soniaraowrites

about writing and other such passionate matters

Archive for the tag “indiblogger”

Learn the truth about the Flying Jatt in the next two minutes

If you’ve loved Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ironman and the pantheon of superheroes you are going to be taken aback by Flying Jatt. But then you are just going to love him when I tell you his truth. And, confirm it by watching the film on Zee Cinema on 22 Oct@8PM.

The Truth about the Flying Jatt (A two minute read, including ogling the pics):

fjatt-1

THE LOVABLE SUPERHERO – THE FLYING JATT

  1. India’s first superhero:

    This incredibly brave superhero who can fly (Flying Jatt, see?) is also the master of martial art moves.

  2. Mom knows best:

    Boys in India share a special relationship with their moms. So does our superhero. His mom is the wind beneath his wings and the constant push to his reluctance to bear the mantle. In short, she’s SUPERMOM.

  3. The SUPERPOWER COMBO – Killer moves on the dance floor.

    Yes, Ironman and Superman hounded villains. Our chap does too, but he also boasts an arsenal of dance moves that’ll have you searching for the nearest dance floor.

  4. Ofcourse he flies

    What is a superhero without flying abilities? Our Superhero flies too (hey, he’s called ‘FLYING’ Jatt). But the real strength of his power comes from the Divine Source. From his faith.

  5. Courage is not absence of fear

    Yes, even our desi superhero became one by accident (though through no insect or animal bite) but even when he is scared he never moves back from fulfilling his superhero duties.Which is what true superheroes do. Right?

  6. Chores before ‘chors’

    Hey! Even superheroes gotta live. And with your mom around you gotta do all the errands and the cleaning and the helping out before you flex your superhero muscles. Even Superman was Clark Kent.

  7. Saving the Earth is part of the Superhero agenda

    Did you read about the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef? Our hero makes sure such things won’t happen again. Mother Earth is being abused and misused by the BIG CORPORATES (We are guilty too if we are not disposing of garbage responsibly). Our environment needs protection and our superhero rises to the occasion again and again (which ofcourse does not mean that we don’t need to do our bit).

  8. Keep your inner child happy

    He does serious good, the Flying Jatt. But he does not take himself so seriously. In fact, he’s a fun-loving guy and his inner child is truly alive and kicking.

  9. The youngest Superhero

    Hrithik Roshan and Shah Rukh Khan also had special powers in movies like Krrish and Ra.One respectively. But what sets Tiger Shroff apart is his age. At 26, he bagged a superhero movie as his third film while the others have had a longer run in films before had a long career preceding their superhero ventures.

flying-jatt

Doesn’t he sound so scintillating? Catch THE FLYING JATT doing superpowerly things as well as those killer dance moves (and ofcourse ROMANCING (heck, this is our beloved Bollywood)) on ZEE CINEMA at 8PM TONIGHT. Make a note of the date: Saturday 22nd October.

(All pics courtesy: Zee Cinema FB page)

 

Advertisements

‘India’s Finest Films’ – A delicious offering from ZEE Classic

The very name Bollywood conjures up images of songs and dances, action and comedy.  Women in scanty apparel gyrating to lyrics that often cross the thin line between naughty and lascivious.  The lone hero outnumbered by but unhesitatingly bashing up men twice his size.  The female lead more often than not playing second fiddle to the hero.  Not the raw materials of India’s finest films, surely.

Bollywood: Songs and dances and action and comedy

Even before the Hindi film industry got its new moniker (Bollywood), films played coy in portraying romance and making do with two roses bending seductively towards each other or then two birds beaking vigorously.

One would then be tempted to imagine (especially nowadays, when Bollywood stars and movies have become so popular overseas) that the film industry was always making fluff – feel-good movies that lifted  you outside of your dull, drab life for three hours into the glamorous world of bold and beautiful people, the film stars.

Parallel Cinema: Hopes and dreams and angst and desire

ZEE PIC 1

But it was Bollywood that gave us Mirch Masala, a film that showed not just class struggles and the lowly status of women in society but was also a strong statement of women empowerment achieved with solidarity between women. Smita Patil’s performance in this movie was listed by Forbes on its list, “25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema”.

The viewer will experience over the next few months a selection of some of our landmark films packaged with some interesting trivia. A true spread for the Cineaste ! This is also a great moment to acknowledge the contribution made by the filmmakers and the film talent who walked with us on this journey and created these endearing works of cinematic expression ~ NFDC spokesperson, Ms. Nazhat J. Shaikh, Director (Finance) 

Who can forget India’s entry to the Oscars that swept away the awards. Yes, Gandhi , the film based on the life of the father of the Nation, and which took 20 years to finally be made. Every Indian who saw this move no doubt felt her heart quiver with the intense patriotism that movie inspired.

“Apne pasand ki cheez milna badi baat hai.
Agar sab kuch mil gaya, lekin apne pasand ki cheez hi na mili toh matlab kya hai jee kay!”
(“It is a big thing, to get what one desires.

If you have everything, but cannot get that one thing you desire, then what is the point of living!”)

The quote above is the reason the elderly maid in the eponymous film Gangoobai, strives to accomplish her dream of buying a costly Gara sari and changes the lives of individuals she comes in contact with while in Mumbai to purchase the sari.

These films, part of the parallel cinema, portrayed the hope, dreams, desires, anger and angst of a generation and they invoked intense reactions within us, also hoping to change the mindset of people by addressing subjects which were important but difficult to talk about.

Indian Cinema, over the years, has beautifully transformed and re-invented itself. From socially relevant topics of child marriage, dowry, female feticide, re-marriage to a simple love story, film-makers have done it all.

WohZamaanaKareDeewana:  A successful marriage between Zee Classic and NFDC

India's Finest Films

                          ZEE PIC 4

I personally feel Zee Classic’s initiative is a very good one. It will help to keep alive the film culture of our country and Zee Classic is in the ideal position to do this.      ~ Mr. Shyam Benegal

These films would be difficult to access were it not for the television channel, Zee Classic who tied up with National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC) in ‘WohZamaanaKareDeewana’ to bring these iconic movie classics and new age cinema and showcase the creative talent of that timeless era not just to those that remember seeing the movies in theatres but also to today’s young generations.

Starting 16th July, every Saturday at 10 PM, Zee Classic will premiere ‘India’s Finest Films’, a distinguished property showcasing masterpieces like ‘Mirch Masala’, ‘Ek Doctor kiMaut’, ’27 Down’  and ‘Salaam Bombay’ amongst many other such gems from the NFDC library.

These movies mark the debut of icons like Irrfan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and many more.

Here is a list of the 14 ‘India’s Finest Films’ that will be showcased by ‘WohZamaanaKareDeewana’

  • 16th July – Salaam Bombay
  • 23rd July – Mirch Masala
  • 30th July – Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro
  • 6th August – Ek Doctor Ki Maut
  • 13th August – Gandhi
  • 20th August – Ardh Satya
  • 27th August – Pestonjee
  • 3rd Septemeber – Qissa
  • 10th Septemeber – 27 Down
  • 17th Septemeber – Gangoobai
  • 24th Septemeber – Mammo
  • 1st October – Massey Sahib
  • 8th October – Arvind Desai Ki Ajeeb Dastaan
  • 15th October – The Good Road

And if you are like me, loving to know more about that which catches your fancy, ‘India’s Finest Films – A Parallel Journey’ will appeal to you. It includes views of stalwarts of Indian cinema like ShyamBenegal, Mahesh Bhatt, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, RohiniHattangadi amongst others. Catch it on Youtube  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDRbplMpfOI or on TV as a prelude to ‘India’s Finest Films’.

~So hurry, grab the popcorn and your favourite seat on the settee starting 16th July onwards, 10 PM and tune-in to Zee Classic for ‘India’s Finest Films’ ~

(All pics courtesy: ZEE Classic)

How not to be afraid of taking a selfie: Garnier’s BB cream shows you how

It was a phone group of friends formed recently. Messages flew back and forth. And goodmornings and goodnights with pictures  were wished regularly.  But phones with cameras invoke the creativity of the owner of the phone. The dare came out of the blue. Post a selfie ‘as you are’. And the green inbox in the phone was filled with pictures of faces of these friends. But what is this? Dry, flaky skin.  Pigmentation. Uneven skin tone. All demonstrated in various degrees in the faces in the inbox. Why were we not taking care of our skin?

“No time” was the most common refrain. And it had nothing to do with the amount of time one spent on social media.

Taking care of the home. Taking care of the kids. Taking care of one’s own business. Running behind the hired help.  And in case they bunk, running to one’s work after finishing their portion of the chores too. And then running back home after work to take care of the never –ending duties. This is the routine of most women in India.

Dermatologists and skin–care specialists recommend the following routine for the ideal care of the skin:

CTM – Cleansing, Toning, Moisturising. Followed by sun-screen. And then make-up (optional) which includes a foundation to even out the skin tone followed by powder to set and mattify the foundation.

One gave a wry laugh because there was no time for this “self-pampering” when so much work remained to be completed.  There were days when even a proper cleansing seemed like a luxury one could not spend time on.

Only a miracle could give us the time to do our chores as well as take care of our skin in the best possible way.

And then Garnier introduced the Miracle Skin Perfector called BB Cream. This cream provides beauty benefits which are no less than a miracle.

Garnier's BB Cream

Garnier’s BB Cream

 

This is a time-saving cream which takes care of the moisturing, sun-protection and even the make-up part of the skin care.

  • Made mostly of natural products: Vitamin C and almond extract and minerals

 

  • Brightens the skin and evens out the skin tone and even minimizes the fine lines on the face.

 

  • Has a SPF of 24 and provides UVA/UVB protection.

 

  • Keeps the skin moisturized for 8 hours.

 

It sounded like a miraculous product when I first heard of it. And miracles can only be believed in when one sees it. So, when the small-sized tube came out of the box, I had my face all cleansed and toned, ready to see the magic work.

I took a small bit of it in my palm and applied it in dots all over my face, not missing the nose and the T-zone. And then I blended it well into my face especially around the edges.

I did not see much difference. Hah! Miracle indeed! It had sounded too good to be true. Well, there was not much time to ponder over it as I had to take care of sundry matters.

After a couple of hours I happened to pass a mirror and couldn’t help glancing into it ( yes, it is a habit. Sometimes, I even smile at the mirror). The patchy look I had noticed while I applied the cream had been replaced by a face that looked one colour all over. But more than that, there was a healthy sheen to the face. This made me smile. The miracle had worked. My time was saved and my skin was taken care of.

BB Cream did do what it said it would.

Now, only if the new government too does what it said it would do.

 

This post is part of the Indiblogger Garnier BB Cream Campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeh Jo Hain Zindagi, Yeh Jodey Dilon Ko

  • Imran Abbas, the heart throb of Pakistani cinema and television is a handsome cross between Ranbir Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.
  • Indian fashionistas  love Pakistani fashion in clothes.
  • Bollywood stars are adored in Pakistan while we in India can’t get enough of their TV serials (mostly through pirated video tapes many years ago and nowadays on YouTube).

One would not be remiss in realizing then that a strange bond exists between these two nations. As Imran Abbas said at the launch of Zee TV’s newest channel Zindagi: “The blood is the same and calls out to each other.”

Imran Abbas was accompanied by Shailja Kejriwal (Chief Creative Head of Special Projects at Zeel for Zindagi) as well as other members of the Zeel for Zindagi Creative Team at this Indiblogger event held at Hotel Leela on Saturday, the 21st of June.

Even after 60 years of partition, an uncomfortable distance remains between the two nations in spite of an unexpressed craving of the people to interact with each other both emotionally and geographically. It is really not very difficult to find differences if one is so inclined. See what happened, before the Zindagi team arrived, between the bloggers in Delhi and Mumbai in this event, which was a three-city live interaction between Delhi, Mumbai and Lahore.

Climate and weather became the bone of contention between the two groups of bloggers and if there were no cameras that kept these two entities apart they might even have come to blows. And these are people that belong to one nation.

It is thus not very difficult to imagine the mental and emotional distance that exists in the minds of the people of India and Pakistan, especially seeing the violent past they have shared and the selective information propaganda that is carried out, on and off.  “That these disruptive elements are not successful is proved by the presence of the artists from across the border,” was Imran Abbas’ succinct reply to one such query.

According to Shailja Kejriwal, who originated the concept for this show, artists are the ones who can take their countries to other countries and touch the hearts of the people of that country.

Zindagi, the channel, thus aims to break barriers through entertainment.

Imran Abbas and the ZEAL Creative Team

Imran Abbas and the ZEAL Creative Team

And if you want to stifle a yawn because you are already overfull with the saas-bahu sagas on Indian television that seem to go on endlessly, generation leap after generation leap, then  you can relax because these serials from across the border are dramas backed by a solid story line and impeccable acting. They will tackle issues that are universal and touch the heart. And best of all, they will have a limited number of episodes each.

In fact, Shailja revealed that it was ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hain’ directed by Sultana Siddiqui (lovingly called Sultana Aapaa by all), owner of Hum Network in Pakistan, that was the inspiration for Zindagi. Sultana Siddiqui has been Imran’s mentor and he took great pains to point out that Sultana Aapaa was a wonderful example of the significant position that women in Pakistan enjoy. But women in the sub-continent continue to struggle and these struggles will be show-cased in stories with names like Aunn Zara, Kaash Main Teri Beti Naa Hoti and so on.

Suave Imran held all the audiences in thrall and when coaxed he even regaled us with songs from Indian films sung in a voice that was both mellifluous as well as soul-touching.That he is a music buff is proved by his collection which numbers more than 25000 compositions. The fascination that Indian audiences have for Pakistani singers is equally and in some cases exceedingly reciprocated which Imran Abbas revealed to an unsurprised audience.

Mumbai Audience

Mumbai Audience

Ravi from Delhi and Garima from Mumbai received MotoG phones for their blogposts that spoke about breaking borders towards joining of hearts. Their blogposts perfectly embodied the “JodeyDilonKo” concept of Zindagi.

Once the interactions ended, it was time for tea, which many bloggers  in Mumbai put to good use by clicking selfies with Imran Abbas (yes, he was quite the dude, and he is also a lead player in some of the serials that will be telecast on Zindagi).

Zindagi Gulzar Hain

Zindagi Gulzar Hain

We can now look forward to entertaining evenings even as we see glimpses of ourselves in the stories that will come to us from across the border, that is, Pakistan, now, but other countries too, later. I’m thrilled because the Pakistani serials I remember watching many years ago have captured a place in my heart and I would love to revisit them, especially as the spoken language in those serials was so beautiful and so musical to the ears that even when the characters spoke harshly or in anger, the beauty of the dialects was retained. Will I be able to re-experience that ? I shall know at 8pm tonight when the first episode of ‘Zindagi Gulzar Hain’ is aired.

This post is part of the #JodeyDilonKo initiative conducted by Indiblogger.

 

 

Dove-Love and the Games People Played

Wearing high heels can make your hair smooth and silky and irresistible to touch. Really.

If you were wearing high heels at the Dove Indiblogger Meet aka #DovePlay held at the J.W. Marriott on Mother’s Day (11th May, 2014), you would have won a pack of Dryness Care Dove Elixir. Which is what I was wearing and which is what I won.

Dryness Care Dove Elixir contains precious oils blended with real ingredients. The elegantly stylish bottle holding the elixir – which has lavender petals floating in it – ejects pre-determined amounts of this delicately perfumed elixir which when you gently massage into your hair gives you the benefits of an overnight oiling within 30 minutes. Who does not enjoy the relaxation of an oil massage? And used after a shampoo, it makes your hair smooth and silky and irresistible to touch.

DOVE ELIXIR

DOVE ELIXIR

But that was just the first of the many games that were played at the Play Date in which Dove and Indiblogger jointly decided to pamper women.

Pamper women?!?! The only pampering most women know is the one they do for their children, spouses and other myriad family members.

This Play Date, then, did not leave any stone unturned in its intentions to pamper the guests on that day. Games, cocktails, food and gifts galore formed an integral part of the pampering.

On the urging of the host, the ladies in Dove-white (the dress code for the day) formed teams and group games were played. Each team followed a treasure –hunt –like map showing the trail to be followed. But before that my team-members (who gelled so well even though it was the first time we ever met each other) and I as well as the eleven other teams shook and shimmied and twerked and Zumba-ed as we threw all inhibitions to the winds and participated in the dancercises with gusto (and when the host asked if the men bloggers were being missed the loud Nooooooo spoke volumes). While dancing we got to know each other and one validating exercise required us to write compliments about our partner on a Dove button and present it to them. My partner wrote, “Beautiful eyes, good  personality” on the button and (confession time) whenever I am feeling a bit low, I cheer up on seeing this pin.

DOVE BUTTON

DOVE BUTTON

Games were next on the agenda and they were exciting with interesting self-explanatory names like:

  • Hair Play (making fancy hairstyles for each other),
  •  Have a Ball (catch as many Dove grey balls as possible thrown to us by our team members),
  • Hips Don’t Lie (Hula hoops –which we actually didn’t get to play for lack of time) and
  • Puzzle Mania (in which our team formed the V of DOVE in record time, at least according to us).
HUNDREDS OF THE GREY DOVE BALLS

HUNDREDS OF THE GREY DOVE BALLS

But the ‘crowning glory’ of the day was the Dove Salon where every woman present gave in to her ‘heady’  fantasies. While for some it was a haircut and for others it was a braided style or a hair straightening, for most of us though (straight-haired ones) it was an opportunity to just let our hair down and play with curls.

It has been my long-time wish to gentle-perm my hair but mundane life had always been an obstacle. The Dove hairstyling staff at the Salon was enthusiastic and well-trained and I had no qualms as I requested to have my hair curled. My hair is long, thin and straight. Fingers were crossed and chilled white wine was quaffed as Suman with a dedicated expression on her face got to work.

SUMAN AT WORK

SUMAN AT WORK

And before long, I was transformed. My longtime wish for curls had come true. It was an exciting moment. And if that was not enough pampering, we got a gift hamper each full of exciting Dove products.*

Selfies were taken and reactions were tweeted and compliments were exchanged with the team members with equally mesmerizing hairstyles and when we took our group photograph, the exuberance was quite evident.

The Dove Salon was truly the highlight of the event for me. Quite co-incidentally I had to attend three different events on consecutive days and I was excited to flaunt my new look on all those days.

THE TRANSFORMATION

THE TRANSFORMATION

We learnt to make cocktails from Pranav (one of tips was to not use more than 60ml (or was it 40) of spirits in a cocktail) who was also the judge of the bar tending competition This was held at the poolside and the burning totems of the J W Marriott added a mysterious ambience to the bar tending event.

BAR-TENDERS ALL

BAR-TENDERS ALL

After this we traipsed back to the ballroom where we tucked into tasty Indian and Continental fare which is what dinner was. A dance performance at this time had our feet tapping and then it was time for the Awards in which the winners were cheered lustily by all.

This was also the time to meet and put a face to blogger friends from other cities who were till then just virtual friends. Dove had in fact, as a special treat, fully sponsored the trips for the out of station bloggers. Laughing and chatting and catching up between morsels of tasty food was never more fun. The dance floor was then cleared for us pampered women to again let our hair down (literally and figuratively) as we danced to popular numbers.

As the evening (night?) came to a close, the thoughtful gesture on the part of the Indiblogger and Dove team was to provide transportation to those who needed it was appreciated by one and all.

THE BIG BANG (Team No.11)

THE BIG BANG (Team No.11)

The pampering did not end there. Perhaps the Universe got into the act too, because as soon as I got out of the hotel, I found an EMPTY autorickshaw standing outside and the driver AGREED to take me to my destination. How much better can a day get?

Once home, high heels off, the gift hamper was opened to reveal a plethora of goodies.  *A straightening iron and a Dove bejeweled pin were part of the goodies as was the most-needed one, if I was going to be making hairplay an important aspect of my life.

Huge bottles of Dove Intense Repair Shampoo and Dove Intense Repair Conditioner.

DOVE INTENSE REPAIR SHAMPOO

DOVE INTENSE REPAIR SHAMPOO

 

The Keratin Actives in the shampoo and conditioner will protect my hair from any damage whether I curl my hair or straighten them because I know that just a coin-sized amount of Dove Intense Repair Shampoo and Conditioner used on the hair after the regular shampoo makes my hair smooth and glossy. Just like a hair spa.

Thank you, #DovePlay, for a wonderful day of caring and pampering. A huge thank you, also for the hair care products that actually do what they say they will do because we know we can trust you to take care of our hair while we take on the world.

This post is part of #DovePlay, an event held by Indiblogger and Dove.

BANKING SPIFFY WITH KOTAKJIFI

If Mark Zuckerberg ever worried that the youth of India was going to desert Facebook he can stop now because Kotak Bank is ready to change that in a jiffy. In fact, with KotakJifi.

Banking via Facebook and Twitter? Well, in a way that is pretty unconventional, is it not? “Unconventional” could then be the unofficial theme of the Indiblogger meet conducted with Kotak Mahindra Bank at Café Zoe, Mumbai on Sunday, 23rd of March, 2014.

Selfies and Usies

Selfies and Usies

In High Spirits

In High Spirits

Unconventional was the venue where wine flowed as much as laughter even as selfies and usies ruled the day. Unconventional was the 3-way mode of conducting the event as 3 cities – Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore – connected via live feed and proceedings from Mumbai were telecast live to the other two cities. And the most unconventional aspect of the meet was the secret guest who turned out to be Mr. Chetan Bhagat, the literary idol of millions of Indian youth who claim that his are the very first novels they ever read in English. Unconventional too, because money and writers are generally not spoken of in the same breath (the authors who make a living writing books are few and far between or so I have heard).

Kotak Bank can then proudly and arguably take a bow as the very first bank ever to encourage its patrons to bank via social media. In fact, you cannot join if you don’t have a Facebook account.  And no, they did not tell us what happens if you ‘deactivate’ your FB account.

Now just get a grab of some of the features of the New Age digital banking phenomenon called Jifi:

  • Zero balance account
  • Request for balance updates, cheque book etc. via Twitter
  • A platinum Debit Card
  • You can gain points for sharing information about Jifi with your friends (social points) and when you use your Debit Card to make purchases (transaction points). These points can be redeemed as they are a type of currency (no, not Bitcoins).

Yes, I can see your eyes gleaming. If you are a parent of a young teen, you can already see yourself getting out of the bind of having to raise the pocket money every quarter. And if you are the young teen I can see your excited impatience for registering with Jifi via your FB account and then sharing it with ALL your friends so that you can make a cool packet along with the pocket money that you are already getting.

Yes, social banking is here to stay. It is ‘New Age’ and like all such things it might not appeal to the old or those we call ‘Senior Citizens’. In fact when a young blogger tweeted to Chetan Bhagat and Kotak’s Head of Consumer Services that her grandparents did not have a FB account, so how could they open a Jifi account, she was advised politely to guide her grandparents towards the other types of accounts the bank provides. They do have an answer to all types of banking needs, it seems.

The spirits were high – both literally and figuratively – at this meet and even Chetan Bhagat did not spare himself as he cracked quip after quip against himself but while also subtly pointing out that he has often been the convenient fodder for blogposts and newspaper articles.

Besides the serious matter of digital banking, singing, dancing and playing group games also served to make this Sunday a well-spent one at what was a real four and a half stars event.

Go on, then, ask to be invited to join Jifi because once you join you get 100 social points. And then the fun can begin because with KotakJifi ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘comments’ now matter.

 

This post is part of the Indiblogger KotakJifi Exclusive event held for the launch of KotakJifi – Banking is now social.

(All pics courtesy Indiblogger.in)

LETTING MY HAIR DOWN

Playing with my hair, or at least trying to, is not quite new to me. Pigtails and ponytails were par for the course for school and kiddy birthday parties.

It was only when I got married that playing with my hair became a form of what else, but play. Inspired by myriad Bollywood songs, I too wanted my very own beau to play peek-a- boo with my hair. But it was not to be.  Perhaps it was because neither of us was a good singer and the strains of Bollywood songs playing in the middle of the night could be quite disruptive for the other members of the household. Or was it that long hair did not much enamour the beau seeing that his hair was almost as long as mine (we are Sikhs, see)?

Ah, well.

Next, I tried playing ‘House House’ with my hair and it mostly consisted of making a top knot to avoid hairy additions to the food or hairy curtains blinding my eyes while I dusted.

I even played ‘Office Office’ in which my hair starred as a top knot again but now decorated with a couple of loose tendrils and a diamond studded clip.

The topknot (sometimes a bouffant) became a fixture as life settled into a routine of baby-toddler-school-college.

Play seemed to have taken a backseat to the serious business of living. One even laughed sometimes at the memories of the Bollywood peek-a- boos that weren’t.

And then one day, many years later, when a beauty therapist, while oiling my scalp, oiled away the melanin from a few strands of my hair, I decided to play ‘color my hair’. Global, highlights, lowlights… this was the beginning of a fun trend as I experimented with golden, blonde, ash blonde( names of colors) and what not.

Sadly, the trusted colorist preferring to go the family way twice in three years has paid put to my mane-ly matters.

But the craving to play is back. Short of cutting my hair, I am game for a brand new caper. A perm comes to mind. Time for a daring new look? Time to play ‘Myself’?

Many say perming causes the hair to break and get damaged. Well, they said that when I decided to colour my hair, too (I took care of that problem with my Dove hair care products and I’m sure I can do the same this time, too).

Now to find a trust-worthy, skilled hair stylist!! Can it be tougher than finding a needle in a haystack?

This post is part of #DovePlay, conducted by #Indiblogger

When Shanti and Sanitary Napkins help you find meaning in life

When Shanti, his newly-wedded wife, couldn’t use readymade sanitary napkins because it would adversely impact the milk budget of the family, it became the starting point for Arunachalam’s search for meaning in his life.

You need to have a fire here, says Arunachalam Muruganantham, placing his hand on his heart.  A school dropout with an earthy sense of humor, Arunachalam tells us about his journey from purchasing his very first pack of readymade sanitary napkins to providing a way to a life of dignity for women in the villages to receiving the President’s award.

How easy it is today to go to a mall and pick up a packet of your favourite brand of pads or tampons to help you tide over those difficult days. But imagine the situation in the almost 80% of the Black and White part of the country (as he calls the non-metro towns and villages of India) where due to budgetary constraints, women are forced to use cloth which, Arunachalam says he was shocked to see, were worse than the rags he used to clean his vehicle. In such a scenario, it is inevitable that women suffer from a multitude of urogenital diseases.

What was a man who loved his wife to do? Especially if he was of an entrepreneurial bent of mind?

In a hilarious TEDxGateway speech of around 14 minutes (Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012) Arunachalam pokes fun at the multi-nationals who, according to him, overcharge for products just because they are a ‘Corporate’. But the bigger adversity he faced was from women themselves who firstly, refused to discuss this sensitive topic with him and secondly, even though his wife finally agreed to the experimentation, the process was slow because he could work on this only once a month for five to six days.

You can’t keep an inquiring mind down and so Arunachalam became, arguably, the first man in the world to ever wear a sanitary napkin. He made up a contraption, with tubes and a ball filled with animal blood, to simulate the process of menstruation and he wore it while walking, while cycling and even while sleeping. And he wore a sanitary napkin manufactured in his workshop to understand how exactly the pad could provide adequate protection.

Tee and Eee is the process that could take you 8 years to master  in Stanford, says Arunachalam. Trial and Error. Fail as fast as you can so that you can be a success. Yet another gem: Shut yourself in a dark room and think about what will give meaning to your life (a hint: it is not the accumulation of money). Then, do it.

This is exactly what Arunachalam has been doing. He has invented reasonably priced machines to manufacture good quality sanitary napkins.  His factories provide a livelihood to thousands of women involved in the manufacturing of the pads. Even students in schools are making their own pads. They are not just employees-they are stakeholders. 706 machines set up in 23 states in India. It is not restricted to India and is suitable for almost 103 other developing countries.

I feel proud that, it is a fellow Indian who has taken on the might of the Goliaths of well-known brands and come up with a ‘Designed Solution’, that addresses the problem faced by his wife and all other women and at the same time makes a huge ‘Measurable Social Impact’. This, he says, can also be called ‘Business’. His vision is to make it viable for every woman in the country to have access to safe, low-priced sanitary napkins, where currently the use is only 5%.

It really is time we took the discussion of the health and hygiene aspects of the use of sanitary napkins out of the shadow of superstitions and misplaced conservatism. This will reflect in the better health of the women of the country and it is rightly said, the better the state of health of women in a country, better is the state of that country.

(Franklin Templeton Investments partnered the TEDxGateway Mumbai in December 2012).

CAN YOU FEEL THE LOVE TO-NIGHT?

The long road stretched ahead tantalizingly, inviting the car to experience its speed on its smoothness.  The car raced ahead, not losing this opportunity, which could never be found on a city road. The cool fragrant air inside the car brought back memories of New Zealand and its invigorating air with its huge coastal plains and the hot springs, where they had gone five years ago for their honeymoon. But, no-one who now peeped inside the car would say that the honeymoon had ended.  She smiled in pleasure as she adjusted the Ambi Pur® dispenser with one hand even as her other rested on his thigh entwined with his hand.

And can you feel the love tonight
It is where we are
It’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer
That we got this far…

Elton John’s velvet crooning swirled inside the car, enveloping the besotted couple who were heady with the specialness of the day. It was their fourth wedding anniversary. Away from the monotony of their everyday routine life, the freedom of speeding on the highway was intoxicating. Their hearts thumped equally hard, the magic of intimacy lit fireworks in all their nerve endings. They were so jealous of this private moment they did not want to stop even for food. She fed him chicken nuggets and potato wedges with her fingers and giggled when he took a bite of her fingers.  The cool fragrant air inside the car continued to remind them of New Zealand springs. The sun had set long ago and a couple of hours later they would reach the SunSwept resort where a candlelight dinner in a private suite awaited.

Could any other road trip be more perfect than this was the thought they shared silently in their minds.

SIXTEEN YEARS LATER

“Mom, please pick me up from the gym. I’ll shower at the resort.” She cut off the call on her mobile, swearing under her breath. The sixteen-year-old son on the line was old enough to go to the gym, but not old enough to be left behind alone in the house as a punishment for not sticking to the schedule.

“Mom, does the SunSwept resort have a swimming pool? Did you tell them that it is your twentieth Wedding Anniversary? Are they offering a complimentary cake?” The fourteen-year-old daughter shouted out the questions from the back of the Chevy Beat, even as she chomped her way through a take-away pack of Schezwan noodles and garlic chicken Manchurian, which would keep away the hunger pangs for the three hours it would take them to reach the resort.

The Beat glided to a halt outside the gym and she got out to sit at the back as the son always insisted on sitting in the front. She didn’t really mind.  She had a tendency to nag her husband while he drove and he said this made him nervous.

The terrible odour of sweat that emanated from the exercise enthusiast made her wrinkle her nose and hold her breath till she was safely seated in the back.

As soon as he sat down, the son started fiddling with the music system eager to put on his favourite EDM.

“Justin Beiber! Really?!” He taunted his sister.

“Dad! Tell Bhaiyaa to let Justin baby’s song continue to play.”

“Justin baby! Ha ha ha. Really ROFL , sis!”

The father’s words of reproach drowned in the loud beats of EDM as they blasted out of the Bose speakers.

The son sipped on the protein shake from the gym café. The daughter, defeated by the might of the elder son, put on her earphones and was soon lost to the world of juvenile music. Maybe the next three hours of the journey would pass peacefully.

But it was not to be. The sweaty smell of the gym clothes combined with the oily, sour smell of the Noodle-Manchurian mix was beginning to make every one gag.

Mother was the first to notice. Her nose was always the first to know things. It was a busy nose.

The Ambi Pur® mini vent clip was empty. This was an emergency. They crossed their fingers as the car came to a halt outside an auto accessories shop. Yes, they stocked Ambipur car fresheners and which fragrance would they prefer?

“Let’s take the Sky Breeze,” said the son.

“No! No! No! I want Thai Dragon fruit. I love its pink cover,” countered the sister.

Mother hit her hand on her head. These petty arguments would continue unabated. She wondered at the wisdom of taking two hyper kids on a road trip even if it was for a celebration. The babel of noises had become huge.

“We will take New Zealand Springs and that’s final,” said Father, suddenly, and when Mother looked into the near-view mirror she saw Father’s eyes were on her.

The son was studying Science to take up engineering after the twelfth grade and the daughter was working on becoming a fashion designer eventually. They would be fine once they outgrew their adolescent pangs.

Mother smiled at Father as they remembered yet another perfect road trip of many years ago.

(This is an entry for the Indiblogger Ambi Pur ‘The Perfect Road Trip’ Challenge).

“SHUT UP! YOU CAN’T CUT YOUR HAIR”

The school had a rule: long hair meant pig-tails and short hair meant pony-tails. And pig-tails it was for you. There was no other option, right? Sikhs did not cut their hair. “Shut up, you can’t cut your hair,” was often heard in Sikh homes, especially when the school bus was at the door and the hair was not plaited yet and the kids looked pleadingly at their mothers.

You didn’t plead. Why waste time over what couldn’t be changed? And it was not all bad, too. You were always the neatest looking (well-groomed hair makes a big difference to looks is what you learned at that young age when you were, what, six?) and so you were selected to present the bouquet of flowers to the Inspector of schools who was there, on an Inspection.

That was the time when your Mother made your hair till you came of age when you reached the fifth standard. Ha, ha, ha, coming of age meant nothing more than combing your own hair. How you hated to do that. Especially when your hair ended in thin whiskers, almost like rat’s tails, and you had to go on plaiting them or else they would come out of their binding and then you would have a bunch of fibrous root- type hairs above both your ears and then your hands were grazed with their roughness when they brushed against them when you raised your hand to answer the questions in class. You were more irritated because you needed one metre of ribbon for  each side, plaiting, plaiting, plaiting while there was Neelam Ghosh and Roshni  Thapar who had this short hair with the perfect knife edge and they just needed one-quarter metre of ribbon. The pain and the labour made combing hair such a chore.

You knew scissors on hair were taboo and when the beautician advised to cut off the split ends, you balked. Burn off the hair ends, bite them off, she advised, she must have been a lawyer in last birth, trying to find loopholes in this diktat of no cutting hair.

You did not care. But she turned a bunch of hair around her finger and all the split ends sprung up as if they had a fire lit beneath them.  Two headed three headed, these split ends were like hydra. Oh! Let me break them you said and you separated them and they broke off. No!No! her voice alarmed you, you will weaken the hair, her words worried you.  Who ever wanted to go bald, even though that could be a fashion statement of sorts.

Not that you ever believed that not being able to cut one’s hair can stunt anyone’s potential. But to have smooth hair, split-end-less is a pleasure, which you will not deny yourself. Dove Split Ends Rescue System has come to your rescue and you are having fun, leaving your long hair open, not much of rat-tail-ends.

Go, Dove Split Ends Rescue System. You Rock.

Post Navigation