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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.

Paragraph Writing Contest for Mothers

TrophyWin a Gift Card worth Rs. 250*
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PARAGRAPH WRITING CONTEST for MOTHERS
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Contest Rules & Disclaimer

1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest for mothers towards the end of the kids’ summer holidays.
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/paragraph-writing-contest-for-mothers/
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.
6. Entries must be made by Parents/Guardians by using their own email id.
7. The contest will end at 11: 30 PM, IST, on 9 July, 2017. Participants must Click on ‘Join Contest’ at the above link & email their submission to oktataconstests@gmail.com. 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 14 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.

1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest for mothers towards the end of the kids’ summer holidays.
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/paragraph-writing-contest-for-mothers/
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.
6. Entries must be made by Parents/Guardians by using their own email id.
7. The contest will end at 11: 30 PM, IST, on 9 July, 2017. Participants must Click on ‘Join Contest’ at the above link & email their submission to oktataconstests@gmail.com. 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 14 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 rules of the competition and instructions are as follows:

• This is a PARAGRAPH WRITING CONTEST for MOTHERS
• Contestants must enter their email and click ‘Join Contest’ at oktata.com/ paragraph-writing-contest-for-mothers/
• The topic is MY ONLINE SHOPPING SPREE
• Participants must write at least 300 words about the topic provided
• Venue: You can write in the comfort of your home
• Files with .doc & .docx extension should be mailed to oktataconstests@gmail.com by 11:30 PM, IST, on 9 July, 2017. Entries received later than that will not be considered. The subject line should bear: ‘Name of the Participant- PWC for Mothers-June 2017’ (e.g. Suruchi Verma-PWC for Mothers-June 2017)
• Speech to Text facility may be used on Android, iPhone and desktop computers since it can speed up submissions. Care should be taken to correct the text after using Speech to Text technology
• Test the Speech to Text service beforehand. Find a quiet place in your home and request family members to support you.
• The winner will receive a Gift Card worth Rs. 250/- of an online shopping portal. Should this not be possible an alternative prize of similar value will be provided.

*Terms & Conditions
1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest for mothers towards the end of the kids’ summer holidays.
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/paragraph-writing-contest-for-mothers/
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.
6. Entries must be made by Parents/Guardians by using their own email id.
7. The contest will end at 11: 30 PM, IST, on 9 July, 2017. Participants must Click on ‘Join Contest’ at the above link & email their submission to oktataconstests@gmail.com. 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 14 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.

Water Purifier for home use

For decades we have been using a water purifier for home use. I do remember a time ages ago when a water purifier was not required. We used to live in a locality with 24 hours’ clean water supply. We could drink water straight from the tap. In the Winters that is. In the summers we had an earthen pot, the Matka, in which water would stay cool. It quenched the thirst much better than refrigerated water. Not only us but every one had a Matka apart from the fridge. The fridge would turn watery when the electricity would go off. And that was frequent. I think a Matka used natural sedimentation to purify water.

In due course of time the 24 hour water supply ran dry. We had restricted water supply in the mornings and evenings. Yet, we didn’t need a water purifier. We would store water in various pots and pans and a steel bucket. Gradually the quality of water deteriorated and we needed a water purifier for home use. It was an ultra violet water purifier, Aquaguard, by Eureka Forbes.

As time passed by RO Systems (Reverse Osmosis Water Purifiers) came into the market. These were intially very expensive and used only in offices and factories. Now RO water purifiers for home use are easily available. Practically all flat dwellers in Gurgaon and Noida use an RO system. In Gurgaon people use RO Systems to clean the bore well water. It is a slow process. An RO system can cost twice as much as the UV system.

I wonder what chai pakoda made with water from an RO system will taste like. Sometimes when there is no electricity supply and the water purifier can’t be switched on or when there is no water supply we need to buy bottled water. Though it is called mineral water it is just water purified by one process or the other. It has a queer plastic taste to it that sticks in the mouth long after having sipped it.

Paragraph Writing Contest for Kids

TrophyWIN A GIFT CARD worth Rs. 250*
Your Entries
0
Total Entries
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Days Left
Ended
PARAGRAPH WRITING CONTEST for students in Classes IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI & XII in India
This contest expired.
close

Contest Rules & Disclaimer

1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest to encourage kids to hone their skills during the Summer Holidays.
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. The details are provided at http://oktata.com/paragraph-writing-contest-kids/
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.
6. Entries must be made by Parents/Guardians by using their own email id.
7. The contest will begin at 11: 00 PM, IST, on 23 June 2017 and the participants must Click on ‘Join Contest’ before that. The contest will end at 11 PM 25 June 2017. Entries received after that 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 14 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.

1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest to encourage kids to hone their skills during the Summer Holidays.
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. The details are provided at http://oktata.com/paragraph-writing-contest-kids/
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.
6. Entries must be made by Parents/Guardians by using their own email id.
7. The contest will begin at 11: 00 PM, IST, on 23 June 2017 and the participants must Click on ‘Join Contest’ before that. The contest will end at 11 PM 25 June 2017. Entries received after that 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 14 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 rules of the competition and instructions are as follows:

• This is a PARAGRAPH WRITING CONTEST for students in Classes IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI & XII in school

• Parents/Guardians must enter their email and click ‘Join Contest’ at http://oktata.com/paragraph-writing-contest-kids/

• There are four categories: Classes IV & V, Classes VI, VII, VIII, Classes IX & X and Classes XI & XII

• Topic for Classes IV, V – MY DREAM HOLIDAY
• Topic for Classes VI, VII, VIII – MY FAVOURITE HOBBY
• Topic for Classes IX, X – MY FAVOURITE SUBJECT
• Topic for Classes XI, XII – AIR QUALITY IN DELHI

• Classes IV & V participants must write at least 150 words about the topic provided

• Classes VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI & XII participants must write at least 300 words about the topic provided

• Venue: You can write in the comfort of your home

• Speech to Text facility may be used on Android, iPhone and desktop computers since it can speed up submissions. Care should be taken to correct the text after using Speech to Text technology

• Test the Speech to Text service beforehand. Find a quiet place in your home and request family members to support you.

• Files with .doc & .docx extension should be mailed to oktataconstests@gmail.com by 11:00 PM, IST, on 25 June, 2017. Entries received later than that will not be considered. The subject line should bear: ‘Name of the student- ‘Class XYZ’- ‘June 2017’ (e.g. Deepak Gupta-Class IV-June 2017)

• The winner will receive a Gift Card worth Rs. 250/- of an online shopping portal. Should this not be possible an alternative prize of similar value will be provided.

*Terms & Conditions

1. OKTATA.COM has organized this contest to encourage kids to hone their skills during the Summer Holidays.
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. The details are provided at http://oktata.com/paragraph-writing-contest-kids/
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.
6. Entries must be made by Parents/Guardians by using their own email id.
7. The contest will begin at 11: 00 PM, IST, on 23 June 2017 and the participants must Click on ‘Join Contest’ before that. The contest will end at 11 PM 25 June 2017. Entries received after that 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 14 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 & used in any manner in its sole and absolute discretion.

Used Mobile Phones

My mobile phone journey started with a cellular phone. Well, years ago mobile phones were referred to as ‘cellphones.’ Subsequently the word ‘handphone’ gained ground and still later the word ‘mobile’ came into vogue. Now I am seldom mobile without my mobile. Over the years I have used mobile phones of various manufacturers.

As my first purchase I wanted to buy the Nokia 5110. It was a robust phone capable of taking a few knocks. Just before the shopkeeper handed it to me I enquired about any other new releases. I was handed a Motorola T300. I bought it and was greatly disappointed. Both with the quality of the phone and with my decision of not buying the Nokia 5110. Very soon the company I worked for deployed a CUG plan for all employees and I was handed an LG phone. Then the company policy changed and we were allowed to buy our own handsets. This time I made the right choice. I bought the Nokia 3310. Texting was a pleasure. The dictionary was wonderful. I swapped from one conference call to another. Like a breeze.

By this time I had used mobile phones for a few years and realized that the mobile phone device would change every year or so. Soon, thereafter I moved to another company and it was time for another device. Yet, again a Nokia.This time it was Nokia 6230i with a camera and Bluetooth. I used the GPRS frequently on this phone and even browsed the net a few times.

The next mobile phone was Nokia 3110. Moving contacts from the old to the new phone using Bluetooth was easy. I didn’t transfer contacts directly between the phones. I first transferred contacts using Bluetooth from the old phone to my computer and from the computer to the new mobile phone using Bluetooth.

Sometime later it was time for another phone change because the Nokia 3110 had suffered more than its share of knocks on the floor. Though I wanted to buy an Android I chose to go in for a BlackBerry Curve 9300 because it had a physical qwerty keyboard. When this wouldn’t go any far even after body and battery changes I opted for a Blackberry Curve 8520. With the Blackberry devices browsing on the phone zoomed up. I browsed in the park, browsed in the parking lot and confess to having browsed in the toilet. The optical track pad was great!

When the time came round for another device change I opted for the Red Mi Note 4G from Xiaomi. The big screen made reading long articles a simple and tiring experience for the neck. The best part was the battery back up of the phone. From that I migrated to a Samsung J7.

I have used an iPhone as well since many of my friends and relatives have one. Certainly the image quality of an iPhone is amazing. I have borrowed it several times and the iPhone’s camera is of outstanding quality.

My latest experience includes having used mobile phones with 2 SIM cards.

Oktata and Oktatas

I have written this post in English and translated it to Hungarian using the translation service provided by Google. Any error is inadvertent. The English text is provided below the Hungarian text.

Az oktató szó emlékezik egy kemény emberre. A feladat mestere, aki nem szúr semmi ostobaságot. Nem vicceket szórakoztatnánk. Talán egy ilyen egyén volt az inspiráció a Pink Floyd “No need no education” című dalra. Több oktatóval is kapcsolatba léptem, akik épp ellenkezőleg voltak. Arra koncentrálnak, hogy a legjobbat hozza ki egy személyből, felismerve, hogy mindenki nem válhat a legjobbak közé a társaik között. Megértik, hogy mindenki más sebességgel tanul. És azt is, hogy mindenki az oktatási cél egy adott területen más lenne. Két ember tanulhatja a zongorát nagyon különböző okokból ugyanabból a tanárból. Az egyik egy előadóművész, a másik pedig egy sikeres amatőr. Az oktató nem feltétlenül a legjobb személy a területen. A legjobb ember a helyszínen nem lehet jó. Az oktatás megszerzéséhez más készségekre van szükség, mint a tökéletesítőnek a területen. Néhány évvel ezelőtt Novak Djokovic Boris Becker volt az edzője, míg Roger Federer Stefan Edberg volt az edzője. A játék ezen szintjén kíváncsi vagyok, hogy mit mond az edző a hallgatónak. Az indiai krikett csapat tizenöt éve külföldi edzővel rendelkezett. Nemrég váltottak indiai edzőre. Azt hiszem, van egy különbség az edző és az oktató között. Végül is a játékosok sokéves edzésen, kemény munka és többszörös kiválasztási folyamatokon mennek keresztül, hogy a legmagasabb szintű sportot választják.

A Nalanda Egyetem az egyik legkorábbi egyetem a világon. Ki tanított ott? Ki tanult ott? Mi volt a pedagógia? Könnyű volt a felvétel? Hogyan viszonyulnak a mai egyetemek az ő ősi oktatási székhellyel?

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Instructor and Education

The word instructor brings to mind a tough individual. A task master who would brook no nonsense. No jokes would be entertained. Perhaps such an individual was the inspiration for the song ‘We don’t need no Education’ by the Pink Floyd. I have interacted with several instructors who were just the opposite. They focus on bringing the best out of a person realizing that everyone may not become the best amongst peers. They understand that everyone learns at a different speed. And also that everyone’s goal for education in a particular field would be different. Two people may learn the piano for very different reasons from the same teacher. One to be a performer, the other to be an accomplished amateur. The instructor need not be the best person in the field. The best person in the field may not be a good isntructor. To impart education a different skill set is required than to be a perfectionist in the field. Some time ago Novak Djokovic had Boris Becker as his coach while Roger Federer had Stefan Edberg as his coach. At that level of the game I wonder what the coach tells the student. The Indian cricket team had a foreign coaches for fifteen years. Recently they have switched to having an Indian coach. I guess there must be a differnce between a coach and an instructor. After all, the players go through many years of training, hard work and mulitple selection processes to make it to the top most level of the sport of their choosing.

Nalanda Univerity was one of the earliest universities int he world. Who taught there? Who studied there? What was the pedagogy followed? Were admissions tough? How do the present day universities compare with this ancient seat of education?

Delhi to Dharamshala

Last month we travelled from Delhi to Dharamshala, McLeod Ganj, Dalhousie and Kajjiar. We made the trip by train via Pathankot. There are plent of trains from Delhi to Pathankokt. All run full to capacity. I think one of the bookings I made was for the last available ticket!

There is no direct train from Delhi to Dharamshala. We travelled Delhi to Pathankot by Dhauladhar Express and from Pathankot to Dharamshala by taxi. We made the return journey by the same train as well. I had looked up the net for the difference between Pathankot station and Pathankot Cantt and made the booking for the station code PTK. Pathankot Cannt’s station code is PTKC.

The train starts from Old Delhi Sation. The night time journey is very convenient because one can easily sleep with stretched out on the berth. The train arrived towards 8 am at Pathankot. Taxis are easily available as soon one exits the platform. The greatest benefit of train stations in smaller towns is that they are cleaner and one has to walk lesser.

We took a taxi drop to Dharamshala. Of course, we had deliberated whether to go to Dharamshala first or to Dalhousie. I decided by calling up the hotels and was informed there wouldn’t be much difference either ways. Initially the prospect of a night train from Delhi to Dharamshala and then a taxi trip immediately afterwards appeared daunting. But once we started it was all very smooth.

Here are some photographs of Dharamshala

The road trip to Dharamshala was very pleasant. We had breakfast at a dhaba en route. Delicious paranthas and hot chai. Upon arrival at Hotel Dhauladhar of HPTDC (Himachal Pradesh Tuorism Development Corporation) we were provided a nice and comfortable room overlooking a garden. There was a big surprise in the room. An air-conditioner with heating. This is usually not seen in India and was least expected in a hill-station. Things have really changed in India.

We freshened up at our own pace and went in to the restaurant for lunch leaving all travel planning for later. Afterwards, we out for a walk in the market, Kotwali Bazar, near the hotel. The Dharamshala taxis stand was also close by and we enquired about the taxi fare to McLeod Ganj, Dalhousie and what else could one do in those parts. There were plenty of plans available with fixed rates each covering several points.

We located a small and clean sweets shot with coffee and snacks and had a cup of hot coffee.

Upon returning to the hotel I sought the receptionist’s advice and decided upon a short trip to McLeod Ganj the next day.

The next morning we piled into a hired Alto and drove up to Naddi point near McLeod Ganj and later went to the Tibetan Moanstery.We returned to the hotel by late afternoon and had snacks for lunch at 5 pm.

In the evening we went for a stroll in Kotwali Bazar and found our steps took us to the sweets shop again for another great cup of hot coffeee.

The nights were spent watching TV and having a very slow dinner in the restaurant.

HPTDC is great, of course.

Here are some photographs of Dalhousie

Next day, after breakfast, we started for Dalhousie in a taxi. We arrived late afternoon in Dalhousie at Hotel Manimahes of HPTDC. We were shown into a room with a fabulous view of the mountain range. It had snowed a few days ago and the weather was cold. We went down to Gandhi Market to streth our legs. Here again we happened upon the taxi stand which was close to the hotel and equired about the fare to Khajjiar. Then, we went to a confectionary store and had steaming hot momos.

We were advised to have dinner in the room due to the cold weather. It was an enjoyable meal which was had watching a movie on cable television.

We had a buffet breakfast the next morning. We learnt the short route to Khajjiar was blocked by snow and we would have to take the longer road via Chamba. We were very keen on visiting Khajjiar since it is referred to as the ‘mini Switzerland’ of India. It is a long drive of 3.5 hours by this route. The view at Khajjiar is fabulous. It is a large open ground with Deodar (Himalayan Cedar) trees all around. One can see the snow capped peaks through the tree leaves. At times we could see paragliders soaring up above the tree tops.

It started raining lightly on the way back and we stopped for chai pakoda at a dhaba. We returned just as night was falling and went straight to our room. Room service provided us with chai and hot milk. This was followed by another enjoyable and sumptuous dinner in the room with a movie on cable television.

We were to start our return journey to Delhi the next day. The train was scheduled to leave from Pathankot station at 11 20 pm. We decided to go to the Gandhi Market in Dalhousie in the morning and left for Pathankot after lunch. We placed our luggage in the Cloak room at the Pathankot Station and walked to the City Centre Mall located 5 minutes away. We bought tickets for Badri ki Dulania and followed it with a liesurely dinner in the mall. Afterwards, we walked back to the station. The road felt safe enough. There are shared autos also available.

The train was already lined up on the platform. We collected our bags from the cloak room, located our coach and settled in for the journey back to Delhi.

There were no radio taxis in Dahramshala and Dalhousie. There we no Ola Uber in Dharamshala and Dalhousie.
The mobile signal is straon in Dharamshala and Dalhousie. The internet works fine in Dharamshala and Dalhousie. Throughout the journey from Delhi to Dharamshala and other places I had great network coverage.

The trip from Delhi to Dharamshala, Dalhousie and other places proved to be a rejuvenating breeze.

Places to visit in Amritsar

Last month we travelled to Amritsar by road. Eleven people in a Tempo Traveller. The journey took a long time with a few breaks to stretch legs, have a bite and sip on a cup of tea. Roads have improved a lot in India and it was a smooth journey. The places to visit in Amritsar are the Attari-Wagah border, the Golden Temple and the Jallianwala Bagh.

We went to Wagah border near Amritsar for the lowering of flags ceremony at the India Pakistan border. It was very crowded. It was possible to look across the border into the amphitheater in Pakistan when seated high enough.

Afterwards we had a sumptuous dinner and retired for the night. We still had two more places to visit in Amritsar.

Next morning we woke up early. Really early at 4 am and got ready to visit the Golden Temple. We arrived at the Golden Temple before 6 am and there were only a few people outside. The adjoining area has been renovated and looked very beautiful. After removing our shoes we dipped our feet into the water at the entrance to the Golden Temple. To our surprise the water was heated! Inside it was crowded. We realised our visit had coincided with a public holiday in Punjab.

Upon exiting the Golden Temple we still had one left of the places to visit in Amritsar. One, that we very much wanted to visit. Jallianwala Bagh. Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru were brought to life in our minds. And, of course, Udham Singh.

The air was much cleaner than in Delhi. On the return journey we came across a field in which crops were being burnt.

Since, we had our own bus we didn’t need to hire a taxi. Didn’t see any Uber in Amritsar. Didn’t see any Ola in Amritsar. Didn’t see any radio taxis in Amritsar.

On the way back we stopped at a food court on the highway and had dinner and tea.

We decided a train would have been more comfortable for such a long journey. If possible, an overnight train.

Here are a few photos I clicked.

I think I have never seen greener fields than those I saw in Punjab. In a couple of fields local dangals (wrestling matches) were being conducted much like depicted in the movie Sultan.