Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Beauty Redefined With Garnier Beauty Benefit Cream

How much time does a mother of two tiny toddlers get to apply make-up and be ready for a special do? If she is lucky, then 5 minutes. Probably less most times.

Caught between two restless kids who can't wait to hit the road and even more impatient husband, she needs to deck up fast.

A familiar scene at the Prabhakar household before every outing. I noticed though that Sadhna, my better half, dashes in and out of the washroom, looking perfect in just a fraction of seconds.

The Curious Case of Sadhna Prabhakar

I wondered how she could look the part almost every other time. And in my eight years of marriage with Sadhna, she has never looked better.

So one fine day I couldn't help asking her. Pat came her reply.

"The revolutionary Garnier BB (Beauty Benefit) Cream is the reason behind the glow on my skin. It is a miracle skin perfector."

Garnier BB (Beauty Benefit) Cream 

In fact, the entire range of Garnier BB has been formulated to serve more than "purpose" for every lady who is on the go - whether getting ready for that one special evening or preparing for a long stretch at work.

An All-in-One Moisturizer

Sadhna wants her daily moisturizer to do more than mere "brighten" or "smoothen". In her pursuit to look flawless with minimal make-up, she has chosen Garnier BB (Beauty Benefit) Cream over several others.

Now Sadhna isn't the type (of person) who can be easily convinced about something. This all-in-one daily moisturizer must be truly magical. Why else would she incessantly talk to me about instant beautification?

I can tell you that she's happy. The comfortable texture blends seamlessly into her skin.

A New Generation of Skincare Has Arrived

The Garnier BB Cream belongs to a new generation of skincare that combines multiple beauty routine steps into one, thus saving time. Unlike most daily moisturizers, this one is enriched with active natural ingredients like the essence of cherries, bilberry extract, and ginger.

End Result: A firm skin plus a terrific boost to the natural process of your skin's regeneration.

Go for it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Demystifying The Clash Of Cultures

Nowadays it is customary for avid travelers to compile a "Best Places to Visit" list beforehand.

Weeks before one experiences an unknown place, a virtual tour has already happened. Acquiring knowledge about the climate, food, local language, currency, and so on is now a prerequisite.

"Be well prepared," they'd say. More so if you want to avoid unwelcome surprises.

When I visited Goa last month with wifey and kids, I had already taken a virtual tour of the city and decided upon my daily itinerary - thanks to the numerous travel blogs. I even stuffed my knapsack with all the must-haves.

Can't help but wonder: does the term "explorer" really describe today's traveler or are we mere visitors?

When the likes of Vasco da Gama and Hieun Tsang set sail, they had a vague idea (at times, no idea) about both their journey and final destination.

Vasco da Gama
Guided solely by handmade maps, the North Star, and a non-mechanical compass, these brave men had the heart to venture into uncharted territories and the conviction that they'd find it.

As they progressed from one coast to another, they carried along the taste of that land, its culture, music, language, folklores, and much more. Hence facilitating cultural and culinary mingling. These master navigators maintained every day records of the direction of winds above the sea, the weather, and even the tides.

Detailed travel accounts were later written for the benefit of generations to come.

"Knowledge is best when shared" goes a famous idiom.

Travelogues of famous ancient travelers not only spread interest about an unknown land’s culture and food, they are also responsible for spreading various religious and philosophical beliefs. Buddhism and Christianity, two of the most followed religions, owe their popularity chiefly to the monks and missionaries who traveled in search of the truth and enlightenment.

Travel also facilitated trade. The famous "Silk Route" and "Spice Trade" are a few examples of exchange of goods between two historic civilizations.

The scent of spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, pepper, and turmeric brought several enthusiasts to India, many of whom were later responsible for bringing about a change in its socio-economic conditions.

Likewise various traders, pilgrims, monks, and several nomads carried the thread of silk from China to India and then into the Mediterranean, thus opening a channel of long-distance interaction among civilizations.

We have evolved and prospered collectively, thanks to the flow of knowledge through generations and among civilizations, facilitated by travelers and their written accounts.

A technological advancement in one part of the globe soon travels and enriches the lives of people at the other end.

Even to date narratives and travelogues of the common man acquaint us about the events and happenings in the interiors of far-away lands - whether political unrest, fight against crime, or citizens coming together against immoral democracies. These and several other stories travel via the Internet and have an impact on our tomorrow. Needless to say, each of us has benefitted in more than one way from these shared encounters.

[This post is a part of "Beyond Boundaries" at in association with INK 2014.]

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Family Commitment To Change

Sadhna and I are happily married for the past eight years. We have two beautiful children - Rishab (aged 6) and Saanvi (aged 2).

Rishab Prabhakar
Saanvi Prabhakar
Pray For A Healthy Child

It is a mere coincidence that both our kids were born in India. Coincidence because we were based out of Korea, not India.

But that's not the part I want to highlight. For us, where our kids would be born was never actually a concern. India or Korea or elsewhere.  

Sadhna only prayed for a healthy child! Zillions of "expecting mothers" worldwide hope for the same ... and why not!

The BIG Deal

So what's the BIG deal about having or raising healthy children? Why do expecting mothers and fathers go about consulting the best doctors in town - be it paediatricians or gynaecologists?

I can say with a certain amount of confidence that raising healthy children isn't nearly as simple as some parents think it is. If you want to protect your kids from obesity and other life-threatening diseases like diabetes later in life, you need to educate them on the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.

You also need to tell them why they shouldn't fall for unhealthy temptations or habits.

Rules For Healthy Eating

I constantly remind Rishab and Saanvi about the rules for healthy eating. Allowing them to differentiate between what's right or wrong for them in the long-term helps us to stay involved with them and play a crucial role in their overall development. We try to make it a family thingy.

Mix and Motivate

Being a homemaker has given Sadhna an edge. No matter how busy my day is, Sadhna would never miss taking the kids out to the nearest park for recreation. One hour of physical activity in a day allows children to stay fit and happy. Sadhna knows how to mix it, so she encourages kids to play active games like hopscotch, tickle monster, soccer, etc. Whenever I get time, we go for walks together.

It might seem like a lot at first, but eventually you'll start to enjoy the experience.

Sometimes you will be required to talk your child into physical activities. A certain amount of motivation might also help, more so if your kid is shy or lazy.

Value Your Kids Pursuit To Grow Healthy

When kids realize how much you value their pursuit to grow healthy, your bonding with them automatically becomes stronger. Let me quote an instance here. Almost every time a game event is organized in Rishab's school, I encourage him to participate. If he requires my help during practicing, I do whatever it takes to help him compete. I also make sure to be available for cheering, whatever the situation. These little efforts from my side have improved our relationship a lot.

Pay Attention To The Signs

Although Sadhna doesn't object to the kids watching TV or surfing web, she ensures that the children don't end up becoming typical couch potatoes. I have specifically asked her to pay attention to how much time Rishab and Saanvi spend in front of the screen. We have also moved the TV and computer out of their room and kept the same in our living area.

One of our common friends has suggested that we set a daily TV time limit for our kids, but we haven't got to it yet.

Sadhna is also very particular about the kind of foods she purchases for kids. For example, organic foods, cans of low-sodium beans (for proteins), etc. Occasionally she would involve the kids in preparing healthy meals. The whole idea is that Rishab and Saanvi are more likely to eat something that they have prepared themselves; in the process, they'd also learn about the different types of food and where they come from.

Another great idea is to help children plant a garden (if possible) and allow them to eat what they harvest. You can even take them for fun activities like mango or apple picking and serve them a bowl full of fresh fruits that they have selected.

Finally, let us all make a family commitment to change by introducing healthy food and habits. It is never too late and eventually you will get to see the positives.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

An Unforgettable Diwali in South Korea

Diwali - that time of the year again when the entire nation erupts into a frantic celebration mode. A time for reunions, decorations, gifting, and splurging.

That's Not All

Not to forget the crazy ass traffic on roads, the gambling tradition, and the incessant binging and putting on those extra calories in the process.


Can someone do anything about the burn injuries and air/noise pollution that result as a direct consequence of burning those effing firecrackers?

Diwali in Korean Highschool

You probably think it's a joke but it's not :)

In this post, I'll share my most memorable Diwali story that dates back to circa 2011 when me along with wifey (Sadhna), son (Rishab, aged 3 at that time), and a colleague from Lionbridge Korea (let's call him Jalan "asshole" Andrade) celebrated the festival of lights in - lo and behold - a Korean highschool.

Diwali God Idols
Sadhna wanted an elaborate Ghar Waali Diwali (, all the more so because we were away from our folks in India.

Ghar Waali Diwali

So we chalked out a plan to perfection for our first Diwali away from India.

First, we went to the biggest discount store in Korea called Homeplus to look for Diwali stuff (for the uninitiated, we lived in Korea for seven years from 2005 to 2012).

From one corner of the department store to the other, the search for colored flour, diyas, firecrackers/bottle rockets, lanterns, flower petals, etc. sent the entire retail chain staff into a frenzy.

We weren't going anywhere until we got what we wanted :D

First Success

We DID manage to get everything, most importantly the colored flour for preparing Rangoli.

In India, it is not uncommon to clean and decorate homes, commercial and government buildings, etc. before Diwali.

It didn't matter to Sadhna that we were celebrating Diwali in Korea, not India. She was way too adamant, and wanted our posh, three-bedroom Korean apartment in the heart of Seoul to be freshly painted -- just so she could feel at home during the festivities. Somehow I was able to dissuade her. Success number 1 :D

Don't Freak Out The Dogs

Now Diwali fireworks is considered a family event in most parts of India.

And I wonder why?

People light up fireworks in streets, near their homes, almost oblivious of the fact that they are freaking out the poor animals like stray dogs in the ordeal.

Don't get me started on the air and noise pollution. If you asked me what I dislike the most about this festival, it has go to be this part.

Anyway, since Jalan "asshole" Andrade was planning to pay us a visit on Diwali, we decided to shop for some Phuljharis (sparklers that are very popular on Diwali nights).

Roles and Responsibilities 

So we were all set. I was saddled with the task of indoor and outdoor Diya decoration. Jalan would hang the Diwali lanterns. Sadhna would make the Rangoli.

Diyas Decoration
Since Diwali is hailed as the biggest (possibly the brightest as well if you discount Holi) of all Hindu festivals, it is a custom to pray before we start any celebration. The historical significance behind this is: Lord Rama returned from exile to his kingdom after 14 years, and everyone planted little lanterns outside their homes to welcome him and grace the occasion.

On the D-day

At the setting of the sun, we ventured into a Korean highschool - our hunting ground for bursting firecrackers. We were doing fine for about 30 minutes, until the security guard spotted the fantastic four and shooed us away.

Shaken, Not Stirred

In no mood to allow anyone dampen our festive spirits, we returned to our apartment. And here's what we did.

We lit the candles and diyas again. From the balcony of our eighth floor apartment, Jalan started to fiddle with bottle rockets by placing the stick in an empty bottle and then igniting the rocket engine. Rishab's excitement was to be seen during the first moments of its flight. Simply put, priceless.


The fun continued throughout the night - with gambling first, followed by two back-to-back Bollywood flicks.

Who could've possibly imagined a Diwali away from home will turn out to be our most memorable to date!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Jeep And Bourbon - Chapters 1 to 27

The Scribe Tribe Team

Chapter 1: Whose idea was it anyway?
By Avinash Gupta

Chapter 2: Touch-Me-Not 
By Vibhuti Bhandarkar

Chapter 3: The Ignominy of Defeat
By Rahul Prabhakar

Chapter 4: The Pleasure of Pain
By Pankaj Sharma

Chapter 5: The Road Not Taken
By Harsh Singh

Chapter 6: The Silent Confessions 
By Veturi Sarma

Chapter 7: The Unwinding of Events
By Sarath Babu

Chapter 8: Two Lives
By Babitha A. Costa

Chapter 9: Life’s Mysteries
By Romita Dey

Chapter 10: The Peace Before the Storm
By Pankaj Sharma

Chapter 11: A Humble Sojourn
By Narasimha Sharma Veturi

Chapter 12: Desire Ain’t A Mere Coincidence
By Rahul Prabhakar

Chapter 13: The Plot
By Harsh Singh

Chapter 14: Small Pleasure
By Babitha A. Costa

Chapter 15: Beware of Strangers!
By Vibhuti Bhandarkar

Chapter 16: J for Jealousy
By Romita Dey

Chapter 17: The Loss of Innocence
By Narasimha Sharma Veturi

Chapter 18: Knock, Knock, Whose There?
By Vibhuti Bhandarkar

Chapter 19: Midnight Mysteries
By Sarath Babu

Chapter 20: My hunches are always right!
By Vibhuti Bhandarkar

Chapter 21: Closing In
By Narasimha Sharma Veturi

Chapter 22: Three is some bad company...
By Vibhuti Bhandarkar

Chapter 23: In Confusion
By Babitha A. Costa

Chapter 24: Forgiveness Doesn't Mean Forgetting
By Rahul Prabhakar

Chapter 25: Surfing through troubled times
By Harsh Singh

Chapter 26: Crime and Punishment
By Narasimha Sharma Veturi

Chapter 27: The Term is Licentiousness
By Rahul Prabhakar

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Jeep and Bourbon, Part 27 #CelebrateBlogging

Chapter 27: The Term is Licentiousness

Team Name: The Scribe Tribe

The Scribe Tribe Team

Read the previous part of the story here.

Tara manages to put up a straight face in front of Jeremy. Probably for one last time, but word has it she's broken beyond repair. Bothered by what had happened.

Her emotions are difficult to read though.

She's been through enough already, without having to pull the trigger. Unfortunately she's not alone. Over the course of one month, huge changes have impacted the lives of at least six people.

Tara wants to withdraw. But first, she needs to put Jeremy out of misery, or so she thinks.

Jeremy is a wreck without her. A jilted lover who is perhaps wallowing in self pity right now.

"Love can really incapacitate you! As dim-witted as this may sound, I think it's actually the truth." Tara kept mumbling, not realizing that someone was privy to this conversation.

"Soon you'll arrive at the destination, mam." the auto driver brought Tara out of her reverie.

Does Tara really know where her destination is? She's still not out of the woods, but certainly on the right track.

Tara makes a frantic call to Jennifer, asking to meet at Barista, a few blocks away from her apartment.

"Shekhar almost left you, and if you're not careful, he eventually will. What you just experienced was a rude wake-up call."

"I'm not an assassin, Jenny. I didn't mean to ruin everything. Everywhere I went, everything I did, a door would slam. I feel shunned by everyone. What did I do to deserve this? I was nothing but a nice girl. You associate with my loneliness, right? That feeling of wanting someone so bad that you fail to distinguish between right and wrong."

"The term is licentiousness."

"I know that things between myself and Shekhar are pretty much beyond repair right now. I won't even presume to try and make everything better with a conversation."

"I just want to tell him that I'm sorry. For the pain it caused to everyone … But most importantly I'm sorry for my part in it. I miss the romance. And however far off it may be, I look forward to the day when we can be lovers again."      

"For now, all you gotta do is take your time. Take all the time you need."

"Jenny, can I hold you tight?"

"Thanks for just being there, no matter how hard it has been."

"I promise, won't let go this time. I'll stand by his side. Won't leave. Simply won't."

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Jeep and Bourbon, Part 24 #CelebrateBlogging

Chapter 24: Forgiveness Doesn't Mean Forgetting

Team Name: The Scribe Tribe

The Scribe Tribe Team

Read the previous part of the story here.

"This is what you wanted, right?" Shekhar's voice began to muddle between despair and disgust.

Tara is still inconsolable.

"This is no time to fight you two. I'm calling the cops right away to lodge a complaint." Jenny retorted.

"I know of people who have been in this situation and I know it is pretty difficult. I've been with Jeremy for little over a year now ... and awhile back, I also developed feelings for Aryan. Even if I manage to push them away, I can't help feeling awful about the extreme bad choices I've made in my life. I was never like this and it sucks how I look so trashy now. I just don't know what to do with myself anymore!"  

Tara continues to be in a state of shock, almost aghast at what had happened. Or what could have. She doesn't know how to react to any of this.

"Why would he try to kidnap Roohi ... or ... kill her?"

The line of love and hate could blur sometimes. For Tara, her response towards adversity remains unclear.

"Why Roohi amongst all of us? I mean she's not even 10. What is her fault?"

"She’s your daughter. That is her biggest fault!" Shekhar continued to hurl more abuses at Tara.

"I can't understand why you did this to us. You had everything, whatever shit you wanted."

"It is hard, Shekhar. I never wanted to cheat on you. Never wanted to make you feel like less than a man. I could have been upfront before it got worse but I didn't. My fault. You can be vengeful or spiteful. Maybe our relationship is already dead in the water but I plead forgiveness."

Tara sounds genuine.

"Shame on me. I am not a homewrecker!"

"Wasn't adultery enough?" Shekhar is almost at the verge of crying.

"I may have not gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."

Anxiety and anger are still combining in a toxic cocktail in the Dutta household.

And suddenly a very tense moment of silence is shattered by an eerie phone call. Jenny rushes to the adjacent room to receive it.

Jeremy has surrendered at the Bandra police station.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jeep and Bourbon, Part 12 #CelebrateBlogging

Chapter 12: Desire Ain’t A Mere Coincidence

Team Name: The Scribe Tribe

The Scribe Tribe Team

Read the previous part of the story here.

"Ooh la la ... check out that hot piece of ass!" suddenly Jennifer's eye lit just like fireworks in the sky.

"Aryan Ahuja, I'm coming after you hottie," Jennifer wanted Aryan and like now.

Something felt really inappropriate but it didn't matter anymore to Jennifer, who continued to read Cyrus's blog, line after line, page by page, as if there was no tomorrow.

Why would a legal student, who just passed out, blog about an upcoming male model from Mumbai?

"He couldn’t be gay, right?" she mumbled. The curiosity is getting the best of her.

It just didn't make much sense to Jennifer, who now found herself sucked into discovering about an unknown's life.

Much of her own life has been like that. Chartering into unknown territories, looking for deeper, meaningful connections. She started the home stay in Kochi to allow herself to meet people from all walks of life. In fact, it was the love of the folklore that'd gotten Jennifer interested in Cyrus.

The tattoo on her right hand embodies Jennifer's true spirit. Feathers and birds, symbolic of "uplifting" and "freedom", respectively.

Cyrus and Aryan met a few months ago on a blogging tour organized by the Mumbai metropolitan government. They had common interests and like most people of their age group, it wasn't difficult to second-guess what they liked. Throughout the three-day tour, they were inseparable and talked incessantly about a lot of topics - some very obvious like girlfriends, drugs, sex, and such - other not so very obvious like their career goals in life. It seemed like both of them had known each other for ages.

Cyrus promised Aryan to stay in touch after the tour, and even volunteered to promote his portfolio through a detailed blog post ... And he did keep his word.

Jennifer's perfect obsession with the male torso was not something new. As a professional photographer, she couldn't keep away from those tanned musculature, sculpted biceps, and washboard abs. Aryan's scripted chiseled body just provided the right fodder for the night. 6 feet 2 inches, 28-inch waist, and hairless. He worked out six hours a day, seven days a week, enough for any 30-year-old to shape a dream body.

"Hold on a second! Is that our Shekhu? What on earth is going on here?" Jennifer was now looking at a picture of Aryan with the Dutta family celebrating Roohi's eighth birthday.

"Could this be a mere coincidence?" she wondered!

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Jeep and Bourbon, Part 3 #CelebrateBlogging

Chapter 3: The Ignominy of Defeat

Team Name: The Scribe Tribe

The Scribe Tribe Team
Read the previous part of the story here.

Tara and I were stacked as the odd pair in college, but it didn't matter to us. We were literally inseparable.

Even when we were the butt of all jokes, Tara shrugged off the criticism as harmless. Ours was a shaggy dog story. The best part was we weren't the ones to deny.

I look back now at the time we spent together, the love that defined us, and contemplate how quickly the romance fizzled out.

Tara always demanded something more from life, clearly not the one for half measures. On the contrary, I was the easy going type, never equating love with anything else.

"Look what you did, Shekhar! To me. To us."

"We could've had a fucking real good life! But you never wanted it, so what we have now is this!"

"Bloody six long months ... honestly what were you thinking?" Tara's voice grew even more louder.

Becoming a full-time, stay-at-home dad post Roohi's birth was the most difficult decision of my life. To grow out of the comfort of a typical 9 to 6 white-collar job, seeing a fat pay check at the last day of every month.

"I threw it all away for you, Tara, and for our child ... for us."

For Tara, living with a lie was probably easier than dealing with the truth. She never wanted to bring Roohi into this world in the first place. I never wanted a dilapidated heart.

"Dad, I'm cold. Could you go, quickly grab a quilt for me?" it took exactly five seconds for Roohi to get me out of my reverie.

Roohi remains the only thread that connects us; the reason we're not divorced yet.

It wasn't that bad always. During our courtship, I used to frequently meet Tara after college at a crowded bus stop, away from prying eyes. Standing there, waiting impatiently at the St. Xavier's College bus stop, I observed how some things in life would never change - like the deafening noise of the mob, the hustle of the local passenger buses, the seemingly foolish and loquacious Gujju women, or the famous Cafe Coffee Day.

We had met there on several occasions, but it was never this bad. Perhaps it was the anticipation that had begun to build painfully within me or the lovesick emotion that I was desperately trying to overcome. All this while, I had been seeking answers. Will she or won't she?

My train of thoughts is disturbed by the blinding headlights of a jeep that screeched to a halt. Cyrus has arrived and with him, the moment of truth. He is unable to decide if he is nervous or just feels the urge to act like an adult but something makes him pull out another cigarette.

"I was able to fix the goddamn jeep."

He lights his cigarette, takes a few puffs, and glances at the moon.

If Tara wanted something desperately, she would go all the way to get it. All she needed was the teensiest push to get started.

"Shekhar, you might not want to believe what I just saw but you have to accompany me without asking or saying anything."

And there she is. Tara locking lips with Jeremy. And they do not stop until 2 minutes and 45 seconds later. This is no ordinary kiss. The two, intertwine horizontally, rolling in the pristine sands and they keep rolling farther over the sea weed and into the waters.

Suddenly there is a momentary lapse of reason. I need to rush to make some calls.

Read the next part of the story here.

“Me and my team are participating in ‘Game Of Blogs’ at #CelebrateBlogging with us.”

Monday, August 04, 2014

What The Black Happened The Last 4 Days

Disclaimer: I'm going to keep this post short and sweet. I'll also try to curtail my excitement as much as I can.

Here's what happened eight days ago. On July 26, 2014, I received a mail from BlogAdda with the following subject:
You are shortlisted for 'What The Black' Experience 
For the uninitiated, BlogAdda houses the largest community of bloggers in India. 

The Deal

A handful of Desi bloggers - including yours truly - were cherrypicked to receive exciting, never-before-seen items at their doorstep daily for four days starting July 30. Four effing days of non-stop fun and anticipation, never really knowing what was in store for us.

Hang On, There Must Be A Catch 

I wondered. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. 

We, as in the Blogging junta, were required to click loads of pictures of these never-before-seen items and create social media buzz around #WhatTheBlack was going on and what would come next.

Three Buzzwords

That would set the tone for the next four days: Excitement, Curiosity, and Intrigue.

Day 1

On Day 1, the friendly neighbourhood courier guy delivered a black paper box. No kidding :)

Clue on Day 1
Not sure what to really expect, I quickly tore the wrapping off the box only to discover a black egg stuffed with dark chocolate inside its shell.

Different conspiracy theories came to mind but the one that stuck was that the hint for Day 1 had something to do with Indulgence.

My Tweet on Day 1
Day 2

On Day 2, I received something akin to a daily newspaper with the only exception that it had turned black.

Clue on Day 2
Unlike the previous day though, there were subtle clues to aid the thinking process, like the tantalizing headings that read:
  1. Poultry farmers shocked at the sight of black eggs.
  2. Are Black tissue papers replacing White ones?
  3. Cricket Board introduces black balls, Will they behave differently?
  4. Black star sightings baffle astronomers
The Sherlock in me jumped to the gun ... the clue for Day 2 had something to do with Information.

My Tweet on Day 2
Day 3

On Day 3, the plot started to thicken. I received a black tissue paper along with a black paper cup by mail.

Clue on Day 3
By now, the hashtag #WhatTheBlack was already popular on microblogging and social networking services such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram.

Every blogger I could think of was second guessing whether the final product they would receive on Day 4 was a smartphone.

I'd pinned my hopes on BlackBerry (lol!). How stupid of me :))

My Tweet on Day 3
Icing On The Cake or Blooper

One of the papers bundled with the courier docs contained details about the material and the name of the sender.

It read as follows:
Colgate Charcoal Paper Cup and Tissue Paper 
Bang! That very moment I knew what the marketing gimmick was, courtesy: Candid Marketing, India's number 1 strategic brand activation agency based out of Delhi.

Day 4

Day 4 was a no-brainer. The product that got us all thinking turned out to be a new toothbrush. Oh well, that's life.

The new Colgate SlimSoft Charcoal toothbrush boasts of 17x slimmer tip bristles that are charcoal infused to remove plaque bacteria.

New Colgate SlimSoft Charcoal Toothbrush
My Tweet on Day 4
Final Words of Wisdom

I really enjoyed playing Dr. House for four days, and would be again looking forward to such wonderful and engaging campaigns in the future.