Saturday, November 15, 2014

5 Signs Your Colleagues Are Plotting Against You

Sometimes the obvious signs when things don't work out too well for you, aren't obvious enough. Here's how to tell if your team mates are plotting to get rid of you in a non-violent way.

It's always when you least expect it.
1. They've noticed you steal from the office storage cupboards
Stealing is wrong. If you've been taking home office property then you are a bad person and ought to be punished. Even if you think you've gotten away with it there's always a slight possibility that someone saw you. You's in big trouble now, mistah/missy!

2. Experienced others are doing your share of the job better than you
Okay so you did a little stealing. But now you've also been avoiding your daily job duties by watching funny YouTube videos all day while you download movies. This just increased the workload for everyone else and they're getting better at your job while they do it for you too. Why were you hired again?

3. You've been trying and failing at bringing your teammates down
Now that you know that your team members have caught you in the act you choose to pretend like you did nothing wrong. You think about  ways to get rid of all witnesses and decided publicly insulting the intelligence of your colleagues will help you out because there's nothing you can do about it. Pretending this is all their fault seemed like a good idea at the time.

4. Your boss saw through your faux marketing presentations
Okay, so maybe you've screwed it up with the team. This would be a good time to butter up the boss so that you get one up on them. Unfortunately your knowledge is limited to big words and making big numbers appear on the calculator. You know the boss can tell but who cares, right?

5. You dissed the boss to a colleague on email and Cced him along
So far, so bad. Everything you do only seems to get yourself in more trouble. So now what do you do? Demean the boss to colleagues who could care less about what you think by now. You've come so far so why stop there? So you do it on email and deliberately Cc him/her along. If there was a 'worst employee of the month' award, you know you'd be winning it.

If you haven't already thought about quitting after all this, you should. Even if you haven't your colleagues are plotting to get rid of you and your boss will beat them to it!

This article was inspired by a colleague who did all of the above and more. Thankfully, the bloke no longer works with us.

Friday, May 30, 2014

I Am Not Pregnant - An Open Letter

Dear Concerned Friends,

(Does not concern family)

It's been less than two years since the white dress, tiered cake and the rest of the typical Goan Catholic wedding scenario. And already, you and so many others feel this irresistible impulse to ask me if my dear husband has impregnated me as yet. Why? Why are you asking? Why do you need to know? And why can't you ever use the word 'pregnant' so i know what you're talking about?

Here's just a teensy bit of what you sound like. 

1. Any special news?
2. Any announcements?
3. Keep trying in life to achieve something.
4. Any good news?
5. Any interesting news you want to share?

When I respond with a negative on the 9 month default situation you get weirder.

1. Oh, so sad. Why?
2. So when then? And why you guys waiting so long? Is something wrong?
3. Achieve something means have babies.
4. Arre, but why?
5. I just want to be happy for you.
6. Here let me encourage you with an old-timey image of me when I was such a cute widdle baby.
7. But it's been at least 2 years already, right?
8. Is everything okay between you and hubby? :(

Is this all we need to talk about when we say hello? Also, why must you ask this inane question every few months. I have not been mean and sarcastic with you about it because I've been told that that would be very impolite. If I can keep it together and not label you as a brainwashed pawn of society, I expect the same kind of restraint when it comes to your need to incessantly keep asking me about being with child or not.

So please, quit it with this "good news" hogwash already. And if you really must ask such questions, ask me why I haven't adopted a cat as yet. I will be most thrilled to tell you all about my dreams of having a cat and why it has not happened as yet.

With love,
Mother of none.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mangalorean Seafood at Canara Restaurant, Dubai

What do Goans eat when they want a change from their own cuisine? Mangalorean or Kerela cuisine of course! Okay, not really, though these states really know their seafood and need for coconut as a prominent ingredient in practically every dish. You just cannot have a curry without coconut in it or fried fish minus semolina. Really, you just don't.

And so, lunch at the quaint and cozy little Canara restaurant was a perfect choice. With the restaurant's coconut-infused Mangalorean cuisine we knew we wouldn't be disappointed.

Rice, Curries and Fish
The first on our list of dishes to order included some plain boiled rice. While it does takes a little extra cooking time, it is comparatively healthy (thanks to a bit of bran left on the rice grains) than your usual white rice options like Tilda's Basmati.

And what goes great with rice? Fish curries accompanied by lots more fish on the side! Our curry dish was a mildly spicy prawn curry with ivy gourd. Side dishes included shellfish prepared in a spicy mixture with bits of coconut and sauteed squids. But the piece de resistance were the semolina-fried Bombay duck. Do note that a Bombay Duck isn't a an actual duck but rather, a fish.

Vegetables and Chutney
The black chickpeas served with coconut and sliced ivy gourd made for a great side dish while the grated and spiced coconut went well with everything else. It's coconut. You just do not say no to coconut!

What foodies would be most interested to know is that this joint will not burn a hole in your pocket (bad pun?). About Dhs. 110 for all of the above made it a very satisfying meal for two.

Canara restaurant is a popular choice for Goans, Mangaloreans and anyone from the south of India, and is located behind the Iranian School in Al Karama, Dubai. Interested in a visit? Know more about Canara restaurant menu and prices on Zomato.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Caturday Special - Say Hello to Koko Knut the Cat

Introducing, the very cute, Koko Knut!

Lucky us! Our friends adopted a cat and appointed as godparents, me and hubby. As unexciting this may seem to the average Joe and Jane, cat lovers around the world alone will understand the joy and honour that comes with hearing such exciting news. Here is the story of Koko Knut.

Koko the cat was found scurrying about and dodging vehicles on a mildly busy street before being rescued by Pats. Koko is now a registered kitten about six to eight weeks old and will be micro-chipped (as per UAE Municipality requirements) soon. She is being well fed, gets a lot of attention at home and has not broken stuff or destroyed any upholstery so far.

On our first visit to see Koko we got her her own mini scratching pad. She's already got a few toy mice to play with so will take some time getting used to her new toy. As godparents to this very adorable cat we fully intend to visit as often as we can. These events might even be included as part of some weekly Caturday specials on the blog.

Happy Caturday! 

Live in the UAE and want to adopt a cat? You can learn about how to register your pet and other valuable information for you and your cat here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

RAWR! Dinosaur Skeleton on Display at The Dubai Mall

The Dubai Mall as always, continues to bring in exciting entertainment every once in a while. From engaging musical plays for kids to enthralling performance shows, boredom at The Dubai Mall just isn't a feeling associated with the place. As much as shopping right next to one of the tallest buildings in the world may be, The Dubai Mall certainly has plenty for the curious bystander and all to see.

Unearthed and flown all the way from Wyoming, USA and now settled at The Dubai Mall is a 155 million years old, original dinosaur skeleton. This prehistoric skeletal frame on display is as real as it gets and is an incomparable exhibit, with nearly all its bones intact. The tail bones were found broken, either due to a predator bite or a traumatic tail fight.

Makes you wonder if tails knotted up together during a tail fight, would it end up being a tie? And that pun was most definitely intended!

Back to the herbivorous dinosaur skeleton story. The bones are said to belong to a long-necked, whip-tailed Diplodocus Longus (derived fromt the Greek words diplos meaning 'double' and dokos meaning 'beam'). When discovered at the escavation site, the dinosaur remains were found in a sleeping position with almost all 360 of its bones intact and was escavated over a period of two years. It is thought to have died during a drought at the Dana Quarry, as it was a natural trap for predetors and prey.

Fun Diplodocus Longus Facts
- Very little blood supply was needed for its tiny brain. Blood pumped up every 10 minutes was good enough.
- As heavy as five-elephants, these particular lizard-footed dinos were vegetarians and feasted on big greens.
- The skeleton is 80 ft (24.4 metres) long and 25 ft (7.6 metres) high sprightly young adult about 25 years old.

Want to know more about this prehistoric find? Head to The Dubai Mall and grill those ever-helpful, trained staff by the exhibit when you're there. Plus it's a tall view you wouldn't want to miss.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Engagement Ring is a Relatively Modern Tradition

You’ve probably heard it more than a dozen times over the radio and even sung along with BeyoncĂ© as she confidently sashays in her music video and sings the lyrics, “If you like it then you should’ve put a ring on it”. Even if you haven’t you are likely well-versed with the trend where a girl usually expects to be gifted a ring by a man she likes. But is this affectionate tradition that ensures the sparkling diamond industry stays running for so long really go all that far back? Well, not really. Although the tradition of a gentleman giving a ring to his lady who has promised to be his bride goes back centuries, it is the diamond engagement rings that are a relatively recent innovation. That’s love in the diamond industry!

Diamond engagement rings first became popular in the 1930s with credit to the De Beers Diamond Corporation’s slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” As the trend caught on by 1965, 80 percent of all new brides in the United States sported one. Today this very tradition still runs strong with promises sealed with a diamond (or three).

With a variety of artistically modern or antique styles that are readily available, often the easiest way to shop for an engagement ring is online. The antique engagement ring style can either be family heirlooms that are passed down from generation to generation or diamond engagement rings that are re-created by jewelry makers to resemble those of diamond engagement rings created in the past. Antique engagement ring styles can feature engravings in the settings, pave engagement ring settings, and different colored gemstones in combination with diamonds. Designer engagement rings are also widely preferred because of the very status of the ring being created by a particular jewelry company.

The words, “I love you” can be said in so many ways when it comes to engagement rings. It could be just a single sparkling diamond in the form of a solitaire, or a solitaire with side accents radiantly paired with diamonds or even a three stone ring set in platinum or gold. One may go the extra mile and create your own unique design by choosing from types of diamond cuts, colored diamonds, metals and many other details for such a special occasion as well.

Albeit, when it comes to a lady’s choice vintage engagement rings are always give a higher preference since they are more ornate than modern engagement rings, which tend to favor simplistic minimalism with their cleaner lines. Vintage rings are more likely to have accent stones and scrolling on the ring band and beautifully handcrafted details. Modern engagement rings, on the other hand, tend to be sleek and straightforward, with minimal accents that say more with less.

Today though, the diamond engagement ring remains a powerful universal expression of everlasting love, and an essential part of the marriage ritual, across the globe. A divine diamond mingled with the power of love.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Find Your Soulmate - A Sample Survey

Recently a close friend shared with me (and others) the following questionnaire sent by a potential spouse. The courageous friend has applied for the position of 'spouse' and is awaiting selection for a physical/virtual interview if shortlisted. The friend claims that it is neither an arranged nor a love relationship, prefers not to have the situation categorised and has left me confused. Guess it's complicated.

Minimum editing has been made to the original questionnaire with respect to grammar or spelling though any names of cities have been removed.

For those of you in need of a few tips when looking for a potential spouse shall find the list interesting.

Feel free to respond at your convenience and if you have any questions for me, feel free to send me.
Please answer as honestly as possible cos what you think and believe are also important.
Of course I would like to have been able to spend more time with you and get these answered once i felt it was a comfortable time to bring it up, but unfortunately I need to make some sort of a decision soon, hope you don't mind

1)      Do you have a time frame within which you want to get married or is that flexible?
2)      Where do you see yourself living after marriage?
3)      Would you be open to (city name removed)? Are you comfortable at the thought of living in (city name removed)?
4)      Are you open to moving abroad if the opportunity does come up. Any plans or progress on that end?
5)      Are you currently staying in an owned house or a rental?
6)      Will it be a concern for you if I have a job that involves night shifts?
7)      Will it be a concern for you if I continue to support my parents financially after marriage?
8)      What are your thoughts on me being able to work after marriage?
9)      What are your thoughts on me being able to study after marriage (if required)
10)      What are your feelings about me being able to meet my friends and family after marriage
11)      I cant currently cook but will learn eventually. How important is it for me to be able to cook and cook well by the time I am married.
12)      What is your preferred mode of communication to stay in touch (when not able to meet)? Would you be okay with messaging over calling?
13)   How much are you currently earning?
14)   Do you have investments and savings?
15)   Do you believe you are financially stable for marriage?
16)   Is it important for you for us to live with parents after marriage?
17) If neither (city name removed) nor abroad works out, where do you plan on living?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

6 John Green Books You Ought To Read

Sure, neither the 2013 collection nor the Coelho collection are complete but it certainly seems more likely (read: shorter list) to complete this list since two from the list are already done.

These 6 are my new list of books to read. I've already completed An Abundance of Katherines and The Fault in Our Stars (who hasn't read that?!) and hopefully I'll be moving on to Paper tows next. 

An Abundance of Katherines
Let it Snow
Looking for Alaska
Paper Towns
The Fault in Our Stars
Will Grayson Will Grayson

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Fashion in Dubai - Brands Perfect Style Event

The Brands Perfect Style Event put an end to a generally hectic work week last Thursday. Since this was my first fashion-related event in Dubai, I badgered close buddy and food enthusiast Evelyn to tag along too.
Show stealer - Manoj (center)

Warm greetings arrived in the form of the welcoming Ms.Veronique when we arrived fashionably early.

Also at the event were Ms. Orhla of The Snobby Runway and the lovely lady from Your Bubbly Butterfly, besides other bloggers, guests and folks from the fashion universe.

Stars of the event were all the contestants for the fashion event, including Manoj who captivated the crowd with his smoldering and suave looks and came out on top. But then again, all the contestants came out as winners. The young men who were runner ups received vouchers they could redeem at the Brands store and the two little ladies would get a wonderful spa day filled with glorious mani-pedis and more. Also, they will all get to strut their stuff in the September fashion show.

Fashion found at Brands include spirited casuals and classy formals for not just the gents but the ladies too. In fact, they will certainly rolling out more in September.

While it may seem like the store caters more of their merchandise for the guys, they will certainly be expanding their lines of ladies wear also by September.

Goodies were received in the form of the free tee for us bloggers, plus a little more with a smart tie to take home for my man and a set of store-branded mugs.

A little disappointed as me and everyone else were really looking forward to the style advice from the fashion experts. Sadly though, none of those mentioned arrived. Unless they were the judges? Either way, would have been more complete with a few fashion tips from the pros. A fun event, nevertheless.

A little fashion advice from a friend --

"I'm no hard-core fashion-expert but what I do like is being street-smart when it comes to fashion. Fashion and style isn't quantum physics. Anyone with an eye for detail who can pull on a splendid and attractive ensemble without having to appear to be trying too hard can be fashionable."

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

4 Lessons To Learn From Flappy Bird

The last two weeks were filled with Flappy Bird this and Flappy Bird that it probably drove a lot of people crazy. Apart from the fact that Flappy Bird is a ridiculously easy and difficult game, there certainly are valuable lessons you can learn from playing this or other game for that matter.

4. Life is a series of obstacles

Like you did not know that already. But like a lot of games obstacles are going to keep coming at you all the time because that is just how life works. With Flappy Bird you can at least see obstacles coming your way. That happens in life everyday too. One minute you are walking along the pavement just minding your own business probably checking Twitter and Facebook for updates on your phone and the next, boom, you face-bump into a lamp post. It's not that your eyes were closed, you just weren't paying enough attention. And that's why your bird hit one of those green pipes while playing Flappy Bird.

3. You are going to die
Probably not right now, but definitely eventually unless you are immortal. Each time a bird dies during Flappy Bird, it should remind you that one of those obstacles in plain sight are going to be the cause of death and sickness is just as much an obstacle as is old age. Other obstacles include stress and depression and here is where you get a second chance. A chance to...

2. Start over again
Some things are not permanent. We often don't realise it, but starting from scratch means you can do something better than before. That's what Flappy Bird is all about. You die, you come back from the dead and try to get farther than before. And that's how you beat some of those obstacles. You get right back up and try harder to stay alive for longer.

1. De-stress
But the most important lesson you can take home from Flappy Bird is that you need to take life calmly. Anyone who manages to wrap up Flappy Bird with a score higher than 60 will tell you that their highest scores were achieved mostly when they were in a relaxed state of mind. So when things get frustratingly hard at times, you are better off solving your problems with a clear head. Breathe in, breathe out, live.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Heads Up Bloggers! Brands Perfect Style Event

Bloggers of Dubai are invited for an evening of style lessons and more at the Brands' Perfect Style Event on Thursday, 27th of February at 6:30 pm.If you are an avid fashion and style blogger or just plain interested in rubbing shoulders with fellow bloggers of your kind, the Perfect Style event is where you ought to be. Plus, free entry and a tee.

You'll get to meet the semi-finalists and watch winners being selected from the 'Brands Model Search Contest', collect valuable tips on perfecting looks and get featured on the Brands website too. Also, prizes to be won!

Four Guest speakers will be there at the event to share their professional advice on topics related to fashion.
  • Wietske van de Weele Former director Tommy Hilfinger Netherlands.
  • Ellen Hamid Former owner of a baby shop, present Yacht broker and professional sailor
  • Abid Hamid Business development manager at SThree Group (an international specialist recruitment business) Clothes are very important for work environment.
  • Nicolette Pouw ( Former manager of CH, Lacoste)

To know more enlarge the first image included in this post.

To get an invite email your T-shirt size with confirmation of attendance to

Location is at

Mazaya Centre, Sheikh Zayad Road, Dubai, UAE.

Tweet to me at @epicgrammatic if you're planning on going. See you there!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Orange is The New Black

Bright and tangy colours will definitely be creeping into everyone's wardrobes all through spring. They'll start by being all shades of pastel and then as summer sets in you'll get your neons coupled with spiked accessories to match.

A recent shoe shopping trip ensured that each pair i bought had a hint of orange in it already. Thinking of adding a helping of the fiery colour to your everyday outfits and accessories? Here's how you can rock a few neons by the time summer decides to ruin the weather for all of Dubai.

[See How Neons Fared In Summer 2013]

Accessories can include but will certainly not be limited to bracelets, headbands, rings, scarves, phone covers, shoes, sunglasses and bags.

Strappy, metallic and studded. These are the three kinds of embellishments you will need to keep in mind while you choose your accessories.

Skip the pearly hues. Neons are all about being bold. Go wild with neon nail shades.

If neon is your thing then dodge prints and either colour-block or wear shades as a solid colour.

Match our neon ensemble with white, gold, black and creams or beige.

Got any bright ideas to wear neon this summer? Tweet them at @epicgrammatic

ote: Shoes pictured here and other great choices can be found at Payless, Mirdiff CityCentre, Dubai.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Goodbye Flappy Bird, Wasted Hours

After downloading Flappy Bird on my LG G2 and my HP Slatebook x2 (found it easier to play on the 10.1" screen), it took me somewhere around two whole days to make it through 105 of those green pipes before I decided to give up. Two hours later, a pressurised Flappy Bird's creator, Dong Nguyen decides it's time to take it down because of its increasing popularity. Oh well, so much for that.

Flappy Bird is a simple game for your Android or iOS phone that involves tapping your finger/thumb on the screen to keep a very serious-looking bird airborne long enough without letting it fly into a pipe and falling to the ground. You get the feeling the scenery is an imitation of Mario, but it has its originality. A different colour bird flies in after each "death" and often the scenery alternates between night and day. Signing in to Google+ via the app lets you share your score with friends too.

The trick to playing Flappy Bird is through short bursts of consistent tapping on the screen to make the bird fly up or down through the pipes without getting hit, falling to the ground or both. Your score number tells you the number of pipes you managed to fly though successfully. Survival of the bird depends on your finger/thumb, so try not to let your bird fly into pipes or fall on its face.

Flappy Bird became popular because of how easy it is to get addicted to the game. Plus, you fall flat on the ground so quickly, you just can't help playing all over again.

My High score reached 105 before deciding to give up the game. How far did you get with Flappy Bird?

Update: Flappy Bird is once more available on the Google Play store for the world to waste more time.

Get Noticed! 9 Gifts For Your Valentine

Your gifting skills needs a makeover when it comes to great gifts for your Valentine. Cheap perfumes, chocolates, movie tickets and watches are all a big fat bore and so horribly cliché that they must be left behind for dead. Got money in the bank for some serious gifting? If yes, please try one of these non-sexist gifts that are sure to get you noticed.


Read: Love is Like That

Easily Achievable

10. Kinde or Nook
Got a partner that loves to read and is always running out of space on their shelves? Amazon Kindle or a Barnes and Noble Nook should do just fine. Both use e-ink technology to make reading seem more book-like and last for about a month or two on a single charge depending on your daily usage. If buying a brand new one is not feasible, you could always go ahead and buy a second-hand piece on Ebay.

9. A catNow really, whoever heard of a cat's purr that couldn't sooth a troubled soul? Nobody. This is why you ought to get one for him/her. Case closed.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Pets Are Awesome For Your Health

8. Box of Books
By now you must know his or her tastes in book genres. Find out, if you have not already. Borrow or use an old carton box that has been lying around in your loft or basement. Neatly arrange book titles you know they are sure to love. Now wrap it up in fancy wrapping paper if you must and you are good to go.

7. Cards from The Oatmeal
In case you are not already a fan, you should visit The Oatmeal right now! While you are there, buy one of these awesome cards and gift them to your loved one any time of the year.

Dare to Overspend
6. Travel/Adventure challenge
“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” - Rumi
Take the adventurous travel challenge and discover love like never before. Taste new dishes, trek up a few hills or live in luxury in as many of the best hotels in the world. Whichever way you choose to make it happen, the memories will make it worth everything.

5. Google Chromecast
Google Chromecast is the perfect gift idea for a TV-junkie. The wireless stick plugs into the back of a TV's HDMI port for easy video-streaming from Netflix, Hulu Plus, and HBO Go, among others. Sit back, order in and slip out of those pajamas. Warning: May lead to much cuddling on the couch.

4. Dream job
Got contacts like nobody else? Be the lucky ticket s/he has been craving for to kickstart their career. Consider it your good deed for the month/year/lifetime.

3. A library
No matter what people tell you, there is no such thing as being too obsessed with books. While ebooks are cool, dead-tree print still has not gone out of fashion. A gignormous library filled with history, art and literature from long ago will put a smile on anyone's face.

2. That one-wheeled electric motorcycle
The microcycle has a single 25-inch motorcycle tire and reaches speeds up to 10 mph. It even uses a combination of gyroscope sensors and accelerometers to balance itself. How's that for a great gift?

The Perfect Gift
1. The world.
World domination is quite possibly everyone's ultimate dream. If  obtaining planet Earth is a little out of reach, think outside the box. Try out other planets from neighbouring solar systems. There are always other worlds to conquer. The best part is that the world will come packaged with you, primarily, and everything else inside it.

Happy Valentine's!

Think this article has missed out on a few ideas? Share yours in the comments below.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

"Doctor Who" Sale At Mall Of The Emirates

Doctor Who merchandise is up for grabs for every Whovian in Dubai at the Lakeland store in Mall of The Emirates.

Throwing a little Doctor Who party just got easier and far less messier than having to buy substitute materials to create your own set of cakes or chocolates. Want own some cool Doctor Who collectibles to make your Whovian friends jealous? Allons-Y already! Stock is limited, so you had better hurry on over to the Lakeland store at Mall of The Emirates to grab your Doctor Who goodies before any Cybermen or Daleks hold them ransom. Or worse, other Whovians buy them all before you even make it to the store.

Available Goodies
Party Gear
Coffee mugs
Cake, chocolate and ice moulds
Cookie jars

Directions and Contact Information
Near a metro station? Hop on a metro and get off at the MOE metro station on the Red Line.
Want to confirm stock availability? Call up the store on +971 43236081.

About Lakeland
Based in Mall of the Emirates and Mirdif City Center, Lakeland is to keen cooks and foodies what Crosswords is to book and comic nerds. Expect nothing less than top-of-the-range kitchen accessories and gadgets, designed to save time and money in the kitchen.

Note: Doctor Who merchandise is unavailable at the Lakeland store at Mirdiff City Centre. Interested Whovians must head straight to the Mall of The Emirates, Dubai.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Aviate Launcher For Android is Logical, Simple and Clean

Aviate, the latest Android OS launcher is apparently a must-have on your smartphone right now. And knowing that I might be interested, close friend and sharer of information on all things tech, Romario, was kind enough to send me an invite.

Aviate is a smart app that tracks your usage patterns and automatically categorizes applications stored on your Android phone based on context such as WiFi, GPS, time of day, or accelerometer. Aviate sorts your apps into categories and pages based on time of day, or where you are.

Aviate is cool because, when you're at work, the launcher displays a work screen with productivity apps like the Calendar and Calculator apps. When you're at home, you have entertainment-based apps like YouTube on your screen.

For instance, Aviate understood that the first application I check every morning is Gmail and the last one before I sleep is usually the Goodreads application. So now, every morning, the top of my phone home screen has a shortcut to the Gmail application. Aviate needs to know what apps you have installed as well as your location to do this.

The learning nature of Aviate automatically displays for you a better and user-friendly home screen with apps based on location and time of day. What Aviate calls spaces, are these sets of applications that match your needs whether they be at home in the morning, driving, at work, or at home in the evening.  The best part is, the more you use Aviate, the more it learns and smarter it gets, perfecting your Android experience.

The look and feel with Aviate is neat and clean. You can choose either the light or dark theme in settings. Plus, you may use more than one image on your home screen. This ensures applications are not in the way of the image due to being placed in some odd position that requires change each time you use a different wallpaper.

There are four screens on Aviate. Swiping to the left takes you to the first screen that sort of works as a settings page. The second screen is the home screen with Collections to the right. Collections include  'sets' or 'collections' of your phone applications in Social, Work, Music and other categories that can be tweaked by placing the boxes as per priority. And the last screen takes you to a sort of application drawer that neatly displays all applications on your phone in alphabetical order.

Thanks to the recent Yahoo acquisition, if you are among the first 25,000 people you can use the code “YAHOO” and give Aviate a try. Or if you know a friend they could send you an invite instead. If you are not as lucky, worry not, Aviate is still worth the wait. Update: Aviate is now available for everyone's smartphones.

Are you a fellow Aviator? Reply in the comments below or tweet your reply to @epicgrammatic about your experience with Aviate Launcher.

Romario is one of my favourite go-to friends when it comes to smartphones, tablets and laptops, and is a complete gamer geek. He has nice hair, is funny and polite. Follow Romario on Twitter.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Poisoned Food, Ghost Tales and An Inspired Alchemist

The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken, Afterlife Ghost Stories From Goa and The Alchemist are three recently read books. Read on to know which of these could be the next book on your bedside table.

1. The Case of the Deadly Butter Chicken - Tarquin Hall
Vish Puri is Delhi's Most Private Detective and like so many Indians back home speaks in a mixture of his own concoction of English and Hindi. Creamy, buttery, butter chicken is one of his favourites. So when it’s served at the Delhi Durbar hotel at an India Premier League cricket match dinner, he’s the first to tuck in. Faheem Khan, father of Pakistani star cricketer Kamran Khan, probably didn't relish it because he ended up dead after a few mouthfuls. Now it's up to Vish Puri to solve the case.
There are other stories that unravel themselves during the course of the hunt for the murderer that makes the story fun. To say that Cricket and food was given importance should be no surprise as that is what most folk of Delhi (and other cities) thrive on. That, and Bollywood. A little history and travel weaved in makes you want to visit new places too. The end comes with a tangy twist that may leave you dissatisfied and glad that it's all over at the same time.

2. Afterlife Ghost Stories From Goa - Jessica Faleiro
The story begins in Goa. The Fonseca family gathered in Savio's house on the eve of his seventy-fifth birthday. It starts raining heavily, the electricity fails, and in the candlelight, the family members start narrating their encounters with the supernatural. As the night goes on, more stories are revealed, all connected to the Fonseca name that tells of an ancient curse that has bound the family to doom.   For a better understanding of the book, here is an excerpt from Jessica's article in the Herald that sums up how the stories are portrayed in the book. "[Ghost stories are] not a metaphor for anything sinister; the original manuscript for my novel was based on ghost stories.  After months of research and writing, followed by more research and more writing, I’m beginning to realise that ghosts aren’t necessarily about those ethereal, supernatural entities that creep us out. They could also be about the things that haunt us."

3. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho 

Shepherd boy Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids thanks to a strange dream, a Gypsy woman and a man who calls himself a king and alchemist. Santiago goes out on his quest and is not deterred by the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within himself.

A book like many other books telling you to follow your dreams and with a happy ending too. The personified wind and alchemy aside, Paulo Coelho's Alchemist is every bit as inspiring as I was told it would be. It teaches you the kind of patience that brings peace inside you mind. It inspires you to travel a little in your life. It motivates you to move. Perhaps we all cannot be Santiago in the world of today but that should not stop us from exploring and discovering new things. That Santiago dude is one lucky shepherd to have followed that crazy dream.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

6 Reasons You Should Stay On With a Low-Paying Job

So you just got a job that pays you in peanut shells and you need to know if you staying on is still okay, read on.

1. This is your first job
Often, the most obvious reason is that you haven't got any prior experience in your field of choice. Starting small can often lead to bigger opportunities and eventually a chance for richer learning. Starting from scratch helps lay the foundation for your future and even a way to work your way to the top.

2. You need this job experience
We would all love to be picky about the kind of opportunities offered. Sometimes, a good offer comes in small packages but can result in much-needed experience you previously didn't have. Think of it as climbing the ladder to success. One rung at a time.

3. Your CV was picked out of many
Your CV spoke for you. Going through a pile of CVs can be tiresome for any company that's looking to hire. Most of the pile goes straight to the bin. Yours didn't. This means that the company saw something in you that they were looking for.

4. Your work is appreciated
Being underpaid and unappreciated is one thing, but underpaid but appreciated for the quality of your work will result in you working harder to improve yourself on a regular basis.

5. Challenge accepted
Have you ever done this kind of work before? No? Does it pique your interest? Yes? Yes, it's as simple as that. Meeting the same clients or performing a certain task repeatedly can get monotonous and eventually bore you to kingdom come. Fresh challenges can change that for you.

6. Pays the rent
If it is enough to survive on for the moment and leaves a roof over your head, working at your current office should be alright. Just make sure you keep regular track of your expenses and note your savings too. Even if the pay keeps your wallet lighter than you would want it to be, today might not be the day to give up.