Thursday, 16 February 2017

When Bloggers meet to paint their imagination #BergerXP #IB


Recently when IB announced a meet in collab with Berger Express Painting at Mumbai. I had no idea beforehand that it was happening until one of my friend posted about it on FB. Being a blogger on IB for more than 8 months now, I actually never attended any of their meets that happened in last year. One of the reasons for doing so was obviously nothing had happened in Pune/Mumbai in past one year. Well, there's a long story behind getting the invite for this event. I came to know about the event a week before its scheduled date and trust me I was actually very thrilled while requesting for the invite on IB's site. And almost after waiting for over 5 days, I received a mail from IB team with the bar code and ID to attend the event @ Taj vivanta, Mumbai. The event was scheduled on Sat and I had received the invite on friday night i.e. 10th Feb, at 8 pm. Thankfully it popped up or else I would have been the most disappointed person to missed such a wonderful opportunity. I was worried at first because I had to travel from Pune to Mumbai just to attend this event and that too when nothing was planned in advance. But the excitement took over all my anxiousness and I buckled up for the event and to meet some wonderful bloggers in person.







I reached Mumbai on 11th Feb morning at 10:30am. Since the event was scheduled at 12:30pm, I had ample amount of time to reach the destination. So, I gave myself a challenge to walk down to the venue. Okay, I failed miserably because I took the wrong route and ended up somewhere I was not destined to. The clock was ticking and in that panic moment, mumbai's famous taxiwala came to my rescue. God bless him! Finally, I reached the destination in time and then it was time to meet the bloggers from different corners of the city and some from the country also. Roma from Pune also came for the event and she was the only blogger, whom I had ever talked over phone. Being a senior blogger, she calmed my nerve and then when other bloggers started pouring in for the event. The whole place turned out to be a zone where everyone was mingling with each other and chatting over bla bla things. Since it was my first Blogger's meet, I hadn't met anyone in person before. I knew many of the bloggers thru their blogs and blogging communities but the opportunity to meet them in person was truly ecstatic. Bloggers are indeed one of the kindest species present on the globe. You ask them anything and they will respond to you in the humblest of manner. Once we all gathered at the venue, we were asked to register at the welcome desk and then we were guided to the buffet table. The food was scrumptious and we filled our tummies to the fullest.




As soon as we all gathered at the venue, we took some selfies and geared up for the rest of the afternoon. Anoop- The IB guy, started the proceedings in a humorous way and some of the first timers (IB meet) were asked to introduce themselves. I too introduced myself and the fun activites begun soon after the intro part. We played musical chair in most hillarious ways possible. The winners were awarded cool t-shirts. Going further, Mr. Banerjee from Berger Express Painting came to dais and gave a very impressive presentation on painting techniques and Berger Paints to make painting a better experience. He also explained the types of Berger Paints that are available in the market and based on choice which product can suit a consumer's requirements. It was an interactive session followed by a healthy Q&A round.

Some of the key highlights from Mr. Chandranath Banerjee's session-

1) Berger Express Painting service is first of its kind in India. Berger introduced it to make the experience of painting a smooth and less cumbersome process.

2) Berger has also taken the initiative to train the local painters the art of painting and also to make them professional and skilled enough to use the advance tools with ease.

3) To make the process dust-free, they have cutting edge vaccum enabled sanding machine which makes the whole painting process less polluted.

4) Also, when we compare the time, this whole process normally takes less than 40℅ to traditional painting method. So, a win-win situation in all the cases.

5) So, when we are mentioning that Berger express painting services offers you everything then the first thing that comes to our mind is that it must be an expensive deal for sure. Well, if we go by prices then it will definitely seem like an expensive deal but the quality is something that remains there for years and that's where Berger XP is the best in the business.






After an intriguing session with Mr. Banerjee, it was time for us to have some fun and get our hands dirty. We were divided into 6 teams and our first activity was to scrub the board and make it smooth with a sand paper in least possible time. Our team applied full force and finished the task in good enough time. Not sure who exactly won this round as no winners were declared. But we all had great fun doing all the dirty work. After that, we were given two topics to choose from and to prepare a design depicting the very topic in the painting. We chose "Spirit of Mumbai" as our topic to showcase our thoughts thru different colors of paint on a white sheet. Since, we had some great artists in our team, I basically shifted to a different role of clicking pictures and keep the memories alive for the years to come. In the end, all paintings were displayed together and the winner was adjuged by the jury (still searching for that jury 😝). The winners were awarded with online gift coupons.
 

 
  
 

Source : Indiblogger

The event ended and after bidding farewell to friends and some excellent bloggers, we all left for our heavenly abode.


PS : All pictures are taken by me except the ones with source mentioned.


 

Monday, 13 February 2017

And I fell in Love with my Blog!




Blog Love is something that came into picture via BlogChatter. Since it's "Valentine's Day" today, here I'm taking the baton of Blog Love from Menaka to express my love for Blogging or say, my blog in specific.

There are many things that strikes a chord in my heart when I think of them. Be it photography, singing, traveling, cricket, love for history etc. I love to talk about everything , and when I say everything, I'm seriously nodding my head in affirmation! Yes, I am a confused soul and don't have control on my own opinions and decisions. But I'm like that. No, I'm not insane! but absent minded at times. Yes,that's me! 😁

So, this absent minded "Me" was a lost soul, a few years ago. He had his own way of observing and looking at things. Never sure of what was he upto, but the guy had some spark to do something really big!  And one fine day, he stumbled upon a blog, that changed his life and perception of looking at things in a different yet creative manner. Despite of many ups and downs in his over complicated life, he rose above all the hard times and signed up on blogger to share his long-lost love for poetry and photography. And that day was engraved in history for the ages to come. Okay, I have this filmy bug of acting.... I know, weird at times. I do that often when i am in good mood. I know...I know, I have exaggerated my bio. 😜

I am no legend or not even a mere blogger. But whatever I share thru my blogposts expresses a lot about me and my thoughts. Blogging gives me thoughts to express, especially when I feel low at times. Yes, writing down your thoughts is something that helps everyone in long run. We can always look back in time and analyze oneself from within. I remember those days when my father used to arrange my childhood pictures in photo albums with great affection and care. For him, those were memories that he collected of me, so that i can rejoice in my old age by looking at those memories. I feel awesome when I look back in time thru those pictures. And that's what motivates me to write more about life experiences. Yes, I express my thoughts thru poetry and pictures, yes pictures; a picture speaks a thousand words and how we weave a story thru it describes a lot about our way of looking things. 

For me, my blog gives me wings to share what I feel and observe around me; my random yet unspoken thoughts.


Now, I pass on the baton of Blog Love to Manisha. Here you go! 😊



I'm a Blogbuddy with BlogChatter.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Unexplored got explored- Gangtok & Darjeeling!






3 years back, I traveled to Gangtok and Darjeeling with my parents and thought of writing about my experiences at that time, but couldn’t. So, finally! here I am posting few photographs along with the coverage of my 4 day trip.

It was an itinerary of 4 days; Kolkata-Gangtok-Darjeeling-Kolkata. We started off from Kolkata on 24th April,2013 evening and reached Jalpaiguri on the next day morning, from there we took a cab to Gangtok and reached there on the same day by evening. Since, roughly we had 3 days time for exploring two places excluding the travel time, we thought of utilizing it by not wasting our time in roaming around the streets and resting @ our room. We jotted down the places in advance to cover the must visit places in Gangtok and made all the arrangements like taxi and permits
required .
 
On day 1, we started from our hotel at 6 in the morning and gathered at a common point as told by our guide, from where we had to start our journey to the 1st destination of our trip i.e. "Nathula Pass". Nathula pass is best known as the place which connects Sikkim with China's part of Tibet. I was very excited to visit this place, as I had heard a lot about it beforehand. En-route,on one side we saw many water falls and valley on the other side. The beauty we witnessed around us was breathtaking. As we reached one of the sightseeing places before Nathula pass i.e. "Tsomgo Lake", we were informed by the locals that the route to Nathula pass was closed due to heavy land slide. And then we were told by our guide that Tsomgo Lake is the last resort for us to spend time. So, we buckled up for the sightseeing and took out our cameras as the scenic beauty at Tsomgo Lake was enchanting. I had never been to any such place before which actually had stunned me with its beauty, it was my first experience of this kind, so naturally I took my camera out and clicked lots of pictures of the lake along with valley, yaks and snow-capped mountains etc. We spent almost 3 hours there when rain started to pour-in, we headed back to our vehicles. As soon as we reached Gangtok, we had lunch and continued with our sightseeing. We covered few temples and monasteries and after dusk we came back to our hotel. At night, we took a stroll on beautiful mall road of Gangtok and had our dinner at authentic momos restaurant.


Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)

Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)
Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)
Tsomgo Lake or Changu Lake, Gangtok (Sikkim)
Enchey Monastery
Prayers wheels @ Enchey Monastery
Child monk @ Enchey Monastery

On day 2, we had to leave for Darjeeling in the afternoon, so we woke up early and took a cab to cover few more places from our list before leaving. And the first place we opt was the Himalayan zoo of Gangtok. Being a nature lover and enthusiastic photographer, I like taking pictures of animals and that's the main reason I chose zoo as our first place to visit on day 2. There were various species like the Himalayan leopard, the Himalayan cats, white foxes and red panda (the cutest of them all). I took pictures of them all and saved the memories in my camera. After that we went to the botanical garden of Gangtok and then to the Dro-dul Chorten stupa before leaving for Darjeeling. And finally our trip to Gangtok ended there and we reached Darjeeling.

Dro-dul Chorten Stupa, Gangtok

Dro-dul Chorten Stupa, Gangtok

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park

Sikkim Himalayan Zoological Park
Jawaharlal Nehru Botanical Garden

On Day 2, we reached Darjeeling and spent rest of the evening resting in our hotel room.

On Day 3, we got up early at 3 AM, got ready and took a cab to Tiger hill to see the sunrise. Before planning this trip, I read a lot about Tiger hill's sunrise view, that when the sunlight strikes on the snow peaks of Kanchenjunga, it gives you a surreal experience of sheer panoramic view. But to our bad luck the weather badly struck our plan with slight drizzle. And with great disappointment, we headed back to our hotel again and slept for another 2-3 hrs. As soon as we got up, we decided the places to cover on the first day in Darjeeling. Our first place was the war memorial, then the Himalayan zoological park, Rock garden, Tea garden and then finally the Buddhist temple. The whole day went well, I clicked many pictures at war memorial and zoological park. Alongside zoological park, we also visited the Himalayan trekking museum (those who love trekking and other stuff like that will love the facts and history gathered together of all the trekkers and trekking events ever happened in India). The rock garden also had a wonderful view around with a waterfall and different varieties of flowers covering a huge area. Overall, the experience was great and then we went to the Buddhist temple, which was our last place to visit on day 3. Well if you go to places like Gangtok and Darjeeling, its highly advisable to spend good time at places like monasteries and Buddhist temples, these places will make you feel calm and relaxed. As we ended our sightseeing on the 3rd day, we headed back to our hotel and later, went for shopping and strolled around the city.



Batasia Loop, War memorial garden, mountain

Batasia Loop, War memorial garden, mountain

Buddhist Monastery
Rock Garden, Darjeeling


Rock Garden, Darjeeling

Rock Garden, Darjeeling

Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park

Tea Garden, Darjeeling


On Day 4, since we had to reach the Jalpaiguri station before its late in the evening, we planned to leave Darjeeling in the morning, at around 10 AM. So, for the last adventure we opted to travel by "Darjeeling Himalayan Railway" also known as the "Toy train”. Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is declared as the world heritage site by UNESCO and is well known all over the world. We boarded the first train of the day from Darjeeling to Ghoom station (distance of 10 km approx.) and then took a cab from Ghoom to our hotel at Darjeeling. The whole experience of traveling by the toy train was fun. At the end, we left Darjeeling and reached Jalpaiguri on time, and then we boarded our train in the evening from Jalpaiguri to Kolkata.


Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
Dirdham Temple


Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A new year, a new beginning !




A new year, a new page,
A new beginning, a new race!
Run the distances, to face the challenge
Higher is the risk, stakes are less to change
Joy and Peace is what, we all expect
Let’s hope and see the next year's best.
Time to enjoy and to make dreams,
Wishes are many, it always seems!
Rear is different, Front is serene,
Make the future an everlasting dream.
Treat the nature and make the planet green,
Rendezvous with life is written and is seen.
A wish is empty without the hearty words in it,
A life is empty without the meaningful endeavors in it.

So wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and good luck in all your future endeavors!!




I thought of writing about my experiences and memories of 2016 but then those are precious to heart and will take a lot of time to write down on paper/blog. Hopefully I will share them soon. Until then, I wish you all a very Happy New Year' 2017 .



Linking the post with BlogChatter weekly prompt 'New Year'.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion #BookReview



If history fascinates you then this novel "The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion" by Ram Sivasankaran takes you a few centuries back in Mughal - Maratha period. In the 18th century, when Mughals were loosing their grip over Indian sub-continent and Maratha empire was gradually taking control over Indian states, under the guidance of Chhathrapathi Shahu (son of late Chhathrapathi Sambhaji) and the leadership of Balaji Vishwanath Bhat (Peshwa of the Maratha Confederacy), the empire was rising and building a path to achieve Mughal free India for the Maratha generations to come. The events described in this book mainly revolves around the royal families of Maratha empire and Nizam Ul Mulk of the Mughal empire.


The story begins with Bajirao Bhat riding alongside his father,Balaji Vishwanath Bhat and some soldiers of Maratha Confederacy to Delhi for negotiating the release terms of Chhathrapathi Shahu's mother from Mughal captivity. After being beaten by Maratha Confederacy in several states of Indian sub-continent and under the weak leadership of Mughal emperor, Farrukhsiyar, the Mughals had developed the diplomatic ties with the Marathas to maintain control over their existence in India. Nizam Ul Mulk , the loyal nizam of Peacock Throne of Delhi is a sharp personnel who believes in the Mughal Empire's domination. He convinces the Emperor to demolish the Peshwa's plan to release the Queen mother of Maratha Confederacy but all his plans of assassinating the Peshwa fails and things fall against his will. Later on,with the motive to destroy Maratha Empire and to avenge for the wounds the Peshwa had caused him, the Nizam builds his army and due to an internal rebellion among the Maratha Confederacy, things fall in favor of the Nizam and then how things take turn? and how the Peshwa's son, Bajirao Bhat, comes in the picture and takes control of the leadership and deals with toughest of situations is what engages the reader to the core of the narration.

Now the things which I like about the book

1) The cover of the book is appealing and grabs attention at first glance.
2) The chapters are beautifully bifurcated and doesn't make things boring from a reader's perspective.
3) The characters are well described and never appeared to be left out throughout the narrative.
4) I found the storytelling very poised and engaging.

Now the things which I didn't like about the book

1) I found the font very small and difficult to read in some of the chapters where the text is written in italics.
2) Though the use of graphics in books is common these days but I didn't like them in this book, as the objects depicted were not of great significance.


Final Thoughts

Overall, I liked the book as it gives you a taste of history and makes you learn about some of the unheard and brave stories of the legends.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

A nice weekend read!




I received the copy of "The Peshwa: The Lion and the Stallion" from Writersmelon in exchange of an honest review.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Knock knock! Santa is here! :)





I came home from work quite late yesterday and found an amazon package on my bed which I didn't order. Well, there is no-one on earth who doesn't like surprises but when there is no occasion around and especially your B'day is also not near then it becomes even more exciting to open gifts. I had no idea that who sent me the package but like kids I opened it with great curiosity and glittery eyes. There was nothing mentioned on the front side of the invoice either, that who ordered it. I don't get gifts often so I thought it would be ordered by someone for one of my flat mates, also my college buddies (as sometimes we order things online on each others' name as per our availability at home). But I was wrong, totally wrong! As soon as I unpacked the package, I found this....


And somehow I knew that this gift was intended for me,not to my friends. I knew that none of my friends had the habit of sending gifts and that too a photography related gift.Ahhh! Never! To be honest, more than the gift, what I really loved about it was that it was a book and related to photography. I just cannot express how happy it made me last night, after a hectic day at office. Extremely happy! :)

Well, I searched for the sender's name inside out of the package and after spending some time, I found it on the back side of the invoice.And as soon as I read the name, it brought a big smile on my face. The sender was Jaibala a.k.a. Jai, a very experienced and lovable blogger and one of my favorites. Also, it came through Blogchatter's Secret Santa initiative, in which many of the wonderful bloggers enrolled with Blogchatter to send a gift on the occasion of Christmas to the person randomly selected by Blogchatter's algorithm (I believe). ;)

I never met Jai in person and we had only interacted thru comments on blog posts and twitter. Also, I didn't mention any preference of gift on the Blogchatter's link. And when I saw the book, it was actually a big surprise for me that how Jai figured it out on her own that I have a thing for photography. I believe, she noticed my love for photography in my blog posts during blog hopping and chose this wonderful gift for me. Well, her comments on my blog posts weighs more than any physical gifts and this book was a cherry on the cake. 

I can't thank you enough for this lovely gift, Jai (Beautiful Santa)! Hope we meet soon. And loads of love to S and you! :)

Wish you merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year in advance!


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

It's not any game, it is Cricket!

India vs England | Test Series, 2012 |  Eden Gardens | Kolkata (WB)


It's been a few days since I was thinking of a topic to write on and during the first test between India and England, I got one, when I interacted with some of my friends over twitter discussing our team's performance and strategies. Well, I am not a cricket expert but I can call myself a cricket enthusiast for sure. I like cricket a lot like every other Indian. Also, in the country where cricket is being treated as a religion; everyone holds a viewpoint about our team and players. I won't say it's wrong to hold an opinion about cricket and especially about players when they fail to deliver or perform as champions. But there is a huge difference in the way we react when our team win or lose. We often see that most of the public in India builds a negative image in their mind whenever our team's performance is bad and sometimes it really hurts when we hear unpleasant things about our players from hatemongers, who know nothing about cricket.Well, its a controversial and a debatable topic any day, if properly presented on any platform. Also, I will not dig much into this as my primary motive of writing this post is to talk about just cricket not about outsiders.


Let's start with the ongoing test series between India and England. The first test resulted in a draw and all the speculations which were being made before the series that the new England side is not that strong as it was in 2012; proved everyone wrong. After drawing the series against Bangladesh, England looked a shattered side who had a big series coming up against the no. 1 test team in the world. Also, the way Indian team was performing in their backyard from past 5-6 months, the signs were ominous for the mighty Englishmen. But every speculation made just before the series came to rest when England dominated in more than 10 sessions of the game. The stakes were high for both teams and somehow India saved the match on the last day. On the other hand, England missed the chance to bag a win in their account.Now, what happened with the no. 1 test team? or was it just that the England team outclassed us? Let's try to dig in and find out what went wrong.

1) In India, it's often a saying that toss plays a major role in deciding the winner of the game. And if you've have 3 genuine spinners in the side then it becomes even more important to bowl second. Well, nobody can predict the toss results, it's just a saying which sometimes falls in favor of the winning captain and sometimes not. But it does play a part in some or the other manner! And we witnessed that in first test match (3rd session- 5th day), when Indian batting line-up stumbled against the mediocre spin attack of England team. Only Kohli and Ashwin looked a bit settled on the 5th day track.And this actually revealed few things that playing spin in spinner friendly conditions requires patience and technique.The greats of Indian cricket were magnificent players of spin bowling and this new set of energetic individuals just need to polish this trait and become the best in the business.

2) We all know that Indian team is a very good fielding unit but somehow they dropped a lot of chances in the first innings itself that made things difficult for the bowlers. They were not difficult chances and some of them were even sitters. Also, it's a very well known fact that "catches win matches" and a team just can't afford to drop catches when the batsmen are of great calibre. The same happened when India dropped around 8-9 catches in the first innings and a few in the second innings. Indian team couldn't build pressure on the English team which resulted in a massive total in the first innings.

3) India hasn't seen a better bowler after Anil Kumble who can remove the tail cheaply. Bowling to tail-enders requires a completely different set of skills and in today's cricket, no country has the fire power in their bowling line-up to crack that. Fast bowlers have forgotten the art of bowling yorkers and conventional reverse swing and the spinners have now-a-days forgotten the art of bowling flighted deliveries to intimidate the tail-enders to make mistakes. The same sort of thing happened in first test match as well. Both teams couldn't manage to get the tail removed quickly and a lot of runs were scored by the lower order batsmen.

4) Opening partnership didn't click again,which raised a concern in the batting department for upcoming matches, as already Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul are both injured and Gautam Gambhir is not looking as solid as he used to be a few years back. Hopefully, Gambhir will put a better show in next game because we all know that he's a class player when he's on song.

5) Well, this is purely my personal view that this side relies a lot on 3-4 players, who have been doing magnificently well from past 1-2 years. Batting line-up is still delivering but there are very less instances which we can count when all the batsmen clicked together in a single game. Same goes with the bowling line-up, if we're playing in India then we rely a lot on our two mainline spinners. Whereas, outside it's more or less a single man who holds the key of the spin department i.e. Ashwin. The pacers are not fixed in the line-up except Shami, who has performed brilliantly in India and outside.Also, Bhuvi has performed equally well in foreign conditions. I believe the true test of Kohli's captaincy starts now from this series where he needs to build his team and make it a true champion side to fight against the bests in the world.

I have tried to cover all the aspects of the game (from my point of view) except pitches, because it's that area which can only be assessed better by the cricket experts or players.

I would love to know about your view for the ongoing test series between India and England. So, go ahead and drop a comment with your inputs.

Thanks for stopping by and reading the post! :)


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