Archive for April, 2015

Not Dizzy, It’s An Earthquake!

A two-minute tremor felt like a never-ending one. Father and I were sitting on the sofa – reading the newspaper, suddenly, we started feeling dizzy. In a fraction of second, we realized what was going on – we weren’t dizzy, it’s an earthquake! My mother and my little boy – both enjoying their conversation in the kitchen, came rushing to us.

The earthquake

The earthquake… the tremor

The floor was shaking – the entire room on the 2nd floor was vibrating, and the walls were swinging. I wondered, “Should we hide under the sofa? Or run outside?” It was the first time in my three decades of existence I felt an earthquake like this one. My child screamed out of fear – fear of the unknown, which alarmed us all. Father stood like a log for a second. It was then that my mother tried to remain calm and directed us towards the stairs.

I found everybody in our apartment eventually made it to the ground floor – on the road. There were so many others – a chaos on the streets, a thousand people in the lobby, as if the battle of Armageddon will just begin.

The tremor stopped after a few seconds. It began to pour from heaven, as if the rain was washing away every bit of our anxiety, every drop of our fear. We dispersed, quietly came back to our apartment… Life for us was usual the rest of the day.

My story is not massive and deadly – in fact we are the privileged one (this time)… We turned on the television, shocked to find the earthquake struck Nepal and sent tremors through several parts of North and East India, killing more than 1,400 people, touching off a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest and toppling a heritage tower in the capital Kathmandu!

There were reports of devastation in isolated mountainous areas after the midday quake of magnitude 7.9, Nepal’s worst in 80 years!

Television footage continued to show disturbing images of large numbers of offices and homes that had collapsed in Kathmandu, while roads had been split in two by the force of the impact. Internet is down, television not working and parts of Kathmandu having no electricity…

I came to my room and closed the door. Sighhhh!!! When such disasters strike, we are forced to take some time off our hectic schedule to think how minute we are compared to this large vast expassive Universe!

This again brings us back to the question of our existence, some thing I ask myself a lot these days! That we are just a tiny speck of dust in the vast universe, with just a life of breath in it and before you know it, everything can become nothing and man returns to dust where he once emerged from!

All I could do is, bow down before the Creator in deep humility, acknowledging the truth that we live because of him. My prayers with all those affected and whose lives have been disrupted by the massive earthquake!

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Come, Let’s Protect Net Neutrality

Net neutrality may seem like a dull subject to some, but protecting it is essential not only for the future of the Internet, but also for the future of our democracy. Net neutrality, simply put, is the fundamental principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and is based on our right to “communicate freely online”.

We want open, free Internet

We want open, free Internet

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the World Wide Web recently mentioned in a blog post that freedom of connection with any application to any party is the fundamental social basis of the internet. And is the basis of the society built on the internet.

The issue has recently created waves in India, which has until now enjoyed open, free and fair internet in every corner- from the corporate boardroom to the college cafeteria. This equality of opportunity is at the core of net neutrality, stimulates a virtuous circle between more competition, lower prices, higher connectivity and greater innovation, benefiting all citizens, as well as internet companies large and small. Hence, the importance of preserving net neutrality is obvious.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is mulling to form guidelines on the same, with internet being under relentless attack by major telecom seeking yet another advantage to tighten their grip on the market.

Meanwhile, the movement has gained further momentum as travel portal Cleartrip, broadcasting network NDTV and media conglomerate Times Group, anong others, pulled out of Internet.org, a partnership between Reliance Communications and Facebook that proposed to waive off data chargers for subscribers accessing a suite of websites and applications.

Experts believe, a tiered Internet will be great for the profits of telecom companies, but miserable for entrepreneurs, stifling the pace of innovation. Not only will big corporations gain an advantage, but also a small handful of them will have the ability to actively interfere with their competition. For example, an Internet provider that offers its own phone service could block access to Skype, or a cable company could disrupt a music app. worse yet, this could lead to online discrimination, with the providers obstructing controversial views to protect their financial or political interests.

Net neutrality is also essential to maintaining a genuinely open marketplace of ideas. However without net neutrality, a few major corporations would control which voices are heard most easily, and it would be much harder for grassroots groups, individuals, and small businesses to compete with large corporations and well-funded special interests.

With the Internet becoming a fundamental tool in our everyday life, people from all over India have raised their voice to keep Net neutrality alive and now its each one of our turn too.

TRAI on March 27 put up a consultation paper on its website asking users to give their views on net neutrality in India. The last day for netizens to send their views to Trai on the subject is April 24. Indians have sent over 1 lakh emails to TRAI over the issue through the website: savetheinternet.in. Let TRAI know that you need Net neutrality and defend the Internet freedom.

You could also sign this petition over at https://www.change.org/p/rsprasad-trai-don-t-allow-differential-pricing-…

A Long Way Down

Even though her eyes were fixed on the large oil paintings on the wall, she was trying hard to get herself out of the crowded art gallery. The weekend crowd – all those unfamiliar faces, trying hard to form futile queues distracted her a little. She turned back to leave. At that very moment, her eyes met his!

thoughts...

thoughts…

It had been ten long years since they last met. For a moment, both of them stand rooted to the spot, staring at each other, trying to discern the changes in each other. He started walking up with his eyes fixed on her.

“Rohit!” the name escaped her mouth. Her eyes filled with joy and then began to fade in a few seconds.

She first met him at the college cafeteria, when he generously handed over the last piece of dhokla to her, which they both happened to order at the same time. She smiled, feeling a little amused. That was the beginning of their friendship. She felt like she had known him forever.

With him around, her life had been electrifying. She thought she had found her soul-mate. But destiny  had other plans for them. They had to part.

She had moved on, but he often had come in her thoughts. Some of his lessons – she still practiced in her day to day life.

“Long time!” he said with a smile. “You have changed so much!” his voice shook her out of her thoughts. She was lost, gone back to her college days. His dark, intense eyes met hers again. It felt a little awkward though.

She reciprocated with just a smile. He looked smart in his mauve T-shirt, but a little pale.

They walked out of the gallery to the adjacent garden. She sensed he wanted to share so many things with her, perhaps some things which he had never told anyone… but somehow he fell silent.

There was a sense of defeat deep within. She could feel the spark was missing between them. They both had parted ways, literally!

“Daddy! Where were you?” a little girl came running up to him and hugged. He was overwhelmed, his eyes filled with fatherly joy.

“My daughter Sarah,” he said in a gentle voice, cuddling the little one.

She faked a smile, stood there like a stone not knowing what to say.

“Come on Dad, momma is waiting in the car!” the little girl said feeling a bit impatient.

For some time she looked foolishly at the father-daughter duo that’s supposed to be a beautiful moment on earth. But, she couldn’t savour. She felt a deep sense of void within, perhaps a little envious too!

She shouldn’t have condemned his love then, ended all of it bitterly. Now she could feel the sharp sting of abandonment, a sense of drowning.

“Need to leave now…” he said feeling a bit hesitant. “Hope to see you soon!”

He left…. Leaving everything around her like a whirl.

“Tring a la-Tring-a la!” the cellphone rings, shaking her out of her thought. Nikhil called.

“Honey, what’s up? Are you still at the art gallery?” he asksed.

Before she replied, he said, “Be there, I’m coming to pick you up… We can get something packed for dinner tonight, right?”

“Okay…”. She sighed!

There was so much more to say — so much more to ask! May be some conversations end this way… or maybe some things are not meant to end ever!

Keeping the Spirit of Poila Baishakh Alive

Festival time

Festival time

Poila Baishakh or Naboborsho, as its popularly called, falls on the first day of Baishakh very much like the Tamil New Year ((Puthandu Vazthukal), Baisakhi in the Punjab, Vishu in  Kerala, Rongali Bihu in Assam and Maha Vishuva Sankranti in Orissa, i.e, April 14 or 15 every year.

Keeping the Spirit of Poila Baishakh Alive.

Have A Voice! A Unique One

The internet is a pretty crowded place. There are bloggers, marketers, activists, socialites and so many others – always vying for attention. And yet, there is always room for an authentic voice. It all depends on the message we want to share to the world – to our right audience.

Speak up!

Speak up!

If you’re an in a full time job, it’s likely you’re struggling just to find quality time to pursue your creativity. I’m saying this despite being an editor – spending most of my time writing, editing and talking to people. I would love to blog more often, but I falter.

Most professionals have day jobs and use their evenings, weekends or spare time to devote to their creative efforts. For creative professionals with websites and blogs, a bit of time must be carved out for creating meaningful posts and content. The question is, how do you generate interest in this work and what you have to say?

When I first started blogging I simply wrote what was on my mind. I put little thought into who my audience might be or what direction my blog posts would take. Over time I realized that it’s beneficial to think about the audience and what content they would value. In other words, I sensed that writing from the heart could help, but not unless I cultivated a sense of what my message and content should be.

From my reading of various blogs about content marketing I came to believe that creative blog post titles combined with thoughtful writing are a winning formula. Sure, your underlying content has to be of value, but creative writing and an authentic voice can be a refreshing online offering. Think about it. So many posts are unimaginative meanderings and shallow commentary. But the best posts are often controversial, combative or deeply moving.

It makes sense –at least some time – to write about your domain. Suppose you are a copywriter in an ad agency, people would want to learn more about your methods, approach and creative vision. I think every person, especially those in the creative field, should promote his or her work online. And I also think they should unapologetically share their unique voice. What does “unique voice” mean? Basically, it’s your world view and outlook on life. Maybe it’s the way you approach a subject. Or the way you look at things. It’s the way you write, sketch, move and express yourself.

You must stay true to your voice and vision. Nothing really beats the power of authenticity. Tapping into your own unique voice, which no one else has, and developing a memorable message and noteworthy content can be a powerful and effective way to grow. It often works like a magic elixir – as its not only a fulfilling experience but give others a slice of your inspiration!

 

 

All For A Smile :)

smile smile smile

smile smile smile

I smile when I am happy
I smile when I feel shaky
I smile when I am shy
I smile when I want to cry

I smile when I am sad
I smile, when I just go mad
I smile when I am envious
I smile when I am jealous

 

I smile when I am emotional
I also smile when I act abnormal
I smile when I am overloaded
I smile when I miss my beloved

I smile when I think something
I smile when I think just nothing
Never mind the reason behind my smile,
Give me a smile, and I’ll feel good for a while!