Joy of giving and Mom’s iPad mini

Some people just love to give gifts and some people just love to receive. I never knew I am a giving person for a long time. But after picking up a job, this habit started. May be until then, I was worried about being questioned about how I spent my pocket money. After gaining the much needed independence, I indulged in the habit of giving. I am not talking about philanthropy. Rather, It is just about making my near and dear ones happy.

I started with small things like books, watches and mobile phones for my family. Sometimes it was for an occasion. Sometimes it was just another spontaneous decision. I once bought clothes for my grandparents for Deepavali, a Hindu festival. My grandparents were delighted, to say the least. They proudly told the world that their little grandchild bought this. Somehow, I began enjoying the smile on their faces after receiving a gift.

Why am I suddenly talking about giving? Well, yesterday I ordered an iPad mini for my mom. It was yet another spontaneous decision. After the purchase, I had an uncontrollable urge to post about this feeling. I have bought watches and iPod for my mom. One time, I even bought her sarees. But never something very expensive. May be, her requirements weren’t such, or so I thought.
It was only after I bought an iPad last year, my mom got a first hand experience in the world of technology . Of course, I have given her a few lessons on using a PC many years back. But she did not pursue it much. May be, it scared her or confused her. Or, it could have been because of the nature of windows operating system. As we all know, the OS vista asks too many questions.

A tablet is a child’s play nowadays. So, just like how my toddler learnt to operate the iPad, my mom did too. Her areas of interests were limited to watching a few episodes of her favourite serials on Youtube, playing a few games like angry birds, temple run etc. As days went by, my toddler was almost addicted to this iPad. Out of fear, I hid it and thus successfully restricted the iPad time. But if he sees any of us with one, he simply grabs it and does his own business! Needless to say, I get to use mine only when he sleeps. Now, my younger daughter, who is just 14 months old, also started demanding that I let her watch her favourite rhymes on it. Oh my! I get to use it only for an hour or so after both of them call it a night.

Due to these developments, my mom does not get much of a chance to do her things. My dad recently was issued an iPad by his office. But he takes it to his office everyday. Despite having 2 iPads hanging around in the household, my mom does not get much of an iPad time. This has been a case for the past couple of months. Recently, my dad subscribed to various Tamil magazines. Seeing the low subscription cost, my dad and I convinced mom decided to forgo the physical copy of a few magazines that she purchased regularly. But sadly, the truth is, she never gets to read it after the online subscription. Dad suggested her to read the magazine on his laptop. As she is not well versed with the laptop, the tasks seemed very daunting. I felt bad seeing her struggle like that. I opened the website and taught her how to navigate and read. But after a while, she gave up and left the room to do something else.

I was left wondering what could be done. Just because she stays at home and her usage is limited, we are forced to believe that she does not require any expensive gadget. But now, I changed my mind. I had a feeling that her excitement is similar to what we had when we were first introduced into the world of computers and internet. It really opens a whole new world for her. Unlike a PC or a laptop, the tablet is easier to operate. Though she might not use it productively (to be frank, who does? Isn’t it like a toy for the grown ups?), she can independently use it for reading, watching videos, playing games, video calling etc. She might even learn how to use google and get to experience the internet like we do.

I love the experience of an apple product. Though I have not used their laptops and PCs, their phones, iPods and tablets impressed me a lot. My dad always wanted an iPhone, but he felt that they were too pricey. My DH also felt the same. They were delighted when they received them as a gift from me on different occasions. Of course, it was a surprise. For my brother though, I gifted a Samsung tablet for his wedding. It was his choice and not mine 🙂

On similar lines, I ordered iPad mini. I wanted her to experience the best. Flipkart was selling Nexus 7 for less than 10,000 rupees. But somehow I couldn’t get myself buy that. Just after I placed the order, iPad mini with retina display’s release date was announced. It was not going to make me cancel the order. The newer version is going to cost 29,000 rupees. The older version is 7,000 lesser. I thought it was good enough for mom. Hope she likes it! It is going to take another 3-4 days to arrive. I am going to have a tough time keeping mum as it is a surprise gift!

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Weight loss strategy – Part 2 – Motivation

In the last post, I had written how “Eating Right” was the first stepping stone in my weight loss journey. All my previous weight loss missions did not yield the results I wanted. If I look back now to point at one single thing that jeopardized my efforts, it was the “eating” part. Eating right is the key in any kind of weight loss goal and I was glad that I got it right, at last.

After completing one month of eating right (with no exercises), I saw results. Really! It was my son’s ear piercing ceremony. All the near and dear ones had gathered for the occasion and everyone commented that I have lost weight. I was delighted to hear that and was sure it was due to my new habit. I was MOTIVATED to continue this.

Losing weight had been one of my goals for past so many years. Apart from eating right, it also involves working out! This time, my workout options were limited with the meager time I had for myself with 2 babies under 2 years! Gym, aerobics classes, yoga classes were all not an option. Though there was a gym close by, it opened at 7 a.m. by when my kids are up and it closes at around 11 a.m. when they nap. So making it to the gym was a distant dream.

Since I enjoyed aerobics earlier, I thought I would give it a try. I had bought an aerobics DVD sometime back and so I started with that. But then it turned out to be something very dull and ended up not liking it. I searched youtube, but still could not find an aerobics training video that I liked and could do. Then, I decided try jogging outdoors. To be frank, I can jog a bit on the treadmill but not outside. I used to feel the urge to stop running quickly when compared to treadmill. On the treadmill, I could push myself to jog for an extra minute or two. But when doing it outdoors, even if I set a target to run until the next lamp post, most of the time I would stop before I reach there. Due to this history of mine, I was not very hopeful about my plan, but since there was no other alternative (that I knew of, at that time), I decided to give it a try. My plan was to alternate walking and jogging until I build the stamina to jog continuously for a kilometer at least.

Once the plan was all set, it was time for action. But, sometimes we need that one thing that gently pushes us to take that first step, also called as MOTIVATION. I had had enough of my close family tell me that I need to lose weight. Though it counts as a push, it did not count as motivation. I had asked my husband to be my exercise buddy. However this did not work because one of us had to be around our children. I continued to wait for my motivation.

When my husband gifted Nike track pants and T-shirt for my birthday, I was excited. These were expensive stuff and I just could not continue waiting around for a push. The T-shirt was a size ‘L’ and yes, no marks for guessing that it did not fit me. When we went to the store to exchange it, to my utter dismay, we were told that ‘L’ was the largest size that they stock! Finally, I exchanged it for another pair of running tracks.

By the time I was about to start my jogging routine, my old pair of Nike shoes gave away. It was as if even Gods did not want me to start. A month passed before we had time to check out a nearby Nike store. I was shell shocked to see the prices. The most comfortable pair of running shoes cost more than 6,000 rupees. Are you kidding me? I was not ready to pay this exorbitant sum. We checked out an Adidas store next to it and the prices were in the same range. My husband pressurized me to make a decision quickly. But somehow I could not just buy them immediately. Later that day, I checked online to see if the prices were any lesser. To my luck, there was a store wide promo at Jabong.com. I got a pair of Nike Pegasus 29 shoes @ 20% off. Those were the exact same pair I tried at the store. So, I knew the shoe size. Wow, I really felt proud of my achievement 😉 despite the fact that these shoes cost more than what I planned to spend.

Here is a quick note for any of you who are considering buying shoes online. I definitely suggest you to visit the actual store and try a lot of shoes. Find the one which is the most comfortable and note down the model, size etc. Before you buy, check if any of the online stores stock them. Most likely, they would be selling it at a discount around festival season or clearance. If you can, wait and grab your pair that time. You would be doubly happy to receive your favorite pair of shoes at a discounted price!

Now, let us get back to my story. After spending more than 10K on the Nike running gear (tracks and shoes), I simply could not afford to wait longer. I had to start now. Yes, these expensive running gears were my MOTIVATION to start my workout routine.

Everyone needs some kind of motivation to begin any task that seems daunting. Sometimes this motivation is external as it was the case with me. My husband in his own quiet way wanted to motivate me to start on this journey (He is the one who gets to listen to my cribbing, isn’t it :)). He did that by purchasing me all these and boy, did he not know that I would feel guilty to just sit on it and waste my time! If this was his plan, I should call it a master stroke!

After waiting forever to take the weight loss mission to the next step i.e. jogging, I finally got there after getting my hands on the shoes. Yay! What happened next? Watch out for my next post on this category.

Finally, all these external motivation (running gear and people’s compliments) can only push one for so long. After that, it is mainly self motivation that is going to sail the ship. I will write a post exclusively on that after sometime.

My first experience at a residential school

In the summer of 1994, I was 10 years old. My dad had just taken a long leave from work. We had shifted to our native village after my school closed for the summer. My parents were constantly discussing various residential school options that were available for me. I was scared and excited altogether. With these mixed emotions, whenever prompted by my parents, I was revising my lessons. Most schools conduct entrance examinations to admit students. My parents wanted me to be prepared. Though I did not like to revise my lessons, I did sit and study at times.

After clearing the entrance exams, I joined a residential school. My brother was very excited to see all the outdoor play things like swing, merry go round, slide etc. He was only 5 years then. But seeing his excitement, my dad enrolled him too. I was tensed at the prospect of learning to tend to myself and take care of him in a different environment.

After some days, my brother created a lot of fuss in the school and hence my parents shifted him out. I still remember writing to my parents every time asking them to take him back. He used to be home sick and cry a lot.

For me, the first few days went by adjusting to the new environment. After the initial excitement and new found independence died down, I hated the life at residential school. I was missing my parents, home. I waited impatiently for a chance to go home. I longingly looked at the day scholars who go home everyday.

At the school, everyday at 5 in the morning, a bell rings to wake us up. Some students rush to bath, some study, some continue to sleep until 6 O’ clock. But from the time the first bell rings until 6 O clock, a series of hindu spiritual songs are played in the loud speaker of all the dormitories. Ayarpadi Maaligaiyil is one of the first songs that is played. It is a lovely lullaby rendered for Lord Krishna in my mother tongue, Tamil.

Everyday when the bell goes off in the morning, it used to bring me to tears. Unknown fear would grip me. I used to think about the ever scowling teachers, some mean students and a lot of things that usually finds place in a terribly home sick 10 year old’s mind. These emotions were particularly intense if I had just returned to school after a short break at home for festivals, vacation etc. The song is actually a lullaby sung for Lord Krishna by his mother. Needless to say, early in the morning, I would be home sick. Thus I began associating these memories with this song.

After putting up with the school for a year, I left at the end of 6th grade. But the stress I experienced there continued to stay with me. Every time, my brother or I hear that song play in the radio, television etc, we simply could not stand it. One of us would run to switch it off. For us, it would remind us of the difficulties we experienced at that school. It would take us back to that world we did not want to belong to. My brother hardly stayed there for a month and despite being very young, his memories of the school stayed afresh.

Now, it is nearly 20 years since I associated my sufferings to this song. There is absolutely nothing in the song that could make anyone sad (except may be people who are longing for mom’s lullaby), but it haunted me for almost 20 years. Only recently, I started listening to this song without getting depressed. I am fascinated at how some things like these are etched in our mind. They say “Time heals” and in my case it has, even though it took 20 years.

This post is in response to the Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music dated 4th November 2013 at The Daily Post.

Hidekraft Warranty claim

Hidekraft warranty claim

DH gifted me a beautiful wallet from Hidekraft for Valentine’s day earlier this year. I loved it until one day I noticed some seams ripping apart. I was disappointed, to say the least. These things are expensive and I was unhappy that I had to live with a mended wallet even though we had spent a lot of money.

I vaguely remembered reading about warranty for this product. Most companies offer warranty only for 2 to 3 months and this purchase was made nearly 6 months ago, well, a week short of 6 months. Anyway, I went ahead and checked the product details at Flipkart website from where this was bought. I was surprised to read that manufacturer offered 6 months warranty for any manufacturing defect.

Now, I had to contact Hidekraft. After searching through their website, I ended up with 2 phone numbers. It was already 8 p.m on a Sunday night. There was no chance that I could get to customer care. Anyway, I went ahead and made the call. There was no answer in one of the numbers. Luckily, someone answered the call at the other number. After a brief conversation in which I explained the problem, the person on the line said he would have the customer care reach me at my phone the following day.

When I did not receive the call as promised on Monday, I was not very hopeful. However, customer care contacted me on Tuesday. They asked me to forward the soft copy of invoice, product details and the picture of the damaged article. I dutifully sent them and waited, rather impatiently, for their reply. Since I had just a couple of days before the warranty was due to expire, I had every right to be anxious. I wrote to them again asking for the status.

After a couple of hours, I received an email from them saying that the replacement product was already shipped to the address mentioned in the Invoice. Oh my! That was our Mumbai address and we no longer live there. After a series of email exchanges, the problem was sorted out and they shipped out the replacement to my present address.

At the end, I have to say that I was delighted with the customer service offered by the Hidekraft team. I have not claimed warranty for any bags earlier, so I was skeptical on whether this warranty promise was for real. But they kept their promise. I was sent a brand new piece of the same product.

At the end, we have to accept that a 6 month warranty against manufacturing defects is offered in the first place only because of the confidence they have in their product’s manufacturing process. I am definitely encouraged to pick up more stuff from this brand and would gladly recommend them to my friends and family too.

If you have to claim a warranty from Hidekraft, go ahead and contact them to see how it goes. Contact details for warranty claim can be found at this link on their website