Bottle-Green Plans

Bottle Green Diary
*Picture from http://www.amazon.com

I had a bottle-green diary in school. The first few pages had the national anthem, the school anthem, and good thoughts to see us through the day. As the school term progressed, the subsequent pages would fill up with time-tables, exam date-sheets and assignments. Mom and I would highlight key portions in fluorescent colours, and make mnemonics and symbols in the margins. The bottle-green diary is now all full. Of writing…of memories. Though good old paper and pen can never cease being endearing, let me tell you how my Dell Venue is pretty neat when it comes to planning my day. Even though it’s black.

The Corporate Fallback: I hate being an e-mail addict. But I also hate unread mails in my inbox. Especially if they come up in monotonous meetings where you’re lost in the beauty of a rain-washed Delhi…until you’re called. On my way to work, I make it a point to read/reply to work e-mails and mentally divide my time as per the day’s calendar. It saves me precious minutes at work – minutes I can then utilize to ensure I leave on time. Moreover, a second screen is a great help on server/system down days to ensure technology doesn’t interfere with my err, work-life balance.

The Tour Guide: There are days when public transport fails me. Or gets to my nerves. Especially in the light of how I am a lost soul in Gurgaon, the tablet’s location and navigation guide is a Godsend. No longer can I be fooled by cries of “Madam, take my auto!” or need to look miserable at road dead-ends.

The Social Consultant: I continue to get skeptical glances about being a Delhi-ite for 1. Some people assume all Bengalis are born in West Bengal and 2. I am bad with “social hangouts” in the capital. I needn’t worry anymore for lo and behold, applications on my Dell Venue are my new consultants. I can suggest a nearby restaurant for a surprise lunch with a friend, checkout what movies are playing in the nearest theatre, book flight tickets for an urgent trip out, and even video-chat with a friend I haven’t caught up with in ages. All without the risk of running out of space and memory on a teeny-weeny phone and giving myself the peace of mind that comes with being clutter-free.

The De-stresser: After a long day with a variety of demons, I appreciate a quiet evening, with a lilting tune and friendly weather. While the latter is never in my control, the tablet ensures I never run out of music, movies and books. Even when on the go to a boring social do I am dragged into. And no, I hardly mind glances that scream “why come to a party when your nose is deep into a screen.” It’s better than having my nose into things that interest me not, I say.

Come to think of it, the Dell Venue has rapidly assumed the role of a planner and companion in my life. I have half a mind to buy it a bottle green cover.

Stay tuned for more on this, shortly.

*Written as a part of Dell Blogger Review Program

Street Smart

Pavement
*Picture from http://www.thetimes.co.uk

The municipal corporation of Delhi has decided to restructure the residential colony I live in along the lines of the new government’s favorite brainchild – “smart cities”. They have decided that we cannot be smart till we have a stone-pavement, done up in red and mustard. Brimming with good intentions, they came with shovels one fine day and dug up all the dirt. There it stood afterwards, in one big pile, witness to the day’s hard work. Much later, arrived a bulldozer, and the pavement, that earlier housed cars and cats, was all in pieces. I came back from work aghast that day, a state of mind that was further worsened at the sight of the – well, site.

A host of people have proceeded to apprise me of their worries since then. “Where on earth do I park my car?” “Errm,” I start, “technically, the pavement is not supposed to be used for parking cars…” “Everyone does that! What do you know?” Indeed.

There are some crazy ones too. “How am I supposed to walk out?” “I am sure you will avoid getting dust on your clothes…” “Not my clothes, silly! Look at my shoes!” They are pencil-heels, as tall as the handle of the umbrella I carry this monsoon. I am suitably sympathetic.

Another resident lamented the loss of her plant. “How carefully had I planted it in the pothole! It was even sprouting leaves. And the monster of a bulldozer trampled it completely.” A few days ago, I had traced a long procession of mosquitoes straight to the said pothole and was secretly pleased it would now be covered. “A pity, indeed.” I venture. For the mosquitoes, at least.

When I reach home these days, there are municipality workers engrossed in transforming our pavement to a “smart one”. The red and mustard blends in well with the plants we have – thankfully – in the balcony. The grievances of people with one car too many, shoes too tall for their own good, or even my intermittent irritation notwithstanding, I look forward to our new pavement. A few days of some discomfort seems like a small price to pay.

Calvin and Hobbes

5 Lessons by Calvin and Hobbes on Tablets et al

Let me start by giving you some context for this lesson. I would urge you to please bear with the madness that the monster of a Delhi summer is driving into me. It so happens that in this relentless heat, with rain nowhere in sight, Calvin and Hobbes playing with snowmen is my best bet at relief. Each morning, when I tune into music on my Dell Venue and slip into the artificial cool of the Delhi Metro, I visualize a snow world. The trees topped with white icing, the courtyard windy and chilled, and a cup of hot chocolate the closest thing to heaven. Gradually, my favourite music attempts to soothe my frayed nerves, and the air conditioning pats me comfortingly on the back. I am drawn deeper into this wonderful world – of snow, music and interestingly, a non-intrusive electronic device. It is then that I wake up to a spate of interesting things about my new tablet. Here goes.

1. The world has really learnt to entertain. For all our cribbing about contemporary television, there continue to be a host of good movies, documentaries, games and songs. What’s more, there’s no need to hunt around in a ram-shackled video-tape store in a sultry afternoon to access them. For instance, you could go here. Delve into the HD graphics and have a fun time being a critic.

Calvin and Hobbes

2. No one need be cursed for being dis-organized anymore. The world has moved beyond sticky-notes and chits of paper that are prone to being blown away in the capital’s heat wave. Aside from basic organizer facilities, the tablet is compatible with several other apps that let you manage your time better. That aside, the battery backup rarely catches you unaware, storage space is ample (and extendable), and notifications ring out loudly enough. Yeah, it works great even if you micro-manage.

Calvin and Hobbes

3. Sometimes, it is essential to actually walk to the other side to see how green the grass is. The neighbour’s lawn-mower could be fancier or you could be in a rain-shadow area. It helps to slip into the other side’s skin, viewpoint and language to understand the scenario. Dell Venue, for instance, lets you pick the language you prefer most. It also offers neat customization settings and an intelligent playlist.

Calvin and Hobbes

4. There’s an optimal time to philosophize. When all your work worries are attended to, say you have no fear of missing an important e-mail, or can steal an early evening out since you can work on the go, you turn philosophical. This is the juncture when you can observe a fellow passenger, click pictures of the faraway skies, debate a new route to take using the GPS location tracker, pull together the courage to browse through a new recipe on the internet, and wonder where your life is headed in general. Finally, you can address issues more pressing than extending a deadline at work.

Calvin and Hobbes

5. Role-play and make-believe can be your best fall-backs in life. It’s good to believe you have a great deal of strength and walk into the world with a song on your lips. It’s okay to conjure up some happiness – some comfort food, a childhood book – and pretend you’ve been just told God is in his heaven. For instance, I feel all charged up to wrap my Dell Venue in its waterproof case, venture out into the front porch and play raindrops-are-falling-on-my-head in full steam. Bring it on!

Calvin and Hobbes

While I am out looking for rain, you might like to check out Dell’s Facebook Page. Or, you could also tweet tagging @DELL_In and use #DellVenue. Last thing I heard, people love getting surprise gifts at their door.

Stay tuned for more on this, shortly.

*Written as a part of Dell Blogger Review Program

 © Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Dwelling on Dell

Closet

While sifting through some stuff in my closet the other day, I came across the thinnest phone mankind has ever known. Okay, that may not be entirely correct, but the mere sight of the malnourished phone took me back to an era when slim was completely in. Companies vied with each other to produce a phone thinner, yet packed with more features, than the adversary. We eventually moved to larger screens till they became so large they ceased fitting into pockets, purses, handbags and suitcases. We are still confused; the markets abound in all shapes and sizes of cellular devices. And then we have tablets, phablets and goblets. Do we really need a tablet? What can it achieve that a phone today can’t? Is it wise to introduce kids to electronically manufactured delight early in life? In the light of recent queries I have received on my new Dell Venue 7, I intend to dwell on some answers.

Okay, for starters, I find there are certain things a tablet can do that a phone simply cannot. It is simply not the same experience watching a film or playing a game or video-talking on a phone. It may be the bigger screen, the superior graphics, the better sound, or, it may be just me. I infinitely enjoy tuning in to my favourite music or watching a much-loved film on my Dell Venue, the noisy world around gradually dissolving into nothingness.

It isn’t just that of course – I end up saving much-needed phone battery by delegating my mail sync, random internet browsing and note making to the Dell champ. It is like a walking-talking desk computer, cozy in my arms, comfortable with its identity. While I am comfortable with the touch-induced typing, the tablet does come with an external keyboard that can make the process smoother. On its part, the tablet does a great job of running on battery. Considering the innumerable tasks I end up using it for – not to forget, the incessant looking up of documents, and the battery consuming Wi-Fi surfing – it lasts me a good couple of days.

Now, this easy-peasy access to delight is a key incentive that pushes several parents into buying a tablet for their little ones. Indeed, I see billboards around town advocating the need to buy a new tablet in the new school season. Well, there is plenty that the Dell Venue has to offer in this department – hordes of educational apps on the Play Store, an easy-to-use user interface with intuitive navigation and decent reception to touch, efficient streaming and playback of AV content, and the sturdiness to blend in well with clumsy little hands. Nevertheless, I don’t recommend acquiring one of these in place of a nice collection of books, a fun movie once in a while and a good bout of fooling around in the evening dust.

That being said, I think this can be a terrific gifting idea for, say, parents. My Mom, for instance, would be spared the pain of typing long messages to me on her small phone. Friends too – especially at its value-for-money price.

I had my little cousin over the other day. She gave my phone – and me – a dirty look. “Why don’t you get a new one? You’ve had that for a whole year!” I rushed to seal my closet lest she catch sight of the malnourished phone. This was before she spotted the new tablet. I instantly rose in her estimation. Dell Venue saved the day.

Stay tuned for more on this, shortly.

*Written as a part of Dell Blogger Review Program

The Curious Case of Being Modern

Being Modern
*Picture from http://aj-essaywriting.blogspot.in

It isn’t easy being “modern” these days. There are umpteen trends to closely follow, contradictory statements to endorse and, of course, a fair bit of money to burn. Disbelieving, are you? Read on.

For starters, you can’t be modern if you haven’t heard of Humpty Sharma’s bride. You haven’t eh? Hell, you are probably from another planet. In a parallel world, you are ancient if you are still hooked on to Hindi cinema. Worse still, if you watch Hindi sitcoms. What have you achieved in life if you aren’t updated with the latest seasons of American people hustling and bustling in a cleaner world?

Similarly, the colour orange went out of fashion ages ago. Amber, however, is in. Purple might be out too, now replaced by mauve. Just when you decided to beat them modernists in the race, and packed your wardrobe with the latest “in” colour, whoosh! That went out too. Just try walking into a Delhi mall wearing your dowdiest clothes in colours of the “last century”. It is immensely entertaining to see women vying for the #1 Modern title, wearing the skimpiest clothes heedless of how they look in them. It is then that you truly achieve what is popularly called detachment or nirvana.

This dilemma over modernity is true for the workplace too. Lately, you are called modern if you leave work on time. You know, if you are tuned in to the work-life balance school, the kind that believes in “smart”, as opposed to hard work. Now, when it comes to the implementation of the same, you might just need to risk your modernity for more err, pressing needs like deadlines, “team accountability”, collaborative responsibility, and other such scary demons. The impact on the new employee? He loses his mind, and eventually comes to believe that’s the norm.

Modernity is elusive. You may run behind it, but it will outrun you each time.  I avoid this kind of running. It is an out-of-this-world feeling to halt. Watch an evening go by, the birds fly home. I enjoy my antediluvian existence, hobnobbing with the plants in comfortable clothes. This way, when the flood comes – as I bet you it will – I will not find it difficult to run.

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