Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Glorious hair

Disclaimer - This story is a work of fiction. The actors and the brands mentioned in this story are not associated with this post.

< This story is written for Indiblogger and Dove .Check the  Dove hair aware appl >
"And here comes the auspicious moment we all were waiting for...," Bollywood heart throb Shahid Kapoor said.He was the host of the Pantaloons Femina Miss India.

"..And I feel honoured to announce the Femina Miss India for this year...any guesses...," Every word uttered by him accelerated our heartbeat. The anxious moment was put to a halt when he announced, "Jessica Meher from Mumbai," .

My heart skipped a beat when I heard my name. I was euphoric.
"Thank you..Thank you..Thank you so much...," I screamed in joy.
"What thank you Jessi..Wake up.. It’s already 9," Mother woke me up.The sun was shining brightly as mother opened the window.

"Another dream Maa...,” I said with my partially opened eyes.
"Don't tell me its the same Miss India dream," Mother said.
"Yes..its the same and I am the Miss India..yey," I hugged my mother and kissed on her cheeks.
"You look at yourself," She said .
"Whats wrong with me Maa...," I said dizzy in my thoughts.
"I just aim to keep myself neat and take good care of myself,"  I continued.
"Shush..Let me talk Jessi," Mother said looking straight into my eyes. Her vehement thoughts were directed towards my hair.
"Is this how you take care of your hair?Its mussed up ," She got vexed.
"You are 21, beautiful and you have all the chances of winning this Miss India Pageant.There would be 100's of beautiful girls like you who want to win the title. But you are not serious lovely, “She said ruffling my dark messy curls.

"Sweety, you still have one more month to fix your hair issues," Mother said.
"Right Maa, but I am trying my best," I said to her.
"I am going to apply curd and honey to your hair," She rummaged through refrigerator searching for curd.
"Maa wait..no curd this time...Please Maa," All my attempts to stop Maa from applying Curd to my hair seemed futile.
"Why don't you understand that my hair refuses to respond to home treatments?," I gently asked her.
"So you think these homemade remedies would only ruin your hair? . Ok then find for yourself the best treatment available for your hair.I am not going to talk about your hair ever again.I'm sorry Jessi," She got angry for once.
Maa often chivvies by asking me to use home remedies for my hair problems.
"Maa, I know you are not wrong but you fail to understand my plight Maa..," I uttered. By then Maa had left for the kitchen.
"Maa...,"
"Maa..," I screeched at the top of my voice.

"I'm sorry Mother,” Mother was infallible when it came to advising others. I knew she loved me but with the recurrent hair issues had only made me look miserable.   I realize that she cared for me. After cogitating for a while, I lolled on the couch introspecting about my previous encounters with such issues. I finally logged onto google.com to search for hair remedies.
For the past few months, I’d been a victim of hairfalls, frizzy hair and dandruffs. I understand that mother was addressing these issues but I was too harsh on her.
I typed HAIR DAMAGE CONTROL PRODUCTS on the Google search box. I saw a video of a popular haircare brand on the search results. I clicked on the video and the page was navigated to youtube.com which hosted that video. The video gave an insight about their product. The model inspired me, her hair was shining and was lustrous. I seemed to have been swooned by her hair. I wanted my hair to be like hers. 
"Maa.. Maa..Come fast," I screamed at the top of my voice.
"Uffo...what now?," She came running towards me. "Maa..dekho.. this dove damage control ad," I curiously looked at my mother.

"This looks promising.. I think you should give it a try," She smiled and came next to me as she caressed my hair.
"But thing is ...will it be fruitful? . Will this work Maa?," I asked.
"Well..the reviews look good and I don't see any harm in trying," Mother said.
She cleared her throat and continued, “Try and lets see the results,” She smiled.
"And one day you will feature on the dove advertisement just like this pretty model..I'm sure you will," My proud mother said to me.
"Yes Maa I will..," I said.
I purchased the dove damage control kit later that evening and started applying it on my hair from that day itself. I regularly shampooed my hair and a 'champi' from Maa adorned my hair. Two weeks later, I had a chance to attend my college alumni meeting where I met my college friends. They were impressed by my dress and were all praise for my hair.

"Babe..you are the Miss beautiful hair..mind me..," Anusha, my best friend announced.
"Noo...she is our next Miss India..," Shalini said. I was overwhelmed by their feedback and it gave me all the confidence to go ahead for the beauty contest. Even Mother commented on my hair,she loved it.

Pantaloons Femina Miss India contest was to be held in last week of September at Bangalore.I sought blessing from my mother as I left for Bangalore. We were given different fitness trainings and beauty sessions were conducted. Then finally the big day arrived on 27th September where 55 other girls competed for the crown.

Young Superstar Shahid Kapoor was the host for the show. Chitrangada Singh,Chetan Bhagat,Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akthar,Shahnaz Hussain,Prakash Kumar,Ritu Beri and many famous celebrities were invited to judge the beauty contest. The stage was set for the  contest.I was dressed in Satya Paul.The red carpet raced my heart beats and it was a moment of anxiety.I was feeling tizzy for some reasons as it was my first appearance in any major contest. I tried my level best to look beautiful and confident.Gorgeous Chitrangada was dressed in embroidered Silk Gossamer Saree and Farhan Akhtar looked handsome with his curly hair.

My hair had been left open with a slight clutch on the side for our hair dresser thought that this particular look suited me most. A regular use of dove products had made them shiny and black. They were strong and this brought in me a new sense of confidence and beauty.

All the contestants were called on the stage by hosts Shahid and Sameera Reddy.
"Contestant number 24 Jessica Meher from Mumbai," They announced and I daintily walked through the stage. Everyone cheered for me. I could see my proud parents, younger brother Karan and boyfriend Nikhil clapping as I walked. I blew kisses for everyone and the judges seemed to have been impressed. Then came the Question round where every contestant was asked a common question.
"What inspires you?,” The hosts announced. Other contestants spoke about their Idol, Mother, Father, Teacher, Abdul Kalam etc. It was my turn to answer.
"My hair inspires me," I said with a gentle smile on my face.
"Interesting....go ahead," Fashionista Ritu Beri said.
"Since time immemorial hair has been synonymous to beauty and grace. But being the woman of today, confidence, strength and Independence are equally important. The nature of our hair is to grow strong. Even in harsh weather or excessive combing and harmful treatment it tries not to lose itself and be there where it belongs to. It teaches us to be strong, free, independent, loyal and humble which are perfect ingredients for a successful life," I smiled

Everyone clapped and appreciated my reply.I made through the final round where we were left with 10 participants. I soon made way in the final 5. The time to adorn the pageant grew near. It was an anxious moment in my life.

"And here comes the moment we all were waiting for...," Bollywood superstar Shahid Kapoor said.
Poonam Behl, the other girl from Delhi held my hand tightly as we were the final two left.
"..And I feel honoured to announce the Femina Miss India for this year...any guesses...," Every word uttered by him raced our heartbeat. The anxious moment was put to an halt when he announced, "Jessica Meher from Mumbai," .

My heart skipped a beat when I heard my name. I was excited. Tears of happiness rolled down my cheeks as I heard my name and the auditorium cheered.

"Thank you..Thank you..Thank you so much...," I screamed in joy. I was crowned as the Miss India - Universe. It was the best moment of my life and the very next day I was popular .Media persons interviewed me. My phone was flooded with wish messages and phone calls never ceased to ring. I thanked everyone who loved me and made me reach the zenith of success.

A wonderful surprise awaited me the next day when Dove team visited my house. They expressed their desire to sign me for their 'Dove Damage Therapy' ad. Without a second thought, I accepted their proposal. 



'Lights, Camera, Actions'

"Even I had hair issues like you and other girls. But then I got a gift in form of dove and that was the end of my hair problems,"  

'Cut,’ The director said. The ad was successfully shot.
"Excellent work Jessica,” The ad director appreciated me.
Yes, Maa was actually right. I am on the next dove ad. Stay tuned to your TV.
 --------------------

Credits - Images have been taken from Google and the dove ad video has been taken from youtube.com

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Curious Case of IRCTC.CO.IN



We all know that we Indians think a lot.During this process, when we try to implement something we often tend to miss something.This 'something' is only 'something' for us but trust me this 'something' may prove to be costly for some group of people.Today I present you some facts about our Indian Railways. What comes in mind when I say 'Indian Railways(IR)' ? . Think and start imagining.Offcourse I won't give any prize for thinking.Do not limit your imaginations. I won't complain if the first thing that comes to your mind is the stinky filthy  status of  Mumbai's Kurla Railway Station. Oh! never mind I am tired of complaining about this particular railway station as officials won't bother do anything constructive about it. Well forget Kurla.If I could only write about Kurla ,then I might rather  hurt the sentiments of 10,000 people living in Kurla and things may come out as offense to certain group. Such is the hatred and disgust that place has caused in me. It gave me a 'Pneumonia' and free uninvited 'Viral Fever' during my 'old' gold glorious Engineering days. I stopped taking that route but ultimately I had to travel through that route . Why are we even talking about Kurla. Nevermind.Lets drift our focus towards the fiend. The monster which is responsible for irritating passengers who book tickets online.This monster is wide awake during morning hours of 8 to 9 am. It is IRCTC - Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation.This is the group of IR which handles Online ticket booking and railway reservation.So firstly ,let me tell you that this post might come out as a 'vent' post to many.If you are amongst those 'many' then come ahead and give me a 'hi5' ,'low5' and what not.
During the time when people used to stand in long queues to book railway tickets, we had the privelige of accessing Computer and we had access to Internet as well.A 'Pat-on-the-Back' award goes to my parents for understanding our needs.There are many things which we used Internet for but one prime job was to book railway tickets. In 2003, IRCTC was  quite flexible and efficient. It would never cease to impress people as only a certain group of  them knew about this feature of Indian Railways. Later on many people came to know about this website.Ultimate outcome was that many people booked tickets online. Now , IRCTC had to fullfil demands of a larger group of people. Last few years have been disastrous for IRCTC.Not that their user count has declined,its the degradation in their quality of service provided by them and efficiency. It is a central repository for train ticket bookings and imagine the website failing to deliver at a crucial time. I would like to highlight certain boo-boo which the site has never bothered to correct.
1. I sacrifice my sleep and get up early morning at 7 to book tickets. If not, my parents would flood my phone with numerous phone calls to wake me up just for booking tickets.FYI, I don't live with my family so phone call is the only resort. I wake up and switch on my laptop. With my partially opened eyes failing to open completely, I enter the irctc.co.in url on the address bar of the browser. I wait for 2 minutes,the page is still in the process of opening. I wait for another 5 minutes, it still is in the process of opening. I helplessly wait for another 5 minutes.This time my eyes gradually close and  I find myself lying on my bed.After 10 minutes, I get a phone call from my parents.
"Did  you book the tickets?"
"Are you awake?,"
"Hello..Talk dear,"  My parents would try their best to wake me up.
"Omg!!" Thats when I realize that I had to book my tickets.Without any ado I wake up just to see the “Page cannot be displayed"  message. And then the cycle repeats.
2.At times when I am successful in passing the first login process , I try my luck in booking tickets. I  enter the destination and the source station and all the desired fields and click on Find train. It takes 5 minutes to find the trains. It takes another 5 minutes to check the seat availability and another 5 minutes to book tickets. The book ticket screen hangs  and thats the time we should realize that IRCTC is going to fool us yet again. We get a message 'Session Expired.Login again' . I suggest you not to panic during such times. It just happens. I am a regular user of IRCTC , so I pass a stupid smile and get back to sleep and try tatkal.



3. If you are lucky enough to book the tickets,try the payment portal which is pathetic. I select the bank and fill in my account details and click on the 'pay now' button. The very next second I get a text message on my phone that 'XXX amount has been deducted from your XXXXX account on your XXXXXX bank' . Thats infuriating especially when you get another  IRCTC message 'Server busy. Try after sometime' . It angers me for obvious reasons but nothing we could do.It finally makes us feel that we are stupid for wasting our precious time in front of our PC/Laptop.
If you book a train ticket surpassing all these barriers then consider yourself lucky. One day I got vexed to such an extent that  I called up the IRCTC customer care.A woman representative attended my call. My sudden outburst actually scared her. My voice was audibly irritated and I asked her for the IRCTC escalation matrix to which she was scared. She apologised for the inconvenience caused and assured me that the deducted amount would be refunded in 5 days. I got angry again and the outcome was that she cut the phone.It irks me at times and trust me thats not a great start to  our day.I would sue the developers of this website and urge them to do some load and unit testing before they deliver their product. I understand that many people access IRCTC for booking tickets but there should be some alternative.Everyday the website crashes between 8-9 leaving the lucky ones with a ticket and the unlucky ones refreshing their web page.Crazy!!. During  Union Budget ,the railway minister talks about slashing ticket prices,providing more facilities to passengers. All that I would like to say is 'Pehle apni Website to theek karwao yar' . Janhit mei Zaari!!.. Jai IRCTC. :P :P 

Images taken  from Google Images & ROFLINDIA.COM

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Sunday, June 03, 2012

The Dictator - Movie Review


Starring – Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris,Ben Kingsley,Jason Mantzoukas,
Directed by – Larry Charles
Music By – Erran Baron Cohen.
Budget - $65 Million.
Released on – 16th May 2012

Tagline - The heroic story of a dictator who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.

The Dictator is the 4th movie of British Actor Sacha Baron Cohen who has once again never ceased to tickle our funny bone. I would definitely rate the movie between ‘Borat’ and slightly above ‘Bruno’. In this movie Sacha takes on the dictators as he plays the role of Admiral Hafaz Aladeen. ‘Admiral Aladeen’ is the dictator of the Uranium rich North African Nation of Wadiya. The movie has a promising start which talks about the dictator’s childhood. The movie starts with the news reader giving insight about the mounting tensions in Wadiya. Admiral had changed over 300 Wadiyan words to Aladeen including words such as ‘positive’ and ‘negative’. A doctor informs one of his patients that he was HIV Aladeen owing to which he gives mixed emotions of happiness and sorrow as he is confused. It also shows the birth of Baby Aladeen with his trademark beard and pubic hair. The Supreme Leader ‘Aladeen’ also organized his own Olympic games and claimed to have won 14 gold medals. The movie is promising enough to make you laugh, thanks to DAN the MAN Sacha Baron Cohen aka ‘The Dictator’. The accent with which he speaks is amusing and his looks and behaviour resemble Late Mohd Gaddafi of Libya especially the female bodyguards. The film starts with a special dedication to North Korean dictator Late ‘Kim Jong II’.


The Supreme leader delivers a speech while addressing the Wadiyan people and boasts about the uranium rich country and informs them about using those resources only for clean purposes like for  medical and research and giggles. The world nations are worried about the dictator and they want him to address the United Nations. He expresses his desire to make his country a Nuclear power nation and comes hunting for his nuclear scientist ‘Nadal’. He argues about the shape of the missile with the nuclear scientist and wants the missile to be pointy. The dialogues are too hilarious especially between the scientist and the Admiral where the admiral claims to have seen a research which the scientist objects it to be a cartoon. The dictator wants him to be executed as the scientist disagrees with him. Ben Kingsley plays a crucial role in this film as ‘Tamir’ who is the dictator’s uncle and aide. The dictator is concerned about his life and has too many body doubles so that if someone tries to assassinate him the body double is killed. Tamir eyes the Uranium and wants to sell all those to his friends who are the head of other Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Tamir makes a plan and sets a trap for the admiral. Unfortunately the dictator falls prey to it. He uses the admirals body double who is mentally challenged (Efwadth)  to address the UN.The security person shaves the ‘original’ admiral’s trademark beards. Helplessly he watches him and feels sad at his own plight. On the D-day, the admiral is supposed to address the UN and sign an agreement stating that Wadiya would soon turn into a Democratic country. 


The ‘original’ Admiral waits outside the Lancaster Building watching all the funny and weird actions by the ‘body double’ admiral.The body double aka Efwadth urinates on a jar and pours over the Israeli delegates as he is mentally retarded. The 'Original' Dictator  yells ‘He is not the legitimate leader’ at Efwadth and the entire mob chant the same slogan. The ‘original’ dictator without beard objects the body double’s speech and doesn’t want democracy in Wadiya. He runs towards the building where he is beaten. During this event he encounters woman activist Zoey (Anna Farris) who offers him a job in her store. The dictator introduces himself as ‘Alison Burger’ to Zoey. He initially refuses the offer and moves on to NY’s ‘Little Wadiya’ which is populated by the Wadiyan refugees. There he encounters his nuclear scientist ‘Nuclear Nadal’ who works as Mac expert in an Apple store. Nadal explains that Wadiyan rebels infiltrated his intelligence unit, sending into exile all the people he had ordered to be killed. Nadal and Aladeen plan to destroy Tamir’s plot where the Nadal urges the dictator to make him as the head of the Wadiyan Nuclear Program. Aladeen(Alison) accepts Zoey’s offer as she is catering at the Lancaster Hotel where signing was supposed to take place. Both Nadal and Aladeen make a plan and unfortunately their plan fails to materialize. Aladeen (Alison) helps Zoey in improving her struggling business with his strict rules on employees and schedules.With the help of a beard taken from a corpse ,Aladeen infiltrates into the hotel where ‘Efwadth’,his body double lived.He incapacitates him and enters the signing ceremony.He tears of Tamirs document to form a democratic government and gives a  speech praising the virtues of dictatorship and urges USA to move to dictatorship.His heart melts when he observes Zoey in the hotel and expresses his love to her. The dialogues which he uses to explain democracy are unusual and it is too good.He vows to democratize his nation and open oil fields for business but in a way where  people will benefit.He also promises to hold fair elections in his country.

A year later, Wadiya holds its first democratic elections, although Aladeen wins it by a huge margin. Afterwards, he marries Zoey, but is shocked when she crushes a glass and reveals herself to be Jewish. The end scenes however shows  Aladeen's convoy with  eco-friendly cars instead of the previous  gold one , visiting a reinstated Nadal, and later Zoey revealing in a television interview that she is pregnant with the couple's first child. Aladeen responds to the news by asking if Zoey is having a "boy or an abortion". The movie itself is a laughter riot and I am sure you will like it. In the ‘Death to Aladeen’ restaurant at Little Wadiya , Admiral meets his country men whom he  ordered to be executed. I completely loved this entire scene where he converses with a guy revealing his name. The guy asks for his name and he comes up with names such as ‘Alison Burger’, ‘Ladis Washe Rum’,’Emp lye must wash hands’ and ‘Max imum occu pancy 120’ etc. Check out this scene on the LINK

The films will make you laugh like anything. Ana Faris has done a commendable job but the dictator takes away all the charm.I believe that Ben Kingsley should have been given more role but sadly its not the case. Larry  Charles ,the director of the movie  has proved himself once again. The child birth scene might  look offensive to many of you.The helicopter scene is equally hilarious. Megan Fox does a cameo for the film.The following scene is funny where the admiral sticks his picture with Megan on the wall along with other celebrities where he is found semi naked with Hally Berry,Hillary Swan,Arnold Schwarzenegger etc. Some might feel this movie as offensive and some might think it as racist.
Dialogues.
 
1.Aladeen- Megan, you were worth every penny. I trust everything is in there as your manager requested?
Megan Fox- What’s this, a ruby? Is that a joke? What am I, a Kardashian?
Aladeen- No, of course not. You’re much less hairy.

2.Hotel Manager- …I am here for your protection, but I have to say, I hate Arabs.
Aladeen- I’m not an Arab.
Hotel Manager-You’re all Arabs to me: The blacks, the Jews…those blue, tree-hugging queers in Avatar…

3.Zoey – Alison, could you please take your hands off my breast.
Aladeen (Alison) – Breasts??. I thought you were a boy.

4.Aladeen(Alison) - We love it when women go to school.Its like seeing a monkey on a roller skate .It means nothing to them but so adorable to us. 

5.Aladeen - I am executing myself.I am nice.I am like mushroom,hard and fake from outside but soft and mushy from inside.
Nadal - you are not like mushroom but like Onion but a '*******' and within it there are 10 layers of '*****'
 

 I enjoyed the movie although I was expecting more as I am a very big fan of Sacha. I am not disappointed but I felt that it could be better. I give 2.5 stars out of 5.





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Saturday, June 02, 2012

Blank Pages

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 28; the 28th Edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. The topic for this month is 'BLANK PAGES'.

Ever wonder what a Blank page could represent. I have no inkling on what I am going to write in this post. I bumped on to the BAT site after a long time and learned about the 'Theme' for this month. 'Blank Pages' was the theme decided by the group of BAT bloggers. I see the blank pages or note as a sensitive human heart, serene and clean. A human heart is precious and within it imbues lots of feelings and emotions. A blank page itself is pure by default just like a human heart. Its the human who scribbles through the blank pages of his life. In this process, he infuses different emotions which change his life. He decides for himself how he wants to use the pages.

He gives life to the blank pages by penning his first letter, word and line and starts scribbing.Its upto him what he writes as its his own book, brand new book. He perceives his book as something important. He cherishes his new book and takes care of it. In this process he hurts himself and plans to give his brand new notebook to someone special. He is unaware about the consequences and the aftermath of his action. He madly falls in love with his special one. Its sagaciously said that love can change a person upside down. You get to observe a drastic change in his behaviour. The loved one can never understand what the book with blank pages means to him. It is something close to him but for the loved one it is just another book. They together scribble on his book. The book serves as a collection of different emotions .It serves as a central repository of several special incredible memories.

They live together in their journey of life. Seasons change and bring joy and mirth in people’s life who seeks happiness through small things. They love each other. Sometimes life can be harsh, even harsher. Some say that life could be bitch at times. Life would be bitch for people who really consider it as a bitch. Everyone has a different perspective towards life. Happy moments in life could be overshadowed by the sadness which occurs in installments for a transient period. But we fail to learn from what life teaches us. We should not fail to understand that life is the best teacher. Problems do exist in life but one should not run behind those problems. A best strategy would be to tear of the pages which troubles you for you still have ample of blank pages in the notebook. Start a new journey, scribble on a fresh page. I tell you that life is not a roller-coaster life for everyone, you make your life. Every person born in this world is determined to struggle. This is a painful journey filled with struggle, melancholy, sorrow, joy, mirth etc. Its on his hands to transform the sorrows into happiness and melancholy into joy. I relate the blank pages as an amalgamation of different feelings and human behaviour .While in sorrow just tear of the pages. When you see sorrow in those pages crush them and when you see happiness just preserve those wonderful pages. The pages will haunt you for it still loves you. The loved one becomes an integral part of your life and at one period of time they become possessive over you. You turn busy and pay less attention to them. They might feel that you fail to care them. Relationship may become sour and that might even hurt you. That’s the time you question yourselfWhy did I even write on those blank pages?".
 
Answer this question before you fall for someone. Relationship is like a string, delicate and easily broken. If you exert or pull it then it might break off. It becomes difficult to tackle those issues later on. Take a wise decision on how to use those blank pages. Thanks for sparing.Phew.Over & out.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

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