December 11, 2013

My brush with Turkey & why I want to make it real

Filed under: travel — Twilight Fairy @ 11:41 pm

My first brush with Turkey was as a child, when we had to learn the capitals of all the countries in the world. I must have been in the third or fourth grade I suppose. Now this was in the ’80′s and one had to buy special books that contained all this information. It wasn’t as easily accessible as it is today – like the tap of a finger . That was the first time I came to know that a country called ‘Turkey’ existed. I was still unaware about a bird existing with the same name though. I learnt that the capital was Ankara and the phrase “Turkey-Ankara” just rolled off my tongue and was one of the easier ones compared to let’s say “Iceland-Reykjavik”. I knew that it was at the cross section of two continents – Europe & Asia or Eurasia, where East met west, Religions intertwined, and important trade routes existed. That formed the foundation of an indelible curiosity, that still exists about this place that I want to visit.

Over the years, Turkey kept being mentioned as part of academia. I learnt about the prominent Turkish invasions like those by Mahamud ghaznavi and Mohammed ghori, which permanently changed India as we know it today. And then followed the pop culture references. I liked listening to world music – Greek, oriental, Turkish, Finnish and many others. As expected, Turkish music has a lot of influences from Europe, Asia, Africa. It all percolated down my senses into a tiny memory pocket somewhere.

Then followed the visual influences. Even though Istanbul was part of the locations of popular films like “From russia with love”, it was only when I watched the Bollywood film “Guru”, that I got mesmerised by the beauty of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, Istanbul as well as the Nuruosmaniye mosque, Istanbul, where “Mayya Mayya” was shot. After that, visuals of Turkey always sprang out at me, whenever I would watch any films shot there. And I would have a sense of deja vu, without having visited the place, ever. The latest such instance was when I watched Skyfall – the most recent Bond film and saw Daniel craig, tearing down on a motorcycle through labyrinth corridors and grand bazaar rooftops. I wanted to jump behind him and chase him over the fascinating landscape. I know the labyrinth routine was a set but at least the bazaar setting was real :) .

Being a photographer, I come across a lot of ethereal travel photography, some of which is from Turkey of course. All this exposure has intrigued me even more and I really want to visit the mosques, the spice market at Istanbul, see the nightlife at Antalya, travel back in time in the underground city of Derinkuyu, experience hot air ballooning at Cappadocia & catch a sunrise while flying over the fairy chimneys, take a dip in the hot springs at Pamukkale, visit Roman ruins at Izmir and much more! I would love to immerse myself in the cultural melting pot that is Turkey, experience the Byzantine & European drifts, be at the centre of Eurasia, capture some precious memories to narrate to others and seek out the familiar India within that land! If you vote for me, I could do all this for real! Pls vote here: http://turkeytourism.in/contest-entries.php?cid=2&ceid=71

This post is an entry in the “Million Stories” Contest sponsored by the Turkish Embassy, India.


April 25, 2013

A meet description in verse

Filed under: blogmeets — Twilight Fairy @ 10:44 pm

One sunny April afternoon,
I excitedly rushed to a blogger’s music meet,
and quickly reached the venue,
For I wanted the front seat!

 

The restaurant was quite full,
The chairs were few,
I saw some old faces,
A lot of them new.

 

Soon the program started,
And along came Prateek Shah,
Who had people introduce themselves uniquely
And the audience doing wah wah.

 

Fun was had, along with introductions,
Imagine a male couple ball dance,
The audience chose all the next participants,
and a lot of people got their 15 minute fame’s chance.

 

Soon a presentation by HP was shared,
and a music demo to everyone was given,
Some HP hi-def headphones were also awarded,
and the audience seemed driven.

 

This was followed by a much needed break,
Variety in beverages & a sumptuous snack,
Hotel Garden Inn’s high tea menu was so varied,
No one could refrain from a food attack!

 

The last part of the day,
Was what everyone was awaiting,
Our tweets with music titles had been filtered,
And people’s breaths were bating,

 

A lucky girl won an HP laptop
for tweeting Pink Floyd’s “Hey you”.
She was followed by a lucky guy,
who had managed to tweet a pre-chosen song too.

 

I immensely enjoyed the meet,
Thanks Indiblogger and Hp connected,
I didn’t win the bumper prize,
That has definitely been regretted!

 

So here’s hoping that,
this blogger meet description in verse,
will be liked by the organisers,
and a laptop I’ll manage to coerce!


June 10, 2011

Google guitar – Chura liya hai

Filed under: music,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 12:11 am

As you might be aware (unless you live under the rock that google dominates), today’s google logo was dedicated to Les Paul (you can quickly forget who this was). Not only is it in the shape of a guitar’s chords, it is also interactive. So you can hover your mouse over the chords and “pluck” & “strum” by just moving the mouse! Clicking the keyboard shaped thingy converts your keyboard into a mini casio with (barely) one octave. So all day today, several enthusiasts (read everyone who wandered to the google homepage) have been playing music on it and making very productive use of their time. This reminds me of the day the google logo had a Pacman game in it. It was so popular that google obviously kept it even later. I am hoping we would be able to strum the google guitar after today as well.

 

For some part of my day, I was intermittently going back to the google guitar and trying to figure out the tune of “Chura liya”. So here I present to all you enthu folks – the full song’s “codes” which can be played on the keyboard. Please note, since these are just letters and not sheet music, you would have to figure out the pauses & the speed of the music yourself. Hopefully you would be able to, since it’s a fairly common song. Also since the sharps & flats are not available in this mini keyboard, in some places, the tune would be just “coming close to” the actual tune and may not be “exactly same”. In case you are unable to access the guitar at google.com, try google.uk or google.us. Later the logo would be available at google.com/logos .

Initial strumming – dh ;kjhdh ;kjhfh ;kjhsj ;ljhgdgdgkjhjhjhjh

Lyrics – hhkjhhjhgs hhjkjhjhg hhkjhhjhgs hhkjhhjhg
lll;;lj lll;;lj lkjhkjhkjhkjhh
hjklll;l kjhjkkkk hjklll;l kjhjkjhh
lll;;lj lll;;lj lkjhkjhkjhkjhh hhkj

 

 

.. if we still have google’s guitar with us beyond tomorrow, I’ll try and record what I played & update this post. As Manmohan Singh would have put it, Enjaai. :)


June 28, 2010

Mad about “Castle”?

Filed under: media,twitter — Twilight Fairy @ 8:46 pm

I like watching “Castle” on Star World, a “Dramedy” (Drama + Comedy) based in a crime setting that is shown everyday from 10pm-11pm, Mon to Thurs in India. Of course the series is running behind in terms of what is shown in the US (where the 2nd season has finished already).

Only 2 episodes are left for 2nd season to finish in India, but fret not if you like this series, a 3rd season is in the offing. Not every episode of the series is path breaking and definitely could do better, however irrespective of that, I like culling out a lot from any stuff that I watch on TV. So I often watch it for the visuals, for what Richard Castle’s home decor is like, what fancy activities he indulges in, at home with Alexis, what photographs he puts on his walls, what fashion his mother and daughter follow, what meals they are eating or what accessories Kate Beckett wears when she does dress up for partying and hence I find the series overall engaging.

In the series, the characters regularly use twitter, especially Richard Castle. In one episode, they even show Richard Castle & Kate Beckett finding out their victim’s whereabouts by doing a twitter search! However this post isn’t really about the series and is instead more about the people in the cast. Since nowadays twitter is the rage and it seems anyone & everyone has some presence here, needless to say the Castle team also does. I did some research and this is what I could find about the twitter presence of the “Castle” cast.

Stana Katic as Kate Beckett  - @stana_katic

Nathan Fillion as Richard Castle  - @nathanfillion

There’s also another (official) account for the character Richard Castle which tweets as an author of crime bestsellers only – @WriteRCastle

Jon Huertas as Detective Javier Esposito– @Jon_Huertas

Tamala Jones as Dr. Lanie Parish – @tamalajones

Molly C Quinn as Alexis Castle – couldn’t find her on twitter as the real her, but there’s an account @alexiscastle (seems to be offical as well) that tweets in character as Richard Castle’s daughter. This id interacts regularly with @WriteRCastle as her dad.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Cpt. Roy Montgomery – couldn’t find him on twitter.

Susan Sullivan as Martha Rodgers – couldn’t find her on twitter.

Seamus Dever as Kevin Ryan – couldn’t find him on twitter.

Alyssa Milano as Kyra Blaine in Season 2, episode 12, “A Rose for Everafter” – @Alyssa_Milano

There’s an account on twitter called @CastleTweets which seems to be an official twitter id for the team’s comments including the actors, producers etc.

Michael Trucco is Kate Beckett’s new love interest in “Castle” and it seems it is an experiment to see who suits the chemistry better. Needless to say Richard Castle wins hands down here for his boyish charm.

All “Castle” fans, till we get to “Castle” Season 3, you can survive on the information above :)

 


June 18, 2010

Evanescence – my fine art photography show

Filed under: delhi,gurgaon,personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 3:14 am

After publicising my first solo fine art photography show, Evanescence [pronounciation], all over my online “properties”, I realised I hadn’t blogged about it at all! (Though I did microblog it on twitter if that counts). The main reason why I didn’t, was because I think no one reads my blog anyway :P since I am more active on twitter, so if you are reading this pliss let me know. Another reason was that I hadn’t officially blogged about the very important, life altering, transition from my IT industry job as a Project Manager to a totally new avatar – A photographer and a Social media consultant (More on that later).  This is also a feeble attempt to add ‘normal’ content to my blog and not just use it for digital activism.

So here goes! It gives me great pleasure to invite you to my first solo photography show!

About the exhibition

Evanescence - my fine art photography show

Evanescence denotes things which are transient. They could be events, people, objects, thoughts, feelings, glances or moments which are ephemeral in nature. But they certainly do exist and that presence has been captured by me in this series. Through “Evanescence”, I string together various slices of life with shots snatched from the streets, fleeting moments seized just before they disappeared or almost imperceptible moments of history grabbed from eras gone by.

Opening : 6pm till 9pm on May 28, 2010 (there were some rather exotic snacks and drinks)
Venue : Bagel’s Café, D-140, The Shopping Mall, Arjun Marg, DLF City I, Gurgaon
Exhibition Dates : May 28, 2010 till July 8, July 22, 2010 (Update: date extended by 2 weeks!)
Opening Times : Daily 8am to 10pm

The showcased photographs are available as Limited Edition prints.

The map of the location is here and a rather cool embedded thingy here.

View “Evanescence” at Bagel’s Cafe, Gurgaon in a larger map


RSVP – twilightfairy at gmail.com, # nine eight one one five one one seven one nine

It’s on for 1.5 months, so see you there!


February 9, 2010

It’s a Woe-man’s world

Filed under: creative writing,DesiPundit,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 3:45 pm

Recently Mail Today asked me to write an anecdotal article for them. It got published on 31st Jan’10 (best viewed in IE).  Here’s the unedited version of the article (which has one anecdote extra). Awaiting bouquets/brickbats in comments. :)

It’s a Woe-Man’s world

“Some husbands are living proof that a woman can take a joke”. How else does one explain the umpteen number of smart, intelligent, independent women getting married to chauvinists & changing their entire outlook for that mandatory milestone in life that we call “marriage”? They believe they need to either do that, or get slotted into the “failure” category. I see some of them living double lives – one when they are outside the home and one when they are under scrutiny of their in-laws.

Gone are the days when the typical matrimony setup had the boy’s family visiting the girl’s with the girl coyly handing out tea & demonstrating her obligatory culinary/sewing/singing/knitting (take your pick) skills. Cut to the present – now families meet in public places a.k.a. crowded cafes where the ‘boy’ & the ‘girl’ are given some time alone after both parties size each other in noisy environs & wonder who’ll foot the bill. Most such meetings end up poorly (literally) since there’s hardly any interaction before the two parties meet, no picture exchange, the only conversations on phone being limited to the “elders”. The entire premise is based on the concept of suitable “bio data” where almost everyone writes things like “hobbies – listening to music” and at most horoscope matching. The ‘boy’ & ‘girl’ in question usually squirm under the scrutiny of the opposite party, utter obligatory nonsense and return back with the real picture getting clearer much later with a phone call. One figures that the only “type” one would meet under these circumstances are “mama’s boys”.

A better method still, some “boys” & “girls” and sometimes even entire families, hang around on matrimonial websites a.k.a. glorified dating sites (& other unmentionable terms in a family newspaper). The goal for at least some of us, is to meet educated, employed, decent AND available men (the last being a very important attribute since most available men lack the first three qualities). But the assumption that one would meet such men beyond the realm of their mother’s pallus, shatters soon enough with the kind of experiences one faces on such sites.

Take for instance the typical “orkut fraandsheep request” type users who flock the site, spamming anyone with a profile, after all it takes only a click. Or the freeloaders with a daily income less than the cost of a peanut butter jar, who can’t write to save their life. I’ve been contacted by men between the ages of 21-62, with professions as varied as “Sweeper” to “Zamindar”, marital status ranging from divorcee-with-2-kids to got-married-a-month-back-now-separated. Some weirdos give reasons like “I’ve no problem with the age difference of just 6 months but my parents want an age difference of at least 3 years” as if its the parents who were going to wed me. Some (including the weirdo category) forget having been written off via a previous profile of theirs & reconnect anyway, when they create a new profile all over again. The online world does give freedom of expression but seemingly the parental pallu extends here too at times! Right from being called up early one morning by an NRI who was ensuring that I was female, thanks to a bad experience with a gay masquerading as a girl on a matrimonial site, to hearing about how one “profile user” stole another’s credit card when they met, to people plagiarizing someone elses pictures & passing them off as their own forgetting that SOME day they’ll meet people they contact, to the people one rejects stalking one on ones social networking profiles – I’ve seen it all!

But don’t take me to be “choosy” just yet. I went through the matrimonial process for many years, putting in my entire free time into the search & approached it very methodically. Taking a cue from another “organised user”, to make sense of the information overload, I maintained excel sheets for the various people I contacted & those who contacted me. The sheet got updated daily with the meticulousness & dedication I would assign only to my finances. Talking of finances, I might as well add, working in the IT industry for several years put me in a decent salary bracket & allowed me to possess my own car and house. With time, I moved out of my parents place and started living independently in the aforementioned house & swooshed around the city in the aforementioned car. Now that is considered a very bad move as far as the marriage market is concerned. I instantly got typecasted into the “fiercely independent” category and I could imagine the rejection thought process of the parents of prospective grooms – “live in boyfriends”, “can’t adjust into family”, you get the picture. Having a head between my shoulders, that actually does think & opine, does not help matters either. With time, taking cue from some online matrimonial profiles which stated clearly that they were looking for people earning as much or above their salary level, I added something to that effect in my profile as well. As expected I received mixed results. Some people could identify with it, whereas a lot of others contacted me on the sites only to harass me for the “attitude”. One guy wrote “You have such proud (sic), just coz u have lakshmi ki kripa.” That response was just begging for a reply & got it. I wrote “Yes, I am blessed with Lakshmi ki kripa, but you aren’t even blessed with Saraswati ki kripa — you can’t even write properly!”. Another user with misplaced patriotism contacted me just to tell me “You Pakis! Just go back to your country!” because my profile stated that my grandparents had migrated during partition from what is now Pakistan!

Even the traditional methods like matrimonial ads in newspapers or getting details of eligible matches through family friends & relatives yield similar results. In one particular instance the family seemed great, the “boy” seemed charming & possessed the four above mentioned attributes. Everything seemed just picture perfect. The family wanted to meet me & my parents at their place. Eventually we met & they instantly adopted me as their would-be daughter-in-law. The “boy’s” mom couldn’t stop fawning over me and kept gushing about something or the other. So much sudden love completely freaked me out. But it all fell into place when the hyperexcited mom of the boy in question took me aside & gave me a short lecture about how men are always careless, fickle minded, naughty and give in to temptations and how it was up to “us women”, the honourable creatures who could hold fort in such situations. Later the “boy” confessed to having been caught by his parents in a compromising position with a, well … friend. Ekta Kapoor’s serials had not started then, else the gushing mother in law, would have been quite the perfect caricature!

Even if one ignores the rotten apples, it’s a fact that most men in the marriage market have their expectations arising from the typical image of a wife who is “gharelu”, submissive, doesn’t talk back and “obeys”, perhaps created by the way we are brought up. Didn’t some elders say, TV is the root cause of all evil? It certainly rings true in this context.

Is it a crime if a woman is more successful or smarter than her better half? Well most men take that as a sign of their own failure. Some of my classmates from engineering, well educated people with good family backgrounds, actually wanted a wife who would NOT work after marriage! Strangely they never had a problem dating their own ambitious classmates from college but when it comes to the “wife search” it’s perhaps more about the apprehensions of these men than about the attributes of the women they look for! Surprisingly having a sister who also aspires to be independent doesn’t make any difference when the search for another female family member commences. The hypocrisy continues. I have observed that parents who believe in stereotypes mostly impose them on their progeny too. Someone who has the freedom to make his/her own choices is the kind of person who would also respect his better half’s choices & not get intimidated by them. The search for that kind of someone is still on, but till the time, the elusive groom who fits required attributes and does NOT get intimidated by me, comes, I go by what Carrie Bradshaw says “Why get married and make one man miserable when I can stay single and make thousands miserable?”


January 24, 2010

My Jodhpur travel-microlog

Filed under: DesiPundit,holiday,personal,travel,twitter — Twilight Fairy @ 10:32 pm

Recently I went on a trip to Jodhpur. During that time I was using twitter to update whatever came into my mind “on the spot” and also to document my trip for a later revisit. Many people asked me if there’s one place where all my updates, spread over a period of 6 days, can be seen together, so here it is!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jan 3rd

final packing happening for Jodhpur. train seems to be on time. # 6:37 PM Jan 3rd from Seesmic

Seated in the train. en route to jodhpur. my dad just dropped me, @mojosanjay n his wifey at sarai rohilla station. quaint place. # 10:09 PM Jan 3rd from mobile web

And we’ve embarked on our journey on time! had forgotten Wat its like to peer out of the door of a moving train :p # 10:40 PM Jan 3rd from mobile web

Seems i was right all along! the great indian tweetup shall happen on the train! @shivamvij is in same coach as us! # 12:06 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Looks like i just shocked @shivamvij outta his wits! by identifying him in the same coach n introducing myself :p # 12:25 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

The ppl in my timeline currently in a train- @mojosanjay @shivamvij @bdutt @s4sukhdeep n of course me # 12:31 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

@shivamvij i was anyway gonna ask u, even if Twitter hadnt existed. btw guy under ur berth – his eyes almost popped out when u squealed :p # 12:35 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

settling down with @ashokbanker’s gods of war. # AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Jan 4th

Our train’s running at least 2hrs late :| . rajasthan is covered with fog # 10:36 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Forgot to carry extra AAA cells for my mp3 player else u all may have got live commentary on my music like in my bhopal trip :p # 11:39 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

Omg! the train’s so late they’ve started taking orders for lunch! kab padharenge tumro desh? on a good note the sun popped out just now! # 11:55 AM Jan 4th from mobile web

@mojosanjay sounds like brain biryani that u get in chandNi chowk. eww # 12:04 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Just told @mojosanjay n wifey abt how once @culdivsac almost missed getting onto a train in search of a cola bar. chain pulled.much drama. # 12:12 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

For year 2009: 5 most popular tweeple are @gulpanag @shashitharoor @b50 @twilightfairy @anaggh Check http://is.gd/5H7ze ^AK # 12:43 PM Jan 4th from web Retweeted by you and 4 others

Finally reached.quite sunny n warm here. quaint place devi bhavan. made of sandstone n lotsa bougainvillea. feel sleepy now # 1:58 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Liking sunny jodhpur. every city i goto i want to own real estate! # 3:07 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Sitting with owners of the place where we r staying who turn out to b family friends of @mojosanjay’s wife! # 4:01 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

They tell us they own the property where most of dor was shot with @gulpanag it was just before its renovation. will check it out # 4:03 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

@paavani there’s no such thing as free lunch or stay :p btw i uploaded a flickr pic before leaving @mojosanjay # 4:04 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

At nai sarak. not v different from the one in delhi. ear muffs seem to be the rage here! all hawkers wear them too # 5:53 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

And @mojosanjay just got pushed by a calf as he was standing in its way! survival of the fittest. or should i say the horniest :p # 5:58 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Having a camera is like a magnet for all street kids shouting hello n wanting their pic clicked. if u oblige they ask for money! # 6:18 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

Beautiful twilight shots i got. saw some shops selling funny looking vaseline in green colour! most ppl r interested in getting clicked # 6:52 PM Jan 4th from mobile web

M in august company! thanks 2 all ye followers! RT @90di: 5 most poplr tweeple yr 2009: @gulpanag @shashitharoor @b50 @twilightfairy @anaggh # 7:01 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Now that @iamsrk is here, no chance for us mortals to make it to any popular top lists # :p 7:05 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Can anyone suggest a good restaurant in jodhpur pref rajasthani cuisine. nothing too fancy # 7:53 PM Jan 4th from dabr

Jan 5th

i always wonder about olden times Wen i see heritage. Planning to cover the mehrangarh fort tomorrow. # 12:32 AM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sky is an incredible azure blue in jodhpur. lovely. almost like ladakh # 3:40 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Spent the day at mehrangarh. now watching durrie making in progress. some local artisans singing their version of Nimbuda. # 3:52 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@madversity yes i know. @vijaybainsla err no never seen green vaseline ever @pritishnandy delhi in jeans n shirt? :) Wat were u thinking :p # 4:38 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Looks like ‘top 5 in 2009′ khitaab by @90di has got me many new followers. welcome ppl, hope to keep u interested n make it worth ur time # 4:42 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Out of the top 5 in 2009 by @90di – m following all & m also being followed by all except @shashitharoor. wonder when he wd if he does :p # 4:59 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

ravikapoor">.@ravikapoor one assumes that if @shashitharoor wd follow non-celebs like us it might make him more aware of wat WE want in our govt? # 5:49 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Caught some sunlight at the golden hour. saw the blue city from the fort. the sounds of the city travel far.almost a person it is like. # 5:54 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

Unfortunate truth- every fort i’ve visited has ppl peeing on the parapets! confronting them makes them turn a deaf ear. disgusting behaviour # 6:00 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sun has set. azaan calling out. the whole city’s reverberating with that.twinkling lights r slowly coming on in the blue city of jodhpur # 6:02 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@flyyoufools wanted to shame them by clicking their pic. but realised its least of their concerns. nothing shames such freaks # 6:06 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

twilight time! took long exposure shots. used my purse as tripod. lovely shades in the sky # 6:33 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

The sandstone path. the swallows chirruping. the wind blowing. the maharanis would have passed all this before making sati marking on walls! # 6:44 PM Jan 5th from mobile web

@ravikapoor m sure all celebs like @shashitharoor get bombarded with info, bt dunno how much of it is relevant.hence “normal” ppl suggestion # 10:49 PM Jan 5th from Seesmic in reply to RaviKapoor

almost every shop in Jodhpur writes “recommended by lonely planet” for itself! along with some french mag names too. smart at marketing # 11:01 PM Jan 5th from Seesmic

Jan 6th

Smelt lot of ittar today at the fort.one was opium. smelt like incense sticks. one was called monsoon. did smell a bit like the rain on mud! # 12:26 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

Off to ossiyan for the day. agenda is to see the temples, camel ride, check out fort used for shooting of dor # 10:39 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

to All followers esp new ones – m currently travelling n have limited connectivity via phone. frequent replies not possible.pliss to adjust # 11:26 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

@enbose thanks. did u mean don’t get fogged out? jodhpur is sunny n bright :) # 11:32 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

Sitting in a vehicle without a seat belt on makes me really uncomfortable. sadly the ones in backseats of most cabs r mere showpieces # 11:34 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

What is it about the winters n the warm sun that makes one so sleepy! # 11:57 AM Jan 6th from mobile web

First stop! the haveli ummedgarh where @gulpanag’s dor was shot. girish karnad stayed here in the film. the place is full of pigeons # 12:09 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Tikam chand from the haveli says hi to @gulpanag :) # 12:10 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

A central courtyard around which the main house builds up. a tulsi plant in the designated corner.oh for the want of space in modern houses! # 12:29 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

@aparnaandhare yeah i don’t have a courtyard :p one always wants more n more greenery :) # 1:04 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Out from the different world that was ummedgarh. the silence only broken by pigeons taking flight, sparrows, parrots n bulbuls tweeting. # 1:07 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Just saw some windmills in jodhpur. the driver tells us that they belong to @juniorbachchan n ash! they get carbon credits for it # 1:23 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Saw very few solar panels in rajasthan considering the sun they get. on that note, reached sun temples now # 1:25 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Just had bajra roti with ghee n gud/gul at a local dhaba. # 4:17 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Riding on camel back n tweeting :p the camel standing up was really rotfl thing # 4:46 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Off the camel back now. plan to watch the sunset from the sand dunes. # 5:13 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Done with the sunset. n took some silhouette shots. the sun goes down really fast in the last leg # 6:01 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

One more camel ride done n we r on our way back to jodhpur.the camel owners held my hair in their hands to check if it was real! much fun # 6:29 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

one camels name was maanak. the other was paapu. 6 & 8 yr old respectively. shitting n pissing all the time. :p apart from giving bumpy ride # 6:40 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

@om not really :)  @madversity hardly straw like :p @pathfyynder was there today # 8:53 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Looks like bollywood was there in autoexpo today. much like they r now on Twitter. just saw @iamsrk on news thanking us Twitter ppl! # 10:35 PM Jan 6th from mobile web

Jan 7th

Delhi u better get the fog outta the way by the time i get back from sunny jodhpur. almost got sunburnt yesterday # 9:22 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

Though i’ve driven in zero visibility fog many times n had lot of fun it can be done without. # 9:26 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

pigs n beautiful peacocks scavenging the same garbage dump together. yeh mera india. # 9:34 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

In jodhpur ppl seem to love driving on the wrong side. yes more than in delhi. auto drivers seem to be on a permanent opium diet. they sway. # 9:36 AM Jan 7th from mobile web

At bal samand lake palace. beautiful place. bt surprisingly not a single soul cd b spotted to direct us around.wandered around huge estate # 2:02 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Saw a colony of bats on a banyan tree. for the 1st time in my life i found them ‘cute’.they wrapped their huge wings like blankets arnd self # 2:06 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

seen mehrangarh,nai sarak,osian village,mandore garden,balsamand palace in jodhpur.Wat else is worth? ummed bhavan has 3500 cover charge # 4:09 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy quite nice weather here. no fog. comfy warm sun. nights r chilly. a nice azure blue sky to boot. # 5:31 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy @hiway i know ppl who r scared of anything that moves :) # 5:34 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

so we weren’t even allowed near ummed bhavan cos museum closes at 5.main hotel has cover charges of 3500 per person just to enter! no thanks # 5:39 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@pritishnandy it is quite nice indeed :) i like quiet places n the place where we r is one such place. balsamand lake palace is another # 5:49 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@austereseeker none at all. din let us get past the gate! not even to exterior. # 5:51 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@lakshmi_h was planning to add hashtag but it takes up precious real estate in tweets. m likely to put all related tweets manually in a post # 5:54 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Now sitting by the pool. the sun’s gone down. sounds of an egret like bird r filling the area. @ashokbanker’s gods of war for company # 6:09 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

@anaggh my pic uploading is quite bad :| .. will try to make one album or a travelogue or something.. may write for a paper too # 6:52 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to anaggh

me there too RT @mojosanjay: sitting by the blue pool at the hotel, in lush green, here’s a pic of what i see http://tweetphoto.com/8198662 # 7:00 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic

@Twindhu no its the pool at devi bhawan, where we r staying @mojosanjay # 7:52 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to Twindhu

@pritishnandy ”myinnisfree” is a place? or u have ur own place in every city? :) # 8:07 PM Jan 7th from Seesmic in reply to PritishNandy

Plan to goto bishnoi village tomorrow. hope to spot a blackbuck , a chinkara or two. will shoot but not like salman khan # 11:07 PM Jan 7th from mobile web

Jan 8th

On our way to bishnoi village. in an open jeep! covered up in shawls. comfy. but can’t imagine a stunt like this in delhi at all # 8:37 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Salman blackbuck shooting seems to be the high point in the history of this village. all references start with that. sad in a way # 8:40 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Baba ramdev seems to be quite popular here in jodhpur. his face seems to have launched a million health centres. # 8:43 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Saw a potter at work. not the harry kinds. i tried my hand at the wheel too! got the cliched potter wheel shots too # 10:09 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

@cgawker thank u sire. to Wat do i owe this pleasure? # 10:13 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

Saw the opium making ‘ceremony’. tasted a few drops. extremely bitter. calm n serene mud houses. fat & unafraid sparrows pecking on millet. # 11:12 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

@flyyoufools yeah? i said ‘fly you fools’ to those fat sparrows. they din even bother. kept munching the millet :p # 11:22 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

now at a weavers place. showing us how he weaves durries. m being the good samaritan by translating for some foreigners n the weaver :) # 11:30 AM Jan 8th from mobile web

The wildlife part of our trip was an anticlimax. got to see only deer n neelgai. no chinkara no blackbuck. the buck’s stopped here. # 12:28 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Done some shopping. enjoying the sun before dreaded dhundh in delhi. photography in old city now. have had my fill of kids asking for money # 4:37 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

The shopkeepers here r v smart. keeping in mind the clientele they put up toilet paper rolls at the entrance of shops.like the nimbu mirchi. # 6:06 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Ok jodhpur i m NOT a foreigner dammit.its getting to the point of harassing the way everyone comes n says hello wats ur name n asks for foto # 8:09 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Our safar back to delhi has just started becoming suffer. seems train is 2hrs late from jodhpur.dunno how much it would be further # 8:14 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Ok jodhpur i m NOT a foreigner dammit.its getting to the point of harassing the way everyone comes n says hello wats ur name n asks for foto # 8:09 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

@zigzackly actually they see the camera n want their foto only, not mine. but its quite harassing – the zoo display animal feeling # 8:17 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

@cgawker ah so its all good then :p. M back to city life by tomorrow # 8:21 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Thank u all for the follow fridays. finally i realise its a friday. regular programming to continue from next week # 10:02 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Sitting in the jhoola opposite the pond with the koi fish. at this time i should’ve been in my train instead. its so damn late. groan # 10:19 PM Jan 8th from mobile web

Finally seated in the train. still a lot of time to departure. this trip would have been best as a road trip in a car # 12:35 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Goodbye blue skies of jodhpur. goodbye starry nights. hello white wall of fog aka delhi # 12:47 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

The indian railway coach we r in, is one of the worst i’ve seen in a long time. filthy & modified in a way that the end seats r compromised # 1:04 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

All those asking, its AC2 not even 3rd AC. now requested TT & exchanged the berths with better ones # 1:49 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Jan 9th

areas near alwar seem sunny in parts. hope delhi is too. # 11:03 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

The jodhpur travel microlog has come to an end. thanks to those who kept writing in betwn. removed the illusions of it being a monologue # 11:06 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

@nithinkd that’s good news. sara credit khud hee? :p i got the warm sunshine from jodhpur too :) # 11:08 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Khatara AC2 coach that we r in doesn’t even have plug points for charging! no blue night light either. total fail! # 11:18 AM Jan 9th from mobile web

Reached ncr now. hope to reach our station soon. # 1:18 PM Jan 9th from mobile web

back to home sweet home after the jodhpur trip and finally online.. what did I miss in the past week ppl? # 7:32 PM Jan 9th from Seesmic


September 22, 2009

Considering an HP laptop? Think again

Filed under: Customer grievances,DesiPundit,gurgaon,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 4:30 pm
Once upon a time, I purchased a fancy laptop from HP. And my life was never the same again in a rather unpleasant way, starting, the moment I parted with 65K of my hard earned money. This is the sordid saga of my tryst with HP. Read on, especially if you have ever so much as even dreamt of starting a consumer relationship with HP. My problems with HP started when I purchased a laptop from them 3+ years back in July 2006. It has been only a nightmare which refuses to get over. I would appreciate all the help I can get, in sharing this sorry tale with ppl who matter, in HP or out of it and planning to “purchase” HP.

Right from that time in July 2006, when I was given a different config than what was paid for (I was told by the person – Mr. Chandan – who took my order on the net/phone, that I would get a headset with mike along with the laptop, but got “earbuds” instead), TO the time I had to run after HP for first taking payment from me for extended warranty and then for more weeks for sharing with me my care pack warranty details (even though the money had been withdrawn from my bank account for weeks & no one reverted to my correspondence!), TO the time when I had to get my notebook’s problems actually rectified (which has been the worst experience which has still not gotten over) — it has just been a nightmare I would rather wake up from than have to deal with HP ever again.

Over time, my HP laptop predictably developed a lot of problems. The DVD drive would not read any media in spite of cleaning several times (forget burning any media), the card reader did not work, the fan had just stopped working, the laptop would get so heated up that one could fry an egg on it. And the worst was that it would just shut down without me powering it off! I was still trying to make do when one fine day, the display on the LCD just blanked out and I had to eventually get over the rightly founded apprehension of interacting with HP customer care and approach them once more. For getting repairs done, (this started in Jan 2009), I first had a brush with MM9′s service centre’s bad customer service to whom I had submitted my laptop for all the above mentioned problems. MM9 first returned the laptop saying that they had cleaned & dusted up everything and that now it was all ok. When I verified it, it was certainly not so! I have no idea how they could even try passing something off as OK when it was clearly NOT. Then they admitted that some parts were indeed not functioning and ordered those parts and told me to wait. I waited for a whole of 3 months and nothing happened at all. Then I wrote to Customer care and I was told by a Ms. Shivani Gogna, to go through the entire process once AGAIN with RT outsourcing since MM9′s contract for servicing personal laptops had expired by Mar’09! The lack of transition processes within HP itself, is not even something I would dwell upon compared to the problems they introduced in my life later.

As told to me, I submitted my laptop at the RT outsourcing service centre for fixing of the problems.  Ms. Gogna assigned someone called Mr. Harjinder Singh, for handling the tech related issues. In spite of there being people assigned for a simple job, the incompetent staff at RT outsourcing went ahead and formatted my laptop HDD without even informing me, leave alone doing it WITH MY PERMISSION! I am appalled at the way HP treats its customers. I was told to take a backup and submit the laptop. I took a backup of my “personal data”. However no one told me that my HDD wd be formatted and no one even asked me once whether they shd indeed proceed. This is not only standard protocol but basic common sense! Before submitting my laptop when I had shown reluctance in giving my HDD along with it, I was told by Mr. Gopal Singh, who heads RT outsourcing, that any installation or removal of software will happen only with my permission. The same protocol had been confirmed later by a Mr Jitender Das, who is Mr. Harjinder’s boss. However as can be seen no one bothered to contact the customer in this case at all! All the software, the settings, the tweaking, and a lot of licensed software for which I do not have installers anymore since they were taken from the internet via “free for a day” kind of schemes – are all gone. Such softwares are free only for a limited time and are paid softwares after that. If I add up the actual costs of these softwares that I got for free in such schemes, they would come close to the cost of the laptop itself!
To add insult to the injury, the staff at RT outsourcing, specifically a Mr. Deepak Jain (In charge – Bench operation) had the audacity to misbehave with me! Not only did he behave rudely on phone when I tried finding the status of my submitted laptop, he totally insulted me personally later when I went to the service centre to collect the laptop. After my HDD got unceremoniously formatted and I complained about it, amongst other misbehaviour, he had the audacity to say “tum ro kyon rahe ho!!” (“why are you crying” – a very crude way of describing “complaining”). I am shocked at their way to talk to a customer who’s rightfully complaining of what stupidity has been done at the hands of the incompetent staff. Is complaining equivalent to crying? He also made exasperated faces at me all this while! I can not even describe how stunned I am to see this kind of customer service. Not only this, he tried imposing his imagination (lies) on me by saying that I had “been told” that the HDD would be formatted. Later he had to eat his own words when he checked the mail that was sent to me by RT outsourcing which did not even use the word “format” anywhere in the content and which certainly did not indicate that my machine would be formatted, let alone my approval on it. Even after this he kept arguing with me that “taking backup” means “formatting of hdd”. It definitely seems HP has employed illiterate idiotic ppl as customer care front desk staff who care 2 hoots about customers & a decent service they are supposed to offer.
I am an engineer myself and I KNOW that formatting of the HDD was not even required to begin with considering the components that were changed. The change of card reader meant changing the motherboard. HOWEVER that does NOT require a formatting of the Hard disk. Verbally their engineer  Neeraj, who formatted the disk told me that he did it because he was unable to install the device drivers of the card reader! He then “supposed” that this was due to presence of a virus. In order to remove the virus from my HDD, he formatted it. Clearly HP’s incompetent staff has never heard of anti virus software. Nor do they know the words “processes”, “permissions”, “customer”.
When I followed it up in mails, Mr. Gopal singh had the audacity to send me a scanned copy of the “service call report” which stated that in case of HDD failure, the HDD “may require” a format. However he forgot that not only was there NO HDD failure and instead it was his staffs incompetency which led to the format, but most importantly, there were no signatures of mine on that scrap that he scanned!
Apart from all the extreme harassment at RT outsourcing, & the formatting of my HDD for no technical reason & without permission, they not only had never bothered to fix all the technical faults, they even introduced new ones of their own. The DVD burner which was replaced made so much noise that it was impossible not to notice it before saying that it works fine. Even the replaced parts are not tested & verified for their smooth functioning. Somebody in fact damaged my Altec Lansing Speakers which were possibly the best attribute of this model of the laptop. It’s amazing to note that they do not bother to run a check to see if everything is functioning fine before they handover the laptop!
I had to continuously follow this up, and get the speakers changed. After this ordeal I installed some of the software on to the now formatted drive. Somehow the drivers of my camera did not work at all on this disk anymore. HP took my laptop again and tried to rectify this by running some registry cleaners. However they were not successful in doing that. Ultimately they resorted to the only thing that they are capable of doing – formatting the hard disk. So another formatted HDD was fitted into my laptop on which once more I had to toil to install everything.
After this got done, I realised that some incompetent person at HP had damaged my laptop panel and then tried to do a botched job of hiding it by sticking the broken piece with feviquick! (I’ll upload pictures of this later, I have them with me). Once I got this panel changed their staff just vanished from my life as if the problems had finished!
During this entire ordeal, I followed up this matter with HP (Mr Harjinder Singh & Ms. Shivani Gogna to begin with) and asked them to communicate the following in written:
1. The technical reason behind the formatting of my laptop HDD (in written) stating why was it even required.
2. The action that has been taken against the person who authorised formatting of my HDD.
3. The action that has been taken against Mr. Deepak who misbehaved with me.
4. A response to how they are going to procure the software that I do not have installers for. The list had already been shared with them in writing.
5. The reason why no one even BOTHERED to test the DVD drive given to me. Surely with so much noise that it made, no one in his/her right mind would call it new. Action against the person who verified its OK status.
6. Action/compensation that HP is going to take/give resp. about all the inconvenience I have suffered so far at the hands of its staff, including loss of data, harassment and unavailability of my laptop causing me further professional loss.
Till date I have not received any response from them in writing. What I have got over the phone after my follow up ONLY, is that they will get back to me & that the person who misbehaved would be given a notice. They have expressed their inability to do anything about the other points. I have still not been told the technical reason for the formatting of my Hard disk in writing. I would like to know what HP can do for my loss and I would like HP to take the strictest action possible against not only the person who did not have the insight to inform me or ASK me first but also Mr. Deepak Jain, whose idea of customer service means first causing damage to customer’s equipment & then insulting the customer! Mr. Harjinder & Ms. Shivani Gogna do not believe in the written word. They in fact had conf calls with me and even went to the extent of talking about me as if I wasnt there “If she wants it in written, give it in written Harjinder” is what Ms. Shivani Gogna told Mr. Harjinder, a style I find quite offending & unprofessional. However in spite of this I have never received any correspondence about above mentioned matters.
After raising a lot of hell with these incompetent and unprofessional people, Mr. Jitender Das was roped in. He took care of the hardware aspect and then disappeared. I called him multiple times and EACH time I was told by him that he’ll get back to me, that he was in a meeting, that he would call me that very evening. I had even told him that I am already facing another problem in my machine! Yet it has been 2 months to those reminders of mine as well. In the interim I had also happened to talk to a Customer care representative called Mr. Shekhar, when my technical problems had not been rectified & the laptop had been returned full of problems. I had then narrated the whole saga to him (arnd May’09) and he told me that I would be given extended warranty free of cost. After this he completely disappeared. When I followed up again and again and managed to get in touch with him again after 4 months, he said that the matter had already been closed because his staff said all problems are ok!! I had to remind him that he is the customer care in charge, not the staff care in charge and it is highly unprofessional of him to let his “staff” decide whether my problem has been solved or not! Clearly HP hasn’t taught even their customer care ppl that one needs to ask the CUSTOMER whether the problem is ok and NOT the staff! All this in spite of the fact that he said he’ll get back to me with extended warranty! This time also I clearly told him that my machine has developed further problems. At times it doesnt start up at all. The light just goes on and off. If it does start its CMOS settings get reset each time. Obviously even technical faults in the machine are of no concern to HP. Both Mr Jitender Das & Mr. Shekhar from Customer Care, have not bothered to get back to me about anything. During this process I had even written to Ms. Neelam Dhawan, MD, HP India, and as expected I never received any response.
The last I heard from Ms. Shivani Gogna was in April while the last I heard from Mr. Harjinder singh was on 5th May. After that Mr. Jitender was the sole contact who vanished after early August and never got back in touch. The last I spoke to Mr. Shekar was 2.5 weeks back when he told me that he’ll get back to me in a week. Clearly the extra weeks has been no use to him except for perhaps formulating what seems to be clearly HP’s strategy to avoid the customer till their warranty runs out – in my case it finishes on 28th September’09.
Forget basic etiquette from HP customer care, if you buy a laptop from them, beware – you would be running after them for the rest of your life, till your warranty runs out. I will never EVER buy an HP product ever again and advise you to do the same if you want some sanity left in your life.
UPDATE:
I have just been told by some internal sources at HP that my case has been marked “closed” in June and that my response has been written as “completely satisfied”. It’s appalling to see that HP is indulging in not only unethical but ILLEGAL activities by fabricating customer responses and closing issues of their own will! Least surprisingly, I am unable to log in another complaint from their site as I am getting an error in their scripts (tho I tried different browsers)


July 20, 2009

Chasing the total solar eclipse!

Filed under: DesiPundit,personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 10:50 pm

Ahoy! All ye amateur/professional astronomers and photographers! Unless you live under a rock you might know that we are about to witness a total solar eclipse on 22nd July. This eclipse is one of its kinds since a total solar eclipse is a rare occurance and the next one in India happens many years later (in north of Kashmir). So if you want to catch the action live in India, now is the time. I’ll be travelling to Bhopal to try and capture this celestial event and more so, to witness one of nature’s finest marvels.

Here’s some useful info about the eclipse:

How to shoot an eclipse, the same article also has details about the safety precautions to be taken for the eyes. Here’s the BEST India related eclipse data sheet I could find. It has a lot of data with complete timings of the umbra, penumbra etc.

If you are on twitter, you can see all india related solar eclipse tweets by visiting this.
If you are tweeting your thoughts about the eclipse on twitter, pls use the hashtag #tse22

Enjoy and safe viewing! I hope to get some good shots.


June 27, 2009

Delhi’s queer pride parade 2009

Filed under: humanity,social — Twilight Fairy @ 7:35 pm

Last year I had posted about the First ever Delhi queer pride parade event. This year they are back again! As always, the event is open to straight people as well.

For us as Delhi’s bloggers here’s what we can do:
1. Support Delhi’s LGBT people. From the moral police stopping the screening of films like “Fire” we come down to supporting LGBT’s in the open.
2. Blog about it and spread awareness about it.
3. This would be a very interesting photo-op in every sense, from the documentation of this event to photographing it artistically, what with rainbow coloured masks.

A similar march will take place in Kolkata Sunday and in Sri Lanka too.

The agenda as mentioned on their blog is here:

We assemble at Barakhamaba Road at 5 pm and the march will start at 5.30 pm. We should reach Jantar Mantar at around 7.30 pm – where we have organised some space for people to come up and say a few words or sing or shout slogans! Everyone is welcome!

Why Queer pride parade?

Today in India, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people face violence and discrimination from different quarters. Here are some examples of our daily oppression:

· Lesbians are subject to violence, forced into marriage and even driven to commit suicide by their families.

· Gay men are blackmailed by organized scandals that often involve the police.

· Hijras are routinely arrested and raped by the police.

· Same sex couples who have lived together for years cannot buy a house together or will their property to each other or even adopt a child as a couple if they wish.

· LGBTI people are constantly mocked, demeaned and denied their basic human rights of self-expression.

All this is happening because Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code treats LGBTI people as criminals. It has been used to arrest, prosecute, terrorize and blackmail sexual minorities. It has strengthened the already existing stereotypes, hatred and abuse in homes, schools, workplaces and streets, forcing millions of LGBTI people to live in fear and silence at tragic cost to themselves and their families. And yet, these lives go on. They go on as a struggle every single day.


It is essential that –

· Section 377 is duly read down in the Delhi High Court and this precedent replicated across the country.

· The government introduce specific legislation protecting queer people from discrimination on the basis of their gender and sexuality.

· Violence against LGBTI people by the police be addressed and severely reprehended.

· Discrimination and violence against LGBTI people in all spheres of life (family, workplace, educational institutions) be acknowledged and addressed.

· Positive efforts, such as the Aravani Welfare Board set up by the Tamil Nadu Government for the hijra community, are replicated in other parts of the country.

· All persons are able to exercise their right to live their lives with dignity and freedom, regardless of their gender and sexuality identities.

For more details, visit http://delhiqueerpride.blogspot.com