Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival....

Well then, let me come to the point right away. We use the term "foodgasm" very often on the social networks...but then what is it's true implication? "Think less and eat more" - Says a foodie alright...hence this 'dual escapade' into the domain of gorging and 'euphoric scrutiny'; it is of course a Win-Win situation. The prospect of a Bloggers' Table being set up at the connoisseur's hub, Swissotel Kolkata....was alluring to the core. What followed soon after was a 'gratifying myriad' ...the "Sea Food Festival" unleashed it's savory delights...pampering our taste buds to the core. I really don't know where to start and where to end; it's almost a 'Mission Impossible'. Alright folks...let the pictures do the talking, they do speak more than words....

The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival...the ambrosial appetizers...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..even the salad's had a dainty twist..
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..Looks "eye-candy" doesn't it?
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..the piquant cheesy tomato dip..
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival...Yes, the potato's can be photogenic too ;)
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..The Lobster thermidor
with Asparagus | Broccoli and Garlic bread....
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..The Lobster thermidor
with Asparagus | Broccoli and Garlic bread....
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival....The Seared Scallops...
With Cauliflower veloute | Lemon scented crumb | Daikon
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..The Yum Talay platter..
With Spiced Dressing | Tinge of Mushroom | Mesclun
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..The Norwegian Salmon...
With Salsa verde | Mashed Potato | Chorizo crisp...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..the delectable main course..
The Swissotel Date: #OffBeat The Veggie Basket...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival...The desserts counter ~ The Opera Cake...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival....the Cassis Berry Panna Cotta..
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival...my very beloved Almond cake...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival...the ambrosial Chocolate Tart....
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival....the tempting coconut topped mousse...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..the "Go Green" Lamington...
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..My desserts' platter...
Duh that's a lot of calories and carbohydrates in there..who cares? LOL
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival..A very unique way to serve Rasgulla's.
The Swissotel Date: The 'Rasgullas servings' yet again.....
The Swissotel Date: A Ride into the Savory Sea Food Festival...Yes, it's worth a try, my friend! It is...
- Rating time:
Venue:  Swissotel Kolkata
Location: City Center New Town, Action Area 2D | Plot No. 11/5, Rajarhat, Kolkata 700157, India
Genre: European, Continental, North Indian, American, Italian, French, Spanish (Cafe Swiss)
Food Festival in progress: Sea Food Sensation (The freshest fish and seafood in a variety of preparations across all outlets)
Festival duration: 15-26 January 2013, 1900 Hours-2300 Hours
Type: Non-Vegetarian
Food quality: Excellent- 9/10 , Variety- 8/10, Presentation- 9/10
Foodie Picks: Sea Food- 1. Lobster thermidor  2. Yum Talay 3. Norwegian Salmon
Desserts: 1. The amazing "Pan Ice-cream", 2. Coconut mousse and 3. the choco tart.
Price range: Slightly on the higher side, it might cost you approximately INR 3000 for a lavish meal for two. 'Worth it'
Service and hospitality: Excellent 9/10
Ambiance: Fantastic...very well decorated and all the counters are extremely well lit up - 9/10
Analysis: With the significant "all-round performance", I would assert that it is highly recommended for all the food-lovers. My message to the the sea-food enthusiasts- Folks, this is paradise... just hop in any day and I bet, you'd be genuinely surprised.

* This is my first 'food-review' post as a part of the Kolkata Food Bloggers community. Do follow us on Facebook and twitter for more updates related to food, reviews, recipes and much more.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

A Photo Journal: 'Meher-Nama- The Myriad' at the ITC Sonar...

Snippets from the Meher-Nama: A heart-rending rendition by the Welcom Theatre production
Snippets from the Meher-Nama: The drama directed by Aamir Raza Husain & Virat Husain..

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Bolly-Debate....

Well, of course...loads of 'myriads' have been stitched over a cup of coffee, legendary conversations brewed, the spur of 'artistry', glorious collaborations and of course the essence of an animated debate. Coffee has managed to inspire creative minds, at least that is what I feel, and when creative minds mingle...the outcome is 'fabled' to say the least. And talking about the 'theme of discussion' ...well, it is disparate...almost like an universal set, this one. But then, yes my observation skills say that light-hear-ted topics can often yield interesting results..it does. 

We did start off with the sports-centric symposium, those heated up deliberation on the key pain-points of the current Indian cricket team...the argumentation on their their serial failure in pace-friendly conditions, but then Rohit's unexpected entry scripted a refreshing annulment. We quickly shifted gears from the '22 yards'  into another form of extolled entertainment- Bollywood; Rohit's indirect attachment with the silver screen did stimulate the conversation.

"Dude...this Dhoom 3 is shattering all records, 500 crores is not a mere figure...it says a lot about the man who controlled the proceedings" - The perfect start to an engaging debate. The numbers were given first preference nevertheless, that was Pritam's call, the blind Aamir fan. We knew that we would face an array of questions after such a statement.

"Dude, do you think that numbers really mean anything? If it did, Chennai Express would have been termed as the 'Movie of the Year'...the commercial bend doesn't add an extra bit of certification to any motion picture, yes I agree to the fact that these movies draw wide-spread response and that is precisely because appreciate the superficial constitution. And, of course, everyone's a film critic these days...." - As expected, the bouncers followed; and as expected Rohit was the ferocious bowler. We were aware of the fact that he had a serial hatred for commercial movies, the ones which looked illustrious on the face of it...but were shallow inside.

"Okay boss..let's not fight over this; I know you people have an inclination towards action movies...but then let's keep that aside for the next 30 mins or so. Rohit, let's transform this into a group discussion session...let us hear it all before we draw a logical conclusion. We'll focus on the legendary genesis in the history of Indian cinema, draw spotlight on their key endowment and try to form a generalized set of 'desirable attributes' that we look forward to. And yes, we'll try to stick to the 'recent set of movies' just to draw a better response. Sounds good?" - I reciprocated; of course it was a good idea...and I needed no certification for that :D

A cumulative nod signaled the flag-waver as Rohit took up the virtual mic and unleashed the flow. "The Stage is all yours mate".

"Let me start off with a movie that's very close to my heart- A Wednesday...not merely because of the fact that I am a Naseeruddin Shah fan or a Anupam Kher devotee, but the fearless portrayal  of the sequestered grievance implanted deep within every moral residing in a hub of disturbance. It is a fact that we have been ruffled by the recent spurt of PDA (Public display of atrocities) in every form but there's a strange bit of oblivion that has cast a pervasive blur. A Wednesday, I feel, is an eraser...it is quite a dauntless, intrepid attempt that would perhaps establish the TRUE meaning of the sarcastic exegesis 'Do not under-estimate the power of a common man' . But the only point of deliberation remains in the fact that how many of us, can actually step up to the task and take it to the next level, just like the "Common Man" a.k.a Naseeruddin Shah did. The 'thriller sheath' with a firm statement of moratorium was perhaps the best of it's kind in recent times. The fascinating screen-play and cutting dialogues like 'They asked us this question on a friday, repeated it on tuesday ... I'm just replying on Wednesday' or 'Aam aadmi ki tarah jiyo, aam aadmi ki tarah bardaash karo aur aam aadmi ki tarah maro' did create a very strong statement...loud applause for Neeraj Pandey for vanquishing those preconceived notions and portraying the veracious face of truth in a simple, lucid manner. The narrative format and the mysterious line-wrapper added a wonderful blend to the entire series of events. A Wednesday did speak a lot, and it shook the entire nation much like Rang De Basanti. It is a must-watch" - Pin drop silence prevailed... as he paused to regain his breath. Rohit is a man to vouch for, especially when you need an unbiased opinion...his reciprocation is exemplary. I did read his blog a couple of months back, he was quite a critic.

"Should I continue?" - His resounding tonal quality broke the trance. He had scripted a rollicking start. We nodded.

"Alright, the next on my list is another refreshing story that re-established the concept of unrestrained expression, of course, with a different flavor was Vicky Donor. I bet, nobody would have imagined this low-budget, 'drab-cast-blended-flick' would create such an impact..the reason being the general perception regarding the Indian directors who have been tagged with the 'masala-centric-expertise'. "Who cares?" - Was perhaps the driving force when the very talented Shoojit Sircar and the 'macho-man' Mr Abraham decided to take this forward. They wanted to highlight a forbidden corner of our society, the corner that could have never baked into sunshine, that could have been suppressed and concealed..just to serve the purpose of so-called 'sanity'. Yes, my friend, the story that revolved around the hunt for an efficient and high performing sperm donor did explore other avenues in effect...the tale went deep into his chords and extracted those proscribed angles. The movie is not a mere depiction, I feel...it is a dart that is direction straight towards the audience, tickling their thought process that is generally driven by external factors...it is quite a one-to-one-correspondence that covers loads of details with a humorous adornment. I could sense a logical connect between the audience and Vicky's thought-process...be it parallel or anti-parallel, I could sense the appeasement when Vicky agreed to donate his sperm right at the very end....that is what a well-stitched movie is all about. Ayushmann's simplicity and Annu Kapoor's brilliance made it possible. The movie of the decade for me."- Loud and clear...cutting words and cutting words of wisdom really. Great pick that one, I believe.

"Aye Aye Captain..even we loved the story-line...the songs and of course Yami Gautam's grace"- We all acknowledged Subham's valuable input. Paani Da did touch our core, indeed. Ayushmann has come a long way since his Roadies triumph.

"Okay, moving on...number 3 would be invariably something that is blended with a swell of yearning...a touch of nostalgia and the charm of rhythm-centric excellence 'devised' by Abhishek Kapoor and the legendary Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. No points for guessing...yes, I am talking about the Farhan Akhtar-signature-invigorator Rock On...the melodious journey that saw Ups and Downs on the way, but it's indomitable spirit that held 'them' together. Yes, I am talking about Magik , the brainchild...that was pulverized, shattered before it could unfurl it's enchanted wings. The euphony that had just started to synchronize with the Nation-wide-concord, was literally plagued by the "battle-of-the-psyche" ...the dreams that were sewed together were complete dispersed. But, then the love for music had always been the driving factor...it did manage to soothe the dis-putative ferment...it did bridge the gap and create 'Magik' on the stage again. The movie wasn't about the pomp or the grandeur of a rock-star's life...it was quite a mundane depiction, the sketch that would perhaps change the general perception of "rock music" and of course their protagonists. It is really marked by the 'flamboyance' and 'easy-spirited' representation that not only bewitched the youth, but impressed the 'seniors' as well...somewhere down the line, there was a despondency...the vehemence, the 'drive'....didn't you all stand up when the last notes of "Sindbad The Sailor" were performed on stage?  It has been such an epic tale of recollection, cognizance, flashback and a symphonious retrospection. Rock On ..is going to stay. Period." - I could see the glaze in his eyes as he paused again for a sip. Rock on was really an amazing experience, we were in our college days then....putting ourselves in their shoes was quite drippy. Glad that Rohit brought it up again, I guess it's time for us to re-unite again- My band - Brickz.

"I hope, I'm not really spoiling it...am I?"- I'm not sure why he felt so..we were actually mesmerized at this proficiency, the way he analysed the script..the way he intruded into the director's mind. We were thoroughly enjoying the ride...it was quite a roller coaster ride.

"Waiter! Another round of coffee please...."- And he got his answer..."Please continue"...was the implication.
"Okay folks...I know there are many Chetan Bhagat fans out here...and that is why, I am pleased to declare that Kai Po Che has impressed me a lot, no only because it had that element of cricket in it, but because of the very fact that I loved the story in itself. This novel by Chetan ji (3 Mistakes of my life) has almost everything...friendship, lust, greed, gluttony, love, drama, action, rancor and of course the strong cognitive backbone that forces you to think beyond the ordinary. The barriers of religion and creed which is still the 'darker side' ...has been breached with a strong enactment, it needed the able 'Abhishek Kapoor' touch to add that altruistic bend. The defining factor of any 'successful feature' is about keeping the viewers interested, inspite of the very fact that they might be knowing the story before-hand....that makes the task all the more challenging. Sushant Singh Rajput was the perfect choice I felt, the exuberance depicted through Ishaan's 'envisaged screenplay' was the kick-start nevertheless. Amit and Rajkumar did splendidly well to back him up because at the end of it all...the spirit of amicability and empathy emerged as victorious. It also proved that the fallible animosity and the Natural atrocities could pose a transitory abeyance...but in the end, sanity prevails...the sagacity can never be overpowered. Ali's perfectly timed straight drive was an unyielding statement, abdication is not even an option. The visual and the auricular be-witchery was class apart..everything fell into the groove perfectly. The negative vibes were perhaps directed towards the 'well-planned trade-off' that could be explained perfectly with Edison's allegorical quote- Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. A passionate creation and a prodigious ramification." - Yes indeed. Kai Po Che did strike the chords...it received mixed reactions nevertheless because of a couple of technical gremlins...but it was indeed a compassionate revelation..'compassionate' because it honored the original story-line, the intensity never dropped and the glorious transformation from the first to the second half made it all the more gratifying. Oh well..the envisaged group discussion was turning into a one man extempore...not that we complained. Rohit was an amazing speaker...he had lovely voice modulations as well.

The sizzling brownies were served as Rohit took up his last 'big fleck'....the end had to be sweet...."How about an assimilation folks? We have perhaps covered almost all the angles of a 'decent watch'...but then you need the mousse alright. Well...yes, I am talking about the glorious collaboration that found it's true manifestation through the quadrangular story-telling diversion...the alliance that was not only symbolic but extremely 'comforting' for any Bollywood patron. Yes, I am talking about the anthology brewed through the 4 heart-warming stories under the header "Bombay Talkies" ...the tribute to the rich Indian cinema on it's centenary. As a Bengali...we would have craved for the mystic tales of "Thakumar Jhuli" ...make no mistake, Bombay talkies is absolutely vintage...it's a classic homage to the journey that has not only been a breeding ground of talent, but has catered to every possible aspect of the society, in short, it is a burst of reality with an ostensible bend. With Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar & Karan Johar leading from the front, Bombay talkies is like a home-coming...a sweet-dish that would perhaps figuratively blend the ride in form of a collage...the collage which is a face-lifter for the 'obscure fate of homo-sexuality' , the 'taste of reality', 'the sway-able expression of inherent desire' or the 'depiction of the curves and bends of life'- It is an overwhelming empiricism. The mixed fruit juice of emotions...the uncustomary connivance...the visionary direction - the perfect salutation. It says a lot, in discrete phases...it is bold...it is 'enriched' ...it is a must watch" -
Phew that was quite a climax boss, Rohit's articulation was as dramatic as his subject of interest- Bollywood, and I would say, he is quite a Bollywood connoisseur. We had to draw a logical conclusion though....

And as Rohit took a much deserved break...I had to take up the 'center stage' - "So I guess, 'out-of-the-box is perhaps an overstatement....when we associate a movie with 'meaning' we gotta respect the director's point of view as well....the inter-twined POV's would actually result in a generalized conclusion. We have seen Indian cinema's reaching the peak of it's success in the last couple of decades, my success I mean it's esteem and prominence. And of course, the key 'characteristic' lies in the very fact that all of them are pretty much 'script-oriented' and not controlled by merely the central character...the strong back-bone of the story-line remains undaunted. Movies like Dhobi Ghat, Black, Mumbai Mirror, Shaitaan, Swades, ABCD have enriched the 'art' ..you have to choose your direction of 'interest' nevertheless."

"So who's paying the bill?" - Rohit giggled. The hilarious punch-line indeed.

* Image courtesy: Google images except the cartoon. (The collages have been made by me) . I have been writing movie reviews for a while now. You can read them here.

* This post is a part of the Miss Lovely Activity in association with BlogAddaMiss Lovely, an off-beat film directed by Ashim Ahluwalia is set in the lower depths of Bombay’s “C” grade film industry. It follows the devastating story of two brothers who produce sex horror films in the mid – 1980s. A sordid tale of betrayal and doomed love, the film dives into the lower depths of the Bollywood underground, an audacious cinema with baroque cinemascope compositions, lurid art direction, wild background soundtracks, and gut-wrenching melodrama. Miss Lovely is scheduled for commercial release on 17 January 2014. Check out the trailer here:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Golden Fortune....

He smiled at his 'karma'. It was almost certain that the gnarled maze of life had managed to baffle him. He looked ahead, as if in cognizance...his love for the road has been unimpaired. The glorious escapades have stropped his 'machete', the bond has strengthened further. And he lumbered ahead, leaving the chest of 'golden fortune' behind......

* This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda. WOW prompt for this week: include the word ‘love’ in your post and complete the story in just 5 sentences.

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Ballot Battle....

"Dad, give me a short and crisp account of the voting scenario in India, how the trends have been, who's leading and by what margin, who should ideally rule the country.....and please please keep it short" - The 'nonchalance' spoke.

"Why this sudden intrusiveness? I did try to drag you to the voting booth...you never reciprocated...." - It goes without saying that dad was quite startled at this sudden 'burst of breviloquent interrogation'.

"Dad, I JUST want to know why is these hashtags #UPA3, #PMPressMeet, Prime Minister, Rahul Gandhi and #AAP trending on twitter today...could you PLEASE throw some light? - The cretinous teen sounded desperate for the first time.

The Ballot Battle: The Modern Day scenario, the typical laid back (youth) mindset...
"I am oblivious about the twitter trends, but I certainly know that this country is heading no-where, especially when the youth believes in adopting to shortcuts....." - Dad did manage to hit those right marks with this statement. Shortcut is a momentary redemption.

"Dad!!! Please, not today...I already in a soup seeing such a tweet-centric-comparison-stitched-by @AdvancedMaushi - 'Press Guy: Why is Alok Nath trending on twitter? MMS: It will be disastrous to have Modi as PM' ...I really don't understand the mentality" - The 'in-cognizance' spoke.

"So this is the only tweet that you read? Didn't you shuffle through today's newspaper that depicted quite a sweeping perspective with the headlines - Query for query, AAP crosses the first hurdle...that actually spoke about Kejriwal's 'Common man' centric speech? I bet you didn't"- Dad was right on the money yet again. The Generation X, as the apt coronation reads, is more concerned about the twisted face of reality, than the backbone itself.

"On come on dad, I decided to send in a campy tweet like 'Kya AAP ke toothpaste me namak hai' but then, somebody retweeted the same quoting Gandhi-ji's reference. I mean what is wrong with the democrats?" - There again, the logical disconnect reflected out of his shielding statement.

"Hahaha, hilarious really! You people know how to snatch that bit of 'gravity' out of every discussion...have you read about Jaitley's point of view? What is this scrutiny all about? And of course do you have a crystal clear viewpoint of the concept that revolves around 'People's Democracy'? You did use the word democrat alright...." - It was very evident that every possible word was being analysed.

"Dad!! Come on...I did read out the Indian Express' opinion that said that AAP's achievements in Delhi are remarkable,but not unusual or unprecedented as they are being made out to be...I am not that ignorant and in-fact I have read all those columns which say that there is a looming change in the air....." - The statement was as callow in sync with his 'technical infancy' ...it was pretty much evident that whatever he said was either inveigled or swayed. Such shallow levels of 'expertise' is pernicious, perhaps inadvertence is a better prospect. Make no mistake, the youth, yes my friend... is the harbinger, they are ones to take the legacy forward, they are ones with fresh, undaunted ideas...they are the ones who could raise their voice for a cause to eradicate the last bit of nepotism and venality from the face of the humanity. They cannot, simply cannot, sit back and relax.

"If you are so responsive with respect to this 'balloting exercise', why on Earth didn't you VOTE?" - Yes, dad was right, it's equally important to be a "Doer" and of course, not merely a 'Thinker' or even a "Speaker". Implementation has to follow.

Voter analysis: Courtesy
"It was a match day dad, and you know how much I love the sport...Ashes, Australia Vs England, I could just let it go; and how does a solitary vote matter? There would thousands of votes heading off to one direction, how does my single vote count? It can't change the result drastically." - Arrogance reflected through the reciprocation, that is one typical youth-centric-idiosyncrasy alright...but argumentation? Well, it's a complete void.

"Well yes, of course...there is a difference between advocacy and audacity...you know what, this is the only reason why there's such low impetus on teen-votes, if I use this term. And considering the fact that your cricket match is of more importance that exercising your own right, I am sure lamenting at a later stage won't be of much use....and BY THE WAY, I thought that you people had 'shortcuts' in this direction as well, these shortcuts should be efficacious, isn't it?" -Pearls of wisdom indeed. He had a bright effulgence in his eyes...yes, it not just a mere denunciation, he had new-flanged ideas....there was 'zing' in his voice.

"Dad, what do you mean? Are you talking about leveraging technology in enhancing the sophistication of the process? Please tell me more about it....it's to help me immensely in the XAT examination, the essay and current affairs to be precise...." - This is, he made more sense though..but again, the outcome driven psyche expressed itself predominantly. The information-seeking tendency is more of a 'need' rather than 'will'. Sigh.

"Haha! There's my boy! But since you brought the XAT examination into the picture, let me tell you, the main reason why they included the general awareness section along-side vocabulary, decision-making and maths is because of a bitter experience back in 2008 I presume....almost 80 percent of the PI qualified candidates didn't have any idea of the socio-economic-and-political scenario of the country...leave aside the 'developing a point-of-view' aspect. Using a voter's id card merely for the purpose of authentication is really ignominious. And yes, since mentioned technology, yes, why not? When the smartphone or the sleek tablet has become such an intrinsic part of your life....why not get a push-and-vote option embedded in there? - The 'techie-essence' was emulating indeed...dad has been an application developer for the last 5 years or so, he is always on the look out, tickling the compass....figuring out complex algorithms to make it 'simpler' for us. He has even devised a self-controlled security system at home garnished with the sophisticated micro-controllers that triggers an alarm right on-to our mobile phones whenever there's alien infiltration; leveraging mobile technology has been the crux of his research as well. In short, a genius!

The Ballot Battle: The envisaged m-Voting centric view-points...the salient features...
"But do you think these applications would be safe and secure? Hackers have taken it to another level these days, don't you think that forging could be easier with such third party softwares or applications coming into the picture? What about the network dependency? Don't you think that a parallel system would, in turn complicate the existing scenario as well...there has to be a sufficient capacity building cum change management exercise to actually make it happen?" - Again...an array of questions thrown in, inquisitive and probing..but the point is, it is really too early to ask them. The base or the 'basis' is still to be laid. We have been talking about robotic drones, line followers, online payments, e-Governance, m-Governance...but voting through an application? Does that sound ludicrous? Well, the initial dissent shouldn't be much of a hitch. time's gonna heal.

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: That's the WeChat Mobile Application interface
"Ah!! Slow down...at the onset, tell me, how many of your 'cricket frenzy' community members haven't voted? I guess there's an immediate need to correspond...to stimulate, to enlighten, to inculcate....and this, should be start from a personal level. The government laid change management plans might take ages to spread the message. Why don't you use the 'drift bottle' instead? That could be the perfect way infuse the vibe...the 'sea of possibilities' would definitely transport your memorandum...irrespective of the geographic boundaries. Sounds cool isn't it?" - It did sound very cool indeed. The gentleman had almost taken it to another level, a true tech-geek to be honest...it had enough of logic and enough of rationale behind it, the level of awareness towards the 'ultra-modern gadgets' was impeccable. And why not? You have to adapt to the change!

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: Connecting like minded people in groups...
"Dad, I bet that could 'shake' the Nation...just like that...it's an amazing application to connect to like-minded people, and to add more members to the like-minded club"- Yes, he was slowly but surely falling into the groove. An appetizing debate it was.

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: Creating circles to confer & reciprocate...
"There you go, you always need that dragging force to overcome the inertia of deterring rest...not just the shake I would say, even capturing those 'pivotal moments' could have a widespread visual impact; someone clicking and uploading images straight from the kiosk could have a mass impact. The voice-message enabled chat interface would also bring in receptiveness; it's much like a walkie-talkie mode sending a "vibe" within seconds, the cost being merely the data-charges on your phone. In-fact, considering the social media drive, I would like to applaud Domino's India for launching an innovative initiative, rewarding the young voters with Domino's vouchers for every picture (hand with the superscribed blue ink) uploaded on their Facebook page on the balloting day. It did attract mass interest...and the 'percussion' extended their influence on other social media platforms like twitter and instagram. I have personally shuffled through an anonymous instagram account to discover the level of activity with the hash-tag #vote and #india on that particular day. I mean everything is there, in bits and patches...we just need to stitch them together." - Pin drop silence prevailed...the trailblazer had already summarized his futuristic prediction, he did portray his intent pretty clearly- drawing the 'prolific youth' into the system, by hook or by crook.

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: Apps are a youth heart-throb, the newness..
"But dad, the data contained in these mobile centric applications, as I already specified...can be tampered easily, we have seen it in the past with the Truecaller database being hacked & this data could be extremely sensitive and confidential, a single instance of illegal data drainage could be enough to create a mass upheaval, even riots could be inflicted."- The concerns that had been raised were legitimate, in-fact when we are analyzing the scenario with respect to the Indian backdrop, it seems all the more legitimate. But then, we are still moving towards an e-centric governance, projects like e-District, SP & SSDG are being rolled out throughout the country...that again deals with sensitive data, and data security has been ensured...nothing is impossible really. All you need is a collective effort & an attainable technology blue-print.

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: Loads of effective in-built weapons to utilize
"I think we would be rolling out UID or the AADHAR in the next couple of years and an integration would be done subsequently; the AADHAR combined with your bio-metrics would be a good enough means...in-fact I would one-time authentication on your smartphone so that you can vote from anywhere across the globe....on the field, in the cinema-hall or from office & the voting link would be active for just a single hit...I think that pretty-effective-for-the-young-voters, if properly executed that is.....and dude, having a dedicated database for the e/m-voting isn't a big deal...if you have to change the system, create a new voting system focusing on the youth-centric-benediction. I strongly feel that a few online perks like luck-draw-among-voters, early voter reward etc could also be beneficial- all you need to plan, to strategize ...to draw people like you deep into the system, you are the force, you are the face of the Nation and yes, you posses the RIGHT to vote." - His voice was a strong as his statement in itself. Yes, he was perturbed...disturbed at the wide-spread exploitation, nepotism, corruption- it seems to be a dreadful scar that has shown no signs of healing. Perhaps we are in need of a new antidote, the surge of freshness. And of course, with the youth icon, Raghu Ram leading the pack...the undaunted 'Roadies spirit' should serve as an inspiration.

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: Shake the World, Inflict a Change....
"But dad, I believe, there's a possibility of null or trash votes in that case...we have seen this time and time again in case of SMS voting, especially in reality shows; and I presume you are aware of the approved NOTA option as well. We have observed over 200,000 NOTA votes being registered, as revealed in the latest poll results...what do think? Should this option be restored or abolished? And what about technical glitches, if the m-network malfunctions...will it hamper the entire voting process?" -They won't stop asking questions. Ever. And the part is, in-spite of having a rational point of view, they get carried away.

Social Mobile Apps to facilitate Voting: Explore and do not 'drift' away in the flow...
"The NOTA is a debatable prospect, all I can say...is that in a competitive examination with multiple choice answer-options, 'None of the above' seems to be the most unpopular and it is tricky nevertheless. I feel that for app or SMS voting, the NOTA option should be accompanied with a mandatory comment option to justify this selection in perhaps max 100 characters; we have a such a provision for all Government 'rejections' in the e-Governance sector. That could ensure relevance to some extent. To answer you second question, well, any new system, if implemented, has to run both the manual and e-centric/m-centric system parallel-y...that helps in change management as well; and of course if you can always head off for an early morning jog to the voters' kiosk...good bit of exercise. No?" - That was hilarious really; but then he was right on this aspect as well.

"One last question, Sir....don't you think there should be a common platform to connect young voters from across the country? Your views?" - That was an interesting question, I reckon.

"Haha! You mean a certain Votestagram? Votebook? Votesapp? Hey Developers!! Are you listening??" - He chuckled.

The Ballot Battle: The envisaged vote-centric applications to form a platform of it's own
"I'll make sure that I connect with a few developers and techies through indiblogger...but I need a permission, dad...can I pen down the conversation in form of a blog-post? It's gonna tickle many of the 'wishful thinkers' ;)" - Now you know what I mean by an 'outcome-driven mentality'? :D

"Of course you can"...He calmly replied..."But you have to spread the message...discuss, brain-storm, reciprocate and of course at the end of the day..You HAVE TO VOTE!"

"Of course I will....in-fact, dad, I have already started the process. Wanna see? :D" - The exuberance of youth spoke for itself.

Interact and express....
This post has been written as a part of the India General Elections with Social Mobile Apps Contest sponsored by WeChat India in association with Indiblogger. You can join in the twitter conversation on the above mentioned topic using the hashtag #VoteForIndia

* The cartoons and illustrations have also been created by me and shouldn't be copied or reproduced without permission...please click on the individual pictures for a better view of the text associated in the speech bubbles.

All the photographs (except the stats graph, courtesy mentioned) used in this blog have been clicked through my lens and should not be copied / reproduced in any form without my permission. © Sammya Brata Photography

The Ballot Battle: And make sure that you exercise your vote...it's your right, yes you are RIGHT!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

It's All About Shoes: PDA (S)

Well, there's this typical saying that "A new pair of shoes can solve your is-shoes" ....I'm a firm believer in the principle folks & without wasting any more words let me indulge in a bit of PDA-S (Public Display of Affection for Shoes). Honestly speaking, I love to flaunt them & this blog-post is just a small demonstration. I would love to connect to like-minded people ;)

It's all about shoes: This colorful footwear was gifted by Burrp as the reviewer-of-the-year-award..
It's all about shoes: The wonderful collectible again, I adore it!
It's all about shoes: Yo! My first Reebook Zig-Tech..this is quite a prized possession my friend..
It's all about shoes: My first pair of Woodland boots, it is in short, sheer toughness personified...
It's all about shoes: My first pair of Woodland boots, my beloved trekking partner since 2010
It's all about shoes: Yo, times change, but some things never do. Love for Bata sandals still exists.
It's all about shoes:  My second Reebok Zig-Tech, looks similar to the first one and my beloved.
It's all about shoes:  My second Woodland hunter boot, again,  gifted by the brand itself...
It's all about shoes:  My second Woodland hunter boot, perfect treat to the explorer instinct.
It's all about shoes:  Alright, this the Puma snow-white dazzler, my morning-walk mate..
It's all about shoes:  The Funky Puma Greens, ahan, my weekend-ramble partner forever..
It's all about shoes:  The much coveted PUMA Red boots that made it's debut in IPL 2012. 
It's all about shoes:  I simply love my PUMA Red Boots..
It's all about shoes: Reebok India gifted me this dazzler for my Fl exercise video!
It's all about shoes: There's a history behind this one..to cut it short, PUMA was my Santa this year
All the photographs used in this blog have been clicked through my lens and should not be copied / reproduced in any form without my permission. Wishing all the readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year  © Sammya Brata Photography

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