Saving electricity

Electricity saved is money and environment saved.

How?

1. Unplug along with switching off-TV, chargers, appliances,etc. Plugged in appliances still consume electricity even after switching off, however less it may be.

2. Switch to LED from incandescent or CFL bulbs. Expensive than others, but very less energy consumption and durable. So you will be saving a lot over years. Don’t buy for cheap as they may have a cheap chip that will fail over few times of usage. Philips, Eveready, Charleston seem to be the best.  Havells, Wipro, Syska are good.You need to look for the following things while buying LED:

  • High Lumens/watt: Higher the lumens, higher the brightness.
  • Beam angle: LEDs are best as spotlights, but if you want to illuminate wider areas, check for high beam angle. You can use reflectors or diffusers for wide angle, but then again the brightness may reduce.
  • Long duration warranty
  • High CRI(colour rendering index)- at least greater than 80, so that you can see colours better under LED(e.g: distinguishing navy blue and black)
  • Colour of LED like warm white/daylight etc. This depends on your choice and it will set the mood of the house.
  • Finally, brand does make a difference

3. Minimize consumption.

  • Switch off lights and fans as you leave the room.
  • Use daylight as much as possible and avoid lights. Go for thin curtains that will let light in.
  • Open windows to let in fresh air. Get mesh for windows so that mosquitoes stay out.
  • Minimize consumption at office places too. Switch off all the lights in washrooms whenever there is no need for it and silently (stealthily) switch off lights in lift lobbies.

4. Sell those old appliances that consume lot of electricity and buy new ones based on energy star ratings. e.g: fridge, geyser, AC, etc. This is a little huge step in terms of money, perhaps you can take it slow by replacing one item per year.

For buying AC, following are the best things:

  • Inverter – Can adjust cooling as per temperature which varies as per season, area of the room, time of the day
  • Split-More energy efficient and distribution and less noise than window ACs. Inverter available only in split ACs.
  • Copper condenser-Better heat transfer, durable than aluminium,easier to clean and repair
  • High ISEER-Ratio of heat removed to power consumed in active mode and BEE(Bureau of Energy Efficiency) star ratings.

5. Finally, switch to solar power. These days many of the villas are coming with rooftop solar systems. You can also invest in solar powered lamps, etc which you can use. It’s a big investment and you may have to save some money, but it would really pay off at the end.

Bijlibachao is a very good site for electricity saving tips.

Let’s save electricity and save our money and save our EARTH.

Earth Day is on 22nd April, but lets make all days in a year Earth days 🙂

PS: For more info on how Earth’s pollution is increasing by electricity production and consumption, check this waitbutwhy blog post. This post is originally about electric cars(Tesla).

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Band Baaja Bharat

I had 6 months time to prepare for the wedding day. But I was still running here and there even before my wedding day. I have done lots of research about “The Best” in everything. I asked around, googled a lot, did some trial and error, took feedback and yelled at everyone whenever I lost patience. So here I am posting my 6 months PhD so that it’s useful for anyone who’s getting married. This may be little specific to Hyderabad and Telugu weddings.

Common things:

 

Wedding card:

Koti is full of wedding card shops, my family wedding card was from there. But my personal wedding card was from creativeweddingcards. They have got some awesome cards. They need a minimum order of 100 cards. If you think, you don’t need 100, then you can split them with your partner. I got an UP movie themed card, as I always loved Carl and Ellie’s love story. Their story to me was about spending time together be it in a domestic way or in an adventure. We got 100 UP cards for 3K.

 

Photography:

Aruna Studio is well known for awesome photography. In general, it’s expensive, but after lot of bargaining, I could get it for 70K to cover Pellikoothuru function and my wedding (Two copies of same album)

 

Function hall:

My wedding was in Bhramaramba function hall, Kukatpally. Including food and decoration, it was 6.5L. But it was worth it. From everyone’s feedback, everything was perfect.

Bride:

 

Sarees:

In general, 2 sarees are needed in a wedding ceremony. I was supposed to have a Pradhanam saree and a Thalambralu saree. You may want to spend less money on Thalambralu saree as it will only be useful for Pooja/Vratham/Onam kind of ceremonies. Also, it gets covered with all turmeric and other stuff.

1. Mandir, Banjara Hills has good collection of bridal silk sarees in reasonable amount. Uppada saree collection is also good.

2. Sai Kanchi, Banjara Hills: My cousins got sarees from here, I found it little expensive compared to Mandir and the collection was less favourable to me.

3. VRK Silks, Kukatpally; Good if you want to buy something greater than 20K.

4. Mebaz, Kukatpally: For fancy sarees, Mebaz had good collection within 20K range.

5. Zasya, Jubilee Hills: For small occasions and within 10K range, you can get lot of fancy saree collection here.

Honorable mentions: Kala Kunj, Panjagutta; Plain fancy sarees with large borders

Lehengas:

1. Neerus, Banjara Hills; Awesome lehengas, bit expensive compared to other shops. 15-25K range.

2. Trisha, Jubilee Hills; Beautiful lehengas from 5K onwards. Great collection within 5K-10K range itself.

Gold:

1. Reliance Jewels, Panjagutta: Surprisingly, Reliance had best collection of chokers and long chains.

2. Shree jewelers, near Peddamma Temple; To get jewelry made for you, this would be a good choice. If you can’t get bangles or finger rings in your size, you can get them made here in short time.

3. Chennai shopping mall, Kukatpally; For plain gold or plain gold chains, this has best gold rates.

Blouse stitching:

I wish I could write about the best boutique here, but everything comes with it’s own baggage here;

1. Meera designers, Panjagutta; Very very expensive + tax. But, you do get good design, perfect fit and the best thing is you get them on time.

2. Veda boutique, Nizampet; I had to do lot of follow up and visit her several times, even before my wedding day. She delays everything and you don’t actually get the end product as you desired. Reasonable prices.

3. Moksha boutique, Kukatpally: Costlier than Veda, but better than Veda in terms of design and stitching. But she is super rude and not just delays the stitching, but even fights with you when you ask your blouse after deadline has long gone. Lot of waiting too to get her attention about your blouse design.

Ghunghat/ meli musugu:

I had to roam a lot to get the perfect Ghunghat, I visited Chawli and Narsingh Kukatpally, they had collection, but I couldn’t get the perfect colour. Finally, I bought it from Narsingh, Ameerpet. I had to buy the net material and the border separately and get them stitched. It seems Laad Bazar has lot of readymade ghunghat collection.

Mehendi:

Inorbit’s Jaipur mehendi is the best. I got it done from there on several occasions. They will visit your home for free. You may need to pay some advance when you are booking them for the day. Bridal will cost 3500-4000 for full hands(front and back) and feet.

Accessories:

Maang ki tika(papidi billa), matching bangles(metal/glass), bindi(stickers), fancy ear rings, nose ring, jada billalu(hair accessories), basikam, kalyanam bottu(bindi), saree brooches, nail polish, ankle chain etc. You would need all these. I got these from multiple places like Forum mall stalls, Belleza Kondapur, Begum bazar, General bazar, Pooja samagri stores in Kukatpally and the fancy shop in Madhapur petrol pump lane.

Poola jada, garlands and other wedding ceremony stuff:

You can get almost everything from Pellipoolajada. Every area has it’s own branch, you can visit and check their catalogues and order. They will deliver it to the venue on wedding day. We bought poola jada, veni, addutera, decorated kobbari bondam with bride and groom’s names, decorated garigamuntha, decorated kunda, garlands, navaratnala talambralu,etc. They also have ghunghat and basikam, but they didn’t have much collection when I was getting married.

Beautician:

Most importantly, look for a proper beautician for make up and saree draping. You can check their previous customers’ pics and decide.

Other items a bride would need:

1. Footwear(those golden glittery stuff)

2. Clutch(again gloden to go with your silk sarees)

3. Sweat pads and wet wipes.

4. Lots of safety pins, bobby pins, hair pins, U pins, rubber bands.

5. Right toned CC cream and compact.

6. Eyeliner and mascara

7. Concealer if you have dark circles or acne marks

8. Lipstick

9. Petticoats, falls, picos for all sarees.

10. A big handbag that will come in handy to hold lot of things which you will need while roaming to and from your in-laws place for lot of ceremonies.

11. Some traditional dresses to wear other than sarees.

12. Bangle box as you will be now having huge collection for each saree and would need to carry them in travel.

13. Hair accessories; clutches, pins, etc

14. Get facial, henna, etc done from a parlour.

15. Perfume and deo

16. Hair extension and jada gantalu

If you don’t use the make up items mentioned above and if you only want them on the wedding day, then check with your beautician if she will get her own stuff. Don’t buy unnecessarily for one time use as they are mostly expensive.

Groom:

Clothes:

We bought pattu battalu(4.5K) from Manyavar, Forum mall. Other shops also had pattu battalu, but they were double the cost of what Manyavar had. We bought sherwani(21K) with dupatta, pagdi and shoes from Mebaz Corporate, Banjara hills, Blazer(4.5K) was from Raymond, Forum mall and formals from almost everywhere.

Things a groom would need:

1. WTH. I can’t think of anything :-|. Just buy something nice to wear and be in the mandapam on time.

Hope you have an awesome wedding day 💓

Gift Ideas-DIY/customized (Part-3)

This section is for people who are ready to spend some time and effort in designing the gift. 


For other kind of gifts, please refer to Part-1 and Part-2 posts.

  • Open When letters: 

Give this at least 2 months time. You can jot down all your thoughts in a notepad first and keep editing and adding more content. Finally when you think that you have got everything noted down, then officially write them down on a paper. You can add some doodles/cut out funny pics/ your photos etc. I would have added photos of the letter contents too if only somebody has bothered to read them all at least after 5 months of the gift date. But as that is not the case and as I still hope that the giftee will read them all someday, I don’t want to post the spoilers here.

  •  Customized gifts with photos: 

Photo Collage

Photo Book

Photo Magnet

Photo on cup

Photo puzzle

Photo made of tiny photos

Photo album.

Heart shape photo puzzle here

Photo magnet here

Heart photo magnet here

Photo book here

Customized clock here

  • Youtube playlist

PS: Make sure the giftee actually likes to listen to new music or any music at all.

I took 2 days to create a initial playlist and then I kept on adding some or the other favourite song whenever I remembered one.

  • DIY cards

You can check this blog post for DIY cards.

  • Scrapbook

This needs lot of effort, probably more than what is needed for Open When letters. This is because scrapbooking may involve in making waterfall card, slider card, etc within the book. But you can also outsource this these days. You can provide the photos and get a handmade scrapbook.

  • Candles/balloons

  • Cake

  • Photos on string lights

  • Video with all wishes: 

Now this needs lot of patience and effort. Because for the other activities, all you need is self-motivation. But for this, you need to motivate lot of lazy or even indifferent friends/relatives to send their wishes over a video. If you are good at follow up and nagging, then may be you can pull this off.

10. If it’s a group gift, then you can scribble your code words, internal jokes, doodle funny incidents, etc on a card or a paper signed by everyone.

  • Sketch something:


That’s all I can remember 🙂

I can finally conclude the gift ideas posts with this post!

Gift Ideas-Reasonable Budget(Part-2)

Medium and low budget:

This is Part-2 of the Gift Ideas. For Part-1, please click here.

  • Watch/pocket watch:

You can get budget watches in the range of Rs.1800-3000 from fastrack(trendy)/sonata(classic). Titan Raga has some very classic watches.

Sonata watch here

Titan watch here

If you feel medieval, then you can buy a pocket watch which the giftee can place in his/her suit and check time like a wise gentleman/lady.

You can buy the above pocket watch here

  •  Pearls:

I have gifted pearls to many people many times. I always bought them from Mangatrai, where you get 30 to 40% corporate discount. Many of my friends suggested to buy from Charminar area where the price is cheaper. But I am not sure where exactly I can shop in that area, so I kept to Mangatrai. As per my friends, Mangatrai Madhapur is better than any of its other branches.

You can buy pearl sets(ear rings and chain), bracelets, etc.

  • Guitar:

  • Handbag/Wallet/backpack/make up purse:

Backpack link

This wallet is customized with “The secret of Walter Mitty” movie quote.

Wallet link

  • Clothes: 

Saree, T-shirt, dress material, khadi,etc

It’s easier to buy stuff for elderly male people, as most of them wear all whites/creams. They are as consistent as Mark Zuckerburg who wears grey tshirts everyday. So you can buy some khadi/lenin material and you are done.

But for the other people who want some colour in their otherwise black and white life and who do SWOT analysis to pick something from their wardrobe standing in front of it everyday,

For GOT Enthusiasts
Minion bed spread

  • Scotch whisky:
Dalmore 12 years

  • Kundan Set:

I got one for my wedding and it’s from Mangatrai too.

  • Body care: 

Body shop products/Khadi spa kit/ Archies Deo perfume kit

Body shop products
Khadi spa kit

Khadi spa kit here

  • Cosmetics:

Literally anything in a Make up kit: eyeliner, mascara, lipstick, lip gloss, etc.

  • Fancy accessories:

Ear rings, chains, sets, any other accessories.

  • Items:

Light fan


Light fan here


Glass rose

Glass candle

Glass shield

  • Mouse pad

Mouse pad here

  • Gadgets:

Power bank

Bluetooth

  • Diabetes kit: 

Now you may think that this is a gift, but the giftee may absolutely hate you for unleashing this hell on him/her. Obviously, nobody likes needles. But hey at the end of the day, this is all for the greater good.

  • Kids stuff: 

Colour kit

Colour kit here

Piano

Plastic piano with mic here

Barbie doll:

Cycle:

Cycle here

Baby care products

  • Books: 

Gift a whole new world.

  • Chocolate boquet/box

  • Crazy stuff:

The thing about crazy items like this is you don’t feel like spending your own money on them, because you feel that you are wasting your money on spending on something like that. That’s why it’s awesome when somebody gifts those crazy items to you.

Scooter

Ghost pop up box

Weird chocolate duck

Red heart pillow

Creepy sleeping baby

Chinese lady with broken neck

Another sleeping baby

I think I have some mental friends.

  • Silver

GRT is probably the standard store for all kinds of silver artifacts.

Trisa has some good collection of fancy silver jewellery.

  • Greeting card/Mini books

  • Comic book/movie miniatures

Groot here

  • Bean bag

  • Stuffed teddy

I have lots of them

  • Sun glasses

  • Cash

Last but not the least, you can give them cash. I was a person who earned x and spent 2x. But now, I am a person who still earns x, but can’t afford to spend even 0.1x. So you get it, money is useful.

Image result for take my money card

Phew, that was a long list and it’s not even the end. DIY and customized gifts in Part-3.

Remember friends, it’s all about giving and receiving and sharing and having…and giving..

Gift Idaeas- High budget (Part-1)

How many times have you brainstormed for days to think of the perfect gift to give to your loved ones or for okayish gifts to give to okayish people?


I have been there. Infinite times. So I have listed all the gifts I either gave or received here so that you can plagiarize my gift ideas(btw which I may have plagiarized from somewhere else)

Huge budget: 

  •  Car:

Of course, I couldn’t afford it as I am paid in peanuts and had to take a loan. I gifted this to my parents for their anniversary. I took some friends’ help and parked it secretly at our apartments before a day and showed it to my parents on their anniversary day

  •  Iphone

PS: Make sure the giftee is not an android fan.

  • Gold/Platinum/Diamond:

Earrings, necklace, bangles and ring for her

Couple rings..for couple(duh!)

  • Vacation

If someone has wanderlust, then this will be an awesome gift. Vacation packages in general are expensive and going on a vacation without the burden of expenses is a really awesome feeling.

I was taken on a surprise trip to Kerala on my birthday 🙂

  • DSLR

Again if someone travels a lot, DSLR is useful to capture beautiful shots. Even if the giftee is horrible at taking a good pic, at least accidentally he/she may occassionally take a good one. So have faith.

Bought it from amazon. You can find it here

Please check Part-2 for medium or less budget ideas.

DIY cards

If you are bored or if you want to make something handmade for your friends/family, then DIY cards are fun and easy to make. I made the following cards, they are pretty self explanatory.

Popsicle card

Originally I had intended this card to be a folding card. That’s why I pasted the cards onto the Popsicle sticks. In general a folding card on sticks is made by cutting the cards into strips first and then sticking them to sticks using tape. But I didn’t use tape and I directly glued them to sticks, thinking that I can cut them to strips after that. That was a stupid decision. They just fell apart. So I had to come up with the idea of turning them into a puzzle. I just shuffled all the sticks which now had card strips glued to them and tied them all together with a satin ribbon. That was clumsy, but hey it worked.

To make the card, I just used chart papers and sketch pens. I googled some funny pics and drew them on chart paper and cut them along the borders. Then I glued them on a contrast background chart paper. Again, it’s a bad idea to use this kind of multiple layered charts for folding card. Because when you cut through the card, the figures that were pasted do not get cut neatly.

Chart paper cards:

All the below cards are made after watching this youtube video. It is already shown in the video how to make these cards. I tried to make it as good as the video’s.

Those balloons are supposed to be made with buttons to get a 3D effect, but I didn’t have any colourful buttons, so I just used chart papers only to make balloons.

Snowman made using cotton and satin ribbon.

This minion card is fun to make. You can use googly eyes for the minion’s eyes to give it a more googly look. I have made a butterfly card and stick it inside the minion card. Lollypop is used to make the butterfly’s head.

Basically you can experiment with any kind of material and anything fun to sketch 🙂

Natural Alternatives

After reading a lot about no soap and no shampoo movement, I decided to try it myself. After searching a lot for alternatives and researching on which one is the best, I concluded that my mom was right all along. Always listen to your mom guys, she knows more than Google and provides answers more specific than Quora. I have tested these alternatives for two months and no one has complained that I am stinking, so I guess they are working well. But seriously, they are really good.

You might already be knowing this, but never tried it consistently because of some or the other reason.

Alternative for soap:

Mix 5 spoons of besan/gramflour powder with a pinch of turmeric and a spoon of sandal wood powder. If you have dry skin, then use raw milk and if it’s oily skin, use rose water to get the creamy consistency. This acts as a great scrub, scrub your skin well enough and wash it off.

Alternative for shampoo:

Take equal quantities of dry amla/gooseberry, shikakai and reetha/soapnut, say about 100 gms. Soak them all overnight in 2 liters of water. In the morning, mash them and heat the mixture till you can see froth over it. Filter this mixture once or twice to filter out all the soapnut seeds and other pulp. Store it in bottles and use it as shampoo to wash your hair.

Other alternatives:

1. Apply almond oil before bath and let it be for 15 minutes and then take bath. You won’t need any moisturizer. I use Khadi Almond oil and it’s awesome.

2. Add few drops of rose water to your face moisturizer. Rose water acts as toner and also gives you that fresh feeling. I have used Dabur and Khadi rose water. I found Dabur rose water to be better as Khadi had this artificial fragrance.

If you make it easy to use, you will be able to follow it consistently. Keep everything in reach and prepare mixture of powders before hand during weekends, so that on weekdays , you can just add some liquid and use it right away.

Ideal diet plan

Following is my ideal diet plan and someday I will follow it hopefully.

1. Have lemon,chia seeds and honey with warm water first thing in the morning at 6. Soak the chia seeds overnight in water and use it in this mixture. Lemon+honey helps in digestion. Chia seeds are known to be a super food.

2. Have a fruit by 7.30 AM. Breakfast with coffee(sugarless) by 9. In general breakfast is muesli, bran, oats idli, oats dosa, boiled egg sandwich, french toast. In addition to this have dry prunes, blue berry and dates.

3. Have dry fruits at 11.30. 2 almonds, 2 pistachios, 1 cashew, 1 dry date, 1 dry fig, 1 raisin, 1 cranberry, 1 gojiberry(The reason for the sweet items to be in less quantity is because I am conscious about the sugar intake)

4. Have 2 chapatis + curry as lunch by 1.30 PM. This is followed by buttermilk.

5. Have fruits at 4 PM. Office cafeteria’s fruit plate generally includes watermelon, papaya, pineapple, apple, grapes, guava, banana, sapota,etc.

6. Dinner by 8.30 PM. This is usually a light tiffin item like idli, dosa, upma, poha, puffed rice upma etc.

7. In between, whenever hungry, have muti grain with dry fruits snack bar. I have posted this recipe in this blog post.

Avoid rice as much as possible and have it on weekends for lunch.

But in general, I miss a few steps of this diet, like most of them.

Dry fruits and multigrain snack bar

Yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking..”another healthy yucky food”. Nope, this one’s actually yummy. Trust me, stranger on the internet.

Here we go, this is the recipe:

1. Melt a cup of peanut butter on a pan. Switch off the stove.

2. Add slightly crushed multigrain(2 cups), almond(20), cashews(15), pistachios(15) and flax seeds to the melted peanut butter.

3. Add half cup of honey to this to get the sweet taste. The multigrain which I buy(Kellogg’s multigrain with oats and honey) already has honey in it, so I don’t add honey.

4. (Optional) You can add cocoa powder to get a chocolaty taste.

5. Spread this mixture on a plate and store it in fridge. Later you can cut this into bars.

Or you can also make small spheres out of the mixture and store them in fridge.

You can also use just oats instead of multigrain, but I found that it’s not crunchy enough for me. You can literally add anything of your choice in any quantity. Just make sure there is enough peanut butter.

Work tracker using java swings

I note down my work assignments in an excel everyday. I wanted to automate this into a UI, which will automatically write the user input to excel. This can be achieved using Apache POI.

But my lazy brain just chose to write into a txt file which is easier.

I used Java Swings for the UI. There is scope for lot of improvement which I thought I can include in version 2. But then again, I got lazy and thought ” what’s the point of using swings which is almost extinct, JavaFX is already here”. So I only have version 1 code :-/

I have uploaded work_v1.jar here. You just need java in your machine to run it.

Following is the screenshot of how the UI looks. It picks the system date automatically, takes input from user about work assignments. All the work assignments go to the ToDo section automatically. Once a work item is done, user can move it from ToDo to Done by clicking on “Done=>” button. “ToDo<=” button will do the vice versa. On clicking the “Save” button, the entire data is saved to a txt file in your D drive

Complete demo recording: