7

An Era of SMART Lives #GetFitWithFlipkart #SmartHomeRevolution

An Era of Smart Lives


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

A century ago if somebody would have said that there would be huge iron birds flying over our skies and would be used as a mode of transport, I am sure he or she would have been stoned to death on the premise of going insane. But today that is a reality.

Technology is something that helps us dream, create and achieve what most of the people can’t even imagine. With the use of more and more artificial intelligence and the concept of ‘Internet of Things’, we are currently living in a ‘Smart’ world.

From devices to gadgets, phones to watches the advancements in technology haven’t spared anything and left its footprints everywhere. In fact these days, every year a smart product gets launched and takes the whole technological world by storm before slowly percolating into our daily lives.

Smart Wearable Watch – Source Flipkart

Last year it was the year of air purifiers, the year before that was of smartwatches, the year before that was of Smart Wearable health gadgets and the list goes on and on. With ‘internet of things’ gaining momentum the Smart Home with Smart Lights, Smart Electronic Devices, Smart Home Security with Smart Camera is also gathering pace.

Even the traditional legacy systems based realtors are very much aware of these trends and they are incorporating these smart features from the very beginning of the designing and construction phase.

I believe that people born in the late 80s like me should be called the transition generation. We witnessed both the extremes and acted as a bridge between both the generations. I have spent days where basic electricity was treated like a luxury living through 16-hour power cuts in a day. I clearly remember for years finishing my school homework in candlelight, in fact, we were so blessed that we had the privilege of having candlelight dinners on a daily basis. And all this was happening when we were living in cities imagine the plight of rural India.

Smart Home with Google Home – Source Flipkart

My first desktop had only 32 MB of RAM and 10 GB of ROM. Yeah, you read it right. Today my smartphone has more RAM than ROM of my first computer. That’s the real leap technology has taken. In fact, there is a stat, which suggests that technology becomes obsolete every 18 months and with continuous innovation of smart devices I believe this timeframe is getting even shorter year by year.

Remember the day, when the first mobile phone was of brick-sized, black in color with a long antenna attached to it and we had to shell out loads even for incoming calls. The current generation can’t even relate to those days whereas we have closely witnessed the real change that technology and smart devices have gone through.

After my father passed away and my sister and me staying away it was getting really difficult for us to keep an eye on the safety of mom and home. Today with Smart Home Security Devices it has brought us some deserved peace of mind. All it needs is an Internet connection and an application on my smartphone and I can keep a watch over the complete house while being anywhere in the world.

Smart Home Security Camera – Source Flipkart

People are becoming health conscious and these Smart Gadgets are surely helping in keeping a track of your daily activity. You can monitor your heart rate, BMI, numbers of steps walked, kilometers did and what not. Products like electronic cigarettes have their share of nicotine but are comparatively less harmful than the regular ones.

The flurry of smart devices and gadgets is coupling nicely with the modern urban frantic lifestyle. I recently saw a product for new parents known as ‘Baby monitor’. You can use it remotely listen to sounds made by an infant. Such products are really a blessing for working mothers and parents who have separate rooms for them.

The lines are constantly getting blurred among different categories of products with modification, minification, magnification, and innovation. One doesn’t need a separate phone, camera, and computer – all of these are clubbed in one smartphone with a million other features, which in all honesty we don’t even use.

There are a lot of areas that need attention and I am sure that slowly they will also be under the ‘Smart’ umbrella. Moving ahead a lot of focus should be on products for Smart Medical Devices, products for woman safety and education.

Smart Lights with Smart Home – Source Flipkart

Being a writer and a pet lover I wish there would be more products, which can assist us in writing and creating quality content. What a boon it would be if I could get to know what my dog is thinking or what it wants.

The future looks really bright and promising for the ‘Smart’ technologies but it has its ploys too. The mix should be perfectly balanced. A product should not be pushed down our throats just because they have invented it and it is smart in nature. Sometimes I feel that humans are getting dumber while the devices are getting smarter. Just Kidding. The basic premise that it is catering to some actual need and providing a solution to a real-world problem and in the process easing our lives should always remain of utmost importance and priority.

With 5G on our doorways along with artificial intelligence guiding our way into future and its perfect marriage to ‘Internet of Things’, we are embarking on a journey from Smart Devices to An Era of Smart Living.

#GetFitWithFlipkart and #SmartHomeRevolution

Smart Glasses – Source Flipkart

For all those who use smart devices,

For all the tech savvy people,

For all those who are in love with technology,

For all those who use Flipkart,

and

For all those who are ready for a Smarter future…

It’s not a goodbye,

but it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is for the Let’s #GetFitWithFlipkart & start a #SmartHomeRevolution contest by Flipkart in association with Indiblogger.

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11

The Shadow


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Each and every creature…each and every thing on this planet has one common thing. It is attached to every being but we consider it so insignificant that we hardly pay any heed to it. No matter how much one tries it is impossible to get rid of it. I am talking about our shadow.

I see the shadow in an all-different perspective. Remember the quote, “where there is a will there is a way”. Similarly, I have my own, “Where there is a shadow there is light and where there is light there is optimism”.

Without light, there can’t be any shadow and the only way possible to make it disappear is ‘darkness’.

I often wonder what if I get an opportunity to be someone else’s shadow and get to know him like no one else does. The moment you start thinking, there are many names that start popping up inside the head. But then again these names pop up because of the qualities that are already known to us about those people.

The greatest joy lies in unraveling those physiognomies and virtues which are unknown and hidden from everyone. The more I think about being the shadow of someone, the more I realize that the best person you can be a shadow of for a day is – YOU.

I only know ‘me’ from how I think about myself and what others have to say about me and how they perceive my actions and me. But that is again, all visible or known in the public domain. There is a lot, which goes without anyone noticing and realizing including me.

If I can be my shadow for a day, I will consider it as a blessing in disguise. That way, at least, I can make an attempt to know myself better, know my shortcomings and what part of my actions might not be pleasing or might be the reason of discomfort to others.

I will get a golden chance to understand my body language at a level like no one else can and then can work to rectify what might come across as wrong or offensive to others.

People do not want to change or like others to point out flaws in them but when it is your own shadow observing and judging, I believe a little bit fine tuning in one’s own self won’t do much harm and can actually work wonders for future.

For all those who are optimistic,

For all those who believe in change,

For all those who are thinking,

And

For all those who would like to be their own shadow…

It’s not a goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE…aur han A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU…Enjoyyyy.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

 

15

The State of Happiness

It was an early Sunday morning. Around 5 am he shook me out of my slumber. He signaled me to be extremely cautious and not make any noise. He hated waking up people but on Sundays, he would make an exception. I quietly picked up my cricket bat and bowl and went to the roof. I had to make sure that I don’t wake up my mom else our plan of morning cricket would not be executed. He was waiting there for me.

For fifteen years since my early childhood, my father and I would go and play cricket every Sunday morning. On days when we would be playing on the roof, we had to take care of the plants mom had planted. On those evenings she would find a branch or two cello-taped and we would be banned from playing on the roof. This ban would only last till the next Sunday and my father and I would be back to our mischievous best.

That is my earliest memory with my father. Playing cricket with him was pure bliss. It brought happiness and joy beyond words.

Happiness is like success. It is not a destination but the journey. It can last for a moment, an hour, a day or a lifetime. It depends a lot on internal as well as external factors. It is a state of mind.

Happiness brings a smile but a smile is not necessary for me to be happy. I can be silent…observing a picturesque view…and be completely happy without smiling. And I can be all smiling and laughing out loud without being happy.

Happiness comes from within and depends from person to person. A person can have all the wealth and pleasure of the world and he might still be unhappy while, on the other hand, a person earning just daily wage…sleeping on a footpath be content and happy. People befriend adversity and somehow find happiness in that also.

A monk is happy when he finds peace through meditation while an entertainer finds happiness by witnessing how happy his audience is.

For me;

Happiness was playing cricket with him – when he would be my partner at the other end or I would be facing him.

Happiness was sleeping was on his chest and talking to him for unlimited hours sitting on his shoulders.

Happiness was asking him irrelevant innumerous ‘whys’ and he patiently responding to each and every one of them.

Happiness is finding sleep in mom’s lap and love in her food.

Happiness is teasing your sister and pulling out pranks on her and then spending the rest of the days pleading her not to complain to mom.

Happiness is having a meal together with all the family.

Happiness is the tea, pakode (snacks) and the petrichor of first rain.

Happiness is facing the red cherry opening the batting.

Happiness is bowling leg spin and getting the batsmen bowled behind his legs.

Happiness is holding her hand when you are down and out, knowing that there is someone in the entire world who will never turn her back on you when the entire world will actually face the other way.

Happiness is going for a long bike ride in the mountains.

Happiness is playing with kids and letting them win.

Happiness is taking a long walk in a downpour and getting completely drenched.

Happiness is cracking jokes in a group of friends and being a reason for their smiles.

Happiness is traveling to places, meeting new people, learning about their cultures, eating their food, speaking their language and experiencing their lives.

Happiness is dancing to any tune and making others dance with you too.

Happiness is acting in a theatre play and seeing your parents with tears in the audience.

Happiness is the delight of putting my thoughts into words and seeing it reach to the readers.

I believe these days everybody is so caught up in the paraphernalia surrounding them, that they have actually forgotten how to smile…how to be happy. We are just living a dead life. It is like pressing the play button at 28 and stopping it at 60 without realizing to live the moments.

I took the part of being the Joker to bring some smiles and happiness to people and their lives whenever and wherever possible. Humor is the medicine which can save lives out of grimmest of situations. I have seen biggest conflicts getting resolved when both the parties broke into laughter at the same time.

Smile often, people…Laugh genuinely…be aware of every moment. Let happiness come to you rather than you pursuing it. And you will surely find your peace.

For all those are in the pursuit of happiness,

For all those who believe in positivity,

For all those love to smile

And

For all those who are genuinely happy…

It’s not a goodbye…

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

12

Through the Mist – Book Review


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Cover Page

Through the Mist – Book Review

Book: Through the Mist

Author: Sona Grover, Abirami,

Adhithya, Nimitha & Rupali

Reviewed By: Manas Mukul

Publisher: Jimpify Publishing (29 Aug 2017)

Price: Rs 99

Pages: 92 (pdf)

Language: English

My rating: 3/5

One picture – Five Authors – Five stories – One Book. This in itself is an interesting premise for anyone to enlist ‘Through The Mist’ in his or her reading list.

About four years back I took part in a collaborative effort to come up with content worthy of publishing. Collaborative writing can sometimes turn out to be very tricky. It can be less writing ‘effort’ but it can surely be more ‘headaches’. When too many heads collide taking a story in a definite direction then sometimes the story takes the back seat and ego begins to power the engine. Anyway, let’s not digress.

Sona Grover, one of the five authors of the book, to do a review for them, approached me. My bargain was; an honest review in exchange for a free copy.

I found the overall premise very intriguing. A picture, which is also the cover page, was shared with the authors and each was expected to start with their version of the story keep the picture as the pivotal point.

Usually when authors collaborate the book turns out to be an anthology but what makes ‘Through the Mist’ interestingly unique is that each author will share their unfinished draft with other authors in a sequential manner and after all the authors have written on every story then only it will be considered complete. So that means each author will contribute to every story.

It is like a relay race of writers. You don’t know how the next is going to imagine and write or how good the outcome would be; all you could manage is your own leg.

The Motivation

The team:

Jithin, who provided the inspiration for the book. He blogs at www.trablogger.com

Abirami, the teenager who’s obsessed with writing and blogs at www.theobsessivewriter.com

Adhithya, the youngest teenager of the team who blogs at www.wordstuggedatheartstrings.wordpress.com

Nimitha, the writer who finds time to write between her busy work schedule. She blogs at www.nimzrevealed.wordpress.com 

Rupali, the teenager studying maths and writing poems at www.literatureismyporn.wordpress.com

Sona, an avid reader and the resource person to lend any help. She blogs at www.sonaonline.wordpress.com

Aadhira, the in-house editor who pushed everyone to write this book, blogs at www.aadhira.me

The five stories are:

‘A Middle Class‘ story brings us Pari, the independent, headstrong girl whose parents want her to marry and settle down. Love has other views and comes unexpectedly through Rehan. In this comedy of errors, blunders pile on and the protagonists head a laugh riot.

In ‘A strange Life‘, Aarya, bored with her profession and disappointed with her personal life, finds an unexpected adventure that is a little too much for her to comprehend. Can she manifest the life she has wanted to have, by reclaiming her power?

Aakash cannot forget Anavya, the love of his life. His longing turns him into a poet and he hopes and waits for her, years later. ‘Languish in Love‘ is a delicate story that explores love, longing, pain.

‘The Lone Man‘ is hard-hitting. All John wants is to forget his wife Sarah’s death and get on with his life. But his nightmares and visions would not let go of him.

‘Turn of the Tides‘ is set at sea and the men who have lived with the sea and loved her are the ones who fear her now. Can they conquer their dread and have the sea lose her power over them?

PROS:

What surely works for the book is the diversity that each of writer brings to the table. With their experiences and thought processes that vary from a teenager to a mom, it definitely adds on to the flavor. The love of writing is what makes this a ‘team’ irrespective of the difference in their culture, language, preferences, age groups and perspectives.

The standout thing in the book is that each story is completely different from each other and do not belong to a single genre. That is very refreshing, as it doesn’t overdo a single theme or genre.

One thing which I would like to highlight since each story exchanged hands five times that there was consistency in the storyline and the theme in all five stories. It is a swift read with only 92 pages.

CONS:

The role of an editor in such a collaborative effort becomes crucial and critical. I felt that the authors were let down by average editing, judging by how the stories were stitched.

The other thing, which I believe, could have been a bit better is the vocabulary. There are far too many grammatical errors. So the onus lies with each author as well as the editor. I can understand the flow of the stories not being smooth because of the format but still, that’s no excuse for the grammatical errors.

How it came about:

My favorite story:

The last story how it personifies the sea. I like it for its poetic and metrical tone and how expressively it gives ‘Sea’ a voice.

The pros definitely outweigh the cons in ‘Through the mist’. It’s definitely worth a read once. I give two and half stars for the stories and another half a star for the concept. It’s 3 out of 5 for the unique collaboration i.e. ‘Through the Mist’.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Grab a copy here: Amazon

19

Let’s Walk


Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

 

Take 1:

Come my dear let’s walk
Let’s walk together to forever
I know you fear but let’s walk
Let’s walk and defeat it together.

We might never be ready
Or we are ready now
Let’s tie our will together
And let’s walk to see it goes how

My mind is wide open
To see all the possibilities
I am yours and you are mine
Let’s walk together to the end of time

Take 2:

From far across it was coming back
The memory of a broken past
In fear, I hide and stay
Waiting for this storm to pass

They tell me to face it now
That I will never be ready otherwise
But how do I be brave
What amount of courage will suffice

How do I save what’s damaged
How do I mend a broken tie
How do I live life with hope
When within all wants to die

My will is shattered my faith all gone
All I see is an endless night
Bring me some star bring me some sun
Don’t wake me up if there is no light

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

So which ‘take’ you liked the most 🙂

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

21

What if there was NO Religion


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The definition of ‘Dharma’ or ‘Dhamma’ when this word came into existence was related to the true virtue or the duty of a thing or a person. For example, the dharma of fire is to burn irrespective of what it is on the other hand. The fire never distinguishes what is good or bad, right or wrong, it just does its job of consuming everything that comes in its way and turns it into ashes.

Over the period of centuries and generations, the words have lost their real meaning. On many occasions, they have been consciously made ambiguous and on other, the lack of understanding of its origin and usage has lead to this unawareness.

During this transition, the propagators have successfully managed to delusion dharma into a synonym for ‘Religion’.

The moment we hear the word dharma the mind triggers in recalling the faith that either we are born into or we follow and practice.

The Early man started with worshiping nature, the sun, and the moon because of its fear or simply it was too complex for his naïve brain to understand. It all started with the unknown and the curiosity to conquer it. What was left unexplained was termed as GOD.

Millenniums passed and humans started to become civilized and molds of societies were beginning to form. Each community and tribe came up with their own story about the origin of God.

People with the same faith, same virtues, same beliefs, and same behavioral patterns collectively would form a religion.

I believe that in the beginning there was just one religion. Then there would have been someone who would have challenged the existing establishment, who would not have surmised in the existing belief system giving rise to the second belief system and with his set of followers would have set out on his journey.

Let me remind you, nowhere it is documented or mentioned that any God said that he is God. No Ram, No Prophet, No Jesus, No Buddha, No Guru Nanak said that they were God. It is always the followers who kept on promulgating the so-called learning.

Slowly the world was full of religions and even more followers.

What if there was no religion? – think think.

Each of them preached only one thing – that there is only one God with the objective of spreading love, peace, and harmony and in the process connecting a mere ordinary soul to the almighty.

Have the religions served their purpose? I don’t think so. I consider religion is a very personal thing and one is free to practice the faith they believe in. But the recent history is marked with instances of violence in the name of religion. From genocides to war, from invasion to wiping off humanity – the name of religion has been used to carry out atrocities and the only thing it is spreading is hate and venom.

People are beginning to hate their neighbors with whom they have spent their childhood just because of the faith they believe in. In numerous instances, religion is the root cause of discrimination. Year after year the men in power exploit the belief and faith of so many and the sad thing is year after year people get exploited because somehow they are convinced that it is the supreme thing and there is nothing beyond it.

Our nation was partitioned because of the underlying hate for the other religion, which the foreigners were able to exploit. We always blame others for their policy of ‘divide and rule’ forgetting that they took advantage of the cracks that were already present.

Countless people including children have been sacrificed on the pretext of illogical rituals. I wonder what would they call Raja Ram Mohan Roy if he had been alive to witness the psychosis surrounding religious sentiments. Animals, till date, meet the same fate on the name of religion and festivals.

Somehow these so-called modern day messengers of God have successfully instilled the fear, even in the literate and educated class, that their religion is endangered. The symbolization of a majority and minority wouldn’t have taken place on the lines of religious beliefs.

The most beautiful valleys and rivers; have turned red just in the quest of proving the supremacy of one particular faith over the other. Nothing has been spared…No one has escaped.

There wouldn’t be any reservation system if there were no religion. There would be lesser conflicts. I am telling from my personal experience that I have seen many people never utilizing their full potential just because they were busy in the rituals of religion whereas their own life and family was in tatters.

Rather than feeding the poor, the longest queue of these deprived and underprivileged class is outside the religious structures. Isn’t it ironical?

The WOW Prompt

Everybody is in an insane race to prove that their religion is superior and rest all are mere illusions. But when every religion preaches the same thing – that there is only ‘One God’ then automatically it should be complemented with only one religion or better…No religion.

For all those who believe in God,

For all those who are averse to the concept,

For all those who think a lot of hate is linked to religion

For all those who believe in religion

And

For all those who believe Dharma and Karma…

It’s not a Goodbye,

But it’s a GOOD BYE.

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

Note – I respect all religions 🙂

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

18

Some might say that it’s wrong

 


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It was the last day before the summer vacations of the kids were about to start. All the ladies in the WhatsApp group – ‘Class of 2003’ were busy gossiping about how they have convinced their husbands to pick up their kids from the school.

Nothing is as refreshing as seeing your father at the end of a long hot summer afternoon at school come to receive you.

They all lined up outside the main gate, waiting for the final bell to go off. Most of them were coming straight from work in their formals while some belonging to the self-employed class had the privilege of being in casuals. But there was one, who was dressed up like a cool dude. He had come on his Royal Enfield Bullet. The aura around him suggested that this guy doesn’t have an iota of a worry. He too was their batchmate but looked way too younger and was in great physical shape. He was so good looking that some of their wives even teased them by mentioning his name at odd hours.

The moment the other men saw, the humming of bees started among them. Each and every one was jealous of him. It was as if the roles had reversed and now they were discussing (read cribbing) more like their wives. The reason being he was still unmarried.

The WOW prompt

Some might say that it’s wrong to remain unmarried but I really envy him for the fact that how can someone have so much freedom and fun. Slowly each of them started pouring their heart out:

You get to sleep on any side of the bed…in fact, the whole damn bed is yours. No fight for the pillow…no tug-of-war for the blanket at night. No changing of diapers at 2 am.

These so-called ‘parents’ and ‘elders’ are never satisfied with whatever you do. They were after my life first to get married. After I got married they were after me for giving them a grandchild. Now once I fulfilled their wish they are chasing me to give the child a sibling.

First, they say you are doing all this for the family but where is the time for the family. From 8 am to 11 pm I am slogging in the office earning for the EMIs that are reducing us bit by bit. If it weren’t for wife’s Facebook posts I would have even missed the growth of my kids.

Some relatives suggested get married to a small town girl; she will be a good housewife. Now she has become a great housewife along with three maids doing the better half of her duties.

He still gets to play cricket on weekends while we spend most of ours in the queues of supermarkets. He is partying on Friday nights while we are busy helping out with home works.

He gets to take out his bike, do solo trips and explore the mountains while we end up spending the holidays just planning where to go. Most of us spend more time doing to and fro outside the movie theatre than actually watching the movie.

In fact, to his credit, he did give a Russian girl a real chance but the family went crazy the moment he brought her home. His life is so perfect as he can choose to go out with different girls on different nights and his eyes became moist (The one who was saying this). Everyone went quiet reflecting on their miserable lives.

The bell rang…kids came out running…each outpacing the other in the desire to hug their father.

The dude overheard everything. He turned towards the men and said; “You know what I miss the most, my bundle of joy running towards me like this as if I mean the world to him.”

For all those who are still unmarried,

For all those who are single,

For all those who are married

And

For all those who love their kids

It’s not a Goodbye

but it’s a GOOD BYE

Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’