Saturday, March 28, 2015

Modiji ke saath: An E-governance App to Achieve #DigitalIndia Vision

The present government, especially our prime minister Modiji, has been a pioneer at leveraging the advantage of technology to reach out to masses. Be it the use of Facebook or Twitter, or through the medium of radio. I feel with Intel's technical support of the Digital India Vision, the government can bring in a massive change in the way the junta communicates with the government. 

E-governance is the future, and with the mobile and 3g penetration increasing with every passing day, the government at the center could be made very accessible to every smartphone located in each nook and corner of the country. With companies launching cheaper and cheaper smartphones (as low as 4k rupees), the exclusivity of smartphone users no more exists and now everybody can adopt the digital lifestyle that the current government champions. In this regard, I have an idea of an app that could allow everyone in the country to reach out to the PMO, and register their questions and concerns.

Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is an inspirational figure for the masses, a leader who believes in actions, and if he decides to connect on a one-to-one basis through the medium of a video-based mobile app, nothing could be better and more empowering for India's citizens. I am an IIT graduate and I have been toying with this app idea along with a couple of my friends, which could be utilized by the PMO very well to interact with the citizens on a personal level. 

Tentatively named, Modiji ke saath, it's an app that combines Modiji's Vichaar, Charcha and Kaarya on mobile platform and makes them accessible and interactive with the masses residing anywhere in the country. 

1. Vichaar: Showing all the facebook, twitter, news and mann ki baat content, real time.

2. Charcha: People can ask questions and upvote on popular ones. Modiji answers 1 most popular question a day in a video selfie, taking the name of the person who has asked the question.

3. Kaarya: Here, for instance, if someone goes to Jandhan Yojna, they see a video about it, take a pledge to support it and share their experience about a) how they plan to contribute or b) how their life has been changed by it

The beauty of this app are as follows: 
  • it could be used by anyone, in a customisable language and could also be accessible via the computer. 
  • Even in villages, through the Panchayat, it could be rolled out and during every gram-sabha, janata can put out its questions to the PM. 
  • Modiji will be able to address the concerns of the aam aadmi from his office itself, but the personal connect will be far deeper 
  • Allow participatory democracy and e-governance to reach its maximum potential. 
  • It will empower each and every citizen, for s/he would be having the Prime Minister a mobile app away 
  • It could help the government design better policies based on the ground realities.
Essentially, digitization is the future of governance, an app such as Modiji ke Saath can bring the future nearer. 

Let's steer towards a #DigitalIndia with the help of Intel.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Together: A Love Story

Written for, which wanted the story of my most memorable day

Late July 2014
New Delhi

"That was the most special thing you've ever said to me." I said.

"What was so special about it? I just said that I trust you blindly - how could that be counted as special? Are you so elated because you're being trusted for the first time?" She said, continuing the conversation.

"The sheer fact that 'you' are telling me this means so much to me. I can't express the pleasure I received on hearing that!"
"See, I am not that bad. I am rather good at flattery!"
"But you're much better at being mean."
"I know. It's my forte. Let me ask you something - do you trust me?" She asked genuinely.
"Hell yeah! I trust your flattery, one hundred percent. After all that is what makes me feel special."
"Oh poor baby! You know what, you're gifted at seeking sympathy. It's your forte. That's why I like you, that's why I trust you and that's why I love you." She said.

I was bewildered. The ease with which she said the last three words gave me a series of goosebumps. I just could not believe that. We had been more of phone friends - having met just thrice - once during my college fest and on other occasions in common birthday parties(she being my friend's friend). I already had got some feelings for her by then but it was unclear from her side (until then). And now, she was hinting me that the story was on from the other side too.

"What? What did you say just now? Did you mean it or was it just a part of flattery?"
"What? I meant whatever I said." She said.
"You mean ... you mean you love me?"
"Yeah! I love you ... as a very good friend of mine!"

Now what was that? Another flattery? Or another gimmick? I hated her for sure!

"I joked earlier that you are mean, but now I mean it. I mean it that you're mean ... the meanest person I know!" I said irritably.
"What is this, Silly? You'll get angry if things don't go according to your wishes. I told ya that I love you, isn't that sufficient in itself to make you happy? Why are you bombarding me with yet another bag full of tantrums - sympathy seeking tantrums! By the way, you sound adorable when you're irritated!"

"Stop kidding! Things are pretty much serious. Now things have gone down this track, let me tell something to you. You mean to me - mean to me in a very special way rather than just being my friend. I want to give you each and every happiness of this world. I want to be there with you always - in times when you need somebody by your side or in time when you're getting bored."

"You contradicted your own statement, Silly. I won't need you when I am getting bored because I am dead sure you'll be the one who would be making me bored."

"You take everything as a joke. Why can't you see my evident love for you? I want to be yours forever - I want to be your guy - Just tell me, will you let me enter your life as someone who's more than just a friend?"

"Yeah, as a friend and a sweeper! I need to save some money. A sweeper friend would save a hell lot of money!"
"Stop fooling around. Answer me or I'll cut the phone." I rebuked.
"I know you would not cut the phone, Silly. If you would, then how will you hear my answer?"

I was agitated. This girl is going to blow my brain off my skull!

"Don't irritate me more. Just tell me what do you want?" I asked, frustrated.
"I want to leave it upon God."

Oh God! From where the hell did He come up? If I had been given an AK 47, I would have searched and shot dead each and every God present on this Earth!

"Wow, what a sick choice! Leave it upon God, damn! The day you are old enough to die, he'll come to meet you and tell you that you should say a 'yes' to my proposal. And then come with all the band-baaja of your ghost-friends to marry this wrinkled guy!"

"Wrinkled but still handsome!" She joked, once again.
"Oh thanks, the Queen of Flattery-kingdom. What more could I do for you, your Majesty?"
"Wait for tomorrow. If it rains tomorrow, I'm going to say a yes."

What the hell was that?

"What the hell is that? It's late July and haven't you seen the searing sun? There is no probability that it rains. It's being unfair to me."
"If God has a positive answer for me, then it will rain."

I was not sure whether God had a positive answer for her or not but I was totally sure that whatever be the case, God would have a negative answer for me. It had always been like that. Nothing had ever come to me just by chance.

"You're impossible." I said and hung up the phone. She didn't call me back. Nor did I. We both waited silently for the next day. The next day tested too much of my patience by taking more than the usual time to come.

I slept late being lost in thoughts - thoughts about her and then the thoughts about 'us' - with my bed being just adjacent to the window. The thoughts overladen with skepticism about the next day had overburdened my mind and it wanted rest. Sleep took over - it was a deep sleep.

Drops of water slapped hard on my eyelids. The tired and glued eyelids experienced a magical curtain raising. My deep sleep had been evil-eyed, evil-eyed for bliss of a lifetime. The morning sun forgot to show the early-risers its majestic face. Clouds danced in the rain - yes rain! It was the best morning of my life.

I picked up my phone and straightaway called her. She was sleeping - unaware of the summer rain.

"Hey, your God answered and answered for me too! First tell me, where is my 'yes'?" I charged.
"Your 'yes' is still with me and I am too selfish to give it to you." She said, with her voice seeming drunk.
"But why?" I pleaded.
"God can't be so direct. It is just by chance that it rained, my belief has not yet been enforced. If it rains again tomorrow, I'll say a yes. Promise!"
"What? What the hell? What is this? You are being mean! You don't need to prove your forte again and again."
"Practice makes a woman more perfect." She must have winked after her statement. I could almost see it through the phone.

"You know what, your jokes don't seem funny at all. You are one hell of a confused girl and of course, you're 'the' meanest person I know. Let me tell you aloud that I hate you." I said and disconnected the call.

I was feeling a bit guilty for being so rude to her. A minute later, her SMS dissolved all my guilt. She wrote, "Smile. That's the second best thing you can do with your lips. And stop fantasizing about the first thing, Silly!"

I did smile and messaged her back a smiley simultaneously. We shared no words that day.

At night she did call. I hung up saying, "Let us talk tomorrow only, if anything happens then."

"Not anything Silly, 'something'!" She managed to squeeze her sentence before I cut the phone.

I slept at my regular time and this time thoughts played hide and seek with my blank mind, ultimately giving a path to dreams to play an emotional movie inside my head. This time I didn't wait eagerly for the next day to arrive, thus giving it ample time to arrive on its own. Surprisingly, it indeed arrived quite early.

The next morning, the Sun was back at its original duty with its full radiance mode on. The aura seemed to be telling me, "The clouds have been shunned off completely. Now your life is going to be darkened with light."

I just watched and watched and then looked at my watch. It was college time. Busy Saturday it was. I could not notice how the dusk merged with the effulgent morning and brought an end to the day of my glory. It was already dark with night's shadow encapsulating the whole of the surroundings in its funny darkness. I don't know why it seemed funny to me. We had not shared a word that day until then.

Free from work, a bit anxious to ask her to reconsider the last morning rain as God's answer, I looked at my phone intently. It showed nothing but blankness - much the same as the condition of my mind at that time. But suddenly, the blankness was replaced by a phrase called 'She calling!' flashing intermittently on the screen.

"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! A million times. That's the God's answer." She yelled, her voice reached the epitome of excitement.

"Did it rain today?" I asked with my heart lost in thinking something that I could not trace. I was not anxious, that's all what I could feel that time.

"Yes, yes, yes; it has been raining here for the last two minutes. It's been raining elephants and hippos here." She said jubilantly. She was very happy.

Why wasn't I as elated as she was? Even her witty description of rain could not bring more than a stingy smile on my face. I looked up at the dark night sky. A huge rain-drop struck my spectacles with a great force and scattered all throughout. Soon followed more drops, some of which originated in my eyes, but the dark sky had enough resources to liquidate my tears. It rained. The clouds were just two minutes late, I was angry at them that they pleased the lady first, while I was waiting for them like never before.

"Some hippos have come here too." I said, still struggling to gather myself together.
"They have found their lost brother in you."
"Come on, my face is not like them. It's more like you rather." I said, trying to outshine her wit.
"Yeah, so I should say I've found my lost brother in you!"
"You always make me lose when I am winning."
"You never are." She said.

"Listen to me. I've to tell you something." I said. I was not feeling the same way I thought I would feel.
"What more? My stomach is full - with happiness and joy!"
"Give it a break. Now, it's not a yes from me." I said in a contemplative tone.
"Oh my God, yet another tantrum! Listen Silly, you don't act smart! Leave that bit to me."

"I am serious. If it rains tomorrow, then I'll say a yes. I need to convince myself whether it really works or not." I was damn serious. I don't know what made me say that but I stuck upon it, I meant it. One hundred percent.

"We'll talk tomorrow then. Tomorrow never 'lies'!" She said, a bit serious, though still I could guess that she would have winked for at least once. She loved being a one-eyed queen. Hell of a cute girl, she was. And I was in love with her. As was she with me.

The tomorrow came, not so suddenly and not too slowly even, at its perfect God-Made boring pace. I wanted to meet her. I called her.

"Hey, It's a Sunday."
"Thanks for making me realize that today you're going to stink." She said, poking me about my habit of not taking baths on weekends.
"I want to meet you and I've already taken a bath."
"Well, that's a surprise."
"What? Want to meet you or taken a bath?"
"First tell me whether this 'taking a bath' means bathing in perfumes or a proper bath." She said.
"Oh, so the 'I want to meet you' thing is not a surprise for you."
"Of course not. It's our day after all."
"How can you be so sure?" I asked, being struck by her optimism.
"In the same way you always remain unsure, Silly."

I already had a proper bath and I bathed in perfumes too. Having two baths a day does make you feel confident. 

I went to meet her. The clouds flew out of my mind. I was thinking about her. Only her. This was the first time she was going to meet me all alone. I reached her place - a five-storeyed PG. She lived on the third floor, her window faced the road. I looked up at the window. The bright sunlight made it impossible for me to see anything discernible. I called her. She didn't pickup the phone. Her SMS came. It said, "Silly, you look sillier when you look up with your monkey-like face trying to fight the sunlight!"

I smiled. I looked up again, trying not to make my face look like a monkey, rather just like a simple moron - as it was. She was standing there at her window and suddenly, her hand extended out of the window and dropped a jug full of water over my 'moron'-ish face.

Another SMS came, "Silly, here is your rain. Are you now fully convinced that it really works?"

I replied with a smile, "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! A million times."

She smiled back upon reading my message. She asked for five minutes which I happily gave her and I went to the other side of the road, standing there to wait for her.

She came with her little-bit wet eyes which were saying much more than her heart and jumped on me giving me the tightest hug ever.
"I love you." I managed to whine.
"I love you two, three, four, five, six ...." She squeaked, quite merrily.
"I love you a zillion times!" I said since I didn't want any competition in my love for her.
"I win!" She said and winked in the same way as I always used to imagine her on the phone.

I was lost in her, until something kissed my cheek. It was a wet kiss. That of the rain. The rain indeed arrived!

Written for, which wanted the story of my most memorable day

Friday, March 6, 2015

Meet my Suri!

I have a baby at home. His name is Suryakant, and we call him Suri. Suri is seven months old, and is a healthy and chubby baby. Suri is my elder brother’s first child. Right from the first day, Suri has been a fun child. He immediately befriended our pet dog Biskut. Biskut loves licking Suri’s feet, and it tickles Suri so much that he goes rolling on the floor, giggling, laughing boisterously.

Suri likes watching TV. He sits next to his father every night and stares unblinkingly at the news that his father watches: at Arnab Goswami shouting at the top of his voice, at Rajdeep Sardesai coaxing the panelist to let each other speak, at Barkha Dutt cutting people midway. At times, when he has been watching a channel for a long time, if you switch the channel next, Suri gets annoyed and starts wailing. He doesn’t stop until you get the channel back. Stubborn child, he is.

Suri, being the child that he is, obviously has to undergo toilet training. While he sits on the potty chair that grandfather gifted to him every morning for twenty minutes, crunching up his face until he’s done with the business, the thing that troubles him the most is his incontinent and leaky bladder. Initially, the sofas of our drawing room was always wet, as Suri would pee the moment the background music turned towards the bass note, or Arnab would scream. Suri would sit in man-made puddle and flap his hands until all his fingers would be pruned, and he started shivering because of the cold. We didn’t use diapers. Elder brother and Bhabhi are slightly conservative, he wouldn’t like these corporatized products, and preferred making those triangles out of clothes, to tie them around Suri’s leaky bottom. Why to waste money for gharelu use, was his logic? Constant wetting gave Suri rashes on his bottom and from being a fun, giggly kid, he became a vexed kid who would keep wailing on every little thing.

It was during one of those TV sessions with Bhai came across the ad of Pampers and we thought of giving it a try. While there may be many things that Suri enjoyed doing, a full tummy and a dry diaper was probably what was needed to keep him happy. We ordered it! Within a week, Suri was back to his playful self. Not only did he watch TV and play with biscuit, he also started jumping on our mattress bed with his guarded bottom. You should see his smile every time Bhabhi makes him wear a new diaper. While most diapers only focus on being leak proof and ensure dryness on the outside, the new Pampers Baby Dry Pants promised dryness for Suri on the inside. Its Magic Gel locked in moisture so that Suri’s skin remains dry and healthy for up to 12 hours. At two diapers a day, Suri is happy and dry, while Bhaiya and Bhabhi are happy and grateful that their wallet is not too burdened.

Read more about Pampers here: 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Two drops of tears

It was the Parents Teacher meeting of my class 12th, and as always my Dad was accompanying me. With me always being one amongst the top three rankers of my class since the late childhood, my Dad had got used to praises from the teacher during such meetings, which was quite gratifying experience for me as well as my Dad. But that time, the case had been pretty different. I had performed dismally in almost all the subjects except Maths, and my class rank had crawled down to stand amongst the bottom fews.

Those days, the mighty preparation for JEE with numerous everyday assignments and test-papers left me completely enervated to concentrate on the school studies and thus, the result was more or less expected. But, I feared that my Dad would feel bad about it and might scold me, since he didn't know how much pressure the studies for JEE had on me. As we entered the class-room, my class-teacher immediately stood up from her chair and with a worried look on her face, approached my father.

'Mr.Pathak, your son is going nowhere. See the decline,' she said, pointing at the dismal marks in different subjects, 'the highest is 99 out of 100 in Chemistry and Harsh has got just 67. His rank has slid down to 24th, from 2nd in 11th class. This is not what we expect from him. He's certainly not studying. He's lost his spark.'

My Dad looked at me with a serious face. I was expecting a reprimand, a reproach echoing my teacher's words, to hit my ears.

'Madam, don't you worry about Harsh. He's working hard, I can assure you. He will do better the next time. And mind it, he has not lost his spark. It's right there.' My Dad said with a reassuring smile as his palm caressed my head softly.

The teacher was dumbstruck. She had nothing more to say. Handing over the report card, she moved back to her chair and greeted other parents. My Dad put his arms around my shoulder and asked, as he always used to do when I secured a rank, in a delighted tone, 'So, which ice-cream do you want to have - butterscotch or chocolate chips?'

I looked into his eyes, smiled and blinked. I had butterscotch, with two drops of tears, thereafter.

One year later, I topped the boards as well as cleared the JEE. That time, he had butterscotch, with two drops of tears.

Written for Indiblogger's Happy Hours conducted for's new lookup. Check it here: