Monday, February 1, 2016

#Colgate360GoldMornings - Wake Up to a Golden Morning!

"Let's see who wins the brushing race among you two"," was the favorite pastime of our father while we were still rubbing our eyes trying to figure out why and who made these troublesome mornings. But then devising such games is the only way out for parents when they have two troublesome kids twins to take care of. 

We would rub our teeth vigorously to win the race and then we would undergo an inspection to figure out the winner. Usually, I would be disqualified because I used to under-perform to clock better timing but a father always knows better. Most of the times, we both would win the race that left us always wondering what's the point of this race if there are always going to be two winners. 

That's how we used to start out mornings. Like the golden sun coming out of the dungeons to spread light all around. "A clean mouth makes your day even better", that's what we were told. In retrospect everything our father said about cleaning our teeth was right. 

And probably he was right. A clean mouth and a healthy breakfast are two things that can help you pass the long day even if you haven’t eaten a morsel except for your breakfast. A fresh mouth is like a cool breeze of wind in the desert. And even if you are tired or worn out for the day, a clean mouth certainly gives you energy to last long and stay confident. 

#Colgate360GoldMornings reminded me of the good old days. With the gold standard of whole mouth cleaning, which it claims to achieve, I am sure I can look forward to reliving the golden days of my childhood. I wish Colgate Charcol Gold becomes the mantra to turn a good morning into gold morning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Highway Music!

Have you ever tasted iron?
Have you ever smelled burning rubber?
Have you ever felt cold windy breeze on your face?

A mere mortal wouldn't understand what all this means but ask the highway man. These are like music to a man who has fallen in love with the highways. As they say, the rider is never greater than the road. It's the highway that takes you to places, that teaches you lessons that last all life long. 

I fell in love with the highways when my dad would take us to rides across the state (Himachal Pradesh) on his scooter while we were growing up in the late nineties. Ride to our hometown or to the famous temples of Himachal, we'd enthusiastically wait for the long weekend. Sometimes we'll travel all night long while my father scolded those 'high beam' morons who would come all guns blazing towards us. Those were the days when the highways were raw, driving was risky, and even then it was great fun to be a part of those adventurous rides while our superhero drove us around. 

A wise man once said, "I have always thought of music as a highway with many lanes" and I wholeheartedly agree with him. Life is like a highway. Sometimes you find the sailing smooth and sometimes you encounter troubles like potholes on the road. But life, like highway must go on. To newer places, to newer experiences. 
One may ask, "What exactly is the benefit of roaming around them unknown streets and aimless wanderings?" That's a difficult question because the answer has to fit within the existing norms and parameters of the real world. But there has been no rational explanation to why we fall in love with a particular person? You see, love and passion can't be defined in one line or one paragraph. As George Mallory once said, "I climb the mountains because they are there." Likewise, the highways are waiting for someone to come and drive over them. If you are looking for a rational explanation then you could miss a few destinations that might change your life. 

The love for rubber and iron is too difficult to be explained in words. One has to hit the highway to understand what it all means. The music that flows when you race against the winds or chase the sun hiding behind the dark clouds is nothing short of a meditative state. Highway Music plays not only when you are driving, it continues to play even when you are done with your journey. Such is the force of soulful music that plays when you are on the highways. 

Muhammad once said, " Don't tell me how educated you are but tell me how many places you have been to." That being said, if knowledgeable folks are asking you to hit the highway, then why hesitate? :) 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Chandigarh Diaries

"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe" Abraham Lincoln
See how subtly Abe Lincoln told us about the importance of planning. India is a colorful country and having traveled across its length and breadth, I claim to have seen many of its colors. Probably if our founding fathers listened to Abe Lincoln, they could have 'created' far better color combinations that what we have today. 

A prime example of a planned-colorful Indian city. Having visited Chandigarh on many occasions I always admired its network of roads. But its not only its road network, but the entire city seems to be a futuristic event planned by Le Corbusier and his team.  Just to give you a glimpse of what Chandigarh means, it is a city with third highest forest cover across the country. 

Imagine driving cruising along the pothole-free roads in a city while every road divider is made of wild green trees playing hide and seek with the skyline. That is Chandigarh. 



The vision of Le Corbusier and also the political powers that be who thought of building the first Indian planned city certainly deserve to be called #MadeOfGreat. 

This city drives you crazy. No, not the way it drives you crazy in Bangalore or Hyderabad. The traffic is planned, the roads are constantly monitored by a huge pool of traffic constables. Nobody is over-speeding here because you just can't. City drive limits have been fixed at 60kmph in the day time. Nobody shoots high beam head light in your face. Anyway, why would you need high beam when the entire road network is powered with solar lit panels?

Arguably the greatest visionary of our times, Steve Jobs believed that design is not what is just looks and feels like but design is how it works. Chandigarh is a prime example of perfectly designed artwork that not only looks good but works just as good.  It boasts to be one of the few cities in our country that have completely solar paneled offices. Not one but three. We have heard of the concept of twin cities but this Chandigarh design takes it one step ahead and enables it to be connected seamlessly with two more cities. See, I told you this design feels good- works good. 

With a population of more than 2 million (tri-city) if this city still boasts to be a planned city, it surely is appropriately connected. The traffic signals don't fail here. People don't drive as if they are participating in hell race. With two IT Parks of formidable size and many other industries dispersed all across the city, Chandigarh is certainly a well managed and a connected city. Unlike other cities in India, you don't have to stop at every junction and look for people telling you directions. There are milestones, maps and boards all across the city. At every junction and there must be over 100 such junctions. 


If Chandigarh model can be replicated all across the country, our country would certainly its lost glory which we often hear on TV debates that once belonged to us. 
And no city is great if not for its people. To quote the visionary artist Walt Disney, " You can design and create the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality."

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ekla Chalo Re!

If they answer not to your call walk alone
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open your mind and speak out alone.

Ekla Chao Re! is a phenomenal poem written by Tagore. I wonder will he ever get to know that this poem has insired milions of lesser mortals to dream and never give up.

And those who walk alone, against all the odds are undeniably #madeofgreat

As Zig Ziglar once said,'Motivation is like bathing. You'll need it everyday'. There are people around us who religiously followed their dreams and passion and made a great change to the lives of people surrounding them.

Its like that Arjuna's story from the Mahabharat. Aim at the eye, forget everything else. That's what defines people who are #madeofgreat. They never let their goal disappear even for a second from their sight.

And I have been fortunate enough to meet such people who have dedicated their entire life to make a positive change in the lives of people of Himachal.

I met Jodie and Sarita accidentally and those accidents have turned out to be inspiring for sure. 

Mission Clean Dharmshala

A young British lady walks down the colourful yet filthy streets of sleepy town of Dharmsala. She finds nothing but a great disregard for nature and that hurts her deeply. What she did next had blown away thousands of young brains across the state of Himachal.

She picks up a broom and starts cleaning those filthy streets all by herself. Within two years, her little revolution brings all sorts of people to the streets of Dharmshala.

But it doesn't end here. Local politicians get her thrown out of Dharmshala. Her NGO was disbanded. Does hat stop her?


She moves to another beautiful yet filthy town, Dehradun. Picks up a broom and starts cleaning again. Today that lady is known as the Garbage Girl. 

Jodie Underhill, the garbage girl needs no introduction today. Her two ventures, Mountain Cleaners and Waste Warriors are a household name in Himachal and Uttarakhand. Despite being a British National, she was awarded the Young Indian award by a prestigious Indian conglomerate.

A Lone Warrior in Slums

Sarita Vaidya was facing two major problems. The first one was her husband's injured back that restrained him to the confines of their house. The second problem was walking 5km(one side) to her workplace. 

Teaching kids, in a slum, where no parent was willing to send their kids to the school, was just a minor problem for her. Kids, she says, are always willing to learn. And if you are a good teacher, they will come and sit in the classroom. 

It took her six weeks to bring all the kids, 18 in total, to her classroom. And once all 18 were inside her classroom, she made it mandatory for parents to attend the class with their respective kids at least once a week. 

Within one year, her classroom was reporting 100% attendance. And that included weekend special classes too. 

And meanwhile, she calculated, she had walked almost 2000 kilometres to make her classroom full of inquisitive students. 

These stories of people who singlehandedly did what they aspired to do are the catalysts of change in our society. Out society is undergoing a huge social churning, the end product of which would be a vibrant and shining India. 

Such stories remind us that it doesn't need a Christmas to call for a Santa. 

Look around carefully, you could be somebody's Santa. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Kissanpur - A Village for Togetherness!

I'm just like everyone. I like to feel togetherness with someone.

Welcome to Kissanpur! The land of happiness, infinite joy, and happiness dripping out of every plant in our village. Yeah, we do have real plants and trees and fruits in our village. And yeah, we believe in connecting with each other.

Not virtually, but in reality. Like the good old days, eye-to-eye contact. The word of mouth spreads too fast here because people really talk to each other. The real togetherness is not in mobile phones or in expensive gadgets but in holding hands with your family. Letting your little kids run wild and free amidst the tiny tomato fields. Watching the real sun come up the horizon and feel the freshness of first light of a bright sunny day on your face.

Now that you know what Kissanpur means, let us tell you the simple rules of what togetherness means in our village.

1. First and foremost, communication is the key. We love talking, not on mobile phones, but for real. And when we are done talking, we bring out our mobile phones and click a family picture. That means togetherness.

2. We wish birthdays in reality. A social media message is out of bound on these days. People here step out and actually wish each other. Because when a hand is shaken, a hug is given, people feel special and that's what togetherness is all about; making each other feel special about little things of lives.

3. When the shackles of digital world are broken, that's when you feel real togetherness. What one can say or see, one can't express over a simple text message. Text Messages were devised for the sake of convenience and that's the way they should be used.

And don't go by the name of the village because general perceptions are not always right. Its not a poverty stricken village but it's quite opposite. Because real wealth is the happiness of your family.  Real togetherness is not an alien concept but all we need to do is to step out of our comfort zones that are being guarded by our gadgets and social media. Not that they are bad, but over reliance on them has turned us into aliens to the real happiness.

And remember what they say about happiness, "Its not outside but in the tiny little corners of our hearts that we find real happiness." And hearts is there where is the family. So don't ferret too much. Hold hands with your family and walk to the amazing land of Kissanpur. And once you step in there, you'll have an amazing time of your life.

Have a look at our Real Joy of Togetherness and feel the awesomeness of Kissanpur. These little kids are amazingly happy, aren't they? :)