Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Apple unveils jewel in crown

Apple introduced its new iPhone 5, a lighter, thinner and more powerful version of its iconic mobile device.
"It is an absolute jewel. The software and engineering that went into this product is the most challenging our team has ever taken on," Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller told a packed launch event in San Francisco.
The introduction has been among the most keenly anticipated in the tech world, with rumors and leaks over several months about the new device from the biggest company in the sector.
"It is the thinnest iPhone we have ever made, it's the world's thinnest smartphone and weighs just 112 grams," just under four ounces, Schiller said.
"It is 20 per cent lighter than the iPhone 4S."
"When you carry your phone it should fit beautifully in your hand, that is just how we designed iPhone 5," he said.
"Everything you do looks gorgeous on this beautiful widescreen display."
Experts expect Apple to sell tens of millions of the new iPhone in the coming months, luring in smartphone buyers who have been waiting to upgrade.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thank you Mary
For winning the medal
And for the courage to apologise

Failing to win the Gold in the Olympics, India's five-time world boxing champion Mary Kom apologised.
"Magnificent Mary", 29, suffered an 11-6 defeat to Britain's Nicola Adams, the world silver medallist.
"My whole country was hoping for me to win a gold medal, and I am sorry I have not come back with that," said Kom, who had to move up a weight category to fight in London.
In a rematch of May's world championship quarter-final bout in Qinhuangdao, China, Adams counter-punched impressively and was too strong for Kom, who won the last of her five world golds in 2010.
Kom is India's only boxing medal success of the London Games after Vijender Singh failed in his bid to claim a second straight bronze on Monday when he lost his middleweight quarter-final.
Mary deserves more from India.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Of souks, supermarkets and mandis

The past one year in Muscat has changed my shopping experience. Though we have malls and super markets such as Big Bazaar, Reliance and Nilgiris back home, I have never been so spoilt for choice. Of course that always lands one in a dilemma. Which brand to buy, which is cheaper, which gives you value for money and how much to buy.
The seasonal bargain offers too lands one in a quandary. At LuLu and Safeer I always have to argue with my wife and daughter about what to buy and how much. Back in India this was no big deal. There were seldom real bargain deals. And we had limited options too to choose from. If Big Bazaar stocked a certain brand then it would be missing in the shelves of Spencer’s Daily or Reliance or More never.
I am fell in love with bargaining for clothes and sundry at first in New Delhi’s Janpath Lane, just off Parliament Street and Connaught Circus (They have renamed it to Rajiv Chowk now. Erasing all traces of British Raj, I guess).
Back in the 1990s the shopkeepers in the lane used to call out: ‘Das ka Das ka, koyi bhi, le lo’ (Only 10 rupees, take anyone) in a sort of chant that I was mesmerised by it. Today they must be chanting in the range of 100s as in ‘Sau ka Sau ka, koyi bhi, le lo’.
Janpath remained my favourite place for bargain hunting be it a T-Shirt, a shirt or bags or for just hanging out and have soda from DePauls during my life in Delhi. Even the Chandini Chowk area in Old Delhi was a paradise for bargain hunters. Come Sunday I used to head out to Darya Ganj, also in Old Delhi to look for second hand books, which again could be had for a couple of tens. And books could be given away which saved me the trouble of carting it around
Today the favourite haunts of Delhiites are the numerous shopping malls that have sprung up all over the capital of India. The malls in Gurgaon are the favourite what with a couple of cinemas thrown in. Nowadays, shopping has become an all day experience where one shop, see a film and eat out too.

The art of haggling is slowly disappearing and my skills too have become rusted. True, with groceries coming at such bargain prices as in Muscat, there is seldom any need for bargaining. The shopping cart has become a de rigueur, into which we haul in stuff and then at the counter we pay with our debit card. No questions asked. And we find that we always end up buying more stuff even after taking a huge list when we go for our monthly shopping. The monthly shopping budget in Muscat is much lower than it ever was back home, my wife vouches.
As for me give me a local shop or market any day. I love haggling over the price for the sheer pleasure of it. The local mom and pop shop (or should I say the son and pop shop as is the case in India) gives me much more. We gather the local gossip and other important happenings in the locality we live. Alas they are slowly disappearing in my town too.
The local mandi or market  gives me much more in life that a super market or mall can never give in its airconditioned comforts. I love the bustle and hustle of a market even the smells which the sanitised atmosphere of a mall or super market can never beat.