My Techie “Baby Mausi”

Aunty Acid

Technology has touched our lives in every possible ways. It has reached to a point that it is much easier to chat online than talk to a person. It’s like a group of friends deciding to meet in a café. When they meet, they are busy taking selfies, Welfies and posting them online. Tagging each other and discussing who commented on whose pictures, and what are the latest trends/news on the Social platforms. Think about it, can we really avoid Social Media related topics during a conversation with friends? It is now intertwined into our lives. Infact people are compelled to take actions in real life to feed their online life.

In such advance world, elders feel neglected and left out. We moved and settled in far off cities. And tend to visit home during big festivals. Not enough time to meet the extended family. While life is happening on one end, we don’t realise that elders are being cut off. Even if we call them occassionally but it take years to see them in flesh.

In this situation, I must say I am very proud of my eldest Maasi. I wasn’t in touch with her for over 10-15years. Occasionally we may talk but the conversation used to be brief. There was lot going on in our lives.

One fine day, we got connected over WhatsApp. We started chatting and hit it off as if those 10-15 years vanished in few seconds. Of course, there is a lot to catch up but this was a good starting point.

What amazed me even more was when she was trying her hand on Facebook! As a Facebook user, we may feel that it is no big deal. But this brought me to the year 2006 when I was trying to make a profile on Facebook for the first time. The platform was asking basic but never-ending questions. Many times I was confused on where to click, what to do? And here I am talking about 70year old lady who was never exposed to internet before. She not only learnt to deal with internet but she created her profile on networking sites. My amazement doesn’t end here,she also created a cool family group that has about 30 members. She is a shining star among technology retards. Now, in my mind, there is no excuse to learn the new and upcoming technology. The only explanation for not catching up on technology is not being aware of the surrounding or just being lazy.

She may have achieved a little in her own world. But this is a huge inspiration for all the youngsters out there. Learning is for life. That is how you are connected
and stay alive.

By the way, my mother is almost 12-15 years younger but she learnt and picked up Social Media long ago. I wasn’t that amazed because I was pushing her to learn. Learning Social Media and internet was not an option but necessity. It was a MUST so that she can interact with me regularly. You do have a higher expectation from your MOTHER!

If you have similar story like this, where technology has touched women’s lives and empowering them, please do share.

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Trip To Phuket & Kids – Friendly Resorts!

My writing juices started flowing again and here’s my next post after a long hiatus. I was missing ‘writing’. There were so many things happening around but it was just too difficult to put everything aside and write. In between, I had my first trip to the US. That was interesting. I am going to write more in my next post.

Today, I want to talk about the most recent trip – Phuket in Thailand. This was my third visit to the city. The last two visits were also through company trip. It is only 1.5 hours from Singapore so it is much cheaper for companies to organize events in Thailand. For two trips, I stayed in Westin Siray Bay and once I stayed at JW Marriot. Both of them had their own pros n Cons. But I would prefer JW than Westin.

This time was special. I clubbed my family vacation with the office event. Office event ended by Thursday noon last week and vacation started. We chose a different hotel for 3 days 2 nights tour. Westin was good but it wasn’t a kids friendly hotel. It is still targeted to business and the executive crowd. The rooms are big with a beautiful view to the sea. It is calm and serene. The thing I didn’t like about hotel is that it is on a hill. People like to walk, I don’t. So everytime, I stepped out, I had to call buggy (small club car).

We moved to Novotel Resorts and Hotel. This was my first stay in Accor Group of Hotels. I am a Starwood Member(Marriot now) and I earn points as we stay but then the points were not enough to choose a hotel of our choice. So, this time we had an opportunity to choose a different group. We decided to choose Family & Kids resort and after much research, we zeroed down to Novotel. Novotel was almost 15kms from Westin which was towards the east most part of Phuket. We booked Grab for all our travels. There was a discount coupon active “Island200” and we made full use of that. Grab was so much cheaper compared to other transport options. By the time, we reached the hotel it was already 3 pm and kids were tired. We decided to explore the activities in hotel before we plan next day. I was surely amazed to see the facilities the resort had for kids.

There was a small Cinema room, that had couches for kids. Kids can watch movies anytime with free flow of pop corns and drinks. Parents can join them too. The water pool was very long and it had big water slides. Both my kids enjoyed the pool. I must say, the pool wasn’t as clean as we have in Singapore. But then the comparison was not fair. Another exciting fun area was ‘Kids world’. When we entered that area, it was like heaven for kids. There were books to read, abacus, puzzles, building blocks, ball pool and many more games. In fact, there was a game room and young children were playing Video Games. The hotel organizes different classes on every day. Painting class, Art & Craft, Music classes, Story telling and what not. The best part was, it was all complimentary. They had way too many things for us to cover in one day. We had already stayed at the resort for one full day. There were many food choices within the hotel so we didn’t need to go out to eat.

We decided to visit Patong beach as it is one of the popular destinations of Phuket. There was a free shuttle at different times from the hotel. We took 3 pm bus and reached there at about 3:40 pm. We had already identified an Indian eating place close to the drop off point. Without the internet, it was difficult to locate the restaurant but after checking with few people, we did manage to find the place. We had our food and started loitering around the same place. In Patong beach, there is a huge flea market but then you have to be cafeful about bargaining in the shops. If you do intend to buy something, bring down the price at least 4 times.

We finally ended up at Patong beach. This beach had some water sports, more than Surin beach which was closer from our resort. I heard from few friends, there used to be a big imitation market. Imitation stuff of any big brands was easily available but now they have made it more strict. We were on the beach around 5:30 pm, just at the time of sunset. We got some good clicks with beautiful sun set in the background.

Other attractions in Phuket are Fantsea land, Phi Phi islands, island hopping, massages etc.

If you are visiting Phuket with your family, I would highly recommend Novotel as we had an amazing experience. In case you are not particular about Kids friendly then you should be staying near Patong because that’s where all action is.

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“Vatan Se” Restaurant Review!


Generally, I don’t like to write reviews on my blog unless I really liked it or detested it strongly. Therefore, the reviews that you will find here are direct from the heart (just like my blog). Since last month, we have decided to try new restaurants every week. The reason behind the decision was that the girls are forced to try new dishes. When it is dinner time, and hungry, they have no choice but to eat what is in front of them.

It has been an exciting experience so far. We have only tried Indian restaurants near our area(east coast park). And there are quite a few close by because of the huge Indian population.

As part of this ritual, today we visited a restaurant called Vatan Se. There is a newly opened branch at 368 Tanjong Katong Road. We had heard about the place but because it was closer to the house, it was given the last priority. Though Vatan se has few chain of restaurants in the city, catering parties/gatherings, and marinated bbq are their main business.

This was my first visit to the restaurant. So, I wasn’t sure if the décor was consistent in all the branches. The ambiance was warm and attractive. There was Bollywood music playing in the background. I can assure you that there are only a few restaurants where you will find such a thoughtful décor. The furniture and upholstery were tastefully chosen. The food was served in the biodegradable material (Pattal) and other utensils were copper plated steel glasses/cutlery. One can sense the personal touch given to the restaurant.

The hosts were again warm and comforting. We are not sure if it was because of Sunday or their son’s birthday party, but we managed to meet the owners of the restaurant. During a brief chat on the opening of the new branch, he mentioned that as part of their commitment to providing an unforgettable dining experience, he started a new scheme of offering 10% on the food bill. Only if you surrender your gadgets before ordering the meal. I was totally impressed. How many would risk the idea of getting more check-ins and likes on Facebook that people sometimes post when they are dining in a restaurant?! He also mentioned about food quality and how he chose to keep it simple and home cooked. There are no additional color or preservatives that other restaurants like to add in order to make it more attractive and delicious.

To be honest, we were little overwhelmed after the chat and our expectations were higher. We ordered Paneer makhani, butter naans and Vegetable fried rice. There was papad and green chutney in the beginning. Not to mention, they did meet our expectation. The color of food was indeed little different. And paneer was literally melting in the mouth. The food had a very authentic north Indian taste. One would actually make a difference between makhni you eat at Vatan Se and the ones you try in other places. Vegetable Fried rice also tasted good. The Butter naans were hot and butter was dripping from naan, just like how my husband likes it! Interestingly my daughters enjoyed the food too.

I heard that their Kebabs are popular too. I am planning to try them on our next visit. They also have weekend brunch $10++(per pax) with a different menu every week. And if you register on their website, they will inform you every weekend.

In terms of pricing, this restaurant is little on the higher end. The portion of food that you get for the price you pay leaves you little dissatisfied. But the taste and ambiance makes it all worth it.

If you are looking for a healthy, authentic home cooked North Indian meal, I would recommend this place.

In case you are visiting the restaurants after reading this blog, please let them know VatanSe005. They may end up offering you 5% off. They are generous and genuine people.

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Technology is kicking everybody’s ass!

The reason why I write these posts is because I like to share my learning on life, thoughts, and ideas about events that happen around me. The idea is to make the topics more relatable. Therefore, you will find my writing style is more like an open diary.

Today’s topic is about the news that I have been hearing around the perils of technology. The pace with which things are changing is scary. The only way to avoid this fear is to be aware of the changes.

Perils of technology
Recently I came across a video on Facebook that gave me a little nudge of what is coming in future. The video was of a design company that got rid of desktops and laptops. It is completely paperless. All the employees have VR glasses and they all were working in Virtual reality. It looked funny because from outside, it felt like they are touching air or something invisible. That video was supposed to be cool but to be honest I detested it. In those few seconds, I imagined myself in that work environment and a big “NO” screamed from somewhere within.

News of Robots coming in and taking over our jobs is as bad as a country going on a war. Why do I say this? You will know. There are arguments for both sides – a society with or without Robot. But no body can change the fact that this is going to reduce the number of jobs in the market. There ain’t any real jobs created in last decade and existing ones are disappearing. Due to the growth of shared economy, there is some job creation but they are not real jobs. People work part-time and stress out because of the nature of the work and income.

All this situation is going to impact the society immensely. Therefore, I compare the destruction to that of a war. In fact, the society is already changing. Recently, a survey showed that 80% of the people are unhappy with Uber/Grab cab services but only 4% stopped using them. That means we are pushing people towards unhappiness but they are still sticking around because of the convenience. The pursuit of convenience has crippled human minds.

With the growth of Social Media and mobile, human interaction has dropped significantly. In fact teens, these days, don’t know how and what to talk to people. Most of them are glued to small/large screens. Technology is impeding their mental and physical growth. So, we are bringing smarter robots to do mundane work but then, our kids are growing up with all these problems. Hollywood’s imagination of Robots taking over earth seems to become true.

We all speak about perils of technology but nothing gets done. Recently read a news about a technical glitch in a bank. That minor error in the software was about to bring down a big bank’s business in America. One of the employees mistakenly ran a job (shutting down the whole system) and in about 4 hours, customers started calling the bank that they can’t access their accounts and their cards were declined. It took few hours for the bank to figure out what exactly happened. And after the issue was fixed, it took another few hours to bring the business as usual. This is a great example of how things would be in future. The computer programs would be inter-dependent. Less human interaction means heavy reliance on technology. And any such errors can cost a lot.

Another one – In South Korea, one can control home appliances from outside. So, while you are traveling back home, just switch on the aircon, microwave the food, open the windows etc. But imagine for some reason, the app stops working or behave erratically, what can be done?

The underlying assumption of pushing technology to greater heights is that everything would be managed efficiently without dealing with human errors. But my question is – How can one be so sure that technology would be flawless?

With those thoughts, I will leave you to enjoy the weekend. Just remember , don’t spend too much time on screen and encourage more human interaction.

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I am liberated!

I missed you all as much as you missed my posts. The reason I couldn’t post all these weeks was that my parents were in town. And when they are around, I am a different person. From wife and mother, I suddenly turn into a daughter. An obedient one! Other than parents, work, and daughters kept me busy. But midst all of this, I enjoyed last few weeks thoroughly.

Liberated
Google Image : Liberation

Today’s post is about a realisation I had of late. During the last few weeks, I realized that I am liberated from the burden of keeping certain people happy. Whether they are neighbors, relatives, close family members or ex-colleagues. All these years, I was trying to fit in somewhere. Moving within the country and then moving out of the country, gave me an opportunity to mingle with people of other states and non-Indians. But it also influenced my perception of people back at home state.

When I moved to Delhi for study and work that’s the first time when I faced something called “discrimination”. The worse was that I didn’t even know it was discrimination. My college mates and later my colleagues ridiculed about my home state and I kept mum most of the times. It was as if I was giving them a silent approval of what they were saying. I kept quiet, partly because of the lack of knowledge I had about my state. I failed to let people know that Budha had chosen the land (Gaya) in my state to enlighten humankind. I didn’t let people know that Bihari food is one of the tastiest food we have in our country And I failed to let people know that unlike other developed states, girls are treated much better in Bihar, Jharkhand, Bengal, and Orissa. When a daughter is born in Bihar, she is not looked at, as a burden or disgrace to the family. At least not in the middle class. I am so proud of the family and state I was born in. Because I was treated with love and care. And was given all possible opportunities to realize my potential. Most of my batchmates from school are doing extremely well wherever they are and they may vouch for my growing up experience. Like mentioned before, the first time, I felt discrimination against women was when I moved to Delhi. But by then, my foundations were already strong and I was not ready to budge.

I lived in Delhi for 7 years and it brought me the sophistication required to climb up the ladder in a civilized society. I learnt that you can’t be upfront to people. You have to sugarcoat it before it comes out of the mouth. Money is everything. Think of money first and then about people. Lies are part of the day-to-day. You can’t get ahead without cheating other people. You have to push other people down in order to get ahead. I am not saying that people in my hometown state are saints. Probably some of the biggest scams have happened in my state but the qualities that I stated above were not part of my growing up years. People in my neighborhood helped each other, girls were safe, people were happy. I never felt the dissatisfaction of not having enough. Having said all of that, the polish that I got in Delhi helped me grow further. I met people from all walks of life. Delhi rile you in a way that it prepares you for any other challenges in the world. Still, Delhi is like second home and my first love.

I moved to a different country to study and work. I enjoy my life in Singapore. It’s safe place, embrace foreigners, people are awesome and Singapore laws keep you in check. All great. But then you meet with your countrymen in a foreign land. Before mingling and supporting each other, they have to ensure you are from their regions. Are you from North India or South? Are you Hindi speaking or not? What was your parents’ profession? How did you get here etc etc.? the questions never end unless they know your entire Kundli (Horoscope). If I have met you for the first time, I don’t need to know your economic and social status. I am not looking to build long term relationships.

Things haven’t changed for me in last ten years. When I meet with Indians, I still get same questions. And I wonder why, why do we ask such questions?!

I don’t care anymore. I feel liberated of the burden of somebody else. I can be myself and be proud of my achievements. I can use this position to help downtrodden. It doesn’t bother me what people think of me. If I have managed to make true friends in all these years, they will accept me as I am. I don’t need to change for anyone, to be with anyone. I don’t need to explain to anyone. Because people who care for you, don’t need explanations, and those who need explanation are not worth it.

So, thank you all, I am liberated!

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Mother's Day
Google’s Image : Happy Mother’s Day

It’s been fantastic to celebrate Mother’s day every year. Especially when you are a mother and the family treats you special (at least) for a day. This day is special to all mothers. Though, I don’t remember celebrating it as a child. Such things didn’t exist back then. What was so great about being a mother?! Everyone had a mother and they all did the same stuff? There were hardly enough reasons to celebrate. To be honest, it feels bit awkward to wish my mother on this day. It wasn’t a thing while I was growing up. I wonder why Hindutva group didn’t make a fuss about “mother’s day”, like how they do for “Valentine’s day”? Anyways,  that’s a different convo altogether.

I did wish her. She shyly replied, “Thank You”. Her words left me teary. I wanted to say much more and thank her for the wonderful life, I am living. Thank both parents for all the efforts they put in to give us a better life. Remembering it all in one day is not enough. One has to be ‘grateful’ every single day. Somebody has rightly said, “Mother is the messenger of god because he can’t be everywhere”.

Let’s talk about remembering it. On the day itself, people post wonderful messages on Social Media about how much they appreciate their mothers. But should we really restrict ourselves to posting messages just on one day? Instead, should we not call them every day to check on them (if you are staying away from your parents)? One call won’t cost much but it may be the world to your parents who remember and worry about you every single day.

Coming back to my being a ‘mother’. My kids are still young to understand this day. It took me 30 years and 2 kids to understand what a mother means? Earlier she was just a mother. But now every time my kids throw tantrums, don’t eat, cry endlessly and do everything that I don’t like them to do, I remember her (my mother) and recall every nasty thing I did to her. I was not an easy child for sure. Your child is a reflection of you. Trust me it’s like nature’s cycle of karma. If I could change one thing in past then that would be, being grateful to my mother for everything she did. She had a career on top of taking care of us. I had an amazing childhood even though my parents had to go through immense struggles and I saw them conquering each one of them. They were much stronger than I am today. Hats off to them really!

Being a new mother, you tend to be excited about ‘Mother’s day’. I ended up sending Mother’s day message to all my friends who are wonderful mothers. I wanted to take this opportunity to connect with people who I have not been in touch with for numbers of reasons. It’s a terrific way to check on each other. Everyone is busy in their lives. Though we are always connected through technology, I feel we are more disconnected now. The worse is that people have time to send forwarded messages on WhatsApp but their fingers pain to type a personalized message. How could you reply a personal message with a forwarded one?! Someone is taking an effort to write to you, at least have that respect and respond to them wholeheartedly. Just because you can, you shouldn’t reply immediately. Take your time to think through and then respond. I guess many people are missing handheld etiquettes. Probably we are unable to catch up with the advancement of technology and produce enough handheld literates. So, next time if someone is messaging you, please take note of following things:

1) Read but don’t reply immediately

2) Think through and then reply when you have time.

3) If the message is urgent and you can’t pick up, let them know briefly you will get back.

4) Don’t reply forwarded message to a personal one.

5) Don’t intrude into someone’s space by sending too many forwarded messages.

6) And please for god sake’s, if someone wishes you, please don’t just end at “same to you”

There may be another side to this, which I can’t see so help me see that by commenting below. Happy to hear your thoughts.

Don’t try to fit in!

Guys, I have to apologize for being away for so long. I joined back my full -time job. It is taking a bit of time to settle down. Even though I was not writing, words were murmuring into my ears. I was very tempted to go back to writing. Without getting into the further details of the reasons for being away, let’s dive into today’s topic.

Dont fit in.PNG

We moved into the new house earlier this year and now I moved into a new job. Over the years, there were several changes in our life. Because of those changes, I strongly feel about this topic. Never try to fit in. Whether it’s personal or professional life, don’t compromise. Really! If you feel that the universe is not in tandem with your deep inner- feelings then you know something is not right. Instead of suppressing those feelings, take action! Think how and what can you change to bring back that positive momentum.

Last few months, I have been talking to many companies. And while you are talking to interviewers, it is not difficult to guesstimate whether you like the people and culture. Even if you had the best of the interviews, even if the role is closer to your dream role and even if you are getting a dream package, at the end of the day what matters is happiness and contentment. Your office impacts your everyday life. Office colleagues are part of daily routine. So, if you force yourself then you may be fundamentally misaligned for a long time. For some, it leaves a lasting impact and changes them as a person. The first three months is the best time to understand this. At the end of the work day, you should feel happy and hopeful. And if you are not, trust me, take a plunge, find something you love. I can guarantee that people have survived even after quitting their dream company.

Similarly, in personal life, you meet endless people every day. With some, you connect, with some you don’t. And there may be chances that you are not connecting with 80% of the people and that is ‘absolutely’ fine. Most of the people don’t care about you, they care about themselves. So, in case you are successful in life or doing well, there are high chances that people will despise you. You may be surrounded by sycophants who don’t truly appreciates your success. Just hanging around for their own selfish motives. If ever you feel in life that people are just against you or you put off a lot of people, you should take it positively. People are jealous and can’t stand your success. That should be a success milestone. Successful people are generally lonely. They should make a little extra effort to go out and make friends. But make sure you don’t force yourself. That will only lower down self-esteem and that is not good for your emotional health.

I will get back to you with more topics like this soon. If you like this point, don’t forget to like, share and comment.