28 October 2013

Book Launch Party of "State of the Heart" by Nelton D'Souza

Its one of the greatest moments for a writer when his/her work gets published, be it on any online publication or in newspaper. Its still a step ahead when whole set of his work is turned into a book. I got to be a part of celebration of such an event, when I was invited by Nelton D'Souza, for the launch of his book "State of the Heart". "State of the Heart" is a collection of 17 short stories on relationship, love and life. As he says, relationship, love and life are like three legs of a tripod. Without anyone there is no balance in life.
The event started off with introduction of dignitaries and the introduction of book. Followed by unveiling the book. The disnitaries and audiance shared their views on relationship, love and life. Meanwhile there was twitter contest on the topic, "What's the Strangest relationship you ever had or can imagine?"  The event ended with book signing and photograph with the author.

26 October 2013

"Tiger as a metaphor for all of nature" A Panel Discussion by Aircel

Date: 25 October, 2013
Venue: Press Club of India, Glass House, Azad Maidan Fort, Mumbai

I was invited for a blogger's meet on "Save Our Tigers" by Aircel. Aircel in partnership with various Non-Government Organizations, conceptualized, designed and began impactful capacity building and awareness campaign on Saving Our Tigers in 2008. The slogan 'Just 1411 left, Save Our Tigers' awoke the conscious of the nation. Awareness of the plight of our national animal reached every corner and made people take notice. Aircel began active on ground work in late 2008 with WWF- India.

Here is a brief introduction to Tiger, (ref: The Illustrated Tigers of India, by Valmik Thapar).
Tigers: Zoologists and other animal experts call the majestic striped big cat commonly known as the tiger, Panthera tigris. Panthera is the name given to the group of four big cats in the world that have ability to roar with spine chilling effect: the tiger, lion, leopard and jaguar. The roaring is made possible by vibration of thickened vocal folds just below the vocal cords in the larynx. The origin of tiger trace back some fifty million years.
Threat to Tigers:
Around two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire was at its peak. Use of Caspian tigers in games and slaughters in amphitheatres introduced the first significant threat to the tiger's existence. One thousand years ago, Europe entered the Dark Ages. With people far less numerous and lethal than they are now, tiger populations maintained an equilibrium and enjoyed wide distribution.
The tiger population suffered unprecedented decimation when the proliferation of firearms and cars from two hundred to one hundred years ago facilitated hunting for sport or purely medicinal purposes. People also hunted the tiger's prey, leaving tigers with less and less to eat. Humankind encroached upon the tiger's natural habitats, converting them to agricultural lands.
In the fifty years between 1875 and 1925, eighty thousand tigers were killed in India alone. Probably an equal number were injured and died later of their wounds.
Photo credit: Save Our Tiger-An Aircel Initiative, facebook page
Back to today's meet, the meet was a panel discussion among activists and founders of Tiger Conservation Trusts. The panel shared how they have been invloved in the conservation of Tigers. Dr. Anish Andheria, a Mumbai born motivational speaker shared his experience of how his visits to Sanjay Gandhi National Park in Mumbai during his childhood, brought him close to nature and motivated him to work on conservation of Tigers. Poonam Dhanwatey shared how she pursued her passion for tiger conservation by quiting her successful career as an interior designer. She also shared how they have turned a seven acre farm into a forest that now partically supports two tiger families with cubs, wild dogs, leopards, wild pigs and birds of every description. They have helped mitigate human-wildlife conflicts and aid with the voluntary relocation of villagers away from critical tiger habitats. As per records, the Indian or Bengal tiger is found in 13 countries and India has more than 50% of their world population. And with forest area available in our country this count can be increased by 3 to 4 times if we stop poaching and forest degradation. Also discussed, how we bloggers could raise voice to help these tigers roar, by spreading awareness about the need of conservation of Tiger, our National animal. And pressurizing the concerned government bodies to take necessary action.
Profiles of Panelists,
Bittu Sahgal, an Environmental activist and writer,the founding editor of Sanctuary Asia, India's premier wildlife and ecology magazine. A member of National Board of of Wildlife of the Ministry of Environment and Forest(India). He founded Sanctuary Asia in 1981, to make city people learn and appreciate wildlife and do less damage to them. He has authored numerous books on wildlife which include, India Naturally, The Bandhavgarh Inheritance, The Sundarbans Inheritance, The Bharatpur Inheritance, The Kaziranga Inheritance, etc and has produced over 30 conservation related documentaries.
Dr. Anish Andheria, the President of Wildlife Conservation Trust. Prestigious Carl Zeiss Conservation Awardee 2008. He pursued a Masters Degree in Wildlife Biology and Conservation. He is a large carnivore specialist with field knowledge on predator-prey relationships. He runs wildlife rescue center in Mumbai and is a trustee of  'The Conservation Wildlands Trust' and also 'The Climate Project, India'.
Poonam Dhanwatey and Harshawardhan: The couple founded the organization TRACT- Tiger Research and Conservation Trust, to address critical problems and find long term solutions, dedicated to tiger protection.They are among the Tadoba Tiger Reserve's most dedicated defenders and one of the ten Tiger Defenders identified by Sanctuary Asia.

23 October 2013

Festival Plan with Cashkaro.com

Am just done with my posts on Navratri, and its time to plan for Diwali. As always am excited as its time for me to plan my trip to my native. My daughter has 10days holidays, but due to lack of hubby's leaves, need to limit my trip for a week’s visit. Few days back, I received an invite from Cashkaro.com to participate in their blogging contest, so I thought of planning my trip and festive shopping with few of their offers and check how I could save few bucks.

Here is a sneak peek to Cashkaro.com and how it works.
Cashkaro.com claim to be India's No. 1 Cashback and Coupon Site. You can save on shopping through Cashkaro.com on more than 350 top brands. There are two ways you can save, one through Cashback and other using coupons.
This is how Cashback works,
1. Login to your Cashkaro account
2. Search for the website you want to shop Ex. Yatra.com
3. Go to your Chosen website via Cashkaro and shop as you normally do
4. Since you went through their site, you will automatically get Cashback in your Cashkaro account with in 24hours. And you can request payment to your bank account whenever you want.
In addition to Cashback is coupon offers. Use their coupon codes at e-commerce and get instant savings. Plus Cashback on coupons as well.
The third is free Cashbak. For example, try a Re. 1 trail of Reliance BigFlix for one month. No commitment and cancel anytime. You get Rs. 50 Cashback for just the trail.

So if I was given Rs. 10000, how I would spend it? How much I would save via Cashkaro.com and what would I do with the saved money?
 As its festive season, I need to book my bus tickets prior planning my trip, as few of my recent trips got cancelled, because of the ticket issues. I would book my tickets with Redbus, through Cashkaro.com cashback offer. My -to journey was Rs. 4000/- and return being mid of the week, it turned out to be Rs. 3000/-. My booking through Cashkaro.com, gets me a cash back of Rs. 180/- for four tickets. As all of us in the family are travelling this time, need to book my taxi to drop and pick us from bus stop, so I would book a cab with OLA. Usually our taxi fare turns to be Rs.750/- per drop, so our drop and pick up accounts to Rs. 1500/- and booking through Cashkaro.com saves me Rs. 150/-(Rs.75 Per confirmed booking). How about a Golden Embossed Lord Ganesh with Chowki(Rs. 765) and a tea light candle set(Rs. 699) to my parents as Diwali gift. Book of them would give me 6% cashback that is Rs.87. Check out my total saving, a cashback of Rs. 417. With my remaining Rs. 36 and cashback of Rs. 417, I would shop Saagas Silver Box for myself as to celebrate festival of Wealth, Dhanteras. So Cashkaro.com would make this Diwali a memorable one with their easy savings which would buy me a wonderful gift.

20 October 2013

Bhau Daji Lad Museum

Bhau Daji Lad Museum, formerly known as Victoria and Albert Museum, is the oldest Museum in Mumbai. Built in Greek Roman style, this museum houses archeological findings, maps and photographs depicting the history of Mumbai, people of Mumbai and India, their occupation and recreation, Hindu deity and avtaar, traditional crafts of Maharashtra, clay models, silver and copper ware and costumes. 

The museum is a two storey building, the ground floor has a collection of copper ware, silver ware, ivory and sandal art, Indian Porcelain and more.
Sandalwood work
Pearl work

Silver ware along with miniature craft person

Indian Porcelain

Photography on Metal

Ivory art

Copper smith at work
The first floor has a collection of clay models which include, villages in India and village life, agriculture implements, Indian occupations, Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. Indian Deity: Agni, Kuber, Buddha, Yama, Kamdev, Surya, Hanuman, Ganapati, Kartikeya, Shiva, Brahma, Indra, Soma. Avatars of Vishnu, Sita in Ashokvana, Embassy of Krishna, Dattatreya - Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh avtaar.   
Basket weaver at occupation section

Khurgodi one of Indian outdoor games

Foreign Communities in Mumbai
The museum also has a shop, the objective of which is to support and promote craftmanship and Indian design. The range of products include handmade and hand painted mugs, trays, key chains, T-shirts etc. All products are sold entirely on non-profit basis.
Outside the Museum is The Elephanta Elephant . History says, this elephant stood at the entrance of Rajabunder Jetty at Gharapuri or Elephanta Island.The Elephant which symbolized royalty, the Rajabunder Jetty was used exclusively by the local King. The Island derived its European name "Elephanta" from the Portugese. In 1864, the British attempted to carry the Elephant back to England. The crane, however, broke and the Elephant shattered into several pieces. The fragments were brought to the Victoria Garden(Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyaan) and were reintegrated by Sir George Birdwood. Since then, it stands here at the Jijamata Udyaan.
The Garden also houses Mumbai Zoo, which houses many rare and endangered species of animals and birds.

Travel Guide:
Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum
91 A, Rani Baug,
Veer Mata Jijbai Bhonsle Udyan,
Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Marg,
Byculla East,
Mumbai, Maharashtra 400027.
Phone:+91-22-23731234, +91-22-65560394
Visiting Hours: 10AM to 6PM(ticket sold till 5:30PM)
Closed on Wednesday and certain public holidays

Adult: Rs. 10/-
Children(5 to 15years): Rs.5/-
Students: Rs. 2/-
Foreign Citizen:
Adult: Rs. 100/-
Children(5 to 15years): Rs. 50/-

How to reach:
By bus - Most of the buses servicing South Mumbai, South-Central Mumbai, Central Mumbai and North-East Mumbai pass through Byculla.
By train - very well connected by the Mumbai Suburban Railway. The nearest railway station of Western Railway line is Mahalakshmi and that of Harbour Line is Reay Road station.

14 October 2013

Navratri Celebration, Bombe Mane Visit - Part 3

Part 2
The last Bombe mane for the day and this year, a visit to Marubai temple, in Matunga. Though we couldn't attend any pooja at the temple, we just had darshan of the devi and their arrangement.  

Ram, Lakshman, Hanuman

Beautifully decorated krishna

Durga as Mahishasura Mardini

From here, we had to rush home to perform evening aarti.
Here is the link to Anuradha's blog, a post on the bombe arrangement at her mom's place. As my visit was in a hurry, I couldn't click any pics.

Navratri Celebration, Bombe Mane Visit - Part 2

We connected our visit to Anuradha's uncle's place for Navratri arrangement with a visit to Bhajan Samaj, Ghatkopar. We were lucky enough to attend the special hawan been performed for Navratri.  
Here is the series on their doll arrangement


Seetha Ramanjaneya

Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswathi


Other four of Ashtalakshmi

Hanuman at Ravan's Darbar
After Bhajan Samaj, we visited Marubai Temple in Matunga.
Part 3

Navratri Celebration, Bombe Mane Visit - Part 1

This was one of my most awaited bombe mane, as I had watched their amazing creation of last few years on Anuradha Shankar's blog. Thanks to her, for, we got to visit this place this year. This arrangement at Anuradha's uncle's place is well known for miniature work by uncle.
Here is photo series on the same
Main steps

Miniature model of Rasika Ranjani Sabha, in Garodia Nagar
The other view of the Sabha
Almost 25years old miniature of a tourists hotel in Gulmarg

The village scene

There are lot more minitures, preserved through years. Both uncle and aunty were humble enough to show and explain us all of their work,
Miniature Railway station

A village house

Miniature of a house in Kerala

Other view of the house
Miniature of a house in US
There were lot more minitures I clicked pics of, but due to the length of this post, I had to limit with these many. Do visit Anu's blog here for the detailed post to this bombe mane.