Showing posts from 2019

Magic Moments

The last Friday, I was there to welcome the Sun and bid him goodbye.

The Sun was rising but the moon stayed back. As if hanging around to bid goodbye before leaving to the other side of the planet.

Sometime we need to pause and look around. There are so much beauty in our everyday life.

What does your brain say!

This post is not about bio science although you might have such a feeling and that's a disclaimer.
The brain which is the command center for our nervous system is the most complex object in the universe and the good news is that we all possess one inside our skulls. 100 billion neurons link to one another in a complex but a unique pattern within the lump of fats and proteins. The scientists and neurologists are still at the beginning of unraveling the incredible power of the human brain.
The brain has the power to learn new languages, perceive beauty and remember tens of thousands of individual bits of information. Human brains can also achieve amazing results by easily joining the dots even if there are some dots missing. Our brains can make out the objects, a person’s face or a sentence in a language of our average proficiency.
Let’s take the sentence above as an example. How many of us would not be able to decipher it meaningfully! But this is just a simple one sentence, wherea…

Jammikunta... a daily pause for a cause

Our motherland is as diverse in its customs and practices as it is with individual and collective social values. Some people despise others’ patriotic or nationalistic fervor. Despite staying outside for two decades, I am on that side of the fence where people cherish these values and naturally the news about Jammikunta gave me a pleasant feeling.

Jammikunta is situated in Karimnagar district, about 140 km from Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana. Life comes to a halt every day at 8 a.m. as people pause for a minute to sing the national anthem. This has become a daily routine of the people in this sleepy town since 15 August 2017, following an initiative by a local police inspector.
After many centuries of subjugation by foreign invading forces, I strongly feel there is a need for a nationalistic approach to reclaim our lost identity. Without a strong identity, I am afraid there will be no we tomorrow but for our shadows.
At this point someone might bring the statement made by the gre…

There I am...

Today we were strolling on a park as the Sun was leaving for the day. My wife's phone camera came handy to capture this magic moment as I left mine inside the car. There I am ready to feed my Instagram account after a very long gap.

I thought it is a good idea to introduce myself through my various social media existence. My Instagram account is sumandebray and I post photos taken  exclusively with my phone's camera. It will be a pleasure if friends from my blogsphere  comes along and joins me, I shall be a follower too. I not particularly interested in individuals who have thousands of followers while they follow a other words, I stay away from the celebrities.

My Twitter handle is @Sumandr and I am already connected to some of you.

Then there is the professional social media that I am part of as well. This is the linkedIn and you may find me here. You are invited to come and be part of my network.
A few screenshots from Instagram page.

Our World’s Toothpaste Moment

There was a campaign to convince the companies that cardboard packaging for toothpastes were a complete waste. Being one of the most common household product in everybody’s life Toothpaste have a huge multiplier. After all this product used at the least once a day by old, young and everyone in-between.
A few days back we bought a promotional pack of three toothpaste and it’s unfortunate that we were given 3 cardboard boxes while we desired none. It’s a fact of life that most of us will discard the boxes into the bin without a second looks. There are no doubts that by changing this habit, a substantial amount of burden on our world will be reduced.
Don’t get me wrong, I very well understand the significance of packaging and am not advocating to deprive consumer of this experience. I shall never forget remember my experience of unpacking my Tissot watch. Back in then, it was a luxury product for me long before I learnt later that it doesn’t qualify to be one. The velvet lined wooden b…

fair trade & modern day slavery

The other day I took my daughter for her choir practice where they meet two or three times every week to rehearse for an hour. I was strolling in the school corridor looking at various displays, notices and bulletin boards while they were busy inside.

The fourth graders of this Swiss school had prepared a bulletin board based on their self-research and it was very impressive. I am glad that I stood there for few minutes as it made feel more about the plight of the farm workers. Being enlightened early in life about “Fair Trade Practices”, I am optimistic that these children will grow up to be a more socially responsible generation.

They have noted down the following for the banana plantation workers who gets the lowest reward for their efforts as per the banana split. Work for 14 hours a day in harsh weather conditionsHave poor working conditionSpray fertilizers and pesticidesCut down the bananasCarry heavy loads of bananas for washingWash the bananasCannot usually join a union

Lives that Inspire us through books

This week Indi-blogger inspires us to ponder whether “we think inspiration books are really useful?” I need to get the ambiguity out of my way and therefore the first question I ask myself is “How do we define the genre Inspirational Books in this context”?  Let me adopt the simplistic path and consider those to be a subsection of wide variety of inspirational literature that are promoted aggressively by the marketers.
Let me start with the books that made their authors not only very famous but rich as well. This genre include books like following along with their prequels and sequels.
Chicken Soup for the SoulThe Monk Who Sold His FerrariRich Dad Poor DadThink and Grow RichYou Can Win
I believe those became bestsellers for a reason and that being marketed differently. People have either fallen for celebrity endorsement, followed their peers or impulsively got motivated to buy it. As we understand sales make books a best seller while reading those doesn’t. Reading would have got them …

We Walked Along

Through the barren meadows, Hand in hand, we walked along! With birds shunning our trees, Undeterred still, we sang along! Trees around were shades of grey, Your laughter, brought color along!
A sight to cherish it is today, Thousand birds, came along! Flowers sprayed resplendent hues, Colors the leaves too, brought along! With trust we walked unknown paths,
Love always stayed along!

The day I told her that I was leaving Google search

Two weeks back, once I switched on the laptop in the evening, I made an important announcement at home. My daughter could not believe her ears when she heard, I was not going to use Google any more.

What do you mean?” 
Henceforth I shall not use the Google search engine”.
But you are still using Google” a bit perplexed.
I shall abandon only the search engine, while I shall continue to use chrome, Blogger, YouTube as usual”, I clarified.
Aren’t both chrome and the search same!” still confused.
They are not the same although it is designed to have that look and feel.” I told her and further explained,
Chrome is a web browser similar to Internet explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Safari while Google Search is a search engine that could be used with any of the browsers. 

There are other search engines available such as Yahoo search, Bing search, DuckDuckgo search, SwissCows search, DogPile search etc.
“I have started to use DuckDuckGo”, I declared .
The name is so funny and doesn’t sou…

My Gmailophobia

Business Insider
Google mail started on 01 April 2004 and along with other early adopters, this time #metoo started using this. In those early days an account could only be registered via invitation and I was so much impressed by the service and progressively increasing storage space that by 2006, Gmail became my principle email address.
By launching Gmail on the 1st of April, Google have their conscience clear! It was poor me who missed the cryptic message. I ought to have realized the fact that if something is too good to be true then most probably it’s not!
Today, all my important emails are stored within the limited storage space of 15 GB available in the Google’s mail server. The good news is that there is an option to purchase additional storage space although I am not sure who benefit more from this option. Moreover the storage space is available till one putting up the rental fees and there is nothing tangible that one can take home.
I am having a fear that is growing in streng…

Window Shopping Online

Window shopping is one common colorful thread that ties human being across the cultures. The internet has made this pleasurable experience even more fun.

What is that one odd stuff that you looked up recently at the eBay or another online shopping portal? Something that you searched for, with absolutely no intention to make a purchase.
I request you to share your experience via a blogpost and let the fun flow though the blogosphere! If you decide to make the post then please link your post to this one.
The queerest thing that I had searched at the eBay store happens to my spookiest one too. I looked for a “haunted mirror”, not for buying though but to verify if such items were offered for sale.
One variety available are “black glass mirrors” that witches use for ritualistic spell or scrying. With the correct incantation these mirror would be the medium to connect with the dead or the Satan, so they claim! I was looking for another variety of haunted mirrors which unf…

Newspapers – When going gets tough

During our school days internet did not exist in the form that we know it today. Newspapers and Radio was the only two source of news and views in addition to Chinese whispers. While the radio was predominantly the governments’ mouthpiece, newspapers were free to side either with the party in power or the opposition. Most of us kept a tab on both the perspectives. A breath of fresh air was however the programs aired by BBC and VOA.
Newspapers had the freedom of opinions, although it wasn’t free of costs for the readers. For the price paid the papers were a great source of inspiration for the English language proficiency, writing style and trove of new words.
As we approached the new millennium, the internet gained in popularity forcing the newspapers to go online. The digital version was an additional feature while to the printed version was their mainstay. It was a welcome move as they had their eye fixated on a slice of the online advertising pie while the printed ones remained uncha…

The Legend Never Dies

The world, today is a different place. An era without IM Pei, the internationally recognized and one of the most celebrated architect of our times has begun. He died on Thursday May 16th at the age of 102.
Ieoh Ming Pei was born in Canton (now Guangzhou) on April 26, 1917 to Tsuyee Pei, one of China’s leading bankers and moved to Hong Kong when he was an infant. He recalled that as child of 9, he was fascinated by the construction and knew he wanted to build. At the age of 17, Pei moved to the US of America and in 1940, he was awarded a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from MIT.
Tributes have been pouring in from all over the world, remembering him for a lifetime of designing iconic structures worldwide. In his career stretching more than 70 years, he have amassed an impressive portfolio and the iconic glass pyramid of the louvre in Paris is the poster boy of his legacy. My favorite masterpiece of this great Master is the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar which was completed in 2…

Let’s Save Our Kids - together

Apicture is worth a thousand words and hence I let them do the talking. I trust these two visuals will  highlight the human face of a global crisis created by today's Social (read evil) Medias.
"Instagram extended its sympathies to the teenager’s family, and said the company had a responsibility to make its users feel safe and supported."

Remind yourself that you were not “self-born”! You have been brought into this world with lots of love. You do not have to seek others’ approval to boost your self-esteem, seek inner peace instead.  Go surround yourself with the best people you can find live life to the fullest. A few points to ponder..........
Will the Social Media corporations do anything?Are our children & youth safe?Who shall coach the vulnerable?

Rethink your Weekend

You only twice they say, once before a dream vacation and once after! Who wouldn’t love to take one but for most it remain unfulfilled and what they endure is continuation instead of vacation. The excuse we give are the obvious ones - lack of time or money or both. Maybe with different thinking and right approach, we will succeed in circumventing both the obstacles. 
Improve mental power by healingImprove productivity and helps to focusRejuvenate body and mindImprove physical healthImprove relationship with family and friendsImprove sleep qualityBring work-life balance
Vacation is an antidote to the chronic stress that builds within us and slowly destroy our body’s ability to protect itself and there are many more benefits. There is no reason why we shouldn’t re-engineer the available resources to reap the rewards that a successful holiday has to offer.
The remarkable phenomenon known as “placebo effect” has been decisively proven by researchers. The beneficial effect in a patient foll…

And some adjusted their sails – episode three

Western Union
This story starts in the year 1851 with the formation of a financial and Communication Company by a group of businessmen, notable among them Hiram Siley named “The New York and Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company”.
During the first five years of existence, the company went aggressively acquiring other competitors. On 8 April 1856, the name of the company was changed to “The Western Union Telegraph Company” to signify the union of “Western” telegraph lines under one system.
During the American civil war Hiram Siley took the challenge to connect the 2000 miles of telegraph lines to the far west.He succeeded in accomplishing a task that president Abraham Lincoln termed as “next to impossible”. By 1884, they had monopoly across the nation.
As other methods of telecommunications gained popularity over telegraphy, Western Union diversified its operation. It managed to retain the position of market leader during the 1960s and ‘70s with the Telex and TWX systems.
Later i…

Go reclaim your readers says Ruski

Wikipedia Ruskin Bond said in an interview, “India could soon be facing a predicament of having more writers than readers”.

The use of “Predicament” tells us the Padma Bhushan awardee foresees a difficult, unpleasant or embarrassing situation for the publishing industry which may impact the book sales. Watching him talk would have provided the opportunity to factor in his tonality along with the non-verbal cues to make a comprehensive sense of what the iconic writer meant when he said what he said.
This post is not so much about agreeing or disagreeing with his statement, as it is about my interpretation of the “Why” and “What” of the entire interview. Being the grand old man of Indian literature, he is at a vantage point to review the Indian literary scenario and hence not many will share the same perspective.
As hinted, I will not consider this comment in isolation but review it in conjunction with others from the same interview. He also stated "Publishing has come of age and m…

The inspiring story of a Rural Woman

This story started at the local hair dressing salon last weekend where I went for my haircut. The person in charge was a man in his fifties and it was a one man show. After initial pleasantries I asked him, “Where are you from as you speak the Ganga kinare bhasha?” (The dialect associated with the banks of Ganges). I told him that the mithaas “sweetness” that Bhojpuri language has makes it standout from all other.
“I belong to Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh” he announced and suggested I should listen to the dialect of Jaunpur to get a taste of real mithaas. The conversation went and so did the scissors, while I was in the quiet end of both. 
Learning I was from Kolkata, he revealed that during his younger days folks from his village traveled to Kolkata in search of fortune and some of his relative continue to live there after they made it real big. He then pondered “How is Kolkata it now?” Sensing  my discomfort, he confessed that people no longer head that way in search of their dreams. 

Beagle, Sketching, Hobbies, et al

Puttush A few months back we went to one of our friend’s house in Kolkata and were introduced to the newest member of their family. His name is Puttush and he a Beagle, six months of age at the time.
We instantly fell in love with Puttush as he was lively, intelligent and constantly vying for attention with his childlike attitude. The beagle is a breed of small hound, quite similar to larger foxhound in appearance and very popular pet due to its size, good temper and lack of inherited health problems.
Coming back, I promised myself that I shall make a sketch of his or give it an honest try at the least. For me sketching is therapeutic and dog portraiture is definitely fulfilling. After all dog is a man’s best friends and in the words of former French president Charles de Gaulle, “The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” Portraiture I have more than a fair share of hobbies with stamp collection, blogging and sketching crying for attention as soon as I reach hom…

Beware of the Megaphone

Social Media Interaction
The “Internet is a great leveler “in more than one ways. While internet has provided the framework for a small-town store be a global business house, it also empowered every customer irrespective of their economic or social standings. Today everyone has a Megaphone.
Trust doesn’t come easy and it is particularly difficult when transaction is over the internet. We invariably fallback on experiences people like us had earlier. Today consumer does thorough research before they make a buying decision, they also leave online review and ratings to help others. Word-of-mouth has expanded beyond a customer’s immediate friends and family. As online transactions become increasingly common, consumer-generated feedback is hard to ignore these days.
During the pre-social media days, an out of town customer at any hotel, restaurant or shop had only so much importance – it was seller’s market then. Now every customer is important even if the likelihood of their return is low…

Internet is a great leveler

Photo Reference Would you agree that "Internet is a great leveler?" Probably you do not have much of a choice! The proliferation of the Internet has created an environment where anyone can reap the benefits of the opportunities provided by globalization.
There are no “barriers” anymore as anyone from anywhere can start with an online business without geographical considerations. The only requirement is expertise in the core area and a great business model. On the other hand everyone can refer to reviews and recommendation and make informed decision.
The internet unarguably is the game changer but limited to internet in many regions is a cause for concern.
Traditionally for a business, promoting the product or services to the world has been a challenge. Now “Digital Marketing” has opened up the horizon to everyone who had dreams of advertising. It’s affordable, it's easy and potential customers could be reached through targeted campaigns via social media.
Skeptics like me…