Saturday, March 19, 2016


I grew up in Chennai, where the concept of Holi was limited to certain pockets of the city. I was not from one of those pockets. My first holi experience came when I touched 30, and when I was in Bangalore. My apartment assosiation was having a holi function, and I decided to take part and also indulge in capturing certain frames for memories. Here's how the experience went

Grandparents brought their kids away from iPads and electronics to enjoy nature and festivities.

I just loved the way water was being sprayed about, and people playing with gay abandon.

Couples were rediscovering their love for each other!

People were happy to be dumped in Pink!

While some were happy to be subjected to the force of the hose pipe!

People were washing their differences with color and water

Proof that hand was used for better things than checking notifications.

Association tension and bad blood were forgotten over colours and camaraderie

Some were embarrassed by all the colours, but were enjoying Holi

The initiation ceremony for newbies was fun!

Kids welcoming other kids, just like the adults do!

The aim of the game was to make every inch of the face have all colours from the Vibgyor Spectrum

Some couples were hitting it well and were splashing it well

Actually splashing very well

The powder is waiting to be thrown at some face.

Father's getting their kids to start early! 

I still see that his teeth isn't coloured. Holi isn't over unless you eliminate the shades of White.

Tip Tip Barsa Pani! Love the way adults are playing like kids

My first holi was wonderful with water! Hope to have fun in the coming years!

“I’m pledging to #KhulKeKheloHoli this year by sharing my Holi memories at BlogAdda in association with Parachute Advanced.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


One of the best recent trips I had was my mother. I've never been able to spend time with my mother over the years since, if I would be in a different city, and my mother would be in our home town. If I am at my hometown, I would be visiting friends. I had an opportunity to travel to Goa for a week, and I decided, maybe I should take my mother along and show her how beautiful Goa is in the monsoon.

I am sending her a message through HDFC's memories for life for a contest on BlogAdda. You can do it to by getting started here.

The Trip

My mother was initially surprised, and was looking forward to a relaxing trip by the rains and the beaches. I surprised her by asking her if she was ready to start on a 18 km trek along the railway track, and she said YES. I did not quite expect that. What followed was a lot of conversations with my mother, since I did not have access to mobile signals and other distractions.

I took my other out travelling on the last compartment of a goods train, and she loved the experience of the goods train travelling through tunnels. I never realised she had all the energy to trek 18 kilometres out of the blue. Maybe I had been under estimating the traveller in her.

And out of tunnels, with the rains and weather keeping us cool!

And took her to the beaches to quietly have a few conversations on rains, sand and Goa.

And walking all along from Kulem to Dudhsagar. 18 kilometres walking by a 60 year old lady, all for her adventurous son!

I am sending her a message through HDFC's memories for life for a contest on BlogAdda. You can do it to by getting started here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

My First Smartphone Experience

My first Smartphone experience

(The definition of a smart phone has been a moving goal post. So I am going back to the times of the Mughal civilization in Mobile Phones, the time when an iPhone was launched, and when I realized only after the India got Independence, that I should upgrade to a smarter phone. So pardon the lack of technolog knowledge)

The summer of 2006-07 was a period I’d remember for not so much fond reasons. I had lost my Motorola c650 phone, bought just in time for my first job. It was my first color phone, and I felt bad losing it on a hurried trip from the east coast(Chennai) to the West Coast(Mangalore) in 12 hours. I resolved to be careful and bought myself a Sony Ericson W550, because I could listen to music on my phone, and in a couple of months on my way to work, it fell from my pocket when my bike sped on a speed breaker. A bus smashed it with its rear tyre and left me gasping at my luck with phones. I then used 2 basic Nokia Phones for the rest of the year and lost them on a train, and the other from my loosely hanging shorts when on a bike. I had the horrors of not being able to lose a phone. The next few months were spent being paranoid in protecting the incumbent mobile from the curse of being lost. This led me to postpone being part of a new generation that was using smart phones.

A year and a half later, tired of using a basic phone, to communicate my thoughts, I decided to take the plunge that I had long been waiting for. Buying my first smart phone. So what was ‘smart’ back in 2008? A decent camera, using internet on the move via 2G, listening to songs, and sending emails from the phone, and using the phone as a navigation device. I was more than thrilled to begin a new life back then. A blue color Nokia N81, was in my pocket at a princely 15,000 rupees. It stayed on with me for the next 18 months before Moore’s law dictated a change with touch phones. I was in love with my Nokia ‘smart’ phone. I thought it made me smarter than I was

Back in the days, I was excited that I could use a phone to record a conversation. I used to use my phone as a prank camera recorder and upload videos to youtube( through Wifi). I enjoyed the kind of freedom I used to get as being a source of media. Media those days were limited to what the Television showed you. It was one dimensional in that sense. Now with my ‘semi’ smart phone, I could actually create media in the form of short quips of my thoughts or showcase the beauty of a place or a running train, and a bunch of people could watch my thought on the web via Youtube. Basically it was harnessing the power of the moment, the power of now! The process was complete when I used to rush back to my home the same day and upload the media via my computer on Youtube. I actually did cricket player interviews with Sunil Gavaskar, Mashrafe Mortaza, Steve Tikolo and Johan Botha. I also interviewed Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikimedia Commons. It later struck me that my phone had Wifi and was as good as a laptop device, because the only way you could connect to the internet using wifi was through a laptop, and the phone at least helped me find out quickly if any open wifi network was there, so that I could open up the laptop and use the wifi, incase the work required some ease of use.

I was a random traveller, and would just get back from work, and head to VT Station, and get on any direction that fancied my whim on a Friday night in Bombay. I found myself on trains to Vapi, Sawantwadi, Karjat, Pernem and Cancona over a few months, and decided to check if my phone’s GPS would tell me where I am , when I was in a crowded smelly unreserved compartment. The N-81’s battery would heat up, as I would use up my phone’s internet for tracking where I was and what’s around the place, if I decide to get down. All this in the age of 2G, and yeah, I should have been one patient person to browse at that speed. The next little innovation that kindled my inner traveller, was that the phone added GPS coordinates to every photo taken, so if I saw a beautiful scenery on the train, I could just take a photo in that location, and find out the coordinates to plan a trip specifically to that location. However little ‘smart’ that might seem without a touch phone and apps, I was actually over the moon and enjoying how technology could enhance my hobbies without interfering too much in my life.

Back in the days, the other high came from the presence of Internet on the phone and the fact that I could read internet content and blogs while on the move. Also something of curious interest back then was to hear a song on radio on the phone, and then having the craving to wanting to download that song. Sitting in a crowded local train in Bombay, I used to download songs during my journey. Also back in the days then, the phone had fixed apps given by Nokia, with some third party apps. I was over the moon, in just having real player for playing audio and video. If you needed to get more apps or games, you had to go to and download them on your PC and then transfer to your phone. Here’s where Nokia missed an opportunity despite Apple having a store for its apps. Sounded fun back then, but even with its minimalist features, that little ‘smart’ phone had me in love with technology and in love with life.

In between all this, Apple had made 3 iPhones and pretty much the whole world had become ‘smarter’ with phones. I was just happy and stuck with being ‘smart’. Nevertherless, for a first experience, it sure made my life better!

This is written for a contest by Indiblogger for

Monday, March 16, 2015

Watching World Cup Cricket with Granny!

Feb 22nd 1992- 

It was just the day after my 9th birthday and I was quite on cloud 9. I had devoured the contents of that week’s ‘The Sportsar’ World Cup Edition; I had a good birthday and that cute Gujrati girl in my class consented to sit next to me in our hindi class. Hormones seemed to have arrived earlir than expected and to say it in Ravi Shastri’s words, they were ‘alive and kicking’. Quite a charmed life it was! As Feb 21st gave way to the 22nd, the little suburb of Adayar in Chennai had more snores than the sounds of TV sets being on. I was sleeping in a small room next to my grandmother. It was 3 am. Quite the time, when Sachin Tendulkar and I were batting in our partnership for the ‘C Block’ team, tearing to shreds the bowling of the B block team. My little dream was not progressing much, due to the noise in my room. I hazily stared at the light source at the end of the bed, and the TV was on. My grandmother was fumbling with controlling the voice on the TV. My parents were asleep in the other room. The next 5 minutes were spent getting used to the bright light that invaded the privacy of my dreams of batting with Sachin. The immortal voice of the holy trio of Richie Benaud, Bill Lawry and Tony Grieg got me wide awake. My first cricket world cup had begun.

Tony Greig and Bill Lawry were shrieking at John Wright’s wicket off the bowling of Craig McDermott, as the Kiwis and the Aussies opened the 1992 World cup. My granny in Tony Greig’s shriek and words was “Alive and Kicking” listening to the match commentary, even though she understood little of their accents. She fervently got up at 3 am and followed the scores and kept giving her version of her analysis that usually differed from mine. She would say The Indian team should drop Shastri and Manjrekar, and try out Amre to bat, as they used to slowdown the innings. Her other gem used to be being David Shephard’s virtual soul mate, being superstitious when it came to nelson scores(111,222). She’d say if a team actually reached the nelson’s score, without bypassing it they would win. As a 9-year-old kid, her word was the bible for me though I never checked if her predictions on nelsons actually worked. She didn’t have much knowledge about the game, but many years of cricket on radio and newspaper reading had made her a fairly discerning grandma when it came to cricket. To come to think of it, she would have made a good fantasy cricket player, but back in the days, computers and televised cricket were rare to come by.

The World cup in 1992 with the Indian team in the Australasian continent was my first experience getting up with her and watching cricket matches. My parents never exuded so much interest for a live match. My parents preferred to watch cricket, as long it didn’t interfere with their household chores and sleep. They never took offense to me getting up early or sitting up late, watching cricket on the television, until I got caught for dozing off in school due to lesser sleep at home.They then asked me that pertinent question that every Tambrahm parent asks “Cricket a Soru Poda Pogarathu?” [Is cricket going to feed you?]. I’d happily say yes. Watching cricket for a profession looked far more interesting than clocking hours in a bank. My grandmother never quite understood the fuss behind me occaissonaly sleeping in class, and gladly allowed me my transgressions of waking up in the morning. When the world cup was around, a few marks lost in remembering where Cape Comorin was on India’s map, could be traded happily for watching Kapil Dev take a wicket or for Manoj Prabhakar getting one to swing in. Thanks to my granny’s passion, I decided to let the cricket mood set in. I started putting cricket pictures, neatly cut from the Sportstar magazine all over that room, with a huge poster of the fixtures. Thanks to that image, I always will know the 1992 World Cup grounds at the back of my hand from Pukekara Park to Albury to Ballarat to Mackay.

Quite a few moments from the 1992 World Cup come to my mind, when my granny and I watched the world cup in the first week. The standout moments in the first week were
   Disappointment we had when Javagal Srinath got out at Perth, giving India a 9 run loss in the opening game.
   The way Australia were mauled by South Africa at the SCG, and had lost 2 in 2 then.
   The way West Indies polished off Pakistan with a 10 wicket victory in a 220 chase.
Cricket was fun with my grandmother, with both of us seeming to enjoy the white ball, colour dress version of the game, a pleasant change from the ‘whites and leather red’ version that we were used to watching.

The match which we vividly remember were the last 10 overs of the India Australia game at the Gabba. My granny felt that India had a chance chasing 234 despite being robbed off 3 overs in a crazy rain rule. She was praying for Ravi Shastri to get out, after he trudged his way to a 60 ball 20 odd. Both of us remember having a collective gasp seeing Sanjay Manjrekar swat Merv Hughes to the midwicket boundary for a 6. Maybe her prediction was working, until Kiran More had his stumps shattered by Tom Moody and we lost the game due to a lazy Raju who forgot to run off the last ball. My grandmother never managed to forgive Raju whenever she used to see him on television in the subsequent matches. There was redemption in 3 days when the scene shifted from the Gabba to the SCG,when India took on Pakistan and beat them convincingly. Even though I had school, I came home just early enough to see Aamir Sohail, fall to Sachin’s gentle medium pacers. She and I would celebrate in our own way, resonating to the high pitched tone of Tony Greig,who also added character to the whole celebration. While there very few India moments to rejoice to except India beating Zimbabwe in a rain affected game, our love for the game kept us hooked on to the live telecast and the highlights. On reflection, that quite defined my world back then.

Back in the 94-96 season, I remember using my school’s( Bala Vidya Mandir-Adayar) PCO booth to figure a hack to get cricket scores. I was already reprimanded for bringing a radio set to school in 1993, during the India-England series. A reprimand was like the equivalent of a parking ticket and I could not dare to bring a transistor again to school. I still needed to find a hack to find the live scores in between classes Thanks to my grandmother, I found one. When I dialed a number from my school PCO without putting the coin in, it would ring and I would hear the person on the other end, but they would hear me only if I put in the coin. So I would tell my granny to recognize that if no one spoke on the phone from the other end for 10 seconds, it would most probably be me. She just had to tell the cricket score and tell me who’s batting. I had figured a hack, but the lady at the admissions office near the PCO figured out, I was upto some mischief in coming 4 times a day, daily to speak on the phone.[Google and Cricinfo were yet to happen]

My grandmother was hooked on too watching cricket till 1998 , when the tele-serial world invaded her “Cricket watching time”. My granny who would usually a Bangladesh vs Kenya game, with enthusiasm slowly grew out of the habit of watching cricket,and changed  her stance to “watching India matches only”. With time her eyesight, went on the Downhill and her earlier Glaucoma condition flared up again. My grandmother could then only make out that a ball was being bowled and hardly had any idea as to how the match would go on, and this reduced her interest levels and she would hit bed by a predefined 10 pm bedtime, which made me wonder, how her interest levels in watching cricket has ceased over time.

10-12 years back she could see only 10% from her eyes and when my grandfather passed away(2005), she couldn’t even see his dead self properly. It hurt me a lot when she told me that, when we were by our grandfather’s side. She became a little isolated in her thoughts. Cricket was hardly in her mind. My mother was still trying to see if something could be done to rectify and restore partial vision, so she consulted many eye specialists. A few doctors who said, that she would never see, in years to come, were proved wrong when a doctor in the Egmore Eye Hospital(Chennai) suggested an operation. With nothing to lose, we went ahead and did the operation. In less than two months, we saw that her vision improved dramatically and she was able to see with both the eyes and perfectly. It must have been a feeling of rebirth for her, getting her eyesight back. That was in September 2006 during the DLF cup in Malaysia, as shown in the  image. Its 9 years post that now. Her eyesight again has gone back to being bad, but her enthusiasm in cricket has not dulled one bit.

So while another world cup sprang in Australia and New Zealand this year, with  I made my granny my valentine on the 14th of February 2015, told her opinions beaming from twitter on the match, told her what the commentators are saying, and of course  waited to listen to her quips and pulse on what happened. Maybe I am reliving that  golden Australian summer of 1992, sitting in Chennai with my grandmother and my new 3D HD TV. When I hear Bryan Adams strumming “Summer of 69”, I’d look back at the summer of 2015 and possibly say “Those were the be
This entry is written in celebration of being #together, (via my life”.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tata Bolt Review By @Tweetologer #GetSetBolt

I had been to a couple of centres in Chennai, to understand where I could see the Tata Bolt. I went on the 25th of January to the Tata Bolt promotional showcase in S.P. Infinity in Chennai, after quickly checking with the twitter handle of Tata Motors. I was able to see the car first there at this centre, and took some photos of the car's interiors and exteriors I could not however use it for a test drive, so I had to wait till the republic day passed, as it was a long weekend in Chennai. I called up Tafe Reach in Chennai's outskirts in Pallikaranai, to get a car at 5:30 pm, post which I managed to review the vehicle, and also click a couple of videos. There are 2 parts to this review. I have done a review in text and images and another one showcasing the same items as part of a video review. 

Looking at recent history, we notice that in the era of Phones and Tablets, the Phablets have evolved. So a similar cross between a hatchback and sedan, called as the compact sedan is evolving as an important segment for Indians buying cars. Tata which came out with the zest, around the IPL last time, has come out with the Bolt, a little ahead of the cricket world cup. Tata seems to be focussed on developing smarter cars for the segment of the market that seems to be quite the cash cow for car manufacturers in India.

Why should you buy the Tata Bolt?

It’s a car for the smarter youth of today, where you drive in tandem with with your social world, keeping the safety intact.

Usually Tata’s smaller cars like the Vista are used a lot for commercial driving by taxi drivers, where the focus usually is on the back seats rather than for the front seats. That image has been steadily changing in the Zest and more visibly in the Bolt with quite a  beautiful front seat and digital display. It feels like the car I now own-Tata Manza, my own little cockpit, but actually its better than the Manza. I actually find it a little sporty given the finish. At least on first perceptions the finish looks premium on the outside and the inside.

The Engine called Revotron for the Petrol and Quadrajet for the Diesel, mimics our day to day lives with its Multi drive option. The earlier engine for the hatchbacks, in the Petrol variants used to be a Fiat engine.

Lets start with the resemblance it bears with something as easy to relate as our heart, and that’s what makes this interesting. Just like you have the heart pumping more blood while you are on a short but quick run, the engine here in the TATA bolt has a sports mode that just mimics a short burst of power. The surge in power you get once you use the sport mode is clearly visible.

The next feature is the econo mode, which is geared towards fuel efficiency on a long drive, where the engine mimics the movements of a marathon runner in pumping blood in a regular and synchronized manner. Finally the last mode of the multi drive feature, the city mode, which is a combination of a sprint and a marathon and has best of both the features to help you on your drive.

Also where the Revotron engine is beneficial is flat torque curve, which basically helps if you are a little lazy on shifting gears in your city drive, which by itself are great features to help the person driving as it gives more power to the person in front. Not to forget are the safety features such as the ABS and the Air Bags. The ABS or the Anti-Lock-Braking system, helps you release the brakes in a systematic fashion, helping the vehicle to not lose control when turning on sharp curves. This feature from a safety standpoint is what differentiates the modern day cars from cars that were bought a few years back. I myself have a Tata Manza Safire (2010) and a Hyundai Santro(2005), and very clearly see the difference the ABS makes to a safe drive. 

Things to keep in mind while trying out the drive.

  • a)    Twist the steering- Show the Active return feature, where the steering returns to about 95% of the original position, post a turn. But hey, its suny outside, lets say its raining now, and I have switched on my vipers, here’s an interesting feature. When you reverse your vehicle, the vipers at the back also get activated during the rains, enabling you clearer vision of what’s happening behind.

  • b)   Jadoo Ki Jhappi /Body Hugging Design- Remember this line from Munnabhai MBBS? That’s exactly what the seats tend to do you with its body hugging design to support the shoulders and back. Their shape basically symbolizes the broad shoulders of a Rugby outfit. While I don’t have them, maybe the Tata Bolt should do well to remind me that I should get to the gym!

  • c)    Talk about reminders, the Connectnext Audio system can remind you of the right tempo for a song with its SPEED DEPENDENT VOLUME feature, based on how fast you are driving your car. Didn’t we always associate loud music with high speed. Quite an adrenaline kick right, and that’s a good feature because I don’t have to take my attention off the road or fiddle my hands around the steering to search for the volume control.

  • d)   Connect-Next We aren’t done with the entertainment system yet, since the 5 inch LCD touch screen in the TATA Bolt here, helps you navigate your way around, but there comes a caveat. You need to have an android phone, and to download The ConnectNext app from the playstore and connect it to your car infotainment via a cable. Maybe there’s an easier way in having a Tab , Phablet or at worst a mobile, that can be fixed to your car glass, allowing you to navigate through maps. The good part however if that the app does not take data from the phone for driving directions as that is done by the GPS inside the touch unit. Note of caution on the expectations on the touch unit, is that it doesn't look to be made of capacitive touch, but more of resistive touch. While this can be a dampner, its far better than dealing with buttons in different parts of the dashboard. 

  • e)    Feedback for Tata Motors-A quick feedback for folks at TATA. If you guys could make apps for the dashboard, it helps if consumers can use their existing tabs or devices in the slot or work with a tablet vendor to produce tabs for the car, which consumers can take out also and use as a normal tab.


A)   Great spacing for the legs in the back seat. You are able to stretch your legs and sit comfortably. The vehicle easily seats 5 people on the car, without being cramped. In addition, your under thigh support and back feel very comfortable while in the car, with decent headroom.

B)   Front Cabin and Glovebox- Pretty good. Can house easily 4-5 beverage cans, and a couple of bottles if you need to keep. Very spacious.

C1)   Boot Space-210 litres, can be slightly enhanced if you can flip the backrests, if it’s a 2 person trip. Otherwise the bootspace is the only limiting factor in what reminds you that this a compact sedan and not a sedan itself. 

C2) Smart Vipers- How cool is it to have back wipers getting switched on when you are taking a reverse and having your front wipers out it in the rain? Very thoughtful feature addition.

D)   Design elements- The gearbox unit is very slick, and light and easy to operate.

I also quite liked the suspension, as it feel reassuring when you take the car on a spin. The design is pretty unlike its Japanese and Korean counterparts.

Black and Out headlamps strikes you first, as you examine the car on the outside, and as you go to the backside, there’s a huge chrome strip which reduces the bulk of the car. For a Premium hatchback, this stands out from its competitors.

This post is a part of the Get. Set. Bolt. activity at BlogAdda.

This is Tweetologer sitting and reviewing the car from the backseat-