of free India, in his Independence Day eve speech had said, “The ambition of the greatest men of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labour and to work, and to work hard, to give reality to our dreams.”

This seemingly simple dream is something that we have not been able to achieve for our nation- touted to be the largest democracy in the world- in 64 years of British-free rule. Probably our country is facing the worst period of political turmoil in democratic history with the huge number of scams and matters of international shame. But at the same time, we must not forget that even with so much trouble, our democratic principles are still suitably working and we have not faced a crisis like some of our nearest neighbours. We are proud Indians and will always strive to make this country develop in every possible way.

Today the entire nation is celebrating 64 years of independence, 64 years of struggle to keep pace with the world standards, 64 years of political, social and economic convulsions, 64 years of being the most successful democracy in the world.

Today is a special day for every Indian. I stand before you speaking about our nation and its achievements, tomorrow it would be back to my normal daily routine with everything that I am saying now, pocketed for another speech somewhere. Life would be back to normal. I would like to share an experience with you all at this moment.

Till some 5 years back, some of my friends and I used to get together in the early morning hours of the 26th of January and 15th of August every year on the terrace of our building to celebrate the Republic and Independence Days. We had our parents and neighbours get up early that day to join us as we hoisted the tricolour on the roof-top followed by a mock-parade and a cultural program as early as 6 in the morning. When I came to Delhi in 2008, suddenly these ‘National Holidays’ had become days of ‘off-from-work’ and the feeling of patriotism that I used to have earlier, was felt missing. Waking up at 4 in the morning on mere two days in a year to do something for the country by a group of 8-15 year old kids, was surely something worth doing, as compared to doing nothing. When I got to know about this celebration of Independence Day at college, I was rejoiced- Not because it would give us a day without studies, but because our college was taking the pain of organising this beautiful event and such an overwhelming and enthusiastic participation was seen from all the students.

Thank you everyone for shewing your interest in doing something for the sake of the land that gave birth to our forefathers and has perfectly nurtured us and promises to be with us till the very end. Thanks a lot. Jai Hind!

Footnote: This was the speech I made at my college during the Independence Day Celebrations last Friday and thought it was worth sharing. I hope you enjoyed it. Wish you a very Happy Independence Day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"Balance Rs. 3/-" @ Jhankaar 2011 Launch

Some of my regular readers might recall that, this entry titled 'Balance Rs. 3/-' originally came to be featured on my blog back in March 2011. That was the time when at college, we were starting work on the annual college magazine- Jhankaar. And my mentor, after reading this piece, had loved it and had suggested that I take this off my blog and put it in Jhankaar, where it would have a larger reader base. And I had promptly done just that!

During the Independence Day Celebration programme in my college last Friday, Jhankaar 2011 was finally launched and so, now I can get you to read the original entry along with the comments it received, back here on my blog.

Jhankaar is a name synonymous with MBICEM since its inception. After long hours of dedicated work and diligent performance by a group of first and second year MBICEMites under the guidance of the editing and designing geniuses, Ms Neha Pande and Mr Srimoy Patra, in the February to July 2011 time frame, the 11th edition of MBICEM’s annual magazine ‘Jhankaar’, came into successful compilation.  It was a journey that had to be undertaken after a benchmark had been set by the Jhankaar 2010 Team consisting of one of the best editors and designers that MBICEM will see in many years to come - Himanshu Dubey and Rohit Jakhu- two of my favourite seniors. Check out the following viddeo to see the 'Behind the Scenes' journey from Jhankaar 2010 to Jhankaar 2011:

Await my next entry, coming up in a few days, with the original Balance Rs. 3/- blog entry along with the comments it had received then, which I had saved on my system when I had deleted the entry from the blog. Till then, enjoy the ride with Jhankaar 2011!

Keep your fingers crossed! Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Moments I would always cherish as part of my first workplace

It’s been quite long since the time- almost a full month now- I actually planned to write this entry. But due to some thing or the other pre-occupying my mind and schedule, this went on getting delayed. My first assignment at college in my second year today, re-infused the spirit back in me.

A facebook profile mention by a ‘senior’, a few short visits to Green Park Extension, a brief round of introduction with the ‘bureau chief’ and a short interview by the ‘intern-in-charge’, opened my doors to Indo-Asian News Service for 30 days of extensive learning.

Going on the first day as intern to cover a press conference alone and getting lost in the corridors of Hotel Ashoka, interviewing the Chairman and Managing Director of Woodland, spending a whole night on the terrace at an unknown place with unknown people for gazing at the moon when it went through the darkest lunar eclipse of the century, venturing out at 6 in the morning to India Gate to witness the flagging off of the Himalayan Odyssey, attending Anna Hazare’s day-long fast at Raj Ghat, relishing the flavour of over 400 varieties of mangoes at the Annual Mango Festival, visiting central government ministries and meeting the very top-notch people- that was my schedule, in brief, of 8-10 hours each day at my work place.

After a year of Journalism classes, I was now seeing the things which I learnt in the classroom actually getting materialised in the real-life of a journalist. I am quite sure that now I wouldn’t ever forget what an embargo is or how investigative story-telling is done or what the code-of-conduct is at a press conference.

It didn’t take me long to get to know people at IANS. And I got to be known soon enough as well. Even before my entry into the organization, my blog writing had found ears there. Yes, that for sure made me happy. Working at a news agency is a lot different than working with a newspaper. And the difference was intensified when one story written by me got published at over 30 websites on the net and at least 4 different newspapers in the country!

There were some ‘not-so-good’ experiences as well, which included the time when I had to pay a visit to the Police Head Quarters to attend a press conference and things had gone absurdly wrong. I still term it as a ‘not-so-good’ experience and not a ‘bad’ one, the reason being that, even some rejections give us an idea about how people work and how one needs to deal with certain category of people (namely, the Indian Police Officers) to bring the situation in one’s own favour. That was not good, but yes, that was an ‘experience’ and I did learn! ;)

The huge positivities shadowed over the few negativities and by the time I left the place, I had got highly attached with my ‘seniors’, emotionally. I was going to miss the place, I knew it already. But more than that I was proud of the fact that it had been my work that had made me gain recognition and the doors of the place had been opened for me for future opportunities.

Kavita Maam, Madhulika Maam, Azera Maam, Rahul Sir, Sumit Sir, Devirupa Maam, Pratibha Maam, Anjali Maam, Gaurav Sir, and everyone else who made me work and learn step-by-step with their immense patience, diligence and constant encouragement to do even better (something which I thought was not possible in the corporate world), if you are reading this, I want to say a big thank you to all of you. Thank you for all the memories. These are moments I would always cherish as those of my first ever work-place. Thanks a lot. (And even after a long term trial, I somehow am unable to remove the suffix of ‘Sir’ or ‘Maam’. And I am sure you wouldn’t mind. Hehe…)

And before ending, one last thing. The best thing that I feel happened to me at IANS was something that one of my seniors at college had told me was impossible- It was the fact that I had entered an organization and made my work appreciated and presence felt all by myself and not through any kind of a ‘source’. I am proud of it. :)
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