Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The Razor Sharp connection .. from worthy warriors to worthy wordsmiths

Thanks to my love for reading, I have read about many men, in my life.  

And, thanks to this #WillYouShave activity, recently reflected & inferred a razor sharp connection .. between many illustrious men .. be they warriors or wordsmiths.

To start with, did you know that Scandinavian men who lived 3,000 years ago were buried with bronze straight-edged razors?  Many men were buried with shaving kits in the early Bronze Age. Razors and tweezers made of bronze have been found on Denmark’s Funen (Fyn) Island:


Image Courtesy.  Original Courtesy: National Museum of Denmark

Egyptian men embraced shaving with gusto at the start of the Dynastic Period. During this time, hair became seen as a symbol of man’s animalistic tendencies. Thus to put off the primal man and become civilized, Egyptian men began removing all the hair from their heads, faces, and even bodies. Wealthy Egyptian men often hired full-time barbers to live with them in order to maintain their smooth as a baby’s behind look every day. Less affluent Egyptians would frequent the local barber to have their faces and heads shaved daily. To appear unshaven became a mark of low social status.  Hair removal was so important to Ancient Egyptians that kings would have their barbers shave them with sanctified, jewel-encrusted razors. When a king died, he was often buried with a barber and his trusty razor, so he could continue to get his daily shaves in the afterlife.
The Ancient Romans were clean-shaven folk. A young man’s first shave was an important event in his life and was ritualized in an elaborate religious ceremony.
Some ancient Hindu sects practiced a first shave ritual similar to the ancient Romans. According to the Grihya Sutra, a collection of ritual texts that outlined the rites a Hindu was to perform in his home, a boy was to receive his first shave when he turned sixteen. Known as the Godanakaruman, this ceremonial first shave was performed by a local barber.
That's a diverse set of worthy warriors from the ancient past.  
Where are the wordsmiths, you ask?
The twain shall meet here: Mark Twain, the author of "the Great American novel", in 'Innocents Abroad', writes on his cherished fantasies of opulent old world shaving palaces and the reality of the experience. Here is an excerpt:

While in France:

Then we hunted for a barber-shop. From earliest infancy it had been a cherished ambition of mine to be shaved some day in a palatial barber-shop in Paris. I wished to recline at full length in a cushioned invalid chair, with pictures about me and sumptuous furniture; with frescoed walls and gilded arches above me and vistas of Corinthian columns stretching far before me; with perfumes of Araby to intoxicate my senses and the slumbrous drone of distant noises to soothe me to sleep. At the end of an hour I would wake up regretfully and find my face as smooth and as soft as an infant's. Departing, I would lift my hands above that barber's head and say, "Heaven bless you, my son!".

As humankind progressed, I can - despite geography or history - see a razor sharp connection between the literary men in my life .. worthy warriors to winsome wordsmiths. 

I know the guys reading this post must be heaving a sigh of relief about the goodies Gillette brings you, instead of those bronze age scary equipment.




This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette



Cheers :)

Cleanliness is Godliness

Yeah, I know .. the saying goes, "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".

The earliest I learnt this is from THE man in my life, my Dad.  

Through life, slowly but surely, I understood, more through his actions than words ever .. that 'cleanliness, in mind, body (face included) & soul, indeed is Godliness'.

Read on .. unfolding right here, right now, my journey of understanding .. 

Dad's always been a man of discipline, values & clean principles .. come what may.  I have seen him in a very high pressure job, with a family to fend for .. and yet, fearlessly & ethically standing by what he valued as the 'right thing to do'.  Oh wait, I understood this much later in life .. almost past my teens and well into adulthood.

What first caught my attention about Dad being 'clean' is .. his face & that, through his aftershave :)

Dad being an avid Old Spice user, my earliest childhood morning memories are a tie between Mom's garden flowers wafting in their freshness & natural scent and Dad's aftershave lotion.

As a little girl, I was fascinated by his aftershave fragrance. Long before I inherited an allergic gene from Grandpa, during my puberty, that rendered me allergic to (strong) perfumes & fragrances, I used to meticulously observe Dad in the mornings. 

I must have been, like, eight or nine years old, when I asked Dad, unable to hold onto my curiosity anymore, "can I use that?". "That" was his aftershave lotion :-D

Dad, sure, was amused.  Mom was irritated!  But, Dad is a very good communicator & what he imparts .. he imparts indelibly .. for a lifetime.  

Dad then, over many discussions, shared with me what he called, "the art of shaving". To an eight year old girl child! I am Dad's son .. I am also his daughter.  That is how he raised me.  Long before I finally became a woman, I was an unforgettable tomboy!

An already fascinated me became privy to blade angles (yes, that is how sincere Dad is, with imparting any art or science, for that matter), razor attributes (he used to tell me, "this is the most important thing - not every advertised razor is good"), shaving frequency, how men should take care of their facial topography [Dad used to tell me how some develop "potholes" on their cheeks over a medium to long term - that is the language I understood then, so he went that way] and to my delight, how & which aftershave to select .. and to my disappointment, why exactly I can never use his aftershave .. very nearly.

Why "very nearly" you ask? Because, together, we found a way I could use his aftershave.  As I graduated to a two wheel cycle (a lovely bright red bicycle), Dad & I were regulars around Delhi's admirable park circuit. Every residential locality then had a healthy green park.  I struggled with my balancing initially & despite Dad running after me .. I had enough falls and bruises. Guess what Dad applied first onto my bruises? His aftershave .. he maintains, to this day, it is an antiseptic :)

This is how I first learnt the secret behind his well maintained clean face.  Dad is dark complexioned .. one could even classify him as rustic in looks.  His two winning features that have stood out .. since I was like two years old to this day .. his discipline and maintenance of his hair and his face.  I have never seen Dad shabby or with stubble.  Now a senior citizen, he still maintains a head full of hair - though lots sugar than pepper now and a clean face .. with no 'potholes' of course. To this day, his aftershave fascinates me.

That first lesson in cleanliness then extended to a lifetime of watching him weave cleanliness in not just body, but mind and soul.  Unwavering, indelible, unmatched.

At age ten, I once asked him, "don't you get bored that you have to shave? you don't seem to have an option not to?".  Dad retorted, "Does Mom get bored of weeding your favorite garden?".  Enough said.  What until then seemed a burden, at times, to me now seemed an exercise in enabling.  What's a garden full of weeds? What's a face full of hair?

Dad quite admired Cary Grant, someone he & his friends used to call the "God of Shaving".  Until today, I thought it was a title they lovingly conferred on Cary.  



Then, hit Google today, ahead of this post and discovered a shave blog actually titling a post on Cary, "God of Shaving".  Phew! Gals, and we thought only we run beauty and grooming blogs? 

As a grown up literature fan, I have read with interest Noah's story, "The Wart" where Noah is referred to as "Noah stood before a life size mirror and started shaving himself.  It was a sort of ritual he performed religiously every day. Shaving and bathing were preparations for prayer.  And prayer was a starter .."

Dear me, that applies so much to my Dad as well.

I learnt from Dad that "Cleanliness is indeed Godliness, by itself". Be it cleanliness of face & body, of thoughts & mind, or of values & soul.



This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette




Cheers :)

Even Supermen Shave!

Well groomed is well armed.  

Leading that armory .. for both ladies & gentlemen .. are hair & face.

For me, personally, a clean face (sans acne for ladies & sans stubble for the gentlemen) is an instant, healthy people connect.  Color doesn't matter.  Clean quotient does.

I never pondered if I am the only one who is thus predisposed.  And, how the larger world perceives this. What defines us & our personalities .. first & foremost? Are we all men & women or guys & gals of action alone? Are our impressions made long before we act or deliver results? And, are results a substituting or compensating effect for 'less than par' grooming standards?

Until I made this discovery in the run up to this post .. 

Lest you either think I am the only one or you think this is for ordinary mortals .. ah, ah .. hang on .. take a look at .. what I discovered ..

A bevy of, well, no, not beauties .... a bevy of Supermen .. take grooming very seriously .. and are caught shaving!

Utter "Supermen" and my top two favorites are, indeed, Batman & Spiderman. From childhood, they have always been men in my life .. first through comics & then through Hollywood movies.

Batman, quite simply, for making sure Gotham City doesn't become 'Go to them' city, preventing it from falling prey to evil. 

Spiderman, for poignantly & repeatedly, spinning home the truth that "Great Power comes with Great Responsibility".

If there ever is a feeling that only money & power matter, then, here are our supermen, out to dispel that .. they groom first .. deliver next.

I caught them shaving .. and, needless to say, was amazed.

Even more, I was quite amused to see how they shave; a picture, they say, is worth a thousand words, so partake your thousand right below:





Image Courtesy - Artist: DragonArte

These are, just to reinforce, "Supermen"!

I would think these supermen are beyond life's everyday foibles.  Their selves are what I would call, beyond selfies!

And if these supermen can, right before setting out each day to save our world, give grooming its due .. well, well, men on Earth .. that's some super message.

Grooming counts .. and I guess the smarter ones .. make it count for them.

Meanwhile, Gentlemen, never mind, what in my opinion, are the super messy ways of these supermen grooming themselves.  

You sure have smarter ways of shaving & grooming.  Thanks to Gillette.



So, what are you waiting for? Go, grab your armor.  Get well armed.


This post is a part of #WillYouShave activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette



Cheers :) 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Let's Undo Classroom Hunger in India

Belonging to a truly "Tech(ie)" generation, I call myself a member of the "Undo" generation.  Unabashedly.  I am sure many or most of us do.

We are used to the ability to undo anything. Pretty much. Within the precincts of our privileged tech & online world. 

But, alas, how I wish we had the power to undo a whole lot, outside the online world. In the offline world.  Every experience in the offline world increasingly brings to my mind, our utter helplessness and inability to undo a whole range of ills plaguing our society and humankind, in general.

Chief among them - childhood hunger and educational deprivation because of that. One of the cruelest ways in which life can manifest.

Life - even for those raised in protective families, given more than average food, clothing, shelter, emotional security, education & protection - is far too tough these days. I can say that emphatically from my own limited but intense experience.  Leaves me aghast at life's depravity. 

How would life be, if we were, say 8 or 12 years old & have to either miss education because we can't afford it or because we have to find livelihood & food for the family? 

Sure, the Government of India (irrespective of which political party has been / is in power) has introduced schemes extending education to children without the access and means.  

But, as someone with keen interest in gardening, I can tell you - no matter how much shade & soil you give to plants - its the water & nutrition that you invest - that ultimately yield the sweetest fruits & the spectacular flowers.

For a child, the first brush of nutrition comes from food.  For anything we invest in a child to bear fruit, the child must be well satiated and well nourished. 

Therefore, to educate a child - we necessarily have to feed the child first.  This is where the various Government schemes around school meals as well as foundations such as Akshaya Patra Foundation deserve mention.  Each of these have made their own valuable contribution to a very vital social need.

To put this social need in perspective, let me quote some staggering statistics from The Wall Street Journal:

Number of malnourished people in India: 213 million 

Percentage of children under age 5 who are underweight: 48%

That latter number is striking because it extends to children not getting to school or dropping out of school; their families need them to find food first.

It is in this context & background that the Central (federal) and State Governments of India as well as non-profit foundations such as Akshaya Patra are concentrating on school meals - to not just avoid classroom hunger but to ensure the children are fit enough to receive education at its optimum.

Proof of the pudding lies in the eating, as they say.

I researched to find this International Growth Centre study.  The study begins by reminding us that undernourished children are more likely to have behavioural problems such as attention deficit, depression and aggression which in turn inhibit educational attainment.  I would add they go on to add to the Nation's crime statistics, eventually.  Such is the brutality of denial of basics.

The study finds practical proof that tackling classroom hunger by providing school meals results in improved attendance, fitness and concentration in school children - ultimately turning out better educational attainment.

This is good news.

Now, how do each of us - beneficiaries of a modern and tech India - participate in & give back to this cause?

Here is the first way in which I want to do it:

Nothing fancy.  I detest fancy announcements when it comes to social welfare. I prefer quiet, understated, focused, committed efforts at the individual and group level.

My thoughts:

1.  I would love for each of us to adopt one kid's (to start with) food and nutrition requirement for an year.  

2.  From a public school in our locality or closest home. 

3.  Just meet the parents and the school authorities and draw up a nutrition chart with the help of our family physician (or a nutritionist if you fancy).   

4.  Make no demands from either the child or the parents - except that she / he regularly attend school.  

5.  I would love to extend this a bit (life and means permitting) to food grains for the family.  Its cruel when families have to pull out performing students to find livelihood to augment family sustenance.

6.  Later, extension of medical subsidy would be great too.

The Government can play a crucial facilitator role in this - remember the infamous education cess we all pay as part of our Income Tax for a while now - its mandatory!  Ever cared to go through how much of it gets allocated where? I got lost.  I wish the Government will broad base this and encourage each of us to go local.  

Hope you find reason in what I hold forth.  Do let me know your suggestions for eliminating classroom hunger in India and the World. 

To start with, I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda.

Thank you BlogAdda for this opportunity - much appreciate & cherish your initiative. 

Cheers :) 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Zenfone – The ultimate game changer

Just a single invention from Asus manufacturing house can change the entire outlook towards current smartphones . Asus tries to ensure that a single look at their Zenfone will make you change your mind, and grab this option, as fast as possible. Available in 3 major series and within an affordable range, anyone can flaunt their style, with this single purchase.

Among so many varied inventions from Asus house, Zenfone is leading the chart, currently. With Truvivid technology, you can always enjoy the LCD module along with sensor glass. Available in attractive fashion-centric colors, the Zenfone from Asus, comprises of ceramic covers. The screen is known for its scratch resistant features, which can offer you with a smooth touch experience as well.




The touch response time of this fabulous phone from Asus is quite unbelievable. It will hardly take a few seconds of one's time to experience that it is indeed hard to believe, but cent percent true!

Moreover, you will love the anti-fingerprint coating, which is useful, even if you are wearing gloves. If you are looking for the best deals, available right now, log onto Flipkart.com and look for the recent deals on Asus’ Zenfone.

Performance is the main parameter that keeps the user glued to this phone. This phone comes with a multi-core processor, making it super-fast and a powerful device. 

The Zenfone YouTube video has more information:


Cheers :)

The Online Coupons Loot is well & truly ON!

Belonging to the online generation has its evolution, you see.

First, we came online to stay connected. Began with email & culminated in social media.

Slowly, we started to live online.

Then, we started to shop online.

For fashionistas, the evolution had a further, highly eventual, micro step, if you will - we lived to shop online!

Now, the latest evolutionary development, of course, is the online coupons / offers / deal discovery wave.  

I have loved every bit of it and have found significant benefit in the online coupons on offer.  

A recent entrant in the buoyant Indian online coupons arena is Zoutons.com.




Well, who doesn't like a good deal? We all do.  And, its free. I don't have to pay anything for any coupon. So, I plunged right into Zoutons.

Setting up an account for myself took exactly a minute - plain, simple & easy user interface registered me & emailed me my credentials.

I loved the 'Subscribe' option the site intuitively threw up even as I was barely onto the turf.  Subscribing with one's email will bring in all the coupon and deal info right onto our inbox.



What works well:

In my opinion, the following are a big thumbs up:

Wide categories:

The range of coupon categories on offer is impressive.



Frankly, I discovered more categories than Zoutons has listed above.  For example, being the jewellerista I am, as regular readers know, I naturally tend to mine great jewelry deals online.  So, I would love to see Jewelry being mentioned as a separate category because Zoutons does have a good spread currently:

Peora: Flat 12 percent off sitewide sale.



Clicking on "Get the (coupon) code" also nicely opened up the Peora site :)

Merely typing in "Jewel" in the home page search box brought up more delectable jewelry coupons / deal discovery:



I know Mom will love this one - its so 'different' and but for Zoutons, we would have completely not known this online site for Rudraksha (sacred for Hindus) & gemstones:




Popular & Latest Coupons:

The home page renders the online coupon hunt much user friendly with neat enumeration of the 'Popular' & the 'Latest' coupons.



Top Stores:

The horizontal menu bar on the home page gives one an option to access the 'Top Stores', i.e., the top online shops/stores/sites based on experiential user rating on Zoutons.



The top stores at the moment:


Top Banks:

This is a first I have seen for India.  Much appreciate this feature. 

Special offers / coupons by bank (for those of us with multiple credit and debit cards, this is a boon) nicely collated & summarized.  This will come particularly handy during festival gifting seasons like Diwali and Christmas.



Distinction between a Coupon and a Deal:

The site also nicely distinguishes between online coupons and online deals:



What can improve?

1.  I would love to see more categories, that actually exist, such as Jewelry, called out. 

2.  The FAQ (frequently asked and answered questions) is still work in progress and we await it being launched.

3.  I would love to see Zoutons more active on social media, especially twitter :) I mean, spread the good word a lot more. Because, at the moment, its the privileged ones like yours truly who are saving & having fun when the online coupons rain! With more word going out, a larger cross-section can benefit.

So, there we go .. jump onto the online coupon and deal discovery bandwagon .. there is nothing to lose & plenty much to gain. You can choose to start with, for example, Flipkart: 


You can find Zoutons on:




Hope you enjoyed reading about my experience with Zoutons. 

Cheers :)

Friday, 31 October 2014

Christmas & Holi arrived Quikr .. this Diwali.

Well, we truly are in the midst of an e-Com boom era. 

A headline like 'Buy 1, Get 2 free' is not outlandish in current times.

That said, have you ever seen or known one or more festivals come free with another festival?!

Have you ever celebrated three festivals in place of one? 

I just did!

I experienced a next level / new e-Com high this Diwali .. I set out to celebrate one festival, but consummated three festivals, all at the same time .. 

How did I do it? Read on ..

My tryst with Quikr.com:

Every fashionista loves a marketplace. Be it an offline mall or an online portal.

Because, a marketplace is full of goodies .. connecting the buyers & the sellers.

Being as hooked onto the virtual world as I am (I am actually wondering why on Earth its even called 'virtual' anymore - if there is anything real in our lives, I guess its our online trysts), its only natural that I take to online marketplaces like haute couture to high fashion. 

Shopping online for Diwali is much my kind of thing to do. 

Just in time for Diwali, BlogAdda and Quikr.com, together, came up with the 'Free Shopping Fiesta'.  

The proverbial horse may have to be taken to the water, but fashionistas never have to be taken to shop .. we live to shop and vice versa (yeah, breathing to live is passe).   

This Diwali, there began my tryst with Quikr & Christmas. Yes, Christmas! 

Quikr & BlogAdda (BlogAdda activities) had designs to play, what I call, 'Desi Santa' ('desi' is Hindi for 'indigenous') this Diwali and the fashionista in me just sewed it all up in utter delight.  That is how I consummated Christmas this Diwali. 

With a budget of Rs.5000, I hit Quikr  .. truly quicker .. at 4 Mbps speed, to be precise. 




That's the home screen of the Quikr mobile app.

I already had an account for myself (yes, I am far too much of a self-respecting online citizen to not have accounts with pretty much every worthy online property).  But, I had not done too much with my Quikr account, I confess.

It took me exactly a touch each to start the app on my smartphone and select my city, Chennai.  That matrix of choice (screenshot above) opened up quikr ..

App, app .. on the block .. what do i want in stock?

Diwali is synonymous with new apparel, chief among other festive indulgences. 

The 'Home and Lifestyle' menu was my prime interest (this is a 'Fashion & Lifestyle' blog, after all):

http://chennai.quikr.com/Home-Lifestyle/w413




So, the first stop had to be Clothing:

http://chennai.quikr.com/Clothing-Garments/w414

I browsed at the speed of desire .. as listings scrolled down quicker .. I took breaks, went about other chores and kept coming back to my phone and continued browsing as time permitted .. 

Quikr provides a nice 'shortlist' feature (a la wishlist) - can you see the yellow star at the top right of the above screenshot? That is the shortlist icon. So, i shortlisted my favorite listings. 

This one caught my attention the most from my shortlist - its a single listing; shown here as two successive screens from the mobile app on my smartphone:




I hit the 'call' button and Reshma (the seller) & I were connected quicker.

She offered to either bring me a selection of dress materials or she welcomed me to visit her. 

Now, the thing about a fashionista me .. never forsake the larger population for a sample.  

So, I visited her & am I glad or what :) 

She had fancy catalogues for me to browse first. 




I fell in love with this straight cut ethnic suit from the first catalogue:






First things first: being the incurable classicist I am (be it fashion or music), monochrome is hard to say no to.  That too, when it delectably combines with bright citrus hues. Regular readers may already know that, in addition to bright colors, I love sheer fabrics and can never say no to chiffon or georgette .. particularly in the Autumn-Winter season.  I grew up in Delhi which renders me naturally pro-embroidery. 

The other big thing this dress material & catalogue had going for me: its straight cut & its an incoming trend. Yes, straight cut suits / tops / kurtas are very much an incoming trend now whereas the good old flared Anarkali is, exactly that .. old .. an outgoing trend. [Quick fashion tip: stop buying those anarkalis .. unless you fancy wearing 'last season']. 



The entire catalogue was priced at Rs.1400 each.  I got a thorough 'dekho' (run through) of the entire dress material set and Reshma gave me a token discount; I paid Rs.1350 in cash and walked away with this neatly packed dress material: 




While I could have easily invested the rest of my budget right there .. with more dress material, I reminded myself of Mom's words: being a woman (as opposed to a girl) is attempting to go beyond apparel and jewelry! Could be household, could be gadgets .. whatever, but beyond apparel and jewelry! Yes, we can!

That makes Household the next stop:

http://chennai.quikr.com/Household/w424

I spotted a number of Tupperware listings under Household.

Tupperware is for all seasons.  If there ever was a reason needed to buy Tupperware, mine is - yes, you guessed it, colors! I love hues and colors. Brighter, the better.

There were umpteen number of listings for my city.  

I was surely looking beyond lunch boxes! This instantly had me interested:




A single listing, again. I have captured the slightly longer listing in two mobile app screenshots.

I called Viniitha.  This was one of the most enjoyable purchases I have ever made.  

Her listing is only for the Tupperware Eleganzia pitcher and two tumblers (at Rs.1250).

I was pretty clear I wanted a full set of four tumblers with the pitcher.  She said she would make arrangements for it to be delivered to me at home. She gently got me talking about what else interests me in Tupperware and she told me the newer, brighter products that had come in.

Sure enough, she drove to my residence the very next day with the full pitcher set and more - take a look at my entire haul from her:

Tupperware Eleganzia Pitcher and Tumblers set:



I love the play of aqua blue with a  hint of purple and the stylish contour. Nice sizes too, the pitcher is 1.6 L and the tumblers 200 ml each.

The pitcher cost Rs.750 & the four tumblers Rs.250 each.

Saying cheers the teetotaler way is going to be lot of fun .. and style.


Tupperware Clear Bowls:

Mom fell for these hues actually :)

The blue gets classified as a 'large' clear bowl at Rs.450 and the green as 'small' clear bowl at Rs.200.



Tupperware Jumbo & Rainbow Tumblers:

I had Tupperware tumblers before and loved carrying buttermilk and my favorite juices to office (yeah, i know, office pantries have juices; no, they don't have cranberry - gotcha).

But I now had this opportunity to refurbish my collection with brighter, newer additions and will I resist it? No! 

The Jumbo ones at the back at Rs.160 each and the Rainbow ones at the front at Rs.150 each.  Can hold 470 ml and 340 ml respectively.  


Tupperware 1 L Water Bottle:

This was a rather impulsive yet inspired choice.  Viniitha was just winding up as this caught my attention in her arsenal.  

I have since christened this my 'Quikr Quencher' .. love the purplish hue. Came at Rs.235.




Viniitha was thoroughly professional, insisting that I check each product, fasten and unfasten the lids, check the MRP on the packaging .. 

I was so impressed that she had her husband drive her down and explained so professionally. I purchased all of this at the catalogue price. I didn't want a discount.  See, the beauty about Quikr .. it can work wonders on many of the causes I am passionate about:

(a)  Empowering women and smaller / cottage businesses:  

No huge ad spends. Just straight access to willing and eager buyers.  Like me :) I wanted Viniitha to make her deserved share of profit. I didn't want a discount. 

(b)  Carbon footprint reduction:

Ever heard of the 100 mile club? I am an ardent believer.  See, if we all source at least a basic percentage of our needs within a short radius, closer home, we would save our planet a whole lot of packaging and transportation carbon footprint. 

I agree the products I bought from Viniitha still came to her from afar - but my satisfaction lies in that i ensured the 'last mile' (the journey to me) happened person to person and resulted in much lesser/shorter carbon footprint. 

I would love to buy apparel as well as handmade jewelry, jams, sauces, pickles, ground masala from smaller cottage businesses run by women closer home .. and connected thru Quikr. 

hmm.. back to the budget, total Tupperware haul cost Rs.3255/- 

I paid Rs.3255/- in cash.

Now, time to go back to the festival list .. remember, I celebrated Christmas and Holi with Diwali.  By now, you know the Christmas bit.

Here is the Holi story:

Diwali and Dhanteras are never complete without kitchenware - largely 'barthan' (Hindi for 'vessels').  Growing up in Delhi, its a fetish to buy a little something for the kitchen every Diwali & Dhanteras (the festivals fall within a day of each other).  Have fond memories of Karol Bagh visits with Mom to pick up kitchen newbies, when I used to be in school ;)

Guess what .. I had always bought 'metals' earlier.  So, there was only so much color to the Diwali festival on the kitchen front (what color can you have with brass, stainless steel or silverware?).

This time around, this was a hearty color flourish:

And, this is exactly how our kitchen and I celebrated Holi (festival of colors) this Diwali:



Those fresh flowers are from my Mom's garden :) And, that is my kitchen slab. 

A quick budget check left me with Rs.395/-

I went back to the 'Home & Lifestyle' menu on my Quikr mobile app. How best can I invest Rs.395? The operative word is 'invest' as against 'spend'. 

The purchase may be quicker .. but i wanted the benefits to endure longer. 

Coins & Stamps:

http://chennai.quikr.com/Coins-Stamps/w18222209951

I have been a numismatist since childhood. My collection of coins can loosely be called 'World Countries' :)

I have full sets of circulated and uncirculated coins for many, many world countries (do you have Venezuelan Bolivar? I do :)

hmm..

But, born in a culturally and historically rich India .. I haven't yet done justice to that aspect of India .. in my coin collection. And, what is Diwali and Dhanteras season without a purchase of coins? Yeah!

Here was a window of an opportunity. And, Rs.395/-

Quikr provides a truly quicker search option - the 'magnifying glass' icon on the home screen, at the top right.

Typed in 'ancient Indian coins' and landed on these three listings:

Listing 1:







Listing 2:





Listing 3:








Interestingly, all these listings pointed to the same seller, Ramesh.

Called him. Mobile phone was switched off.  

Sending an SMS would be a no brainer - the phone was switched off.

I was desperate. This listing was made by Ramesh just a day before - on Oct 28th. I so wanted these coins. So, I decided to use the 'Reply' feature offered by Quikr beneath each listing. It sends a private email message to the seller:



That is a screenshot of my 'Chats and Replies' menu with Ramesh.

This is where you can find that menu - click on the three lines to the left of the Quikr logo on the top left:



I have hidden my residential area and phone number on that message screenshot above, for the purposes of this blog post.

Ramesh promptly called me in an hour.  He said he had been travelling and phone had been switched off.  

Now, thus far, with Reshma (clothing), i went to her place.  With Viniitha (household), she came to my place.  

I now decided to try out an intermediary meeting place with Ramesh - we decided to meet at a cafe closer to my place the next day (Oct 30th, that is yesterday). 

Ramesh turned out to be a collector's delight. Passionate, erudite and responsible to the core. I had a tough time getting him to stop articulating :)

Here is what I got:

Warning: if you are not a coin aficionado, you may want to skip the next few paras. I write this for two reasons: for my love of the collection and most importantly, because Ramesh sent me links, instructed (yes, not requested) that I include all pertinent details and has asked for the link to this blog post ;) So, I am a tad afraid (its Halloween after all; ah, that's a fourth festival in my list!) he may refuse to sell me more coins if I don't do a stellar job :)

Tipu Sultan (1782-1799) AE Paisa, Patan, AM 1222:
Weight: 11.14 gm. 
Diameter: 23 mm 
Die axis: 12 o'clock
Caparisoned elephant walking right, Persian legend and AM date 1222 (=1793 CE) above
Persian legend stating mint Patan
Reference: KM 123.5


I got it for Rs.225. Its worth its weight in pure copper. LOVE this coin :) 

Mom sang "Haathi mera Saathi" (Elephant my Friend) and wanted it to be highlighted in the blog post!

Please note these are handmade coins (they did not have machine made coins then :)

RajaRaja Chola : 985 - 1014
Copper massa coins




DenominationOne massa
AlloyCopper
TypeStruck
Diameter18.0 mm
Thickness2.6 mm
Weight4.17 gms
ShapeRound
EdgePlain
DieAxis-30

On obverse Sphere with dot in left hand, spheres with dots,
On reverse Ra lot below Ja.


Paid Rs.75 each. 

2 Annas - George V - India - British:



CountryIndia - British 
Years1918-1936
Value2 Annas = 1/8 Rupee (1/8)
MetalCopper-nickel
Weight5.7 g
Diameter21 mm
Thickness1.5 mm
EngraverEdgar Bertram Mackennal (obverse)
ShapeQuadrangular
OrientationMedal alignment ↑↑

Obverse

Crowned bust of King George V, left
Lettering:
GEORGE V KING EMPEROR
19 18
·INDIA·

Reverse

Denomination within square, 2 annas in four languages outside
Lettering:
दो आना দুই মানা
2
ANNAS
రెండు అణాఒ


Ramesh was kind enough to bundle in this last coin for Rs.395/- in total (this last coin alone should have cost me Rs.150, but considering our mutual admiration for coins, he did give me a hefty discount to close the deal, in cash, for all four coins, at Rs.395/).

This is how these four prized coins are now queuing up to enter my already enviable collection:


That is my #ShopQuikr haul.  Hope you love it as much as I do :)

Quikr Synopsis:

Total budget: Rs.5000 [Clothing Rs.1350, Household Rs.3255, Coins Rs.395]

User Interface: Quikr Mobile App for Android [love it]

Number of categories purchased: 3 [Clothing, Household, Coins]

Number of Items purchased: 17 :)

Number of enduring seller relationships established: 3

Number of seller contact modes used: 2 [call, reply]

Number of delivery modes experimented: 3 [visit seller, seller comes home or sends product home, meet at an intermediate location]

Amount of fun: Unlimited :)

All items bought (except coins) are brand new items. Coins, by their very nature, are used and circulated in an earlier era. 

Caveat emptor:

Last, but not the least, here is a word of caution.

I am not writing a fairy tale post. I am chronicling a real experience. And, as part of this experience, I did reject two sellers (after I had made my pleasant purchases with Reshma and Viniitha, I had Rs.395 left; so, before I chanced upon Ramesh's listing, I tried a ceramic container seller and a coin seller). The ceramic container (sent home for delivery) was chipped and the lid did not fit. The coin was spurious (trained and seasoned coin collectors, like yours truly, can reasonably make out). 

The message: Let the Buyer Beware!

Quikr connects the seller and the buyer.  As a buyer, please be aware and evaluate the seller, the product and all parameters before parting with cash. 

Take receipts / invoices / email acknowledgement of cash payments.  Reshma and Viniitha gave me signed receipts on white paper; Ramesh sent me an email acknowledgement. 

I had three very committed, pleasant seller relationships and yet, I also experienced two sellers I was not happy with and hence rejected.  So, its for each of us, as a buyer to make the best of the marketplace for ourselves.

I chanced upon a great deal for home inverter battery on Quikr, during this activity and have shortlisted that for the next buy. 

No fikar, buy Quikr [fear not, buy quicker].

hmm..

That brings us to the end of this blog post .. of how I celebrated Christmas and Holi along with Diwali this year, thanks to BlogAdda and Quikr :)

Cheers :)


This post is a part of Quikr.com activity at BlogAdda.com.