Friday, April 28, 2017

Chp 657. Get some sweet stuff at iCandy


So whenever my friends or colleagues come over to my place for the first time here in Pune, the first thing they always exclaim is, "Wowww, that is an awesome table runner and placemat set!"

They're talking about my dining table set.


Really nice huh? Something unique and different, designed using our Mizo traditional cloth.

And then there is this super cute thing as well…


Yeah, many of my friends begged me to sell it to them, even at double the cost. But uh uh, this throw pillow stays right on my bed where it belongs.

So where can one get the above stuff?

Here's where -


iCandy.

iCandy is a store started by my friend's sister Stephanie Halliday, an MA History of Fine Arts with a specialization in Textiles design. The last I remember, she was this small white brat scramming around with a runny nose and dirty feet, and suddenly, she is now an entrepreneur with her own shop! They grow up so fast!

I decided to pay her a visit because my sisters bought a couple of really cute Christmas decors from her store recently (unfortunately I didn't take any pics of those).

Her shop is at Dawrkawn, a very prime commercial area at my locality Chaltlang. There is a taxi stand and bus stop right in front of her shop too.

I browsed around for a long time…



The table runner sets below range from ₹500 to ₹1000. I bought mine for ₹800. The price varies depending on the quality and cloth you require. She can even make a puan ropui table runner for you if you want, but she doesn't recommend it because not only is the material expensive but she feels using a puan ropui as a table cloth is an insult to our cultural heritage.


All the things she sells are personally designed by her and hand-made. And since she also customizes them, there is a backroom where the tailors she employs sit and do their work.

Because of this, depending on the simplicity of work required, sometimes you can get your order in just an hour or two.  That's how efficient her employees are.



And what makes it even more convenient is that, there are two popular tea stalls right next to her shop where you can sit and wait while having delicious alu chop or momos. But a more complex order usually takes around 1-2 days.

Here is the madam herself, queen of her own castle.


And so, that was when I bought the table runner set and throw pillow…


Here are a few more of her latest collection. They all seem pretty girly to me, but then again I'm the guy who wouldn't let go of my throw pillow, so I got nothing to complain about :P

The embroidered wall frames below start from ₹250.




Like I said, she can customize anything for you, put your name on a pillow etc. But orders like that will take a few days. Personalized design such as the ones below start from a minimum cost of ₹600 and increase depending on the size and object.




And of course we have her signature "smiley face" design like the pillow sets below. The set below costs ₹1500 each (comprising of Moon, Cloud and Star)



Remember when Khal Drogo said "Moon of my life" and Daenerys Targaryen replied "My Sun and Stars"? Well I'm sure those are not the same stars and moon we had in mind, but they come pretty close :P

Now the reason why I have mentioned some of the price is not just to make you aware of how much you'll have to spend at her shop, but if you mention that you came to her shop after reading about it on my blog, she will give you a 10% discount on all available display items! Yeah that's right, you get a whopping 10% off if you tell her you read about her shop on my blog.

And she does shipping too!

You don't have to be in Aizawl to buy her creations, all you have to do is contact her at +918974052599 or email her at stefhally@gmail.com. She also has a very inactive facebook page but I recommend you reach her on her number through WhatsApp instead. For outstation deliveries, she charges around ₹100 for speed post, but international orders will have different costs depending on the destination.

So give iCandy a try, you will not regret it.

And do hurry because she's expecting her first child around August, so she's gonna get pretty cranky soon! iCandy could soon become dieCandy around her third trimester, so order right now if you want all the cute and mushy stuff! :)

Cheers.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chp 656. Becoming Mizohican one last time!


Went to Church on Good Friday and Easter. We had these two beautiful services conducted by the PMCF (Pune Mizo Christian Fellowship) at St. Andrew's Hindustani Church on Solapur road.

What I discovered was that, after Uber had recently changed their fare system from "distance traveled" to "fixed cost" system (no matter how much further or extra the driver travels, you only pay the pre-calculated fare based on the location you entered), it was really difficult to reach the place because this Church did not appear on the map or list of destinations!

As usual, I wore black on Good Friday and white on Easter. My homies from the E-17 ghetto picked me up. Yoyo!


After the Church service, we headed back to E-17, where I decided to go for a mohawk hairstyle one last time! :)

Actually, it was something I've been planning for a long time because I just need to do something that I want on my own. To do something out of my own free will again. And then there is the upcoming wedding in Goa this weekend where my niece will be tying the knot with her long time boyfriend, so I want to stand out among the crowd as a "cool uncle" :P

It will also be the last time I'll do this because I'm not getting any younger, and it really doesn't fit my age anymore (unless you are Magua, the badass Huron chief from Last of the Mohicans) hence people might think I'm having a mid-life crisis or something :D

Gary volunteered to cut my hair.


Took a few "last" pics together before he started his work…




Gary was totally professional and he took his task very seriously. This is one of the many reasons why I love hanging out with my Mizo crowd. Even if they are professionally working in different industries like the IT sector or call center etc, they'll always know how to cut somebody's hair or cook a kickass meal or play the meanest strums on the guitar or even tattoo somebody.




Urrmmm in Mizo we call this "lu meh huai na no" :P


Once I was done, the others too did a slight mohawk, and they all came out really well.



So… thadaah... The Mizohican is back :D


Cheers for now, will be back soon with stories of my Goa trip.

Goa here we comeeeee :)


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Chp 655. RIP Michael M Sailo


Nothing could feel more devastating than hearing about the sad demise of Michael M Sailo, Mizoram's legend and one of our biggest celebrities. He had completely revolutionized the music scene in Mizoram, gaining a large fan following not just in Mizoram or the North East but the rest of India as well.

Sadly, on the night of April 7th 2017, he passed away from a fatal bike accident.

I admit, I didn't know Michael M Sailo personally that well. But having a lot of mutual friends, we weren't strangers to each other either. There were the occasional interactions ever since we became friends on FB. Plus I am a huge fan of his. I've lost count of the number of times I used to show his music videos to my non-Mizo friends back in college.

I have met him just four times in person, but all four times were memorable.

The first time I met Michael was back in 2005 when my niece was admitted at Aizawl Civil hospital during Christmas. Michael made a surprise visit to the hospital, distributing gifts to the patients, making sure nobody felt alone or lonely on Christmas. That was the first time we spoke. And that was also when I realized he's not just an awesome artist, he had a big heart as well. You should have seen the look on the faces of those patients, it definitely lit up their day!

And then in 2006 I was his personal chauffeur in Bangalore when he came to perform for the "Chapchar Kut" festival, driving him wherever he needed to go.

I actually wrote about the above incident in detail on my blog! That was way back in 2006, when I first started blogging, so yeah, I just squirmed a lot reading some of my awful grammar and language I used back then! 

I met Michael again in 2012 at a house party in Aizawl, and finally, I met him again when he came to Pune to perform last year at Blue Frog's "Starian Nite".



He gave such an awesome performance that night, and after the show he went around mingling with everybody. You'll never come across a more down-to-earth celeb than him. People loved him, as they took photos with him and he was forever smiling and cheerful. He was indeed a man of the people.

All in all, I may have met him just four times, but that was enough for me to know he was an awesome person, somebody who would be dearly missed by his loved ones and fans.

And what made it more painful for me was, on his last visit to Pune, he was supposed to come to my house and I was planning to interview him for my blog, like how I have done with a few of our Mizo celebrities. You know, one of those cheeky interview styles with a lot of sarcastic and over the top innuendoes type. I knew Michael would handle it so well.

But sadly he was caught up with so many other programs, being such a famous celeb, that we couldn't find the time to do it.

Just reading through some of our last messages hurt… 






Later at Blue Frog, he apologized and promised he would do an interview for my blog the next time he was in town again, but sadly, that day will never come now. But yeah, I'll still catch you when I come up there bro, you owe me one last sit down :)

Rest in Peace Michael M Sailo. May your legend and contribution live forever. You have inspired so many youth of our generation, becoming a part of our lives as we grew up. You were the ideal pop icon, a true Mizo star.

To end this tribute, here is one of my favorite songs - "Hmeltha Sensiar" a duet with his wife SPi. The video uploader is Pi Shahnaz Kimi, who too had passed away recently.


Salut.





Monday, April 10, 2017

Chp 654. Staying offline for a month


Exactly a month after I left the online world, I logged into Facebook and WhatsApp today. Strangely, I wasn't even looking forward to it. 100+ pending notifications, most of them from useless group tag notifications. I just cleared them all at one go.

Nobody even noticed I was gone, and in sad way, I like that actually. To be so insignificant that your presence or absence does not alter the course of your friends' universe in any way. And that gives me some sort of peace of mind.

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and older, I realize I'm becoming more of a recluse. During my one month abstention from social media, I even dreamt of becoming a hermit, living in a cave on top of a secluded hill on my own, just me and my steam games collection.

Even here in Pune, I get asked a lot by friends and colleagues - "Why do you live alone?"

That's just me. I like living alone. To be the King of my own Castle - Do anything I want, cook naked, fart in sync with the music, and have imaginary conversations with my imaginary friends.

Quickly scanning through some of my friends' timeline and whatsapp group messages, I guess the biggest conversation topic I missed out was about "Vishal" the new megamart at Bawngkawn. Since I was so out of touch with the news, I didn't even understand most of the jokes people were sending about Vishal.

Kinda reminded me of my MBA days when Multi-brand outlets had just started entering the Indian market and people were always discussing in classes and group projects about how allowing FDI on multi brand retails could affect the local kirana stores. Anyway, I don't have the energy to join the debate, nor am I in the mood for it. I'm still feeling pretty shitty, and I'm really thankful to my friend Sanga who had been trying to cheer me up the past couple of days.

I'll try to update my blog more regularly from now onwards. After all, life can be about sadness and pain too, but we have no other option but to keep on moving, until the sands of time run out from our soul.

Recently, my colleagues took me on a weekend getaway, where we booked this farmhouse for the weekend. They literally forced me to go, given that I was so depressed at work. I'll post my next update with those pics and vids, and I think what I love the most about that outing was that there was no proper mobile coverage so it was completely peaceful and bliss.

Yup, sometimes just staying away from social media can be so relaxing and refreshing. You too should give it a try sometimes!

Cheers for now.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chp 653. Grim Dawn


Maybe because my life has been pretty grim lately, I've been engrossed in this game called "Grim Dawn" for many hours now. And I'm totally loving it!


Grim Dawn is an ARPG. That means Action Role Playing Game for my non-gamer friends out there. In an ARPG, you can select your character/class and then go on different quests, following one main story plotline. The best part about ARPGs is that the gameplay is not linear - you can play multiple quests in different order and even opt out of some side quests, while building up your character and upgrading your power or skill as you level up along the way.

My all-time favorite ARPG is Diablo II. Back in college, we were so hooked to it that many of us would bunk classes playing it in our hostel rooms. There were not just a hell lot of quests but every time somebody played the game, the level design changed. And those were the days when internet connectivity was almost nonexistent, we didn't even have mobile phones back then, and so if we were stuck on a particular quest, one of us would go outside the hostel to an internet café and search for the walkthrough guide online (on one of those Geocities or Angelfire websites, dayyymm, anybody remembers those? Tripod, Bravenet, Freeservers etc? lolz). And once we found the solution, we would save the whole webpage from the Internet Café's Netscape browser to our floppy disk and rush back to our hostel. Such was our love and dedication for the game.

And then of course came the bloody mods. Somebody in hostel downloaded one such mod and it quickly spread like wildfire from one room to the other and soon everybody was playing a modded version. Suddenly, you could just stand still while fighting the final boss Diablo himself and nothing would happen to you because your health and regeneration rate were super high, and then with one punch you could take him out! Hehe.

Anyway, those were some really memorable times. When Diablo 3 came out, I couldn’t play it because my PC system didn't have the minimum requirement :( And by the time I had enough money to upgrade my system, I read so many negative reviews about the game that I decided to skip it. A lot of gamers advised that if we want to cherish our memories of D2, then we should stay away from D3.

Torchlight II is another favorite ARPG of mine. It is also currently my third "Most hours spent" on my Steam game collection, right after Team Fortress 2 and Age of Empires II. I have completed the game on normal difficulty mode using a "Berserker" class (level 90+) and restarted the game using an "Engineer" class on Veteran difficulty, but I don't exactly seem to recall why I stopped playing it…

Coming back to "Grim Dawn", the reason why I wanted to make a blog post about it is because of this one incident. A very silly incident indeed.

I'm already smiling as I type this :D

So, like I said, I started playing Grim Dawn a couple of days ago. I didn't want to read the discussion forum in case I stumbled upon spoilers. I just went in blind playing it as the game unfolded in front of me.

As I was already familiar with ARPG, I knew what I had to do - Explore the land, fulfill quests, kill the bad guys, pick up reward or item drops, equip yourself with better armour or weapons, sell off the ones not required, use that money to buy better stuff or upgrades etc etc, the usual ARPG gameplay.

And as I slowly leveled up, I received Attribute Points that I could use to upgrade my character, as in any other ARPG. In the case of Grim Dawn, I could use those Attribute Points to improve my "Physique" or "Cunning" or "Spirit". Improving any of them affected my health, damage, the type of weapons or armours I could carry etc.

But I still didn't understand why I needed my "Energy" bar. I wasn't using it at all, and here's where things got funnier.

It took me a hell lot of time to level up to Level 10, which was the first Steam Achievement badge. Man, I grinded a lot, the enemies were becoming tougher and tougher in spite of me upgrading my attributes. I ended up farming a lot in the earlier regions to buy better weapons as I wasn't getting good drops in the beginning.

Finally I came across this cave where I was given a warning: "A presence far more powerful than you exists in this place".

I was like, "Awesome!" because that meant a much tougher boss was going to be there, which meant better item drop if I could kill him.

I rushed in screaming, "Leeeeeeeeroyyyy" :P

It was this Super badass boss called "Salazar, Blade of Ch'thon". He killed me within the first 2 seconds, lolololololzzzzz.

Fortunately, I respawned right back in town and the only thing I lost were Experience Points. I farmed for some more time, bought better items and went to face him again. I created a portal right next to his location so I could easily get to him the next time he killed me. And killing me he did, many times! Man I think I died at least a 100 times! But I managed to hit him and reduce his health by a miniscule amount every time before he killed me. I was persistent. I wasn't going to give up. I kept rushing back right after respawning. Attack. Die. Repeat. Die. Repeat. Die.

FINALLY, I killed him and received a lot of awesome item drops, including the "Blood of Ch'thon". I also unlocked my second Grim Dawn achievement once I killed him.

After that I closed the game and went to view my global achievement stats on Steam.

THAT was when I knew something was freaking wrong!!!!

Can you spot what is wrong from my screenshot image of my global achievement stats below?


For those of you unfamiliar with Steam achievements, you will see the game's achievement badge on the left side, and if you see the same badge on the right side, that means you have unlocked that particular achievement. From the above image, you can see that I overtook a hell lot of achievements!

The harder the achievement is, the fewer people will unlock it. Usually people unlock most achievements in order from the top. In my case, I have achieved a feat less than 30% of the people playing Grim Dawn had achieved, without even achieving any of the earlier achievements. How were people able to unlock all those achievements before reaching Salazar? How were they able to progress so quickly? Weren't they finding this game difficult and grinding?

And so finally, I decided to look up on the guides online.

That was when I came across probably the most FACE-PALM moment of my entire gaming life!

Whenever I leveled up my character, apart from getting Attribute Points, I was also actually getting Skill Points!!!! I could use those Skill Points to determine which CLASS I wanted to be, and improve the various skills from the Skill Tree to make myself more powerful! I was completely unaware of that section!!!


There are apparently six classes to choose from, and I was playing class-less all that time!!!  lolzzz

There is the "Soldier", who I assume is like the hack-n-slash "Barbarian" of D2 or "Berserker" of T2. Then there's the "Demolitionist", "Occultist", "Nightblade", "Arcanist" and "Shaman", all having their unique powers and skills. You can use those skills to upgrade your character and make him/her more powerful.


Mannnnn I had more than 50 unused Skill Points when I finally discovered my Skill section of the game! I laughed out so much.

(In my defense though, most of the ARPGs I've played let you select your class in the very beginning itself. In Grim Dawn, the class selection apparently unlocks only after you reach level 2, hence the reason why I had no idea there were classes to choose from.)

I read a few more guides and since people suggested a "Demolitionist" was a good class for first-timers, I selected that one and quickly upgraded my "Fire Strike" immediately, maxing it out and unlocking "Explosive Strike". I also invested in "Grenado" and "Canister Bomb" from the skill tree, which really made it easier killing off a pack of zombies, and of course the awesome "Mortar Trap" that saved me more than once from a certain death. Yeah things had been much more easy and smooth after I discovered the bloody skill tree. It made my gameplay experience even more fun.

I also finally realized using those special skills consume "Energy" (kinda like a "Mana" system) so now I know why my Energy was always full earlier in the game :D

Great game indeed, I've just completed the first main quest of killing Warden Krieg, and will be on this game for the next couple of weeks. But damn, I'll always remember this game as the game I played without selecting any class or activating my skill tree for at least the first 15 hours of gameplay! Howbow dah? lolz.




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Chp 652. Silence


It's been more than 10 days now since I switched off my phone, due to personal reasons. And by that I mean I haven't logged into Facebook or WhatsApp as well. 10 days of perpetual silence.

Abstaining from mobile connectivity and social media, I have come to realize the amount of control they have over our lives. It is really difficult to stay disconnected. But so far, tormented as I may be, I seem to be handling it because I'm still alive.

There are a lot of things I can no longer do without my phone. For starters, I can't make or receive calls (duh!). My landlord threw a fit the other day, as it was time to pay rent. He tried contacting me but couldn't, and so he went to my office directly and waited for half an hour and finally our reception desk told him I wasn't in office yet, and then he came home and scolded me and finally said he won't be renewing my rental agreement next month, so now I have to look for a new place. And that's just the first casualty of my self-imposed exile from the mobile world.

I can no longer log into Steam from office because I have that stupid mobile authentication activated. So yeah you can imagine how boring and unproductive my office life has become. I'm a game designer who can't play or test any games, for crying out loud. The other day, my boss told me to do a research on Ketchapp games, and eventually I had to use one of our office testing devices for the analysis. That definitely didn't go down well with my boss. I also missed a very important meeting - a team from a gaming agency in Hungary were in town and our Corporate office had sent me the meeting schedule on Outlook mobile, but I didn't receive it obviously and walked into office at 10 AM, by which time the meeting was already over. They wanted me to give a presentation on the few games we've published. The corporate and management teams were super pissed at me. There goes my annual appraisal review :(

I can't order food from Zomato or Swiggy app anymore, which I used to do daily, so my eating habit and hygiene had gone for a toss. In fact, I can't buy anything from any e-com sites because I won't be able to confirm my order. I also can't make any online transactions because of mobile authentication again. Just this morning, I found out my life insurance policy had lapsed because my premium payment's last date was yesterday. I'm sure they must have been trying hard to contact me. So there goes my dream of having a good premium payout. Three years of premium payment down the drain.

I can't use Uber or Ola and now must rely on the old practice of hailing a running cab, not that I am in the mood to go anywhere (other than office which is mandatory). Long story short, there are a lot of drawbacks for not using one's mobile. I've come to realize mobile phones are not just a luxury, they are a necessity in today's world.

But what I have also realized is, there is this uncheerful aura of peace around me. I have become much more focused at work. No distractions. I am actually 2 days ahead of my current Scrum task log!

Sure I miss all the WhatsApp and Facebook groups I'm in, especially our Mizo Bloggers group, where we would discuss anything under the Heavens and there were always people voicing out their opinion and counter-arguing. After all, we're bloggers :) And with Arsenal currently performing badly, I don't exactly miss all the banters other rival fans must be sending me (or tagging me on Facebook).

Last weekend, "Iron Fist" season 1 fortunately came out on Netflix, so that kept me accompanied for the weekend. Plus I could relate so much to the main hero. I'm not talking about his super power, but the way he would meditate and reach some sort of a nirvana because there were no distractions around him. None of my friends or family can call or message me, and in a weirdly twisted way, this is kinda giving me some sort of an inner peace.

To silence.

Cheers.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chp 651. The Designated Survivor plot twist!


Hehe… big lesson learnt. Next time, DO NOT fall for everything you read on the internet! I am talking about my current favorite TV show - The Designated Survivor.


I started watching this show not just because of the interesting plotline but because of the awesome casting from some of my favorite TV shows - Kiefer Sutherland (aka Jack Bauer from "24"), Kal Penn (Harold & Kumar series / House / HIYM), Maggie Q (Nikita / Stalker), LaMonica Garrett (The Last Ship / Sons Of Anarchy), Natascha McElhone (Californication / Revelations), Malik Yoba (Empire / Alphas) and Virginia Madsen (Scoundrels / Witches of East End).

Such an action-packed cast. Sutherland needs no introduction. Maggie Q kicked a lot of asses in "Nikita" with her deadly martial arts skills, Malik Yoba was this superhuman anti-hero in "Alphas" who was filled with rage and became stronger the angrier he got, LaMonica was a lieutenant on board the nuclear-powered Destroyer in "The Last Ship" and a deputy sheriff battling notorious biker gangs in "Sons of Anarchy". Even Italia Ricci was a super-villain (Silver Banshee) in the TV show "Supergirl".

But in Designated Survivor, apart from LaMonica (Secret Service) and Maggie (FBI) firing a couple of rounds from their handgun, you will not see any of these stars get into hard action. But even with that, the show is absolutely awesome.

The reason why I said I'll not fall for what I read online again is because two months ago when Designated Survivor had their mid-season break, the show ended in a cliffhanger. Somebody tried to assassinate President Kirkman but was distracted in the last second and the bullet could have hit somebody else. The show ended with that.

And then I read this on IMDB and immediately posted this scathing blog post, about how it no longer made sense to wait for the new episodes because we already knew who got shot.


I even got a hell lot of traffic for the above blog post, most of them originating from the US. There was like one new visit via search result every 5-10 minutes! The page hit for that particular post almost hit 2000 right away!


But, yeah, as it turns out, the joke's on me!

I just saw the two latest episodes of Designated Survivor aired after their mid-season break, and it was nothing like what was mentioned in the above plot!

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

As you can see from the above image, IMDB initially posted the plot as:

Episode 11: Someone tried to kill President Kirkman but missed and hit someone else. Now the FBI will find out who did it.
Episode 12: Someone killed President Kirkman's wife and the FBI and Secret Service is doing everything to track the killer down.

Hah. Those didn’t happen at all. In fact, everything is exactly OPPOSITE what was written above, hence the reason why I think it wasn't just some random troll but the writers of the show themselves who trolled all of us!

As both Kirkman and his wife laid on the floor after the assassin fired his gun, there was blood on both of them. I was expecting the clichéd, “Oh I’ve been shot… wait a minute… this ain't my blood, it's my wife's blood!” from Kiefer Sutherland… but hell no, it was his wife who said that! Yup, President Kirkman was indeed the person who was shot!

Dayymmmm!!!! That was a good troll indeed. I raise my glass to whoever wrote those plotlines at IMDB. You had me, you really had me good.

I paused the show and immediately went to IMDB. The plot for Episode 11 and 12 had completely changed!


Lolz. Once again, good stuff. This Episode 11 will go down as one of the best surprises I have ever experienced when it comes to TV shows :)

Even in episode 12, President Kirkman’s wife wasn't killed as mentioned earlier, she's very much alive, but two other main characters were killed off, making the show more and more suspenseful! (though I have two very big questions regarding the last scene of episode 12 – how the hell did Peter MacLeish’s wife get there behind Maggie Q when they were surrounded by the FBI, and why is Maggie Q not washing off that blood stain on her forehead, it’s been at least 3-4 days since she was apprehended, comon gurl, you're hot but you gotta shower sometimes too :D :P )

It would be interesting to know other people’s reaction to the way things turned out, but unfortunately, IMDB had discontinued their Messaging Boards as of last month, so I cannot even visit those old threads where people were lashing out at the show for giving away "spoilers".

Aaaaah.

Keep this show rocking. It's getting better and better. Cheers!



Monday, March 13, 2017

Chp 650. Holi in Pune


So today is Holi and I am sitting in office because it is an optional holiday (which I'm planning to use instead for Good Friday next month).

It kinda sucks a bit knowing most people are spending today relaxing at home or spraying colors at each other while I'm logging my work at Jira and trying to complete my pending tasks, but at least I think I'm having a better day than this poor person who I hope wasn't fired from work.

So last Friday, I received a push notification from my Cleartrip app. Cleartrip, like most other apps I have installed on my phone, tries to utilize every festive occasions in order to boost their sales. Yeah sometimes most of these push notifications are spammy and downright irritating, but at the same time I cannot block the notification on some of these apps because I need to receive their notifications, like being reminded of an upcoming trip or a flash sale or that my lunch order has been dispatched from the restaurant.

I received a lot of push notifications from various apps regarding Holi. Here is a colorful discount this Holi blah blah blah or This Holi bring back the color of love with this amazing 1+1 offer blah blah blah. The usual lines I used to struggle with back when I was a copywriter at an Ad agency :D

But one notification really stood out, and it was this one from Cleartrip.


"Start with a b(ha)ang!"

Lolz, I was like, seriously? It's cheesy and corny, and more importantly, it was freaking bold. I immediately thought whoever sent that message was going to get into trouble. And 5 minutes later, Cleartrip indeed sent out another push notification, a much toned-down version.


Oh man, I was cracking up inside. Because I can so imagine what must have happened in that 5 minutes. Somebody from the agency handling Cleartrip's social media account, probably a new joinee or junior copywriter, thought that was a pretty cool and funny line, and sent that push notification out without getting an approval from his/her Copy supervisor or from the client side, and the moment somebody from Cleartrip received that notification, there was utter chaos and frantic calls made to the Client Servicing or Business Development team of the agency, who in turn blasted the Creative department, and they had to quickly come up with another message in the hope that people might not notice the first one.

I mean I'm just assuming it happened like that because I've been there, done that. Things like that happened a lot when I was working at an Ad agency. Angry calls from client or their branding team were quite common if the approval protocol was not set up properly. Oh those fun and memorable days. :D There was even this one time when we mixed up the mailing list of two very big clients and sent out the wrong mailers to more than 5 lakh email database.

Anyway, I could be mistaken too and Cleartrip could have approved that message, though considering their branding tone, I find it quite unlikely that they did. Also why would they send out another notification just 5 minutes later when we know brands are extremely cautious about not spamming their subscribers as it leads to high uninstallation rate. I was expecting this kind of messaging tone from apps like say, Faasos, whose communications are usually more casual and funky. Still, I do hope nothing happened to the person who sent out that quirky line. Lolz, he/she just got baptized by the fires of the cutthroat Advertising world. :D

Happy Holi everyone. And hope you all had a b(ha)ang today :)



Friday, February 24, 2017

Chp 649. Life Hack: Weighing Luggage


Some of you may already know this, but for those of you who don't, here is a simple "life hack" on how to weigh your luggage.

First of all, what does one mean by weighing one's luggage/baggage?

When my friends and colleagues from Pune and Mumbai travel by Air to their hometown or for a short vacation, they are usually not worried about the Airline's excess baggage cost. After all, they only have to carry a few clothes for that duration and that is it.

But for those of us from Mizoram, travelling back and forth is a big pain due to the meager 15 kg excess baggage limit on domestic air travel.

As a wise friend once told me, back when Mizoram was a Dry State, we had to carry many bottles of booze in our baggage while flying in, and now that it has become a Wet State, alcohol is so cheap there that we have to carry many bottles of booze in our baggage while flying out. :D Yes… a "friend". :P

All jokes aside, there are a lot of things we need to carry in our checked-in baggage while flying in, like things we don't get over there. And while flying back from Mizoram, there's the smoked pork and variety of vegetables and pickles we take back with us. Before you know it, you've already crossed the 15 kg limit, hence paying a hefty fine at the airport ticket counter.

That is why we always weigh our baggage before flying, doing some last minute rearrangement and stuff, shifting heavier objects like shoes and books to our carry-on bag (7 Kg limit there but nobody checks that, strange huh).


While it is easy to weigh your baggage with a hand-held scale, not many people own that. Most of us have the traditional weighing scale at our homes where you need to stand on top of it to see your weight.


And this is where most people face a problem. If your baggage is large, you cannot see the value! The baggage covers the display completely, no matter how your rearrange it.


What to do, what to do?


Well here is a very simple solution!


First, weigh yourself on the scale.


Next, weigh yourself along with your baggage.


After that, simply subtract the first weight from the combined weight.


There you have it ladies and gentlemen, your exact baggage weight! :D


So simple, naw? :D Hope you find this corny post useful. :)

Cheers!