Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Clap your way to a happy house!

Gone are the days when being tended to for beauty services at the comfort of one’s own home is considered a luxury. Also, quickly going are the days when one has to scramble for an appointment with their stylist or specialist.

Everything is available at the tip of our fingers and a call away.

As a young adult, I used to wonder how I would ever face the world of home responsibilities. Be it plumbing issues, or pest control issues, or cleaning issues – my parents always seemed to know a guy. I didn’t (and still don’t!) know my own neighbours! Repairing appliances was a headache beyond no other. How do you find someone to repair a mixie? Funnily, my grandma is more up to date on that. She knows repair guys who have these tiny shops streets away. I could never fathom how she found them, and even when I do take her (and our mixie) to those places, I, more often than not, cannot find my way back from there. And if they’re away like at lunch, or have decided to close shop early, we just have to embark on that adventurous journey again! [Cars don’t go through those tiny gallies, and balancing my grandma who only sits facing one side, on a scooter is no easy feat for me]
Luckily for me, for US rather! We don’t have to face that problem. Our generation, this generation, which has been brought up with technology to support us through and through has technology coming to our rescue once again!

Apps such as Urban Clap have come to do just that.

I downloaded and started exploring Urban Clap about the month ago. [Yes, there are other apps such as House Joy which follow a similar business model and almost similar competitive pricing. But I find that currently (August 2016) Urban Clap (UC from  now on) is more competitively priced]
To say that they act as liaisons and help us find many services within one app is an understatement. How do I so confidently state this? This is not a random dialogue I’m saying to make UC sound cool, or to sound cool myself. I say it because in UrbanClap you can find DIVORCE LAWYERS! I was amused to bits at finding that listed (in an app for heaven’s sake!)

Okay, that excitement aside, they do have a whole range of services to offer. For the sake of testing, I booked services such as Plumbing / Laptop repair / and Salon Services. (No, I don’t need the lawyers – now, hopefully never!)

Here’s my verdict :–

  • You get a confirmation message as soon as the service is booked
  • Within a couple of hours, we get a text with details of who will be providing the service
  • Within the app – you can access the profile of the individual service provider assigned to you
  • I got a confirmation call from the assigned service provider 12 hours prior to the service requested time – when you can explain your issue more clearly, and they give you details about; If or not they cover it, how much it might cost and other details

  • The cost is not listed for many of the services. It just states – On analysis
  • UC Points can’t be used for most services listed in the app – which is not very cool
  • I had a small issue with punctuality. But I accept some traffic leeway has to be given

Overall, an app that makes finishing chores around the house and getting repairs done very easy. One stop solution for home service needs. Makes life much simpler especially for working professionals. Definitely found a place in my phone.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bottoms Up !

"Dude, it's time. Take the first sip." S said, nursing his own glass.

"I don't think I want to bro" R gave a dirty look at the liquid

"Hey c'mon da! How could this be your first ever! Just drink already" J huffed. She was already half way through her first drink.

R gingerly picked up his glass, took it close to his lips, took a deeeeep breath. And kept it back down immediately. "It smells so bad bro" he pleaded, looking at S.

S was busy trying to suppress laughter. Not really succeeding. "Just try it. It grows on you."

Not many knew this side of R. Or expected it either. The big guy, who was built like a defender shirking away from a drink.

R tried J with a different strategy this time; "I'm sure it tastes bad. What's the point of drinking this!"

When met with just a steely glare, he resigned himself to it, and took a teensie weensie sip.
"Eeewww. Why why why!!!"

J and S laughed away, amused at R's theatrics.

"I don't want it anymore. You have mine"


"Fine" - Another minuscule sip

"You know this is good for you" J tried

"I don't think so"

"I've had twice as much as you. S has finished his. Just drink dude!"

"I don't want to" bordering a whine

"Come on da, you can do it. Just think of it as medicine" S Suggested. Still doing a bad job of suppressing his laugh.

R sighed deeply. It's like they were alternating good-cop-bad-cop routines just to make him drink! He'd evaded for so long, and lived in peace. Why start now? Why bring this upon himself?! Giving into peer pressure was not a good feeling.

He took a bigger sip. And immediately covered his mouth, so he didn't spit it out.

"It's so much worse as it goes down my throat" this time, it was a whine.

"Be a man!" J commanded

"I don't think this is worth it" He sounded so sad, that J gave up her fake stern expression and doubled up laughing.

"Watch how I do it..." S tried, sympathetically

R looked at S with almost a hero-worship level respect. All he could manage was another small sip. But he'd downed almost half by now sip by sip. Small mercies! He kept his glass down, and some liquid splashed over and on the table. He looked at it with evil glee, hoping the other two didn't notice - only to look up and find four not so amused eyes trained on him, boring into his head with disapproving looks.

"That was by accident" he sounded like a wimp even in his own head, he knew. But a man's got to do what a man's got to do.

"Okay that's it! Bottom's Up! All three of us now." J said finally.

R took a deep breath and held it in. Picked up his glass with determination gleaming in his eyes. The contents of the three glasses were emptied ... chugged down.

S was snickering away, looking at the look of disgust on R's face.

"God! All this to make a grown man drink a glass of green tea! Sheeesh!"

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Characters Lost in the First Chapter

She drove like an autobot. Eyes fixed on the road. Mindless music in a different language played in the background, but she paid no heed to it.

“Duds” he had called them. Not knowing that he had lent the most accurate word to describe himself. “I have met and spoken to many duds before, but not any good ones like you, you know?” He’d said. 

Another one bites the dust, she thought. 

It’s like those characters from the first chapter of a great romance. That little paragraph that describes those relationships past. Characters that get lost somewhere in between words like “There were many before” or “There were those who were decent, but didn’t make it”, sometimes even, “There had been that one guy she met at a café - arranged of course – they had connected like two pieces in a jig-saw puzzle, spoke nonstop for the next three days, and then something led to some other and it had gone kaput.”

Even the really good ones just get a line extra if they’re lucky. Does time spent on it matter? Sometimes! They might make it to a short story like this one.

She’d spent last night indulging in self-pity. Not anymore though; she was all cried out now. Not that there had been many tears. But the frustration lingered.

This wasn’t the same sadness as real break ups brought about. Nowhere close to the intensity of feelings that actual relationships inspired. But a break up of something tending towards a relationship is something as well.


She’d spent a month talking to a guy she’d met through her parents. A month where they’d kept in touch despite of the 11.5-hour time difference. A month, when she’d told herself that this could be the one, ignoring every instinct that told her otherwise – allowing the foolish voices that had gone “It’s too late Jamie” and “Think of your biological clock” running through her head, dominate gut feelings.

A month when she had rationalized away every warning signal, and at some point, told herself that even love wasn’t necessary in a marriage. Just companionship and easy conversation would be enough. Even if the conversations had been eighty percent about him and twenty percent about her.
Okay, to be fair, it wasn’t all that bad. Even if the conversations were majorly about him, he had had a way of making it seem entertaining. Or she had decided to believe that. He was also intelligent enough to sprinkle plenty of facts into discussions. That was a definite positive.

He liked dogs a bit too much. Her friend gave him points for that. She herself was terrified of dogs, and was not amused about his strong belief that he could change her – like no one had ever tried that before! Ha! But she had decided to keep mum about that for the moment, and have that conversation again when they had stronger feelings for each other, and other priorities (like themselves, hopefully!).

He had finally come down to the country on his two-week vacation. The month long chatting had had him generally indicating that they would meet when he came and then they would go into third or fourth gear. He had arrived, at her push (he seemed in no rush) they had met. Her clothes had been a little crumpled, she had been quite late, but they met and dined and had continued good conversations. The mall had provided adequate distractions to keep the topics general. And at the end of two hours, the gears had not shifted at all. He seemed very comfortable just in this state of limbo and non-commitment. When asked about it after, he’d said that it was still too early for him to decide anything?

Did she like him? Physically he wasn’t her type at all. But she was willing to adjust. He’d been chivalrous, which she could always appreciate and give points for (Because one is always keeping score in these things!), he had seemed to listen when she talked and interrupted with his one opinions only occasionally (Ah well) and he seemed sane enough. So over all he passed (Just about) and she was willing to give things a shot. She had been feeling pleasantly open minded right then, you see.   

The second meet, no great progress. When she gave in and asked what next – “There’s a reason I am so old and single.” Came the proud reply. Followed by, “I can’t decide man, it’s too early!” she’d responded with “Fine, what about our parents meeting? Do we just stop it all?” Inside her head, she’d gone “Pfft dude! Some people get married within a couple of months of knowing each other. After falling in love!” with a disclaimer that always followed; “Not that I want to marry him right away!” (also inside her head! - She should have paid better heed to those disclaimers that were always following most decisions about him.)

He’d said no, he was comfortable with where they were and the pace. Where they were, was a non-relationship. Not friends, not a couple, just “potential interests” for more than a month then. That’s an irritating and emotionally exhausting dormant state to be in – especially for more than a week.

A pep-talk from her bestie and her husband had her convinced that guys take more time in deciding. They need parental approval first – many a time. So they all met - the parents and them- even that had gone smoothly. But the parents had been as non-committal as he had been.

He was to leave in three days. He wasn’t man enough to call like he’d said he would. He texted on the day he was leaving. Luckily for her, she was at breakfast and seen the texts an hour late. He had texted saying that he needed more time to decide. He seemed to have waited a couple of minutes, and on receiving no response, he’d said that he wished her the very best. She saw it (an hour late, stomach full and all), didn’t think it warranted a response initially. And knew that her dad would be very disapproving of the simple response (suggestion) that she was itching to give him, so she’d stuck to politically correct non-response.

That had been two days ago.

Did she miss him? Surprisingly no! She’d thought that talking to a guy for more than a month would inspire at least a little bit of attachment, if not affection – but she didn’t.

Did she think of him? Yes.

Did she feel sad? Probably not, but she was emotionally exhausted, and her body might have been misinterpreting it as sadness. Or maybe she was actually sad. She couldn’t tell. Her ego wouldn’t ever accept to that and give him the satisfaction – even if he would never know.

Did she regret it? The time spent – completely! The money- yes *wink” But the end itself? No. Her brain was too busy going “Ha! I told you so!” to the other half, which had rationalized. After all, Chivalry does not a man make!

And hence that frustration. Along with the month of “Oh my, What if!”s and the “Oh no, What if!”s in equal measure.

The day spent indulging in self-pity had helped. Licking wounds so to say. Was it a scratch or deeper? If her current mood was any indication, probably less than a scratch and more of remorse at her silliness in letting things get this far.

As she pulled into the parking lot and reversed into her usual spot she realized these duds inspired much the same emotions that a break up did sometimes. In very mild intensity, like hurt sans the grief. Necessary rite of passage, her friend had reminded her. And from prior experience, she had to agree. There were those that she might have thus grieved – a moment of silence for them.

She shook herself, to get ready for a new day and new beginning. Stepped in, and the first thing she could think was; “Whoa! That new guy looks super cute!”