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Sunday, August 30, 2015

TinyOwl's Wisdom

‘What’s for dinner?,’ first question Mr asks when he returns from office. No niceties, no sweet gestures - just straight to the point. Well, you must have guessed, Mr is a big time foodie. And, so am I. We have gone to great lengths to eat what we want - once we drove in a snow storm to eat Choley Bhature. We battled through slippery roads and winds gusting to 35 miles an hour. Our dedication to food and food fixes have created a lot of mess and food fights - snatching the last bite of pizza, emotional blackmail over late night ice-cream are rather common between us.

Our arduous journeys to food have resulted in many adventures too, but our latest food adventure was simply out of the world country. Why country? Read on…

Mr loves McDonald’s french fries. Why not? It is crispy, yummy and when the weather is great, those piping hot delicacies are heavenly. So, few weeks back when we were vacationing in the Thousand Islands region in upstate New York, perfect weather and gorgeous scenery whetted his ‘French Fries’ appetite. He parked the car and typed McDonald’s in the GPS. It was sunny and I couldn’t see the GPS screen from where I was sitting. ‘It’s 5 miles from here,’ he said and starting driving. It was a pleasant drive, even I was thinking of getting a Frappé Mocha for myself.

We drove up a beautiful bridge and after driving for some 3 miles, we saw a check post. ‘What’s up there?’ I asked. ‘Let’s see’ and he drove thinking it was some sort of police checking for runaway criminals. As we headed towards the bee-line of cars, I glanced up and spotted a sign saying US Immigration. What!?! ‘We are on US-Canada Border,’ I shouted. ‘What did you type in GPS?’ I asked. I rotated the screen and the address was - McDonald’s, Kingston/Toronto. ‘What were you thinking? Didn’t you check the city, state or country? Kuch toh padha hota!’ ...was all I could say before bursting into laughter.

‘I just wanted to have some french fries.’ he said with childlike innocence and turned around his car. So, after this near cross-country adventure to curb his food fix, the running joke in our home is -

Immigration Officer - Purpose of your visit, Sir?
Mr - Eating French Fries!

The story doesn’t end here. On the second day of our trip, we wanted to have a nice meal. Mr dressed in his new sports blazer and I put on my polka dotted dress, and we headed in search of a nice restaurant by the lake. Roads were so jam packed that it reminded us of Delhi-Gurgaon border. We got stuck in traffic and ended in a ugly debate. It was then and there I decided to download an app on my iPad to put an end to our food fiascos. With two back to back incidents, I wanted a permanent solution to our food fixes. I don't want any such mess on our upcoming trip to India. ‘Let’s try TinyOwl,’ Mr said. ‘It’s creating ripples in the blogging world, and many bloggers are gaga over it.’ And, this is how I got my first brush with TinyOwl’s wisdom.

And here’s Mrs' review of TinyOwl -

Since I have come across TinyOwl, I have explored it thoroughly. So much so, I am planning to use this single app to quench my thirst and quell my hunger when I am back home. This app is like your best buddy, better than our maids, as it is available 24X7 and never takes a break.

Mrs with TinyOwl

Discovering restaurants in your neighborhood is easy-peasy. When I'll travel with Mr, search for nearby restaurants would be reliable. TinyOwl has a quick guide to restaurants and their timing, delivery time, minimum order size and prices. You can search by ‘Dishes’ or ‘Restaurants’. Easy navigation of the menu is what won my heart - you can plan an entire menu starting from starters to main course to beverages to desserts. Scroll right-left or up-down! Just select the items, add to cart and pay using various methods available. Now, I am planning to throw a party using this app. Such a blessing, I tell ya!

Ordering Chinese for my family on TinyOwl

In case you are in a fix as to what to eat, use various filters on the app to search for food in your neighborhood. And, those offers that flash on the screen - with restaurant name, timings and code, would surely result in weight gain in many folks. Who can resist those tempting offers! And if you ever face a problem, you can just click contact and TinyOwl will come to your rescue. 

Discount Offers on TinyOwl

It’s not only the 'ordering' that deserves an applause, the dashboard on TinyOwl makes the experience easy and fun. Easy - as you can check your past orders, order status and change your details by clicking on profile. Fun - as it has incredible features like Free Meals and TinyOwl Money. Free Meals is a great way to have free food by referring it to your friends. And, TinyOwl Money is the feature you get from cash backs, referrals and refunds. Get a free meal using these unique features. So, there is so much wisdom, money and time saving, and food on this TinyOwl.

What are you waiting for - use TinyOwl’s wisdom on your Android or iOS devices and say goodbye to your food fixes!

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Friday, August 28, 2015

How I Met My Brother, Finally!

My brother is seven years younger to me. As a little girl, no one waited for him like I did. No one.. not even my poor mother who carried him for 9 months. Every time my mother came back from her regular checkups, I went straight to her bedroom and searched both sides of my mother. ‘Mommies always bring babies from the hospital,’ my little mind thought. I used to pace around my mother’s bed, I used to be in a constant state of worry - ‘Where is my brother?’ There were days I blamed my mother, ‘She must be late and they closed the hospital.’ Maybe, she didn’t like the babies available. Ok, let’s wait till they update the stock! Trust me, it was very taxing to work through my emotions.

But my worst memory of my kid brother popping in this world was when I saw my mother lying on the bed and a strange thought came to my mind - we kept new things in the storeroom adjacent to the bedroom and I thought, maybe, my mother kept the new baby on her woolen trunk. Oh boy! What if he falls off? My mother has no sense - New babies should be handled with care!... I thought. I ran into the storeroom and found nothing. I can’t tell you, how relieved I was. Thank God! But I gave a good stare to my mother as I passed by her that day.

Days went by and mommy didn’t bring my brother home. I was disturbed, I wanted him to arrive before my birthday in December. I wanted to show him off to my friends. You see, I always had the sole ownership of everything new in my home. And, I loved to flaunt. The waiting was taking a toll on my emotional health. But thankfully, a neighborhood wedding acted as a stress buster. I was all perky and excited about it. I went into great lengths to be the center of attraction. I bought a new dress, stood in front on ‘ribbon-cutting’ ceremony. My little heart needed a break from the stress of baby arrival and I wanted to enjoy every bit of it. The wedding was great, I got 20 rupees as my share from the Joota Chupai ceremony. Later that night, when we were watching a movie on the VCR, my father came and asked me to get up. What, leave the movie?!? He told me that I am a big sister now... but I was not at all excited. In fact, I cursed baby’s sense of timing. I preferred afternoon when I came back from school or in the evening. Gosh, there was no ‘Baby Home Delivery’ service too!

Half-heartedly I went to the hospital. My aunt was super excited, as if she got three stars in her Maths homework. She took me into the room, my mother was lying there, but there was no baby by her side. What, still no baby! Then, she pointed in one direction. He was in the crib. I looked at him, he was the most precious thing I ever saw. He was an angel. He still is. His eyes were closed, but the moment he opened them, my little self was confused. It was a happy confusion. I was happy... but why was I not laughing? I was not sad… then why my eyes were wet? I wanted to hold him... but my hands didn’t move? I was at a loss - later I came to know that’s what babies bring - a sea of emotions, too difficult to comprehend for a seven year old.

When I went back home, I gave my sleeping mother a dirty look. The only thing I wanted to say to her - Woman, keep the baby by your side. Mommies are supposed to do that!

So, my brother arrived 15 days before my birthday and I felt like a movie star. I had a ‘Brand New Brother’ and I distributed two Melody toffees, one pencil, one rubber and a chewing gum to my class. It was the best birthday distribution ever in our school. But sadly, my evil mother didn’t allow me to give Melody to my brother. ‘He is a baby,’ she said. Like I didn’t know. Hell, she didn’t know - ‘I don’t want Melody, no kid ever said!’

Finally, by mommy's side on their Vaishno Devi trip
* * *
P. S. - A gift to my brother on this Raksha Bandhan... as, there is no better gift than gift of words.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

WASH - Paving the Way for Healthier India


Do you know hundreds of people die of preventable diseases each year, which are caused due to improper sanitation? Do you know waterborne disease kill over a lakh in India? These staggering numbers are an indication why we are still considered a developing nation. Our system has failed to provide basic amenities like water and sanitation to a major chunk of population.  

Hydration is an important aspect of our survival and hence access to clean drinking water becomes our prime need. As we all know water makes more than half of our body composition and we lose water with every activity, including breathing; both the quantity and quality of water consumed are important. There are many regions in our country where water is not easily available - Kutch Region. And, there are many places where water is available, but it’s contaminated with bacteria or chemicals - in industrial towns and rural parts of the country. The scenario is not very good, even in our metro cities, for example - slums of Kolkata and Chennai don’t have access to clean drinking water. As a result diseases like diarrhea, cholera and dysentery are rampant there. The only permanent solution to this problem is adequate supply of clean drinking water. It will eventually improve the health and living standard of the community.

One another problem faced by low income settlements in big cities is proper sanitation. According to a UN report 2.5 billion people defecate in the open and the worst part is India tops the list with 600 million people. It goes without saying that defecating in the open has health issues, but think how difficult it is for those women when they are having their menstrual cycle. And what about the children...they are more prone to diseases spread by such unhealthy environment. Hundreds of people die of preventable diseases each year, which are caused due to lack of proper sanitation. Human excreta is the transmission source of many infectious diseases including, cholera, typhoid, infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and ascariasis. Worse, many of these have life altering effect. Lack of sanitation in addition to being a reflection of the poor living condition, is a major reason for pollution. Such untreated waste pollutes land, rivers, canals and groundwater.
We need to develop and implement a comprehensive system which provides clean drinking water and proper sanitation facilities to those who can’t afford it. Not only that, efforts should be made to teach the benefits of maintaining such facilities and the value of it. WASH Program - an acronym for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene is launched by TERI University, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in association with Coca-Cola. This program is working towards Strengthening Water and Sanitation in Urban Settings in India. This unique endeavor aims to reach 50,000 beneficiaries in low income settlements like the slums in metro cities. An extension of this program, which in my opinion will bring exponential benefits, is to reach 300 professional through WASH governance studies. In addition to working at ground level and with professionals, this program will educate 2500 children through municipal schools in India. What a remarkable and comprehensive plan!
I believe, that with proper implementation of government programs, well structured campaigns, like WASH and creating more awareness, we can make India cleaner, healthier and developed. It will not only improve the living conditions of a few families, but of the entire society by making it clean and disease-free.

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