Being More Indian: Arranged Marriage

I consider arranged marriages to be an Indian phenomenon. Of course, it exists in other countries also, but Indian arranged marriages are unique – don’t you think?

As you all know I got married the arranged marriage way.

It’s not that I was against love marriage or anything. In fact, I fell in love as early as 5th Std. And that was the second time.

But the issue is, for a lazy guy like me, I expect a girl to walk into my house with a bouquet full of roses, knock the door, come inside my room and propose to me as I am working on my computer. Of course, I could turn my head towards her for a short while 😛

Now you have an idea how unrealistic my expectations on this topic can be.

Obviously, with such unimaginable hopes (for others), ‘love’ never happened in my life 🙂

So the only option available to me (practically) was arranged marriage. In this institution, the best thing I like is, the bridegroom doesn’t have to do much. Parents bring the profiles, I shortlist them. Parents talk to potential bride’s families, I just need to talk once to the bride. Parents fix engagement, marriage, etc., I just need to be there.

In many ways, arranged marriage was made for people like me 🙂

Although there is this enormous risk of marrying and living with a person about whom you don’t know much, somehow the majority of the arranged marriages click. At least in our circle, it does.

I was also fortunate to get a wife whom I (later) realized was a very good match for me, without being sure about it before the marriage.

Marriage has made me a more balanced and a more confident person. In fact, my life transformed from black & white to colour, bubbles & bells – literally. Don’t believe me? See the short video below for proof  😀


Destination Infinity

This post was written for a contest sponsored by Lufthansa, the German airline company that owns the world’s second largest fleet of airplanes. As a part of their #MoreIndiaThanYouThink strategy, they greet their (Indian) passengers with a traditional namaste, they serve Indian meals & chai, they also provide Indian content – films, news & music to flight passengers. Have a look at their #MoreIndianThanYouThink initiatives from here. Also, don’t miss the below embedded Lufthansa TVC –

 

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away (Outdoor Mosquito Repellent)


Good Knight Fabric Roll On is a product brought to you by Godrej that’ll help keep mosquitoes away from kids (and adults), even in outdoors and large spaces. All you need to do is apply four coin sized dots of this liquid on any kind of fabric you wear – that’s it, mosquitoes will be repelled away from you or your kids for up to 8 hours.

Good Knight Fabric Roll On is a natural outdoor mosquito repellent made of citronella & eucalyptus oil that are known for keeping mosquitoes away. The company says since this product uses citronella & eucalyptus oil for mosquitoes, it is made using plant-based oils – hence is 100% natural.

You’ll find some natural pungent when applied – if you find the smell a bit too strong, just apply it in areas away from the nose. The company says it is safe to use it on the skin as well, but it’s best to apply on a fabric. It seems the Good Knight Fabric Roll On doesn’t leave any stains on clothes and can be applied on any kind of fabric including silk, khadi, windcheater, and even bedsheets!

Family members might find it useful while going on outdoor trips like trekking, camping, beaches, mountains, etc. Or even in regular hotel rooms where mosquito repellents may not be available. It seems this product works even if you happen to walk in rains! It works on pets also – you can apply it on the collar fabric for dogs, for example.

Priced at around Rs. 75, one bottle is expected to last for 60 days if used on one person (four dots), every day. You can buy this mosquito repellent online from websites like Amazon or you can buy it from a nearby departmental store.

Good Knight Roll On

Why do ‘Modern’ Hospitals have ‘Centralized’ AC?

I understand that with modernity creeping its head everywhere, people expect more comfort nowadays at every available opportunity. But don’t you think having centralized Air Conditioning in hospitals is actually taking it too far?

I mean, I am OK with having centralized AC at hotels, theaters, malls, and even schools. But in ‘modern’ hospitals, where people come because they are sick (often with fever, flu, cold and other such ailments that are averse to anything cold), do we really need an AC?

These hospitals, irrespective of whether the doctors are free or not, make patients wait for 1-3 hours on average – even with prior appointment. If you’ve ever been to one of these hospitals, you’ll realize that after one or two hours, that AC can get really COLD. They don’t even regulate the temperature of the AC!

Frankly, we don’t go to certain movie theaters because they don’t regulate ACs and it gets too cold. That is during normal times. But having centralized ACs at hospitals and not regulating the temperature – don’t you think this is too much? Why can’t the ACs be restricted to ‘deluxe’ rooms where patients want it?

Destination Infinity

Is Durability in Mobile Phones NOT Valued any longer?

Don’t confuse durability with quality. All products need to be quality products to succeed in the market.  Durability refers to the longevity of the product life. How long we are able to use the product, i.e.

A few years back, both quality and durability were considered important factors to buy a product. But with mobile phones and a few other electronic gadgets, I wonder if durability is valued any longer.

That is because, new phones with latest features and higher capacity is released so frequently nowadays that my mobile phone was already obsolete the moment I bought it!

Nowadays, at least once in a year, I look for reasons to upgrade to the latest mobile. I can just buy a new phone, but I — like many others — have this need to justify a new purchase.

Now, what if, the mobile phone stops working or develops some technical issue just after the first year of warranty? That would give me the perfect reason to buy a new phone – won’t it?

That’s why I have started thinking that durability, at least in mobile phones and a few other similar gadgets, may be a minus point.

Actually, I had one HTC phone that I used for almost 6-years. While I did not incur the financial losses of having to buy a new mobile, I did have to drop my face when everyone around me were showing off their latest mobiles with latest features. My phone was working perfectly, and hence I didn’t have a good enough reason to change it!

Same happened with my Toshiba laptop. While I wanted to upgrade to a better processor, RAM and storage capacity, the old one would just not stop functioning.

In both the above cases, losing my patience after sometime, I just went ahead and bought a new mobile and laptop although the old ones were working fine. That damn HTC phone is still working!!

If vendors can include an auto-kill switch or something in every gadget which will enable us to kill it at will, it will be great. That way, there’ll be no need to justify a new purchase to ourselves or others. What do you think? 😀

Destination Infinity

My First ‘Party’ Experience (Vegetarian & Non-Alcoholic!!)

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On the new year’s eve, someone in my house decided that we should go to a New Year party. Since we’ve never been to any, I said OK but with a condition – they should not serve liquor and they should serve vegetarian food. Actually, my idea was to cancel the party indirectly.

But as luck would have it, there was a New Year’s party in Chennai that fulfilled both my criterion. It was the Kala Chasma party and was organized by Deccan Plaza hotel @ Royapettah, Chennai. We spoke to the organizer and they told us that there was a separate kids area, they would play Bollywood songs, they would serve Jain food. That ticked a few more check boxes and we booked the tickets for us and some cousins.

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Upon entering they gave us the above-shown ticket and tied a band around our hands. We then proceeded to the starters area. Here, we had some snacks like popcorn, sevu, cutlet, corn, masala-cola & pina colada by bisleri, rose milk and (believe it or not) podi idly!! I relished that podi idly and refilled my plate multiple times with only that 🙂

Then there was a kids’ area with a few games. We could also take selfies. We also took one with wigs provided by them. Here it is 😀 😛 😀

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The dinner buffet was OK but there was too much crowd. Fortunately we went early and were able to get food soon, but people who came later had to stand in long queues. There was not much place to stand and eat as well. I think the hotel should have imposed a restriction on the maximum no. of people who can attend.

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The main place of the party was the ‘Dance Floor’. I have never danced much, not even in my college days. How can I dance now? Fortunately, since many in the crowd were dancing and since the DJ/Music helped, we too danced (tried to dance) for sometime. But for most of the time, we were watching and enjoying 🙂

BTW, here is a short video from the dance floor –

 

 

I guess these parties are for younger people, but there were many middle-aged people also who came with their family. Altogether this was a different experience and we would probably cherish that wig-photo for a long time to come 🙂

Destination Infinity

 

Indian Ethnic/Wedding Wear for Men: Manyavar

Going back to roots seems to be the trend nowadays. Be it organic food, be it yoga/ayurveda, be it dressing.

I don’t like fashionable dresses much – jeans, tie, suit, shoes… just name a fashion accessory for men and none of them impressed me.

But ethnic wear made a lasting impression even on me. There is something about a Kurta or a Sherwani. They make men stand out. It’s probably because of that reason we see men wearing traditional dresses in many marriages and important functions, nowadays.

I wish more men wear ethnic wear or Indo-Western to office, outings, etc. Personally, I like anything that makes me stand out. I would love to wear a kurta or a sherwani to office just because not many people do!

Anyway, what you need to know is: Manyavar is THE PLACE to shop online trendy men’s wedding wear and accessories including sherwani, kurta, brooch, safa, juti, kilangi, mala, scarf etc.

Have a look at a few dresses/accessories from their collection. You can click on the below links to see more dresses from each category.

Sherwani

sherwani

Kurta

kurta

Brooch

Safa

Have a look at Manyavar’s store locator to locate the nearest Indian ethnic wear/wedding wear store in your city.

Destination Infinity

Surprise Gift we Ordered from IGP.com

IGP.com is a portal in India where you can order gifts for anyone in India, Online. Actually, I wanted to surprise my wife by ordering a gift that would be delivered to her without her knowledge.

But considering my dearth of gift ideas and the lack of experience in selecting the perfect gift, I thought it would be best to allow her to do the selecting part. Ya, the surprise element will not be there, but I thought at least she can select the gift that she likes.

She spent sometime browsing the various gifts IGP.com and selected a couple of gifts. Aren’t you curious to see what gifts she selected?

gift ideas

jewellery box & pillow with a custom-designed pillow cover. 

I think she found the jewellery box beautiful, so do I. I like the concept of a custom pillow cover. The design on the left side of the cover was already present and we uploaded the picture which has come on the right side. Actually, that picture was taken at a ceremony on the day of our marriage. I added our names and the heart for ‘special effects’ 😉

We then proceeded to checkout and completed the order without much of a hassle. For some reason, we got a mail from IGP that our photo was not properly uploaded. So, we replied to the mail with another copy of the photo.

In about three days (I think), we got the above two gifts delivered at our doorstep via courier. I am not sure if there is an option to gift-wrap the objects – ours came without it. It would be nice if there is or if they could add an option in the future.

Altogether, our experience with IGP was positive and I would definitely consider ordering gifts online, especially on occasions and places where I cannot be physically present.

BTW, I have changed my blog theme. I have installed the latest Twenty Seventeen official theme released by WordPress. Visit the homepage and let me know how it looks 🙂

Destination Infinity

AK, I hope you are able to read my blog on all browsers now 😛 🙂

Disclaimer: IGP.com offered me a voucher for Rs. 1000 and asked me to select any gift for myself or someone else, and write about my experience in my blog. Since I am NEVER the person to say NO to freebies, I readily accepted the offer 😉

.blog Domain Names available to register from WordPress!!

.blog domain names are now available to register from our beloved WordPress 🙂 Visit get.blog to get your website-name.blog domain name today!

Since WordPress has provided us with an amazing free blog CMS software to use all these years, I thought why not write about their new service and create some buzz. Especially when it could be useful to many bloggers.

The yearly $30 USD asking price is a bit steep when compared to .in or even .com domains, but considering that you can get a short neat .blog domain of your choosing now, it may not be that bad a price to pay. As a blogger, I am sure many will prefer a .blog domain for their blog.

Personally, I don’t know if I am going to buy another domain (I already own four). But would love to have a .blog domain in my arsenal. Let’s see 😉

What about you? Any plans to buy a domain name for your blog? If you need help setting up a domain on your blog (Blogger, WordPress.com or Self-hosted WordPress), let me know. It’s simpler than you think 🙂

Destination Infinity

XENDER, A Mobile File Transfer App Clocks in 170 Million Users

About XENDER

Xender is a comprehensive mobile app for all file sharing needs. It allows users to share any type of file, at any time, without using any mobile data. Xender supports Android, IOS, Windows, PC/ Mac cross-platform transferring with over 200 times Bluetooth transfer speed. Xender currently supports over 22 languages including English, Hindi, Arabic, Chinese Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Thai and Bengali. For its Indian users, XENDER has added a choice of 12 kinds of India dialect. Let’s XENDER it!

As a popular file transfer and sharing application , XENDER has announced that it has reached 50% market share in India in the crowded file transfer market. XENDER has clocked in 170 million Indian users over the last three years alone with an annual growth rate of over 100%. XENDER has long maintained a leading position in mobile sharing tool market, well known for its fast transfer, convenient using and zero cost.New slogan, new concept,new logo,Let’s XENDER it!

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XENDER also announced the launch of its new logo for Indian audience on the auspicious occasion of Diwali. The new logo captures the vibrant and dynamic spirit of XENDER and incorporates hues of orange; a color deeply entrenched in the Indian culture.

Commenting on the milestone, Peter Jiang, Founder of XENDER said, “India is an extremely critical market for us with file transfer volume scaling 1.7 million. With maximum user base in in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata, XENDER is extremely popular in metro cities and northern India. With over 500 million cumulative global users, we target to attain 800 million global users over the next 3 years”.

XENDER recently announced a new version of its app with comprehensive functions and better user experience. It offers seamless transmission between Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Windows PC and Apple MAC system.

Download Xender from Google Play. Let’s XENDER it!

Destination Infinity

Freecharge App: Bill Payments are Fast, Convenient & Secure

Freecharge app enables consumers to pay/recharge their mobile bills, data card bills, DTH subscriptions, metro, utility bills like electricity, gas, broadband/landline, etc., using a single app. This post is about the highlights of a bloggers meet organized by Freecharge at their premises to explain the various features of the app.

Welcome: The Monday morning kicked off with the bloggers being served delicious breakfast in the Freecharge cafeteria. They were welcomed with goodie bags having a Freecharge Tee Shirt, a coffee mug, some tasty cookies and stationary for the day.

Freecharge Tour: The group of bloggers were taken around the work space and were introduced to various teams running the show at Freecharge. They were introduced to the Mission Control team which includes SRE, Dev Ops, cloud automation, cloud security & IT, the marketing group, the Analytics team, QA, The Design Mafia (UI & UX), the product managers, the payments team, the technology team, the mobile team!

Up, close and candid: Post the tour, the bloggers were welcomed by the CEO of Freecharge, Mr.Govid Rajan and the group had a long candid session. Govind spoke on two key areas – user interface & experience (UI/UX) and security – and how his team of 300 odd people are working round the clock to deliver consumers “first class experience”.

UI & UX:

The fundamental principles that dictates UI/UX strategy for Freecharge is ‘No typing only tapping’ and the transaction should happen in less than 10 secs. The emphasis is on ‘faster checkouts’ in anything and everything consumer does in relation to payments.

Govind demonstrated this by doing a recharge on his phone in less than 10 secs, you heard it right – he uses a prepaid connection just like the majority of Indian consumers to understand their psyche.

He spoke about the features like ‘Bill Payment Reminder’ and ‘Auto Pay’ that have been a direct outcome of the fundamental principles mentioned above.

Security

Govind spoke extensively on the aspect of security – the systems that are in place – so that consumers can have a secure payment experience.

He said that Freecharge has built its own (in-house) risky transactions management platform and has a dedicated risk & security team that looks at patterns so that they are always ready to respond to any and every kind of fraudulent actions possible. The platform has been built purely on the basis of Indian data and not global data – which makes it even more robust and trustworthy.

He added that passwords of users are never stored in the Freecharge system. All passwords are encrypted using one way non-reversible keys which makes it impossible for abuse. Freecharge has actually assigned every single bank account of the country to pin codes and have a database of risky transaction pin codes.

The eye opening fact was that in terms of risky transactions Freecharge is at 1/7th of the Indian benchmark which is better than many top financial institutions.

Govind explained that the systems at Freecharge are designed to study 500-600 parameters of the mobile phone and over time have become robust to raise flags when a suspicious transaction are recorded. Elaborating more, he gave example of the attack on Yahoo wherein Freecharge reached out to all its users who have a registered Yahoo account and made them to change their passwords.

He said that there are systems in place wherein ‘lock-out’ can happen if a consumer tries beyond ‘x’ times to login and is not able to login.

Freecharge has deployed a number of proprietary technologies to deliver best in class security. It is compliant with all major security standards such as PCI-DSS compliance. The wallet has very stringent protocols on wallet velocity, device fingerprinting, device encryption and identification and hold limits which are designed to trap and eliminate fraud.

The proprietary technology ‘On-the-Go-Pin’ (OTP) fulfills the RBI’S mandate for two-factor authentication and does not require even a single additional investment by retailers or a customer, making the transaction secure, swifter and in less than 10 seconds!

Govind concluded the elaborate discussion on security by saying “security is our number 1 priority! We have been voted as India’s most secure start-up and the 2nd most preferred wallet”.

Following Govind’s session, there was a panel discussion with Ishan Vaish Director-Products, Fareed Jawad Vice President and Principle Product Architect and Varun Arora, Sr. Product Manager for Risk and Frauds. The trio touched upon various features in the Freecharge app like WhatsApp money through Freecharge, Speed Pay etc.

An upcoming feature, ‘AutoPay’ was also introduced. Users can now activate AutoPay and completely forget about their recharge and bill due dates. Also, the category of ‘donations’ was introduced wherein users would be able to donate money to various NGOs using the Freecharge wallet and also get the certificate to claim tax exemptions.

Varun Arora covered ‘Fraud and Risk’ in the next segment and how Credit Card theft and Account Theft are part of the game. He explained how we at Freecharge are performing high level fraud checks to minimize and tackle these attacks.

The group broke out for lunch post this. The day ended after a visit to the Customer Service team in the building across the road. They were told by Mr Velu, AVP Operations that most of the customer queries and complaints were addressed within 20 minutes that they came in throughout 24 hours of the day and 7 days a week.

Conclusion: This was a session to get up, close and personal with Freecharge and led by the CEO the team at Freecharge shared lot of interesting facts about Freecharge and how they are relentlessly working to give consumers the best digital payment experience in the most secured way.