The box of coins

When I returned home after visiting the RBI Monetary Museum, it was to find my oldest brother there on a surprise visit from Pune.

I immediately handed him the set of Information Brochures I had purchased at the Museum and launched into an excited account of my visit there. My brother listened to me, went through the brochures and then said:

“You know, I just remembered. There used to be this box of coins at home, though I can’t recall the last time I saw them. With all the moving around cities and houses that we have done, it probably got lost somewhere.”

Amma, who was listening to our conversation, suddenly piped in and said, “No, it has not. The box is in one of the cartons in the kitchen loft.” This statement was enough to make us search for the box in the loft immediately. It took us a while to sort through the stuff there, but eventually we found what we were looking for — the box of coins.

It was a small plastic box, heavy with the coins it contained. It jingled tantalisingly with a metallic sound as we brought it down from the loft and opened it eagerly.

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The mobile bookstore

It was almost 9 pm that day in April when the taxi turned into the lane leading to my house. It had been a long day at work and I was tired and hungry with the beginnings of a headache. All I could think of was dinner, a long cold shower, and sleep.

The lane is not very well-lit, and I was surprised to see it blazing with light. There was a large van parked in the lane and some kind of display on the road. Curious, I got off the cab at the entrance to the lane, paid the driver and walked towards the light, or rather the van and the display. To my surprise and delight, it was a display of books and the van was a mobile bookshop. And to over see all this was a man sitting at one end of the display and reading a book.

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Review: Asus Zenfone 5

I received an Asus Zen Fone 5 to review, and the phone was returned after about 20 days. I was compensated for my time and effort with Flipkart vouchers.


“It’s sleek.”

“It’s so light !”

“Look, the reverse is white.”

I listen to the excited comments of my department colleagues as they examine the Asus Zen Fone 5 that has just been delivered to me at my work address. I hear their comments, but all I can see of the phone is its size.

“It’s so big. It’s bigger than my current phone ! How will I use it?”

“Just like you use your other phone,” retorts a colleague. “Don’t whine about the phone size till you have actually used it.”

I wisely shut up.

That evening, the first thing I do when I reach home is to transfer the sim card and contacts from the old phone to the Asus Zenfone, and set it up. It is surprisingly seamless and within minutes the phone is configured and ready for use.

Another few minutes to download the social media apps that I use — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — and I am all set to use it and begin the review.

Asus Zen Fone, review, RippleLinks, Android, Smartphone

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The MFCC a.k.a. Mumbai Film and Comic Con 2014

I stare in wonder and disbelief as Darth Vader passes me, followed by Captain Haddock. I almost expect to hear a “Blistering Barnacles” from him; instead I get a cheery grin.

Before I recover from this rather uncharacteristic grin, I get distracted by Batman and Superman walking together and laughing and flexing their muscles.

Wait, was that Barbie and Ken?

And… and… was that the Incredibles? The full Incredibles family?

No, I’m not joking or narrating a fantasy tale; I saw all of them at the Mumbai Film and Comic Convention a.k.a. ComicConMumbai last week. When I entered the venue (Bombay Exhibition Centre at Goregaon), it was like entering a parallel world – a world dominated by comic and cartoon characters, merchandise and people around this theme. I saw a group of college students pass me their faces painted like minions and talking in minion language or at least that’s what it sounded to me like.

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Diwali markets: Lights, glitter and crowds

It’s that time of the year again. Diwali’s here (and at the time of publishing this post, almost over).

I don’t like Diwali very much. I hate the firecrackers and noise, the smoke and pollution it brings with it leaving me ill by the time the festivities get over. It’s a time I get all irritable and morose and develop a Scrooge-like persona. Well, not really, but almost.

The only saving grace about Diwali and also the only thing I like about this time of the year is the Diwali market that springs up all over — stalls selling lanterns, clay lamps, sweets, flowers, rangoli powder, clothes … So, every year, the week before Diwali is for walking through the various markets in the city and enjoying the buzz, the colour, the wares on sale and sometimes buying them as well. Like this set of beautiful diyas I bought a few years back.

Clay diyas, earthen lamps, Diwali diyasThis year, too, was no different. So amidst stocking up on my anti-allergens and inhalers in readiness for Diwali, I also explored the markets in Chembur, Matunga and Vashi. For the first time, I also took pictures, thanks to my new smartphone with a smarter camera. :)

Come, see what fascinated me in the markets and duly captured by my camera phone. :)

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Why I haven’t quit my job to travel !

“Why don’t you quit your job to travel full-time?” is a question that I’m asked quite often.

When I created a separate Contact Page on this blog about 2 years back, it was for a better way to engage with my readers and those wishing to connect with me. Soon, I started getting mails from readers wanting more information about the places I had travelled to or wishing to travel with me in the future; requests for book reviews; invitations to events; PR agencies wanting my contact details for their database; people seeking permission to use my photographs and posts on other sites; people wanting advice on how to start a travel blog and monetise it…

But the most interesting mails come from a group of people who want to know my ‘life story’. In other words, the story of ‘how I quit my job to travel’. This group of people are usually in their early 20s, fresh out of college/university, have never had the experience of working in a job (but hate the idea of a job anyway), and have dreams of making it big in travel blogging / travel writing business. My reply to such mails is usually standard: “that they should read the “About” page on this blog which would tell them that I work full-time, and haven’t quit my job to travel or do anything else”.

The correspondence doesn’t stop here. The next mail usually comes with the question, “Why don’t you quit your job to travel full-time?” or a variation of this. Depending on the tone of the mail and my mood at that time, I either reply with a shorter version of this post or just don’t bother to respond. I know it’s bad practice to not reply but, frankly speaking, I’m fed up with these mails. I’m fed up of replying to people who are convinced that the best way to travel (or do anything in life for that matter) is by quitting their jobs.

I’m so fed up that I decided to write a blog post on “why I haven’t quit my job to travel”. Another reason for writing this post is because the Internet is full of articles and blog posts on how people have quit their jobs to travel or do ‘something meaningful’ (just do a simple search and you’ll know what I mean). There are hardly any articles on why one doesn’t have to or want to quit their job in order to travel or do ‘something meaningful’. In fact, I have come across only one such article so far. This post is a teeny-weeny attempt to correct that imbalance of perception.

There are many reasons, big and small, as to why I haven’t quit my job to travel; I’ll only share the three main ones here.

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