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, September 29, 2015

Go Portable with Tata Sky Transfer + - The Power in is in Mobile

Remote Control is a divisive force. It divides families and sometimes even leads to great wars within the family. I've been the victim of Remote Diplomacy within my family many a time, and I can assure you when the other party is your wife or your kid, it certainly isn't a good experience. 

However, the power centers have changed, and changed for good. :)

The handheld device in your hand is the new power center. Irrespective of the make of your mobile phone, irrespective of your location, the little devil in your hands controls everything. The world of entertainment and information is evolving fast. We only have 12 hours in a day and that's just not enough.

Tata Sky +Transfer has given us what we want. This new transfer box helps us take our recorded content portable. So you don't have to stick to your TV set to watch your favorite wrestling show or the finals of US Open. With the help of your iOS or Android device, you can now pair it with the Set Top Box and there you go portable with all your recorded data. 

You want to stay updated with the ever changing world of share markets? Cool!

You want to analyze the US Open final between Federer and Novak and feel sad about the legend that once ruled the Tennis world? No problem!

You want to see the Prime Minister of India delivering inspirational speeches world over and inviting the Industrialists to invest in India? That's absolutely fine.

Or you want to laugh your heart out to silly but funny jokes of Kapil. Whatever be your choice or orientation, Tata Sky + Transfer will help you. 

Here's my Top Three programs that I'd love to watch with my Tata Sky + Transfer

1. WWE - No animals hurt, absolute fun, great acting. I'd not be shying to admit that even till date, I'm a WWE Fan. Back home it becomes difficult to keep track of this program. And moreover all the 'grown ups' in the family hate WWE. So with all the action happening in my mobile, It'd be great fun to watch the legendary wrestlers cum actors pull new stunts. Wouldn't it be? 

2. Tennis -  I never played the game. But that's the point of professional sports, you don't have to necessarily play it to watch it. But the game starts late and keeps you intrigued as late as 0400 Hours in the morning. Sometimes, you even lose track of time if it is a Djoker - Nadal face off, and end up sleeping in the office. I don't want that happening. So, Sky + would be of great help. 

3. Epic History - They show interesting stuff. They even talk about my hometown Himachal almost every week. I'd always love to watch people talking good about my home. So I would watch it every single time on the TV and on my mobile phone as well. What the heck! It's my hometown people. :)

How It Works?

All you need to do is to login to your mobile Tata Sky Mobile App and go to transfer. Then pair the device with your wi-fi and there you go. Everything that can be recorded with your Tata Sky+ will be available in your mobile too. Have Fun watching. 

Watch this video to get a little more clarity about the amazing transfer feature. With Sky+ your family wouldn't have to fight over the control of remote like these Transferkars. Everybody literally owns the remote with Sky+

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Airtel 4G - The Fastest Network Ever

Image: Airtel

A couple of years ago I was trekking in the foothills of the Dhauladhar Himalaya in Himachal Pradesh. At 12000 feet, all of a sudden, I heard a weird sound coming from my backpack. For once, I thought it to be an Earthquake. But it was not. It was my mobile phone ringing on vibration mode. 

Receiving a call at such heights in that terrain is surely a surprising thing. But Airtel did make that happen. I've been using Airtel since 2010, it's been five years on a single number since then. Like real friends, we've had our good and bad moments together, but our bond only grew stronger with time. 

With the launch of Airtel 4G, this bond is only going to be stronger than ever. Airtel being the first service provider in India to upgrade from 3G to 4G services is a welcome move. With the size of data being exchanged on the Internet increasing with every passing second, it makes sense to roll out the fastest available technology in India. 

With such unbelievable speeds under my hood, I can think of so so many activities that can just be done in time without no hassles. That will make life better beyond imagination. 

Faster Videos No matter how bad it sounds, the world has moved on from reading to viewing. That's what I have come to believe. With Airtel 4G services, it's going to be great fun watching your videos streaming faster than you can ever imagine. Also, uploading videos would be just a cakewalk. 

Faster Social Media Life There is no denying that the virtual world of Social Media has become a real part of our 'flesh and blood lives'. Airtel 4G will make it even easier to connect with our friends and families. With lightning speeds, that it promises to deliver, it's gonna be great fun watching your loved ones live online. 

Faster Transactions If you make financial transactions on your mobile, you certainly need a good connection. Even faster than the 3G network. And that's where Airtel 4G fits the bill. Banking sites have to be secure and that probably needs a good connection that doesn't give up just when you are transferring funds. With 4G services, it's going to be a lot more easier. 

Here's an online video doing rounds showing what all Airtel 4G has to offer. Have a look yourself. Initially, 296 cities are to be covered and if you are active on Twitter, you even have a chance of getting the 4G sim delivered at your doorstep. Just use the #GetAirtel4G tag and have it delivered at your doorstep.

It doesn't get better than this, does it? 

Don't wait, take your chance. Happy Browsing. :)