Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Vape- Oxford Dictionary’s Word of this Year


Vape (v)-an abbreviation of vapour or vapourize- is the Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year. It refers to inhaling and exhaling the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device. Though the word “vaping” was coined in 1983 in a smoking related article by Rob Stepney to refer to a hypothetical non-combustible device, it was after 2009 that the word “vape” gained popularity. In the last two years, vape usage has more than doubled. Vape juice, vape lounge, vape fluid, vape café etc are the new age derivations of the word vape.

The words that “vape” defeated to bag the coveted Word of the Year were

bae (n) - used as a term of endearment for one's romantic partner

budtender (n) - a person whose job is to serve customers in a cannabis dispensary or shop

contactless (adj ) - relating to or involving technologies that allow a smart card, mobile phone, etc., to contact wirelessly to an electronic reader, typically in order to make a payment.

indyref (n) - an abbreviation of "independence referendum," in reference to the referendum held in Scotland on Sept. 18, in which voters were asked to answer yes or no to the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Voters answered: No.

normcore (n) - a trend in which ordinary, unfashionable clothing is worn as a deliberate fashion statement

Slacktivism (n) - informal actions performed via the Internet in support of a political or social cause but regarded as requiring little time or involvement, e.g. signing an online petition or joining a campaign group on a social media website; a blend of slacker and activism.

Last year “selfie” which means “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, using a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website” was chosen as the word of the year by Oxford Dictionary. Owing to the social networking sites,  derived words such as welfie (workout selfie), drelfie (drunken selfie) and helfie (a picture of one’s hair) also became pretty popular. 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Alive & Awesome @ 34!!

I turn 34 today. Till a few years back I would not have disclosed my age socially. But not today. Because I have realized that age is just a state of mind. I have not featured on Time Cover page, I have not conquered Mount Everest, I have not played a lead role in a block buster movie and I am yet to go on a dream vacation but guess what….I have lived a fulfilling and happy life people in many parts of the world could only hope for. Call me unambitiously complacent but if I have to choose between being content with the simple pleasures of life or chase the constant material desires….I readily choose the former. I don’t have to struggle for basic necessities or mere survival and that makes me humble and thankful towards life. I choose to be grateful for what I have and enjoy what I have earned.

But on a lighter note, tell you what…34 isn’t an easy age. Other than increasing your trips to the parlors (where your beautician subtly tells you that a facelift massage should be included in your sessions now), it also puts you in that bracket where you feel out of place with your college going cousins. You hear yourself earnestly repeating the elderly advices to them which were given to you a decade back. The reality sinks in by now that your kids’ friends will call you aunty no matter how friendly you are with them. By now, you will also respond to “aunty” adjective by the dhobi, the sabzi wala and the maali and give up telling (read threatening) them that “bhabhi” or “didi” is just fine. Those extra kilos around the waist seem to have found a permanent home and power yoga class ads catch your attention instantly. But hey…who’s complaining? Even if I had an option to go back to the fun-filled yesteryears, I am pretty sure I will pass the offer. In spite of the aforementioned “challenges”, 34 gives you a confidence which you never had. Been there, done that feeling becomes very prominent. You also realize that “fun” can have many other dimensions and more settling ones too.

So who cares its 34, 44 or 54. I am alive and I feel awesome;  34 seems just like another number. And the date….a valid excuse to have fun and go crazy. Having a happy birthday indeed !!!!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

kolorpencil Wishes a Very Happy Diwali!!!!


Wish all the loved ones a very happy Diwali and a prosperous new year. This Diwali, may optimism and affluence brighten your lives. May the coming year bestow unlimited happiness and sound health. May your dreams come true and may you aspire for more in the coming years.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Do You Have It All?

When PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi candidly confessed in an interview that women can’t have it all, it sure sparked some intense debates. While it was obvious that career oriented women all across the world would second Nooyi’s opinion, it was heartening to see how some men also agreed with her. Millions of working women make difficult choices in personal and professional lives. As Nooyi rightly points out, no matter at what level a woman is in the corporate hierarchy, when it comes to personal life, she is a mother, a wife or a daughter. And whichever position she adorns in her job, she cannot rebate these jobs on the personal front at any time. Ok...so agreed. It’s an unfair world for working women or for women in general. But then who said it was easier for career oriented men. If you think the society is harsh towards working women, it is also not easy going for men who want to quit their “secured” jobs and follow their dreams. In fact, ask yourself what you would think about a man who wants to be a stay-at-home father and is ok with the fact that the woman is the bread winner of the family.

The crux of the matter is…can anybody have it all? Is it possible to have it all and not sacrifice at all. The answer is a Yes and a No. Have a definition of “all” for yourself and you will have an answer. I believe it is more about your own perspective rather than the conventional perceptions of what is “all”. In simpler terms, isn’t it about getting your priorities right? And this rule applies to men and women. So at an earlier stage in life, “all” could mean a better grade in college and a well-paid job. But as one progresses in life, “all” could attain a different meaning and become defined as family and kids. In a large part of ones lives, “all” also remains synonymous to a successful career. Family and friends are inseparable part of “all” throughout the life. And your “all” at all times has to have space for “you”. Yes, there are times when your “all” can accommodate either your spouse or your work.  But the key is to strike a balance. The quest to have more is never ending. Not only is “all” very dynamic in nature, it is also expanding as one attains power and position.

So how do you have it all? Or at least reach a point where “all” becomes finite and attainable. My response to this predicament is- control “all”. Go one day at a time. Define “all” for today and strive to attain it. So my “all” for today can be attending parent-teacher meeting in school during office hours and going to a get together with friends in the evening. Tomorrow my “all” can be meeting a deadline in office. If I look at both the situations together, they seem unattainable. But when I split them and address one situation at a time, they become manageable. And I don’t believe in keeping unrealistic goals. Sounds easier said than done? Try it . Satisfaction and submissiveness are two distinct attributes. Satisfaction is self-attained while submissiveness is derived out of helplessness. I am a human and I don’t strive to be super-human. There is “x” things I can do in a day and I would be happy doing that set with diligence rather than doing “x+2” things clumsily. This equation works for me. It gives me the satisfaction of having it “all” for one day which gives me the courage and thrust to face the challenge of achieving “all” tomorrow.

Lastly, my “all” is defined my me, achieved by me, satisfies me and hence I am responsible for shortcomings that come with it. Since everyone’s “all” is different, the response to it is also different. I take blame if I under-estimate the attainable “all” and suffer if I stuff too many things in it. But then it is my “all” and CAN HAVE IT ALL and be happy about it.

                          http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/why-pepsico-ceo-indra-k-nooyi-cant-have-it-all/373750/

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Dont Perform My Last Rites



“If the irrational cannot be excluded, it should be outside the scope of tragedy.”- Aristotle

Life is beautiful. Life in uncertain. One who is born is bound to die. Life and death form a circle of nature. What happens after death remains a mystery but still many people strive religiously to attain a good life after death. Many cultures and learned souls have propagated means and ways to attain “moksha” or a better life after death. While a certain way of life is believed to lead you to “nirvana”, there is also a set of rituals which is performed after the death of an individual to help his soul rest in peace. The actual practices, also known as last rites, may vary but all cultures and civilizations have had some or the other way to help the dead enter a new world.

I respect each of these rituals as I have been told that these practices not only have significant spiritual importance but are also a part of the healing process. However, here comes the controversial part. I will admit that I consider myself incapable to understand the depth of these practices and hence may not be able to appreciate the significance of important rituals and last rites. But as much as I respect the age old traditions, I think it is easier to believe what you actually see. And being an unfortunate witness to many such rituals over the years in family and elsewhere, I have convinced myself that they do everything but ease the pain or facilitate healing. With a noble intention of not offending anybody, I shall refrain from going into the details of why and what made be believe what I believe.

But I as an individual with certain rights, I want to choose what I believe in (until you convince me the other way round). And I choose not to be the subject of these rituals when I die. It is a request to my family, friends and whoever is present around me when I cross the bridge from this beautiful world to the other, not to perform any last rites. Please go back to your routine life as soon as possible. Miss me though. And think about me when you have good times or bad ones. But don’t fall into “formal mourning sessions”. As much insensible and irrational it may sound to even speak about this subject, I have always lived believingly very strongly in whatever I have believed. And would like to leave on the same note.



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Friday, 7 March 2014

Cotton Sarees, wrinkles and unabashed grins

The Official day of Womanhood is here again. There are offers, discounts and deals everywhere and each one is promising a unique experience. Women empowerment is the talk of the day and the ferocious feminism is the favorite flavor. But I think of something else today. In the glaring reality of increasing crime against woman and rampant cries for women safety which make every woman think at least once “Gosh, I wish I was not born a woman”, I like to think of all the good things about womanhood (dire optimist that I am). And you know what I think of today? I think women make the world beautiful. Hadn’t there been women, the place would have been so….”non-beautiful”. And when I say beautiful, I don’t mean the award winning, oh so perfect, always camera ready fair and lovely beautiful women (pardon the sarcasm here). I refer to the beautiful women in simple creased cotton sarees, some of them with wrinkles, some with forced sun tan but all grinning unabashedly in spite of the hardships and all the negativity around them.

Women’s day is about celebrating womanhood in every form. That bhajiwali who carries the basket (which weighs as much as her own weight) on her head, the maid who takes an extra “jhadu-pocha” job to send her kids to English medium school or the petrol pump attendant filling fuels in cars of those headed to “international women’s day celebrations”. The carefully matched accessories along with floral print sarees even when they go about with their “not so perfect” jobs make them look so colorful and vibrant. I find them exceptionally beautiful. Similarly, ever noticed a group of older women with good amount of white in their hair (i don’t only mean the age-defining white streaks but the fragrant mogra “gajra” also) laughing ear to ear. Their toothless grins seem to have a better shine than the sunlight. Priceless. Anybody can look beautiful in designer clothes and expensive makeup, but as cliché as it may sound, beauty comes from within. And it certainly does lie in the eye of the beholder.

Though I believe womanhood cannot be limited to one day, I also find it important to acknowledge their efforts and the value these incredible women bring to the world. On this International Women’s Day, my salute to all those “beautiful” women in our lives and out there who make the world really beautiful. And somewhere down deep, I also believe that it is this eternal beauty of womanhood that creates a sustainable balance against all the malice in the world. So let’s go ahead and make this day an excuse to celebrate being Woman. Proudly !!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Vocabulary of Silence






It was a casual discussion over dinner about a friend who was going through some tough times in his marriage. Our concern was for the two kids who were suffering collaterally. Since the husband and wife were no longer living with each other, the kids were forced to stay with the grandparents as none of them wanted the kids to stay with the other. And I very casually made a remark that its ok with the father but how can the “mother” be so heartless? The response I got from my husband on this left me thinking hard. He very furiously said “that’s not fair. Why do you think he doesn’t care?” He didn’t explain further but I knew what he meant. He was referring to something which most of us tend to ignore conveniently. The vocabulary of silence!

Being the more expressive breed, women are very generous about their show of emotions. But that does not come very easily to men. But when you look hard, you can notice the vocabulary of silence which often seems to say “I care”. At this point, I am reminded of an ad which very beautifully portrayed this subtle vocabulary very beautifully. 

Video Courtesy: ICICI Prudential

So next time when you are about to say “you don’t care”….just stop and think. Think about those moments of silent compassion. When he tastes everything before feeding it to your kid to check that the food is not very spicy or hot. When he tucks the already tucked-in blanket around the baby before sleeping. When he gives detailed instructions when you travel alone. When he gives a disapproving stare to your daughter about that dress that ends just above her knee. When he peeks into his mom’s room to see if she needs anything.

And many many more instances which I am sure will bring a smile to your face and some warmth in your heart.

Wishing a very Happy Fathers' day to all Fathers and Father Figures around us!!



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Saturday, 18 January 2014

AAP decides to revoke FDI approval in multi-brand retail in Delhi: A step backward

         AAP has certainly brought about some serious turbulence in the Indian political atmosphere recently. Adopting a theoretical approach to practical problems, the party is inviting trouble in spite of having nationalistic intentions (?) at core. While there are many other issues where I believe the nouveau CM’s decisions are derived from the aspiration of short term popularity, the one I find particularly saddening is the decision to revoke FDI approval in multi-brand retail in Delhi which was approved by the preceding  government. This decision, on in-depth scrutiny, proves to be regressive and can be outright detrimental for thecountry and Delhi, in particular.
            India has already lost the first mover’s advantage to China which opened its economy to FDI long back in 1992. Since then there has been an increase in employment in retail and allied industries and provided the much needed boost to its socio-economic development. Thailand, Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore and Argentina also narrate of positive impacts of FDI in retail industry in the long run in spite of short lived adverse effects. With regards to emerging economy like India, linking with the global value chains through FDI brings multiple benefits like capital infusion in infrastructure and logistics,  transfer of technological know-how, remodeling of largely unorganized retail sector thereby increasing tax revenues for the government, creating jobs in the back-end and front-end, improving the standard of living in rural areas by better remuneration to the farmers, arresting inflation predominant in the current market model due to predatory prices and ultimate benefit to the consumers in terms of quality of products and competitive prices. Some eye-openers regarding FDI are:
In the light of favorable policies, Delhi-NCR region alone are expected to attract investments worth $50 billion in the next 5-6 years.
It is expected that the retail industry will create approximately 1.7 mn jobs in the coming five years, inclusive of back-end and front-end.
The perceived threat to the local grocery stores and door-to-door vendors is insignificant as these elements will always be an integral part of the market because of the convenience,   personalized services they offer and years of association with the consumers. None of the markets which have Dominos or Pizza huts have eliminated the local food joints.
Since the produce and raw material will be procured directly from the farmers or the producers sans the intermediaries, their profit margin will be subtracted from the overall price of the commodity. This will result in a percolating effect on the price reduction thereby arresting the inflation which is soaring towards double digits in the current scenario. Consumers will also get advantage of competitive pricing and cost benefits of bulk purchase.
In India, almost Rs 55,600 crores of natural produce is wasted ie 10% of the food grains, 30% of fruits worth and 30% of vegetables. Major reasons, other than volatile weather conditions, are inadequate storage facilities, logistics and poor distribution system. Capital investment in back-end infrastructure by the foreign retailers will help curb the problem to large extent
Even if you find these validations too theoretical and wish to ignore them, there is yet another very strong stand that openly regards the disapproval of FDI as relapsing. The decision directly hurts the country’s repute in the global markets when giants like TESCO, Walmart andCarrefour have huge plans for the country. India is a country with enormous challenges for foreign entrants and such frequent changes in criticaldecisions would only dampen their spirits and project India as being unstable in terms of economic policy making.            
Indian retail sector is in a nascent stage and effective influx of capital and technology will make it robust and self-sustaining. And the percolating effects on the other sectors of the economy are vast enough to overlook. The revenue generation from this fifth largest market is luring many players to enter in spite of numerous hurdles. My earnest request to Mr. Kejriwal and AAP is not to trade the country’s future for short term popularity and vote bank gimmicks.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Makar Sankranti- Festival of benevolence and gratitude

Another colorful festival from the plethora of wonderful Indian festivals, Makar Sankranti, is a festival of a new beginning and a new life. Also celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab, Bihu in Assam and Uttarayan in Gujarat, it holds phenomenal importance for Hindus. Largely celebrated as the harvest festival, Makar Sankranti is a celebration to welcome the spring and bid goodbye to the cold waves.


                                     

I reminisce celebrating the festival traditionally with my grandmother.    The small “matkis” which  contained assorted vegetables symbolized the magnanimity of nature. And the delicacies made of till (sesame) and gud (jaggery) were generously shared with loved ones and neighbors. Otherwise avoided as being inauspicious, everybody specially wore black color clothes on Sankranti to ward off evil. I remember playing “gilli danda” and flying kites the whole day.

Now that families are scattered in different parts of the world, IT comes to our rescue. Like many other festival wishes, we would be sharing sankranti wishes of “till gud ghya ani god god bola” (Share sweets and goodwill) through IT enabled gadgets. However, there would not be much change in celebrations at home. Though the traditional style of worshipping “matkis” may be missing, there would be no dearth of delicacies and fun on the colorful festival. The house is already stocked with colorful kites and plans are being made for the kite flying session. And the kitchen is filled with the delicious aroma of jiggery and “till”. The TV and video games would take a back seat today as we fill the sky with colorful kites and our hearts with love and gratitude

Monday, 13 January 2014

3-D Printing- Transforming the manufacturing process

Until a few years back, manufacturing typically featured huge shop floors with people manning gigantic machines spitting out numerous identical parts which were carried to other parts of the factory on conveyer belts for assembling before churning out a final product. Most of these mass production units were located in Western countries or some manufacturing clusters in China and Hong Kong. The global conglomerates situated in the developed countries kept the sophisticated and critical functions such as research and product design in the domestic territories while outsourced the mass production of parts to cheaper countries. However, the advent of digital technology and development of Asian economies is changing the scenario in the manufacturing world.

                                                                                                   

The advent of  digital technology is completly changed face of modern world. The omnipresent technology is touching our lives in most innovative ways. It is being incorporated in all sectors such as education, entertainment, healthcare, infrastructure and transport. Manufacturing is undergoing a complete makeover using digital technology. Additive manufacturing using 3D printers is not only making the process simpler, cheaper and faster but it is also enabling innovation and invention like never before. Additive manufacturing also known as 3D printing, rapid prototyping, layer manufacturing and additive fabrication is defined by ASTM F42 (committee for standardizing terminology and defining industry standards) as “the process of joining materials to make objects from 3D model data, usually layer upon layer, as opposed to subtractive manufacturing technologies.” The process involves spraying thin layers of liquid or powdered material using 3D printers to form a prototype or many objects. The technology has been able to successfully develop varied things from dental fixtures to parts of jet engines. One of the latest technologies of AM, layer sintering, uses laser beam to fuse material with platform built with thin layers of metallic powder. This technology can be used for a variety of metals including aerospace-grade titanium (The Economist, 2012). Additive manufacturing is being incorporated worldwide to produce many products which were being produced using conventional manufacturing processes till now. Some of the advantages of addictive manufacturing or rapid prototyping that make the future of manufacturing promising and changing the way manufacturing is being changed are listed below:
Since additive technology uses layering material in a predefined manner, it reduces the use of raw material unlike conventional manufacturing where a block of metal is cut away to produce a specific shape thus wasting some of it. It also reduces the need of raw material in support structures required in traditional machining and casting processes. Reduced quantities of raw material make a significant cost difference while working with valuable metals such as titanium (Reeves, n.d.).

Using topological optimization algorithms or lattice structures, AM can create components with near perfect strength to weight ratios. Such precisions in weight are important for designing non-structural parts for aircrafts (Reeves, n.d).

Additive manufacturing gives the freedom of customization and complexity unlike standard manufacturing processes. Since customizing only requires some change in the software program, it becomes easier to customize every part to a close precision. AM also enables making fully functional moving parts such as joints and couplings (RAPDASA, 2013).

Along with the many advantages of the technology, there are certain challenges associated with it. Mass production and creating large components is still not very easy using additive manufacturing. In spite of the challenges involved in the process, AM is significantly changing the way manufacturing is done. Along with many changes happening in the process, AM also promises that the next few decades will churn out numerous useful inventions owing to this new technology.