Sunday, February 4, 2018


I’m not sure if you will judge my itchy fingers for this but I have developed a habit of writing to my old self. (Younger self technically but you get the point, right?) No time travel yet! Sigh! 

Earlier last month, after contemplating my past self to be young, dynamic and stubborn and away from the magical world of technical advancements, I thought of writing to her as a pen pal to keep her abreast of all technical advancements I am surrounded with now and draw a clear comparison between the time zones. Basically, amaze her with the fast pace the world is moving at and how different it would be in a few years!

Again, after coming across the fantastic set of headphones: QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II @, I thought of fascinating her with this super-cool thing and the amazing concept. My letter goes something like this:

“Hey Shilpa,

Hope you are in the best of your health and spirits and your era is progressing at a supersonic speed. (I’m aware of it now though.)

I wonder if you remember me from my previous letter telling you about Smart Phones and their salient features of the likes of Bluetooth, Google Assistant, Music and photo capturing capabilities etc. Though I didn’t receive any acknowledgement from you, I write you again today to tell you about my new hobby and a wonderful trip that I went to last month; with a heartfelt hope for some sort of response from your end.

I have developed a taste for playing the guitar recently. I have realized that a lot of concentration is needed as the music turns into a cacophony if I miss even a single note or a beat. I mostly record and listen, instead re-listen to my own compositions multiple times to improve it. Focus is a big thing in noisy and fast paced world that I belong to. To my rescue, I came across a wonderful pair of audio headphone by ‘BOSE’ which plays music and cancels any unnecessary commotion that tends to interfere with my cerebral membranes or hand’s muscle memory and disrupt my practice sessions. It even gives volume-optimized EQ that provides consistent quality anywhere be it office or a loud shopping mall. Though the headphone is available in black colour also, I have my personal favourite silver couloured. I wish I could send one to you as well.
Courtesy : BOSE
Talking about my trip, it was a business trip to nature’s lap, Norway which I had extended by few days for leisure. Considering that music has become an essence of my life and my despise for harsh sounds, I obviously carried my wireless BOSE QC35 headsets with an inbuilt access to Google assistant via Bluetooth in my baggage. Already they were a big rescue from blaring horns and valueless jabber that my ears are subjected to on my everyday office travel. Sometimes, I thought they could be damaged during the long hours spent travelling but thanks to their well-built corrosion resistant durable body, they braved all the hiccups with ease.

You won’t believe that it was no just pure and divine music with them, it was like having a personal assistant with me the whole day!

“Ok Google! Set an alarm for 2 am”, I ordered by pressing the action button on my BOSE headband while listening to a melodious lullaby before dozing off. I was up on time and boarded the cab with my headphones on. Along with digesting the early morning quota of NEWS, I confirmed from my assistant if the cab was driving through the best route with no traffic and if my flight was on schedule. Without any hassle I landed in mystic and divine Bergen.

“Ok Google! Tell me basic salutations in Norwegian”, I asked for help from my assistant, which was really helpful during my stay in that city. Since my headsets were on, all greetings in Norwegian went straight into my brain without any external noise.

Next followed numerous meetings, brainstorming sessions and documentation with the client. After all the exciting work, it was time for my mini vacation.

I hired a bike, asked my assistant to play some Norwegian music and started my ride to nature trail Rallarvegen (the service road built for the construction of the Bergenline).  While listening to songs which I could not make much sense of, but were in tune, I even got a spot in a cafe reserved for Norwegian special open sandwich followed by waffle. BOSE had indeed treated me to a scrumptious meal. Splendid, right!?

I felt exhausted after cycling and decided to retreat to my hotel.

I went for a Fjord Cruise the next day that departed from Zachariasbryggen quay at the Fish Market. Thanks to my assistant which warned me of windy weather, I was dressed in woolen layers. I even called back home with the help of BOSE and had a very clear call despite the blaring winds. I even asked it to click some photos and send to my friends. Since I forgot to charge my phone last night my assistant switched on the battery saver for me on my command. Nonetheless, I was thrilled that at least my headphone comes with a 20 hours battery life and if at all I am short on charge, a quick 15 minutes power would add a 2.5 hour of life to my battery. I really would love to see the expression on your face while you read, re-read what I just wrote is true. Unbelievable? But true my friend.

All in all, I had a splendid tour replete of business work and different shades of nature. Moreover, a solo trip with my assistant enclosed with BOSE QC35 headphones by my side which is wrapped in Alcantara—the soft covering material used in yachts enabled a comfort wear throughout my magnificent journey.

I look forward to your reply on this letter of mine and any new adventure (even though I know it all) that is happening at your side.

The Futuristic “You”

Saturday, January 27, 2018

The Cat!!

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Felis, the cat flew away in that white December of 2030.

Life has its own luster and glamour. I experienced the sheen from a bizarre encounter. While jogging in a neighborhood park I saw a cat, so brisk and agile capturing mice. Squirrel and cat were two mammals that would always attract my attention in those green pastures for their steadfastness. Though squirrel was quite vigorous not to ever look at me, the furry growling cat sometimes used to look at me.
Pets had never been my forte until that time though.
One evening when the sky was painted with the sunset hues so dark, the sun and the crescent moon shone at the same time, tree leaves danced to the sound of breeze, the birds returned to their nests in flocks and Mount Floyen stared at me, I felt a sense of loneliness in the small city of Bergen.
‘Hey! Go out to a friend’s place’, my smart neuro glasses told me sensing my cerebral emotions but then my smart pulsometer, considered my pulse rate and time of the retreating day to be 10 pm and suggested me to doze off.  I took off all my digital accessories to think alone and indulge in soliloquy.
Woo, Tinder I have had it all and didn’t trust a human at my home at all. I thought of creating a replica of cyber humanoid Wallis from my office to keep company and chit chat. “Ahhh! Another machine…..Noooo!!”, shouted my heart in anguish. I redirected my mind to think differently.

Life has its own luster and glamour. My mind reinstated showing signs of animation. “Why not explore myself some more on my appetite to deal with animals which I mostly tend to avoid?”, I whispered to myself.
“Why not lure the wild cat from the garden?”, my mind coaxed.
In a zeal to follow this idea, I started spending more time reading and talking about the cats. Moreover, I was also playing lot of guitar to remove the thought of all the robots who bugged me at work. I was humming ‘Nashville Cats’ by the Louina Spoonful followed by “When he calls me kitten” by The Kelly Deal 6000 and enjoyed the rhythm. Playing guitar with all kinds of music became a routine with a glass of red or white wine by my side.
After contemplating on hunting my prey, the cat from the garden, I went there on Saturday evening and started playing PURR music and sound of chirping birds on my guitar. I could see the friendless cat at a distance from me but he didn’t budge from his place. I came back home only to try my luck the next day. On Sunday, after having my capucchino and croissant I headed to the park again. After humming and playing some human master pieces, I again plucked the strings of my guitar to play PURR music. I didn’t see the pussy cat for half an hour or so but then he unexpectedly appeared only to gaze at me and my instrument for some time. This became a routine for a week or so and the tactful chase for a romantic rendezvous with the cat continued. Then, again on Saturday, I was playing cat tones with lot of variations for almost two hours now but feline or Felis as I had named him, didn’t turn up. I started to walk back home feeling jilted in my affair with the cat. Suddenly, he appeared from nowhere and started to walk to our abode. I was very excited and believed that I would tame and finally domesticate him. 

Life has its own luster and glamour. At first Felis didn’t want to join me but finally my charms worked and I had won him over. I pampered him with food and drinks he loved.  Moreover, since it was Christmas month and I didn’t have much work at office I mostly worked from home, rather worked for home and spent my time playing around with Felis. Though I had to be careful of his razor-sharp claws and teeth.
“Meeewwww”, he would say whenever I would gently scratch him.
“EEEeeeeww”, I would murmur if at all I would be busy and not paying heed to him as he would be shitting around feeling ignored.
I anticipated fresh and complex work at office starting New-Year. Thus, only machines could have come to my aid to nanny Felis.
“Why not build a Robo-cat like Wallis?”, provoked my subconscious. He would be of great company to Felis. I worked for a week and bondi-blue shaded robo-cat, Robbie was ready to pounce upon Felis.
“OOOwwwww”, grunted Felis and snuggled Robbie. But he interpreted soon that it was not living and lost interest.
“Boss! Welcome home. Today you are back home early”, said Robbie.
“Yeah, I was missing both of my dear cats, so came early!”, I casually said and started to look around for Felis.
Robbie was smart enough to understand my anxiousness and reported, “If you are looking for Felis, he is playing in the lawns”. I saw him from the window catching his breath and rolling on the grass. I went out to check if he was fine, but then an owl flew towards him, caught him and flung him high in the sky and then just dropped him. I was lucky enough to catch him in time. I was scared but Felis’s green eyes shone brightly, whiskers moved briskly and ears straightened up in hostility. I couldn’t perceive his strange behavior, but I had very well deduced that I couldn’t domesticate him and his wildness could make him indulge in some other adventurous activity.
I programmed Robbie once again that whole night, so that it keeps a close check on Felis’s movements.
“Alas! It is only a machine in learning”, I thought.

Life has its own luster and glamour. To make it brighter and fascinating a soiree was on my mind. So, even with mundane busy routine that followed, I threw a party after a few days and invited all my friends with their set of pets.
“Looks like Felis is the feisty of all, he is frightening all the others”, exclaimed Ria.
“That’s true, he just scratched my kitten”, said Joe painfully.
“Hahaha, but my parrots are making him run all around”, jested Maya.
When the music system’s thumping beats began followed by different Purr sounds that I had recorded, all the pets hovered around the speakers and rubbed themselves against them. Everybody had ounces of drinks and loads of fun.
As we all bade Good-Byes, Nahan shouted, “Better cage Felis in your absence”. I ignored his suggestion and slept, with Felis still roaming around.
Next morning it was snowing and with my gum boots and umbrella, I left. Since the previous night’s party hangover was still fresh in my nerves, I returned early by around 1900 hrs.
As an Algorithm etiquette, Robbie greeted me. I lay on sofa with my eyes on a look out for Felis.
“Oh! He wasn’t there even in the lawns. Where is he?”, I pondered.
I switched on the CCTV’s recordings but nothing was captured except Felis moving out of the main entrance door. I shouted for Robbie’s recordings and was shocked to see him playing with the previous fortnight’s dark brown owl. While I was watching curiously, I noticed that they both had similar traits. They both were acrobatic and powerful nocturnal hunters bonding over their similar nature. I wanted to ask Robbie, as to why he didn’t stop Felis from loitering out, but knew the answer that I had programmed into him, “do not force anything on Felis”. Machines indeed learn the hard way with no emotional logic attached, I reasoned.

Life has its own luster and glamour. I murmured to myself after seeing the spectacular flesh frolic at display. With heavy heart, I played the paused video only to see the climax wherein Felis was happily wagging his tail while being carried away by the owl. “An uncommon union”, captioned Robbie, the steel. When they were out of sight, all that was left behind was white pristine snow.

Courtesy : Google Images

Sunday, December 31, 2017


Breath-taking views of the green valleys, sparkling waters, flying seagulls, clear skies with beautiful clouds, good food, great people and comfort. What else could one ask for!
Such was the amazing last week that greeted me and my parents with warmth and cold alike. Sunlight’s warmth and the mountain breeze made the experience a beautiful one for us.

A day’s visit to Alibaug via ferry from the Gateway of India created a perfect teaser of the journey to come. The wait in the long queue at the ticket counter, the bumpy bus ride and the wait in the scorching heat was worth the experience. The ferry ride over the not so calm waters with seagulls flying past the main deck seemed out of the world. It was a calming experience altogether. Alibaug seems to be a “Beach house” as it houses numerous beaches and the famous Murud Janjira Fort surrounded by water on all the sides. However, the paucity of time led us to Varsoli Beach which had water sport enthusiasts on one end and families and friend groups occupying the rest. Taking a ride in the horse carriage with the horses breaking into a gallop as soon as their feet touched the water added to the beauty of the moment. Though the beach was not a sandy one where the sand slipping beneath feet feels surreal, a casual walk along the coast with slippers in one hand felt nice. 

The ride back to Mumbai in a ferry with the sun setting in the backdrop marked a perfect end to a perfect day

What followed the next day were long hours of drive along the highways and by-lanes of hamlets to reach “the Queen of all Hill Stations” - Mahabaleshwar. A homely resort with courteous staff welcomed us in Panchgani which was to be our home for the following three days. Time flew by in unpacking and with food of course! 

The evening was spent in a boat ride along with a friendly family and a good natured helmsman in Venna Lake. The cool breeze got us put our sweaters on and the coldness of water added to the chill. However, nothing could dampen our spirits. With cameras on in selfie mode, big smiles on our faces and a green backdrop, we tried to capture each and every moment we could. Mapro Farm was our next stop where we were awestruck with the number of strawberry products present and the strawberry farm. We tried varied flavours of crushes while my mother was busy selecting the stuff she could take back 
home.That marked the end of Day 1 for us.

The next day was to be devoted to Mahabaleshwar sightseeing.  The journey started off from Kate’s Point with Echo Point and Elephant Point adjacent to the same. The place gave a beautiful view of the valleys below which shone in the bright sunlight. The packs of monkeys creating a chaos was unbelievable. Though they only approached the tourists for food, particularly “chanas” and snatched away a water bottle or two from the unsuspecting tourists, the monkeys kept to themselves in complete harmony.

Arthur’s Seat awaited us a few kilometres away. It appeared like a natural balcony to the mighty mountains. However, the walk to the point involved climbing up and down a long flight of stairs that passed through the Tiger Spring, Hunting Point, Malcum Point and Echo Point. We braced ourselves for the long walk with juicy carrots from the hawkers. We made a brief stop at the Marjori Point and drove by the Savitri Point, Castle Rock Point and Monkey Point on our way back. 

The next pause was to be at the Elphinston Point. The Point provided a mesmerizing view of two valleys: Koyna Valley and Savitri Valley.  I could see high mountains as far as my eyes could take me. The skies were the perfect shade of blue with the clouds of different shapes and sizes spread across till what appeared to be the horizon. The depth of the valleys, the height of the mountains and the faraway skies made it a great picturesque location. We had masala corn at the point and left for our resort post a savoury fruit snack.

 The journey would not have been deemed complete without a visit to a strawberry garden. The garden had a main garden where the plantation is done and a smaller section with cardboard racks set on the iron pillars where the saplings were transferred from the main garden. The iron pillars were actually a part of drip-irrigation system and had small sprinklers at the bottom to water the plants growing underneath the shelves. The efficient systems complete with checks to conserve water was commendable. The last visit for the day was Lingamala Falls where we took the shorter route to the smaller falls which I’m sure will become incredibly huge during the monsoons. We sat on the rocks and soaked in the bubbling voice of the spring before proceeding to the final destination for the day, that is, the resort.
 The next was to be spent in the valleys of Panchgani. However, the journey took a toll on our health and we spent the day indoors taking rest and well, ORS too! The day turned out to be an unforgettable one as it showed us the human goodness that touched our hearts. In the difficult terrain when we were writhing in pain, the owner of a local pharmacy delivered the medicines to us after making numerous calls with queries regarding the address or apologies for the delay. But he got to us well in time and helped us as we were tourists in the part of the country he calls home. I don’t know his name but I just want to say that I’m really thankful to you and equally touched by the gesture.(Hope you are reading this post; Fingers crossed)

We ended our stay in Panchgani on a positive note with gratitude in our hearts under the blissful skies.

The onward journey to Shirdi was strenuous beyond our expectations and we were troubled by a tout who took us places with promise of a comfortable accommodation and a guidance for the darshan to the famous temple. It was with great difficulty we got rid of him after giving in a bit to his whims and fancies. But a good hotel and the Darshan of “Sai Baba” and a good night’s sleep made us forget all about the horrid experience we had initially and charged us with the strength to complete the journey back to Mumbai.

We took a detour to visit “Trimbakeshwar Temple” but stood no chance to even reach the temple gates amidst the jostling crowds before a good three to four hours. After struggling for an hour or so, we resumed with our remaining six hour long journey to Mumbai where we breathed in peace after spending the day standing in long queues or sitting in the car during the drive occasionally searching for a clean washroom or a restaurant on the way.

On the whole, the entire trip was a good blend of walking down the nature’s trail and relaxation. It provided us with tranquillity and the human touch etched an everlasting memory in our minds and hope in our hearts. Though we couldn’t capture each and every moment on celluloid, the imprint of this journey is to last forever.

P.S. The Picture Credits for this post goes to my itchy fingers.

If you have similar stories to share, just put your itchy fingers on keyboard and share your wonderful memories in the Comments Section.


I’m not sure if you will judge my itchy fingers for this but I have developed a habit of writing to my old self. (Younger self technica...