Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tranquility In A Frame...


Circa 2014. Selfies became a cultural phenomenon of sorts with 'selfies' being the uncontested winner for Word of the Year 2013.

It is four years back that the selfie fever caught hold of the Indian audience with the mania for capturing the perfect selfie spreading like a syndrome. However, the advent of the trend had been called for, ever since Apple released the iPhone 4 with a reasonably good front camera for those times in 2010. Sooner than one could know, flaunting narcissism complemented by exhibiting self-proclaimed photography became a trend!  :o

Attaining perfection when it comes to capturing a selfie is a game of balance. There are a number of crucial factors among which balance is essential - be it the focus, the lighting, the number of persons in the frame, or proper framing of a scenic backdrop. 

More often than not, one ends up neglecting one factor or the other. The narcissus shall then not approve of the hefty bargain as it wishes to accumulate the best of all worlds. Quantity thus outweighs the scales in search of the quintessential quality.

Simply said, the entire gallery of numerous phones was filled with captures of 'no-one else but me'. That was not necessarily bad but I needed a reality check right at the start. 

Every frame has a fable to tell, or so I believe and selfies are no exception. Firsts are special too, and this memoir is about such a special 'first selfie'. The first ever selfie that I captured dates back to 2014 when I was an amateur in selfie-photography. I say 'was' because I have gradually learned the ropes and rarely falter. 

Picture this. The winter of December 2014. A pleasantly sunny morning in the capital city, Delhi. A school excursion to two of the most iconic monuments - Qutub Minar and Lotus Temple. 

For the uninitiated, a school picnic is the best opportunity for students as well as staff to capture memories on a formal pretext. This excursion was definitely not the first that I was accompanying students on, but it was the first where I could surely explore the selfie phenomenon. 

So, among the two landmarks, first on the list was Qutub Minar. Owing to the fact that Qutub complex is a huge one, it took us quite a big chunk of time to explore the intricately carved monument and its peers located in the immediate vicinity. 

It was upon reaching the Lotus Temple which is as aesthetic to look at as it is revered, that it dawned on me - we had very little time to bask in the beauty and purity of this epicenter of the Baha'i faith in the heart of the city. 

As much as it had a calming effect on the nerves just by witnessing the architectural wonder in person, there was also a hollow in the heart on having to rush through the visit owing to the fact that the time allotted to parents for the pickup of students back at school was nearing. 

I somehow had my Eureka moment in wanting to absorb the positive vibes radiated by this House of Worship and it then occurred to me that the ever-prevalent selfie trend could come to my rescue, albeit hurriedly. 

If I had to capture my first-ever selfie at that moment, I had to act fast. However, there were a couple of hindrances blocking the way. 

  • My colleagues and students were already at the head of the exit line of the premises, given the fact that all of the students had already boarded their respective buses and my colleagues were calling out for me. 
  • All in all, I had the span of a few seconds to focus on and capture this precious memorabilia of a monument in the frame. The fact that the frame should also have me was tricky enough to make or break my selfie game. 
  • As much as the picturesque background was set to be captured in all its glory in natural lighting, the same sunlight hindered my view of what was being captured in the frame. 
  • I decided to let the monument's presence in the setting vis-a-vis my presence steal the limelight in the capture. 
  • It was a make-or-break situation at that moment as I just had to capture the frame, relying solely on my instinct and rush towards the school bus without giving the final result even a glance, as there was no scope for even a second click, with the third being completely out of question. 

All I did was that I boarded the vehicle with my fingers crossed. My demeanor in that situation could be compared to that of a student waiting for their Board Exam Results. Anxiety and Excitement - two-in-one. 

It was on reaching home that I opened the gallery and viewed my first-ever selfie for the first time. 


Although my face clearly reflects the guesswork that was on my mind all the time, I was overjoyed to witness the symbolism of peace in all its eminence with the capture intact. However, there was a slight disruption to my joy as my face had not been completely captured. 

And, it is the only imperfection that I long to correct to date. How I wished that I should have been in the possession of such a device that could provide a slightly wider-angle shot! 

I had been consoling myself to date that attaining perfection in any aspect is an illusion, with the anecdote holding true for selfies as well, consoling myself that this capture was not bad at all considering that it was my first-ever attempt. However, the heart pines, as it is in a habit of doing so. 

On the flip side, such a capture provided me with a much-required reality check. 


I thus felt that I had managed a pretty good job out of my most precious selfie as I did not let the self reign supreme in the capture. After all, a symbolism of tranquility stands intact in the frame. Imperfections and flaws are the entities that define self, and the same had come to the fore in the capture as well. 

However, it is today that I felt that my single, most frivolous concern has also been addressed. Thanks to a brand of Vietnamese origin that plans to launch itself in the Indian market tomorrow, my woe concerning this particular memoir can finally be laid to rest. 

Picture an expertly crafted device boasting of a crisp design and precise technology that offers the ultimate 'Selfie Experience' thanks to a front, dual 'Selfie Camera' that captures a 120° wide-angle shot. 

As a brand, Mobiistar is all set to treat the Indian audience to the best ever witnessed in the smartphone industry as they partner with Flipkart to become 'Mobiistar on Flipkart' - a range of devices that provide promising battery life with no compromise as far as affordability is concerned. 

I couldn't be happier as I won't ever have to worry about fitting both the backdrop as well as the smiles precious to me, precisely in a single go. 

Capturing the perfect selfie, with or without my near and dear ones up close, with the heart of the capture intact - the scenic backdrop - would be an effortless task from now on. Getting my hands on Mobiistar's exclusive devices would mean that I could the perfect selfies seamlessly. 

I am all set to #EnjoyMore with #Mobiistar. :)


P.S.: Images concerning Mobiistar have been taken from IndiBlogger

An Acquaintance Revisited...

The feeling that overwhelms on being able to capture the perfect selfie in the first try is indescribable as far as millennials are concerned. However, the enthusiasm to partake the masses in going on a selfie-spree had gradually caught on with me a couple of years back, when the world was also enveloping in a self-imposed blanket of self-love.

More often than not, it is the finer details that are overlooked when one embarks on a selfie spree. Numerous factors have to be taken into account before zeroing-in on the perfect dose of narcissism that can be fueled by the social space for the admiration of one's network circles.

Apart from being a series of trial and error, being able to capture the perfect selfie is also to be complemented by the best-in-class technological advancements especially as far as the camera and battery life of a smartphone are concerned. So much so, that most leading brands in the market have come up with the concept of selfie phones itself that is solely dedicated to the task.

For me, however, capturing selfies is more about freezing memories in a frame rather than unadulterated self-love. One such capture that is especially close to my heart is this.

Another celebrity selfie for the envious lot, you may think. However, this capture has an interesting anecdote that forms for the 'Fable Behind The Frame' as I like to call it.

As an educator since the past three decades, I have realized that nothing or no-one rather, is able to leave as lasting an influence on a child's impressionable heart and mind as a teacher. For it is at such a crucial stage in life that a student becomes a student of life in the true sense.

If I were to rewind to what makes this selfie so likable to me, it would bring me to the beginning of my career when I had recently completed my post-graduation and had joined one of the premier educational institutions in Delhi during those days.

There was an equal emphasis on academics and co-curricular activities, which should ideally be the case too. This led me to Hyderabad, early on, with a contingent of talented girls aged 11-14 to participate in an inter-school dramatics competition on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrations of the establishment of one of the most prominent girls' schools in the city - Nasr School, Hyderabad.

How the journey from Delhi to Hyderabad was made possible was because of the fact that The Nasr Dramatic Society (NDS), founded in 1980 is the youngest and the only school dramatic club to be affiliated to the National School of Drama, here in the capital city till date.

It was here that I spotted a ten-year-old effervescent youngster bringing on stage a certain grace, charm, and maturity as a budding thespian. I could see the sparkle in her eye but had I ever imagined that such a sparkle would turn into the radiant Dia Mirza that we all know now!

Yes, I had been to Dia's school and witnessed her in action, excelling in dramatics at such a delicate age. I am sure she had put her best foot forward at academics as well. Our school eventually brought the trophy home as it was customary that the host institution would participate but not be in the running for accolades.

It was then that our girls were called on stage and I accompanied them to receive the prize on behalf of our institution. There she was, Dia, being the vivacious girl she is, holding the certificates in tow on the stage. It was then that I appreciated her participation and told her that I could see her achieving heights in life, in the long run. That was my brief tryst with Dia Mirza, who now comes across as an effortless artist with a brilliant stage presence.

Back to present time, where I spotted Dia as a brand ambassador at the launch of a new range of air-conditioners if I am not mistaken, by Panasonic last year. I had completely forgotten about our tryst but at the back of my mind, I was a fan of Dia's acting prowess. I was coincidentally seated at the front during the Media Briefing and after the QnA session, Dia herself was quick to recognize me and thank me for being one of her initial audience apart from her parents, peers and school teachers.

As a consequence, an acquaintance was revisited as I was made to wander in the bylanes of the pleasant past. Yours Truly was a novice at capturing selfies until quite recently and that is where Dia took the lead by adjusting the angle of the camera standing up and close to me with her hand on my shoulder. It was at that moment that the 'perfect selfie' was captured by Dia herself. 

While this was happening, I could hear people whispering (and being green with envy, of course), as to how this was an extremely personal encounter with a star, that is out of reach for most, if not all. After all, Dia is a person who transformed her dreams into perfectly executed plans! :)

As much as being in one frame with Dee, the Diva is a delight, I am also joyous about the fact that Dee is the 'Diva with a Duty', as she firmly voices her opinion on issues concerning our immediate surroundings and the society as a whole, the latest example being her pledge to beat plastic pollution at the recently concluded IIFA 2018 Press Conference.

As a sweet gesture, she even wrote a note of thanks and signed an autograph for my daughter. 

On the whole, the key to the ideal 'Selfie Experience' is a suitably crafted 'Selfie Camera', and many would agree with me about the same. Amongst the upcoming players in the market, I see tremendous potential in a Vietnamese smartphone brand founded in 2009 - Mobiistar. In line with their motto being 'Enjoy More', they are all set to set foot in the Indian market with the promising proposal of a device that features crisp technicalities in the form of a front, dual selfie camera that captures a 120° wide-angle shot

Apart from being the perfect arsenal for an ideal group selfie, such powerful features also guarantee more smiles as there would be no complaints of a comrade being cropped out or the picturesque background being compromised

Coupled with a long-lasting battery and economical pricing marketed exclusively as 'Mobiistar on Flipkart', I am sure that #Mobiistar would be able to create a substantial impact in the Indian Market with their catchphrase aptly being #EnjoyMore. :) 


P.S.: Images concerning Mobiistar have been taken from IndiBlogger

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Raising A Toast To Corporate Master Chef's Delhi Edition!

There is no love sincerer than the love of food. I got to witness the same late last month at Select Citywalk, Saket which was the venue for the Grand Finale for the latest season of the Delhi Chapter of World On A Plate's Corporate Master Chef.

Focussed on the theme of getting corporates to juggle culinary nitty-gritty in the gastronomic arena leaving behind their desk jobs for a while, The Corporate Master Chef is a crowd puller wherein luminaries from the food world act as stern critics to choose the best among the best and crown the winner who is at the top of their game in the kitchen.

This time around, model-turned-actress-turned chef and 'Mummy Ka Magic' fame Celebrity Chef Amrita Raichand had been roped in as the brand ambassador and to judge the fourteen finalists for the Delhi edition of the contest.

With summers in full swing, the Grand Finale was kickstarted with a refreshing recipe from Chef Amrita's hat that featured a healthy twist to Tabbouleh, a Lebanese Salad, in the form of the addition of core ingredient and pseudo-grain Quinoa, and king of fruits, Mango.

Touted as a Superfood (along with Chia) by the Central Food Technological Research Institute, Quinoa is a powerhouse in terms of being a treasure house of low glycemic load carbs and Zinc, which is present in trace elements in the human body.

When I asked her if she ever had any blunder dish with Quinoa, she expressed her views on the same captured in this snippet.

While the masterclass with Chef Raichand was full of anecdotes to master the perfect salad recipe, the hearts of the finalists were set racing when it was revealed that a preliminary round featuring teams of three to four contestants each would help in the elimination of three teams to deciding the final three or four contenders that would compete amongst themselves to be bestowed the title of The Corporate Master Chef.

The teams were given a half-an-hour timeline to present their creativity and skill on the plate while keeping the limelight on India Gate Quinoa as a core ingredient. Though the rain gods had a role to play in intercepting the conduction of the final, Chef Amrita quipped that she cooled Delhi down to a certain extent!

Being the advertorial face of companies like Whirlpool since her modeling days, Chef Amrita has been known as the Yummy Mummy with her nutrition-centric recipes at Mummy Ka Magic, especially for children. More so, with her son Agastya being at the center of her world, culinary and otherwise.

Moreover, with a TedX talk to her credit, and a Youtube Channel, Being Amrita - Chef and Beyond, it was wonderful to see Chef Amrita in action too, at the event.

Chef Amrita also mentioned her connect with cooking to be the strongest thanks to her mother and Chef Sanjeev Kapoor and the fact that she could create so magic with so many ingredients.

Speaking about her experience judging the Grand Finale for Corporate Master Chef, Amrita applauded the enthusiasm displayed by the contestants. Also, she mentioned her upcoming venture to be 'Punjab De Super Chef' to be televised on PTC which had her touring the entire state of Punjab over a fortnight or so while relishing the dishes prepared by home cooks - each being a Super Chef in their own right.

On the whole, The Corporate Master Chef finale was held successfully at Select Citywalk and Delhi had a winner adjudged by Chef Raichand with a pat on the back. :)

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Re-hydrate, Replenish, Recharge As Coca-Cola's Motto!

Coca-Cola is one of India's leading beverage companies that has just recently tapped into new avenues of Enhanced Hydration and Nutritious Dilutables by introducing Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE and Minute Maid Vitingo into the beverage industry in line with their endeavor to provide a spectrum of consumer-centric beverage choices along with functional benefits made available across various segments of consumers. 

Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE, as the name suggests, is packed with Glucose, essential Minerals (Potassium, Sodium, Calcium) and fruit juice. It has been developed exclusively for Indian consumers who toil in the heat which in turn creates a need for instant rehydration to overcome bodily exhaustion.  This non-carbonated, low sugar beverage with fruit juice is priced at a nifty value of INR 10 for a 200ml serving. 

On the other hand, Minute Maid Vitingo has a special formulation focused on addressing micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition in India. Fortified with Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Zinc, Folic Acid, Vitamin B2 and Vitamin B12, it is available in single serving sachets of 18gm priced at INR 5. Regular consumption of Vitingo has been clinically tested to significantly reduce Iron deficiency, Anaemia and Vitamin C deficiency among children. 

Citing their winning formula as based on the four pillars of being low-calorie and affordable, while providing great taste brought to the table in safe packaging, Mr. Ishteyaque Amjad, Vice President, Public Affairs and Communication, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia was delighted to launch both the products. 

Speaking at the launch, Mr. T. Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India, and South West Asia, said  

“In time for the peak summer, the launch of Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE and Minute Maid Vitingo marks our entry into the space of Re-hydrate, Replenish and Recharge. These enhanced and nutritious beverage options have been developed specifically for the Indian consumers to suit their needs of enhanced and nutritious hydration. 

The company is embarking on a program of incubation to develop a strong portfolio of choices for the Indian consumer. This would help the Coca-Cola system to build itself a consumer-centric portfolio for the future. To build a higher brand recall and awareness for the beverage, the company will conduct extensive sampling across the country. 

We have been actively focusing on our strategy to offer consumers a wide variety of choices as per their preferences and going ahead, incubating new products and scaling it up through our system would be key to our success.  

While Minute Maid Vitingo aims to be a part of the solution to malnutrition that the country is solving for, we are equally committed to making Aquarius GLUCOCHARGE a mass distributed brand in next eight months. Our reshaped portfolio will further accelerate the growth momentum and help us deliver enhanced business results.” 

The strategic extension of the portfolio is in-line with Coca-Cola’s journey towards being a Total Beverage Company, which is centered on building an increasingly diverse consumer-centric portfolio of brands attuned to unique consumer preferences. The launch of new products also adds another milestone to the company’s focus on ‘fruit circular economy' enabling farmers to increase their yield, source pulp and launch fruit-based products.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

#SmartForLife Entertainment With iFFALCON...

Last week was all about witnessing a game-changing move in the entertainment industry aided by technological advancements. 

With the launch of an India-centric smart TV brand iFFALCON its exclusive association with Flipkart, TCL Multimedia, one of the top-three TV manufacturers in the world has made a home run here in the capital city. 

Also on showcase at the launch were TCL also showcased two smart TV offerings, iFFALCON 55K2A powered by Android 7.0 Nougat and iFFALCON F2, at the launch event. 

With an aim to upgrade the home entertainment experience for viewers across the country by providing seamless access to their choice of entertainment, whether online or offline and operating at the intersection of high-quality content, smart technology, and powerful hardware, iFFALCON has adopted a consumer-centric tactic to provide the most enriching entertainment experience to its users by delivering the ultimate audio and visual spectacle. 

TCL’s renowned vertically-integrated manufacturing capabilities ensure that everything – from backlight and module to display, set, and panel – is produced in-house to meet and exceed global quality standards backed by the proven manufacturing prowess of TCL-owned CSOT Technology, a world-leading enterprise in display technology that ranks fifth globally for LCD panel shipments. 

Heavy investments in advanced technologies such as 5G, big data, and artificial intelligence made by TCL enable iFFALCON to provide users with direct access to personalized content. Through its robust partnerships with leading content providers such as Jio Digital, Netflix, Google Play Movies & TV, Youtube, ErosNow, Yupp TV, and Flickree. 

iFFALCON also offers its customers with a rich and diversified content library for a more immersive entertainment experience. Its unique brand proposition is further augmented by its robust sales channel integration with Flipkart, one of India’s leading online marketplaces. 

Speaking on the launch, Mr. Tony Guo, Global CEO – FFALCON Technology, said, “With the demand for smart home entertainment solutions in India growing at a rapid pace, the country’s smart TV market is in need for more technologically-evolved offerings. The launch of iFFALCON smart TVs will fulfill this need-gap. We are bringing the latest entertainment technology to India for fulfilling iFFALCON’s brand promise of enabling an ‘Incredible Smart Life’ for every customer.”

Mr. Harry Wu, GM – TCL Multimedia Overseas Business Center, said, 

“With iFFALCON, TCL is further strengthening its leadership position in the India market. Our long-term vision is to bring the latest entertainment technology to the Indian youth and become the go-to brand for smart products. The launch of iFFALCON will help us achieve this aim.”

Mr. Ajay Yadav, VP, Flipkart said, 

"We are committed to bringing the best in class technology products for customers to constantly keep them excited. Our exclusive partnership with iFFalcon, by TCL, offers a range of TVs that ensure an immersive experience backed by the latest in entertainment and technology. We are confident TVs from TCL would be another best seller on Flipkart, while we continue to be India’s most trusted destination for TVs" 

With actress Neha Sharma as the face of iFFALCON for consumer appeal, the brand has undoubtedly sealed the deal. All set to go on floors at leading e-commerce portal Flipkart on May 7, iFFALCON surely has a great run here in India to look forward to.