Saturday, May 23, 2015

'"The Case Files of P.I. Pojo - The Killing of Mr Heathcote" by Meghna Singhee - Book Review

I got my hands on this book a week ago. After I read the blurb of the book, I was really interested. Have always loved mystery and thrill when it comes to Fiction. In-fact, I later saw the 10+ marked on the book which basically means this book is more for teenagers than 25 year olds like me. But while reading, it totally did not come across as a child's book and I enjoyed reading page after page. Older one's like me can consider it as a casual easy read for a lazy weekend or vacation!

A little about the book and author:

P.I. Pojo : The Killing of Mr Heathcote
Something smells fishy here and I don't mean Mr H's uneaten dinner. Meet Pojo Pande, aspiring private eye prowling the corridors of Heathcote International with a ready ear for eavesdropping and a nose for intrigue. And he's got two sidekicks-Radha Rao, a senior and the latest in a long line of Raos to skirt the school rules and Pops, a pesky junior who insists on being Pojo's protege. Together, they face the toughest case of their career yet-the killing of Mr Heathcote, the beloved school cat. Join Pojo on his adventures in this hugely funny, unputdownable book as he gets to the bottom of the killing of Mr Heathcote!.

About the Author
The author of this work would love to set up an NGO to err. Save The Words. To donate, you need to adopt a word and promise to cherish it. The NGO will be called Grunt. Other than this the author would like to state that she has no favourite colour and thinks formal education is a dinosaur. This is enough information for a debut book. For more, wait for the sequel.

My review:

The story is very Indian, based in a school at Panchgani. If you've had your schooling in a hostel or boarding school yourself, you may even relate to the book and enjoy it on a completely different level. The characters are very well planned and nowhere in the book I felt lost or confused. I love the character of Pratap aka Pojo Pande and his detective mind at such a delicate age!

There is suspense, humor, innocence all in this book. Of-course I am not going to make this review a spoiler and reveal who the culprit was, that is for you to read!

You can buy the book on flipkart here currently at an discounted price. If  I know you personally, totally borrow the copy to read! You're going to enjoy it, trust me.

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Airtel, My App!

Review on 'My Airtel' App

My Airtel is a free by Airtel, available on the google play store and will now launch for iOS too.
This app is a life-changer for a person like me, who has to keep a track of all the bill payments.
It really helps me in saving my time as well my efforts. Paying the bill has never been so easy.

About the app: My Airtel App with its simple and intuitive design helps you manage all your DTH, Broadband, Prepaid & postpaid services in one place. Apart from amazing offers for post paid and pre paid users it also helps you pay your bills, recharge your DTH, track account usage, track service requests, buy products, add your family & friends’ numbers and much more. It's the simplest way to manage all your Airtel services through your handset!

All features are currently available on Android. IOS release - coming soon.

Here are the top 3 features of the app that I like the most - 

1. Keeping a track of all the Airtel services

I can now keep a track of all the Airtel services I have been using! Yes, you've read it right.
From prepaid and postpaid services to broadband and DTH services, all in a single app!
Firstly after installing, It asks you to register the number. You can also register a new product later on. Incidently, my cellphone number, land line, DTH and even TV connection are all on Airtel, so it really time saving and organized for me.

Upon registering, the home screen will then show the usage and unbilled amount/Balance/data consumed and it'll also remind you to pay your due bills which is quite good.

  2. Requesting a new service

Now with this feature, you no longer have to hear that instrumental song they play on the IVR of the customer care when they put you on hold!  Simply type in your email, subject and a brief about the required service and you'll get a confirmation message soon. I wish they had a chat now option to have a live chat with their customer care representative, please roll that out in an update soon!

3. Shake the phone for an offer!      

Want an offer/Coupon? Simply shake your phone while the airtel app is open and you'll get 10-11 deals of the day from which you could choose the disirable one.

Here's the deal I chose!

In the end, all I can say is that, I wish every company had such an app so that paying bills would become as easy as eating a cake. All my family members have now downloaded the Airtel app to monitor their phone usage, change plans and view or pay bills. Thank you Airtel for this amazing user-friendly app!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My mother - My first EXPERT!

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no-one else can take."

When I walk down the memory lane, I recall all the pleasant memories from my childhood days till date.

My mother is the one who threw elaborate birthday parties for me. Yeah, maybe my father paid the money, but it was my mom who thought of themes, made hand-made invitations, had decoration and cake and return gifts all as per the theme and fun games for everyone to play! My mother, my first event organizer!

My mom loved dressing me up. She did that till I became a rebel in my teenage days. She would doll me up in white frocks with matching white shoes and socks and hair-band. She would also get matching clothes stitched for me when she got salwar-suits stitched for herself. My mother, my first stylist!

Since I was a toddler, my mom would teach me poems and nursery rhymes. She would would record herself and me singing the poems on cassettes, and play them back. It was so much fun! My mother also  taught me to be an obedient student. I would finish my homework on time, keep my books neat and tidy, was always the teacher's pet and generally loved going to school. These values were inculcated in me because of my mother. My mother, my first teacher!

My mother always wanted me to be an all-rounder. She herself has always been extremely talented and creative, hence I was encouraged to be creative too! She taught me drawing, painting, art and craft, dancing etc. She always made sure I participated in fancy dress competitions, art and craft competitions and the sort. I bagged so many prizes, compliments and certificates through the years. My mother, my first mentor!

From the childhood flu and pox to the time I had my first period; whenever I fell sick I would go running to my mom. It is true, in illness you always remember your mother. That applies to me even now, when I am a new mom myself! My mother, my first doctor!

I grew older and would be upset after fighting with a class-mate or when a teacher scolded me. When my hormones went hay-wire and I had my temper-issues or mood swings, she would be patient throughout my phases. Even though I would back-answer or ignore her. She understood me and could read my mind like no-one else. My mother, my first true friend!

I grew up, had boy friends, fell in love with this guy whom she did not really approve of. But when she realized I was truly happy with him, she gave in and accepted him and gave us her blessings. Now she is a grandmother to my 7 month old and has supported me a lot in these delicate times! My mother, my first expert, making every thing so easy for me; just like Godrej Expert!

Capturing wildlife moments in India by Ashok Mahindra - Book Review

A little about the book:

"Capturing Wildlife Moments in India" contains 120 photographs of animals and birds of India, photographed from visits to over 30 parks,sanctuaries and other locations.

It is being published by Oxford University Press(OUP) & Bombay Natural History Society(BNHS).The book will be available at most of the major retail outlets across India and also through online retail sites like Amazon, Flipkart etc.It will also be available for sale through the BNHS website and is priced at Rs.1450".

They sent me an e-copy of the book for review a few days ago. Honestly, after going through it, I feel ashamed at myself for having such a limited knowledge about the wildlife of our country.

We're always very intrigued about "foreign" things - imported fruits, flowers and well, even animals. In all that. we forget to cherish and be proud of India's rich flora and fauna.

Along with the shockingly beautiful images captured by Ashok Mahindra, he has even given a short description of the location, the very moment when the picture was being taken. What was the atmosphere, time of the day, what the animal/bird was doing, which camera and other instruments were being used and so on.

This book is to be treasured by both animal lovers and photography enthusiasts, equally.

85 pages of pictures and information and a lot of knowledge about our rich wildlife. If I have to tell which is my favourite clicks, it would be The Spotted Owlet and the Snake Bird.

Seeing these animals in a zoo is one thing, and in their natural habitats is another. So thanks Mr. Ashok for giving us this treasure of a kind.

"This post is a part of the book review program of at Saevus Wildlife India in association with The Hemchand Mahindra Wildlife Foundation for the book Capturing Wildlife Moments in India" 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tropicana Slice Alphonso - King of Mango drinks!

The season of mangoes is officially here. But it's the season of mangoes 365 days for me! Why? Because of the all new Tropicana Slice!

Yes, recently Slice & Tropicana had a merger and presented the all new Tropicana Slice Alphonso!

Take a look at the official TVC-

The video (not because of Katrina) but because of the mangoes gets me really thirsty! And aerated drinks have never quenched my thirst, so when I am on the go, getting tortured in this horrid weather, Slice has always been there to help me beat the heat!

I was absolutely delighted when I saw what arrived in my mail this other day :

Not one, not two but six pet bottles of my favourite mango drink! (Yeah you must be thinking there are only five in this pic, but you see, I drank one the minute I laid hands on it!)

Some facts about the product -
Tropicana's fruit expertise and Slice's mango perfection come together to handpick the best, juiciest Ratnagiri Alphonso mangoes, exclusively for you - in a delightful mango drink.

The sunkissed orchards of Ratnagiri region on the Konkan coast are known to be the best source for premium Alphonso mangoes

It is best had chilled out of the fridge, when at room temperature I did not enjoy it personally. I love the smooth, rich, thick taste it has! Imagine a thinner, little more liquid version of Aamras. YES that!

I even played around with the drink, since I had so many bottles. Try this -

1. Add Tropicana Slice, Vanilla Icecream and some Icecream soda in a glass. Decorate with few mango pieces and Tadaa! Your own Slice float!

2. Add some crushed ice, mint leaves and lime juice to a glass of Tropicana slice to make your very own Mango Mojito! :P

I know, in the season of mangoes you'd rather want to eat the actual mangoes. But you can't really carry that around can you? And what about those broke days when you can't afford Rs.600 a dozen royalty. :P

Jokes apart, I am quite thrilled that the Tropicana Slice is now available to order online from Amazon! Woot woot! No more venturing out in this heat to grab a bottle. Next time a relative gets you mangoes from Ratnagiri, gift them Tropicana Slice bottles in return. Haha!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

#EkNayiLeague with Kapil Dev!

I'm sure most of you reading this, like me, have seen the recent TVCs where Kapil Dev talks about a new league coming soon: Ek Nayi League. Kapil Dev has been talking to celebrities about how they would fail if they played his Nayi League with all their heart. If you're oblivious to the same, take a look at one of the ads-

Though I cannot really call myself a cricket fanatic, I love to support our country, specially when it's India VS Pakistan. Hahahaha..  Kapil Dev is a legend, and we all adore him, and of-course I am very curious, like all of us as to what this new league can be?

The only hint he gives is that if one plays this league with all their heart, they're bound to loose. This league has to be played with one's mind. So the first thing that came to my mind is, is this a sports quiz? Or a cricket quiz contest, rather?

Imagine a Bournvita Quiz Contest hosted by Derek O'Brien and picture a cricket version of the same. Of-course, all the contestants would require to apply their brains for this one! Questions could be like the following-

In which year did India make its One Day International debut?

Sachin Tendulkar has a record for highest One Day International Man of the Match awards. How many times he has won it?

You get the idea right? How cool would such a quiz be! Maybe Kapil Dev is the official host/judge of this new league?

If this theory of mine is wrong, another thing that pops into my head is that it is going to be a cricket league for retired players?

Imagine Kapil Dev, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Siddhu, Ravi Shastri and now recently even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar and all other retired players from other countries come together to play a different kind of league!

Now granted their age, health issues and fitness level; also taking into account their years of experience in cricket. This will be more of a game testing their strategy and mind rather than their body and physical self! Maybe that is what Kapil Dev is suggesting in these commercials? I'm just guessing!

Do check their website out, and send in your own answers to what this new league can be, you could win 1 Lak rupees! Also, follow them on twitter - @EkNayiLeague to stay tuned with the latest updates! I am doing that for sure.

What if this "new league" has got absolutely nothing to do with cricket at all? What if it is something entirely off the topic of sports itself! If you change your perspective away from sports, applying brains could be anything from mathematics to science to general knowledge!

All I can say is, let's wait and watch to see what this new league is all about.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Buying high-end subwoofers for your car!

I work to buy a car to go to work. That's how life is. I have already talked about how I searched for dealers when I was looking to buy a new car and then a new system for the car.

After hearing about my success in getting the right deals, my cousin sister asked me how to go about purchasing a new car in Ahmedabad. She recently got married and relocated to Ahmedabad with her husband and is pretty much clueless about anything out there since they're on their own.

I told her not to worry; as long you have a budget target and internet, nothing is difficult! She said she wants to buy a mid-level car with a down payment and rest on EMI. I told her to short-list 2-3 car dealers preferably near her home or work place so that she could go and look at the cars and even test drive them.

She did the same and settled on the new Tata Bolt. Good choice I must say! Now that done they came down on a long drive all the way down to Mumbai to meet me. After a good weekend together she told me she also wants to upgrade her music system. She was very impressed by my system and sub-woofer. And being a music lover just like me, she wanted to go for a better system too.

I told her, that this again was very easy! Her budget was not very high since she already had to take care of the car's EMI. She wanted a system for 8-10k and would buy a sub-woofer after a few months. I told her that again she simply had to search online for music system and car subwoofer in Ahmedabad and she would get the best deals. She could then opt for the best brand available. 

She is not very confident about buying online, so was a little hesitant about the same. I told her she could always buy it from a nearby car dealer or garage. Or she could also look at the systems there and then note the model number and come back and purchase online. That way she can check the audio quality and features on a real basis before making the purchase too!

She was really happy at how less the effort was for all this. I'm glad I could be of some help, after all when else will relatives be of use!