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We, the Innocent ............. by Dr. Navniit Gandhi
 Navniit Gandhi  
 17 February 2018  

Wash your utensils with this dish-cleaner and sparkle your relationships…There is saffron in the soap…There is chocolate in this shampoo… there are almonds in the face cream!Drink this tea and refresh your relationships…Drink this soft-drink and live without fear…What fools are we, at times!!!All along, some of us have wasted our time; many precious years of life, trying to find out how to lead a perfect life… Probably, you too must have spent hours, trying to understand relationships, love and life. How stupid we have been… All we could have done is to switch on the Television, and sit before it with total faith. Yes, with total faith in our advertisements!!! We could have had the keys to all that we ever wanted in life. The key to beauty; to success; to a happy family life; the key to popularity and the key to health and blossoming relationships—all could have been at our feet in a matter of a few hours… How very silly of us, that we work hard and undergo ordeals and struggles, to fulfil our aspirations!God, bless us. We know not how innocent we are! The noble companies and even nobler advertising agencies are crying hoarse, and trying to better our lives. And, we don’t take them seriously? Using music, Bollywood stars and attractive photography—they spend crores trying to make all our dreams come true, and we do not take the ads seriously?Didn’t they tell us…Spray this deodorant and girls will fall head-over-heels in love with you…Eat this cereal and your husband will start noticing you…Add this in your children’s milk and they will become great scientists!Use this fairness cream and the most handsome and eligible bachelor will be at your feet…If you drink a particular beverage daily, your Boss will be impressed and you could take a trophy home for outstanding performance…It is all so clearly stated. The world of TV Ads is a great teacher. Just sit down… relax… and carefully watch the ads. We can learn how to magically swirl ten mouth-watering dishes—one or two each for every family member and yet, not a drop of sweat shall we shed or a strand of hair move. How? Because the secret, as we would learn, would lay in the dish-washing soap!Have you not seen the ad which teaches us that if we use a particular washing-powder, husband and wives would love each other more? How? Because, the clothes would become softer and so would the hands of the lady….But, what if the washing powder is used by the maid? Would her husband love her more, or ours???? Women, take note of this puzzle!!!Oh no! How much time have we wasted trying to seriously think on some matters, whereas the solutions and lessons were all so very simple!Had we known this secret earlier, we would have had the pleasure of seeing our mothers always young, fresh and happy despite their daily laborious chores. We could have had friends drooling over our looks, and we could have made smarter choices!!! Our brain could have been sharper; our nails and hair glistening; our clothes smarter; our body odour captivating; our sleep peaceful; our taste buds rejuvenated and of course, our relationships, happier. How innocent we have been… Imagine, the key to freedom from pimples, wrinkles, and fine lines was just a remote away!Use this tooth paste-- dance and swirl and live happily thereafter…Take a loan from our bank and we will help you discover the real ‘you’…This toilet cleaner will sparkle your bathroom and your life…There are easy and readymade formulae for increasing the growth of the brain of our children… There are easy solutions for killing germs in ten seconds!! And then, our children would never fall ill even if they gulp pizzas or burgers daily. Wish we could have sat before the televisions with total faith…. We could have given our children filtered water (using modern complicated processes) and they could have topped in their respective classrooms.Are you one of those who were searching in vain for means to raise your self-esteem? Well, did you not know that with a certain brand of tea, courage and confidence comes; and with a certain soft-drink—come tumbling out clever and creative ideas? A certain can of paint is what it takes or perhaps, a bathroom-freshner to raise your esteem in the eyes of your neighbours… Ha, how easy it is, isn’t it?Watch the Advertisements for solutions to all your problems… for answers to all your questions!!! It is not too late.Ah, by the way—have you been looking for a way out to please your in-laws? Oh, ohhh…. All you had to do was prove your intelligence by using a particular mosquito coil, and pride would have surfaced in their eyes and they would have hugged you happily!!!

BORN FREE TO LIVE IN A CAGE
 Padmini Ravindran  
 16 March 2018  

  All over the world, countries celebrate their independence day with great pride and gusto showcasing their strength and progress to be admired and awed by people. However, I wonder at times are we; human beings really free or liberated? Do we enjoy freedom in true sense? I’ll keep my thought process limited to India without going to the other parts of the world.Every human being according to me is free only at the time of birth. A baby has no worries about projecting the “right public image” and is happy doing anything and everything he wants to. As we grow, we are caged, shackled in many chains by the society- Social, cultural, emotional and lately technological.It starts when the baby (I’ll use ‘She’ as a pronoun as it encompasses ‘he’ too J!) is hardly a toddler. Parents love to show off his/her talents without any consideration for his/her moods and fancies. She has to sing or dance and entertain the relatives who are often least interested. Then there is a marathon for the best school in the city. The kid is again forced to mug up the likely questions to be asked at the interview, learn to behave in a certain manner at the age when she just wants to be left on her/his own.    Once at school the comparison starts with all the other children. Every parent wants the child to be the best - marvelling at studies, sports, debates and elocutions, arts, theatre, social etiquette and so on. In short she has to be a Superwoman, while the mothers sweat over every small detail like deciding what hobbies are “in”, what vitamin supplements to give the child for super-built body and extra-intelligent brain, what kind of clothes are in vogue for kids and so on. All advertisements put the pressure on parents to make a scientist/ doctor/ engineer or any professional (Please note that none off the advertisements think much of artists or farmersL! No wonders farmers have remained the most vulnerable lot in our “agrarian” economy for decades!). The harried parents, in turn pass on this frenzied madness on to their children. Every parent dreams of having a super successful child prodigy, irrespective of own talents that he has passed on in the child’s DNA at birth. We want our children to follow the career chart we have created for them taking in consideration the status, social acceptance, and money it will yield. What the child’s interests are is totally ignored.Once the school and college marathon is over and youth gets a plum job, then the other social pressures build up. A girl must learn to be graceful, super talented at juggling home and demanding career, must be having all the socially accepted attributes like – fair, tall, slim, social yet home-loving, educated yet sacrificing, modern yet with traditional values and the list is endless.This brings me to the fairness obsession in our country where most girls are bound to be wheat complexioned due to our geographic and climatic conditions. Having a dusky complexion is looked down upon and if you have a darker skin only God or fairness creams save you! I find the advertisements so ridiculous when a girl dreaming of a great career has to rely on fairness creams to prove her mettle! If she wants to remain single by choice then hell breaks loose. If she marries then her womanhood is not considered complete till she delivers a baby. Why I wonder, in a free country it becomes a privilege of all and sundry to barge into couple’s bedroom and discuss why are they not having kids and what could be wrong with them. Can we not let the parents decide when they want to bring in a life that is going to be their responsibility till they are alive?Men on the other hand are forced to bring home a handsome pay package and comparisons of how much comforts and luxury a neighbour can afford to give his wife vis- a -vis the poor husband becomes a main topic of contention. Once they become parents they too merrily join the same rat race that their parents had joined to ruin them.These are some of the socio-cultural shackles I strongly feel about. Emotional shackles too are somewhat intertwined in these as usually our Indian society loves to emotionally blackmail their loved ones to follow their commands. Log kya kahenge is the most dangerous epidemic that has been afflicted by Asian psyche. Social approval is a bug that has bitten all of us. Imagine the emotional state of a young girl when she is more than often rejected because she is NOT fair, slim or beautiful. She is most often an easy prey to depression. I wonder why we give so much importance to external attributes while totally ignoring the more important ones like nature, intelligence, compatibility etc. in a life partner. Are we shopping here for a curio to beautify home or wanting someone with whom we can share our lives! And same things go for men too - what with markets flooded with anti-balding treatments and all those fairness creams for men? He too is expected to earn well, be qualified with the most lucrative degree, have a macho figure etc. I often hear young girls asking for well sculpted men as their life partners. SO now the fire has reached even the other side of the society. At a young age he’s expected to offer all the comforts and luxuries when he’s still building his career!Added to all these cages, the worst shackle is the technology. We think human being created technology for comforts but today it has totally backfired on us impacting every aspect of the society. Just look around and see for yourself what have smart phones done to our lives! The downfall that started with the idiot box and further fuelled with the internet has been completed by the smart phones. Phones are getting smarter and humans are getting dumber. I’ve nothing against technology and if used sensibly it can be a great boon. We can now reach the entire world in a split second. Emails have become a passé with the advent of other more powerful and faster means of communication. Often Facebook and twitter has helped in reuniting people or in sending across a useful message. Today I too am saying what I feel thanks to this technology. We can surely not ignore the good things. However, we can’t turn a blind eye to the damage it does to our most profound institutions of marriage, family and society as a whole.  Families are fast disintegrating today as each one is happy to be in his on anda cell created by his Laptop, smart phone, personal TV or a tablet, and is constantly in his world with his headsets on. Cheating in marriages has never been so rampant and easy with the right to privacy. Virtual affairs ruin many marriages as one doesn’t understand that virtual love is bound to appear “perfect” and it’s only when you actually start life together you need to adjust and understand. Recently, a study revealed how social skills are being affected in this generation that spends most of its time in the virtual world. Family time is unheard of with each one immersed in his on virtual world. We forget that though wired from all sides we are not robots but human beings who are bound to need emotions like warmth, love and touch to thrive. The older generation who is not very tech savvy feels the brunt the most. They are mostly treated like a piece of furniture. The youth has no connect with parents leave alone grandparents. In our desire to connect across miles we have been disconnected from our own family.Family outings, dinners and gatherings do happen surprisingly even today but the most time and attention is hogged by these smart phones. Family time has become a joke with each member immersed in one’s cell phone- exchanging messages. Checking face book updates, updating status and so on.The family vacations are more for clicking selfies and check-ins to let the whole world on social media know the exotic place one is heading to. There have been many stand up comedies, what’s app forwards and tongue in cheek cartoons aimed at this but I feel we are quick to ignore these warning bells and laugh it off merely as a humour. So many have lost lives clicking selfies at dangerous spots but we are too slow to understand the implications. Are we really a generation of dimwits and our cell phones smarter than us? Only God save us in such situation…!All pictures Courtesy- https://unsplash.com

Unstoppable dreams
 Priyanka Swain  
 2 December 2018  

Dreams to achieve from everywhere

Free Classifieds
 Charmi Patel  
 5 March 2019  

Free classifieds has converted me from miserable to satisfied.My father died 2 years back and left me with an old restaurant that my great grandfather started with my grandfather 60 years ago. The restaurant has stood the test of time and still has a very small but loyal customer base who had been eating there for generations, but it has remained pretty much the same since it was started, it gets an occasional paint and repair job once every decade and that's about it. I was a software engineer working with a corporate company, earning around 30 Grand a month, but I wasn't happy with the job, the job was pretty close to modern slavery, and the kind of work I did there wasn't satisfying for the soul.I wanted to take over my father's business, but I knew nothing about restaurants and to make matters worse the restaurant wasn't making enough dough for me to take care of my family's finances, as newer more efficient competitors had cropped up everywhere. I wanted to develop my business, all the banks I approached for a loan were sceptical to say the least as the property that I wanted to attest for the loan, was slowly crumbling into pieces.One fine day I was sitting at my restaurant and  going through all the feasible options available, when I noticed a strange trend, more and more people were starting to get parcels there, instead of walking into a restaurant to eat which made me realize that food is my commodity not the restaurant, so I decided to market my food specially and use the whole restaurant space to start a full-fledged delivery based cloud kitchen. We ran a Kerala cuisine restaurant in Chennai, which was highly in demand, I next wanted to market my product and service in a low but highly effective cost that made me turn toward free classifieds on the internet – Used by millions of people all over India. There are so many portals where one could place free classified ads such as Quikr, Olx, Izydaisy.com to name a few in the World. Within a few months of me placing those free classifieds websites and using the social media to create awareness about my business, orders came rushing into my roof. I previously was just making 20 Grand running the restaurant business but then just in a few months it turned into 70 Grand, later a profitable amount of 100 Grand a month, I had to quit my job, which I wanted to do for a very long time, hire more chefs and delivery men. Our business got so much traction that people even started asking for our franchise. It was my humble opinion that we were not ready for a franchise yet, but we did manage to start another branch on the other end of the city which is also working great with the help of classifieds, and now I have incorporated YouTube marketing to the mix. We now have our own dedicated food channel that drives more consumers to try our products. I have also started learning to cook, I help out in the kitchen occasionally, for the first time there is nothing much to complain about in my life,free classifieds has converted me from miserable to satisfied.

Top 10 Free Classified Sites in India - 2019
 Charmi Patel  
 5 March 2019  

Internet is rapidly growing, people who run businesses are at each other's throats trying to outdo each other to get a tiny bit more exposure online, large businesses with adequate resources make use of Google ads, YouTube ads etc... To try and exceed their competitor's marketing strategy. Not everyone can afford to run Facebook advertisement 24*7, small businesses and start-ups can utilize the vast network of free classifieds out there, which can bring in sizable number of eyeballs without costing them a single penny. It's is important to know about the best classified portals in India to know where you can place your advertisements to get the best results. So, Let’s have a look at the Top ten free online classified websites in India will be mentioned below.1) QuikrIt's an Indian classified website, has been running successfully since 2008, initially called Kijiji India, it was later changed to Quikr after a Mumbai businessman invested into the company. It's listed in 900 cities all over India and anyone can place advertisement from house to toilet sinks.2) OlxOlx is one the largest classifieds sites in the world, and definitely the biggest one in India, it started its full-fledged operations in here in 2011. Olx's headquarters is in the Netherlands but it's owned by a South African company called Naspers. As of 2013 it zoomed past Quikr to get around 60% of the market share. Olx sold around 1 billion worth of used cars in 2017.3) Izydaisy (Free Classified Ad Sites)This is a free and highly specialised classified site that has launched in over 5 countries around the world in 2016, since then it has grown in technical strength and numbers, izydaisy.com is one of the India's largest classified online portal, it has all the necessary tools and the motivation. One of its core ideals is to make buying and selling fun, and its interactive interface complements their motto.4) CraigslistOne of the pioneers in the field of free classifieds, it is started out as an email chain program in 1995, in which new deals in the city were send to the subscribers of the mail chain, it's now in around 70 countries worldwide. It is said the site gets around 20 billion views every month. Also 80 million advertisements get posted on the site every month.5) SulekhaAnother big classified page in India where you can post anything from camera to bicycles.6) Click.inIt's on the top 10 free classified sites in India, you can buy and sell anything from house to cars, bikes, cell phones.7) ClickIndiaSimilar to click.in and is also a free classifieds website, where you can easily fill up the description of your product in minutes and then whole advertisement will be completed in 10 minutes.8) 99LocaladsThis is a free classified website based in India and you can post all your ads without any discomfort in this website.9) Classifiedsindia.coThere are so many free classifieds out there and you'll be wasting so much time if you post free classifieds on all of them, it's important to choose the ones that get the most traffic and post the advertisements there this is one of the trusted ones.10) SelldudeIt's also a free classifieds website with a simple interface and easy filter options to find the product of your dreams.