Monday, January 11, 2016

The Hills, Trains and A Very Unusual Birthday: A Matheran Travelogue

This post got featured in the Tangy Tuesday Picks on Blogadda.

Tanvi got the pastry out and as she set it on the tin table and got the candles, the young shopkeeper on the opposite side shouted 'Monkey, right behind you!'

We saw it right in the nick of time less than a foot away from us, its eyes fixed at its prey. I grabbed the pastry and ran out as bystanders shooed it away. It ran away but not before grabbing hold of the pastry box that we had just disposed. What was to follow was even more surprising. All the drama unfolded with at least a couple of dozen people around us, standing in the pleasant December afternoon, at one of the most scenic spots in the small hill station of Matheran, 100 kilometres from Mumbai. We were there to celebrate my birthday 'in an unusual way'!

Unusual? Yes! How? Take a look at these pointers from our pre-trip itinerary:
  • Take the toy train to Matheran, click lots of photos, sing songs, tell spooky tales, walk along the train and feel the air.
  • Buy the famous-in-Matheran chocolate chikkis and ‘save them from the monkeys’.
  • At some point, cut a cake or pastry and invite fellow tourists to be part of the cake cutting and take random photos with them.

'Travelling in a toy train'- one of the biggest priorities on my bucket list. This was one of the first sightings of the toy train
during our trip. I kept looking at it in awe. Matheran, December 2015. Photo: Tanvi
Believe it or not, we accomplished every single detail of this and more.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Hands-on experience of the ASUS ZenPad 8.0 with Audio Cover

The ASUS ZenPad 8.0 Z380KL is the Taiwanese company's latest flagship device. It is the world’s first tablet to have an integrated speaker within a protective flip cover.

I have been using the 8 inch ASUS ZenPad 8 with the Audio Cover for the last two weeks and the experience has been quite good. Below is a detailed review of the various aspects of the device that I feel are important, as per my usage.

Click here to read how I laid my hands on the ASUS ZenPad 8 as one of the most surprising aspects of my blogging in 2015.

Looks, Screen Size and Weight

I received an Obsidian Black ZenPad. With its sleek metal back cover and the ASUS logo emblazoned on it, it looks classy. It has an 8 inch display. Having never used a device with this big screen size before, carrying the ZenPad felt a little inconvenient at first, and I felt I was going to drop it or scratch the glass soon. The Audio Cover that came with it is quite sturdy and when attached, gives it an elegant and premium look. It also does make it easier to carry- like a small book in one's hand.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

When an ASUS ZenPad 8.0 Tablet was delivered to me for free

2015 was a great year of blogging for me. A lot of first-time things happened and most of them weren’t expected.
The biggest surprise came when around mid-December I received an email from a PR company in Mumbai claiming to be representatives of ASUS and willing to give me an ASUS ZenPad 8.0 in return for a review on my blog. Like many other emails of a similar kind, I ignored this completely thinking it was yet another spam mail. 'I have never done any tech-related blogging, why would anyone even consider reaching out to me for a tech-review? I thought.

Friday, January 01, 2016

The Unexplainable Pleasures of Knowing a New World of Fiction

The 7th installment of the Star Wars series released last week and I confess I have absolutely no clue about the Star Wars universe. All I know is that there is a Luke Skywalker and there is a Darth Vader and there is something about finding Luke's father (thanks to a fan-boy classmate at college). And yes, that there are six movies which need to be seen for a full understanding of the 'greatest sci-fi series of all time'. And as I write this, the six are on my download list.
The Harry Potter vs Star Wars comparison that I first heard about in one of my
film story writing classes
It's such a simple yet wonderful fact that struck me earlier in the day today- As soon as I start watching the series, I will be entering a new world all together. I will have a visual representation and understanding of the Star Wars universe. I will know the 'story' that George Lucas visualised nearly 40 years ago and that became a cult. Everything will change- not literally, but yeah, inside my head. From next to nothing right now, there would be something that comes to mind when one mentions the term ‘Star Wars’.

Have you ever given this a thought before or after getting into a new fantasy world?

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