Archive for March, 2015

“A breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” Only if I had a penny for every time someone told me that. It is true though, a healthy breakfast keeps you energized and fresh for the day making sure you don’t get exhausted while you’re at school, college or maybe work. Being the guy who skipped 300 breakfasts in a year when he was in college, I can say that I have understood its importance the hard way. But what about the kids who are yet to understand that? You certainly cannot tell them the health benefits and expect them to start eating a good breakfast everyday! If the taste isn’t tempting enough, they’d not like it for sure.

My mom and sisters have this style of experimenting with breakfasts. I can personally vouch for the amazing taste they bring to the table every morning, thanks to which I’ve grown to like this meal more than ever. But one thing I’ve observed is that sometimes what they make is not easy enough for everyone and also, quite a few times, they also have to compromise with the nutritional value of the breakfast to make sure it is tasty enough. And now, to tease them, “Gupta ji’s family makes a better Nashta than this!”. You didn’t understand that? Well, take a look at this video and you will.

Got it now? Guptaji’s family is amazing in many ways. The oh-so-naughty boy, the cute little girl, the all-time-irritated father and the amazing-cook mother, they all make what you can call the amazing breakfast, aka, Kellogg’s wale Guptaji ka nashta. With the kellogg’s corn flakes, Mrs. Gupta has brought to you some brilliant recipes that will give you the best taste along with an amazing nutritional value. Don’t believe me, here’s some of their dishes.

1. Almond Coconut Shake (Kellogg’s Waale Guptaji Ki Family ka “Remote Wala Nashta”.

2. Cheesy Cornflakes (Kellogg’s Waale Guptaji Ki Family ka “Line Pe Laane Wala Nashta”)

3. Cornflake Coconut Ladoos (Kellogg’s Waale Guptaji Ki Family ka “Best Tiffin Wala Nashta”)

4. Cornflakes Khatta Moong (Kellogg’s Waale Guptaji Ki Family ka “Sanskar Wala Nashta”)

Not to mention that this was just few (that I happened to like) of the hundreds of dishes they have for you here:

Out of all of those, my favorite recipe was the Almond Coconut Shake. I liked the others too, but it’s easy to make and astonishingly tasteful, you’ll know once you drink it.

Here’s how you make it:

Ingredients :
2 tablespoons Chocolate syrup
4 scoops vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup full fat milk
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted blanched almonds, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons toasted fresh coconut, plus more for garnish
½ Cup cornflakes
5 ice cubes

Directions :
1. Soak the cornflakes in 1 cup milk for 5 minutes
2. Blend together all the ingredients till smooth and frothy.
3. Serve immediately garnished with fresh coconut.

Feel like eating it already, don’t you? Do like the Gupta family here:

And yes, don’t forget to have your breakfast! Stay healthy, trust kelloggs. 🙂

What is happiness? It sounds like a question with no right or wrong answer. It’s different for everyone. While some people find happiness in gadgets and cars, some find it in the dinner they get after a long day of hard work… for some it may be the six our Indian cricket team captain hits in the final overs to win a game and for some it’s the smile they see on someone else’s face because of them. Happiness is the feeling you get when you know what happened was what you actually wanted from life. It can come from the smallest to the biggest things, it doesn’t depend on time or place, it just happens. Much like love, or as they say, love is happiness too.

As the prompt given by CocaCola asks about what simple things make you happy. Here’s what my answer to that is. I am not a very materialistic person, if someone gives me a gift, a small letter telling me how close we are will give me more happiness than a 100$ watch. I don’t need miracles to happen, I find happiness in the small joys life has to offer. I get happy when I manage to wake up before my alarm tells me to… I get happy when I can understand a code in the first go (Erm…. I am a software developer)… I get happy, nay, ecstatic when the plane lands in my hometown and I know I’ll be eating the food my mom made for me for the next few days/weeks. The night sky and those wandering stars make me happy… the small drops of rain and the amazing aroma of soil that comes when the first drop falls on it, that makes me happy. I feel amazed when I clear an exam or an interview that I really wanted to, but that should be common to every human being. But I also feel genuinely happy when I see one of my friends scoring a good rank (You have to agree that most people feel a little jealous too).

Happiness, for me, is something that cannot be forced. You can either feel it or not, you can’t try to be happy for something. If you can find happiness in the simple things life has, you will definitely have a better life than most others. Life is complicated, it’s a competition, a rat race as some put it. All of us are a part of that race and I believe it’s better to run with a content mind and a happy face rather than worrying about it every second. So find your happiness in everything. From the first ray of sunlight to the first sight of moon, from a healthy breakfast to a fulfilling lunch, from a kiss from your beloved to a hug with your best friend, from your favorite cold drink to an awesome game of football, from a drop of rain to the smell of roses. Happiness is everywhere, don’t search hard, let it come to you.

For example, the song in this ad makes me happy! Take a look:

I have always believed that life is what you make it. More than the destiny or the circumstances, it is about how you choose to live that decides your fate. This is about the time when I was in college. I had just met an accident and according to the doctors I had to stay in bed for a month. For the outgoing person like me, not being able to go out for such a long time was no less than a curse. In the beginning it was okay, the medicines made sure I wasn’t in my senses half of the time. But as the dosage was reduced, my mind started playing around. All the time I used to think about what my friends will be doing and how I am missing on so many things. They used to visit me though, and my family made sure that they take the utmost care of me, but none of that seemed to work on the void that my conscious was building.

I tried to distract myself with TV, music and what not, but none of those kept me occupied for more than a few minutes. My mom could see it, just like she always did. She wanted to help but probably she couldn’t find a good answer to this herself. I told myself that it will be over soon, just one-two more weeks to go, I can handle it. But then came another blow; in my routine checkup the doctor realized that I had to undergo another surgery which would mean one more month on bed, and this was probably the final push towards a stage I didn’t want to be in. I almost gave up, I wasn’t afraid of the pain or the surgery, it was the not being able to walk feature of that operation that struck me hard. How could I spend one more month like that! I tried hiding the expressions of the potential depression, but you know mothers, they know you better than you know yourself. This was the time she decided to have a talk about this with me. She came to me after dinner one night and asked me what was going on in my mind. I was honest with her, told her how I felt I was losing something. She asked me to relax for a second and think about all the people who come to meet me every day, who care about me. Then she asked me what I would do if I could go out just like I used to. I told her that I’d probably attend college, have some fun trips with friends, drive, dance and what not. What I didn’t say was that I’ll write, and that was true, once you have enough on your plate, you tend to miss out on a few things and she knew writing was my passion. She asked me why I wasn’t writing now. I couldn’t think of an answer. I used to write a lot but I had almost stopped since the accident. And I had no idea why, it was something I could do in any situation. She realized I had no answer to this. She told me about the thousands of people who suffer way more than me and that I at least had a chance to get back on my feet in some time. She inspired me to write, about my life, about how I felt after the accident and to make sure it became inspirational for others who are suffering from something. It made sense, this seemed like something I could do and would love to do. I could feel a smile trying to make its way on my face. And I could see it reflect on hers.

The next morning, I took my laptop and started writing. One month, 25 articles and 50 pages to what I later converted into a book. I couldn’t believe I made it that far. And I couldn’t thank my family enough for that. And this is life, just a ray of hope is all you need to defeat the darkness and pessimism. It was a time that I spent with someone close to me and it became one of the most memorable ones. It had to, I gave it no other option. And I ask the same from you. Be happy, stay positive.

Thank you ( ) for the prompt. I’d request the readers to check out their website and look at the amazing work they’re doing 🙂

“Take a fresh start”, “Start a new life” I cannot count how many times I have heard these lines whenever I failed in something. The best part about having encouraging and optimistic people around you is that you become positive about the smallest of things which helps you tackle the biggest of situations. But what if even they feel like giving up some time? What if the encouragement you depended upon is not there when you need it? Will you just give up? For me, the answer to that is simple, I’ll make it a point to succeed and tell myself that I’m my own encouragement.

This is about the time I did my summer project in college. For those of you who are in engineers, there’s no need to mention the significance this single thing has on people’s careers. When I was searching for a good project, I remember going through a thousand ideas and not liking even one. Then one day a friend of mine told me about an automated wheelchair project his friends in another college were working on. It was a great idea, I liked it at the first go, but at the same time it was challenging. We had two months to do it, and we were three people who were confident about their part in the project, so we took it. We started very enthusiastically and made good progress in the very first week. We used to meet daily and work for hours on one or the other problem. Our target was to make a wheelchair that could be controlled by a simple joystick in the lowest cost possible. But as they say, when something has to go wrong, it most certainly does no matter what you do. And that’s what happened. One of my teammates who was handling the whole research part single-handedly (which includes talking to medical practitioners, sellers, shopkeepers and technical people) had to leave town due to a family emergency just to later tell us that he couldn’t make it back till the month was over. To add to the shock, the other friend of mine who used to help me in the programming fell sick of typhoid. For a moment it seemed to me that it was done. There was no way I could take that project from there. It wasn’t the fear of bad grades that got me worried, it was the fact that I was going to see myself fail at something I dearly wanted and there was no one who could help me out in that.

I remember how my parents and my sisters always supported me in everything I did. But at this time even that couldn’t work for me. I knew the situation and every bit of it told me that I couldn’t do it. But isn’t that the kind of challenge that the champions crave for? I asked myself that and even though I was no champion, I prepared myself for the path to become one. Now taking this project single-handedly was not a good idea to pursue in such a short duration. So I did what we do with our computers when we got no other solution, restart. I sketched out a completely different plan with the material in hand and decided to for a more automated thing without worrying too much for the cost. I changed the whole thing and gave it a new start. It wasn’t the kind of project that could fetch me better grades, but it was sure giving me a better exposure to technology. I started contacting the people from the list that we had made earlier and took some help from a senior to modify the initial program we had made. Only I and the 10 people I bothered day and night would know how much hard work it took to reassemble that thing. But when it was finished, I felt like I had given birth to a kid, I mean, you understand… right? The whole project was a very big life experience for me, the one told me never to give up and take a fresh start if needed. It was the kind of thing that will always stay with me no matter what.

And you know what the best part was? I did get the best grade and oh… I also managed to interest a potential investor in the same idea. See, wonders do happen. So here’s what I want to tell everyone who has seen or will ever see a failure in his life. You may feel like giving up and it is completely normal, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a fresh start and doing it all over again with a new zeal. As the people at say, “Change signifies that we’re moving forward, living better, and giving ourselves the chance to be the best we can possibly be”. I could not put it in a better way myself.

Take a look here, get some inspiration for yourself, go, #StartANewLife 🙂

A lot of things happen as we grow up from a kid to a responsible adult, and a few of those are supposed to be good too. We learn to interact with the world, learn to control our emotions and slowly grow up to take responsibilities of things around us. All this sounds good, but I do miss one thing very badly, the ability to laugh at the smallest of the things, the state of no boundaries. And that’s true, a little kid doesn’t know what’s right or what’s wrong, they’re as innocent as it gets and their ability to express themselves is something us grown-ups can only envy. Talking about my little nephew, although many little things make him happy, he happens to be selective with what to laugh at. After all a baby’s laughter is the most precious thing for a mother, so why should he make her thing it is easy to get!

To list a few things that make him happy is a tough job, you can never be certain that he’ll give you the pleasure of seeing him smile for the same thing again. But still, there’s always something that will make him laugh. The ceiling fan tops the list in our case. Unlike most parents who entertain their kids with lullabies and songs, my sister and brother-in-law use the ceiling fan to make him concentrate. The kid not only loves it, he literally gets lost in it. And that’s just a first in the list of weird things this kid loves. There’s also the smartphone, but not just any smart phone, the note II ! If it’s a normal galaxy, he might just throw it away, but my note and he have a special bonding. I am yet to experiment with the i-phone though.  Now before this post goes on to prove that my nephew is just as weird and crazy as me, I’d like to throw some light on the normal things he loves. The first one in that will be the poem “Old McDonald had a farm” As much as I hated poems when I was a kid, he happens to forget everything else when we play this little one on the phone.

And oh, there’s one more thing. The batman t-shirt, one thing that certainly makes me a proud uncle. He isn’t choosy about his clothes yet, he’s not 18 now, is he! But he does convey his content with his expressions and the kind of smile he has when we show his the batman t-shirt tells me a lot about him. Don’t I have a cool nephew? There’s always a plethora of things your kid will like, but all of it will work only when he’s comfortable and fit. Thanks to my sister’s months of research now I also happen to be quite knowledgeable when it comes to keeping a baby happy. And take it from me, a good diaper is the first step to that. I could tell you how awesome Pampers is when it comes to that but you might want to know that yourself. So check this out:

Do tell me what makes your baby happy. We could get them a playdate! 😀
PS: Do watch this video to know more 🙂

Positivity isn’t just a feeling; it’s a trait, and a rare one at that. Not everyone around us can be positive about the things that happen and stay optimistic. Some people do see this as avoiding the reality but I like to call it appreciative pragmatism, a term that I coined. And what I am about to tell you may make you think the same. It’s a story from an earlier part of my life, I must have been 15 years of age. I remember how my father used to invest in stock markets and my mother used to hate that. My parents had a very straightforward relationship; they always shared everything with each other but never asked each other not to do something if the other person believed it was good. Same thing was about the stock market. My father was confident that he’ll make great returns one day, and my mother, even though skeptical, never stopped him.

I remember one day when my father returned from office. He was an average government employee with a lower than average salary. For him it was never about how much money he made but how content one could be with life. But that day he was different. I could sense something was wrong but I just couldn’t get myself to ask. Unlike everyday when he used to cheerfully enter the room and ask us all about how our day was, he simply went to the bedroom and lay down. My mom immediately went to the room, she had seen the news too, guess she kind of knew what was wrong. “How much?” She asked him. He replied with almost no expression on his face, “Almost everything.”  I heard that. My father had more than half of his savings invested in a mid cap company and that day its stock went down over 30% before they put a circuit on it. He was down and wasn’t able to plan what to do. According to the TV reports it was recommended to take the money out from the stock and invest somewhere else. But for my father more than the money it was about his confidence, all he ever believed in was his ability to invest with risk and today that very thing was shaken. I was sure that this was going to be the time when mom will finally lose her patience and flip out.

I was expecting some loud voices, maybe a dialogue “I told you so!” that my mom usually loved to tell us. But something different happened. She asked me to come inside the room at sit near my father. When I went there she asked me, “What do we do when we fall down?” “Get back up?” I replied, in a manner, asking if this was the answer she wanted. “Right” she said. Then she looked at my father and continued, “We don’t just get back up, we keep walking too. What’s the point of going into the playground if you’re afraid to lose?” “But…” “Let me continue” she interrupted my father, “Let me tell you something, I never believed in this whole investment thing of yours to begin with. But I never asked you to stop, you know why? Because I believed in you. Because I knew that the man I married will do something only when he is sure he knows he’s doing the right thing, and you still are. So what we lost some money! I agree it is a big amount, but that doesn’t mean we lost everything.”

I could see a smile slowly coming to my father’s face. He knew what my mom meant. And probably that’s why he didn’t interrupt this time. He let her continue. “So I say you get back up, take your money out from whatever bad stocks you might have invested into and put it into the good ones. It means a lot to you and no matter what, you’ve got to try.”

It might have been just one small incident, but I knew the big lesson behind it. I always thought my father was the confident and positive one, but this time it was my mother. I realized the importance of positivity in life and how many miracle could just a little bit of hope cause. And for those who are interested, this story of my life had a happy ending, rather continuation too. My father put his money into an IPO later, not just recovering the money he’d lost earlier but making almost twice more. He was more careful and critical with his stocks now. Thanks to him, the day I started earning, I am financially more informed and capable than most of my friends.

Through this story I am not asking any of you to start investing or anything like that, it is totally your call. But I am requesting you to stay positive and be confident about what you do. No matter if you’re an investor or a musician or a sports player, be optimistic about it and you’ll do wonders. Trust me. Also think about it, if the whole world starts thinking this hopeful way, how much positivity will be around us and how much we’ll be able to achieve. You know what? I’m hopeful that’ll happen someday as well.

To know what effect hope and optimism can have, just take a look at this beautiful website once:

I’m a 24-year-old IT professional. We’re the kind of people who work 8 hours a day and complain about it for the remaining 16 hours. Well, I was kidding, but only about the first part, I was absolutely truthful in the beginning. And you know what’s common between almost every young professional? The new excitement of making it on his own, the new power and responsibilities. It can be taxing sometimes, but it feels good most of the other times.

So why this post? It’s to tell you about the importance of self-reliance, and money management. I remember, unlike most of the people who spend their first few months of salaries partying and hanging out, I sent some of the money home and used the rest to buy myself and others a decent health and life insurance cover. “You’re just 24, and the company already gets you a life insurance! You don’t need it!” Most of my friends told me that, but they knew little in front of what I had learnt in the past 24 years of my life.

My parents have always been the cool kind, the kind of people who never stopped from doing anything in my life, so it can be fairly assumed that they’d not have felt bad even I had spent the money in partying out! And that’s not wrong either. But still I choose to do the aforementioned. And here’s why; I believe that life is the most precious belonging one can have, and the purpose of life is to succeed. Now everyone has his own definition of success, and mine is to make sure that I should be able to fulfill every expectation that my family has of me. I’ve learned this from my parents of course, specially my father.

I belong to a middle class family, so perks like ACs, large bedrooms were all alien to us. But still I never felt that I was missing on anything. I remember how my father always told me the importance of knowledge over anything else. One thing I learned from him was the importance of making it on your own and being self-dependent. Although we couldn’t afford things like a luxury car, he was never worried about my education or our future. He always seemed so sure. I never understood the concepts of insurance or things like that then, but he made me learn all of them slowly. When I was in college, he told me once about how a health insurance is one of the most important investments he made. It took me some time, but I realized that even with little funds how he was so confident about the future. And I made a promise to myself, no matter how much money I make and what I do, I’ll never let that be a constraint for me or my family.

Today, I consider myself an above average earning person. But that’s not what I’m proud of. I’m proud of the fact that even if something were to happen to me the next moment, my family will not be in a danger financially. I plan my investments and just like my parents taught me, I am confident about the future.

And that’s one advice I’d give to everyone out there. There’s so much you could do with what you earn, but the small such decisions you make today, will affect your future tomorrow.

Take a look at this ad to know better about what I’m talking about.

PS: I don’t need to tell you but I have a lot of experience in comparing policies and investment products, and personally I found HDFC the best partner for me. You could take a look yourself:

Good luck 🙂

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