Saturday, February 28, 2015

Upgrading my car with Quikr NXT

Upgrading my car with Quikr NXT

Living in an apartment with a relatively small parking space can be quite harrowing. It makes you go through a big ordeal every time you have to take it, in and out of the narrow streets for parking. This resulted, in me purchasing a Hyundai i10, a hatchback which seemed to be quite popular during the time when I bought it. Years later, after moving to a more spacious flat with a larger parking space, I have decided to finally upgrade my car 

Having owned a small hatchback, I’ve always had the desire to upgrade to a Sedan, Luxury or even a Full-Size SUV segment car. But with rising inflation and phenomenal increase in vehicle taxes, it has actually made buying a new car an expensive affair. Though the prices had overshot my budget by a large factor, I still didn’t give up my dream of owning a SUV. Naturally, my focus shifted towards buying a pre-owned car. I’ve always believed that, when it comes to buying anything pre-owned, the only reliable, safe and secure place is

For those who aren’t aware, is India’s leading online marketplace enabling millions of people to come together in a single platform to buy and sell goods. With an easy to navigate user interface in both the website and the mobile app, it has become one of my most favourite sites to go for almost any need. With the launch of Quikr Nxt, things have just become a lot easier and secure. Quikr Nxt allows you to converse with multiple sellers at the same time by the Chat Feature and make your selections post the chat discussions
In this scenario, this is how I’d go about choosing Quikr Nxt, to upgrade to a better car from my existing one. 

  1. My first step would be to install the Quikr App from the Google Play store.  Once I open the app for the first time, I’d select Chennai as my default city 
  2. Inside the app, I’ll select “Cars & Bikes” category and choose the sub category as Cars.
  3. This immediately gives me an extensive list of all the ads for cars in every category, ranging from 50K to 50Lakhs. With my budget ranging from 6-8 Lakhs, I’d fairly expect to get a 2-3 year old SUV whose original price would be around 11-12 Lakhs. 
  4. Next I’d use the filter button to select my preferences. Under the Brand Name option, I’d choose my preferred choices of car in the check box. In this case, my favorites would include a Volkswagen and a Honda. 
  5. Post which, I will select the second filter option of price range, setting it to 6-8 Lakhs and I’d click on Apply.
  6. This narrows the search results to only the two brands I had selected, in that price range. Post an extensive research and analysis, my final consideration of choices is now limited to the following cars: Honda Civic, Honda City, Honda Accord and Volkswagen Jetta
  7. After being flooded with choices for the above cars in almost every variant, colour and price I’ll carefully go through all the listings in detail along with their pictures.

My considerations would be based on the following factors:

  • Age of the car : It should not exceed 3-4 years
  • Maintenance : Car should be well maintained and not have any dents or major scratches
  • Engine : The car’s engine should be in good condition having run an optimum no of kms for the given age of the car
  • Color: I’d prefer the car colour to be only black , white or grey

Once I am done narrowing my choice to a few listings, I’ll click on “Chat now” through the Quikr Nxt Chat feature. This opens a chat window for me to communicate with the seller and request for more details about the car. I’d like to clarify on the insurance renewal dates, last servicing date, known defects in car, reason for selling , more interior pictures of the car ( through the Quikr Nxt Chat Window itself)  and of course if he’s willing to negotiate on the price 

Once we reach an agreement, I’ll confirm the further details on location, time to meet and follow up with the registration process. If all goes well, I should successfully own my dream car in just a week’s time (post transfer of registration), thanks to Quikr

While all this is happening, I’d also post my very own ad for my old car in Quikr along with a lot of pictures. Once contacted by interested buyers, I’ll share the requested details to all of them through the Quikr Nxt Chat option, negotiate the prices and then finalize the deal to the buyer who’s quoting the maximum price

Hope you have a happy shopping experience in Quikr

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pampering with Bedtime Rituals

There’s no better joy in the world than playing with a small kid, watching its innocent eyes glued to you, as you make funny noises & faces and try to make it laugh. It’s a beautiful experience altogether, as you forget all your problems and engage in small activities with the kid as the time whizzes by. We love our kids with all our heart and care for its utmost safety, comfort and health

Yet , one of the biggest concerns while taking care of a small kid is sleep .The sleep schedules are quite erratic for babies, as they sleep in broad daylight,but very much active in the middle of the night . Just when you are planning to catch that sleep after a hard day at work ,you find yourself waking up to the kid’s scream at 1am in the night. These happen once too often and you probably intend to do everything to give the baby a good night’s rest. In order to do that, one does quite a bit of rituals every night, to ensure their kid doesn’t wake up suddenly or disturbed by anything else

So if it were to me, here are some of the rituals I’d follow, to ensure the baby gets a good night rest :
  • Play : Almost every night, I'd see to it that I play with the baby for at least 20 minutes with all its toys, as a fun ritual, to make the baby happy, as well as make my mind clear of any pressures.
  • Feed a bottle of milk : At least a solid 30-60 minutes before bed time, it’s important that I give the baby a small bottle of milk so that it doesn’t go to sleep hungry or again waking up later at night, crying for milk . The milk also ensures the kid gets a balanced meal, despite it spitting out most of its dinner.
  • Read a book: One of the rituals that I’d follow at night is reading a picture book. I’d point out the animals and the various characters in the book to the baby, as I slowly read the story to it. Irrespective of whether the baby understand what I am reading or not, it can fully recognize the different animals in the book and as the page turns, I can slowly find the kid also drifting to a gentle sleep.
  • Sing a Lullaby or a Rhyme: Almost every baby that I’ve seen, drift out to a nice sleep if you start gently patting it back and sing a soft lullaby or a rhyme. A soft whispering tone of the song will act like a smooth sedative and make the baby sleep very peacefully and it definitely wouldn’t cry any longer.
  • Creating a Soundproof environment : One of the main things to ensure the baby gets a good night sleep is to close all the doors in the room while keeping on some of the night lamps, so that it doesn’t get afraid. This will prevent the kid from waking up to any mosquito bites, blaring of roadside vehicle horns or loud barking of dogs or a neighbors quarrel.
  • Putting the Right Diaper: What’s more important than a comfortable bed or room for the kid, is the diaper it’s wearing. Before the baby goes to sleep, it’s important to clean and remove any dirty clothes, after which a clean diaper like a Pampers Baby Dry Pants is worn. This is a critical thing to do, to ensure that the kid goes to sleep in a very dry, peaceful and comfortable manner and not disturbed by wet diapers. 
To me, among all the above rituals, I'd rate adding comfort as the the key factor in ensuring the kid gets a peaceful and a good sleep. Irrespective of the external conditions being well maintained, if the baby's dress makes it feel uncomfortable, it'll definitely end up crying the whole night

Learn more about the Pampers Dry Pants in this link :

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ramayana - The Game of Life, Shattered Dreams : A Review

Thanks to BlogAdda Book Review club, I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of the latest sequel of “Ramayana, The Game of Life” by Shuba Vilas.

Titled “Shattered Dreams”, a sequel to “Rise of the Sun Prince”, I was quite eager to read the second part of this exciting series as soon as it came out, after being absorbed completely in the first part
The Game of Life is a unique novel that explains the story of Ramayana in a very simplified language added with a parallel explanation of the principles in today’s terms.

Book 1, the “Sun Prince” enlightens us the story of Ramayana, which starts in Ayodhya and traverses through the life of Rama and Sita and ends with their wedding

Book 2, Shattered Dreams tells us what happened 12 years later, when Rama and Sita along with Laxman are sent to an exile into the forest. Despite Rama trying very hard to convince Sita to stay back in the city and explaining the dangers of the forests that they encounter on a daily basis, a very stubborn Sita insists that she’ll follow Rama wherever he goes. With no other option, he finally agrees and thus begins an eventful journey to the deep forests, the later part of the story many of us would be much cognizant of

The book unlike any other mythological novel not just explains the story of Ramayana in simple words that almost anyone can understand. But it also delves into the inner meaning of the story drawing parallels to everyday life and what are the guiding principles one should follow like Rama. The epitome of beauty, knowledge, intelligence and divinity, there are a million things one can learn from Rama, and this book does exactly that. They say each and every action has a deep meaning and thought process behind it and such thoughtful actions can lead us to a long way
To write a small excerpt from the book

“Yet, one corner of Ravana’s mind kept drumming about the realities he was probably fleeing from .The easiest way to evade truths was to shrug them off as fantasies  spun by fertile minds , rather fearful minds “

“The most convenient way to handle a problem is to assume that the problem does not exist. Just like an ostrich buries its head in the sand in the face of a calamity it cannot handle, a man turns his face away from a calamity when unable to deal with it.
Neither the ostrich nor the man need ever face such a calamity again, since both of them will not survive to encounter another calamity again, anyway “
The above is one among thousands of examples in the book, enlightening  us with a  deep inner meaning one can learn from this epic novel and try to adopt to its methods
Rather than any mere “Self help books” which dishes out advice on things to do and not do , The Shattered Dreams is actually a guiding novel that illustrates a mythical example to help us understand the situation even better to be successful in life

The Shattered Dreams is based on Valmiki Ramayana as well as partly leverages Kamba Ramayanam and demonstrates how much of this epic holds huge relevance even in today’s modern life
In that I should highly appreciate Shubha Vilas in writing this epic two novel series, and helps us relive the joy of reading the Ramayana again in a completely different format , like never before
As goes without saying , this is a must read for everyone , be it a teenager or an old person and even better if one can start following it

 This review is a part of the biggest BookReview Program  Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Living the Life of my Dreams - Befikar Umar Bhar

Most of my childhood was spent  day dreaming, about things I would do when I grew up and got settled. Some of them were audacious or even impossible dreams, which I hoped one day will become possible. The goals were never too high for me and the world threw open to me, a life of infinite possibilities.
So as I grew up, I maintained myself, a bucket list of things I would do, no matter what it took. But I was able to do only a minor portion of them and still have a huge list to complete. So someday, if all my troubles were to vanish and I became Befikar Umar Bhar, here are the top 5 things in my bucket list which I would do

Going on an international "food tour" :

Being a huge foodie, I have always had the desire to go across the world on a culinary tour and experience the authentic food preparations in different countries. But given budgetary and time constraints I have never been able to do any of this till now and always been a major part of my bucket list. So if I am #BefikarUmarBhar, I’d definitely try to accomplish this wish at the very earliest and here’s how I would achieve it : 
The tour begins in India and proceeds as follows: I’ll  start my schedule by having a “full meals” in an Andhra Mess in Hyderabad. Then I’ll head on north to have the Paneer Butter Masala in Punjab, followed by a Rajasthani Meal with Dhal Bhati in Jaipur, head on to Mumbai to have the famous Vada Pav , Gol Gappe and end with the Masala Dosa in Chennai. This will be followed by an International tour to many countries, which specialize in different kinds of cuisines. My international itinerary would include a visit to the Mainland of China to have the delicious Chinese noodles, Tofu & Dim Sums. Next on the list would be to Italy, to have the fine thin crust pizzas, along with a sip of their famous wines .I'd finally end up in France to relish their charming street food that includes a Ratatouille, French Cheese Breads, Crepes and of course ending with a French pastry

Watching the IMDB Top 250 Movies: 

Working for a MNC means you pretty much end up with tough and demanding working hours that usually translate to around 11-12 hours a day. In the weekends, I am mostly involved in household work or going out with friends which leaves almost no time to watch TV or movies. As a huge movie buff, I have been following the IMDB list of top 250 movies quite religiously since the past decade. But I have never been able to go past the top 50-60 due to the above time constraints. So if by a miracle, I am #BefikarUmarBhar I’ll check this item off my bucket list by watching the entire list of 250 movies and end up becoming the ultimate film buff

Watching a Sporting Event Live

As a kid I have grown up watching all kinds of Sports including cricket, football, Formula-1 etc. and have always wondered how awesome it would be to see them live in the stadium, among thousands of fans cheering for their home team and going ballistic when they win . So naturally my third item in my bucket list would include watching a live sports event in a stadium. Yet due to budget, work and time constraints, it was always just a dream and never a reality. So if I am BefikarUmarBhar, I’ll definitely accomplish this by any means. Below are the list of events, I’d have on priority to watch it live 
  •  Watching Manchester United play at Old Trafford Stadium against Arsenal or Chelsea
  •  Attend a live Formula 1 Race at Germany watching Sebastian Vettel driving for a Ferrari
  •  To watch the Cricket World Cup finals at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
  •  Attend the Olympics

Get a complete makeover :

As a corporate professional, I have always adhered to business wears and a formal haircut, with not much experimentation on the colors and types of dress. I have often felt bored by this routine lifestyle and wanted to experiment with my style quotient. So an important item in my bucket list is to get myself a major makeover. I envisioned myself to get a funky haircut with spikes (like a footballer’s hairstyle), a large tattoo on my shoulders and brightly coloured suits unlike the boring dull coloured shirts that I normally wear. I sure do hope, someday soon I’ll check this item of my bucket list if I am BefikarUmarBhar

Travel to the 7 wonders :

One of the items in almost anyone’s bucket list would be to travel across the world and visit the Seven Wonders of the World. Having visited the beautiful Taj Mahal in Agra, I have always been eager to see the remaining wonders of the world too, which includes the Great Wall of China, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Colosseum, Empire State Building etc. So my last and most important item in my bucket list will be completed if I become BefikarUmarBhar and start on my 7 Wonder Tour.

Check out this interesting ad that illustrates of how one can make the simple and easy choice to become BefikarUmarBhar.

For more details you can visit the IDBI Federal Life Insurance site at  :

Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Unconditional Love of Asus Zenfone

I had cast my net wide, in search of a perfect valentine this year. Despite trying in so many places, I remained unsuccessful in my search. However things took a dramatic turn when I saw her. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever come across and quite literally awestruck at her beauty. Her colour, slim shape, vivid looks, almost everything attracted me instantly. It was love at first sight. I knew I should have her, whatever it takes. She went by the name, Zenfone by Asus. That was when I decided she was the perfect Valentine for me in almost every way.

Below are the reasons why Asus Zenfone is my ideal Valentine
  1. As a valentine, my Asus Zenfone will constantly engage me and keep the conversations flowing by offering so many messaging and social networking apps from the Play store apart from the inbuilt ones. So getting bored is out of the question.
  2. Being an ideal valentine, it helps me relive all my memories by taking countless HD photos and videos of wherever I go with her. The photos are also automatically backed up to the Asus Web storage in the cloud so that I’ll never lose any data whatsoever.
  3. My valentine likes to stay competitive amidst the stiff competition in the market and be the best among the rest. Hence my Zenfone constantly updates itself periodically with OS updates as well as application updates from the Play store to delight me with new features, bug fixes, enhanced security and design changes.
  4. The most difficult part about having a valentine is the cost/expense that comes along with it. However in this case, the Zenfone is pocket friendly, completely maintenance free for a long period of time and works without a glitch . It even comes with a warranty for a year to cover all defects, if any. Plus it never expects frequent shopping trips or expensive candle light dinners from me.
  5. An important feature that one looks for in a valentine, is her beauty. Everyone has a small desire to be spotted with a beautiful valentine that everyone is envious of. Rest assured, carrying an Asus Zenfone to any party/club/function will make you stand a class apart and gain you the respect that you deserve, while people gape at her beauty.
  6. Work Life Balance: Having a valentine can sometimes affect your work life balance as you manage to juggle between office work and personal time to have fun. However Asus Zenfone will provide you that exact balance you were looking for. While at office, the E-Mail app, PDF viewer , Documents viewer and PowerPoint application ( from the free Microsoft Office app in Play store) helps you to work on critical work documents and presentations, while back at home, you can use it to play games like Candy Crush, Asphalt and browse through social networks like FaceBook, Twitter etc.

If you are still not convinced on why it’s the perfect Valentine, here are some more reasons:
  • Even when you look at other people, it doesn’t mind and rather suggests other dating apps to chat with new people
  • When you don’t want to be disturbed and busy at work or watching a movie, you can put it in silent mode and it’ll never complain
  • Constantly guides everywhere you go, with the Google maps Navigation app using the GPS feature
  • You can ignore even when it rings and continue carrying on with your work
  • You are actually given a choice in selecting your favourite model  among the following 4 (Zenfone C/Zenfone 4/Zenfone 5/Zenfone 6)  to suit your own needs and budget

On a technical standpoint, the ASUS Zenfone(esp Zenfone 5/6) packs in  an impressive range of hardware that includes an Intel Dual Core Processor , 2GB RAM, 8MP HD Camera ,8/16 GB ROM,Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection with a price range that starts as low as 5299

Hence I hereby profess my #UnconditionalLove towards #AsusZenfone and see it as my Ideal Valentine