Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#ChooseToStart With The Smartest - How Moto E Changed My Life

Circa 2008.

"I won my first effing smartphone in a lucky draw at a conference." I quaintly remember saying something to that effect to Sadhna, my better half.

She took one hard look at me, then to the phone, and quipped, "You're one lucky bastard!"

This was perhaps the only time I had not paid anything for a smartphone, not even the shipping or packaging cost, which was freaking exciting to say the least.

But as you can imagine, there's no such thing as a free lunch. My love affair with the device ended pretty soon, in fact it ended the very moment I downloaded my first app. My favorite app was not compatible with the device and the only way out was to upgrade the firmware – something I wasn't technically empowered to handle at that point in time.

Fast forward to 2014.

The Prabhakar clan believes that technology is like a slow moving target. We aren't the type to shell out a fortune for getting a premium smartphone experience.

Enter Moto E. And something changed.


There were a zillion reasons why I #ChooseToStart with the new Moto E. In this post, I'm going to list down my Top 10 only.

# 1: Ultra Modern Smartphone at Affordable Price


My wife who bought the first generation of Moto smartphone couldn't stop raving about the new Moto E. As I accompanied her to the store on a busy working day, I wondered about every bit of detail in whatever she had told. How could an ultra modern smartphone come at that price? I mean you got to be seriously kidding me.

Turns out she wasn't.

The company was able to pack in a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor, an all-day battery, a new front-facing camera, 4G LTE, and a 4.5 inch qHD display. And still keep the phone at an affordable price, making it even more useful and powerful.

# 2: The New Moto E Felt Great in Hand


It really did. I simply loved the curved back, ergonomically designed to fit perfectly in hand. The Moto E does not bend in your back pocket, leaving us awestruck and held in admiration.

# 3: Customized Accents Fitted My Style


It was hands down the best thing I'd ever seen in a smartphone. With Moto E, you can choose from colorful Motorola Bands or Grip Shells that are easy to detach and exchange. Both me and Sadhna can now change our phone accent color as often as we want. Not only are these bands designed to look awesome, but they also provide a unique ridged pattern for an even better grip.

# 4: Premium Look


The mark of a great smartphone is that it feels great too. The new Moto E provides real bang for the buck if you compare it to some of the more expensive handheld devices offered by other smartphone manufacturers like Samsung or Apple. I was particularly bowled over by the elegant spin finish around the camera bezel and beautiful texture on the buttons. This kind of detailing renders a premium look to the Moto E.

# 5: Dual Accelerometers


The new Moto E is powered with dual accelerometers that fuel some of the most popular features available on Moto X.

Like Moto Display for instance. Moto E stays dark until you nudge it or receive a notification. This powerful feature allows you to stay on top of things with just a subtle glance.

Then there's the Motorola Assist Sleep and Meeting modes, where you can tell Moto E if you don't want to be bothered.

# 6: Taking Selfies is a Breeze with the new Front-facing Camera


Everyone likes taking pictures, especially selfies and groupies. With the new Moto E, you can now click selfies with its classic front-facing camera.

The Moto E also features Quick Capture, one of the most popular innovation on Moto X. You just need to twist your wrist twice to launch the camera. Twist twice again to launch the front-facing camera. That's premium innovation in a smartphone that doesn't break the bank.

# 7: Clean Software Experience with Android OS Lollipop


The secret sauce to the new Moto E's success is a clean software experience via pure Android. Lollipop is the largest and most ambitious Android release in ages and powers Moto E with enhanced features like improved multitasking.

# 8: 4G LTE/4G speed


I am a sucker for great Internet speed. Motorola knows that too. They took a great smartphone and paired it with the best network in the world. Now I can browse the web, stream music, play games, and watch videos at 4G LTE speeds. The fun doesn't end here! The company is soon rolling out new Moto E in a 3G version.

# 9: Quad-Core Processor


The thing about a quad-core processor is that you can do more, faster. The new Moto E is bundled with a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that has a 1.2GHz quad-core CPU and advanced graphics. Switching back and forth between my favorite apps is no longer a hassle and I don't even have to worry about slowing down.

# 10: All-Day Battery


The biggest turn-off for me is when the battery of my smartphone exhausts within hours of recharging. Not the case with Moto E though. With a 2390 mAh battery, the device will last a full day with ease.

Finally, the new Moto E brings some of Motorola's signature software experiences to the most affordable phone for the first time. People everywhere can now choose a great smartphone without having to think twice.

[#ChooseToStart

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Partnering in Conservation of Indian Elephants

I've always been intrigued by the Indian elephant. Among all countries of the world, India has the largest remaining population of elephants (57%).

Weighing over 5 tons and measuring up to 6.4m in length and around 2 to 3.5m in height, the Indian elephant can spend up to 16 hours a day doing nothing but feeding. They excrete about 220 pounds of dung every day while hovering between an area that spans up to 125 square miles. Experts believe that one of the best places for germinating seeds is in a patch of elephant dung.

Elephants are not only considered iconic in our country but also in other parts of Asia. They help maintain the integrity of forest and grassland habitats.

It is estimated that the population of elephants in India is around 27,000. Did you know that the Indian elephant is listed as "Endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an organization working in the interests of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources? Its population has dramatically declined by at least 50% over the last few years owing to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation.

News of wild elephants entering villages is not uncommon in India. Small farmers can lose their entire livelihood overnight from a destructive elephant raid; they often end up killing elephants in retaliation.

Habitat loss forces these animals to seek alternative food sources outside their forest homes. It can also cause them to be confined to isolated populations that might not be able to follow ancient migratory routes or mix with other herds.

What causes habitat loss and fragmentation in the first place? An ever-increasing quest for land, fueled by a sudden surge in human population, has led to illegal encroachments in protected areas and forest clearing for rapid development.

Dr. Barney Long, Asian Species Expert, says "As South Asia's population explodes, elephants are getting squeezed into smaller areas leading to major conflicts; we need to champion solutions that help both elephants and people."

I couldn't agree more!

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is playing an instrumental role in the conservation of Indian elephants by reconnecting protected areas via community-based action. By restoring degraded biological corridors, elephants can access their migratory routes without disturbing human habitation. This mitigates the risk of human-elephant conflicts.

WWF trains, equips, and supports local staff in India to patrol protected areas and check elephant distribution and numbers. It also invests each year in anti-poaching operations, and the program is gearing to prepare an anti-poaching strategy.

Kerala-based Muthoot Group has partnered with the WWF by launching the 'Friends for Life' project, as part of its Haathi Mera Saathi Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. The project aims to secure elephant population and manage human-elephant conflict (HEC) in the six Indian states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand, northern West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. This partnership will also fuel the existing efforts by identifying strategic conflict management measures applicable to each region and impose legislation to protect elephants.

The group has been doing CSR for over 800 years, perhaps even before the term was coined. This was done in terms of educational, healthcare, etc. for the 5000-odd workers of the family who were employed for the clearance of forest area and plantations on an authorization given as koop by the Maharajah of Travancore nearly 800 years ago.

Alexander George Muthoot, Director, Muthoot Group believes "The Muthoot Group has always stood up for protecting the environment and wildlife habitat. Association with the elephant was only too natural, since the logo of the group is also the elephant, which in turn denotes strength, passion, integrity and care – aspects that are integral to the vision of the group. We look forward to our association with WWF-India and aim to spread awareness about the human-elephant conflict which is on the rise. Being our first joint collaboration, we have also partnered with the local communities in the selected six states to get a real-time picture about the problems and provide solutions in terms of reducing elephant and human lives lost, secure crop and property damage in villages and build a future where humans and elephants can live in harmony with each other."

Aligned to its core values, Muthoot Group aims at achieving sustainable and continuous impact of its CSR activities, under the umbrella theme of Muthoot Haathi Mera Saathi. This campaign is a reflection of the group's continual efforts in empowering the marginalized section of the society since inception.

The Muthoot Group plans to complement this initiative with an online campaign across its social network platforms. They are also undertaking drives in their 4500+ branches to create awareness and increase public support for elephant conservation.

Mr. Ravi Singh, Secretary General and CEO of WWF-India, shared his thoughts on this initiative: "WWF-India has been working on elephant conservation since 1970s. India holds approximately 60% of the world's Asian elephant population and, therefore, we have a lot more responsibility towards conserving this species. We welcome this conservation alliance with The Muthoot Group as this association is a step-up of our efforts towards the management of human-elephant conflict in six Indian states. We have already set up electric fencing in Nilgiri North division of Tamil Nadu, and collected secondary information on HEC from Uttarakhand and data on human-elephant conflict from South Wayanad forest division in Kerala. Currently, ADSs (Anti Depredation Squads) have also been formed in three project locations - Doom Dooma, Majuli and Deepor Beel area in Assam to manage HEC."

As responsible citizens of India, you too can take action by creating a Panda Nation page for the next big occasion of your life like birthday and raise money to support WWF's global conservation efforts. Go ahead and make a one-time or monthly donation, or join as a partner in conservation.

Catching Up With The Kellogg Waale Guptaji For Nashta

I am an early morning person. Getting up at the crack of dawn and going for a jog is definitely my thing. But the part I love the most about every morning is catching up with the Gupta family for nashta.

Here's one family who knows how to whip up just the perfect breakfast for any occasion. Over a period of time, Guptaji has earned quite a reputation for cooking sumptuous breakfast meals using Kellogg cereals. He is now better known in the jogger's circuit as "Kellogg Waale Guptaji", and rightly so.

Like Kellogg, Guptaji too believes in the power of breakfast, especially in the goodness of grains. He is an active promoter of healthy and active lifestyle, and people absolutely love his creativity.

In this post, I am going to list my Top 10 favorite breakfast meals from the house of Guptaji (he has more than 100 mouthwatering recipes to boast of!) 

# 1: Baked Cinnamon French Toast


Ever tried a fabulous French toast made out of cereals? In mere 35 minutes of preparation, this delicious breakfast meal made out of Rice Krispies will make inroads in your tummy and hopefully your heart! For those among you who are interested, here's the full recipe.


# 2: Breakfast Casserole


Craving for a perfect brunch dish made from Kellogg's All-Bran Original cereal? If your answer is in the affirmative, the Breakfast Casserole is probably your best bet! The recipe is no rocket science; you can even add a dash of fresh fruit salad with Mimosa (champagne and orange juice cocktail) to spice things up a bit.


# 3: Branana Muffins


Try these delicious muffins made from the Kellogg's All-Bran Buds cereal. Just make sure that the bananas used in this recipe are ripe.


# 4: Blueberry Pancakes


Imagine fluffy pancakes made from half cup of ready-to-eat Kellogg's All-Bran Complete Wheat Flakes cereal. Light and fruity, these tantalizing pancakes are absolute delight when served with sugary syrup and butter.

# 5: Almond Coconut Shake


If you're a sucker for classic smoothies, you'll fall in love with the Almond Coconut Shake made from half a cup of Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal. Come, enjoy the twist!


# 6: Black Forest Shake


This amazing potpourri of chocolate and corn flakes will redefine the way you look at breakfast. The Black Forest Shake is a classic blend of Kellogg's Corn Flakes laced with chocolate syrup, vanilla ice cream, full fat milk, and seedless cherries.


# 7: Basil Curd Dip


The Basil Curd Dip is ready in seven minutes flat, making any savory starter a thing of the past. If you are short on time, take a cup of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and mix it well (preferably in a bowl) with fresh curd, finely chopped basil leaves, chopped pine nuts, milk, red chili flakes, grated cheese, and salt. You can jazz up the dip with bread or vegetable sticks before serving.


# 8: Cabbage Corn Salad in Basil Curd Dressing


Like everything veggie? Here's an exciting, new spin on salads. Use a single cup of Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal and add the goodness of cabbage, cucumber, grapes, celery, and salt. Then wait and see the magic happen!


# 9: Chapatti Cornflakes Chivda


A perfect family snack for all times, the Chapatti Cornflakes Chivda is deliciously crunchy and made with wholesome chapatti power.



# 10: Cheesy Cornflakes


And finally, from Guptaji's kitchen comes the Cheesy Cornflakes, bound to arouse your taste buds with the ultimate mix of onions, tomatoes, coriander, and cheese sauce.


The big question playing on Guptaji's mind right now: "Kya aap aayenge?"


https://www.youtube.com/user/kelloggindia
All images used in this blog post are courtesy Kellogg's Official Website (www.kelloggs.com) and Kellogg's India Website (www.kelloggs.in)]

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Promoting Gender Equality By Sharing The Load

The thing about a successful marriage is that it is never about an individual or a gender per se but a team. Sadhna and I have continued to build our nine-year-old relationship on love, respect, and trust. Both of us work full-time and realize that it doesn't get any easier with two kids around. So we share responsibilities without letting our egos get in the way.

In the Prabhakar household, there is no distinction between a man and a woman. No bias at all. If I see an untidy room, I go clean it.

Ditto for laundry.

I don't expect the Mrs to do the laundry every time. There are days when Sadhna would return from the school fully exhausted. I try to pep her up by making tea or coffee, ordering food online (so she doesn't have to cook), and doing laundry. This is the least I can do for her.

Doing laundry was the toughest though – with me being clueless many a time about which detergent to use, whether to use bleach or starch, how to dry clothes, etc. I turned to the web for some very helpful advice on checking the care labels or care tags, separating colored clothes, maintaining water temperature, drying, and starching.

Here's what I discovered.

Tip 1
Read the care labels or care tags of your clothes to determine the method of washing. You'll know beforehand which clothes need to be washed with cold water versus the ones that require dry cleaning, etc.



Tip 2
Separate your colored clothes, especially the new ones, from the whites. If you think that something is going to bleed, wash it separately.

Tip 3

Use warm water to wash clothes and cold to rinse. Do not use hot water to wash cotton clothing.

Tip 4

Choose the temperature setting in your washing machine based on the type of load.

Tip 5

For whites, it is recommended to use bleach since it'll whiten your clothes further and remove stains effectively.

Tip 6

More soap or detergent does not imply cleaner clothes.

Tip 7

Many detergents don't dissolve well in cool water.

Tip 8

Add only a half cup of fabric softener to the laundry during the wash cycle.

Tip 9

For "heavily" soiled items, filling the cap with one-third detergent is recommended.

Tip 10

Don't assume that the "cool" temperature setting will work for any and all materials.

As you can see, everything I thought I knew about doing laundry was wrong initially. But I did manage to crack the code with little help from the web.


Sadhna and I did not assign household duties by who was male or female. We talked through our strengths, skills, and most importantly, desires for certain activities. I can proudly say that the Prabhakar family will continue to promote gender equality come what may.

******************
I nominate the following male friends to take up the challenge:
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[This review is a part of the biggest Sponsored Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free Products!
This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel India.] 

Top 5 Simple Things In Life That Make Me Happy

All of us long for perennial happiness. The good news is you don't have to look far in order to be truly happy. The simplest things can fill your life with so much happiness, provided you pay close attention to the signs.

In this post, I'm going to talk about the Top 5 simple things in life that make me happy, er, really happy.

# 1: Being Loved or Being in Love


Different people have different interpretations and connotations for love. I look for the kind of love that makes me want to be a kid all over again. Being loved by someone is great and makes me feel very special about myself.

They say when you're in love, just say it aloud. I couldn't agree more!

# 2: Being surrounded by genuine, fun-loving friends

 

I will go all the way for true friends. For me, friendship is the start of something exceptional. Like fireworks in the sky. Most of my close friends appreciate my honesty. I try to keep things real, and if a situation demands that truth be told no matter how hard and abrasive, I will say it. I also don't believe in sacrificing quality for quantity, so the ones who'll stick around till the end will get my undivided attention whenever they want it.

# 3: Kids, Lots of Kids

 

I am an instant hit with toddlers. If I had to face a trade-off between my day job and babysitting, I'd probably choose the latter.

Kids never fake about how they feel. They're pure and unpretentious, just the way I like most adults to be. Suffice to say, I like their company and vice versa.

# 4: Music, especially Karaoke


I love performing to crowds. Not a powerhouse still, but I'm working my way towards getting there someday. You'll probably spot me at a Karaoke gig near your town on a Friday night. If not, I'll continue to pester you with my YouTube or SoundCloud recordings whenever they're available online. Such is my obsession with western music.

# 5: Non-stop Traveling


Wish I had wings that I could spread or a magic wand that I could use to visit all the lovely places in the world. I have to admit, the love of folklore has taken me to newer, uncharted destinations. It was during this course that I met some really interesting people along the way, with whom I was able to initiate meaningful dialogs. Travel, for me, is not a destination but a lifelong experience that I truly treasure from the bottom of my heart.



Finally, you'll be surprised at how meaningful your life will eventually become if you simply get the basics right. Simple is indeed better!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Looking for Restful Journeys in Mumbai - Get on an AC Cab

Traveling in Mumbai can be good or bad depending on the mode of transportation you opt for. The city's humid and moderately hot climate doesn't make it any easier for travelers. On top of that, it is not easy to find a cab in Mumbai on a busy, working day. Most cabs plying on the roads of Mumbai would not have air conditioning or comfortable seats.

If you're lucky to break into a vintage taxi somehow, it would not provide enough bang for the buck and you'll ultimately end up underwhelmed. Many commuters avoid such taxis in the rainy season of Mumbai for safety concerns, as these vehicles often succumb to wear and tear. Then there is another concern related to overpricing during rush or peak hours.

So there, looking for restful journeys? 

Your best bet would be the AC cab services from providers like Meru, Ola, Uber, Taxi for Sure, or Mega Cabs. These taxis are comfortable, can handle the Mumbai roads effectively, and include modern facilities like air conditioner, digital meter, first aid kit, map, etc.

Most service providers will encourage you to download and use their smartphone apps through which you can book a spacious taxi service in Mumbai anytime and anywhere.

Premium cab services in Mumbai will charge you by the kilometer. Just make sure that the meter is reset before you start the ride. Most digital meters in the city start at INR 16 during daytime and INR 20 post midnight.

The best part about booking from modern transportation providers is that there is no need to tip the driver. In certain situations, the driver will inform you beforehand about toll or government taxes, airport charges, or other miscellaneous surcharges that may be added to your fare. In case of any damage to the vehicle while you're on it, cleaning or repair fee might also become applicable.

Finally, nothing trips your heart quite like an AC cab ride in good old Mumbai, so I reckon you get on that AC cab and enjoy the experience. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Battling Anxiety and Depression through Love

From the time that we've been married to each other, Sadhna and I have remained almost inseparable. She has been my pillar of strength, and I continue to look up to her for all the support, companionship, and most important of all, love that she gives. There was a time in my professional life when I was battling anxiety, and to a certain extent, depression as well.

I used to come home dejected every evening, at times not even willing to talk with anyone.

The situation became particularly concerning for Sadhna when I started skipping meals at the time of dinner. The trend continued for a little more than a week and it didn't take much time for Sadhna to realize that she had to talk me out of the pain and suffering I was going through, lest things go out of hand.

So she asked me if I could take her and the kids out to a Buddhist temple, an hour's drive from the place we lived. Why she chose that place continues to remain a mystery to me, even to date!

The setting was simply perfect! A temple right in the heart of mountains and a jungle away from the hustle and bustle of city life, with no one to bother us. As we strolled around the temple, holding hand in hand, she reminded me how she fell for my charm and confidence the very first time we met.

Over the years, Sadhna saw me take on several professional challenges and come out unscathed. She wondered what had changed this time.

I didn't know how to answer her. Honestly, I became numb, not because I had done anything wrong at work or otherwise but I wasn't too sure about my own condition, the state of mind I was in, and my overall well-being at that point in time.

I was still the same old guy but here I was, struggling with my confidence, trudging into a negative territory, a dark spot that resembled a point of no return.

Pointing towards our two wonderful children, Sadhna politely requested me to seek medical help from a counselor.

"If this is something beyond you, please don't be harsh on yourself! A help is just a call away."

I still haven't forgotten those powerful lines; the best recommendation to me ever by anyone. Sometimes you need just that little nudge to return on track. And only a loved one will be able to take you there.

I'm fine now, ready to take on the world with optimism and hope. And even though there are days when it's difficult to be optimistic all the time, I rely on the company of Sadhna to pull me back again.

#together]

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Smartphone For All

If the mere thought of spending a day without a smartphone (or more specifically, without your favorite apps) is driving you insane, can you imagine a life without it? 

Let's face it - smartphones have fundamentally changed the way we live. Things that were practically impossible to achieve earlier are just an app away now. Isn't that wonderful!

The big question, however, is: how do we ensure that the smartphones are accessible to the common man, not just the affluent. To address this concern, smartphone manufacturers are producing mobile phones at a lower cost these days. The market is flooded with mobile phones in the price range of INR 5000 to 10000. For every extra rupee that you decide to spend, there is yet another smartphone to be considered.

Fierce competition among smartphone manufacturers is fueling this trend. Chinese companies like Xiaomi found reasonable success in their home country by selling affordable yet powerful smartphones. Google is trying to build high-quality devices for a price as low as INR 6000. For that price, you can get a swanky display, a cool processor, a good battery life, and a great storage. What else do you wish for!

Phone chipmakers like Qualcomm, Spreadtrum, and MediaTek are making it easy for hardware makers to get in the game by creating near-final reference designs. These companies realize the potential of a growing global middle class and the end of carrier subsidies that create huge growth in world markets.

Cheaper smartphones have been around for awhile but they were always associated with weak processors, small screens, and crappy software. Most consumers don't care about specifications anymore. The focus has shifted towards the price point.

In both developed and developing economies, cheaper smartphone brands are becoming popular. Consumers buying their first smartphones today care less about the brand and more about price. The declining cost of making smartphones also implies that buyers get more bang for the buck.

The latest trend of low-priced, high-performance phones will hit companies like Apple and Samsung hard. As Internet enabled consumer electronics become affordable to consumers worldwide, it will force tech companies towards further innovation.

So expect a flurry of more high-quality, cheap smartphones with various screen sizes, colors, hardware and software configurations to enhance your mobile experience.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Living Out Of A Suitcase - And Not Minding It At All

#StartANewLife

I think of myself as a globetrotter, more specifically, a nomad. People are often surprised when they hear about my escapades but the truth is I love living out of a suitcase.

I've traveled across the length and breadth of India, and even though I enjoy meeting people everywhere I go, the thing that still fascinates me the most is how similar we are intrinsically.

In 1997, I left home for the first time to study engineering. Living away from family and relatives was tough initially but everything fell in place with support from new friends I made over the years.

I returned home in 2001 after graduating from college. Three years later, I received a lucrative job offer from Oracle and as luck would have it, I relocated from Gurgaon to Bangalore and got to witness the South Indian culture firsthand.

By this time, I had become a nonconformist who wanted to travel outside India and meet people from other nationalities.

In 2005, I was hired by Samsung to work for them in South Korea. I couldn't have asked for a better life experience. It felt like starting a new life in a country where everything was unique and scary sometimes, starting from their culture, language, food, and weather.

I learnt Korean within a year of moving to Korea. I also started to eat beef and pork, something I could've never imagined myself doing in my own country for several reasons that are better left unsaid. Fortunately, I made friends from all parts of the globe, since I worked for a truly global company that hired expats. What better way to know about other countries!

During my short stay in Korea, I practiced Buddhism, pursued hobbies like photography, karaoke, and blogging, watched end number of movies, sometimes in languages other than English and Hindi. 

I did a temple stay, traveled to folk villages, went for musicals and percussion performances, and even met some famous K-Pop celebrities.

The best part was I came to Korea as a bachelor, and left the country in 2012 (that's seven long years) with my wife, son, two dogs, and endless memories to choose from.

Not a day passes when I don't remember Korea, and get teary-eyed thinking about what legacy I've left behind.

Never ever in my effing life had I imagined that I'd go to an alien land and start calling that place my own. But then I never stopped believing in the power of dreams.

And you shouldn't as well.

A part of me is so Korean now. Actually, a part of me was always Korean and it took me awhile to realize. That's the real beauty of travel, no?


Friday, March 06, 2015

My Indestructible Soul

I started my career as an IT writer for a small dot com firm in 2001, around the same time when global recession had reared its ugly head, causing slowdown and havoc in the Indian IT industry.

Many corporates in India were letting go of people as part of their restructuring programs. Firing employees was suddenly the new buzzword.

As luck would have it, I also lost my job within five months of joining the industry. Finding another IT job at that point in time was next to impossible. No one was willing to hire a fresh graduate.

Frustrated with my work situation back then, I took up a call center agent role at a leading BPO nearby. I didn't last there long, since working in night shifts wasn't clearly my thing. 

Nothing went right, despite me being good in academics and communication. Despite me having grit and determination to succeed. Despite everything.

Around the same time, all my friends alienated me. My family too couldn't understand the meaning of the term "recession". Since they'd spent a fortune on my education, they expected some kind of payback.

But that wasn't going to happen anytime soon. 

I remained jobless from May 2002 to October 2002. Technically, I was still working (read "fooling around") at a BPO or at an airport (as a mystery agent) but none of that would count as experience per se.

There I was, broken and lost, confined within the four corners of my house. Unsure of what to do, where to go, and whom to call.

I kept applying nonstop but no one wanted to hire me. It felt like the end of the road for me. I considered myself a liability and allowed negative feelings to creep in because I had no support structure. People I called my own were turning their backs toward me.

Then something miraculous happened.

I heard my inner self talk to me, reminding me of a young little boy who challenged set paradigms from the outset, who suffered the ignominy of abuse early on but stood tall to withstand every test of time.

That someone was none other than yours truly. 

I had to believe and invest in myself yet again - even if that meant being misconstrued as "selfish". Rebuilding yourself, your esteem, is sometimes a slow and arduous task, but it is worth the effort.

That very moment I pledged to get up and promised not to get knocked down ever by life again.

They called me a loser but now they praise me; the same Rahul who eventually worked for some of the best tech companies in the world like Samsung (in Korea) and Oracle, traveled to ten countries for both leisure and work, lived abroad for seven years, and got to study in one of the most premier business school of our country, the IIM.

An eternal optimist like me will never tell you to give up. Anything is possible if you stay true and believe in yourself!