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Month: February 2017

Real Estate In Mumbai – With roofandfloor.com

Real Estate In Mumbai – With roofandfloor.com

When it comes to investing in real estate in Mumbai, most people feel skeptical about getting the best value for their money. This is because, the real estate industry in this city of dreams has for long been overshadowed by various by the unrealistic prices sought by developers. In fact, despite the city boasting of a phenomenal increase in the number of new projects being developed across all budget ranges, investing in a decent residential or commercial property is often beyond the reach of an average investor. Thankfully, the scenario has been changing over the past several months in favor of buyers and investors. In fact, many experts feel that the real estate industry in Mumbai today has become the buyer’s market today, more than ever.

However, in order to get the best deals on real estate investment in Mumbai, it is important for people to consider the following factors before pledging their hard earned money.

Changes In Development Trends

Most real estate developers in Mumbai are not only focusing on developing new properties, but also redeveloping the slums. This has not only helped in further urbanization of the city but has also proven extremely beneficial for its infrastructure development. Although the rates of these properties are decided as per their location, the units that are being redeveloped generally come with affordable price tags. However, it is important for the investors to verify the different parameters of quality, durability and maintenance before opting to invest in both new and remodeled properties.

Promotional Offers To Boost Sales

A majority of real estate developers in Mumbai have flaunted a wide range of promotional offers to boost property sales. This can prove extremely beneficial for the investors as attract a larger number of potential buyers. Schemes such as zero interest rates, deferred payment plans, waiving off of various levies on special occasions and other such schemes have contributed towards turning the market in favor of the buyers. Real estate investors should seek complete details of the various promotional offers being provided by different developers and thoroughly analyze their pros and cons to ensure that they choose the one that proves most beneficial for them.

Choice Of Location

Location is the most important factor that investors need to consider while putting up a huge amount of money in real estate, which in turn depends on the purpose of investment. In case of investors seeking real estate options simply for profit booking, projects being developed at any decent location within or on the outskirts of Mumbai city can prove to be an ideal choice. Here again, the choice of property will vary according to the available investment budget. However, in case the property is being sought for immediate personal or business use, the buyers need to choose the locality by factoring in their everyday needs.

Seeking Help And Guidance From Professionals

Most investors are ignorant about the best ways to verify the above factors, which is why they need to seek the services of renowned professionals in the field. Roofandfloor is one such portal where investors can get honest and reliable advice about the best investment options in real estate available in Mumbai. The company, driven by integrity, is a subsidiary of the 137 year old The Hindu group and strives towards helping home buyers to get the best deals. They offer the following services to ensure that the experience of purchasing a property in Mumbai proves to be a smooth and hassle free experience for the clients.

True Price

The service is aimed at providing the investors with an accurate pricing of the property of their choice, including a detailed cost breakdown about preferential location charges, club membership, registration, VAT and all other costs. This helps the investors to better understand how their money is being used and whether or not they are getting the best value for it.

True Legal

This service aims to educate the investors about all the legal and other aspects related to buying a property, to help them make an informed decision. Through this service the clients also get the facility of verification of proper legal documents for the property as well as the availability of requisite approvals and authentications to avoid any problems at a later stage.

Jaago Re- It is Time to Pre-act not React with Tata Tea

Jaago Re- It is Time to Pre-act not React with Tata Tea

As I sat casually switching channels, sipping warm tea on a lazy Saturday afternoon,  the television flashed one of the most compelling and hard-hitting advertisements of recent times. Tata Tea is back again with its trademark “Jaago Re” campaign. And this time around the brand has brought into forefront what is essentially known as pre-activism, urging consumers to pre-act and not react to prevent social crises.

Pre-Activism- Isn’t it the need of the day?

If this term had to be laid out in a simple form, it is nothing but a sort of awakening, to learn and finally find an answer to underlying problems……well before one strike. The advertisement carries the potent voice of the young girl, as a bunch of people lie sleeping away in the backdrop.  

“Alarm abhi baja nahi, Rape abhi hua nahi. Kisan abhi mara nahi, abhi ye phul gira nahi. Khiladi ne medal abhi hara nahi, alarm abhi naja nahi….” (Translation from Hindi: The alarm hasn’t gone off yet, nor has the rape happened. We are awaiting farmer suicides, bridges to collapse and players to lose medals. The alarm has still not gone off….)

It is almost always, that we collectively as a society react with outrage only after apathy has befallen! We head out on candle marches. Oh well!!!! Of course express anger on social media, crib about the deteriorating law and order of the country. We boil with rage when a catastrophe strikes.

But does it really solve our issues?

Candle marches, Facebook posts, Twitter protests and arm chair activism, it’s time to change our behavior towards what affects our society. The outrage must metamorphosis into a newer form of activism- and that is prevention. Can you and I do something? Of course we can.

  • Make some noise, well before something goes wrong.
  • The government needs to hear- whether it is encouraging our sports personnel or securing the lives of our farmers.
  • Do your bit for your city.
  • Segregate and recycle waste.
  • Be sensible on the road, by doing your bit such as reducing noise pollution and road rage.
  • Raise your children, boys as well as girls responsibly.

Its high time we pre-act than react!!!!!!!                  

Ajanta Caves- Art Beyond Imagination

Ajanta Caves- Art Beyond Imagination

It was the summer of 1819. Captain John Smith, a young Cavalry Officer, along with a party of British hunters, was tracking down a tiger. In the thick forest of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the animal’s footprints led them straight past a cavity in a rock face. They soon found themselves in front of a manmade façade, cut into the rock face. As the hunting party slowly made its way inside, a burning torch in hand, they were left spellbound. ’Coz what lay in front, was a long hall with octagonal pillars and a circular dome. All over the walls were murals and paintings –art beyond their belief. It was what we know today as the Ajanta Caves. It had been abandoned for centuries!!

Art beyond imagination

The Ajanta Caves, amidst the lush vegetation of Maharashtra, holds within it an experience unimaginable. These Buddhist rock-cut temples, with its Fresco paintings, speak volumes about India’s ancient culture and heritage. Ever since its discovery, considerable effort has been done in trying to restore and recapture these paintings.

A life dedicated to Ajanta

They say early childhood influences have a substantial impact on a person’s life, especially on his passions and career choices. Dinesh Baurkhandi’s early days were spent observing his father Shambhuprasad Baukhandi and his work on the paintings of Ajanta Caves. His father was a senior artist in Archeological Survey of India and also worked in The National Museum at New Delhi, when he was transferred to Ajanta Caves to reproduce the paintings. This reproduction is in display in The National Museum.

Dinesh Baurkhandi would visit the Ajanta Caves with his father every vacation. Observing his style of work, he would paint out lines and fill colors for his father. He learnt the technique and nuances of painting in water color, water paper and oil on canvas. It was after his father passed away, he picked up the brush and canvas to pursue the wonderful work. There has been no looking back since, and for 35 years, he has dedicated his life to Ajanta Caves paintings. Dinesh Baurkhandi’s paintings have been on display at the Ayatan Art Gallery in Pune.

Rock-cut monuments from a bygone era

The Ajanta Caves are about 30 rock-cut Buddhist cave monuments dating from approximately the 2nd century BCE to about 480 or 650 CE. The theme of paintings here is mainly Jataka stories. As the caves were dwelling places of Buddhist monks, these paintings are religious in nature mostly depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha. The walls paintings comprise of murals and frescoes.

There is an extensive use of tempera style, i.e., use of pigments. The uniqueness of the art lies in blending of wet colors, layer by layer, on water paper. The outlines of female figures, the face effect and mood are distinctly portrayed. That’s what gives out the “fresco effect” in the Ajanta paintings. Emotions are expressed through hand postures. Graceful figures and mythical beings have been freely used to fill space. These paintings are a blend of physical beauty and spiritual strength, which is the hallmark of Indian style of painting.

Finest surviving example

The Ajanta Caves is today a protected monument in the care of the Archaeological Survey of India. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Truly, they are the finest surviving example of Indian art.

Do You Mask Your Wound?

Do You Mask Your Wound?

My eight year old was bruised badly. Falling off the slide, the left side of her face had been scraped by the rough gravel below. Luckily the wound wasn’t very deep and required just a bit of home treatment. But the little one was upset beyond words. The swelling caused her pain when she ate or spoke.  It made her conscious too. “What if my friends laughed at the wound on my face?  I won’t go to school tomorrow”, she sobbed. Calming her down, I convinced her that hiding from people isn’t really the solution. Instead, she should tell her friends how brave she had been, to withstand the pain of the wound. The little one seemed convinced. She dared to not mask her wound!!!

How well kids accept simple solutions to life’s issues!

But growing up into adults, this ability surely seems to do the vanishing act.  Despite having given all that gyan to my eight year old, I realized the hard- hitting truth, that I had been doing just the reverse. I tend to mask my wounds. Probably not the ones visible, but the hidden emotional wounds embedded deep within the recesses of the heart.

Hidden wounds take longer to heal than physical wounds.

There is a hidden wound in almost each one of us, isn’t it? Memories that hurt, of prejudices inflicted by society, memories of abuse, ridicule, criticism or hatred. I often suppress such wounds within me, letting the anger grow inside. Seldom did I realize that by doing so, I was subconsciously never allowing the wound to heal. I was just making it worse!!!

Applying the gyan…

…I gave my little one, I reflected on healing the hidden wounds.

Speaking it out: There’s something about revealing feelings to someone you trust. It relieves a great deal of the pain, fear, anger, resentment and bitterness.

Emotions are natural: I realized there’s no point in resenting feelings. These are natural emotions and whether we like it or not, they come with an element of pain. So acknowledging them helps to effectively handle them when they arise the next time.

Face it all: Over the years I tended to avoid certain situations and kind of people with the fear of being hurt. It was more my fear that caused discomfort, than the actual situation. It is important to overcome this fear, and to do one must let go of past memories.

Emotions are part of human existence. The real strength does not lie in masking it, or pretending it does not exist, but in the courage to accept it and bear it all.

So, do you also mask your wounds?

*Featured Image Source: Pixabay

New Cars in Philippines From Tata Motors

New Cars in Philippines From Tata Motors

Tata Motors’ vehicles have been in great demand in the Philippines since 2014. The low cost of ownership and availability of diesel vehicles makes the cars, utility vehicles and cargo vehicles an integral part of the country’s transport sector.

Philippines- an archipelago in South-East Asia has one of the most beautiful terrains. Wonderful beaches are just part of one of the world’s longest coastlines. Over a hundred ethnic groups, with a mixture of foreign influences, there is a fusion of cultures here. In this beautiful country, Tata Motors offers commercial vehicles and brand new cars in Philippines, at great prices. Users have an option of both petrol as well as diesel cars.

Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, the Tata group is a global enterprise, headquartered in India, comprising over 100 independent operating companies. The group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities we serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’.

There is an option available for various users and requirements. From passenger vehicles, diesel cars, small trucks, to pickups Tata Motors offers it all to the Philippines market.

*These are probably the best fuel efficient cars, and environmentally sound in a variety of ways. Tata Motors work with alternative fuels, and have developed electric and hybrid vehicles for personal and public transport, and use some of the world’s most advanced equipment to check and control emissions.

If you want to buy a car in Philippines, think Tata Motors!!

Source: www.tatamotors.ph

Weekend Read- Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel

Weekend Read- Jeffrey Archer Kane and Abel

“Fortune favours the brave”
— Jeffrey Archer (Kane and Abel)

After a string of average reads, I finally read something that made me say WOW!!!! Jeffrey Archer surely has woven magic in Kane and Abel (The story has nothing to do with the Biblical Cain and Abel). This book has it all- History, romance, suspense and drama. Kane and Able is a masterpiece, all with its well-developed story line that draw you right into each page.

The story of William Kane and Abel Rosnovski

They were both born on the same day in different parts of the world, totally unrelated. The two are distinctly apart, yet similar in many ways. Where William is the son of a Boston based Billionaire, Abel is a poor Polish immigrant out in the world seeking fortune. And when fate makes their paths cross, there is hatred, and an all-consuming rage to build their empire. Who succeeds? Do they learn to survive or is it the inevitable-of destroying each other?

 A must for enthusiastic readers

Kane and Abel is a beautifully carved saga that would mesmerize you at every stage. I first read this book when I was in high school, and just couldn’t resist reading it a second time. Some books indeed are captivating and the story would linger on longer than you think. What stands out is the brilliant characterization. Two strong minded individuals, from completely different backgrounds, yet are essentially similar, deep down in their hearts. They may be despicable, yet scratch within and you would surely find that spot of compassion and warmth. I have read other Jeffrey Archer books but nothing has come close to Kane and Abel, I must say. With a compelling story, it touches on a range of subjects, from the times of World War 1, till post World War 2 times. I struggled to put down the book.

The sore point

The book is voluminous and there are sub-plots crammed into each of the pages. Major portions of the story are purely descriptive without much of dialogues. I found a few of the chapters to be stretched. And with the narration oscillating between the two characters- “Kane and Abel”, I was a bit lost. Quite forgot what had been happening with the other character when I returned to him in subsequent chapters.

Nevertheless Kane and Abel is a masterpiece and a must read. The book is today considered an international success. Despite over 30 years of its release, it is still among the top on the New York Times best-seller list and among the top 100 list of best-selling books in the world. The sequel to Kane and Abel is The Prodigal Daughter, in which Florentyna Kane is the protagonist.

Kane and Abel is available in e-book format for Kindle Readers and paperback format on Amazon.in

The Regressive Hindi Soap Operas!

The Regressive Hindi Soap Operas!

Having nothing to do on a lazy Friday evening, I scanned through the proliferation of channels on television that have come our way in modern times. My remote failed to rest on anything interesting, until I stumbled upon the baap of all shows- a mega 1000 episode Hindi soap on prime time television. The show made me sit up and notice- the sanskari bahu with the pallu neatly pinned, the sasuma with streaks of white hair, the vamp with her gaudy fashion sense, lavish sets, close ups of the cast, well way too close, and of course an overdose of melodrama. The absurdity that unfurled in front of me that evening, seemed good enough entertainment!!

My earliest association…

…with anything on television began with India’s first soap Hum Log. I was a young girl then, way back in 1984, but I distinctly remember how the entire family would huddle around the TV, right till the end of the episode when veteran film actor Ashok Kumar would bring in snippets of the episode that was telecast. The soap ended with 154 episodes, becoming the longest running serial in the history of Indian television at that time. Things have changed since then, and soaps now have an altogether new avatar, with glossy packaging and most touching the 1000 episode mark.

But look underneath the glossy package…

…and you find nothing but a poorly scripted saga. After watching a few of the soaps for a fortnight, I realized that almost all of them are strikingly similar and predominantly clichéd. Each episode begins with a five minute introductory recap, followed by ten minutes of commercial break and around ten minutes of the actual serial. And as though this wasn’t enough, these ten minutes actually lack any progress in story.

There aren’t any shades of grey in the characters. The adarsh bahu wins over everyone’s heart. She is the epitome of piousness and is totally devoted to her in laws. And the vamp? Well, the lesser said the better. Does she really have to wear the darkest shade of lipstick to be portrayed as the bad? Not to forget the stream of dadis, nanis, buas, maasis and the endless supply of relatives who are ready to celebrate, dance, rejoice and cause enough problems to the demure bahu. Throw in the designer saris, the trademark mangalsutra and the glob of sindur and you have the recipe for a mega serial indeed. The latest entrant is the naagins and tantrics who are capable of casting a venomous magic spell!!!

And that makes me wonder…Why do people watch these mega soaps?

As I began asking people I knew, who watched these soaps almost on a daily basis, I realized that despite the content being absurd, these soaps did manage to strike a chord with them. For an octogenarian like my grandmother, these soaps were the best way to be occupied. They seemed to speak out to her, things the younger generation seldom had time to convey to her. The soaps were something to look forward to in her monotonous life.

We still predominantly are a patriarchal society and family norms often confine women to the kitchen. For a friend of mine, who is a part of a joint family, these soaps are an avenue to be part of another world. Caught in the duties of a home maker, wife and mother, she isn’t employed and has limited interaction with the broader society. These soaps not only entertain her, but have also become an integral part of her life.

My domestic help, who watches close to five of these soaps, loves the clothes worn. It is her connect with the upper class society. She aspires that someday her daughter would be educated and married off into one such household where she could live lavishly and wear those lovely clothes.

Move over regressive soaps

The larger than life image portrayed in serials is going down with the masses, and television channels are surely capitalizing on it. It sure is interesting to throw in emotion and drama to keep viewers hooked, but considering the influence of television on people and families, isn’t it time, soaps become more progressive in nature? Isn’t it time the regressive nonsense metamorphosis into something more meaningful and realistic?

I wonder who would be able initiate the change- the demanding audience or the channels supplying it!!!!!!

*Featured Image Source: Youth Connect.in
Book Review: Before We Visit The Goddess By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Book Review: Before We Visit The Goddess By Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

“What is the nature of life?
Life is lines of dominoes falling.
One thing leads to another, and then another, just like you’d planned. But suddenly a Domino gets skewed, events change direction, people dig in their heels, and you’re faced with a situation that you didn’t see coming, you who thought you were so clever.”
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Before We Visit the Goddess

If ever you feel like reading a fiction, that holds within its pages a deep tale, with elements of profoundness, pick Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Her writing surpasses all, and the stories never fail to grip me. Here earlier books such as Palace of illusions, Oleander Girl and Mistress of Spices, have been bestsellers and portrayed human relationships and its complexities in a unique way. The latest, “Before we Visit the Goddess” is yet another brilliant book from Divakaruni that recounts an unseen tale spanning across three generations, between mothers and daughters.

The storyline

“Before We Visit the Goddess” opens with Sabitri. Frail and stricken with old age, she has never met her American born granddaughter Tara. When she hears her granddaughter considering dropping out of college, she begins writing a letter to her detailing her own life, reminiscing the past. She was the daughter of a poor sweet meat -maker in rural Bengal. As a young girl when Sabitri falls in love with a boy from a rich household, little did she realize she would be discarded from her own community. Her life takes a turn when she seeks refuge in a professor whom she eventually marries.

Years later, she finds herself yet again staring at an uncertain future, as her husband dies, forcing Sabitri to take charge of life and her daughter Bela. Fighting all odds she sets up Durga sweets making it into a successful enterprise. Over the years, life and fate take her on a roller coaster ride. Bela, haunted by her mother’s choices, flees to America with the one she loved. But destiny had other plans and Bela is forced to search for her own path. Disconnected from her country and culture, she passes on much more than the bitterness of her life onto her daughter Tara.

Portrayal of characters

Emotions well portrayed, the tale describes a mother as she tries to save her own child from making the mistakes she had made years back. Yet she is unable to do so, generation after another. Sabitri is ambitious and resilient. Bela is talented and strong willed, yet lack’s the enterprising skill and ambition her mother possessed. Tara, disconnected from her roots, grows into a rebel. Her relationship with her mother remains rocky, as she throws away an education to find herself a monotonous job instead. All three women are distinctly apart, yet none crumble despite the agony and pain of betrayal they encounter. As relationships fall apart, its pieces are more difficult to gather. Yet the three generation attempt to find respect and purpose in life, trying to put as much of the pieces back together.

What I liked…. and did not too!

I loved the seamless integration of the three women and their lives across the years. Divakaruni’s characterization is a masterwork indeed. So is her prose. There were lines in the book that stayed with me much after I closed that last page.

However, parts of the book seemed to drag on with meaningless references. There were several loose ends that hardly had any conclusive narration. The book does open on an interesting note, but the climax doesn’t really do justice to the prose and closes on a rather hurried note. And yes.. The title of the book is quite a mystery to me. I can’t really fit in its significance.

Nevertheless Chitra Divakurni’s prose steals the show. Worth a read!!

Working with Influencer Marketing Platforms

Working with Influencer Marketing Platforms

The first thing I am asked, when I announce to people that I am a blogger, is if I make any money. In fact, after my first year of blogging, I had asked myself the same too. I had been expressing my point of view, and did have the passion for writing. I stumbled on various options- affiliate marketing, pay per clicks etc… But, my earning never saw an upward trend. So, can I make money from blogging? Bloggers in a way are influencers and there are plenty of paid blogging opportunities out there. The trick is finding potential brand partners, to earn from the lucrative wave of influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing- It’s your ability to influence

As a blogger you already would have come into contact with influencer marketing or influencer content. In simple words, it is using your creativity, whether through writing, photographs, social posts or dialogues, to influence your followers on your blog and social media. I’d started my personal blog a little over three years ago and in these years, I have learnt key insights that have not only allowed me to monetize my blog better, but also made me identify my strengths/weakness as a writer and influencer.

It’s all about…

Much as it may sound clichéd, everything links back to the content you produce. It is good content that builds audience and invites engagement with a brand. It also makes sense that the brand you collaborate with is relevant to the content you share on your blog. For example, I wouldn’t speak about technology on my blog, unless it shares some connection with the kind of writing I do.

Apart from just writing my content and putting it up on my blog, the purpose is served only if it reaches an audience. In the initial years, my traffic was solely from social media, friends, relatives and fellow bloggers. But slowly I realized the greatest treasure house of traffic lay in search engines. I found resources online and incorporated few core strategies of SEO into my work, so that my content is more easily searchable.

Finally, building relationships is important in sustaining the blog. Good relationships are built on a foundation of trust- with other bloggers, the audience, with brands, and influencer marketing platforms.

Influencer Marketing Platforms- Why it pays to be associated with them

As a newbie, the big question in my mind was, “Where do I start? How am I going to get campaigns? How would brands find me??” My search led me to associate myself with influencer marketing platforms. These platforms connect brands with bloggers and help you:

  • Gain visibility, as they maintain a database of influencers, searchable by brands and agencies.
  • Get campaigns from various brands with a range to choose from, relevant to your blog.
  • Ensuring you are paid for your work- As a freelancer, the biggest problem I faced is not receiving payment for the work done. Being associated ensures compensation (well, at most times!!)

My experience with Influencer.in

For over a year, I have been associated with Influencer.in, working successfully on various campaigns. Influencer.in is one of India’s leading influencer marketing platform with major brands across various categories including Travel, Lifestyle, Fashion, Technology, Parenting and more. Once I signed up on the platform, I got access to various brand campaigns.

What I really like about Influencer.in is that I quote my price for the campaign I apply for. Unlike other platforms, where the client decides the price, and as an influencer I have to either take it or leave it. However, with Influencer.in, I gauge the kind of work required, and having an understanding of my blogs worth, I quote the best price. Payments are made promptly upon successful completion of an assignment where all guidelines have been satisfied.

Each of the campaigns is different. Brands generally take into consideration traffic quality of each blog, level of engagement and how reliable you are in handling sponsored assignments. Over the last few months, I have worked with multiple brands through Influencer.in. I have done review for Truweight, where I got to try out the product before giving honest reviews. I have done book reviews and been associated with fashion portals such as Craftsvilla and, Travel to Israel for Israel Tourism.

Blogging does pay. Apart from the ability to share a story and connect with people around the world, the monetary bit is surely a morale booster. It all boils down to positioning your blog properly, and opportunities would come your way.