A Green Wedding

manjuDefinition of wedding ceremony has changed with time. Though the rituals and customs haven’t changed, the celebration level has drastically. With the involvement of event management and theme wedding phenomena, marriages portray a prom or show. The glitters and music envelops a mood of festivity and celebration.

Present day youth want their wedding to look unique and grand. On this note, Manju Raj from Thrissur gives a unique thought while tying the marital knot with Trivandrum based Ajeesh, who works with an NGO. Her wedding invitation encloses a small packet of seedlings as well as an attached note explaining the importance of agriculture for a bright future.

A Green card was a more convenient medium to reach for a good cause. Initially she decided to distribute sapling for guests and changed the plan considering the inconvenience it would cause. It is an appreciable thought by the younger generation, to initiate environment friendly activities on their special occasion when most others make it to festival. They have also decided to conduct a blood donation camp on the day of the wedding. Uniting for a social cause can be the best quote for their life.

Event management groups could initiate eco-friendly ideas in their wedding plans and work for a good cause rather than focusing on theme weddings. Seedlings within the invitation card are food for thought. Working for a social cause is fading with generations and initiatives like these have to be encouraged so that there is always greenery around us.

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e-wallets marking its foot in micro retailing in Kerala villages

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PM Narendra Modi’s announcement to scrap the existing Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency notes came as a surprise to all. Average Indian spent a sleepless night with trepidation about their savings in currency of those denominations. By next morning, it became a new topic for troll and jokes and social media witnessed an avalanche of funny messages. Amidst the chaos regarding long queues and closed ATMs, most of us started resorting to e-wallets such as Paytm for our daily transactions.

With shortage of lower denomination currency, digital money is the king now. Even way side tea stalls, vegetable vendors and neighborhood grocery stores are unzipping their e-wallets.

The latest feedback from Kakkanad, a small time Kerala village in the outskirts of Kochi, is enlightening, even the small tea shops functioning here using e-wallets, more specifically Paytm, when the current ban affected them reversely. A note was put up on the facia “we don’t accept Rs.500, Rs.1000 notes”, next to which was another note with a logo of paytm, which read “Make payment through Paytm”. Surprisingly, the groceries in the neighborhood and even the daily wage labor also have started using e-wallets post the ban.

Today, across regions, nationally hundreds of such small vendors and businesses have switched to mobile and online payment services. While a number of payment gateways, such as Paytm, Mobikwik and Citrus are already in big demand, mobile wallet companies have started offering e-wallet transactions at physical outlets as well.

The wide acceptance of e-wallets and in–app wallets has finally begun marking the beginning of a digital revolution. When e-wallets first hit the market, they had limited scope. For instance, if you load money in your Paytm wallet to use taxi service, one cannot use that money elsewhere, but this has changed now. Slowly restrictions on e-wallets are starting to fade enabling the same being accepted across all major retailers across the country.
Text: Vijisha Kannambath | vijisha@respublica.in
Photographs: Joy Xavier | joy@respublica.in

Vision to Reality

423d99670cbe6e30329a5714fa81cb2849a48fa0-tc-img-previewNothing beats Knowledge. The story of Bindu Sunil Kumar speaks about her road to success; a 15 year old daily wage worker’s journey to reach her goal. Today she is a PhD holder from one of the leading universities in the world. Where Bindu stands now is beyond her dreams and happiness. Her passion had never let her down. Everything Bindu achieved is a result of her will and determination.

Enjoying the sweetness of life with her Husband Sunil Kumar and their two little angels, Bindu happily remembers the hardships and bitter realities she had undergone. Bindu is a role model and inspiration for people who makes excuses and escapes from their responsibilities and who blames their fate. Once you start your journey with a desire, it will never let you down. Every experience moulds one to survive in this world.

When she decided to pursue a doctorate from Lund University, Sweden; Bindu chose hunger as the topic for her thesis – How oats could be developed into complete nutrition meal and erase malnutrition. Who else could do a better justice to such a topic than Bindu? Hunger would have been the biggest issue she might have faced during the childhood days. She catered her hunger and thirst with knowledge. Bindu mentions about others contribution in her success. She counts it all as blessings- from a loving family to inspiring teachers and encouraging neighbors who gave her strength to move forward. She calls them ‘Human Gods’ who extended their godly hands to her.

Bindu’s note of thanks on the social media platform was not just glorious cliché words. It spoke her heart. People recognized her from every corner of the world. With her determination, she learned to survive within her limitations and cross all barriers.

Being a woman and in a patriarchal society like ours, Bindu Sunil Kumar is a real life warrior. Multiple roles of her life never hindered but nurtured her success saga.

Social Media Story Telling

The social media boom over the past decade has drastically changed the definition of media, journalism and writers.  This shift has affected the reading and writing practices of users; could be summarized as a democratic movement where everyone gets a platform to exhibit their creative writing skills and the readers get an opportunity to express their views and opinions. It is not surprising anymore if a writer chooses to publish his book on social media than with a traditional publishing house.

For most of us, Facebook is a platform to share our random thoughts and ideas with family and friends. But, Facebook is not just about sharing and liking with family and friends. With over 1.79 billion active users every month across the world, it gives a better reach to your work of art and provides quick feedback from the readers. In social media storytelling, the boundary between author and reader vanishes.

Story telling on Facebook is trending these days, especially ones from celebrities.  This time, the multi talented actor, Murali Gopy has come out with his short story “Sir Ethannu Ente Achan”, (Sir this is my father) on Facebook. The short story has about 1300 plus shares in 3 days and comments close to 300. 3,100 people have reacted to it.

Read the story at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/murali-gopy/സാറേ-ഇതാണെന്റച്ഛൻ/1835022683408532

Lawyer turns ‘Chaiwalli’

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Youngsters are more attracted to being entrepreneurs. Despite being professionally qualified they try to brand themselves with out of the box thoughts and ventures. In this scenario, coffee shops and cafes are their major grips and they do nail it with enthusiasm and brand recognition. Major irony to this sort of startup is, Why Coffee? Why Not Tea.   We are familiar with the age-old concept of small tea stalls and local tea vendors which used to be best publicity platform as well as news agents covering a small area but to a huge population. But things are changing; from villages to metro cities, the concept of tea and tea vendors have changed. People gather in the present-day coffee shops to chill and enjoy evenings rather than to enjoy the coffee delicacies.

Of all the stereotypes of brewing coffee to an entrepreneur, Uppma Virdi breaks the norms and becomes the Chai Walli. 26-year-old Uppma was selected businesswoman of the Year at the 2016 Indian Australian Business and Community Awards (IABCA) organised in Sydney recently through her own company Chai Walli.  She made her mark in making the best tea from younger age and now runs her own business with various products of tea, she being herself the “Chai Walli”.  She took her roots for the cause of her success. Being an Indian Australian Lawyer, she started the firm to serve the best tea to the Indian population in Australia. Her tea takes people to the essence and roots of Indian culture and tradition. Branding herself as the ‘Chai Walli’ she had killed the cliché of branding with western vocabularies. Also the major mocking term had gone to a branding.

It is interesting to note that Young entrepreneurs like Uppma Virdi do make a huge change in the cliché thoughts. In a society like ours, when people are running behind degrees and qualifications to work as an employee; young entrepreneurs do stand out. They turn to business personalities turning themselves into a brand along with their professional qualifications. This is also a renaissance we are undergoing, which breaks the stereotypes of white collar jobs and changes the perspective towards small vendors.

Transforming to metro life and city cultures and being a city itself, we can also learn from this young business woman. As the coffee culture is wide-spread and luxurious tea stops are sprouting, new thought and ventures would be welcomed without much pain. People are willing to explore new food spots and enhance their taste buds with new flavors. It is more cool and stylish to be ethnic and traditional among startups in the food world. This is evident from the major food hubs in and around the cities around the state. So it is of no doubt that if one Chai Walli nails it in Australia, there would be more branding with such day-to-day life influencers everywhere. This could lead to a new revolution which is already evident in our cities.  Taking inspiration from our traditions can bring in a lot of difference.

iBall Splendo to turn your TV into a full-fledged computer

iBall Splendo_1Microsoft India partnered with iBall launch of iBall Splendo, the first compact PC-on-a-stick device that can convert a TV into a fully functional PC and a Smart TV. Priced at INR 8,999 which includes a wireless deskset (mouse and keyboard), all the user has to do is plug the device into the HDMI input on the TV for a complete Windows PC experience.

This is a compact device that can fit neatly into your pocket and is powered by the Intel Atom Quad-core processor, runs Windows 8.1 and has a 2 GB RAM with 32GB in-built memory. When connected to a TV, through its HDMI male plug, the device can turn the TV into a PC – complete with features including HD graphics, multi-channel digital audio, a micro SDXC slot, Normal USB port, Micro USB port, Wi-Fi and in-built Bluetooth 4.0. The device has a fanless design and comes with a one-year warranty. iBall Splendo will be available for sale beginning of July across the country.

Musings on the Newest fools Day

April Fool Background Pictures HDThat day of the year when we are at our cautious best is here. Alert from the moment that alarm rings wake you up and going through the motion of double checking that the time displayed is of  global standard ( that is, if you are unfortunate enough to share your living space with a notorious prankster) we watch our every step to assure ourselves that no, we are not the victims today, not yet! All this trouble to keep our dignity intact and it is quite disheartening to see that at the end of the day, we failed miserably to do exactly that.

I am not referring to the drool-worthy brilliant pranks that some still manage to execute. No, may I call your attention to the other sort where no one would pop out from behind the curtains and scream ‘April Fool!’? This kind would manage to make you and me award-winning fools (if there is such a category) and leave us wanting for more, oblivious to the absurdity which we have signed up for.

When you come to think of it, how thick can we get? Doesn’t these everyday actions vouch for our non-existent sensibility? Jumping into the wagon each time and bringing home the newest-and-most-advanced-range-of face creams that is sure to have eradicated the whole pointless atrocity of racism if only they launched the product a few decades back? Or the hair oil and shampoos that will transform every bald head into a fertile ground of thick, luscious hair? Or the tablets that will vanish those extra pounds from your body (they swear that it works this time)? Or that wonderful (if it were only true) scheme that doubles and triples your investment? Or that person from heaven-knows-where who is the reincarnation of our favorite deity? Be it the trendiest political ideology or that juicy bit of gossip that someone forwarded, don’t we love that high one gets  when we fall for all this hoping against hope that this time it might be true? And who needs an exclusive fool’s day with silly tricks and childish pranks when you have master brains working all year every year developing those amazing ideas that can make everyone a fool?

True, true, all true we fear. I fall for this and so do you. Again and yet again. Come on, be a good sport! Who doesn’t like a good joke, huh?