I blog, therefore I am

Saturday, September 26, 2015

After more than half a million online votes and over 350 entries received, Aloft and MTV revealed the winners of the second annual Asia Pacific edition of music talent discovery competition Project Aloft Star. The contest aims to identify and support the hottest emerging music artists throughout Asia Pacific, with three competition clusters.

This year’s cluster winners are:

Gusian Yu (China) – View his winning entry.
Run Pussy Run (India) – View their winning entry.
Jenny & The Scallywags (Southeast Asia) – View their winning entry.

The top finalists battled it out at the finals held at Aloft Hotels in Kuala Lumpur, Bangalore and Guangzhou over the weekend in front of a panel of judges. They were evaluated on music composition and song-writing skills, originality and creativity, technical skill, 'wow' factor, showmanship, and stage presence.

The judging panel comprised the following representatives from Aloft Hotels, MTV, celebrities and music industry experts:

For Southeast Asia:


1. Paras Sharma, Vice President, MTV and Comedy Central Brands and Digital Media, Viacom International Media Networks Asia

2. Vincent Ong, Senior Brand Director, Asia Pacific Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

3. Aliff Aziz, a Singapore born singer and actor who won the reality TV singing competition, Anugerah when he was 16 years old, making him the competition’s youngest winner. He is currently working on his fourth album, having just released his current single “Selayaknya Aku

4. Aziana Ali, General Manager – Marketing, Sony Music Entertainment Malaysia

5. Valent Soisuvarn, Executive Director, MTV Thailand

For China:


1. Charles Chan, Creative Director, Head of Content Production, MTV China

2. Master Dong Shan, a pop singer who won multiple newcomer awards when he debuted. His fourth and latest album《四张机》 was released this year.

3. Shan Qi, renowned planner-musician-producer-director who is also known as ‘China Fashion Festival Godfather’

4. Sofia Wong, Hotel Manager, Aloft Guangzhou University Park

For India:


1. Bobin James, Head of Programming and Artist Relations, MTV Indies 


2. Clinton Cerejo, award-winning composer, producer and singer who has lent his inimitable voice to a number of Bollywood hits

3. Hazel Ooi, Manager, Brand Management, Asia-Pacific, Sheraton, Westin, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, Element

As part of the prize package, each winner was awarded a $10,000 cash prize, and will soon be featured in MTV Seen, a video spot of that will air on MTV Asia, MTV China and MTV India channels in October. Winners will also be featured in individual vignettes on the Project Aloft Star website.

The 15 week long competition kicked off on May 22 this year, garnering close to double the number of published original music video submissions from aspiring music talent compared to the inaugural edition held in 2014. Fans lent their support by voting for their favorite music videos, with voting numbers skyrocketing over 20 times, to more than half a million.

I got a chance to witness the final held in Bengaluru, India. All the five finalist bands were melodious. They mesmerized the live audience, as well as the people who watched them online. The huge number of votes are a proof. The judges appeared impressed. It was a definitely a tough decision in the end.

Project Aloft Star 2015 India Winner Run Pussy Run

Run Pussy Run emerged as the winner from India. Congratulations to the winning band. Best wishes to all the participants.

Since I live tweeted from the event, feel free to check all my tweets. Follow me to get more such updates in the future.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

If you have been sincerely following my blog, you would be aware that I won a contest arranged by BlogAdda in association with Renault. The prize was a weekend trip to Goa, and a drive in their latest vehicle - the Renault Lodgy. Last week I wrote an article describing my experience of that wonderful trip. This post is dedicated to that awesome car we drove in Goa.

The following is a brief review of the car. The views presented are my own, and you may or may not agree with them. And that's completely okay. I would also like you to know that I'm no auto expert (yet! I maybe, some day!). So forgive me for any errors. Whatever knowledge I have of the domain is from my 3 years experience working at Bosch.

Renault Lodgy

Before I begin, I would like to state that this car is launched as a MPV (Multi-Purpose Vehicle). Talking about Renault's success in the Indian market, Duster is the only vehicle which has managed to stay them afloat (note that it was a 5-seater compact SUV). The French OEM would definitely like some of that magic to work for Lodgy as well.

Exteriors and Styling


Renault Lodgy front view

As far as the exteriors are concerned, I didn't find anything out of the box. But still, the car is charming at the same time. The style followed is standard European. But it has got an Indian touch, which is expected since they are targeting the Indian market! When I say it is Indianized, I refer to the lot of chrome used all around the car. To begin with, the Lodgy branding at the rear is completely made in chrome. The side body mouldings are also made up of chrome.

Renault Lodgy side view

The front of the car is attractive. The tail lamps give a unique look. Overall, it is an elegant 8-seater MPV from the house of Renault.

Interiors and Comfort features


Touchscreen ICE

Interiors of this car is what I liked the most. There are loads of features, including touch screen audio-video-navigation system, steering mounted audio controls, cruise control, tilt-steering, driver side seat height adjust, arm-rest for driver, plenty of storage space, deep door pockets, charging ports in all 3 rows, roof mounted AC vents for all 3 rows. Not to forget the most important ones - ABS and airbags - after all safety is the foremost concern.

The car is spacious . Believe me. The wheelbase is long enough (2.8 m to be accurate). The overall headroom is ample. Sitting in the third row is comfortable, with enough legroom, unlike XUV 500. If compared to Ertiga or Mobilio, Lodgy definitely takes the lead as and when the third row is concerned, which plays a major role in a 8-seater car. If compared to Innova, it is at par for the head and leg room in the third row, but lacks in width!

Ample boot space in the Renault Lodgy

Talking about boot space, one can get approximately 1861 litres of boot space by completely removing off the third row, and folding the second one.

Overall, I will give full marks to this car for its interiors.

Ride and Handling


Well, I did not drive the car myself. So, I'll share what others who did, felt about the ride. The suspension is well tuned. This in turn leads to good handling, and hence, a smooth ride. The steering wheel is well-weighted.

What I liked?


1. Touchscreen ICE, cruise control and safety features

2. Spacious third-row seat

3. Ample boot space

4. Outstanding ride quality

5. Balanced dynamics and handling

6. Smartly priced

What I didn't like?


1. Common style and exteriors, nothing outstanding.

Verdict


If you are looking for a family car,
You do not have to look any far.
Get this one with awesome interiors,
And let everyone see what you are.

I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by BlogAdda.com in association with Renault India.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

It's not funny, and there's no twist,
I think of you in colors that don't exist!
You have no idea how much I love you,
Come back to me, I insist.

That morning of August, covered in hazy mist,
That black thread around your neck, and your wrist.
How could someone not fall in love with you,
How could I not fall in love with you,
You were lovely, and I couldn't resist.

You want to know the gist,
I exist because you exist.
I love you, and always will,
Do not worry, hurting you is not on my list.

Whatever the situation, I want you to know,
I still think of you in colors that don't exist!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ever since I've started this blog, I had wished to participate in contests arranged via BlogAdda. But due to my busy schedule (at least I thought so), was never successfully able to write a contest post in time.

One fine evening at work, I was browsing through the internet, when I came across a contest whose winners were to fly to Goa for a fun-filled weekend. I checked the end time, and it was midnight. That means I had only a few hours left to write a post, and not just write any post, I had to make it stand out in order to win. By 8 in the evening, I was home. After dinner, I started writing at 9. And successfully submitted this post by 10. Honestly speaking, I wasn't expecting to win since I thought I wrote in a hurry, and couldn't do justice with the post. But hope, that never dies!

Few days later, the team at BlogAdda announced the results. And I was one of the winners. It was a moment of sheer joy. Joy for not just winning, or visiting Goa for that matter, it was the joy of getting to meet various bloggers across the country. It had to be a lifetime experience; time to make new friends. A series of emails and phone calls from the team at BlogAdda got me going. I was prepared to rock the weekend. They also sent across the following custom-made banner:

I'll be there driving Renault Lodgy in Goa

Just a couple of days before we had to fly, I received the names of my team members. Jobo, Piyush, Ayan and yours truly were a team. We called ourselves #TeamPenDrive, courtesy Piyush.

I met Piyush and Jobo at the Bangalore airport itself. Our first task was to take snap of the boarding pass:

At the Goa airport, buses were arranged to take us to our destination - the Leela Kempinski Hotel located in Cavelossim, Goa. We received a warm welcome by the staff there:

We were then handed our room keys. Piyush was my room mate. After the tiresome journey, all I was craving for was some tea. The awesome team at BlogAdda had already anticipated that! Evening tea and snacks were waiting for us. After having those delicious samosas and tea, we were headed to our rooms to relax.

In the evening, there was a small meet-and-greet arranged at The Hampi - the conference hall in the premises. There we got to know that Archana was our host for the event. After all the introductions were done, there was a small treasure hunt game. Guess what, our team, won it and topped the leaderboards. That was the end of the first logical day.

Next day, myself and Piyush got ready early and went to The Restaurant for breakfast. A mandatory selfie was clicked:

After we were all done eating, it was time to drive. The Renault Lodgy was waiting for us:

The amazing photography also made the above tweet the best tweet of the event. Well done Jobo :)

The drive began from the hotel premises. There were 10 teams with a total of 40 bloggers. Each team had a Renault Lodgy to drive. The idea was to drive all the way down to The Lalit Golf and Spa Resort located in Canacona, Goa. It was around 37 kms from our source. There were a lot of tasks which were to be done on the way. We clicked a lot of photos and also made a few videos with the car.

Watch our team's impromptu skits:




We had a delicious lunch at The Lalit, and then were on our way back. The return journey was intentionally made slow, to enjoy the scenic beauty Goa has to offer. :D

Prashanth, Santosh, Giridhar and yours truly spent some time on the beach in the evening. Was it productive? Decide yourself:



The evening again was fun-filled. Arun, Ayan and Neha shared their stories and their views on blogging. Also, Prateek hosted an informative session featuring Omkar, Rutavi, Aditi, Rekha and Madhumita. The best band of Goa was there to make us dance to their tune. The evening ended with cocktails and food. Oh, and not to forget, Neha sang a melodious song as well.

Next day was a lazy one. Got up late, had breakfast, and checked out of the rooms by noon. Rest of the time was spent strolling around the beautiful campus. The flight back to Bangalore was delayed by a couple of hours. The team of 12 bloggers from Bangalore had their lunch and left for the airport.

The trip might have ended, but its memories are still alive. They say Goa leaves a hangover effect. Believe me, it does! For the complete next week, I was mentally present in Goa, although physically I was at work.

I am thankful to Harish, Ankita, Sushma, Ankita (yes, BlogAdda has two with the same name) and Tridib for such an amazing time.

I made so many great friends on this trip.
Aditi I still need to know all those Bollywood masala stories. And hope you find some time to reply to my email :P
Murtaza keep writing those awesome reviews.
Rutavi thanks for that evening tip ;)
Madhumita I shall always click pictures for you ;)
Giri, Tiger, Santosh and Prashanth, when are we next planning a movie?
Pari thanks for the drive to and from the airport. Also thanks for those cute pics of Gauri. :D
Piyush nice moves you had there ;) Keep dancing!
Nirav and Prateek we shall keep meeting for other tech launches :D
Ragini I wish you don't miss your bag again :P But it was fun at the airport. And congrats for the Bolt :)
Senthil hope you reached aaram se ;)
Neha you sing so well. And you do love SRK and Hrithik a lot :P
Omkar keep enjoying the coffee like you did that morning :D
Nawabi Neha, hope you now remember that I am from Bangalore too :P
Tiger may you enjoy your delicious non-veg meals forever :D
Ashwini keep sending me links to your poems :)
Ayan I need more of those words of wisdom :)
Jobo how was the Audi you got to drive next?
Atul you were very good with that "happy and contemplative" photo series.

Until next time...

I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by BlogAdda.com in association with Renault India.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Have you ever considered the idea of experiencing the real market scene, while munching your favorite dishes at the same time? Did you ever wish to eat a buffet full of delicious dishes, and also shop their ingredients under the same roof? Did you happen to free a genie out of a bottle, because your wishes seem to come true, all thanks to Feast, Hotel Sheraton, located at Brigade Gateway, Bangalore.

Feast Market Brunch placard


The idea is to treat yourself with a feast, and also be able to buy a huge variety of organic vegetables and fresh ingredients at best prices. This is definitely going to save your time and energy, which you'd otherwise have spent in the market amidst all the traffic and scorching heat.

This is how the entrance to the restaurant looks like


What's best is that this is arranged only for Sundays, so you can actually spend your time like you usually do on a weekend - be with your friends. But sometimes you do have to drop your plans because it's your turn to do grocery shopping. Not anymore, you can get together over a buffet brunch with your friends, and also complete the kitchen shopping at the same time, without annoying your better half. Win-win for all. :)

Salmon Coullibiac
Salmon Coullibiac
If you also happen to have kids, you can take them along and drop them off at kid's corner at the venue. They have a collection of most exciting games to entertain your kid.

Tart bites
Tart bites

To add to all this awesomeness, they have a live band performing with all the melodious songs, and a live cocktail bar for you to enjoy the music and the food.

Whole roasted pork leg
Whole roasted pork leg

While you are there, I recommend you not to miss the live 'chaat' counters, and the wide selections of desserts and Indian sweets to complete your feast.

To list down in complete detail, they have the following to offer:

Cheese and wine counter


Cheese and wine tasting counter

Cocktails and beyond


The live drinks counter in action

Retail (market)


Oyster mushrooms available for sale

The carry bags

Salads


Salads

Live Chaat


Live chaat counter

Live Indian counter


Live Indian counter

Live egg counter


Live egg counter

Live Asian Sushi counter


Live Asian Sushi counter

Desserts


Apple pie
Apple pie

Blueberry pie
Blueberry pie

Pineapple pie
Pineapple pie

Chocolate Gateau
Chocolate Gateau

Fresh fruit Gateau
Fresh fruit Gateau

This whole package of fun, food and family time is priced at1695 (non-alcoholic), 2195 (alcoholic) and the kid’s buffet at825 (taxes extra as applicable).

Just so that you're clear, the brunch is available every Sunday from 1230 hours to 1600 hours. Go enjoy Bangalore's only market brunch, with the finest luxury dining experience.

Feast - Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, June 14, 2015

I've already stated (and proved) in my previous post the importance of cricket in the life of an average Indian. With the last season of the world cup not ending so well for the national cricket team, people are eagerly waiting for the next one, with memories still fresh from our last win - the cup in 2011. But do you know what really happened on the night of 2nd April, 2011? Well, you are about to find out.

As you might be aware, India was playing Sri Lanka in the final match. It was being held in Mumbai, and hence, we had the home advantage. Both these countries had won the cup once before (India in 1983 and Sri Lanka in 1996), and so the stakes were equal for either side.

The match began with a controversy over the toss. The match referee couldn't hear the visiting side captain's call for the first time. There was a re-toss, which was won by the opposition. The fans from either side were unhappy, claiming that their team won it in the first go. One side was happy after the re-toss, while the other obviously wasn't. But the stakes were too high, and everybody got tensed. Winning a world cup is like a dream come true for a cricketer.

The match started with Sri Lanka batting first, and asking India to chase down a target of 275 runs. The response appeared quite shake, at least in the beginning. They had lost both their openers at a meager score of 31 runs. The dressing room was losing its charm, its energy to take on the opponents.

The next pair of batsmen tried their best to reduce the damage and get as close to the target as possible. By the time they were walking back to the pavilion, India had scored 223 runs, and required another 52 from as many balls to clinch the title. On the crease were captain cool and Yuvi. The pressure was on them now. They had to win. They had to do something, err everything, to win. The hopes were held high. But after all the toiling that they did in the field the whole day, they were exhausted and really low on energy. Twelfth man was seen carrying some energy drinks towards the pitch. Ironically, neither Urzza nor Red Bull came to their rescue.

But where there's a will, there's a way. And we Indians are well-known for our Jugaad concept. The team management noticed the falling energy level of their captain, reported it to their bosses at BCCI, and urged them to do something.

Unlike a spineless management, the President of BCCI decided to take things under his control. He was aware of the captain's fondness of music and dance, and he also knew who his favorites were.

The match was paused, and a stage was set up. Without much delay, it was occupied by none other than Allu Arjun and Anushka Manchanda. Now, you really have no idea how much money BCCI has got, do you?

The superstar hero danced his heart out on a few singles sung by the heartthrob singer. One of them included the song "Dance Basanti" from the film "Ungli". This was itself a little awkward, coz the Basanti there was singing, while a man was dancing! If you are thinking that this isn't possible since the movie was released in 2014, you really have no idea how much money BCCI has got! ;)

Allu Arjun

Anushka Manchanda

All this while MSD enjoyed the iconic dance moves coupled with a melodious voice, and was all pumped up after the fifteen minute show. Now was the time for another excellent show, one which the captain was going to put out. He hit a six off a pace bowler to complete the proceedings for the day. India had won the match, and the cup of course, with 10 balls to spare.

Dhoni hitting the final six off Nuwan Kulasekara

This is how the tensed and dull situation during the 2011 Cricket World Cup final changed because of the legendary dance moves and enchanting voice of the superstar duo.

God with the trophy

...And this is how India won the Cricket World Cup.

P.S.: Dear Sri Lankan brothers, this is a piece of fiction. Do not cry foul like our brothers in Bangladesh did for that no ball.

I am blogging for #MaxFreshMove activity at BlogAdda.com. Are you?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Humans love humans. Humans love things as well. Other humans may not love you back, or worst, hurt you. But things, they don't do that. Despite of being life-less, they remain with you until they exist. That's the irony! Is it a bit too philosophical? Well, it's Friday evening, and I am not drunk! Then why am I acting all Socrates? That's because I realized how much I love my stuff, my precious life-less things that always stand by my side, no matter what. They mean the 'world' to me.

Renault Lodgy

Now, won't you carry your 'world' with you wherever you go, more specifically on a road-trip? What if you were going to the trip in a Renault Lodgy? Well, I assumed I am, and hence came up with a list of following lovely things that I would carry along with me:

Audio books and music


Renault Lodgy media features

Many of you might be unaware, but I am very fond of books. Though I haven't done any book reviews so far, I would love to do some. (Sorry to Abhijeeth Hiliyana, the author of Age of Apostasy, for not reviewing your book yet. I had my home robbed, and your book was gone with it. Sorry bro.)

"There is no friend as loyal as a book." - Ernest Hemingway

Now, reading a book while driving might not be a good idea, for obvious reasons. Thanks to technology, I can now listen to them! So, first thing I would carry are the audio versions of books/novels of my favorite writers. The loud speakers in the Lodgy will make sure that I hear the words correctly! That way, I will be in full control of the wheel, seemingly enjoying my favorite pastime at the same time. Same goes for music too.

Food


Cup holders in the Renault Lodgy

Every time I log into my Facebook account, I only have one answer to the infamous question, "What's on your mind?" That's food! But it would be lame to post it as Zuck is not the only one reading it. *I know I'm bad at jokes*.

But seriously, food is something I crave for. If I were to go on a road trip, I would carry lots-and-lots of food packets to last during the journey. After all, offering food makes you friends with fellow travellers too ;) The cup holders and flight tray available in the Lodgy will make storing and consuming food and beverages comfortable.

Having said that, I would like you to know that I attended a food event last week, and the review is coming soon. So stay tuned.

Gadgets


After food, I can only think of my freaky gadgets. Being a tech blogger, they are a part of my daily routine. And the teacher says that missing habits isn't a good thing!

Just in case you are wondering, the list includes my two smartphones, a tablet and a laptop. I will definitely carry chargers for all of these devices, since Lodgy already has 12 V charging sockets for all the three rows.

Sports equipment and board games


I may not sound like an athlete kinda-guy, but I do enjoy playing games if people join me. Cricket and badminton are the ones I like playing outdoors, and cards and board games are my thing if we talk indoors.

To carry all this stuff, Lodgy has ample boot space. Talking about figures, the trunk has a dynamic storage of 207 litres, which is expandable up to 1861 litres.

First aid kit


Last but not the least, I will make sure to take my first aid kit along-with. The Lodgy has a smartly positioned storage area in the center of the dashboard. This place is ideal for carrying such necessary items.

Cushion pillow in the Renault Lodgy

Belt cushion in the Renault Lodgy

I think I will forget my cushions and pillows at home. Renault Lodgy already has cushion pillows and belt cushions, increasing the comfort and convenience during the trip.

I’m participating in the #LiveLodgycal contest with Renault in association with BlogAdda to get a chance to be a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive in Goa.

Vote for me at BlogAdda

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