Posted by: kushalashok | June 30, 2014

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Posted by: kushalashok | June 18, 2014

GOT LEH’D IN JUST 109 HOURS

Disclaimer: Such trips exhaust you enough to get mountain sickness and insomnia.

We all respect the fact that getting Leh’d is considered one of the most adventurous events of one’s life. While I do like long trips, this time I went for an excursion which was fast and rather super-fast during night hours.

I would like to thank Aamir Hussain for helping me by giving tips and sharing updates about road conditions, right till I lost my phone’s signal. :D

PFB a log of the most interesting 109 hours of my life:

12th June, 1600 hours  Left from Infosys Chandigarh with my Dad, Mom and wife in a Santro Xing – We got late as we were unable to get clutch plates from any of the authorized service centers in ChandigarhClutch Plate
12th June, 2330 hours  Reached Jammu – Looked for hotels but instead of staying in one, had dinner at bus stand and continued the journey.
13th June, 0600 hours  Reached Srinagar – Refilled the tank and went around the Dal Lake. (We were using LPG till Jammu)
Dal Lake
13th June, 0800 hours  Breakfast at river bank – Overpriced but delicious Paranthas.
River Bank
13th June, 1030 hours  Reached Sonamarg – Had Lunch – Trekked up the hill and rested under tall trees.
Sonamarg
13th June, 1400 hours  Left for Zojilla Pass – Got stuck in a jam for another 2 hours on the way due to land-slide – Had supper in Drass
Drass
13th June, 2200 hours  Reached Lamayuru. Finalized a hotel quickly as the house-keepers kept warning us that the electricity will be cut off in the next 15 minutes for the whole night – This was our first night stay in the last 30 hours.
Lamayuru
14th June, 0900 hours  Left for Leh after eating self-cooked noodles and soup – We were carrying a gas stove with utensils and enough grocery to survive an earth-quake for 5 days while having full meals.
Hills
14th June, 1130 hours  Reached Leh – Refueled – Had Lunch – Left for Pangong Lake
Leh
14th June, 1500 hours  Reached Chang La Pass – Took out the oxygen cylinders and started eating candies.
Chang La Pass
14th June, 1930 hours  Reached Upshi – Found night stay in a room with glass walls and bamboo roof – Drove back 14 km to the petrol pump for getting more fuel in containers.
Upshi
15th June, 0900 hours  Had breakfast – Packed more eatables after being warned about the terrain towards Manali – Left for Keylong.
Sarchu
15th June, 1500 hours  Stopped at Sarchu Check-post – Forced to stay in tents as the road was blocked till midnight – Had delicious Dal Chawal in a dining hall which was inside a white tent.
Tents
16th June, 0800 hours  Left for Manali – Said adios to Spanish mountain bikers – Got mesmerized by the BRO signs which are talked about in an article at DNA
BRO
16th June, 2000 hours  Reached Manali – Got stuck in jam for 2 hours – Continued after having dinner in Bunthar.
Rohtang Pass
17th June, 0130 hours  Went through a ditch – Tyre rim got damaged and passed out the air – Changed the tyre while leaving the lights on – Battery got drained and push-started the car.
17th June, 0500 hours  Reached Chandigarh – Left half the luggage inside the car – Took a bath and slept for 5 hours – Joined office at 11 AM – Saw signs of exclamation on my friend Harsh’s face who claimed that I can’t cover Leh-Manali road in less than 3 days.

Little Secret: I was only able to do it while changing the driver’s seat with my Dad for few hours.

I am glad to be able to conquer the top three scariest roads in Ladakh: Zojilla Pass , road to Chang-la top and Rohtang pass section. So the next time you feel like going on a trip, go get Leh’d.

Random clicks available at: Facebook
Read more car trip stories at: www.carconnect.in

Reference Links:

Posted by: kushalashok | June 15, 2014

MY BEAUTIFUL FIFA FOOD

I was following a strict diet last month and had to stop myself from eating candies or drinking popular beverages. But I got off my running schedule this month and as a result I have discarded my diet plans too.

Gone are the days of resistance and it is time to let my taste buds go wild. This sunday, I decided to eat some beautiful FIFA food which will not only kill my hunger but will also make me excited like a forest fire. Thus I looked up the recipe for a mouth-watering dish.

Guess what I started with? Greasing a square pan while the oven got pre-heated to 350F. Then I opened my newly bought butter case and melted 1/2 a cup of it into a bowl. After adding 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, I kept stirring while I enjoyed seeing it dissolve into the butter. Next in line was 1 cup sugar, which I was devoid of since a long time. Mixing this was literally adding water to my mouth.

Now to make sure that I still get some proteins, I used the last 2 eggs I had, by adding them to this mixture and stirring till they were combined well.

Then I opened the cupboard and took out some vanilla and added 2 teaspoons of it. This was followed by addition of 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

It was now time to fold it with chopped nuts, raisins and chocolate chips before spreading it in the greased pan which was then put inside the oven for 25 minutes.  In the meanwhile, I watched the FIFA world cup which made the time fly away.

When I executed the knife test, it came out with moist crumbs and told me that I have nailed it. I let it cool for a while and then cut it into squares for serving these brownies in a borosil plate.

The rest of the football match was accompanied with such a delicious serve, that even if my team was loosing, I was not getting disappointed.

brownie

P.S.: This post was written as a part of indiblogger contest for http://www.myborosil.com

Posted by: kushalashok | May 5, 2014

Logo design for Toastmasters Conference

Posted by: kushalashok | March 22, 2014

Flarry Harry Android Gaming Application Review

Image

Being an android user, I get to choose from a large pool of options when it comes to mobile gaming applications. While going through some new launches, I came across this game called Flarry Harry. Though The name of the game is itself a USP for it, there are various other things that make me play this game from time to time. This post is to state all those reasons and present to you the importance of simplicity.

1) It’s Easy!

In the virtual age of gaming, we are getting into more and more complex gaming scenarios, but if you look at the recent trends, people who are working in a multinational company, or those who are quite busy with their ongoing schedules, seldom take out time to play such challenging games. If they are supposed to go through some tutorials and brush up their skills before they could enjoy the game, the point of gaming for taking their time off gets destroyed. On the other hand, Flarry Harry is an android game that is easily understandable and is still quite inviting. All you have to do is tap your fingers timely and enjoy the journey crossing the hurdles one after the other.

2) It’s Small

The high-end games that we talked about in the last point can usually range anywhere in size from 50 MB to 4146MB, as other than the hosted app, they can also use 2 expansion files which are again limited to 2GB each. This makes the installation process quite cumbersome. Also, when you decide to uninstall the files, you have to get rid of all the temporary files and expansions as well. But when we talk about Flarry Harry, the application occupies a mere space of 3.1 MB on your phone. This in turn ensures that your phone’s performance will not get affected due to the installation as it is occupying very less memory.

3) It’s Free

The best thing about most of the popular android applications is that they are free and so is Flarry Harry. That is the reason, android users are so satisfied with the market as they always find an application that meets their requirements and gets installed for free. So unlike apple market, users don’t have to use their credit cards and a simple click of a button will get them what they want. In addition to this, web users can also browse through the applications at the Google Play Store and click on Install button if their phones have been configured with the same account as the one they are using for logging in online.

This game is one of a kind and will surely remain installed in my phone for a long time. I like to get involved with it when I get free time, whether it be standing in a queue, travelling far distances and sometimes even while attending unimportant calls; if you know what I mean ;). Kudos to the developer!

Get It Now

Posted by: kushalashok | March 10, 2014

Movie Review: Highway 2014

Highway Poster

I gave this movie a rating of 8/10, because it made me think about things that I once pondered upon but then forgot. In the daily rush of life, we often get so involved with our tasks that we forget what we were aiming at. There comes a point in the lives of most of us, when we are performing mundane tasks just for the sake of it. The best way to learn if this is true, is to sit alone and think; why are you doing this? What was your goal when you started? What all things have changed? Do you think what you are doing is not making you happy? Once you find these answers, you will know what you have to do next and more importantly, what you need to stop doing.

This movie is another form of such a philosophy. If you believe in free spirit, if you were once confident about your life’s aim, go watch this movie, and it will help you get back on the right track.

P.S.: Happiness is the answer!

More reviews at: http://www.imdb.com/user/ur23208665

Posted by: kushalashok | March 10, 2014

CHD Citi Center Video Branding by Lifeiscool Media

Video Branding for 10 Acres of Premium Retail Space CHD Citi Center at VIP Road Zirakpur by Lifeiscool Media.

At Lifeiscool Media we believe in creating unforgettable experiences for our clients. if you have a brand, we can take it out to the masses in the most creative ways possible.

Posted by: kushalashok | January 8, 2014

Defining Toastmasters with Infographics

I was preparing a sales pitch for introducing the idea of Toastmasters to my audience. That is when I decided that I shall use the most popular medium of conveying information these days, called infographics. I started off with a google search which took me to the list of tools at hongkiat.com. I first created an infographic by providing my Linkedin profile details to vizualize.me. After going through a few more options and watching some videos, I finally started working on easel.ly. This post has some of the infographics that I created with this online tool within an hour or so. I am planning to use them in my presentation about Toastmasters and will be looking forward to the audience’s response.

Transcript:

“Every day above ground is a good day.” But what makes that day better is something that you can decide. After working for more than 9 hours (on clock) you need something to make you feel better. Unless you are an Apple developer with a 7-figure salary, your job is not going to do that for you. Toastmasters international has given us an opportunity to do just that; to come out of our 6 by 6 cubicle and use our voice to communicate our thoughts. Yes, this cannot happen over a Virtual classroom session, and yes this does not need a 6 digit passcode. But the way we interact in this room is far more clear and meaningful than any of the conference calls that you have attended today. And we are not alone in this. We have more than 292,000 comrades spread over the globe. That is more than twice the population of our favorite holiday destination Shimla. There are about 14,350 clubs functioning now in 122 different countries. Today I am going to put many such facts in front of you and let you decide the definition of a Toastmaster.

Toastmasters map

So where did this all begin from? There must be someone who thought about this first. Do any of you know the name of that person? Yes. It was in 1924 when Mr. Ralph C. Smedley organized the first ever Toastmasters meeting in Santa Ana, California. It took him two years to open a second club in the same city but then it gained momentum and within a year, the federation of toastmasters clubs was established. With the number of clubs increasing, it became difficult to keep up similarity, to follow the same rules. Because no matter how well you communicate with a person, you can never create a carbon copy of your thoughts in his mind. That is when the first manual for Toastmasters clubs was introduced in 1928.

In 1930, Toastmasters International got incorporated and the newsletter was rolled out. Thus it was clear that clubs were being formed outside of United States. The first of which was chartered in British Columbia, Canada. With more and more clubs being chartered, in just 8 years the count reached a 100. Remember that when I refer to 8 years as ‘just’, I am talking about chartering 100 new clubs when the task of introducing the idea of Toastmasters was totally different from giving a power-point aided presentation. And with the advent of the 100th club, began the inter-club speech contest.

30 years went by, and Mr. Smedley continued serving this non-profit educational organization. Thus, in 1963 he was acclaimed with the Golden Gavel award. After 2 years, he died; but he left an idea; an idea that we all are celebrating here today; an idea that has changed thousands of lives. But did you know that Toastmasters clubs were only open to men? It was only in 1973 when women were welcomed as club members. And as I will show you with the help of my next graphic, this gender base got quite strong.

As with the timeline, technology was developing fast. In 2007, the toastmasters.org got completely redesigned. Though I am not very impressed with the present design either; I felt better when I learned that not only a twitter feed was launched, but also an e-learning platform was developed in the year 2009. Finally in the year 2011, a major step was taken which is most important for any brand’s development. A unique logo was designed and was propagated to all the clubs via various brand refresh techniques such as the video brand contest.

Toastmasters International Timeline

When I compared the member count to the population of Shimla, I was talking about a specific group of people. So definitely, we need to look at who these people are. In contrast with the fact that women started joining 50 years late, the average percentage of female members in a Toastmasters club is 52%.

It is often said, “Behind every successful man there is a woman”. But in this case, along with every successful man, there was a successful woman. This fact gets established when we look at the average annual income of toastmasters which ranges from 50,000 to 75,000 dollars. 30% of these members earn more than 100,000 dollars annually. And I assure you that I am not talking about billionaires like Dhirubhai Ambani or Subhash Chandra Goel who never attended any college. Most of these members have a Bachelor’s degree and 35% of them have completed their masters too. These masterminds are working at renowned corporates like Google, Apple, Sony and Disney.

Toastmasters member demographics

So what makes you a Toastmaster? I mean, who is a Toastmaster? What does this person do? I will take the help of this Venn diagram to explain. The three essential ingredients are confidence, voice modulation and content. To have an effective stage presence you need proper gestures that you can use while showcasing your acting skills. Your expressions play an important role in convincing your audience. You should try practicing in front of a mirror and learn when to change the pitch and tone of your voice. While such practice sessions help you remember the content, only with experience can you meet mastery. And as you gain confidence, the importance of the other factors starts reducing. For instance, if you don’t have this big pie of content ready. Just take part in the table-topics and try to speak impromptu. At the end of the day, this wish to speak is what makes a toastmaster.

About a Toastmaster

Reference: Wikipedia and toastmasters.org

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