14 March, 2015

Family time - happy time

Happy moments depend on good company that we have. Time spent with family or best friends will give us more energy and happiness. Do you know why? We will be ourselves with our family or best friends. We show our emotions to them be it love or hatred  without inhibition. Our family or best friends know exactly how to make us happy and what we enjoy doing - travelling or book reading or watching movie together or chit chatting or cooking or any thing else ☺


Beautiful sunset from our hotel
I love travelling and I love it with the company of good friends and my family. Coorg was a such a trip that I planned in last November. Travel rejuvenates me and helps me destress myself from work pressure. I have  planned that trip in the middle of my busy work schedule but still I loved the experience. Before deciding on Coorg, I was thinking of other options like travelling to Lonavala by train from Hyderabad or Goa trip by flight or Coorg or Udupi trip by car. Budget and time were the main constraints as we were also planning this trip with another couple who are friends. We have zeroed in on a car trip to Coorg, as my husband loves driving and it gives more freedom for us to stop by wherever we want and enjoy nature. Since we planned it very late, I enquired about 8 to 10 good home stay options for accommodation and couldn't get any. At last, I could find KSTDC accommodation which was comfortable and economical and also close to the tourist spots. 


A cloudy day
We had many funny and happy moments to cherish in the trip. One of them was using GPS in remote villages of Karnataka. Instead of taking a high way route to Coorg, we followed a short cut and lost our way in the middle. Our GPS misled and we lost our way completely. We drove long distances in the small villages where population density is very less. But, this was a good memory as we enjoyed driving on country side bumpy roads without actually knowing where that road leads to :-) Somehow, we reached Coorg. 

We enjoyed our experiments on different hotels which were good looking from outside and serving pathetic food inside :-) We had adventurous drives on steep unknown roads and peaceful walks in the nights. We enjoyed listening to lovely songs throughout the drive and discussing and debating on various topics starting from politics, education to movies. Watching beautiful sunset from our hotel while eating hot pakoras made those days more memorable. Our friends brought their new DSLR camera and reading the manual and experimenting on different settings was also fun. Giving poses to the camera was never boring though :-)

Every travel is unique and the company of family and friends makes it more memorable. This trip gave me new energy, motivation and optimism in my life. Though I went to the office tired on next Monday, I had that happy satisfied smile on my face :-)

This post is written for housing.com about my most memorable time spent with my family. That's the power of being together. You too share your story.  #Together.
Read more detailed travelogue here - part 1, 2 and 3.

Until next time,



11 March, 2015

An important decision for a new begining

This post is written for housing.com about a bold step that i have taken which gave a new beginning to my life.

Not a difficult topic right? We face many challenges day by day, especially after college. School days are fun as our decisions are taken by our parents like which course is good, which hobby they can encourage in our free time etc., When we come to college, choosing a course is a main issue for many people as it decides their future. Then, getting a nice job is in our agenda. Sometimes, salary might not be the only criteria. There are many things to be considered - future growth prospects, technology that we are going to work on, career flexibility, work life balance, good environment to support etc.,I too struggled in these phases of my life to take right decision and chose bright path for my future.

After completing engineering, I had to decide whether to continue higher studies or join job. It was a difficult decision, Isn't it? After my engineering, i got admission in a good college for M tech and also an admission for a specialized study on VLSI designing. Yes, I loved all these options, but I was sure that I want to work and not study more. There were many reasons to it, be it personal or financial. But, now I know I did the right thing.

Searching for jobs is tough initially as we have to cross different stages, compete with lakhs of graduates from different places of country. But, later it became easy. Every company used to follow the same formula in 2005. A written test which tests the ability of student in English, aptitude and logical skills, One or two technical interviews which mostly concentrate on project done in the college, basic programming language skills and logical skills and a HR interview which tests our patience, mindset and stress levels. So, after few months of searching, it became easy to get selected into many of the companies. Then, comes the dilemma, which one to choose.

I chose a small scale organization with around 250 employees. This is one of the important steps that I took for a new beginning and I am very happy for it :-) It gave me opportunity to work on different stages of software life cycle, enabled me to improve my technical skills on my own and provided me enough confidence to work on difficult assignments. Small companies might not have a formal training for new hires, which is a golden opportunity for freshers, Learning on the job is good and learning something on our own is better as we learn lessons from our mistakes. Fortunately, my employer is an employee friendly organization and so I could maintain work life balance and enjoy my life too. 

Did you ever take a step that changed your life for a new beginning? 
Share your story :-)

 #StartANewLife
Check this lovely ad too from housing.com..



Until next time,

05 March, 2015

Optimism in Life?

This post is written for Happy hours organized by Indiblogger and Housing.com. https://housing.com/lookup.

Theme is to write a lookup story that fills you with optimism.
Optimism is a ray of hope that everything is going to be fine in future. 

There are times when I felt depressed and exhausted with my toddler at home and pressure at office. It was very difficult to come home and play with kid or paint with him with a smile on face, when you have deadlines to meet at office or client calls to take from home. You cannot keep your kid away who has waited whole day for your presence and attention and take client call. Sometimes, this pressure hits a working woman and make her guilty for not being a good mother. Who doesn't want to spend whole day playing with kid reading stories and jumping with him/ her? Whoever has told not to bring work to home are true. But, in this contemporary world where work form home option is available, people tend to over use it. Work form office and also work from home :-) Isn't it? Double work. Even weekends, you are available for any urgent office work, that's the strategy of employers. Since flexibility has both benefits and issues, we have to live with it.

When we are nearing any milestone release, there used to be pressure on understanding requirements from onsite people who are available only after 6pm our time and finish work quick after discussing with them. So, all our client calls are usually after 8pm or around that and i have to take them from home as my care taker used to leave at 6pm. It was like walking on a double edged sword maintaining balance. 

Fortunately, I have a supporting family and system around me to beat this exhaustion and pressure. Else, it would have been impossible and it would have impacted my health, me and eventually my family.

My only motivation is to see a smiling kid after coming to home. It is so pleasant. The love that I get from my family is the only reason for being optimistic. I see a ray of hope when my kid tells me all his day's events at school, good or bad, silly fights, new learnings etc., I am always amazed when he learns something new - a new word, a new game,a new habit, a new hobby or anything. Every milestone that my kid makes is important, however small it is. 

I am optimistic about their future. Giving them a security in life and good education is a priority. This keeps me going everyday and alleviates my pressure slowly. 
By the way, what keeps you going in life and be optimistic? Do, let me know in comments :)

Until next time,




03 March, 2015

Indian passport for infants

Hello all...
After a long gap at last, I could write on my blog today. Hurray :-)
I have been going through an important phase in my life, which is taking care of my new born son. He is keeping me busy away from books and blogs.

Recently, I have applied Indian passport for my 5 month old son through tatkal scheme. Wanted to share my experience as it might help someone else.

Documents  required:
For an infant, proof of age and address are required. Also, an affidavit - annexure H is needed with the signature of both the parents.

We used the following documents:
1. Age proof - date of birth certificate
2. Address proof - original passports of both the parents (if address in parent's passport matches their current address). Else, additional address proof like voter id card of either of the parents or gas connection bill  is needed.
3. Annexure H signed by both the parents
4. 2 passport size photographs of kid

Application process:
  • Browse Indian passport website www.passport.gov.in, select respective passport office, download the application form which will be a zip file.
  • You should have adobe in your laptop to fill the application form. After filling in the application, it can be saved only in xml format which needs to be uploaded in passport website.
  • You should have a profile created on the site to upload passport application. So, register in the site before submission. Infant passport can be applied from parent's profile.
  • Filling the application is very simple except for a few tricky ones. All infants come under non ECR category. Select kid's date of birth in 'residing since' field. Everything else is straight forward.
Submission of application and appointment booking :
  • As mentioned earlier, register in the site by creating profile, log in and upload the completely filled in application form in xml format. 
  • After successful submission of application, site gives an option of booking an appointment to visit passport office for document verification. Take a printout of filled in application form also. Please note that kid's thumb impression is required in the application form. You can paste kid's passport photo in the application,if not, anyway passport office will ask for another photo.
  • We can only select the date and passport office while booking appointment, but appointment time will be automatically allocated by the system,
  • Print the appointment form after the payment of Rs.1000/- as fee through online. This payment is mandatory for appointment booking. Remaining fee required should be paid at passport office on appointment day.

Appointment:
  • Reach passport office at least 15 - 20 mins before appointment time. 
  • Carry appointment letter, application form with 2 passport photos and thumb impression of kid, original birth certificate, original passports of both the parents and annexure H signed by both. 
  • If current residence address is different, you also need to carry another address proof like voter ID or gas connection bill. For any special case like one parent not present in India, there is another form to be signed and sent by the absent parent. Please contact passport help line for these kind of special cases.
  • PSK (Passport seva kendra) will allow 2 people with kid. Don't forget to carry necessary feeding bottles, hot water, formula powder, diapers etc.,
  • PSK allows mobile phones, but they need to be switched off.
  • In the first counter, officers will verify original documents, take kid's photo from us, take xerox copies of each and arrange them in a file. They also assign a token number.
  • After proceeding to 'B' counters after our token is called in, all details mentioned in the application are verified by the officer. They take thumb impression of kid and scan all the proofs that we provide for verification. We have to pay remaining fee (if any) at this counter.
  • In counter 'C', another verification of original documents takes place and In counter 'A', final verification will be done. For Tatkal scheme, your token comes quicker than others. For me, it took around 30 mins to go through A,B and C counters.
  • We have to collect an acknowledgement in the last counter before leaving the office. This is important to track the status of our application later.
  • For Tatkal scheme, it takes around 3 working days for the passport to be delivered. For normal, it might take 15 to 20 days. 
  • If you want to get alerts on the status of passport application, you can register for updates to mobile phone while booking appointment itself. PSK will charge around Rs.35/- for the same.
We got appointment on Saturday and passport is delivered on immediate Monday. PSK person told me that if I can go through A,B and C counters before 12 PM on that day, passport will be delivered on Monday. Else, it will come on Tuesday. So, lucky we are :)

So, that's the story. Hope this helps someone who need information on applying Indian passport for infants.

Until next time,

24 January, 2015

Kurukshetra by Krishna Udayasankar - [Book Review]

Book details:
Title - The Aryavartha Chronicles book 3 - Kurukshetra
Author - Krishna Udayasankar
Genre - fiction, mythology
No. Of pages - 436
Publishers - Hachette India
Source: A free review copy from blogadda book review program

My first thoughts: I love reading mythology. I already knew every small story of the epic Mahabharatha. Heard those from my father in childhood. So, iam not reading this book to know story. Kurukshetra war is the result of many politics, it is very interesting to know how people from same lineage fought for power, how alliances formed, what strategies are used, how betrayals happened and at last, how dharma won.


Author's first note clearly says he is not retelling the epic but telling the story imagining every character as human with emotions. I liked this perspective. When we consider Sri krishna as God and read the story we believe everything he has done is right and good for the society. But, if we imagine him as a human being, we understand the reasoning behind each decision he took and his emotions. So, this epic can be read in a complete different perspective.

I felt, font size is very small and hard on eyes. Even for an avid reader like me completing 436 page book with this font is intimidating. :-)

Even though each character's name is explained just before the starting of the story, it was really confusing for me to follow for sometime. I got comfortable after reading a few pages. Matching the names that we now and the name they gave in the book is slightly time taking. I am reading part 3 book of chronicle directly without reading earlier parts, so it was difficult for me to understand terminology like 'Firewrights'. 

Plot: This starts from Krishna (Govinda Shauri, as mentioned in book) going to Kaurava court as mediator to negotiate on necessity of war. Since war became imminent, it becomes interesting how Kaurava and pandavas form alliances with other kings and make strategies for the war.

What I liked?
The episode of Shikandi, his feelings of hatred on his own father, his revenge to Bhishma explained well. I don't know much about Uttara, Abhimanyu's wife until I read this book. She is shown as independent woman who thinks she is equally good as her husband. The final fight between Bhim and Suyodhana also explained well.

I liked the book because it is not a retelling of the epic and it is interesting to imagine all Mahabharata characters as mortals. Author's knowledge, research and her interpretation should be appreciated for sure. 

What I didn't like?
Font size is a put down. Names of characters are slightly confusing. I felt, it would have been easy if I read earlier parts of this chronicle, before reading this one. I didn't feel it very easy to understand. 

One more thing, book might be boring for a few, as main focus is on war and planning for it. So, description of war, weapons, strategies, revenge and violence might not be a good time pass read. Pick the book only if you want to know more about Kurukshetra imagining every character as mortal. 

My overall rating: 3/5

Until next time,








This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

22 January, 2015

Teaching good manners to kids

Teaching good manners to kids is not an easy task. We have to show them examples and make them understand - what is right and what is wrong. As we all know, we cannot be right always it's a bit difficult right? Sometimes, we can be right, but majority might follow the wrong path. Then, comes the dilemma for the kid, which one to follow. 

India has many paradoxes. We make it a point to clean our homes for every festival but, don't care on spreading litter outside our houses. We teach our kids not to spread litter but we ourselves throw things on the road from car. 

There are many historic places in Hyderabad which are stained with pan marks. Throwing litter and spitting everywhere has become common. Actually, if we see, problem is not with the government or policies, but, with the people and society. If we care for our country, our environment, we don't spread litter and teach the same to kids by example. right?

*************************************************************
My 3 year old and me are coming up in lift in our apartments and he asked me about the red design on lift walls.
What can I say? It's a design made by someone spitting pan on the wall :-o
I told the same and told it's not good to spit on the wall. But, if he sees many people spitting in public, how does he get my words into his brain? By the way, it's very common in Hyderabad to spit on roads.

***************************************************************
Whenever I pick my kid from his school back to home, I ask him to go for loo and start :-). 
You guessed it right :-), I don't want him to pee on road on the way.
One day, he didn't go for loo before starting and he pestered me to stop the car in the middle. When I told him ok, he got down and said 'gandhaa' (dirty in hindi) and told he wont pee on the roadside. Thank God! Whatever may be the reason, Iam happy that he decided not to pee on the road :-)

****************************************************************
My kid loves travelling by train. We usually pack our dinner for evening and night travels. Whenever  there is some garbage left after our dinner, I tell him to throw in the dust bin provided in the train and not outside. But, Is it always possible? Most of the trains have dust bins in AC coaches, Iam not very sure of non-AC coaches.

****************************************************************

Now, our PM has come up with a campaign on Swacha Bharath and he included celebrities too. Inclusion of celebrities should surely improve the impact. Let's see. Let's change for good. Let us hope that our next generation doesn't feel bad while teaching good manners. 

This post is inspired by this video from http://greatindian.timesofindia.com/... 
The Great Indian Litterbug in a humorous way :)





Until next time,

21 January, 2015

When she smiled by Ritoban Chakrabarty - [Book Review]

Hello everyone! My first book review of the year 2015 :) This is a teenage love story in the backdrop of beautiful Shivalik hills of Shimla.

Book Details:
Title - When she smiled
Author - Ritoban Chakrabarthy
Genre - Teenage love, fiction
No. of pages - 212
Source - A free special review copy from author

 Plot (Spoiler alert!): 
This is the story of a 15year old boy Mrityunjoy - his school days, his first love, love failure and how he has come out of the heartbreak etc., Not a very long story with twists and turns. Mrityunjoy joins back his old school DAV after leaving Sainik school due to injuries and wanted to start a fresh year by meeting his old friends. He meets a beautiful girl in his class whose name is Akanksha and completely bitten by her gorgeous looks on first sight itself. He continues friendship and meets her in Physics tuition class. They become close very soon, start sharing their family details and have fun time walking down to home from their tution. Everyone in the class envy Mrityunjoy for winning her love but their love breaks due to some small misunderstandings. When Akanksha starts friendship with Neeraj and enjoys his company in dance classes, Mrityunjoy cannot accept the situation and still hopes to be with her. Atlast, how he comes out of depression and takes a decision to leave his first love and moves to some other town concentrating on his career forms the climax. 

What I liked?
I have been to Shimla in childhood and knew Ritz , mall road , kalika temple and scenic beauty of that place. It's refreshing to feel the scenic beauty and first snow in Shimla from the book, it's written very well. Flow of the story is good, though sometimes it's a bit slow. Characterization is good. Especially, Mrityunjoy's parents - how they fight for silly reasons, how they don't appreciate each other's talents and how Mrityunjoy's father doesn't show any emotions and prefers only education and doesn't allows kids to participate in annual events. They are all realistic for that generation. I feel, this generation parents are not like this. 

First love, first feelings, Mrityunjoy's excitement to talk to Akanksha, his prepaeration for the walks from dressing style to talking manners - everything is very good to read and it might remind you your teenage days. 

What I didn't like?
Basically, this novel is not a strong story based but an emotional one. There are no twists and turns in the story. I didn't like the reasoning behind their breakup and explanation that Akansha gave in the climax. I felt, their relationship or friendship is not that weak to fail for some rumours and silly misunderstandings. There are one or two grammar mistakes, editing might have been better. Being a woman, I couldn't actually understand the heart break men go through from love failure that is explained in this book :) 

Tidbits:

1. Liked this line from the book:
"Time heals all wounds. The scars remain but you can always live with them."

2. It reminded me the softy cone ice cream in Ritz road.. I love it sooo much :-)

3. Loved those rhyming poems Mrityunjoy writes.

4. Good for a time pass read during travels, not recommended for readers who love thrill and stories with twists and turns.

My rating; 3/5

Until next time,



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