Monday, November 24, 2014

Who bells the Fat Cat, wins!

I am not a big fan of lottery. Luck has never been on my side, you see. But I love games and crunching numbers; it sets my adrenaline high. So, when I saw Lucky 6 by Fat Cat on Indiblogger, I was intrigued. Why Lucky 6, I wondered? I downloaded it on my iPad to unravel the mystery and boy, I was thrilled! It's a dream game for all those who love to trade in stock market. If you are bored of racing cars, killing pigs and crushing candies, it's like a breath of fresh air.

After I downloaded it, I created my account using my email. This is how my profile looks - 

My Dashboard on Lucky 6

Next step was to figure out 'how to play' this game. It is quite self-explanatory, I would say. All you have to do is select 6 brands. From international corporations to Indian multinationals, from auto majors to FMCG companies and from Dabur to Coca-cola; all well known names are on the list. After you've selected 6 brands, the wait begins... This game runs on the day stock market opens around the globe. It's called - The Game Day. For player's convenience, App shows how much time is left till the next game.

Day 1 - Selection

So, the next question is - how the top 6 brands are selected? Is it because that particular brand performed better in stock market OR that brand was picked by maximum number of people? Answer is - top 6 brands are the ones with the highest move in their stock price on the game day. If your choice matches the top 6, you win. Simple, isn't it? Sadly, none of the stocks I selected were among the top 6. And my score was 202. Like - I selected ICICI Bank from Banking sector but that particular day, Kotak Mahindra Bank performed better and was among the top 6. 


Play 1 - Result

While I was searching more about this game, I landed on this video on www.fatcatgaming.com. Have a look at it -



Fat Cat™ - Crowdfunding Proposition from Fat Cat Gaming on Vimeo.


In the video, CEO of SHM Entertainment Ltd, explains the simplicity of this game. It's a step ahead from the traditional lottery system. Instead of picking numbers, you pick your favorite brands. This game is launched in India first and I brimmed with pride to hear that they are using bloggers to help them market it. Also, I learnt - it's more of a social game. If you invite your friends and family to play with you, you can win more. The more, the merrier - as they say. So, instead of sending Candy Crush Saga or FarmVille request, invite your friends to play Lucky 6 on Facebook. No one will curse you for sending request of a game in which they can hit a jackpot. You see, who doesn't like to win money while tapping their phone a few times. Share it on Facebook, Twitter or simply email it to your friends. Play, share and be a real game changer!

In their words... 
"If you introduce a friend to the game, they automatically become part of your ‘Crowd”.  When it comes to the Jackpot, if one of your “Crowd” is lucky enough to have picked the correct combo, you will still win … a bonus prize equal to 25% of the Jackpot paid to your friend.  Now that is worth sharing."

Now after understanding its working and concept of Crowdfunding, I was all set to play it better. I rested heavily on my intuition and kept my fingers crossed while selecting brands for play 2. This time I played with different stocks and when I was writing this post, there were couple of hours left for the game to begin. There is also QuizApp, a game where you have to answer few simple general knowledge questions but it is an upcoming feature. Anyway, I played and answered 3 simple questions for fun.


QuizApp - Coming Soon...


The most important thing - what do we win? It's cash and vacation around the globe. How very tempting!

So now, I will play more, invite more friends and hopefully win a jackpot. This game is exciting and for a stock market buff like me, it's thrilling to witness the movements of your selected brands and finally knowing which stock performed better at the end of the day. Even if your selection doesn't make it to the top 6 list, it increases your knowledge. While trading stocks online, play this game and add fun to your experience; not to forget the chance of hitting the jackpot. A win-win situation for me. It's a game meant to change the way people spend time on their phone and I am so looking forward to play it daily. And it's much more better than the traditional lottery system, it keeps the player on the edge when the game is in play. 

So, what are you all waiting for, download and play it. Who knows, you'll be the next to hit the jackpot! 

Click here to download.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#ToiletForBabli - Paving The Way For Healthier India

How many of us feel disgusted when we spot people defecating in open? We curse our system and move on. Do we really care about it? No, we don't! Honestly, even I didn't. We live far from such places to affect our peace of mind. But unfortunately, I knew someone who had a terrible time because of lack of sanitation facility. I am talking about my mother's maid in Ambala. I knew she had a proper pukka house; but one day when she told me that she didn't have a toilet and goes out in open, I was shocked. Not that defecating in open was new to me but she lived in a nearby developed village, which by no means showed a sign of backward India.

Later, I discussed this problem with my mother, who revealed that many people in our village in Himachal defecate in open and such a practice is quite common. I always associated defecating with slumps and it presented a harsh reality to me of people I personally knew. For me it was a difficult thing to fathom what those women go through. It goes without saying that defecating in open has health issues but think how difficult it is for those women when they have having their menstrual cycle. And what about the children, they are more prone to diseases spread by such unhealthy environment. Later, I read that hundreds of people die of preventable diseases each year which are caused due to lack of proper sanitation. It came as a bigger shock to learn that 2.5 billion people defecate in open according to a UN report and the worst part is India tops the list with 600 million people. 

Now we all must be thinking why our government is not doing anything about it. Well, there are programs but all lack proper implementation. Funds allocated for improving sanitation conditions hardly reach those who need it, sanitation facilities run by government are not maintained properly and as usual, there are more people than the number of toilets available. There are portable toilets at some places but they have the same issues as with other government programs. Later, I observed while commuting to college that even good administrations like that of Union Territory Chandigarh can't handle this issue efficiently. So, now the question is how can we deal with it? We can't leave something which is causing health issues and staggering number of deaths in our country.

Answer to this lies in spreading awareness and launching a larger campaign where all can join hands to work towards the cause of providing proper sanitation to all those who can't afford it. We need to educate people of health hazards associated with defecating in open and teach them the importance of maintaining cleaner toilets. We also need to tell people how to use public toilets and leave it clean as a courtesy to the people who will be using it next. We have to imbibe cleaner habits. Recently, Domex India launched a campaign called #ToiletForBabli where their goal is to make villages in India 'Open Defecation Free.' We all can contribute to this worthy cause, just click on the 'Contribute Tab' on www.domex.in and eradicate open defecation from our country and pave way for healthier and cleaner India. 

I believe that with proper implementation of government programs, well structured campaigns and more awareness, we can make India cleaner, healthier and open defecation free. Let's make India clean and build enough toilets for children like Babli. 



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Health is indeed Wealth



There is an unparalleled joy in the company of a sibling. You grow up together, you scheme against each other and most importantly, have fun together. My brother is seven years younger to me. When he was born, I was on cloud nine. I always envied those friends who had their brothers and sisters for company. Now, I played with him and rocked him. Oh, it was the best time of my childhood. It was so much fun. Everybody was joyous but it only lasted a few months. When he was 3 months old, he developed an eye infection. Doctors thought it was normal and would go away with medication. I remember, no one was allowed to touch him. We didn't take him outside. We followed the hygiene and medicine routine, and it did went away.

But again after a few months, we noticed that whenever he was lying down and tilted his head in one direction, tears would flow non-stop. First we thought that he was weeping. But even when he was sleeping, it won't stop. We took him to doctor and there was a major problem with his tear ducts. It is pretty common and usually happens in newborns but at his age, it was rare. 1 out of 20 newborns suffers from it. Doctors told us that it would require a minor surgery and will clear the passage with the help of a needle. Inserting a needle in a baby's eye is such a painful thought, not only for my parents but for everyone. We prepared ourselves and thought it will be alright after the surgery. I was also hoping to play with him again and take him out in the park. Surgery went well, it was fine for a couple of days but again we noticed the same thing. His tears won't stop when he titled his head in one direction. It was such a painful period for my family. 

We again went to the doctor and he said my brother needed another minor surgery. He assured us that he would be fine after that. I remember going to the hospital with my mother. Even when I stayed at home, I waited for them eagerly. I never understood much of it but all I could feel was that everything was so sad in my home. When he was born, we had guests almost everyday. There used to sweets in the house and it was so good. But when he was sick, there was no happiness. With a double assurance from the doctor, again we went for the surgery, praying this would end his misery. Even now it's so hard to even think about it but during the next many months, we went for a total of seven minor surgeries. It was the most difficult time for my family. My parents were distressed, my brother was in pain and I was sad, there was no fun to have a little brother who can't play with you. After his seventh surgery, things started to improve. My parents was over cautious, why wouldn't they be, I now think. After a month or so, when they had him checked by two specialists, they allowed me to play with him. And finally, things started to change. Again, friends and family started visiting us, we went out in park, I played with him and he reciprocated; there was again happiness in the house. 

Then, my parents took that experience as a learning lesson and went great lengths in taking care of both of us. Regular doctor check-ups and a proper diet became their priority. As a child, I was happy when they allowed me to play with my brother but they became happy when they made sure both their children are healthy. Health is not only wealth but a great source of joy, we learnt


*This post is written for 'A healthy child makes a happy home' campaign sponsored by Dabur India. 

**Image Source - Here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sorry… Again? Can he purge his sins? ~ Amit Singh

A small town boy who lives in a parallel world of goodness. He refrains from using the word 'breast', he conveniently addresses it as upper part of the body. He is so cautious in the presence of woman he loves, that he won't utter the word 'sex'; though she knocks at his door late at night and asks for cigarettes. This is our protagonist - Sid. Yes, he is a good boy with an ordinary life but he has done something which he terms as sin. Now, this book is about that one thing he has done wrong, and his ever-so-lost girlfriend, Mallika.

Mallika or Anushka is an enigma. She has a shaded past and a present, which looks very contrived. She is a lost soul and seems like holding so many things within herself that author has even written a chapter titled - Mysterious Girl for her. Between the two of them, the narration moves - sometimes it arouses your curiosity, sometimes it seems unrealistic and sometimes it's just plain. But one thing that keeps you hooked are beautiful parts of writing, which not only shows the author's ability to bring beauty to words but also charm. Read these -

"Memories not so old that warrant manifestation of their existence, yet not so recent as to manifest themselves in my pain, but they left behind indelible scar"

AND, my favorite -

"You should not continuously keep the spotlight on a particular incident otherwise its shadow will grow and one day it will become so large that it will eclipse your present."

In the opening pages of the book, author writes about his stay in Kolkata in such moving words that it almost seems like he is leaving his better half. And as you reach to the last pages you will find all the answers to the mystery and a happy ending, AND between that you can excuse the typing errors and low moments for a wonderful weekend read this book is.

Recommendation - Yes!

Happy reading,
Love,
Saru

P. S. - I so love chapter titles in this book.



Friday, January 3, 2014

We, the Change

Do you have any complaint against our system? I bet, you do! In fact, not one but many. If asked how is our country? ...Most of us will end up saying, '100 mein se 99 beimaan, fir bhi mera Bharat mahaan,' with satire and smile on our face. Are we taking pride in our misery or being simply helpless? Well, in my opinion we shouldn't feel either of it. We should just ACT.

With every third person in Indian city being a youth, we are marching towards being the youngest country in the world by 2020. Thus, change for us lies in the hands of those young souls. But, how would we propel Indian youth busy charting their own future to do something for their motherland? This is surely not the era of wearing khadi and shouting slogans. They spend most of their time completing assignments, writing an impressive resume, searching for jobs and unwinding with family and friends. So, we have to talk to them in the language they understand and more importantly on the medium they spend most of their time on.

If "charkha" was the symbol of our freedom, then modern day sleek gadget "mobile" will become the symbol of change. And here's how - by using mobile social media apps to spread awareness and infusing positive energy in Indian youth.

I truly believe in the influence of celebrities on young minds. Recently we have witnessed many videos propagating social messages going viral. Be it Nandita Das quelling the hype over fair skin or Kalki Koechlin's satirical take on rape.To encourage Youth of India to vote, we must pitch in Youth Icons and create an impactful video on how voting can change the society and share it through social media apps. It should reinforce the fact that we have the wherewithal to bring order in society. And that wherewithal lies in the Power of Voting. Celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar and Ranbir Kapoor have compelling influence on young minds and videos featuring them would infuse change in their minds when shared on social media apps. It should lead to the belief - We, the Change. After all, all that is ever changed is fuelled by passion, and streamed and executed by youth. Youth has the power to bring the ever needed breath of fresh air, the much needed change.

Few months back, I was irked with the number of 'Facebook Page Like' requests on my account. Even my timeline was flooded with pictures and status of Aam Aadmi Party. To be really honest, I thought it was just a craze or fad. Can one man change the dynamics of Nation's capital? I miserably failed to understand that it was not a single man but the power of social media, of Indian youth. To repeat what has happened in Delhi in the entire country, we must share the good work of AAP on social media apps. Nothing encourages people than true stories. Last week compensation of Rs 1 Crore was announced for a slain Delhi constable's family. I saw my cousin from a remote town in Himachal sharing it on Facebook saying - 'AAP ko vote karo aur shaheedo ko note do.' Though AAP is still in its infancy, but such anecdotes can drive anyone to the Polling Booths.

There are a million apps - from apps that help you to conceive a baby to the ones that help you live longer. However, social media apps influence people exponentially. What each of us can do is post a picture or status on our profiles when we vote. As they say, 'Action speaks louder than words.' It can influence people in our network to exercise their right and be a responsible citizen. Also, on apps like WeChat, we can invite our friends using group chats living in the same area to go voting with us. If we can hang out virtually, why don't we organize ourselves virtually to bring our country back on track. For a Nation which has lost faith in its leaders, we can't leave any stone unturned to restore it. Just Act - Exercise your right and vote.

Last year New York City introduced a social app for voting. Akin to Amazon, main purpose of this app is to bring voting and its process closer to people. As we are still far behind as a nation, we can only use what's available and put it to the best use. With the stunning example of Delhi and Indian General Elections ahead of us, we must use this tiny gadget to change the course of future. Use social media apps on your mobile to share, influence and encourage youth to vote and make "mobile" the symbol of change. As the President of US, Barrack Obama said, 'Yes, We Can!' Let's believe in ourselves and be a part of the new chapter of our country. Trust me, with the Power of Voting, We surely can...

*Image Source - Here

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mommy Santa ~ Ho, Ho, Ho!


To My Unborn Child ~

Flipping the news channels,
Awing at the baby commercials,
Your Mommy plans someday.
What would she gift you on your 3rd birthday?

Inviting friends from your Play School,
Tricycle with cake of your favorite cartoon.
Morning Puja in the temple,
And evening party with balloons.
Imbibing Social Values at outset.
Social manners add to your growth chart...
You should never forget.

A Doll House or Lego,
Maybe, an iPad for your rocking generation.
Or choose the Best of Schools,
To build your foundation.
Hang on, when I was 6...
I missed reading story books at that age.
Gift of Reading would be perfect,
To nurture you at that stage.

You won't be born with a silver spoon,
But surely will have privileges many.
Trip to the nearest slum on turning 13,
To teach you value of each penny.
Life is a hard taskmaster, be a better student.
Gift of Wisdom to you, to be prudent.

Will take all rides in an amusement park,
Your Mom will shed all her inhibitions.
On your 18th birthday, I promise,
I Gift You to be Fearless and stand by your decisions.
For headstrong people, opportunities smile.
Unabashed march into future, My Darling Child.

For I'll be really old,
You will be young at 26.
What to gift you to match your uber-cool life?
Your old mother would be in a fix.
To protect you and your family from Financial unseens.
Subscription Gift of Forbes India magazine.

~ Would be, Mommy…


*This post is a part of the 1001 Gifts Activity by HDFC Life in association with BlogAdda

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cleaner, Safer and Better Delhi


*This post won runner-up prize in Delhi Manifesto Contest on BlogAdda.

Delhi gives you many reasons to love it - ancient Mughal architecture, its fast-pace, flourishing suburbs and the heart-warming welcome of Delhi walas. You can't but admire the right mix of this city - Lal Qila aging gracefully in the background as modern day marvel Delhi Metro runs through the narrow lanes of Old Delhi. You take pride in the preserved heritage and growth of Nation's capital but a closer brush with this city leaves you heart-broken and shameful at the same time.

When BlogAdda asked bloggers to draft Delhi Manifesto and bring the issues we feel should be resolved to the forefront, I thought of the first day I came to this city. If you enter Delhi via road from Haryana, piles of garbage welcomes you. Your first reaction is - Is this our Nation's capital? Probably, no one imagines this kind of first impression from the most important city of your country. For me, Delhi needs to create a cleaner impression for anyone who visits it. Authorities should not only focus on cleaning and maintaining the posh localities but also the places which are the entry points of city. Cleaner Delhi should be one of the main agendas of Delhi Manifesto.


Another problem which should be addressed is - Public Toilets. People urinating in public is a usual sight in India but when you drive on wide four lanes of Delhi, you can spot many defecating along dry Yamuna banks or on Railway lines. We need to have much more public toilets in Delhi. This would solve two problems, of cleanliness and hygiene. Since Delhi has one of the biggest number of migrant population in the country, this would surely help in many ways.

My another concern is something which I didn't focus on for a very long time but after reading 'Holy Cow by Sarah Macdonald,' I understood the gravity of it. Stray cows and dogs in Delhi not only create traffic woes but if you read deeper into this problem, you will realize how the abandoned animals eat plastic from garbage while searching for food and die of slow and very painful death. When I came to know about this fact, I was shocked, not for the cleanliness part but how we treat the most sacred animal of India. For life long, we worship Cow and then when she is a burden, we leave her hungry and to die on open roads.

If we address three of the above mentioned problems in Delhi, we can avert one of the deadliest diseases 'Dengue' that hits the city every year.


Delhi has the most unbearable summers. Temperature in North India soars during summer but crowd and large number of industries make Delhi break all limits. We can't do much about it but what we can do is at least provide clean and safe drinking water to citizens, especially in summers. All those who can afford don't drink water supplied by Government but a large population which can't afford to have two square meals a day, suffer from many water borne diseases. Safe drinking water must be one of the top-most agendas of Delhi Government.

In recent times, Delhi has been lamented as the unsafest city for women. Safety of women is undoubtedly the biggest agenda. I know the Government is doing a lot to make women safe but my next concern is children. Nothing puts me off than watching rickshaws, autos and buses packed with more than double its capacity and taking children to school. What kind of safety is this? There should be strict laws regarding vehicles carrying school children, with special emphasis on vehicle's capacity and number of children it can carry.


If we look closely and put our own cities through the litmus test of these problems, we will find all cities face all these problems to some degree or another. We need all these changes not only in Delhi but everywhere in our country. And cleaning and making Nation's Capital better would serve as a perfect role model for rest of the nation to follow.

Let's voice our concerns and work towards a cleaner, safer and better Delhi.

This is My Delhi Manifesto in association with BlogAdda.com.

*Image Source - Google