Sound of Pollution

Pollution levels in Delhi have shot up once again. This happened last year, this year around Diwali and now again. It is difficult to breathe and there is a burning sensation in the eyes, nose and throat. Doctors have advised limiting physical activities and staying indoors.  Day before yesterday I was badly afflicted by the pollutants in the air. The sound of pollution is a recording of how I was afflicted by the pollutants in the air.

Smog over Yamuna
Smog over Yamuna

Schools have been shut down, construction activity has been halted and the odd-even scheme for vehicles is making its third return from 13-17 Nov.

Win Climb Every Mountain Contest

Climbing Mount Everest is not everyone’s cup of tea. The highest altitude I have been to is 13050 ft and that too by car. You guessed it. I am referring to Rohtang Pass. There are many brave hearts who have achieved the feet of climbing the highest mountaing, Mount Everest multiple times. As I write I am reminded of the song Climb Every Mountain from the movie The Sound of Music.

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5. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. The contest is open to citizens of India.
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5. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. The contest is open to citizens of India.
7. The contest will end on 23:30 PM, IST, on 14 Nov, 2017. Entries received after the cut-off time and date will not be considered.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are not received for whatever reason.
9. The contest may be cancelled due to unavoidable reasons.
10. The winner will be notified by email within 15 days of the closing date. If a winner cannot be contacted within 15 days his/her reward will be forfeited.
11. OKTATA.COM’s decision shall be final, and no correspondence shall be entertained.
12. The participant agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry.
13. All content submitted by you to OKTATA.COM may be published by OKTATA.COM and OKTATA.COM shall have no obligation to preserve, return, or otherwise make available to you or others any material.
14. OKTATA.COM may use, reproduce, edit, display, transmit, prepare derivative works of, modify, publish, and otherwise make use of the Submitted Content in any and all media, whether now known or hereinafter created—throughout the world and for any purpose—without compensation to you of any kind.
15. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM, you represent and warrant that the Content does not infringe any copyright, trademark, property rights, rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party and that you have the full and unrestricted right to transfer the Content to OKTATA.COM free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.
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One random winner who provides the correct answer shall receive a Gift Card worth Rs. 100/- of an online shopping portal. Should this not be possible an alternative gift of similar value will be provided. Refer to the Official Rules*

Overnight Transformation from Pop to Mom

Haal hi mein mujhe Pop to Mom banane ka avsar prapt hua. Meri patni kuch dinon ke liye videsh ja rahin thin. Aur ghar par bachon ki dekh baal ke liye maine daftar se chutti li. Daftar walon ko mera bada Thank You (chutti dene ke liye). Ab ghar par ye sab prashn uthne lage. Kitne din ke liye Mama ja rahin hain? Kab aayengi? Kahan-2 ja rahi hain? Aur ye sab pashn karne waale kaun? Nanhe balak. Kahin bhi jaane se pehle kuch rush to ho hi jaata hai. Last minute packing se kaise bhaag sakte hain. Smartphone aur ek spare smartphone. Camera kis phone ka accha hai? Battery life? Spare pocket camera? Charger rakh liya kya? Aur haan, universal travel adapter ko kaise bhool sakte hain.

Phir hum aaye ticket print, passport print, insurance print, ityadi par. Jab sab kuch double check ho gaya or spare prints separate bag ki bahari pocket mein rakh liye tab hum chale airport ke liye. Airport, yaani T3 hawaii adda. Wah! Kya zabardast hai. Dil khush ho jaata hai wahan jaa ke. Flight ke departure time se kaafi pehle hum T3 pahunch gaye. Gaadi ko parking mein nahing lagaya. Bus wahin bahar sadak se hi bye kar di. Aur ghar aa gaye. Kuch ghante baad patni ne phone per confirmatory message bhej diya-Boarded. Aur hum sab so gaye.
Agli subaha jab mein utha to MOM ban chuka tha.

Do bachche full time sambhalna koi choti baat nahin hoti. Unki dekh baal, khana-peena, holidays homework, screen time restrictions, khel kood, ghumna-phirna, choti-moti shopping, yaani ki sab kuch ek mom ko karna hota hai. Is sab ke beech mein apne liye samay nikal paana mushkil hota hai. Ek mom ko sirf tabhi samay milta hai jab bachche so rahe hote hain. Ya to unse pehle uth jaayen ya phir unke sone ke baad apne liye kuch samay nikaaliye.
n
Yahi ek mom kik life hai.

Rangoli Designs Contest

The week after Diwali feels slow and everyone is wondering about what to do. Join the Rangoli Designs Contest for 2017 and you may win a Gift Card worth Rs. 50*.

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4. Details are provided at http://oktata.com/rangoli-designs
5. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. The contest is open to citizens of India.
7. The contest will end on 23:30 PM, IST, on 31 Oct, 2017. Entries received after the cut-off time and date will not be considered.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are not received for whatever reason.
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15. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM, you represent and warrant that the Content does not infringe any copyright, trademark, property rights, rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party and that you have the full and unrestricted right to transfer the Content to OKTATA.COM free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.
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• Participants should send a photo of their Diwali Rangoli Design of 2017 to oktatacontests@gmail.com with the subject line Rangoli Designs Contest
• The best judged Rangoli Design will receive a Gift Card worth Rs. 50/- of an online shopping portal. Should this not be possible an alternative gift of similar value will be provided.
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2. There is no entry fee to enter this competition.
3. By entering this competition an entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.
4. Contestants must be 18 years of age or older.
4. Details are provided at http://oktata.com/rangoli-designs
5. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. The contest is open to citizens of India.
7. The contest will end on 23:30 PM, IST, on 31 Oct, 2017. Entries received after the cut-off time and date will not be considered.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are not received for whatever reason.
9. The contest may be cancelled due to unavoidable reasons.
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15. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM, you represent and warrant that the Content does not infringe any copyright, trademark, property rights, rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party and that you have the full and unrestricted right to transfer the Content to OKTATA.COM free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.
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You would have designed a beautiful Rangoli in your home and surely must have shared the photograph of your rangoli design with family and friends already!

Every year people in India decorate their homes with colourful Rangoli designs on Diwali. It is artwork on the floor of the verandah, courtyard or the living room using materials like rice, flour, flower petals or powdered colours. It is creative and fun filled. Everyone is careful not to step on it. The multitude of rangoli designs is mind-boggling.

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Ban on Firecrackers in Delhi

The Supreme Court of India has imposed a ban on the sale of Firecrackers in Delhi this Diwali. Every year there is a spike in the pollution levels in Delhi NCR in the winters. Last year a record was created after Diwali when the pollution levels soared so high that the pollution measuring devices couldn’t record the measurements any more. No doubt there are many contributing factors to the high pollution levels in the capital. But, the spike on Diwali is definitely due to the fumes from the firecrackers.

Schools have encouraged children and parents to stay away from firecrackers. Since there is no availability of firecrackers in the market and no child is able to buy any. Thus children don’t feel left out because their neighbours and friends are also not bursting any firecrackers.

This opens up several options. What will people and children do instead of bursting firecrackers? Well, they could spend more time having a nice chat with each other. Or, they could build something together. Maybe start a project this Diwali with an achievement timeline of next Diwali. Think of celebrating a Digital Diwali with amazing holograms by each RWA. The list can be very long.

I invite your comments. Click Join Contest and Leave a Comment by completing the specified sentence. One random winner will win an Online Shopping Gift Voucher for Rs. 50*

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• If required please write to oktatacontests@gmail.com
• One random winner will receive a Gift Card worth Rs. 50/- of an online shopping portal. Should this not be possible an alternative gift of similar value will be provided.
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2. There is no entry fee to enter this competition.
3. By entering this competition an entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.
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4. Details are provided at http://oktata.com/ban-on-firecrackers-in-delhi
5. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. The contest is open to citizens of India.
7. The contest will end on 23:30 PM, IST, on 19 Oct, 2017. Entries received after the cut-off time and date will not be considered.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are not received for whatever reason.
9. The contest may be cancelled due to unavoidable reasons.
10. The winner will be notified by email within 15 days of the closing date. If a winner cannot be contacted within 15 days his/her reward will be forfeited.
11. OKTATA.COM’s decision shall be final and no correspondence shall be entertained.
12. The participant agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry.
13. All content submitted by you to OKTATA.COM may be published by OKTATA.COM and OKTATA.COM shall have no obligation to preserve, return, or otherwise make available to you or others any material.
14. OKTATA.COM may use, reproduce, edit, display, transmit, prepare derivative works of, modify, publish, and otherwise make use of the Submitted Content in any and all media, whether now known or hereinafter created—throughout the world and for any purpose—without compensation to you of any kind.
15. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM, you represent and warrant that the Content does not infringe any copyright, trademark, property rights, rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party and that you have the full and unrestricted right to transfer the Content to OKTATA.COM free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.
16. You acknowledge and agree that OKTATA.COM shall have no obligation to post, display, or otherwise make publicly available any Content submitted by you.
17. You acknowledge and agree that Content submitted by you may be made available by OKTATA.COM for viewing, rating, reviewing, and commenting by the public. You acknowledge that comments or ratings that you disagree with or are unhappy about may be published or otherwise become associated with the Content that you submit to OKTATA.COM. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM you waive any privacy expectations that you may have with respect to the Content.
18. You agree to hold OKTATA.COM harmless from and against—and hereby waive any right to pursue—any claims of any nature arising in connection with OKTATA.COM’s use of the Content submitted to OKTATA.COM and used in any manner in its sole and absolute discretion.

The instructions and Terms & Conditions are as follows:
• Participants enter their email and click ‘Join Contest’ at http://oktata.com/ban-on-firecrackers-in-delhi
• Login to the Comments section of the above article and post your comment by completing the sentence: Instead of burning firecrackers this Diwali I will _____________________________

• Login using Gmail id only

• If required please write to oktatacontests@gmail.com
• One random winner will receive a Gift Card worth Rs. 50/- of an online shopping portal. Should this not be possible an alternative gift of similar value will be provided.
*Terms & Conditions
1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest for bloggers.
2. There is no entry fee to enter this competition.
3. By entering this competition an entrant agrees to be bound by these terms and conditions.
4. Contestants must be 18 years of age or older.
4. Details are provided at http://oktata.com/ban-on-firecrackers-in-delhi
5. Only one entry will be accepted per person. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. The contest is open to citizens of India.
7. The contest will end on 23:30 PM, IST, on 19 Oct, 2017. Entries received after the cut-off time and date will not be considered.
8. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are not received for whatever reason.
9. The contest may be cancelled due to unavoidable reasons.
10. The winner will be notified by email within 15 days of the closing date. If a winner cannot be contacted within 15 days his/her reward will be forfeited.
11. OKTATA.COM’s decision shall be final and no correspondence shall be entertained.
12. The participant agrees to the use of his/her name and image in any publicity material, as well as their entry.
13. All content submitted by you to OKTATA.COM may be published by OKTATA.COM and OKTATA.COM shall have no obligation to preserve, return, or otherwise make available to you or others any material.
14. OKTATA.COM may use, reproduce, edit, display, transmit, prepare derivative works of, modify, publish, and otherwise make use of the Submitted Content in any and all media, whether now known or hereinafter created—throughout the world and for any purpose—without compensation to you of any kind.
15. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM, you represent and warrant that the Content does not infringe any copyright, trademark, property rights, rights of privacy or publicity of any person, or any other right of any third party and that you have the full and unrestricted right to transfer the Content to OKTATA.COM free and clear of any claims or encumbrances.
16. You acknowledge and agree that OKTATA.COM shall have no obligation to post, display, or otherwise make publicly available any Content submitted by you.
17. You acknowledge and agree that Content submitted by you may be made available by OKTATA.COM for viewing, rating, reviewing, and commenting by the public. You acknowledge that comments or ratings that you disagree with or are unhappy about may be published or otherwise become associated with the Content that you submit to OKTATA.COM. By submitting Content to OKTATA.COM you waive any privacy expectations that you may have with respect to the Content.
18. You agree to hold OKTATA.COM harmless from and against—and hereby waive any right to pursue—any claims of any nature arising in connection with OKTATA.COM’s use of the Content submitted to OKTATA.COM and used in any manner in its sole and absolute discretion.

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Iron Bridge across the Yamuna

The Iron Bridge across the Yamuna in Delhi is very old. It was built by the British in 1866 and facilitates train and vehicle movement across the Yamuna. It is also called Loha Pul. I remember crossing the Yamuna riding pillion behind my father on his scooter many years back. It was a bit scary. The river flows very close to the Iron Bridge. Rather, what is left of the Yamuna river. It was also very noisy if I remember it right.

The other day I was travelling along a section of the Ring Road that goes past the Iron Bridge and stopped to click a photo. I used my smartphone to click the photo. It is an amazing piece of architecture. I think there is a similar Iron Bridge across the Hooghly in Kolkatta and I’ve travelled across it. These are no Golden Gate bridges, yet, are quite exciting to cross. Now there are multiple bridges across the Yamuna. I can name a few. Nizamuddin bidge, ITO bridge, DND, Kalindi Kunj and the Geeta Colony Bridge apart from the Iron Bridge. In addition, there is the Blue Line of the Delhi Metro already operational across the Yamuna and the Pink Line of the Metro is inching towards completion to join up at the Mayur Vihar-1 station.

The iron bridge across the Yamuna and the other iron bridges in India are engineering marvels. Many of these have outlived bridges and flyovers constructed much later. Only time will tell whether those constructed later will have a longer life span.

The administration closes the Iron Bridge across the Yamuna when the water level in the river rises during the monsoons. I wonder which form of iron was used to build the bridge. Many new alloys have been invented and these should help increase the longevity of new construction.

Pink Line of Delhi Metro

Testing of the Pink Line of Delhi Metro is underway. This is the line that runs alongside Inner Ring Road. The testing has been going on for some time now. The line is to be opened up in sections. Its opening dates have been postponed a few times. The barricades on the road to cordon off the construction areas are disappearing slowly. Traffic is moving quicker than the crawl it had slowed down to in the last few months. Very soon Metro services will commence on this line. With that a host of secondary economic activities will shoot up. E-rickshaws will queue up outside the Metro stations. Autos will hang around to pick up fares. Radio Taxis will stop to drop off passengers and wait to pick up fares.

What are the food options at Metro stations?
Typically, there is a quick counter providing powdered tea and coffee as well as flavoured milk, patties and packaged namkeen.
Street food vendors provide lip smacking peanuts, bhelpuri, dal pakoda, bhutta, aloo ki tikki and many other quick bites. The sound decibel level under the station is much higher because of the broad walkway about the road.

There is a lot of eagerness mixed with impatience for this line to commence operations. The stations where the lines cross will be very interesting. Usually there are throngs of people crisscrossing and bumping into each other at such stations.
I wonder where the parking lots for the Metro stations on Ring road are located. The last mile connectivity is provided by DMRC buses. I think those are on contract. The real last mile connectivity into the interiors of the colonies is, of course, provided by the e-rickshaws.
I could take a photo of the Pink Line Metro being tested. The photo was taken from a moving car is a not sharp. DMRC uses pink coloured signage to designate the Women’s coach in each train. Though the Pink Line will surely be open to all genders (just like the other Metro lines)

The Pink Line of Delhi Metro connects to the Blue, Green Red, Violet and Yellow lines of the Delhi Metro

Golden Gate in San Francisco

I visited the city of San Francisco in mid-May this year. it’s an amazing place and a must see if you are visiting the United States. San Francisco is gifted with beautiful weather amazingly located between the Pacific Ocean on one side and San Francisco Bay on the other. The City is situated on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula has a very touristy feel. You can ride on a HOHO bus. That’s a great way to take a guided tour of the entire City. The Golden Gate Bridge is a mile (1.6 km) long and we got down at one end and walked back the distance. It is an engineering marvel which makes you feel wonder at the marvels of human creativity. We visited the Bay Bridge also (San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge). The visit to Pier 39 at the tip of the Fisherman’s Wharf’s district lifted our hearts. There are stalls selling fresh seafood and you can watch the chef cook prawns, lobsters and crabs in front of your eyes. The place is a gourmet’s delight.

At Lombard Street is fun to visit with a very distinct set of roads. The one-way section with 8 hair pin turns and a steep gradient made us feel as if our car hung from the edge of a cliff. Another must do is the Chocolate Factory and the Ghirardelli ice cream is heavenly doing full justice to the ratings it has been given on the net. We also visited the Ocean Beach on the other side of San Francisco. The opportunity to visit the Google Campus was wonderful. We took the ferry around the Alcatraz Island and waved at the sea lions. We could not visit a few other tourist spots due to time constraints. It was a memorable holiday in a wonderful city.

Garden Estate, Gurugram

Garden state is one of the one of the oldest residential complexes of Gurugram (Gurgaon). It comprises both villas as well as apartments. There are about 300 residential units in the complex. Most of the residents are those who had initially inhabited the complex. It was constructed in the early nineties. Many of the residents are corporate retirees since ITC was involved in building the complex. Garden Estate is situated at the entry point to Gurgaon as you approach it from Delhi on the Mehrauli-Guragon Road. Guru Dronacharya metro station has come up next to the complex which makes it very accessible. It is surrounded by some of the top corporate houses of Gurgaon.

Right across Garden Estate is the Global Business Park with many corporate offices. There are many hotels located nearby (Fortune Select Hotel, Le Meridien) and their close proximity makes them a favourite venue for many residential meetings, conferences and celebrations. The complex itself is complete in all respects with not only excellent residential facilities but also great landscaping, a swimming pool, a club, a salon and a beauty parlour. There is a restaurant where local parties can be hosted. It has a lawn close by which is a boon for children who want to run around and play games while the grown-ups converse and have food. There is an excellent walking track all along. One round of the complex measures approximately 1 km. This provides an excellent and gentle way of exercise to the denizens of Garden Estate.

New York Never Sleeps

New York city is one of the most amazing and vibrant cities in the world. I recently had the chance to travel across the USA from the West to the East coast and found New York to be the most versatile city. It is the most densely populated city in the United States and culturally the most diverse. It is home to people of umpteen ethnic groups. The city truly never sleeps. The streets are bustling with people who appear to be in perpetual hurry. The city works 24/7. It is an amazing tourist destination. New York Never Sleeps.

We visited the Rockefeller center and the Empire State Building. The night view of the city from the top of these buildings is breathtaking. The skyline of the city glows with the lights from the high rise skyscrapers. Buildings are aglow in myriad colors. A 360 degree view of all the landmarks is a feast for the eyes.

A visit to Ground Zero and the 9/11 museum brought home the full impact of the horror of the attacks and its aftermath. The scale and magnitude of the rescue and relief operations was immense.

Times Square is a must visit on every tourist’s itinerary. It is a hub of activity and human energy in motion. You have to stand at the Time Square and feel the pulsating atmosphere. It really could feel that New York never sleeps.

The sculpture of the Charging Bull in Wall Street is supposed to have brought back luck to the stock market when the great recession happened in 1929.

The Statue of Liberty is situated on Ellis Island and you have to take a ferry to it. The statue is symbolic of the great human values of Liberty and Freedom.

In nutshell New York city would always top my list of places to visit in the USA.

Phir Milenge