Friday, February 17, 2012

What's going to be your first song?

The link provided below leads to one of my favorite ads - that of - an online shopping portal that has made and is still making online shopping a rage. Online shopping has become a healthy obsession, thanks to the site due to wild discounts, fast delivery, 30 day replacement guarantee and high quality delivery standards. 

I wanted to possess a portable media player for a long time but never took that last step to make a purchase. Recently, I visited and found exciting discounts on MP3 players and purchased a ZEBRONICS STEM MP3 player. The player in its package comes along with a micro USB cable for charging and data transfer and a basic pair of earphones. This bundled along with a Transcend 4GB micro SD card is priced at Rs 650 on the Flipkart portal.  

In less than 24 hours of my placing the order, I received the player with the micro SD card in superb condition.  

Coming to some details of the mp3 player or more precisely portable media player - Zebronics STEM supports only MP3 and WMA file formats. It supports USB 2.0 interface. It does not have any built in memory and can take up to 16GB micro SD card in its slot. It has a built in lithium battery chargeable through USB interface. The player can also be used as a card reader and USB disk. 

I found the player worth every penny I spent. There is no elaborate instruction manual, the handy and small player does not require one anyways. The touch wheel on the player has keys to navigate to previous and next track, lower and increase the volume, play and pause the current track. The player comes with an on/off button and throws a red flash when out of battery power. The audio quality is very very good. There are no complaints. The ear phones are rudimentary but there is no crib if an additional set of better earphones is at disposal at home. 

The slot for the micro SD card has a powerful spring inside, so take care while giving a push to eject the card, you would not want the card to spring dive with a thud onto the floor. The player is basic in that there is no random/shuffle play option, the tracks loaded onto the card will play in order and we can use NEXT TRACK and PREVIOUS TRACK to skip or replay. Also, being really minuscule, there is no display that will show play lists and help you traverse from one folder to another. No such frills but despita that all,  Zebronics STEM portable media player provides an awesome experience and is superb value for money. 

Big thanks to Flipkart for providing such valuable products to its customers at a highly affordable price at an alarmingly super speed and with great care. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: 7 Secrets of Shiva

7 Secrets of Shiva is another fantastic book by Devdutt Pattanaik, it reveals important tales of Shiva, Parvathy and their two children - Ganesha and Murugan. These tales, 7 in number, unravel many important details of Shiva, the destroyer - destroyer of fear of death - Yamantaka; destroyer of desire - Kamantaka and destroyer of the three worlds (me, mine, not mine) that every human creates, his own world of subjective reality (known as Brahmanda) - Tripurantaka.

To start with, there is Lingeshwara's secret that explains the symbol - Shiva Linga, then Bhairava's secret and then a chapter on Shankara's secret where we learn of how Kali - the wild and fiery goddess willingly turns into a demure householder - Gauri, hence transforms Shiva - the ascetic god, smeared with ash, clad in animal hide, both eyes closed to the external world in deep Tapa into an empathetic and compassionate Shankara whose eyes are open to engage with humanity. 

In Bholenath's secret, we learn of Shiva, the God,  innocent of worldly ways, rules of society and cultural framework. Having remained with his two eyes closed to the external world, he is completely oblivious of stringent rules that drive daily life of human beings. He defies these rules, feels these are unnecessary and only create hurdles in ultimate human realization of atma (the soul).

In Ganesha's secret, we learn of how Lord Ganesha came into existence, how his pot belly assures all devotees of material abundance and removes fear of scarcity that lurks in them.

In Murugan's secret, we learn how and why Murugan came into existence. There are many interesting tales of his birth and valor, practices involved in his worship that differ so widely from the North to South of India. As a 7 day old toddler, he wages war against demons like Taraka, Simhamukhan and Soorapadman, heralds victory and removes the fear of predator from minds of Devas and all his devotees as well. It is through Ganesha and Murugan that Shiva engages even more closely with humanity, works to help them realize infinite truth of life.

The final chapter is Nataraja's secret - explains why many in the west find it a conundrum when they observe Hindus not worshiping  Brahma - the creator but revering Shiva completely. Shiva, the destroyer is seen more as performing acts of deconstruction of evil rather than that of destroyal.

This book holds a very special place in my book shelf and I must admit that reading every chapter has shed light on many important aspects I have observed in Shiva temples. There are references in the chapter on Murugan to Skanda Purana and I now intend to read this book to get a more comprehensive view of Shiva folklore. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A case of Over Display of Emotions

This Sunday gave a shocker to many watching the news for the first time it was reported Indian Cricketer Yuvraj Singh is suffering from a malignant form of cancer. Definitely, a real shocker, Yuvraj is a batsman of great caliber with great titles like Player of the Tournament in 2010 ICC World Cup, only one to hit 6 sixes in an over in a T20 format game, he has led the Indian side to victory in many crucial games, fields well despite odds of a huge beer guzzler tummy, bowls magical spells that leave all spellbound and hits like a rocket in steadfast attempts to damage the opponent. 

The Times of India newspaper on Monday Feb 6 quoted that in India his initial reports were stolen - now that is highly ridiculous. Not sure who wanted to auction these reports and earn money. Also, another hospital (unnamed) in India failed to detect the cancer last year. So in clinical diagnosis of the disease the nation has not been of any avail. But in arenas of displaying emotions and support - we stand second to none. Since Sunday evening, there have been scores of people coming on TV and talking about how Yuvraj is a great player and an even bigger fighter. These people encompass a group of cricket commentators, fellow players from IPL and other formats of the game, self declared cricket enthusiasts and some time pass souls who get a daily wage to appear in one of the windows of the news channel, whatever be the topic. Fans from all over the country are being questioned on news channels on questions like - when do you think Yuvi will return to cricket, do you think he can churn the same magic when he returns, how big a fan of Yuvi are you? 

The news channels are already on their way paying homage (Shraddanjali) to a person who is very much alive,  battling the disease which has been discovered at the earliest stages, thanks to medical expertise of a Russian doc. 

Today's news article in TOI describes the form of cancer that Yuvi is suffering from, its symptoms and treatment methods. The first line of this article reads - Yuvraj Singh is happy he is in Boston for his cancer treatment and not in India where unwarranted and sentimental attention could have dampened his mood. Very well said ! Full blown accolades to Yuvi for taking the decision of undergoing chemotherapy treatment in Boston away from homeland, may be this is the most crucial and well taken decision of his lifetime. If he had been treated in India, his parents would have had to spend more time giving interviews to news channels than be by the side of their ailing son. Journalists would shed their skin and shame to get a sneak peek into the room in which Yuvi is resting. They would not mind climbing skyscraper buildings for this purpose, even break their back in the process, just a picture of Yuvi drinking a glass of mosambi juice in his hospital ward would suffice news mongers for many days.  

Crowds would throng the hospital where Yuvi is admitted and create a huge law and order problem. If for a break, Yuvi tuned into a channel other than news channels, he would be feasted to his own advertisement which has been running in an infinite loop mode since Sunday - the ad on BIRLA SUN LIFE INSURANCE - Jab thak balla chal raha hai thaat hai (which literally translates into - as long as batting and career is fine - everything is rosy - when the bat does not work its magic .. then FULL STOP). This completely unwarranted over display of emotions is an inseparable part of  fundamental rights of every Indian citizen - something like Sadda Haq, Aithe Rakh. This situation can never be mended, so wiser and wisest to run away from it. 

So here's wishing Yuvi a very speedy recovery and issuing strict warnings to stay away from motherland till he is fully fine and completely cured.