My bucket list for that time when I am befikar, umar bhar

Every now and then I like to indulge in thinking about a time when I have no worries in the world, in terms of no responsibilities of baby-sitting children, going to work for earning to save for old-age or looking after someone. What would I do when I am in that position? Isn’t it what almost all people in the world think about every now and then? It seems like I am surrounded by people who’s only motive in life is to earn, earn, earn and save for old-age with no care for the stress that is eating them up.

Let’s not get into the negatives for now. Here, I’d like to list out the things I’d indulge in when I am Befikar, Umar Bhar:

  1. Travel: I like travelling and seeing new places. My wife likes travelling. So, I have no worries of earning and have all the time in the world what else would e and my wife indulge in other than travelling. At home too our favorite channel is the Travel and Living Channel. We are just too fascinated by the places that are covered by the travel channels. We’d like to take a leisurely trip across the whole of Europe, USA, South America and Australia if and when we can afford it. We haven’t been to the far east Asia too.
  2. Farming: This is my secret dream. When I am Befikar, Umar Bhar I’d like to sell-off my city dwelling and purchase a farm land in a serene and bountiful village and do farming. At home I am an avid terrace gardener. I often dream of being able to grow plants, vegetables and fruits unfettered by the limitations of a pot. I am also an avid follower of organic gardening practices. In this farm of mine I plan to keep cattle for milk and manure. It would be a green living all the way, in a circle. The aim is to be self-sufficient food wise and eat healthy.
  3. Cheese making: I have always been intrigued by cheeses. I’d really like to go to Parmesan area of Italy and learn cheese making skills from the farmers of parmesan. I’d like to go to Netherlands and learn the art of making genuine Gouda cheese. I’d like to visit Switzerland and learn how they make their swiss cheese. I’d like to come back to my farm and make these myself for personal consumption and to sell to fine dining eateries in India.
  4. Learn to play the Guitar: This is one interest of mine which keeps getting pushed to the back-seat because I’ve had to keep earning before anything. I’d like to go to school and learn Guitar and play it like a professional. I’d like to then graduate to the electric guitar. And then I’d like to host my own show where I play the popular rock tunes 🙂
  5. Learn Spanish: Well, I’d like to learn as many languages I can but Spanish is close to my heart because it would help me in my travels across the world 🙂 Because the whole of South America speaks Spanish. And yes my most favorite country in Europe is Spain. I’d like to learn Arabic and French too. And not to forget Japanese too which is the language of my most favorite people in the world.

The following commercial nicely captures the spirit of my bucket list, I feel.

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5 reasons why I have come to hate Indian Cricket and Cricket as a game

There was a time when I was very young, when I was in school, that I was a big fan of Cricket. Those were the days of Kapil Dev, Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Krish Srikanth, Viv Richards, Larry Gomes, Ian Botham, Mike Gatting. you get the picture. Right? Those were the days when I used to watch even Test Cricket matches for all five days. We used to resent the rest day given so that the players might get some rest, in the middle of the 5 day match. And why did we used to have so much less cricket those days? Those were the days when One Day International(ODI) matches were like festivals. Especially, the ones between India and Pak. Those were also days of negligible media over-doze. Cricketers were paid honest salaries and except for one or two you hardly got to see anyone endorsing products. We had Kapil’s “Palmolive ka jawab nahin” and Gavaskar’s OCM suitings commercial. Match fixings was unheard of. BCCI stayed off the media glare.

Fast forward to the current day. There are so many reasons not to like cricket(atleast for me):

  1. BCCI. The controlling board of cricket is a cess-pool of deviant activities. The government had granted BCCI tax exemption, under Section 11 of the Income Tax Act, on the ground that promoting cricket is a ‘charitable activity’ under Section 2 (15).(Read more at: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/bcci-it-tax-income-tax-cricket-ipl/1/248917.html). This organisation is rolling in money but is always finding a way to escape taxation. Due to this money power BCCI has gotten into a habit of arm-twisting even its governing body, the ICC, so much so that BCCI dictates what it will abide by and not abide by in the anti-doping standards drafted by ICC. Not only that, BCCI viciously opposed and got its way when it was sought to be brought under the purview of RTI. Given that BCCI represents our country in all cricketing activities in India and abroad and given that it enjoys government subsidies in taxes it is only logical that the people of the country are able to pose questions to them like any other government organisation and get answers. But BCCI has become a bully which is heavy at the top with politicians who manipulate the government of the day to get whatever BCCI wants. And since BCCI is such a big power hub there is a shameless power struggle always brewing in there. Recently, it has been how N. Srinivasan has shamelessly tried to stick to the President’s post inspite of being the owner of an IPL team. Such flagrant disregard for any morality is the order of the day at BCCI which, in my opinion, makes it the most disgusting organisation in India.
  2. Players. There are many success stories where some talented players have come from under-privileged upbringing. The tallest among such players is Sachin Tendulkar. Then there are players like MS Dhoni, Rahul Dravid, Azharuddin, Sehwag, etc. Cricket has made some talented players such big celebrities that many a times it seems that the success has gone to their heads. They start to throw their weight around. There are players who miss training sessions, of the many reasons, also due to late night drinking sessions. Like I mentioned in #1 the players think so much of themselves that they don’t want to abide by the regulations anymore like the anti-doping regulations drawn up by ICC. Basically, as a third party viewer who has seen them rise from humble beginnings to this stature it is disgusting to see their vanity. Why are our players so vain? After all they are only tigers at home. Abroad they have consistently lost series after series. Even at home they are pretty inconsistent. These are the players who are idolized by the fans. I can’t speak for the fans, though, but I can’t take it.
  3. Match-fixing. Match-fixing in cricket is so rampant that you never can tell which match was genuine and which was fixed. The cases which are caught are the tip of the iceberg. Players like Srisanth who have openly fixed matches claim on TV that it is a temporary setback and they will be back on the field soon. Given the amounts that are available to players who are willing to bite the bait you can’t blame the players too much. The country is producing thousands of players who in contention for a BCCI cap that it might seem only logical for a budding player to take the money and indulge in spot-fixing. If he doesn’t get caught then he will be rich and can continue doing it in more matches. If caught then he anyway has the money. It is a win-win for the player. Now, as a viewer why should I spend my valuable time watching these jokers strut their stuff and then see them mostly lose?
  4. Over-saturation of cricket. BCCI has seen the money and it wants more of it. This greed has resulted in the birth of Indian Premier League(IPL). For two to three months day-in and day-out there is only cricket on TV. Previously, there were 8 teams. And now there are 10 teams. This has resulted in an exponential rise of the number of matches played. Thus more money for BCCI. What this means is that we get to watch more of BCCI’s greed, the player’s vanity and match-fixing galore. I can’t take it anymore.
  5. Other games overlooked. In this country cricket is a religion. This, in spite of our illustrious presence in games like hockey, shooting, badminton, boxing, wrestling, Kabaddi and a few more that I can’t remember. I feel that such adulation for a bunch of undeserving idiots is unfair for the sake of these other games.

Things have come to such a point where I am not sad when India loses and not happy when they win too. Why? Because, firstly, I don’t know if the match was fixed and secondly the team is so very inconsistent that when they win a match they are increasing their chances of losing more matches because our players are the biggest upholders of the law of averages. They try to keep a good record of below average winnings. So, I think, I have developed my own defence mechanism to shield myself from the ups and mostly downs of the Indian Cricket Team. If there is something that is too over-rated other than Kim Kardashian’s arse it is the Indian Cricket Team.

The next generation of classifieds looks promising

As someone who has lived in the same house for more than 10 years I can vouch that I have tons of stuff that is lying in my house that I could dispose off to make space and for the house to look a lot better. But I always have this feeling that if I just throw away the item it could be end up in a landfill or land in the hands of a person who doesn’t value it enough. The best alternative for me would be if someone purchased it from me. That way it would benefit me and also I’d be assured that it has gone to someone who values it.

Now, there have been classifieds before. And I have tried my hands at buying and selling stuff on classified sites. And both activities have their own challenges. As a seller I want people to see my advertisement and get curious enough to at least contact me. As a buyer I want as much details of the product as possible and I want a seller who is responsive to my requests. Usually, the buyers are cagey and part with information kinda slowly. It would be nice if these problems were addressed by classifieds.

I have heard of Quikr coming up with instant chats in their mobile apps as well as on desktops! I think it is a wonderful idea for the following reasons:

  1. Wrong Sound Language: A phone call is a medium which is fraught with the dangers of picking up wrong tones or attitudes. Have you felt this before? The person on the other end might not mean any offence to you but his/her tone disturbed you. You might pick up unintended bad vibes and just shut that opportunity for yourself and the other person. Exchanging information on a chat is helpful to filter out such possibilities. As long as the language written by both parties is sound there is no danger of wrong tones creeping into the conversation. Thus I feel chats are more productive in this context.
  2. Chats gives time to think: Don’t you agree? I have faced this many times. I call up a seller and ask some details about the product and hang-up. But just right after I hang up I have something more to ask. But I’d feel awkward to call back to avoid giving out a wrong impression that I am too enthusiastic about the item or that I am just acting plain silly. Here too I feel chats give me the benefit of never closing the conversation. I can ask any number of questions spaced into however small or long gaps.
  3. Instant Photo Exchange: This is the best part of chats. Usually when I need more details about the item I need more photos of the item. And usually advertisements lack in decent number of photos. On a phone call you ask for photos and you are assured that the item is top condition and you have go with it. Instead, with the photo upload feature in the chat application on there is no escape for the seller from this request 🙂

I think the chat feature in Quikr Nxt is a category disrupting technology and will bring greater transparency in the buying process on classifieds. Way to go Quikr!

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#GoSleeekWithAsusExperience – the indiblogger meet in Bangalore

Finally, I could make it to an IndiBlogger meet. For over two years I have been hearing all sort of good things from my wife and son who were regulars at the IndiBlogger meets in Bangalore. I couldn’t go because I was not a registered blogger with IndiBlogger. So, my younger son and I used to stay at home awaiting the return of my wife and son from the meet with all their amazing stories of what happened at the meet 🙂 But all that changed when I registered with IndiBlogger a few months back.

So, here’s to my first IB meet. It was like a family outing where all of four us were going. I knew hardly anyone at the meet. I knew a few through my wife. I was glad to meet them in person. Especially, Nabanita, and Sid B. I hope there are more meetups in Bangalore so that I know more bloggers.

The first event after the registration was a jamming session by the rockstar employees of IndiBlogger. WOW! I mean Wow!! Isn’t it amazing to find a whole rock group from a small group of employees of a company? That is what is IndiBlogger. Their veteran status at this gig was evident from how nicely they involved all the bloggers into their songs. The only irritant in this otherwise mind-blowing experience was the high decibels the speakers were turned to in a closed banquet hall. I hope they take care about it the next time.

So, the meet started with a few introductions of old timers and new comers. The finger foods that were passing around was just awesome! I think that most bloggers want more blogger interaction in these IB meets. So, the IB team organized a game where the participants had to collect as many personal items of other bloggers and in the process get to know more bloggers. But I have a feeling that this little exercise doesn’t help much to cut the ice in such a short time. There were people who were coming up innovative ideas like taking selfies with other bloggers, taking their twitter handles, etc.

Then the ASUS product manager of India did a couple introductions of his products the ASUS Eeebook X205TA and ASUS PC ET2040 AIO. You can lookup more details of these two products on their links. The best feature about the AIO PC is the built-in emergency power backup and gesture control. It is perfect for someone who wants to use it as a media PC in the living room.

Again, to increase the blogger interaction the IB team organised another game where all bloggers were divided into 4 teams and had to do a skit to promote blogging with an intrinsic theme. we were given the theme of Pirate of the Carribean. So, we had to perform a skit such that other bloggers are able to guess our theme. This event had more potential of knowing other bloggers better than the previous event. But making a whole skit with so many strangers in a 15 minutes or so is no small challenge. And it was evident in the half baked skit that came out 🙂 But kudos to our project manager who did a great a job on the go!

It was late for the dinner by the time this event finished. Only thing here that could’ve made this a better experience is if there were more tables where people could serve themselves food.

Overall, it was an evening to remember. I am looking forward to the next IB meet, already. 🙂