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By Aditti Ahluwalia
Eating is a social activity and food binds people alright. It forms connections and an amazing dynamics reigns over people and their meal time talks. We have seen that where some are clearly in it for the catching up, the others can be difficult to typecast. Between the varying degrees of stalkers, talkers and listeners, the conversations can range from the trials and tribulations of voguish living to those of bad partners, intrusive in laws, the straying self, the looker who inspires the inner serial killer, the sex or the lack of it, their intolerance of the intolerance in others and heaps of weirdness in between. We get to see all sorts and our conversation is no different. Now some might render it to the fleneuse in us but our unconventional hobby is marked by sheer curiosity.
Much that we remain sympathetic towards the oddities of the fellow humans, we yearn to look beyond what people choose to show. Maybe to see our own self in them, trying to elbow through one more day. People peeping isn’t an “italicised stupid” leisure pursuit. Surfing the unfamiliar, unchartered waters can be intriguing, isn’t it. And it makes one realise the importance of disconnecting with our world, to engage better with it.
I vividly recall our last visit to one ritzy diner, slap bang in the middle of this plush address that everyone seems to be frequenting nowadays. As my friend and I settled down, not in a corner, there walked in a smart woman. As she was being seated next to us, she took the liberty to “inform” us that she would soon be joined in by a noisy lot of four more and that we might want to move tables if we wished to eat in peace. Needless to say, we didn’t budge. When the God Of The Peepers Himself is serving it to us on a platter, who are we to turn it down.
This turned out to be a peculiarly bizarre discussion where the main character was sharing her plans of “fleeing” town with her friend’s husband, in turn teaching a lesson to her own and the “villainous” in-laws. Raw and unguarded emotions there. Can’t we all just get along? Apparently no! The rest of the group seemed fascinated by her gutsy choices and were enormously encouraging too, promising to be in touch even when the rest of the world would have ostracised her, next day onwards. A potential scandal waiting to happen and here the others couldn’t have been more eager to see it all play out.
This scene could have been risible were it not so dangerous and a part of me was itching to tell her to rethink. Bleh, no! Since we have agreed on a deal to stay non intrusively informed, we continued to peck at what was on our plates while wondering how she would handle what was about to be on hers. Some acts are difficult to follow. And then our “told you so” grins collided briefly as our eyes darted across the room, resting on an elegant couple who had just walked in. T’was time to move on from one story to another. Keeping the both of us away from action for long is nigh impossible.
“The robust and intensely flavoured, super succulent lamb chops appear, the air heavy with the aroma, tickling my nostrils. The wine that ..!” Either I could merrily convert the depth of flavours into the right words, there and then, or focus on simply enjoying my food and my company, unless there are glaring missteps in either. Foodies are meant to be a cheerful, jovial bunch and any adjectives are meant to appear only when we sit down to write.
After all, it’s not everyday that the two of us get to meet, engaged as we are, tending to our own world. So when we do catch up, on seasonal occasions, it’s with an inexplicit understanding to let time stand still. We are each other’s go-to, on-call therapists, except that we come cheaper. Wilfully displacing ourselves from the rest of our roost, the rule is that we call it a day only when we are done.
Done, not eating or talking. But done, disentangling our tightly wound up selves, even without talking about it. Conversation is about far more than spoken words and we have always cherished and valued this experience. We both love our food and drink but what gives us therapeutic pleasure is merely observing the world go by. Just taking in the sights and sounds around us, deciphering the intricacies of human existence by eavesdropping on tidbits of their conversations, with absolutely no other agenda except to figure out if their lives are any different from ours.
These are unfamiliar people and this comforting anonymity, which flows both ways, makes it easier for us to enjoy our time even more. Not the ones for slumming it on benches, we take care to pick the venue for our tete-e-tete carefully. Our kind of people watching is all about mechanical versus focused and luckily for us, the city that we live in is considerably rich in such nosying opportunities.
When I was younger I was “never listening” to what others were saying. A huge conversation failure, as per my elders. As I grew older, I resolved to fix this and became all ears. With practice, I got closer to my goal of listening more and overhearing chitter chatter became a pastime. So now when I am people peeping, I am not hatching the next best thing I am going to say. Instead, my singular focus is on studying the flow of words and interpret the extended pauses. And I am not alone in this.
Over the last one decade, my friend and I, together, seem to have unravelled it all and even though our lives do not depend on it, our lunch time meet ups have become the focal point of life altering exchange of thoughts/ ideas/ glances and experiences. It’s sad to see that the world around us is fast forgetting how to hang out. The intentionally accidental eavesdropper in us always needs to get out of the house, to hear about experiences that strike a chord/ lifestyles that make us hunt for our doorway to Nirvana or hear about aims and objectives that might never even dawn on us.
It’s also a season that cannot do much to keep one indoors and I do believe in taking my life on an occasional holiday, one plate at a time, making one hungry for more. And that’s how I’d like to leave you too. (IANS)
Facebook-owned WhatsApp has finally started rolling out end-to-end encrypted chat backups for iOS and Android users globally. With the new update, if a user chooses to back up his chat history with end-to-end encryption, it will be accessible only to him, and no one will be able to unlock the backup. Neither WhatsApp nor the backup service provider will be able to access their end-to-end encryption backup.
"With end-to-end encrypted backups, no other messaging service at WhatsApp's scale will provide this level of security for people's messages -- from sending and transit, to receiving and storing in the cloud," the company said in a post. The feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app.
he feature will be rolling out "slowly" for people on the latest version of the app. | Photo by AARN GIRI on Unsplash
Once the feature rolls out, open WhatsApp, go to Settings > Chats > Chat Backups > End-to-End Encrypted Backup, and then follow the prompts. One can now secure their end-to-end encrypted backup with either a password of their choice or a 64-digit encryption key which means that no one else but only the user will be able to access the backup.
"This feature will provide people with more privacy and security for their digital conversations and that's a responsibility that we don't take lightly. Given this, we are rolling this out slowly to ensure a consistent and reliable user experience for people on iOS and Android around the world," the company added. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: encryption, encrypted, whatsapp, people, backup, End-to-end Encryption
A luxurious house makeover might seem to be an expensive and overwhelming task but it doesn't necessarily have to drill holes in your pocket. A few small changes and the right decor pieces can make a huge difference to the way your home looks. Keyur Zaveri, VP of Design at Furlenco shares some ideas that could give your home a rich look.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
While it may feel intuitive to keep adding expensive decor to your home to give it the luxurious touch, in today's ageless is really more. Simplifying your space can give your home a classy look. Invest in a few accent decor pieces - a lamp, wall art, decor for a centre table that are cohesive and work well together in the theme of your room as opposed to having numerous things that do not look like they belong together. Resist the temptation to buy over-the-top accessories and unnecessary furniture, which make your home look bulky.
Resist the temptation to buy over-the-top accessories and unnecessary furniture, which make your home look bulky. | Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash
The most important part of creating a luxurious house is to add furniture that is comfortable and elegant. Good furniture, paired with stylish soft furnishings is the first step to creating a beautiful house. Pillows & Cushions of various sizes and accent throws can instantly make a home feel more inviting. Play around with the colours and fabrics of the furniture and find soft furnishing that complements the centrepieces. Invest in good quality fabrics like velvet, linen or suede to upholster your furniture. You can even try textured fabrics like denim blue and faux leather.
Pillows & Cushions of various sizes and accent throws can instantly make a home feel more inviting. | Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash
Lighting can make all the difference to the vibe of your house and help you create a luxurious, beautiful looking space. Using multiple sources of light that draw attention to various corners in the house can make a space look very well put together. Invest in ceiling lamps, floor lamps, table lamps, and accent light fixtures to highlight your favourite areas in the house. While it is advisable to keep a single colour and tone of light, the intensity and direction can be played around to enhance the ambience of the space.
Lighting can make all the difference to the vibe of your house and help you create a luxurious, beautiful looking space. | Photo by Karan Nagpal on Unsplash
Layering works wonders everywhere- be it a chic coat or blazer over your outfit that adds extra charm, or adding decor pieces to your furniture for a luxe look. Carpets add splendour and exquisiteness, instantly changing the way a room looks. Area rugs under tables and sofas help in defining spaces and can blend together the whole look. Experiment with some elegant runners near your beds, on top of your dining tables, or even your bathrooms. You can also add wall coverings and window coverings for a more inclusive aesthetic.
Area rugs under tables and sofas help in defining spaces and can blend together the whole look. | Photo by Sina Saadatmand on Unsplash
You can add a small yet noticeable metallic touch to upgrade your interiors. However, you must be careful to not overdo it; the key to going bling is to keep the metallic accessories minimal. Consider golds, bronzes, copper or silver hues and incorporate them in cushions, lamps, accent walls, lighting fixtures, or centrepieces. You should ensure that each finish is a thoughtful addition to your space.
You can add a small yet noticeable metallic touch to upgrade your interiors. | Photo by Stephanie Harvey on Unsplash
Incorporating these tips can do wonders for your home decor. You can make your home luxurious, without costing an arm and a leg. More than anything it's about making the right choices that give your house look clean and classy.
(Article originally published on IANS Life) (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: metallic, lighting, fabrics, invest, luxurious, furniture
India may not see a billion smartphone users even by the end of this decade and there are seven key challenges to achieve 100 per cent smartphone penetration, according to a new report. With the shrinking addressable base for smartphones, India is likely to have 887.4 million smartphone users by 2030, said the report by Gurugram-based market intelligence firm techARC.
The new smartphone user acquisition has been on a decline since 2018, after 4G drove switch to smartphones as it ushered several new use cases and forced feature phone users to upgrade. This, however, is not the case with 5G, which can substantially bring out a new use case for the mobile users compelling the feature phone users to move to a smartphone.
Affordability is the first concern even if users would discover their own use cases. "This is on account of both - investment in the device and the recurring data cost. Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device," said Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Chief Analyst, techARC.
Even to own a device, it's a substantial increase in the outlay for around 200-250 million users who cannot spent more than Rs 1,500 on a mobile device. | Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash
Second reason is that there are no models that could self-subsidise the smartphones for this potential audience, who are on the other side of the fence waiting to join the smartphone arena. "Advertising-based revenue and value-added driven revenues are negligible for such audiences where advertisers would not be ready to spend much as this is not their target audience," the report mentioned. So, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot work out any model of recovering partial cost of the device upfront and then realising the gap in due course through other streams.
Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) cannot work out any model of recovering partial cost of the device upfront and then realising the gap in due course through other streams. | Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash
The third key reason is that the OEM ecosystem is gradually moving away from the entry segment. All major OEMs have disinvested out of the entry segment (less than Rs 5,000) where the first-time smartphone user would fall. Rather OEMs are moving to higher average selling price (ASP) as consumers are willing to spend more (15-35 per cent) on their next upgrade/replacement of smartphones.
The fourth reason is that the OEMs are adding more features and functions to their smartphones to facilitate paying users leverage more from the device by consuming content and other services, which are subscription based. The interest of OEMs is gradually moving in this direction, where they could increase the lifetime value (LTV) per smartphone user by getting a pie of the services that the users are paying for.
"Another reason is that attempts such as a hybrid smart-feature phone, haven't paid off well. Though it has got in additional 80-85 million users into the digital ecosystem using fundamental digital services, majority of the featurephone users haven't accepted this 'workaround' wholeheartedly," said Kawoosa.
Attempts such as a hybrid smart-feature phone, haven't paid off well. | Photo by The Average Tech Guy on Unsplash
The sixth reason is that globally, we are witnessing prices of components going up on the one or another pretext. This is only forcing the OEMs to increase the cost of the devices and in a very hypersensitive market like smartphones, it is very challenging for the OEMs to frequently trade-off between input costs and the market opportunities.
Globally, we are witnessing prices of components going up on the one or another pretext. | Photo by Yiorgos Ntrahas on Unsplash
Finally, the entire smartphone ecosystem is interested in investing in opportunities which are rewarding. For example, when we compare education and gaming as two areas of immense opportunity, the entire smartphone ecosystem has preferred to make considerable investments in gaming than education. "There is hardly any OEM focusing on making devices affordable so that more and more students could benefit from digital means of education. But over the past two years, we have seen several OEMs making gaming smartphones in the affordable segments," the report argued. The result: At 4.9 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for smartphone subscriber growth, India may not have a billion smartphone users even by 2030. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: gaming, education, affordable, market, report, reason, device