Friday, October 21, 2011

It is the season of festivals

Fall and winter is somehow associated with festivals not only in India but elsewhere in the world too. For example Americans are bracing up for Halloween, later this month and Thanksgiving next month and then of course Christmas in December. What does all this mean? It just shows the similarity between the diverse cultures across the world. Halloween is celebrated as an event when children go trick or treating to various homes collecting candies. In India during Dasara or Navrathri kids visit homes to take a look at the display of dolls and receive home made snacks and treats. America being a industrialized society there is very little that people cook at home, it is mostly pre-packaged in large factories.

While in India we exchange gifts and get together as a family during Diwali and pray to the lord for a better and prosperous year, the same thing repeats in America on Thanksgiving day when individuals travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to be with their families. Thanksgiving is synonymous with the black Friday sales that happen all over the country in which fantastic bargains are offered on all consumer products from clothes to computers. That is exactly what happens in India, there are sales galore everywhere.

Every business worth its name comes up with special commemoratory products during this season. Similarly American Express has come up with the Diwali Gift Cards to provide a festive flavor to gifting. These gift cards are specially designed to match the theme of Diwali and are available in various denominations.

You can enter a contest and win your own $50 Diwali gift card from American Express. All you need to do is to share your favorite Diwali memories on this blog. Leave a comment here and tell me what you think about Diwali and how many fond memories are associated with this festival. The entries will be placed in a draw of lots and five winners will be chosen on Sunday, October 23, 2011. Winners will receive $50 gift cards from American Express shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Diwali is Approaching Fast....

Diwali celebrations in Coventry, United Kingdo...Image via WikipediaThis year Diwali is going to be on October 26, 2011, a little over a week from today. What have you planned for the festival? What about gifts you are going to give to your loved ones. I have always believed in giving the perfect gift - something that the recipient has always wanted. It is quite tough to be able to read someone's mind and give them the gift that is desired.

The closest one can get is giving an instrument that will enable your loved one to get what they desire. After all we want the best for our loved ones. Since last year I have started giving my family and close friends and of course the most avid readers of my blog the Diwali Gift Cards from American Express. These gift cards are so convenient they come in different values and can be used any where online or offline. As part of the festival offer we are giving away five $50 gift cards to my blog readers.

All you need to do is leave a comment in response to this blogpost elaborating your plans for this Diwali and what special things you plan to do for your loved ones. That is all you need to do to get a $50 gift card.

You could even tell me what you would do with the extra $50 you get during this festival season. Will you spend it on clothes, gifts, eating out or just give it away to your family. I will be choosing five winners from those who have commented during the past few days and sending the gifts pretty soon. If you want to get into the drawing make sure you leave your comments today... no... right now...

Monday, October 17, 2011

A story of Human Grit

Today I met a gentleman in my apartment complex. He is an avid biker and has several interesting bikes of the vintage era including a 500 cc Matchless, BSA Golden Flash, couple of Triumph twins among others. I stopped by his garage to have a chat about his bikes because I saw him working on one of them. We were primarily talking about bikes and riding. "I feel far more safe on the highway 75 going at 75 mph, than on the city roads going at 30mph," he remarked. I was surprised and he explained that on the highway as long as you maintained the speed and rode in your lane at a safe distance from other cars it is no problems. In the city cars come really close to you and it is quite dangerous to ride. He still rides bikes that don't have disc brakes or electronic ignition. Slowly our conversation progressed from motorcycles to traffic to business, employment and he said that there was so much corruption in the corporate world that he wouldn't want to go back to his job. Then I asked him if he was retired, to which he explained that he is technically blind. Apparently some undiagnosed illness afflicted him few years ago which made him completely blind. Now after some aggressive treatments he can see fairly well. He further explained how he had built up complete motorcycles when he was so blind that he couldn't find his way back home from the paring lot (about 20 steps). "I adjusted valves and set the guides in this bike when I was completely blind. I just knew what I was doing and had a feel for how much smooth the valves had to be ground and adjusted". After having the chat, I have a new story of human grit and another reason that I need to start riding motorcycles again. I need to get a license and find a motorcycle too. Let us hope that this happens quickly.