Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tough Choice

I saw an IPL match on Sunday. The Mohali stadium was abuzz with roaring music. The atmosphere was superb. I thought I was sitting amongst Punjab fans. To my surprise they cheered with equal zeal for Pune. The sole purpose of the crowd was to come on TV! I followed their league and waved the Punjab flag when Yuvraj hit a four. And well, I wore a new top as well.


We were watching KKR vs Mumbai Indians match right now. I'm a Tendulkar fan and so I was supporting the Mumbai team. Suddenly I saw Brett Lee and Gautam Gambhir. They both are immensely cute. I think my favorite team is KKR!!


Chris Gayle did an awesome job yesterday. RCB has been doing well so far and so, supporting them can mean supporting a winning team. Then again, I like Dhoni and somehow Chennai's yellow outfit looks extremely attractive... tough choice there.


I don't care much about Hyderabad and Delhi. And I think I am forgetting one last team.  Really, it's been what- 6 years? and I still have no clue whom to support!! I'll stick to the cute guys in KKR for now!

Do you have strong reasons like me for supporting a particular team?!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Love Credit Card; will Take Care!

A few days back a friend booked a hotel in Istanbul through a reputable website. After a few days he saw that his credit card was used to purchase a ticket in France by someone else. Another friend went to U.S. 2 years back and his credit card was imitated and thousands of dollars were used. He came to know when his credit card stopped working because he had exceeded his limit!

A few days back we booked a hotel in New York (I love the sound of it also..haha). An SMS informed us that we had been charged around 300$. Since no prepayment was necessary, we inquired from both the website and the Hotel about the goof-up. Apparently, they had made two bookings for us. And because there was a no-show, our card was charged. Although this was not a case of fraud, we’ve become awfully cautious.

Call it a coincidence, I was asked to write something on online transaction security yesterday. Since I gained so much knowledge, I thought I should share it with my fellow naïve bloggers who love to shop online!

Start from your laptop. Go to your browser’s website and get an updated version. This enhances the security features. Also, the Boy told me that different browsers show different rate from the same website. Apparently there is some intelligence on who’s more tech savyy! After that, get an anti-virus installed. Don’t want to spend money? Get a free one.

Next is the security padlock. The lock type sign you see next to the URL. The url will start with https:// and not http:// . The S signifies security encrypted.

Look for trust seals. You don’t want your credit card number reaching shady locations.
Never share credit card details over email. Unless a page is security encrypted, there are chances your information will go beyond the retailer.

And don’t open your laptop and splurge at Costa. When you are using an open Wi-Fi, your computer, credit card and life is at risk. Oh, my laptop and credit card is my life!!

Keep an eye on your credit card bill. Don't wait for the final date. Sometime they forget to send you an SMS. Most of the times it is when there has been a fraudulent activity. Inform them when you are traveling and leave contact details.. And yes, avoid using your debit card. 

Look for warranty of a product. Dig deeper into shipment charges, after sales service and the works. And always, always look for refund and exchange policy. We booked a Europe tour for the Boy’s parents.  A few days before the trip my FIL was diagnosed with a heart disease and we had to cancel the trip. The cancellation charges were exorbitant. Again, not a case of fraud, but you must check all this before making an online purchase.

That’s enough of techno crap for one year. I also want to read more about swiping credit cards and blah. When I do that, I’ll definitely show-off my limited knowledge! Right now I need to get back to my travel plans where I can open my age old Explorer and book hotels. No wait, this time I’ll use the updated Chrome.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Not all those who wander are lost *

Travelling is an art; a passion and an addiction. However, in the age of social networking, it has become a big show-off as well. Over the years, I’ve met different types of travellers – some I’ve had loads in common with; others I didn’t quite understand. Here are four examples, maybe you can relate to one of them as well:

The Lover: These people travel for the sheer love of it. They would pack their bags and venture into the known and unknown territories with equal zeal. For them, the next zoo is as fascinating as Masai Mara for they find beauty in everything they see. You talk about ‘A’ mosque and they have seen it. And loved it. Me, I find faults as well. Just because I’ve spent hundreds of dollars doesn’t mean I’ll come back and recommend you that place! Listen to this, while checking out from our hotel in Leh, the Manager asked us about our experience. He was shocked to hear that we had complaints as well. Ladakh's air can make you very-very sick. No kidding. 

“Another Paris Landmark is the Arc de Triomphe, a moving monument to many brave women and men who have died trying to visit it.” – Dave Barry

The Tick-marker: These people get on the hop-on hop-off bus and check-in at all the places recommended by Lonely Planet. They would spend 20 hours in the city and take a short nap only to get back on that bus. I, on the other hand, believe in leaving out a few places. Why else would I want to visit the place again? Also, I need to sleep for 14 hours a day!! 
A French hotelier frowned at us for reaching the breakfast table at 10:45 in the morning. According to him, the tourists started their day early. Ofcourse, his remarks didn’t bother us!

“Kilometres are shorter than miles. Save Gas, take your next trip in kilometres.” – George Karlin.

The Planner: These people know the city by heart before landing. I’m one of them. Really, I can be a pain in the neck but I can’t help it. I make notes, click pictures of maps and look for unusual things. I feel lost if there is a loophole in the itinerary. Not that ‘people’ let me do all I set out to do…anyway.
I can sell a city to you. If I like a place, I can draw you a mental picture about everything it has to offer and you’ll be blown. I can tell you which airline is best, the places to see, in-and-around the city and what not. Customization is my forte! A friend once saw my album and mentioned that she had not seen even one place in the same country which she had visited as well. You see, I don’t do touristy stuff… oh I can brag and brag. I think the Planner is also the Irritating One!

“Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.” -  Mark Twain

The Show-offs: First things first, I don’t like these people. They go to these places only to brag about it later. Now I’m a social media addict, but I don’t like the bragging part of it. They buy new clothes for all the cities and carry huge suitcases on a holiday. Their camera never stops clicking. These are the people who don’t know how to live in the moment. We all like to look cool in our holiday pictures (why else would we pose as if we were holding the Eiffel Tower??) but buying new clothes for every trip is a tad too much.
We usually carry a back pack and a trolley bag; so that the Boy can carry one and drag the other. Don’t laugh. He loves me.

“When preparing for travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” -  Unknown.

"A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car."- Emile Ganest

 These are just four of the many types of travellers. I tend to enjoy conversing with people who relish globe-trotting. The ones who try to impose their taste on me get a red flag. Why this talk about travelling all of a sudden? – Well, it’s time to start the holiday season for us. We have three trips lined up in the next six months including one across the Atlantic and I really cannot wait to hop on! And so, you’ll be reading a lot about my journeys in the next few months! Be Jealous.

I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them". -  Mark Twain

*Travel Quote by J.R.R Tolkien

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The sound of Music

I’m a split personality – I mean for two years I lived in a neighbourhood where bikers zoomed in and out even at 3 in the morning. I have never loved living anywhere as much as I loved that dwelling. At the same time, I watch television on mute because I can’t bear the noise.  Same goes for music – sometimes I just want to go on a drive, stare into the horizon and get lost in my thoughts without the songs. When I’m cooking, I can’t move a spatula without singing. Does that happen to you - mood swings when it comes to sounds?

As a child, I use to know my dad was coming because he used to blow a horn 200meters away at a turn. Really, no matter what I was doing I use to know. When my neighbours who live one floor below me fight, I can hear every word through the floor. The tub in my house makes a weird sound every now and then, I almost immediately know it. Are you this sensitive to sounds as well?

When I want to sleep, the tick-tock drives me crazy! I don’t have a clock in my house for the same reason. I take out the battery of the wall clock if I’m sleeping in someone else’s house! The spin cycle of the washing machine, the cacophony of a drilling machine, the bang of a hammer – all annoy me to no end.

Techno music disturbs me – the ‘songs’ with no lyrics type. I can’t listen to Yanni or Robert Miles, I need good lyrics to support the tune. Otherwise, I lose interest. Over the years a few songs have touched my heart and I can listen to them on repeat. Some songs have special significance, some have memories attached. You do too, don’t you?

I was in class 1 when we sung Doe a Deer on stage. It’s one of my favourite songs and I jump if I hear it from a distance. We changed the lyrics of Purani Jeans when we were in class 9 and sung it on Teachers day – the memories are so fresh; the song blows my mind away. Whenever I’m down, I need to listen to Hero by Mariah Carrey or Ye Hosla from the movie Dor – they are so inspiring. Ik Onkar and the Gayatri Matra  bring peace that is beyond words.  

Pehla Nasha, Gazab ka hai Din and Nothing at All are my all-time romantic favourites. I can’t listen to them without smiling or humming along. It must have been love has been the only song that made me cry in front of a person. He was an acquaintance and got worried. I had no clue that I had tears in my eyes – the song was so apt for that phase.Every Breath you take,  With or without you, Right here waiting for you – ah, there are so many lovely songs.

And then there are these songs that I keep singing out of nowhere. Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam – yes, for God knows what reason I sing this song a lot. Same goes for Ruth ke Hamse kabhi from Jo Jeeta wohi Sikander – I keep humming it without knowing why. Mum use to play old songs on the radio – every now and then I find myself singing a Hindi song from the black and white era and leave the Boy amused! 

There are a couple of songs that embarrass me as well - the two with my name in it and how people tend to stress on the name - Jaane Jaan, O meri Jaane Jaa and Pehla pehla Pyaar hai. There are songs that revive memories including the soundtrack from the first favourite sitcom FRIENDS, the first favourite ghazal - Hosh Waalon ko Khabar, two of the first English tracks I heard - Wake me up before you go go and Mamma Mia and how can I forget Mere Rang mein from Maine Pyaar Kiya that introduced me to love. 

Don't think I'm the types who believes only old songs are good. I'm a big fan of I'm sexy and I know it , Rolling in the Deep and Sexy Bitch (it's my ringtone, yes it is!!). Ok let it be, they don't fit in here and sound awesome only after a couple of shots!

Of all the music, songs, sounds, chirps, honks, noise… you know what sound I like best? The sound of laughter. The giggle of a baby, the chuckle of a parent, and the uncontrollable mirth between friends – these are the sounds that I can’t live without. Neither should you.