Reasons possible for losing an Airplane in 2014

All the technology advancements in the world and we have suddenly lost an entire aircraft, a massive Boeing 777 is missing from the face of this earth. This development (or rather the lack of any) piqued my interest and I have been trying to pick up the articles where experts or just about anybody is giving an intelligent viewpoint on what could have gone wrong.

This episode has startled most of the experts and then there are the bizzare stories like “Alien Abductions” and “Secret Missions” which add more drama to the scene. Here are some articles which I think you should read if you want more than just an update on the situation.

How It’s Possible to Lose an Airplane in 2014 [Wired]

A plausible explanation for why MH370 “disappeared” and why we still can’t find it. [Written by an aviation expert, I think]

And then there was an email sent by a person working on an oil rig who claims he saw the aircraft on fire. Not sure if anyone took note of this and is tracking it.

If you’ve come across some interesting articles on the possible reason, please share a link in the comments section or ping me on @kapilb.

Weekend trip to Masai Mara in Kenya

Last year before moving back to Mumbai from Kenya, the family decided to do the MUST VISIT trip to Masai Mara – a large animal reserve in Kenya (Africa). The scenes we experienced were something we had seen only on National Geographic and Discovery TV Channels.

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Click here to see more photos from the trip

The drive to Masai Mara from Nairobi is a bit long and gets rough towards the later end. Interestingly when the roads get bumpy you should start seeing some animals far into the horizon. If you are lucky some walk close to the highway and give you that photo moment.

masai mara kenya

Once you pass the security gates of the animal reserve, you pretty much leave most civil life behind you. What you see for the next few kilometers is serene landscape and lots of sign boards pointing you to the handful of resorts built inside the jungle. We had picked the Sarova Mara Game Camp. It’s an excellent property and we really didn’t have much to complaint. Expect no fancy hotel rooms here – this is a CAMP. What you get instead are fancy tents. You can really feel the jungle surroundings with the animal sounds and the deep silence at times. Oh yes, there is no TV and Room Service available.

Sarova Mara Game Camp  Sarova Mara Game Camp

Most holiday organisers will advise you to do 2 game rides (drive around the mara). One is super early in the morning just as the sun rises and one towards late afternoon / early evening before the sun sets. They typically can take up to 2-3 hours depending on how far you ride across and get to spot some action like a hunt or mating. And if you happen to see one of those consider your trip a success. The other matrix is to be able to see all the Big Five - (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros). We missed out on seeing the leopard.

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The rides are an experience. There really isn’t a road map except for the mental ones in the heads of the drivers. It is amazing to see how they navigate and find their way around. All the drivers irrespective of which tourist company they are from, work as a team. If your van’s wheel is stuck in a ditch, one of them will stop and help you out. That’s the protocol and everybody will do it. Respect for the brotherhood they share.

When the driver starts his first ride, he uses the wireless kit in the van to tune into a common frequency which lets them talk to each other and share tips on the animal sighting spots and other things to beware of during the rides. And if you get a good driver he will keep you updated on where he is driving and what we are expecting to see.

Lone Ranger

A holiday of this kind is a very refreshing from the regular kinds – where you typically spend time planning what to see, how to reach there, then some shopping and food. Not here, once in the game reserve your life is pretty much sorted. You gotta do the 2 game rides, spend the day at the hotel playing some games, take a dip in the pool, read a book and end the evening with a drink at their fireplace bar (And that’s the only place which has a TV). No malls to visit. No shopping trips.

I managed to borrow a zoom lens kit from a colleague for this trip and here are some of the shots I took on the 3 day trip. Click here to see the album on flickr.

If you wish to plan a trip to Africa, let me know and I will be happy to connect you with an excellent tour operator who undoubtedly offered me the best rates for the many trips I took during my 2 years in Kenya.

Letternote is my new diary

For a couple of years now my objective has been to lead a paperless digital lifestyle. So any document which isn’t required by the law or my employers gets scanned and the paper is dumped. In many cases I even avoid creating paper copies if possible.

But there is yet a part of me which loves those beautiful diaries, notepads and smart pens. It started with people gifting me diaries and it soon became a hobby collecting such writing material every time I traveled or visited new stationery shops.

letternote_diary

Last year on my trip to Delhi I visited the Letternote store and picked up a diary from their collection. The finish is a bit rough and I suspect it will not be able to handle the rough use my diaries typically go through. The paper quality inside is good for quick scribbles and most of my gel pens haven’t leaked through the pages. For Rs.125 I am happy with the buy.

10 social networks where I am active

This January I completed 7 years on Twitter. It’s been a wonderful experience connecting with some interesting people and helps keep track on subjects which matter to me.

For the last few years social media channels & digital innovations have become part of my work, which only means I need to keep abreast and also get my hands on experience with most of these platforms. Some I like and continue using. My objective is to be able to use the channel to effectively share content in an interactive manner with my circle & beyond. Be it a long article, an idea or a snapshot.

social media channels

Here are some of the social networks where I am fairly active. If we are not already connected, I invite you to join me there.

Khana Peena (My food blog) – Besides this personal blog I also try and write about my foodie adventures which include restaurant reviews, home cooked meals and interesting food articles I read online.

Twitter – 140 characters to share life’s observations, thoughts & sometimes even the rumbling. Also helps get quick answers / recommendations when Google doesn’t prove very helpful.

LinkedIn – The professional network where I seek help, opinions & connections. Always happy to give back the same. Great way to stay in touch with colleagues & work partners.

Instagram – A space to share my “iPhonegraphy” experiments.

Flickr – The more serious space for photography. Photos which don’t fit the Instagram environment go on to Flickr.

Tumblr – A scrap pad as I call it. Things which don’t qualify a full blog post go here.

Google+ – Not the Facebook or twitter popularity. But have a found few hacks on how to share photographs privately with my extended family. I also follow a few photography circles where I get to see some inspiring work.

Quora - One site which I think I could use more actively but don’t. Have made a few contributions and always enjoyed reading some of the random conversations around there.

Pinterest – This was a visual delight I spent quite some time in the early stage trying to make some beautiful boards. Soon I got bored and now do random posts there. Not so active.

Facebook – I’ve been very particular & choosy about who becomes a friend here. Its my private space which I share only with good friends & family. Some of my updates are public posts which can be seen here.

photo credit: Jason A. Howie via photopin cc

5 tools to boost your productivity

Fifteen days into 2014. Let me share 5 tools to help boost your productivity and make this your best year.

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Evernote
This is my biggest recommendation for anybody who is collecting lots of data pieces and needs it all to be organised in one place. A very useful tool to keep important information handy at all times. It has multi-device accessibility and a powerful search function. Read more on how I use Evernote.

Simplenote 
If you think Evernote is too complex, use Simplenote. A lot more useful than leaving information in multiple notepads / Word files and then not having access to them when away from your computer.

Dropbox
Using multiple computers? Need data accessible all the time? Want a backup option which is more reliable than your external hard disk. Use Dropbox. Store your files on their server. Get access to it from anywhere (including mobile). And also let’s you easily share the stored files with others.

Wunderlist
I am a big fan of Todo tools. Over the last few years I have experimented with a couple of managers and finally seem to have settled with Wunderlist. I love the the list feature, so besides my tasks I also use it to manage lists of movies & books I want to consume.

IFTTT
That means “If This Then That”. Let’s you automate triggers for various apps / services online. For example one of my favourite recipe – All photos uploaded to Instagram also get backed up in a folder on my Drobox. Cool na? Go see what else can you do.

Got a favourite tool or online service you want to share with me. Leave a comment.

Weekend Reading #4

Here is the first weekend read for 2014. Hope you enjoy the collection. Love to hear your thoughts.

Ziferblat is London’s first pay-per-minute cafe, based on a Russian chain where ‘everything is free, except the time you spend there’ [The Guardian]

27 Unspoken Suit Rules Every Man Should Know – You can’t expect to look all dapper and gentlemanly without knowing Suiting 101 [Buzzfeed]

20 Things I Will Not Regret Doing With My Kids [Huffington Post]

Lessons learnt from Ogilvy. You don’t need to be an Ad guy to read this [Medium]

Excellent collection of 18 iPhone Apps you must consider [Bhatnaturally]

And yes I said yes I will Yes

Last week I had an interesting experience with one of the local auto rickshaw drivers. Now, let me give you some background first. When I get off the train station most rickshaw drivers will refuse the journey to my office [For reasons unknown]. And then last week one of the rickshaw drivers said: YES. I jumped in.

As we got on the road this is what he said:

Sahab, aaj subah mein ghar se nikla toh apne aap ko bola ki kisi bhi passenger ko mana nahin karoonga. Mein dekhta hoon aaj kya hota hai agar sab passenger ko kisi bhi jagah le jaata hoon.

English translation: This morning I decided I wont’ refuse any passenger. Let’s see what happens if I agree on every journey the customer requests.

And yes I said yes I will yes

On a typical day when most of these drivers have disappointed you, this suddenly brings in such a confident mood into you. Lifehacker techniques usually teach you “Learn to say no”. Be picky of things you do. Allocate your time wisely. Do a background check, is it good / bad?

However, it would be rather interesting to get up one morning and tell yourself – “Let’s say YES today.” Your wife wants to go to a new restaurant, don’t check the review – Say YES. Friends call for a movie, don’t ask “Is it good?” say YES.

I am trying to adopt this for 2014. Not a resolution, but a change of attitude. Let’s see where it takes me. What do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comments area.

Let’s reach for the stars in 2014

2013 comes to an end tonight. The year has been quite a roller coaster ride for me.

Reach for the sky 2014

Towards the end of 2012 I became a father and that was a responsibility which has only got larger in 2013, with little T growing up fast and demanding more of our time and attention. 2014 she will add a few more milestones – the biggest being the start of her schooling.

Mid 2013 I moved back to India after completing 2 years in Kenya. This was a big change and exploring the Indian market for new career opportunities was a tough ride. I had the chance to meet a good set of people who exposed me to some very interesting projects. After much evaluation last month I took on the role at RAPP India [Part of the Omnicom & DDB Mudra Group]. Look forward to exploiting my skill sets to the maximum in 2014 and making this role yet another keystone in my career.

Before moving back to India I am glad to have visited the “must see” Masai Mara of Africa. (Yes, I am yet to publish the photos from that trip). The Easter Break I spent some much needed time away from office and visited family in Bahrain. Little T’s first holiday and it was fun. Back in India we did a few religious trips, spent time with good friends in Gurgaon & visited the family in Kolkata.

The second half of the year gave me a lot of free time to pursue some of my hobbies. I read about 4-5 books in the last few months which after little T’s birth has been quite an achievement. My habit of personal journaling has got a bit more active thanks to the Day One app and I am also writing a bit more in the Moleskine. Like every year I hope I will write more the next year.

What I am really happy about is that after much procrastination and laziness I finally put pen to paper and have written the first few chapters of my diary titled – Life’s Lessons: Some big and some so very important. This is an attempt to train myself to become a Robin Sharma inspired life coach.

There are some changes I would like to adopt in 2014 to help me lead a much more productive, happier and healthier life. But more on that maybe a little later.

As I wind down 2013 would like to wish all my readers, friends & families A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR and I do wish you all lots of love, luck & success in 2014. 

Weekend Reading #3

This will be the last Weekend for 2013 and I am sure most of you will be busy preparing and putting your end of year plans into action. When you sit down for a break and sip your coffee, here are some interesting pieces for you to read.

How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to doing what you love [Brain Pickings]

“Life really begins when you have discovered that you can do anything you want”

Key points from a book written almost 63 years ago but yet holds some relevance to understand what we want from our work and how it impacts our life interests.

How to Eat Curry [The Guardian]
A fun guide on how a foreigner advises readers to pick & eat curry the right way.

Misconceptions of being healthy [Medium]
The writer shares his experience on how he got himself into the gym and the fact that he regrets having not started a healthy lifestyle 3 years ago itself. Read this, might motivate you to hit the gym too. It at least got me thinking of fitting in some exercise into my schedule.

Marriage isn’t for you [Seth Adam Seth]
Don’t let the title mis-lead you. The author gives an interesting perspective on what should be your role and expectation from a marriage. Read it – No matter what your Marital Status is.