Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 is OUT, 2012 is IN

I remember how I had been keeping on writing Year End Posts last year in the last week of December every few hours and had around 12 posts in less than 7 days with a new post coming up every 12 hours or so and keeping all categories of my readers entertained. Well, I also remember, how on the 3rd day or so, I had started regretting: ‘Why the hell did I make this commitment on the blog?’ Although I knew what I had to write, I just couldn’t keep up with the writings. And something which I already knew dawned on me again- I can write well when I feel like it. The moment I have some pressure, my writing degrades. And so, I was mentally exhausted.

This year, you would be happy and glad to know that I am not going to write so many year-end posts. (If I wish I can, but no, I am not making any commitment this time!) This is the sole post and the last post of 2011 that you are ever going to read on my blog.

For me, this year: 2011, has been crazy, literally! Time flew the fastest this year. My clocks seemed to be running normally all day but every few days I was kept wondering, ‘Another week is already gone?’ or probably ‘It’s exam time again? So soon? How? Where did all the time go?’ I wasn’t surprised when it was 1st December and I was thinking, ‘It’s my birthday month already? How did 12 months pass so fast?’ For the first time, I have the answers to these questions.

This has been a hectic year all throughout, right from day 1 when I saw Hindustan’s Times’ 100 years of Delhi coverage. I have written on many diverse topics this year- emotions, psychology (some psycho ones included), factual, educational, and most importantly entertainment and humour stuff (loads and loads of that) and I feel proud for all of it! (No, this time I am not hyperlinking to all my posts throughout the year via this last post. Thank God! You can get all the links from the blog archive in the sidebar)

My recent introduction to has brought over  a thousand pageviews this month to my blog. I am always full of blog writing ideas since I have started reading all the many blogs at indiblogger. Needless to say, I have at least 7 blog posts ready in the drafts which I intend to publish over the course of next year at the apt times. This year also saw a diverse range of people visiting the blog and commenting on the posts (that too without the constant SMS reminders that I used to send earlier). It feels really good when I see a good friend’s comments on the blog which they read even without me asking them to. Thank you for your love everyone! J (And now I am also sure of the fact that I wasn’t a ‘wannabe’ when I pleaded my readers to ‘comment’ on my entries- that’s what blog entries are meant for, right?)
Keeping this entry short, I wish you a very Happy New Year 2012. May the New Year be full of surprises and bright days to bring cheer to life. Enjoy!

P.S.: This might be the last time I am writing a year-end entry, if the Mayans are to be believed. Any idea if we all shall still be alive at the end of next year? :D

P.S.2: Would love it if you could click here and vote for me. The deadline is 5th January and I need hundreds of votes to win the iPad2. Thanks a lot in advance :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nothing comes free- well, not always!

Dominos delivers pizzas for free if it exceeds the 30 minutes time frame- that’s a well known fact for pizza lovers. But an online book store delivers a book free of cost that too with a ‘Sorry’ card for a delay in delivery- that’s something unheard of. Well, I stand witness to this event today! Haha…

A long research on the life of Steve Jobs led to me asking my dad to get a copy of the biography by Walter Isaacson. He ordered it online from on December 8 so that it would reach me in 4-5 working days and I could read it while going home on Christmas in the train. The payment had to be done on Cash on Delivery. We waited and waited and waited, but the book never shipped. The homeshop18 people didn’t keep any of the many promises made; none of the threats were paid heed to, and yesterday was the deadline after loads of inconvenience regretted letters from the customer care.

I moved to my uncle’s house this morning. The space reserved for the book in my back-pack was now filled with two water bottles.

In the afternoon I got a call from homeshop18 and they enquired my presence at the shipping address. I gave them my new address and they promised to deliver the book to me by today evening or latest by 4 PM tomorrow. They were shipping it immediately. I asked them to cancel the order in case they are not able to ship it by 4 PM tomorrow. I had my hopes high yet again.

Another couple of hours passed and I got yet another call asking me if I would be available at my home to receive the book around 8 PM today. I said yes. I was also told that I needn’t pay anything for the book when I receive it. I should consider it a complementary copy. I said ok and put down the call. Were these people actually going to provide me a book costing 799 bucks for free?

I told my mom about this new development in the story and added that if this comes true, then it is an amazing make-customer-happy marketing-strategy.

I started the countdown. We had a Christmas party for the kids at home. I passed the time staring at the speed monitor of the torrents being downloaded. I kept on saying ‘1 hour to go’, ’40 minutes to go’, ’15 minutes to go’, ’10 minutes to go’, ting tong…

I checked the door. A man stood with an Oxford University Press paperbag. He handed it to me and said that I should accept it as a complementary gift from I controlled my smile till he left and then closed the door after asking him if I needed to sign anywhere and he denied.

I opened the package and finally after a 15 day wait had the Steve Jobs biography in my hand. Well, there was something else in the package as well. I checked it. It was a Thank You card. Inside it was written:

Well, what else can I say? Be it a marketing strategy or the homeshop18 team’s actual sorry, ultimately it led to a happy customer and an unbelievable experience to boast about for sometime! Wow!

P.S.: I originally planned to write an entry regarding the pressure and tension that waiting for an e-order results in. But, I guess it is an entirely different concept now! Haha…

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Last Question

Did the title intrigue you? Well, I think it should. This is one of those rare times when I have the title ready before writing the post- a rare achievement for me, seriously! This title struck me when I was sitting in the bus returning from my exam centre this evening. And the idea for this post struck me at one of the weirdest time possible- when I had just completed writing the answer to the last question in today’s paper.

My third semester exams ended today with the last paper ‘Basics of Camera, Lights and Sound’. The paper had appeared much easier than expected (we were seriously expecting an absurd question paper after the untimely change in the faculty teaching the subject this semester). I had full 50 minutes to attempt the last question, a feat I achieved for the first time in three whole semester exams. And so I was relaxed to write the answer. 50 minutes were just more than enough for one 15-marker. But…by the time I was through with filling up three pages of the answer script, I didn’t feel like writing anymore. Two reasons: One, my knowledge regarding the question’s answer was limited; Two, I was too excited with the fact that the exams were ending and so wanted to get out of the exam hall ASAP so that I can start with the 20 days of the winter break. Haha…

Something really similar had happened in the last exam of the previous semester as well, and the one before that also. At the end of the first semester I had the ‘Basics of Design & Graphics’ paper and had left the exam hall full 30-minutes before the scheduled exam-end time after completing a relatively simple paper. In the second semester, I had ‘Still Photography’ and throughout the paper I was struggling to keep my Rishikesh adventure trip plans at bay till the exam concluded, but of course, an excursion with friends was surely more cheerful and a looking-forward-to thing than a stupid examination! And so, that day as well I had left the exam hall 30-minutes earlier by concluding the last answer ASAP. What I scored in both these papers wasn’t what I would call ‘bad’!

I noticed another more intriguing thing in the exams this time. Whenever I sit for an exam, specially these semester exams, I take out my wrist watch and put it on the left side corner of the table; my wallet at the right side (it’s not-so-comfortable to sit with the fluffy wallet in the back pocket of one’s jeans and write an exam for 3 hours!); 2 blue, 1 black gel pens, 1 pencil and an eraser from my front jeans pocket are placed near the wallet (for easy access during the paper) and if I am wearing a jacket (which I usually do at this time to fight Delhi’s winter), it is placed on the seat beside me. Well, it takes quite a while to place all of them back at their destined locations on my clothes when I am in a hurry to leave the exam hall after writing the answer to the last question of the last paper!!

Another weird thought occurred to me today in those last few minutes. Can I ask the invigilator to click a picture of mine writing the paper so that I can include it in a blog entry regarding this? Well, I am glad I didn’t ask that! :D

Do let me know if you have had some such weird experiences and thoughts in your exams as well. Enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It’s a hap, hap, happy birthday: New Delhi’s bday, my bday…

I have been preparing this entry for a long time now. 11 months and 11 days- to be precise! It all started on Day 1 of 2011 when I saw the exclusive page in Hindustan Times regarding the centenary celebration of New Delhi this year. What caught my attention was the fact that India’s capital and I shared a common birth date (sans the year, of course- That’s a huge 80 year gap!) Of course at that time I hadn’t planned for any blog entry regarding this; this idea came up sometime last week only! :D

So, what all happened on the 12th of December?

1901: Guglielmo Marconi (Yes, Radio ke pappaji) received the first transatlantic radio signal at Signal Hill in St.John’s, Newfoundland. At least this is what Google tells me!

1911, Coronation park, Kingsway camp, Delhi- Here on the 12th Day of December 1911, His Imperial Majesty King George V, Emperor of India accompanied by the Queen Empress in solemn Durbar announced in person to the Governors, Princes and People of India his Coronation celebrated in England on the 22nd day of June 1911 and received from them their dutiful homage and allegiance. On this occasion the King announced the transfer of the capital of British India from Calcutta to Delhi. I source this to Wikipedia!

I captured this at the Sheikh Sarai Crossing. Similar
hoardings are a common sight in Delhi this month.
The transfer of capital also meant that Delhi required a facelift from the existing Chandni Chowk and Sahajahanpur area. And so, the foundations of the new capital New Delhi were laid. Delhiites going around on the roads or following Hindustan Times must be aware of this. This is the reason why so many festivals are taking place in the capital this month (I have attended the Food Festival at Baba Kharak Singh Marg. The Youth Festival at Central Park, CP might have had me in attendance had its theme and events been not-so-‘un’youth-like. What about you?) It’s Happy Birthday to New Delhi today!

1970: Kingsway Camp was official renamed as Guru Teg Bahadur Nagar on December 12, 1970 by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

1949: Rajnikanth was born. (Anna Rascalla, mind it! [:D])

1981: Yuvraj Singh was born. (His recent news of lung tumour was disturbing surely, hope he recovers soon)

1991: The Russian Federation gained independence from USSR. Yes, Google tells me this happened on 12th of December 1991. Of course this wasn’t the biggest happening of the day because on that day at 6.15 PM IST, I was born and so, I contributed to the ever increasing population of the world! :D

Coming up next is the year 2012, which as per Mayan calendars would bring an end to the world (if a recent Times of India article is not to be believed) somewhere around December 12, 2012 (Yes! It’s 12-12-12 [:D]) I would just be 21 then!

Come on now, what are you waiting for? There are so many people (and places) you need to wish a happy birthday to! Go ahead, start with me… :D
P.S.: Thanks to my University’s wonderful scheduling of the third semester exams, I won’t be available on phone from 2-5 PM today as I would be busy filling up pages of the answer-script of my Print Journalism’s paper (and scratching my brain for another point that I might be missing from the many responsibilities of the sub-editor of a newspaper like The Verity or probably thinking of differences between editing and proof-reading!!)

Friday, December 09, 2011

From ‘Dilliwalas’ to ‘Delhiites’- a journey of 100 years!

I wrote this article for my college magazine 'Jhankaar' as part of the 100 year celebration of New Delhi as the capital of India. Take a look. Is this how you have always known Delhi?

Delhiites say that ‘dilli ka hawa pani different hai” and I agree. Once you move to Delhi, you neither like to stay at the place for long nor are you able to stay away from it. Because, for someone who has moved from any place of the country to this most rapidly growing and fast moving city, the experience is nothing less than ‘bliss’. Families have stayed here for generations and have seen the ever-changing city right from the time when Raisina Hill or Lutyen’s Delhi was the sole recognition of the capital. With the changing times, malls and multiplexes have taken the place of museums and monasteries and have changed the people’s perception of this historical city. The Delhiites love their city!

100 years ago, this face of New Delhi was no where to be found. The city of ‘Dilli’ was synonymous with the Chandni Chowk, the Red Fort, the Humayun’s Tomb and other such places of historical importance. Qutb Minar stood in a distant village called Mehrauli. Shahjahanabad was a small village somewhere in today’s North Delhi. And then the Britishers came and the landscape changed.

On December 12, 1911, at the Coronation Park in Kingsway Camp (now known as Guru Tegbahadur Nagar) King George V announced the shifting of India’s capital from Calcutta to a to-be-constructed ‘New’ Delhi. Nearly 20 years after that, on February 10, 1931, a sunny day after three days of rain and cloudy weather, Viceroy of India Lord Irwin formally inaugurated New Delhi at 11 am. The grand new capital was finally complete. The Viceroy’s House (Rashtrapati Bhavan), the North and South Blocks, the Council House (Parliament House) joined the Kingsway (Rajpath) and Central Vista at the end by the All India War Memorial (India Gate).

Hindustan Times in one of its article says about the development of the new capital as a people’s city: “Till the 1940s, New Delhi would turn into a ghost town after sunset and on holidays. Apart from houses for the top ranking officials and Princes, residences were not built in New Delhi. Those who came to work here would return to their homes in the Walled City (the Old Delhi area) or suburbs. The tide changed when, unable to cope with the congestion in ‘old Delhi’, its residents started moving south towards New Delhi. Those who came after Partition populated areas like Rajinder Nagar and Lajpat Nagar. Huge vacant land was allotted in the 1960s to families, which migrated from East Bengal in 1947. This area was called EPDP (East Pakistan Displaced Persons) colony that was later renamed Chittaranjan Park.”

The Delhi that we know today had its beginning in the 1910s itself. With the British Raj relocating to Delhi, it brought along officials and employees from all parts of the country. None of them were Dilliwallahs in the old sense but all of them made Delhi their own, creating the multi-ethnic Delhi of 2011 and became the Delhiites. 

So are you celebrating with Delhi, dear Delhiites?

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The onset of winters @ PVR Saket

The onset of the winters was never so late in the four years that I have spent in Delhi. My third semester final practicals are underway and on waking up this Monday morning I could feel the chill of the winter air for the first time this season. I have always loved winters mainly for two reasons. One, it is more comfortable to cuddle up inside the blanket and sleep for hours at a stretch than cooling oneself down in front of the AC. And two, onset of the winter, brings hope and excitement for my birthday! (Check the time, it’s December already! Start planning surprises for me! [:D])

Sitting inside the blanket on my rajai-converted into low-floor sofa, and typing this entry on my Dell Inspiron 15R N5010 which is providing warmth by blowing hot air from the PC-fan onto my left hand occasionally, I am thinking about the fun-day that has been today- a holiday from college and an early morning expedition with a college-mate to catch the morning show of Desi Boyz at PVR Saket at a mere expenditure of 50 bucks (per head, mind it! [:D])!

Not having a TV at my accommodation and having lost touch with the TV-viewing experience for almost four years now, I get to know about new releases quite late, literally. And that happens mainly from discussion with my friends, review in the newspapers (The Hindu hardly has any taste for bollywood news, seriously! [:D]) and of course, facebook! The way I got to know about this particular movie, was however, different and unique!

A good friend calls up and asks me if I would like to go to DLF Promenade, the next day, where the starcast of Desi Boyz including John, Akshay, Deepika and Chitrangada were making an appearance. I instantly agree and launch a Google search for ‘Desi Boyz’. “Oh, all right, so this is an upcoming film set to release on 24th and the cast is on its way for some promotion. Would be a great chance to see them,” I think.

Desi Boyz starcast visit at DLF Promenade, 17-11-2011
And on 17th November, my friend and I reach the mall sharp at 4, the scheduled arrival time of the cast, go through the security arrangements and take our places with the ever-increasing crowd of people. We wait for a full hour and then finally, a 10-minute appearance is made by the four members of the Desi Boyz cast. Getting a glimpse of bollywood actors, is something we Indians crave for and are crazy about. And here, Akshay and John were actually prancing to the tunes of the amazing soundtrack of the movie. Having got to know about the existence of this movie just a day before, I had never given a thought to hearing the songs of the film. The one-hour wait in the midst of crazy fans and huge speakers continuously blaring songs from the film, made sure that I go home and download all the songs and give an ear to them. Well, I was in love with the tune! :D

About watching the film today at PVR? Well, the Dhawans know what they need to do to set the Indian stage on fire! The glum 2-minute introductory scenes of the movie regarding inflation were surely given a huge dampening the moment the storyline with our heroes started. What a bike John rides, WOW! Akshay’s scooter should be a fun ride as well! [:D] I wouldn’t go into the details as that would give spoilers regarding the plot of the movie to many of my readers and I, of course would not like to spoil their pre-movie-watching excitement. (And those who have already seen it, I guess, you know I don’t need to explain! [:D])

Being a media-student and having learnt, this semester, how to handle a movie camera, the initial bird’s eye shot of London and the many jib camera shots throughout the film, could be easily recognized from the technical point of view by me. The hooting that Sanjay Dutt’s entry received and the understanding of the seriousness of the scene on the entry of our favourite Omi Vaidya (of course, pun intended) supplemented the wonderfully-written dialogues of the film. From getting the audience to laugh at the very critical moments to signifying the emotional bondage shared between the father-child, boy-girl and of course, two best friends’ relations, junior Dhawan does it wonderfully. My personal favourite was the choreography of the song ‘Allah maaf kare’ in the college classroom. Should I call it a joke or a serious choreography? :D

I read an interview with the director of the movie in Delhi Times where he had said, “This is a movie about the chemistry shared between two best friends. We made the movie with the intention that you would come out of the theatre and call up your old buddies and tell them ‘I miss you man’”. Well, nothing like that happened after I left the hall but yes, I was wondering, are friends like the ones portrayed in the film possible in real life? If yes, then I would love to have one.

After two hours of non-stop laughter and while enjoying a McChicken Brunch at the nearby McDonalds, my friend and I discussed the prospects of suddenly getting sacked from our jobs in the media industry in the future in case of another serious economic meltdown. Should we gear up for some muscle-building and start gymming now so we are left with at least one job? Haha… :D
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