Saturday, October 31, 2015

What are our kids watching on TV?

My toddler started taking an interest in cartoons recently. That is when I realized that the cartoons/ programs on Nick Jr., Disney Jr., Baby Tv etc. are repeated every other day. There are NO NEW EPISODES. They keep on repeating the few episodes they have, over and over again without thinking how it might affect these kids. The whole idea seemed quite daunting and alarming. I mean, aren’t these cartoon channels even the least bit concerned about the Indian kids? Why haven’t the parents reacted yet?

If you were a 90’s kid, you would have probably seen shows like The Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Spongebob Square Pants (not the terribly dubbed version in Hindi), The Wild Thornberrys, The Flinstones, The Jetsons, DragonBallZ, The Loony Tunes, The Scooby Doo Shows, The Powerpuff Girls, The Angry Beavers, Cat Dog, Beyblade, The Avatar, Card Captor, Naruto, Captain Planet, Duck Tales, Tiny Toons etc...the list goes on and on. We have some amazing memories of some amazing cartoons that we grew up watching if you were lucky to have cable TV at home. There was mystery, adventure, romance, action, comedy and what not. What happened to our Cartoon channels? Have you ever wondered?

Do we not love our kids? Or are we just plain ignorant or just not paying enough attention? If you happen to pay attention to the cartoon shows that your kids have been watching, you are sure to go bonkers. There is nothing new on these cartoon channels except for the unimaginative desi cartoons with despicable accents, some creepy-strange looking Japanese or Chinese cartoons and unnerving repetitions of classic cartoons like Tom and Jerry or Mr. Bean, Johnny Bravo, Dexter’s Laboratory, Blue’s Clues or Dora the Explorer. So, you think Chhota Bheem is the best because your kid is crazy about the show. No, it is because you don’t know any better and your child never had the opportunity to see some wonderful cartoons that we, the 90’s kids, grew up watching. Don’t our kids deserve any better than these cheap Japanese imports like Shin Chan or Doraemon? Strangely, these uncanny characters that grace our television from morning till night, day after day, are awfully flawed and are not the best role models for our kids.  

 I shall maintain my silence regarding the religious connotations of shows like Chhota Bheem or Kisna. But, I am of the strong opinion that they could be made a bit more imaginative than the morbidly redundant story-line of the desi-superhero beating up monstrous villains with “oohs”, “aahs” and “dishoom-dishooms”. Are these cartoons doing any justice to our cultural heritage? Wait, no! Absolutely not. Are these cartoons reflective of modern India? No! And most importantly, why the terrible accent? They could have at least done away with the accent.

Well, this again is my personal opinion. I prefer my child watching cartoons than playing with the mobile or fiddling with the laptop. While these cartoon companies are minting money by showing sub-standard cartoons to our children, we must remember that these cartoons are going to be a big part of their childhood and it is up to us parents to make it memorable and meaningful.

                                                                                                               -Letter from a concerned parent.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Restaurant Review: Little Italy-A taste of Italy in Bangalore

“Little Italy” restaurant is located off the Hosur main road, a stone’s throw away from Forum mall, in Koramangala. It is easily accessible due to its location and has got Valet parking, so customers needn’t worry parking. As the name suggests, Little Italy packs a delectable menu of 100% pure vegetarian, authentic Italian dishes for those who love Italian cuisine or just simply want to give it a try.

The restaurant is spacious and has seating on the ground floor hall, first floor hall as well as the ground floor lobby. However, we would advise against the last option as it would mean that one has to sit through the generator’s mechanical judder, which with Bangalore frequent power cuts might be just too often. The interiors are done aesthetically with a predominant brown color on the seats, wall and ceiling. Though we had called for reserving in advance, we were informed that we could just walk in. We were initially seated on a table near the wash area. When we expressed our displeasure with that seat, we were promptly shifted to another table of our choice.

We were happy and relieved to see that the menu card had details of the ingredients and cooking method of each item listed on the menu. This is really helpful for those customers who are not well acquainted with Italian cuisine. Though the names were in Italian, they’ve also got an alphanumeric key which makes it easy to order. However, we did try our share of tongue twisting which was hilarious. 

The menu card is clearly divided into sections like soup, starters, 1st course, 2nd course, Mexican and desserts. We started with “Zuppa Di Cippole” which is spring onion soup served with crunchy croutons. Each mouthful was delicious and bursting with flavor. The spring onion was neatly chopped into equal size pieces which instantly melted in the mouth and the croutons were really crunchy. As for the starters, we decided to go for “Verdure Trifolate” which was a mix of mushroom, cheese, baby corn, tomatoes, olives etc. served with farmer’s bread. It was heaven on a platter. Not a single ingredient was out of place and the vegetables were cooked to perfection. For the 1st course we had “Tortellinie Di Zia Cuncetta” which is tortellini pasta in white sauce. It was a tad bit disappointing as compared to the soup and the starter, but it is only fair to appreciate the effort that has gone into preparing such a complex, delicate dish. We were tempted to try the Nachos with cheese as well and therefore decided to skip dessert. They even have a separate menu for wine, cocktails and mocktails but we skipped it.

The service was prompt, courteous and pleasant. It was definitely a good experience and definitely worth the money spent.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are you hungry, thirsty or just bored?

Food brings people together. Food is a necessity, comfort and luxury all rolled into one.We eat when we are hungry, when we are thirsty, when we are bored, when we depressed or just for fun.

When you reach out for that favorite cookie jar or that big bag of chips, this is a question that you should be asking yourself. " Am I really hungry?" Most of us confuse thirst for hunger. This realization is really important if you are someone trying to lose weight or simply working towards a sustainable weight-loss plan. Think about the number of times you have felt a bit dehydrated and you dug into that big bowl of ice cream. Now, these are unwanted calories! You could have just drank plain water or sipped on some freshly squeezed juice. What's even more unhealthy is drinking milk-sugar loaded tea or coffee just because you feel like it. Then there is emotional hunger, when one is not satisfied by usual portion of food he/she is used to eating. When you experience emotional hunger, you might just want to keep on binging till you cannot eat anymore and later on, sleep for hours or not sleep at all. Relaxation techniques, reading, a long journey or any kind of distraction to keep your mind away from the emotional trigger may help. 

Consider this scenario, you had a satiating lunch just over an hour ago but your favorite show is on TV. It might be hard to resist munching on popcorn or drinking cola because the food makes the TV program even more entertaining. The same applies to post-dinner family movie time where we snack on our favorite calorie laden desserts without guilt. Let's face it, food makes other activities more fun. While there is no denying it, our motto for a healthy life should be "eat to live and not live to eat". 

So what should you do? Before you eat or drink anything you need to take a minute and ask yourself "Am I really experiencing hunger?"If your lips and throat are dry, you might want to just drink water. If your tummy is growling and there is the gradual onset on hunger pangs, you should decide to eat. Ideally, you should try to eat every three to four hours. Planning and prepping your meals ahead of time will stop us from eating unhealthy food.  Lots of celebrity endorsed diets prescribe eating small meals throughout the day. This will work if your meals are planned out by a trained dietitian and the diet is coupled with a proper exercising regimen. But if your diet is not well planned out by an expert with the exact calorific details you might just want to have a healthy portion of breakfast, lunch and dinner that incorporates plenty of fruits and veggies. And remember, moderation is the key!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

King Khan and Kajol celebrate 20 years of DDLJ

King Khan and Kajol celebrated 20 years of the iconic romance movie, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge on the sets of Dilwale.

Watch this video and take a trip down the memory lane.....

Here is the link to the video

Copyright and credits belong to the FilmfareOfficial YouTube Channel.

Fruit custard with a twist.

There is no better way to win the hearts of family members than by whipping up a delightful bowl of dessert!

Give this recipe a try! This is a sure shot winner.


Half liter milk
3 tablespoon custard powder
Assorted cut fruits of your choice (You can also use canned mixed fruits)
A Can of Nestle Milkmaid (Condensed Milk)
1 packet Marie Biscuits


-Mix custard powder with some milk to make a smooth paste
-Boil the milk, add the custard paste and simmer for 2 minutes. Switch off the flame and let it cool.
-Crush few Marie biscuits by hand
-In a small bowl, add little custard and then add few cut fruits
-Then add the biscuit crumble
-Repeat by adding custard and then fruit and again biscuit crumble thereby creating layers
-Finally top off the layer by adding Milkmaid, few crumbles and a cherry on top.
-Refrigerate for 1 hour
-Serve cold

"Floating City" sightings from China.

The mysterious sightings of a "floating city" are now strewn all over the internet after thousands of residents from Foshan, Jiangxi witnessed the silhouette of skyscrapers hovering in the sky amidst the clouds, over their cities. Many of the residents have managed to snap pictures or take videos of the strange phenomena. While many scientists have explained that the bizzare event is nothing more than an inverted mirage called Fata Morgana, many conspiracy theorists firmly believe that it is the result of Project Blue Beam of Nasa. Well, there is no way to know for sure. Atleast for now..!

Monday, October 19, 2015

An open letter to all of us Indians.

We ought to be ashamed. We ought to live in fear!

The last few weeks have borne witness to some of the most shameful, horrific incidents one could ever imagine.

In Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, a man has been lynched to death over rumors of eating beef. A Dalit family in Noida had to resort to stripping as a means of protest against the inaction and indifference meted out to them by the UP Police force, while onlookers leered at them with nonchalance. It has only been some time back since Kannada scholar and rationalist MM Kalburgi was shot to death at his residence, in the state of Karnataka. More recently, in fact just a couple of days back, a young police sub-inspector was stabbed to death by thieves.  A day back, a migrant worker was beaten to death on allegations of workforce theft. Our men are killed. Our women are burned to death- mothers not witches! Our children and infants have been raped and molested, repeatedly.

 Let's not even start with how we treat animals. We speak volumes about worshiping animals but are the worst offenders when it comes to protecting animal rights and crimes against them.

Has mob mentality taken over the Indian psyche, yours and mine..?

Our lives are not safe and so is our dignity. We all live and lead separate lives. We do not care and when we do, we are afraid. We become shadows of ourselves and shrink back to some safe corner to vent out our frustration through social media sites, where we feel invincible. We are voyeurs who like to secretly watch and share the spectacle of suffering, the agony of the "Other"! Oh, we love to read and discuss sensational crimes. Death has become enthralling with the prevalence of social media. We watch the video of someone dying in the most gruesome way and callously move on to watch something even more exciting. It does not bother us. Our responsibilty ends at tweeting about it or sharing it on Facebook or Whatsapp.

We will not raise a finger till something happens to us.

We like to build and live in grand, palatial mansions and dream of becoming citizens of far- away foreign lands. We like to blame the Government, the Opposition, the Ministers, the "System", the Police, the corruption, the socio-political environment, our religious counterparts and everybody else. The privileged would blame the poor and vice versa. We like to say that poverty and illiteracy are the real bane of the country. While this is true to a great extent, take a minute to ponder about crimes like the Sheena Bora murder case or the Bangalore techie case or the many rape cases in our cities.

Why is crime so prevalent? Why are rapes so common? Who is really responsible? It's us! We are! Yes, me and you and a billion of us. It is our inaction- for we are cowards.

We do not get up for pregnant women or senior citizens while travelling in public transport. We do not make way for ambulances and like to squeeze through every bit of space available on the road. And once the ambulance manages to find its way, we are shrewd enough to trail behind it like a swarm of hungry bees, so that we can reach our destination on time. We like to waste our food and throw away our old clothes. We helplessly watch as children sleep endlessly for hours in the lap of women begging on the streets. We hear the cries and screams of our next door neighbor everyday. We know that she is a victim of domestic violence, but we still hesitate to call the police. We  take pictures and videos when someone pleads for his life lying in a pool of blood on the road. We are afraid to offer clothes to the woman who has been raped and stripped naked.

We simply do not want to get involved! Period.

But,what if we get into trouble one day? Will a good Samaritan ever extend a helping hand to us?
We will wait for another Nirbhaya to awaken our collective consciousness into action. By then, another toddler would have bled to death without receiving emergency medical care. And, someone's father would have breathed his last, after his bike fell into a pothole. But we simply cannot afford to have our hands and clothes stained with blood. We simply can't!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Banana Bread - No Fail Recipe

When life gives you overripe Bananas…You make bread with them! 

Being a delicate fruit, bananas tend to ripen very fast and since some of us are rather fussy about eating spotty- brown-mushy bananas, much of it goes waste. Well not anymore! We will use these ooey gooey bananas to make some super simple and super delicious…..BANANA BREAD!!! This is the perfect comfort food for fall. 

The recipe is so simple and best part is that there is no need for a mixer.Clean-up is easy as well. You can just mix everything in one big bowl. As mentioned, the best bananas to use for the banana bread are the really-really ripe ones. The banana peel should be at least half browned, really spotty and the inside should be squishy and brown. So, let’s start with the recipe!!!

Prep Time: 15 mins    |  Bake time: 60 mins    |  Yields: 12-13

List of Ingredients:

  1. 100 gm of Butter, unsalted (at room temp)
  2. 1 cup powdered Sugar, 250 gm
  3. 2 Eggs, beaten
  4. 2-3 large Banana, mashed
  5. 1 1/2 cup of self raising all-purpose Flour (maida)
  6. 1 tsp of Baking Powder
  7. 1/2 tsp Baking soda
  8. 1/2 tsp of Salt
  9. 1 tsp of Vanilla


Cream together butter and powdered sugar in a deep bowl. Whisk the mixture till a smooth paste is formed.

Add eggs and crushed bananas. Combine them well. Make sure that eggs and banana should be at room temperature.

Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan.

 Bake at 175 degrees for 60 minutes. Let it cool down for 10 mins. Take it out and keep it in air-tight containers.


  1. All the ingredients should be at room temperature.
  2. NEVER melt the butter for creaming step. If the butter temperature goes down below room temperature, DO NOT use it.
  3. After adding flour to the mix, DO NOT whisk. Just fold in one direction to make a smooth batter
  4. In case you are using salted butter, skip adding salt.
  5. Batter, to be poured, should be slightly flowy. In case not, add little warm milk (2 tsp) for the correct consistency.
  6. Do not try to take out bread when it is hot becuase it breaks down while doing this.
 Enjoy this and keep me posted!!!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

"Let them eat chicken or paneer!"

Dal-chawal is the quintessential meal of the common Indian man. The ordinary Indian man stocks up his dal and chawal at the beginning of the month as soon as he lays hands on his monthly salary. For him, buying fresh produce like vegetables and meat on a regular basis is totally out of the question. Now if reports are to be believed, then toor dal might also become a luxury commodity to the common folk with its retail prices expected to sky rocket towards Rs. 200 per kilogram. The price of urad dal is also likely to go up in the coming days owing to the shortage of supply due to shortfall in production. As per Government data, the prices of pulses have gone up by 30% over the short span of four weeks. A year ago, the price of toor dal was around 85 per kg as per the data from the Consumer Affairs Ministry. Government officials admit that they are fully aware of the situation and are doing their best to boost the supply through imports

Watch India's cattiest fight in full Qawwali face-off!

Here's a truly brilliant ad that we can all rave about!  Watch the advertisement of TrulyMadly- a matchmaking app, made in collaboration with the All India Bakchod titled 'Creep Qawwali'. The clever lines of the Qawwali are about the creeps and stalkers that women have to deal with on a daily basis both online and offline. 

Here is the link to the video

Copyright and credits belong to the TrulyMadly Youtube Channel.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The biggest weight-loss mistake you are committing!

How many times have you complained "I've tried everything but the scale won't budge!"

Ok, so here is something you or your dietitian might completely overlook. Before getting befuddled with the calorie counting, the macro/micro nutrients in the food, the detox or paleo diet or the 100 other names that have recently swooped into our everyday lives, we might have to consider starting with the basics of weight loss. Most celebrities including the likes of Oprah Winfrey or even Akshay Kumar would swear by the idea of having early dinners. Yes, you heard me right! It is as easy as it sounds- early dinner. Now, let’s add one more word to this magic formula- 'early light dinner'. 

Most of us are in the habit of skipping breakfast altogether, a quick convenient lunch and dinners of epic proportions loaded with fat. We starve through the day and binge through dinner, thinking that we actually earned it. We unknowingly end up exhausting or exceeding our daily calorie intake limit in that one single meal, thereby making dinner the biggest meal of the day. Add alcohol and dessert to the concoction and we have a recipe for disaster. Now, what's even worse is that most of us go to bed soon after the heavy dinner session with a bloated stomach. This vicious cycle continues, day after day, week after week. We are not entirely at fault here. With working parents, busy schedules and school going kids, dinner times are family times when the whole family comes together to relax and have food. With the boom of restaurants/take outs and the home delivery options, more and more people are starting to consider eating 'outside-food' a more convenient and cost effective option, as compared to making food at home from scratch. Even while preparing homemade meals, we resort to heavily processed foods for making things easier. Because we tend to be more active through the day, the food we eat get metabolized easily. On the contrary, the food that we eat at night is more likely to be converted and stored as fat.

Weight gain is just one of the unwanted effects of our late-epic-dinner time culture. Most of us complain about unexplained post-nasal drip, cough, asthma and difficulty swallowing. These could be signs of acid reflux.  So, if you are in the habit of eating late at night and especially if you tend to overeat or eat heavy foods that are high in calorific value and then lie down soon after, you might end up having acid reflux. 

So what is the optimal time for having dinner? Anywhere between 7 or 8 PM is good. That being said, the rule of thumb is that one should eat 2 to 3 hours before bed. This in turn gives your stomach ample time to digest the food. You might also want to eat light, clean unprocessed home-made food as much as possible. 

What if you are one of those people who don't have the option to have an early dinner due to work timings or other unavoidable circumstances? As long as you eat smaller portions of less oily food and manage to stay within the calorie limit (ideally between 325-350 calories), things should be just as good. 

And of course, post-dinner snacks are a big no. If there is no way you can keep your post-dinner cravings at bay, then snack on fresh fruit. They are a far better alternative to chips or sugar laden treats. Give this a try and trust me, the scale will budge..!

Indian Judiciary is beyond redemption.

I was asked my opinion on today's Supreme Court verdict declaring the National Judicial Accountability Commission #NJAC Constitutional Amendment Act unconstitutional.

So far as my own opinion is concerned, it matters tweedledum or tweedledee whether we have the Collegium system or #NJAC, as I believe that the Indian judiciary is beyond redemption.

What kind of a judiciary is it which often takes 20-30 years to finally decide a case(including appeal, revision, writ petition etc.)?

There are over 32 million cases pending in the Courts of India and it is estimated that even if no new case is filed it will take 360 years to clear the backlog. People who for some reason get involved in a litigation are weeping and crying because date after date is given but the case is not taken up for hearing.

Is it a judiciary or a joke?

I may only mention some facts about my parent High Court at Allahabad.

1. Criminal appeals filed in the High Court in 1985 are now coming up for hearing, that is, after 30 years. Similar is the position of civil appeals.Is this a High Court or a joke ?

2. The list of most benches is hardly touched, and only fresh matters taken up. This means that if on the first hearing of a case it is adjourned for some reason ( e.g. a counter affidavit is called for by the Court ) the case will thereafter never come up for hearing unless a heavy bribe, often of thousands of rupees, is paid in the registry to the concerned official. And even then, the case is very unlikely to be heard as in most benches the list of the court is rarely touched.

3. There is a senior judge who presides over a bench hearing writ petitions. He reportedly disposes off 150 cases or more a day, but without opening the file, and by simply saying, with half closed eyes " Suit, suit " ( i.e. go and file a suit, which in crude language means go to hell, because sending someone to a suit is like sending him to hell, as it will now make him run from pillar to post for 20-30 years or more before the suit and its appeals are finally disposed off )

4. There is a Judge who comes to Court at 11.30 or 12 ( the Allahabad High Court sits at 10 a.m. ), dismisses all listing applications ( i.e. applications praying that some pending case be listed ), and rises whenever he likes.

5. If the hearing of a bail application is adjourned for some reason ( e.g. the govt. counsel wants to file a reply ) one never knows when the bail application will be listed again.In my opinion, it matter little whether we have a Collegium system or the NJAC because the Indian Judiciary is in my opinion beyond redemption.

Similar is the position in many other High Courts.

Apart from the above there is now massive corruption even in the higher Judiciary. While many judges are upright, many others (which may be 50% or even more) are not. The subordinate judiciary is said to be 75% or more corrupt.

Mr. Shanti Bhushan, a very senior lawyer of the Supreme Court and former Union Law Minister filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court a few years back stating that half of the previous 16 CJIs have been corrupt, and he could not certify the integrity of 2 more of them. Even after that affidavit was filed many Chief Justices of India who retired had serious allegations of corruption against them, and there are serious allegations of corruption against the present CJI Dattu. Many of these CJIs, SC and HC judges were those appointed through the Collegium system.

One judge originally from Madras High Court against whom there were very serious allegations of corruption almost made it to the Supreme Court as the SC Collegium unanimously  recommended his name but it was only because of the objections of the Tamil Nadu lawyers who produced documentary proof of his corruption that  this move could not materialize. In fact, a bill for his impeachment was moved in Parliament but it become infructuous when he resigned.

So it makes no difference what system of appointment of judges we have, as the entire judicial system has broken down.

This article appeared in Justice Katju's blog. Posted here with his permission. Follow him on twitter here.

Can I be your friend again?

Look around you my friend.
Look carefully.
Listen my friend.
Listen carefully.
You & I have become enemies.

Did we fight.
Was it a war?

We sold our souls to a crafty few.
They call it Politics.
I call it evil.

We have been divided.
Your caste is pit against mine.
Your creed is pit against mine.
Your religion is pit against mine.

Don't you see what they have done to us?
We don't talk anymore.
We have become rabid.
We fight for them.
We fight for their ideology.
We lay down our lives for the evil few.

Wake up my friend.

Look around you my friend.
Look around carefully.
Forget creeds, castes and religions.
Forget politics.

We have one life on this earth.
Let's try to make the most of it.

Can I be your friend again?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Toddler dies after choking on a grape in a Pizza Hut restaurant.

Most of us are in the habit of packing fruits, especially grapes as snacks for kids to school. But you might want to be extra careful from now.

Image Source - Facebook

A toddler from Hartlepool has died in a hospital five days after choking on a grape in a Pizza Hut outlet. Two year old Jacob Jenkins was put on life support for five days since the heartbreaking incident on Friday.  The little boy had apparently stopped breathing 30 minutes after the grape got lodged in his throat and was in an induced coma till his parents decided to take him off life support. The Pizza Hut restaurant in Hartlepool has reportedly removed grapes from its menu to avoid such horrific incidents in the future. Family members and well wishers from the community gathered in Seaton Carew to release balloons to pay tribute to the little one.

The Title Track of 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' is a visual treat

So, have you heard? Have you seen the title track of Prem Ratan Dhan Payo? It's an absolute colour fest, a riot of colours and brings in some fondly cherished memories of the Sooraj-Salman duo's evergreen musical blockbusters like Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun..! (1994) and Hum Saath-Saath Hain (1999). We are looking forward to some melodious music by Himesh Reshammiya, magnificiently ravishing sets and lots of romance with Salman and the stunning Sonam Kapoor as the sizzling lead pair. And, lets not forget the eye popping exuberance, grandeur and opulence of India's elite, set against the very colourful Rajasthani backdrop. The result could be pure magic, a treat for the eyes! The cast will also include Neil Nitin Mukesh, Anupam Kher, Swara Bhaskar, Deepak Dobriyal, Armaan Kohli among other renowned names from the industry. The movie is scheduled to hit the theatres this Diwali on November 12. Expectations are soaring high with Salman's Bajrangi Bhaijaan already being a phenomenal hit this year. The theatrical trailer of the film which was released on 1st October 2015 on social media websites received over 6 million views within 3 days. Girls, watch out for some exquisite sarees, lehengas and jewellery worn by the female actors! Will Salman deliver yet another mega box-office hit? We can't wait to find out! 

Here's the title track from the movie.

Credits: Rajshri Productions YouTube channel

Top Google Searches in Syria.

The top google searches indicate the desperation of Syrians to take refuge in European countries as the situation deteriorates in the war-torn country. The Syrians have been searching online to seek answers about how to escape from their homeland to safer pastures despite their bleak chances of survival while undertaking unimaginably treacherous risks. The most popular searches were about how to reach Germany and other parts of Europe. "Immigration to Germany" and "Asylum in Germany" were the most popular search terms. People have also been searching about nearby hospitals, about treating burns at home and even how to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The YouTube video by AJ+ indicates the murky road that lies ahead of the Syrians and the Syrian refugees. 

Here's the link to the YouTube video

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Every day is a learning experience in stand-up comedy - Comedian Praveen Kumar

“Every day is a learning experience in stand-up comedy”, says Praveen Kumar, as Krishna Raval probes him for secrets to his success.

Praveen Kumar has been nominated for Forbes Top 100 celebrities in India (2014). He has also been rated as one of the Top 10 stand-up comedians in India by Times of India (2011) and one of the top 10 comics in India to look out for by IBN live (2014).

After he graduated from BITS, he wanted to do something related to comedy and so he got married ;) .He has performed over 900 shows in around 17 cities in India. He has performed with the famous comedians like Kapil Sharma, Vir Das, Papa CJ, and Cyrus Broacha.

Krishna Raval: Let me begin with my heartfelt compliments. I enjoy your work, and admire your courage to follow your dream. Not many can leave the comfort of a steady life to find their calling.
And then the journey from the first act to this point where you are well-known all over the country, you have come a long way, clearly speeding up to reach places.

Praveen Kumar: Thank you.

KR: Thank you for agreeing to indulge in a conversation with us.
PK: It’s absolutely my pleasure.

KR: I am always curious about an artist's inspiration.

My first question is, where do you get your inspiration from? I mean, even while socializing, or having a heart to heart with someone, does the idea already start spinning? Or do you actually make time, sit, mull over things and choose a subject for the next performance?
PK: Great question. I don't usually think about topics to decide what I should work on. I take topics from my personal experience. Mostly disasters and incidents that leave a bad taste. Then one day I just sit and work on the story by adding my own approach to it and converting it into an act that I can perform on stage.

KR: You have an MBA from BITS, Pilani, and had a steady job. You quit everything to pursue your dream. Was it a gradual process? Or was it a spur of the moment 'now or never' kind of a decision?
PK: It was a gradual process. I never thought I will quit my day job when I started comedy. But slowly when I started enjoying it more and more, it gradually led me to pursue it full-time. I just knew that is what I wanted to do, and then it was just a matter of time.

KR: How difficult was it to change your career knowing it will give you satisfaction, but might not fetch a steady income right away? What were the challenges?
PK: I put my papers after I was pretty sure that I will earn at least 75% of my salary through my comedy. I do miss the steady income, but I am very happy with the way comedy is treating me. I know I made the right choice. No regrets at all.

KR: Can you share that one special moment with us which gave you an assurance and the confidence that you made the right decision? Did that moment arrive after a lot of uncertainties and hurdles?

PK: That moment comes every time I get down the stage after a successful show. My mother recently came to one of my shows and she was very happy with it. With all support from my wife, parents and friends, I know I am in the right space.

KR: Who is your best critic? Do you practice your work with someone before your performance?
PK: My wife. She tells her opinion from the audience’s point of view. It definitely helps. I also bounce off my ideas with other comics to get their perception.

KR: Do you have a role model? Are you learning different aspects of your field from someone?
PK: Every day is a learning experience when it comes to stand up. You have tons to learn from everybody. Be it an amateur or a professional.

KR: There are many upcoming artists in your field. Do you think the competition is tough? Do you enjoy a particular comedian's performance?
PK: To the contrary, it is even better if more people work in our field. There will be more shows, and we will be able to reach more people. Personally, I enjoy Sundeep Rao’s and Sanjay Manaktala’s performances.

KR: What is your favorite thing about your job?
PK: The satisfaction of making others laugh.

KR: Do you gauge the reaction of the audience and revise your work again and again? Have you ever been disappointed by a response and learned from the experience?
PK: Yes I have had very bad shows when I started off in 2009. Luckily I didn't get disappointed but worked on my mistakes.

KR: Any parting advice or suggestions for the upcoming artists?
PK: Keep at it. There is no other way of getting better than getting on stage. First you need to get better, then you can look for publicity, and money will follow later.

KR: It was a pleasure talking to you, and we wish even more success for you in the future.
PK: Thank you.