Showing posts from 2018

How Many Words Is a Video Worth!

Video blogging or Vlogging is a new trend and quite rightly every one is joining the band wagon. I am in no mood to delve into argument if video will one day force written journalism to extinction. Today, I would rather contemplate how much worth would a video be if a picture is worth a thousand words. I would imagine it would be a few millions at the least! A picture leaves a lot for the viewer to analyze and infer but a personal video usually drives the message straight home. For a fashion blogger, a Vlog would also demonstrate how one could carry the designed dress. That's quite a few steps ahead of just a pretty photograph. I am neither a popular blogger nor do I have a successful Vlog. But that doesn’t deter me from contributing  my 2 cents about excelling in Video blogging. So this is top list of important (in no particular order) to do aspects for good video blog:
1. contents - preferably should be scripted and practiced well in advance before delivering. Unless it's an imp…

Siri, Cortana, you and the machine next door

Are you one of those who gets psyched by the dominance of Artificial Intelligence in our lives and scared that they will very soon take over the world? Well this is entirely possible and in this post I am going to show you how it could happen. But ever wondered the voice behind Siri and Cortana are of real persons of flesh and blood? I will introduce them to you towards the end of this article. If you are women, then you more susceptible to voice theft. It has been scientifically proven that people are more likely to take instruction from a female voice and it might start from birth.
We have been obeying machines voice instructions through answering machines, telephones, banking systems, ATM machines etc. It has been one way communications as we were always in the “listening end”. But then came Siri along and usehered in yet another Apple initiated makeover to our world. At the beginning, both Google and Microsoft ridiculed Apple’s idea of voice assistant but both companies quickly d…

As The Day Dawns

The sun rises every morning oblivious of billion worries of the people awaiting it. No matter how much people request him to come early or late, he remains unperturbed. He has a job to do and that is all that matters to him! I personally requested a late start during school exams or college submissions and am quite sure that many others have wished for the night to be a bit longer for a variety of reasons.
Every night we sleep hoping that tomorrow’s Sun rays at the dawn will usher in a new day filled with opportunities and possibilities. This hope or faith keeps us going. But the dilemma here is do I sleep late or wake up early. A more important decision for to make is when to sleep late and when to get up early. A thought I had shared earlier. The place where I live and work is amidst a high density residential tower block punctuated with roads and parking lots. The windows are thickly draped to keep the dust and heat off and therefore we are detached from the nature and dependent o…

Happy Friendship Day

Someone might ask what's special about today! Isn't it just a date in the calendar and another ploy by the capitalistic world to sell products or services?  I find this as an opportunity to reach out to all my friends. The ones always in my thoughts, the ones I meet regularly, the ones I would like to meet in the future and the ones I know I will never meet in this world.Today as the line between virtual and real is getting increasingly blurred, I also reach out to my friends in the cyber world ... my blogger friends, my social media friends and corporate friends... Happy Friendship Day 2018!

If you had a choice, what would you dream about tonight?

Google image search The other night I woke up in my dreams to find out that I was not actually asleep but wide awake. Although quite baffling, it is not very uncommon and probably many among us have encountered similar moments at some point in our sleep. Dreams are yet another aspect of our life, over which we have little control. We can accomplish many feats in our dreams which would otherwise appear unthinkable. “Dreams come true” is therefore synonymous to accomplishing something truly marvelous.

All ancient culture tried to make sense of their dreams and their interpretation have been carried forward by their descendants. Depending upon happy or sad events that followed a particular dream, cultures created their own almanac of superstitions. We too have grown up drawing various inferences out of elements such as water, food, snakes, elephants etc. and associated action that appeared in our dreams. Our ancestors connected dreams to our previous birth, forewarning or as a communicat…

A tribute on Father's Day

When we were small we believed that our father will protect us whenever we though we will fall. For us he was not only our superman but a super human. Its only after one becomes a father himself, that he understand a father's true vulnerability, weakness and his limitations. You realize the sacrifices he had to make while walking a tight rope as he struggled to maintain the balance between relationship, finances, priorities of life, time management et al.

I remember the look my then infant daughter gave me when she was vaccinated for the first time. As if her eyes were questioning me, how could you ever let them hurt me!

When I look back at those wonder years, I understand my dad a bit more each time. But its too late as he left us for the heavenly abode as soon as I graduated and started with my job denying me the opportunity to give back anything. I wish he was still there and I could treat him, take care of him and hug him!
Happy Father's Day wishes to one and all.
Quick Fact…

Baobab - A fascinating Species

The name was not very common to my ears neither was its look to my eyes. Ever since I saw them at the Aspire Park in Doha, I might has asked my Landscape Architect friend umpteen number of times to remind me of the name of this tree. He used to give me the name with the questions, “why, what happened?” I always wanted to know more about them. I am told that we have a few of the species in some botanical gardens in India but incidentally never got to see one. “There are nine species of baobab in the world, and Madagascar, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, is home to six. The African mainland and the Arabian peninsula have two, and Australia has one. Africa’s most notable species is the Adansonia digitata, named after the French botanist Michel Adanson, who undertook an 18th-century exploration of Senegal. He stayed there for five years and contributed to the publication of 1757’s Natural History of Senegal.” The shape of the trees are fascinating but the most …

World Environment Day: Wish you a sustainable lifestyle

The most explicit definition of Sustainable living that I ever came across is the following:

“Meeting our present needs in a way such that the coming generation would be able to meet their own.” Our generation is selfishly rushing to achieve their self-defined illusive “Progress”. In the process we are mercilessly converting our farmlands, wetlands, forests and water bodies destroying the natural habitat of our co-dwellers in this earth. On the 5th of June 2018, this World Environment Day, I request all to take a moment out to decide where we want to go from here. We need to be wary of finding our environmental report card in the hands of our grandchildren and decide between growth and development. Growth is all about getting bigger and bigger whereas development is about getting better. I have no qualms in accepting the fact that it will take a messiah to change the world totally and revert the damages already done. But no one can stop us from participating in whatever small way to b…

WhatsApp and What a Wonderful World……

The school that my daughter attends for music decided to participate in the annual day celebrations of a school for children with special needs. When it was their turn, they got to the stage and stood shoulder to shoulder with the choir group of the celebrating school. Together they presented the popular song, “What a wonderful world” by Louis Armstrong. I felt it was quite an intense and emotional experience for all the participants as well as their parents. As they sang together “I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world……”
it was a defining experience for those kids who had little idea about the challenges associated with the term “special needs”. But this is not the subject of this post. In preparation of the program, the teacher in charge had formed a group in the “WhatsApp”. She coordinated with the parent of this small group of voluntary participants letting us know about the time to drop-offs, pick-ups for…

Culturally diverse? Yes Please!

Let's start this topic with a quote from Jane Austen. “There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends.” she said and argued “ I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” That's probably how most of us as Indians feel about our culture except a few who thinks differently. I have been living outside the country for more than two decades and have met many people who has left the country temporarily or permanently who echoes the same sentiment. One thing that unites us all is the our culture no matter how diverse we are in our thoughts, beliefs, language or appearance. Yes we are still culturally diverse although many of our festivals and values are now intertwined across the subcultures.  But retaining this trait for a country of India's complexity and volume withstanding resistance from people who quite often spew venom in the social media is quite an commendable achievement. I once listened to an interview and one statement made ab…

Writer's Block or Writer's Excuse

Finally I looked up for its literal meaning in the Wikipedia. I believe it was a subconscious instruction to my fingers to confirm what my mind had been suspecting for some time now. Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work, or experiences a creative slowdown. The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years. Throughout history, writer's block has been a documented problem.
As if finding a subject was not difficult enough that my mind also insists on justifying that with reasons before it would let me get going with my writing task.  This makes maintaining a blog even more challenging.  I am sure, I am not the only one who feels this way and envy those who keeps churning post after posts day after day. There was a time when one used to approach the proverbial wise-man, who could easily been a woman too, for support and solace. 
But n…

Daymare? Nay! It’s a Dream

Your great grandchild will be surprised to know that you had physically transported yourself to tourist destinations. It will be shocking for them to accept the fact that people took such extraordinary efforts for mundane experience of a jungle safari or a walk on the Great Wall of China. An experience which could easily be enjoyed during a lunch break. If it is not yours, his grandchild will most certainly be looking at us as though we were the hunters’ gatherers of the twenty-first century.
It’s not a daymare, it’s just a dream! Virtual Reality is making inroads into the life of the proverbial common man at a speed much faster than what we would be comfortable to accept. Any major, important or popular tourist destination has already been digitized in their minutest of details. We can easily experience a fly over the highest peak of the largest mountain or inspect the intricate details of St Paul’s Cathedral leaning back on our desk chair. Today, it may analogous to gazing at the co…

The Forces of Nature by Marc Quinn

Marc Quinn is a British contemporary visual artist of a very high repute and caliber. His repertoire include sculptures, paintings and installations. We were fortunate to be able to stand in front of his sculpture called ”The Conservation of Mass” and admire as it was displayed in the grounds of the Museum of Islamic Arts (MIA) Doha. This majestic looking 2015 stainless steel piece is of dimensions 263h X 750w x 192d cm was part of his first solo exhibition in the region.
Varshika had made a brief video presentation of this sculpture in her own way during our visit. This is part of Quinn’s wider body of works titled “Frozen Waves” characterized by minimal arches, gestural shapes and stainless steel construction. The artist cautions that these are not sculptures of waves but an unwitting self-portrait by nature. These has been inspired by the brute authority of nature that constantly enforces the “dust to dust” existence of all living creatures. Each piece are reminiscent of the gestu…

We The Indians … Glamour Chasers!

Image has recently released their survey result for world’s most admired individual 2018. The most admired man turned out to be Mr. Bill Gates, while Ms. Angelina Jolie came out as the most admired woman. Both are well revered for their philanthropic efforts, no one would dare question Gates’ contribution to proliferation of the personal computers. Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation is also doing a lot for the underprivileged children and medical research among other. Barak and Michelle Obamas were both placed in second position in their respective categories.

It’s understandable that the selection is heavily reliant on computer literacy and internet accessibility among the voting population. When it comes to the internet users in terms of pure numbers, India is in the same league with the USA and China. This is quite obvious from the names that popped up in the first twenty for both genders. Even after discounting the much maligned AI and manipulative analytics, it’s hard to mak…

There is One Such Place I know

Did you ever wish to be in a place where you would open a cabinet and take any book if you fancy and return it at another time after you are done with it. Or for that matter place one of your own books that you have finished reading for another book lover to enjoy. No questions asked, no string attached and unmanned.

There is one such place that I know. Its the Katara cultural village in Doha, Qatar. There are quite a few shelf like these for used books that would promote the habit of reading.

Visit to an International School – A Photo Tour

There is an International school where the choir of which my daughter is part of practices on a regular basis. The other day I decided to go around with my phone camera while waiting for them to finish singing. The environment within that school is very different from the school that I went to… albeit many years ago. It is even somewhat different from the school my daughter attend these days. The school, I am referring to here is not under pressure of large number of students like Indian schools and that allows them to have a lot of open spaces. Pupil do not feel constricted either inside the class room or outside. The walls are painted with scientific formulae and quotable quotes. I am sharing a few photographs and those should give some idea of the message I want to convey. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and therefore I leave you with these pictures to do the talking.

I keep posting images in my Instagram account and my user name is Sumandebray. Please check this out …

A Piece of Desert Rose

There is a new NATIONAL MUSEUM OF QATAR, which is nearing completion. This is how the museum will look once it is completed. National Museum
Nature is known to inspire and influence human being’s creative mind since time immemorial. The interlocking disc design of the museum by Jean Nouvel is inspired by the desert rose.   Desert rose is the colloquial name given to rose-like formations of crystal clusters of gypsum or baryte which include abundant sand grains. [Wikipedia]  The flattened crystals has a great resemblance to petals of rose. Holding in her hands Last weekend me and my daughter went to the museum gift shop and bought a sizable piece of this desert beauty. We were quite excited with the new toy and had a quick photo session to treasure the moments forever. Posing with a yellow rose The desert rose may also be known by the names: sand rose, rose rock, selenite rose, gypsum rose and baryte (barite) rose.

Agoraphobic any one

Napoleon had cautioned long ago that "Mankind's worst enemy is fear of work". But centuries have passed but the fear of work doesn't seems to go away.

One of my ex-colleague used to question "why we need to complete this today while we could do it tomorrow?" Another one's philosophy was to leave office early if you happen to reach for work late. "one should not be late twice in the same day" he used to advice.
But the winner is one who let office in the morning because his boss wished him "have a great day!" Obviously he had figured out that he could not be in the office and have good times.

I looked high and low all these days to find a word that would describe this attitude towards work. On the 6th of March 2018, I got this word sent to me and I am glad to share with all who were not aware of it.

Cutting Paani with a pinch of Salt

Everyone would unanimously agree today that the need for saving water is no longer an option, it's our responsibility towards the generations scheduled to arrive in our planet in the future. When we say generations, it is not limited to a specific race, species or lifeform. The earth belongs to all. Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. There is however, another dimension to this old sayings…Life is also a balance between what we should try to control and what we shouldn’t. While any idea to conserve water, #CuttingPani, is potentially a noble initiative, we should interrogate it with all seriousness to make sure that it would not send wrong signal. Inadequate consumption of water will have negative implications leaving the world with a generation of dehydrated people, quite similar to the anorexic population of today. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, more or less and constantly loses water through its excretory system. This needs to be compens…

Go Ahead

You are Braver than you believe, Stronger that you seem and Smarter than you think.

Life is Like that

Sometimes you need to look at life from a different perspective.....

One Mile Stand

Once again they met today. Few hundred meters from the crossroads. The area was abuzz with morning activities as usual. He was ahead of her but when they looked at each other the earth seemingly stopped rotating for a moment.
He took his Cartier shades off and she removed her Gucci. The eyes did all the talking as the RJ played a romantic song on the local station.
Silently she said, “I will follow you wherever you go“ He pleaded “Please do not let anyone come in between us
Selena Gomez went on … I've been set free I am hypnotized by your destiny You are magical, lyrical, beautiful You are... And I want you to know, baby
They went up to the traffic lights and stopped again both eyes fixated. Then the signal went green. But he was a bit too fast and she could hardly keep up with the speed. Distance grew between them and some other car came to fill the growing space between their cars.
He went straight ahead while she took a right turn. At the next signal he felt lonely as her ey…