The Aladdin's Cave

Hi, thanks for stopping by! The dictionary defines the idiom “The Aladdin’s Cave” as “a collection of interesting and beautiful objects”. Likewise, my website is a potpourri where you can browse and read from a variegated collection of articles on sundry subjects. Be prepared to stumble upon pieces ranging from noodles to analytics and from novels to friendships. Like what you read? Thanks a ton for being such a sweetheart. Don’t find it up to the mark? Well, blame it on back-breaking expectations ;) Jolly Reading!

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Pronunciation Bloopers – 4

Hello Readers,

I hope you have mastered the previous lists in this series and are ready to absorb the ones that I present in this new set. In case you are new here or need a quick refresher course, please refer to Pronunciation Bloopers – 1Pronunciation Bloopers – 2 and Pronunciation Bloopers – 3 to familiarize yourself with the other potential bloopers  In this list, we will tackle some seemingly-simple but possibly-treacherous words that take great pleasure in tripping the non-native speakers of the English language. Ha, what a cruel world we live in! I will never understand why we need to have Hs and Gs and Ls and Bs planted in those words where we never intended to pronounce them in the first place. Anyway, since nobody is asking me for my expert opinion, I will stick to doing what I can – memorizing these pronunciations and making my peace with them. And I advise you to consider doing the same thing, for the joys provided to us by the English language greatly outnumber the few pains that it directs our way.

Word Comment on Pronunciation Note
Elect [ih-lekt] , not [ai-lekt]  The ‘e’ at the beginning pompously breaks itself from the rest of the letters. The pronunciation for both ‘elect’ and ‘election’ start with an ‘e’, and not with an ‘el’.
Cough [kawf, kof], not [kuff] Yep, to add to the misery of cold and cough, we must be mindful not to make this one rhyme with puff and tough.
Lieu [loo], not [lyu] Lieu rhymes with flu and clue – and you might want to glue this to your mind.
Loose [loos], not [looz] With loose and goose, the language is uncharacteristically phonetic. But the same cannot be said for lose that rhymes with ooze.
Crumb [kruhm], not [krum-b] Let’s be as particular about this one as Monica (from Friends, of course) is about her ‘no crumbies’ rule!
Dumb [[duhm], not [dum-b] In case this makes you feel a little dumb, trust me you are not alone.
[tree-oh], not [try-oh]
Remember this one from the golden trio – Harry, Ron and Hermione! Since we talk about this trio so very often, we definitely don’t wanna get this wrong.
Plumber [pluhm-er] not [pluhm-ber] Another one where the ‘b’ is just ornamental 🙁
Ghost [gohst], not [gh-ost] What? Did you say that ‘h’ in ghost is silent? Now this one is certainly gonna haunt me for a while.
Meticulous [muhtik-yuh-luh s], not [met-tik-yuh-luh s] If you are a meticulous speaker of English, you must remember this one to uphold your reputation.

As always, I would love to receive your feedback and suggestions through the comments. Take care and stay tuned for more of these!

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Writing With Pencils

It’s still the first half of the first month, which means it isn’t too late to wish all my readers a very happy new year! I wish you all loads of joy and peace and happiness, and sincerely hope that you will stick to your new resolutions for a little while longer. I also hope the same for myself, though it is becoming increasingly difficult not to find excuses to dismiss each and every old and new resolution. Nevertheless, one of my many 2016 vows is to write more frequently, and I invite you all to be the judge for this one 🙂

Now let me get back to writing something that justifies the title of this post. Gunjan has a growing concern with me using pencils for the draft posts that I write – he worries that when I author a book of my own, I will have to do a hell lot of typing to digitize all the words that would have got transferred from my heart (or muddled brain?) to paper. Notice that he says “when I author a book” instead of saying “if I EVER author a book”. But let us forgive him for this astoundingly ambitious belief. Both his confidence and concern stem from a very strong and genuine affection, and we can’t charge a fellow for a crime of the heart, can we? 😉

But even though I find his concern extremely endearing, I know for a fact that this Herculean digitization task is not gonna bother me in the near future or in the distant one for that matter. How I wish it would – but where are the words and the plot and the characters? Oh, just where? 🙁 Anyway, grieving and ranting about my cluelessness is for another post. This one is for discussing a few of the many merits of using a pencil for putting one’s thoughts on paper.

  • Reminiscent of Childhood – Even though this is not a prioritized list (yes, I was careful to use bullets instead of numbers!), I will go ahead and admit that for me, just this one certainly trumps them all. It’s one of the things that will always keep you connected to the most carefree time of your life. Plus, there is also the added hope of being able to write freely, just like a child, without  worrying too much about the vocabulary and the grammar and the world – not while drafting, at the very least. You can go nuts and scrawl all that comes to your mind, and save the sophisticated filters for later use.
  • Very forgiving – Ah, a pencil is one of the most non-punitive devices when used in conjunction with the classic ‘undo’ button – the trusted eraser. Right? Unless and until you’ve managed to tear away the paper with some fierce erasing, you can always give it another try. After all, not all of us can get it right the first time.
  • Takes you off the grid – We live in an age where people first spend a hefty sum to buy all the latest and greatest gadgets and then spend some more to attend digital detoxification sessions that aid them in disconnecting with the electronics they bought earlier. In this crazy world of incessant clicking/flicking/gaming/chatting/emailing/reading/watching etcetera, sitting down with a piece of paper and a writing instrument (that doesn’t have any kind of internet connection) is like attending a free digital cleansing session. With no blinking distractions and stubborn notifications vying for your attention, you will be able to focus on your thoughts  and get something worthwhile on that paper.
  • Private notes – It is the perfect gear for penning down awful drafts that only you can decrypt – just write very lightly and nobody will be able to decipher what those curls and swirls mean. For example, if you would have looked at the paper draft for this post, it might have seemed to you that I had indulged in some heavy-duty doodling over a few pages. Yes, it is almost like your chicken scratch is naturally encrypted, and your familiarity with your own scribble is the key to decrypt this code. What a relief it is to know that nobody can judge you for composing scummy drafts!

Even though I just love the wooden pencils jauntily sporting their cute little eraser hats, I try to minimize their use and instead employ the plastic ones for writing. I suppose that sticking to a couple of plastic ones will do the environment less damage than callously sharpening away a forest, one tree at a time.

Hey, I was going to wrap up this post now but reading through the above bullet points again, I feel like taking a philosophical detour for a bit, and see if I can pull it off. So here are a few rhetorical questions for all of us. Is there some merit in taking a leaf out of our trusted pencil’s book? Would it be a happier world if we could be a little less judgmental/punitive with those around us? Is it possible for us to be a tad more rewarding to bring out the best in other people, just like our humble pencil? Well, let’s employ some of these practices in our lives and find out for ourselves!

Happy Scribbling, Friends! 🙂

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Pronunciation Bloopers – 3

Hey there, everyone!

I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving/vacation/weekend and I pray that we always have plenty to be thankful for! More importantly though, I hope that we always are thankful for all that we have, instead of taking things and people and life in general for granted. And I take this moment to thank each one of you for encouraging me to keep writing, and for all you love and support. It really, really means a lot to me.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” – William Arthur Ward

After Pronunciation Bloopers – 1 and Pronunciation Bloopers – 2, I am here to present to you the third part in this series dealing with some commonly misspoken English words. This set of words might contain a shocker or two for the non-native speakers of the language. But before dismissing any particularly unpleasant pronunciation with  the utterance of ‘Smoke and Mirrors!’ and forsaking this website, kindly refer to your trusted dictionary and check for yourself. And then, you might be willing to give the fourth post in this series a chance too, which will be out soon.  Now I invite you to take a look at the following list, and to let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

Word Comment on Pronunciation Note
Respite [res-pit] – US , [res-pite] – UK Mishi – Pit as in bit (US), pite as in bite (UK); Thanks Sumit!
Up-to-date [uhp-tuh-deyt], not [up-to-date] Mishi – Please don’t ask me why, and I know this hurts! 🙁
Steward [stoo-erd, styoo-erd], not [stee-ward] Mishi – Yeah, ‘ste’ + ‘ward’ messes up both the parts
Icon [i-kon], not [i-kan] Mishi – Just pronounce I and con separately, as we do in iPhone and iStore
Awry [uh-rahy], not [aww-ree], nor [aww-rye] Mishi – The pronunciation goes awry, if we pronounce it as ‘aww-ree’ or ‘aww-rye’
Opportunity [op-er-too-ni-tee,op-er -tyoo-ni-tee], not [op-er-chyu-ni-tee] Mishi – The language takes a phonetic turn with this word; just pronounce it as you see it, don’t have to end it with ‘choonity’ or ‘chyunity’!
Vehicle [vee-i-kuh-l , vee-hi-kuh-l], not [vay-hi-kuh-l] Mishi – A very-commonly used and very-commonly misspoken word!
Category [kat-i-gawr-ee, -gohr-ee], not [kat-a-gary] Mishi – Remember ‘mandatory’ from the first  post in this series? We should treat category as its mispronounced cousin.
Longevity [lon-jev-i-tee, lawn-], not [long-i-vity] Mishi – Even though it has ‘long’ in it, we cannot just append ‘-ivity’ to ‘long’; the pronunciation is quite different with ‘jev’ in the middle.
Tomb [toom], not [toom-b], not [tom-b] Mishi – Double the ‘o’ and forget the ‘b’ to pronounce it correctly; thanks Tarun – for suggesting this one!

Have a great week ahead!

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Pronunciation Bloopers – 2

All the encouragement that I received for my previous post Pronunciation Bloopers – 1 has spurred me to action, and so here is the second part in this series focusing on commonly mispronounced words. This post specifically deals with words related to food and cooking, and all things palatable and potable. I took all your suggestions to post this one promptly because these really are words that we use in our everyday conversations at homes, offices, restaurants, parties, everywhere.

Before I give you the list, let me share a little something. This Wednesday night, I had pizza for dinner. Even though the calorie-laden slices made me regret my dinner choice, my one solace was that I had pronounced it correctly (as we learnt about it in the first part). So you see, learning the correct pronunciations might help soften the blow of these dietary slip-ups. And since I am a tad conscious after my cheesy lapse, I will start this list with some healthy choices and then plunge in the calorie pool! I hope you all find this one useful too.

Word Comment on Pronunciation  Note
Quinoa [keen-wah, kee-noh-uh] Mishi – Very difficult to resist starting with “qui” as in quick
Raspberry [raz-ber-ee, -buh-ree, rahz-], not rasp-berry Mishi – Ah, I keep forgetting this one
Salmon [sam-uh n] Mishi – Yeah, the “L” is to be ignored
Almond [ah-muh nd or am-uh nd], not al-muhnd Mishi – As in salmon, ignore the “L”
Shea [shee, shey], not shee-aa Mishi – I hear this more often in the cosmetics stores than in the grocery stores 🙂
Cheddar [ched-er], not shed-er Mishi – Start with ch as in check, not sh as in shed
Steak steyk, not steek Sumit- One leads to another
Mishi – If the waiter doesn’t get it, your steak is at stake – so remember to pronounce this one as stake 😉
Chow mein [chou meyn] Mishi – The “chow” part is easy, just remember not to end it with an abrupt “min”
Provolone [proh-vuh-loh-nee] Mishi – End it with “lo(h)ny”, not “loan”
Tortilla tawr-tee-uh, not tawr-tilla Mishi – No idea what’s with these food words and their step-treatment towards the letter “L”, but it is to be ignored here too

Happy Weekend, Friends!

How do you enjoy cheese the most?


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Pronunciation Bloopers – 1

This is part 1 of a collaborative effort to consolidate some of the words that trip us and our friends – either due to their unintuitive pronunciations or because the mispronounced words are so deeply embedded in our vernacular that the correct utterances grate on our ears. Many of my friends are contributing to a google sheet to make this collection as exhaustive as possible, and to help us all improve…day by day, word by word. We are also sharing our thoughts/struggles/frustrations/hopes/jokes in the ‘Note’ column to make this an enjoyable class. Please feel free to share your “tripping words” in the comments section, and I will be happy to publish them in one of the subsequent posts. Thanks to all my friends who have given me the liberty to share their words here, and thanks to all the readers too. And I welcome you to this fun class where all the harassed students double as the harassing teachers! 😀

P.S. Native speakers of English might find this to be an extremely stupid endeavor. Nevertheless, you are welcome either to contribute/correct us or to enjoy some other posts on this website! 🙂 Also, keep in mind that the emphasis is on highlighting the part(s) of the words that are commonly enunciated incorrectly.

Word Comment on Pronunciation Note
Chic ‘Sheek’ Mishi – Not ‘chick’, not ‘cheek’, not ‘shick’
Reservoir [re-zer-whar] not voir Sumit – thanks to my English teacher in school who first told me this
Gross gros, not ‘graus’ Sumit – learnt this very recently
Gourmet goor-mey Sumit – the T is silent! and yes I love food
Monk Pronounced as ‘munk’, not ‘maunk’ Mishi – The ‘munk’ who sold his Ferrari
Pizza Peet-suh’, not ‘Piz-za’ Mishi – mispronounced at an alarming rate during parties
Mandatory manda-tory’ or ‘manda-taury’, not ‘manda-tary’ Mishi – finally mastered this
Assume Pronounced with s, not z; and oo, not yu Mishi – Uhh
Worcestershire [woo s-ter-sheer, -sher] Sumit – a totally different pronunciation from what the letters suggest
Consume(r) Pronounced with s, not z; and oo, not yu Mishi – Uhh

Have a beautiful day!

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It’s Or Its?

Well, this is one error that shows itself every single day – so let’s get it clarified once and for all.
It’s: This has two words – “it” and “is”. If we think of this as two separate words, we will always use it correctly. We should use this only if the sentence would make sense with both “it’s” and “it is”.
Its: This is the possessive pronoun of “it” – we should use “its” to indicate that something belongs to “it”.


  • It’s a beautiful day! (= It is a beautiful day!)
  • The baby is blinking its eyes! (Here, the eyes belong to the baby.)
  • Look at the flower – it’s amazing to see its colors! (Here, it is amazing to see the colors of the flower.)
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Winter is Coming!

Hello Friends!

As the second half of the fall semester begins from tomorrow (er, today), this post is an attempt to stretch the so-called extremely-mini break to its maximum possible length. Allow the soon-to-be swamped student to wring an extra hour or two of breathing time before getting lost in the usual graduate-level pandemonium! 🙂

Okay, first of all, I am extremely sorry for tricking you into reading this post by using the tempting quote from Game of Thrones
as its title. As must be clear from the image below, this post has absolutely nothing to do with GOT – apart from the fact that its author is as eagerly awaiting Season 5 as the reader! 🙂 But if the literal meaning of the quote is considered, I can be spared – because in Pittsburgh, winter does seem to be approaching at quite a disturbingly rapid pace.

My tolerance for cold is not something I am proud of – though I manage to survive by burying myself under every imaginable winter wear. To aggravate the impending misery, Pittsburgh (PA) is infamous for its merciless cold, thundering winds and relentless snow. And if the weather of every city could be assigned a gender, Pittsburgh weather, given its whimsical temperament, would definitely be a girl. Yes, the weather forecast applications have a hard time keeping up with the moody climate and the denizens have an even harder time deciding their attire for the day.

And to add to all this, there’s this totally uncooperative equation [C/5 = (F-32)/9] to convert temperatures between degree Celsius and degree Fahrenheit. Before you think that I am blabbering random stuff and cribbing about anything to do with temperatures, allow me to explain myself.

So here’s the thing: In India, we always express and discuss temperatures in degree Celsius. Having grown up using this unit, we Indians have trained ourselves to simultaneously imagine the temperature we are talking about. It’s like, you say 40 degree Celsius and I will raise my hand to wipe my brow. You say 2 degree Celsius and I will pull the sheet a little closer – it is like a reflex action. But here in US, it’s Fahrenheit all the way, which leaves me quite disoriented at times. And the conversion not being a matter of a quick multiplication or division (as is the case with miles and kilometers or pounds and kilograms), it requires a conscious effort to gauge the weather if the temperature is expressed in degree Fahrenheit.

You may think that that is quite a load of rant about a simple thing – but trust me it’s not. You really don’t want to be ill-equipped or freezing or sweating, just because nobody could figure out a better relationship between the two units. So as always, Gunjan (hubby dearest) came to my rescue and created a little something to help me arrive instantly at a ballpark temperature figure before I step out of the house.

Here’s the graph that he has created using Microsoft Excel:

What's It Like Today?

What’s It Like Today?

The intuitively color-coded legend and the easy-to-read plot does a wonderful job of enlightening me everyday. This simple graph has made me “weather-wise” and I feel a lot more confident due to this latest addition to my winter-kit. And yes, it’s not everyday that you receive such a meaningful and personalized gift – so that’s another factor that is gonna add to the warmth this winter! 🙂

Please feel free to download this image and use it for quick reference if your weather-sense is as orthodox and inflexible as mine.Have a beautiful winter! 🙂

P.S.: I do realize that one could easily change the setting in the weather forecast application to set the desired unit. It’s just that something like this comes in very handy when the news channels and the newspapers and everyone around you are all Fahrenheit fans. You definitely do not want to be either clueless or totally out of sync!



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Best Practices in Communicating Complexity


Hello Friends!

I beseech you all to give me one more chance to explain my disappearing act. It has been around five months since I joined the 12-month MISM (Master of Information Systems Management) program at CMU (Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh) and believe me, it has really killed me! Yes, it has killed me but I have lived to tell the tale. However, I will tell that tale some other time – the wounds are too fresh to prod. 😀

So even when being smothered with assignments, quizzes and all other components packed in the grad-school parcel, I’ve been battling this guilt of ignoring my dear blog. And then this thought flashed – to share something that I had already penned down but not posted. I wrote this academic article as a part of a coursework here and I hope it will be of some use to some of you.

Here it goes:

Let me begin this post by analyzing the title of this write-up. As soon as we read the topic, the first questions that come to the mind is – “Do I really need to know about these best practices?” or “Can I imagine myself in a situation where I would be required to convey complex and intricate data to an audience?”. The answer to these questions is a firm and truthful “Yes”. In fact, as future managers, we will be required to do this all the more frequently and we could lose out on significant success in our careers if we don’t master this skill.

No matter what professions we are in, a major part of our job responsibilities comprises explaining our work/data/results to an audience who is unfamiliar with our domain. In these situations, we must recognize that it’s not the right place to show off our knowledge and command on the subject by employing the usage of unnecessary jargons and numbers. If we are the presenter, it’s understood that we are experts on the subject. Or else, we would not be relied upon by our company to be the presenter. What the audience trusts and expects us to do is to relate our data-heavy story in a simple manner so that they can really understand the subject.

According to Charles Whaley (1999), the usage of complex phrases only makes the communication less efficient, thus defeating the whole purpose of the exchange of information. In his paper (Charles Whaley, 1999), he cites a simple example of the usage of the word “disintermediation” in place of the phrase “cutting out the middleman”. By using such ‘biz-speak’, we risk losing a major part of our audience to whom the phrase “disintermediation” might be nothing more than gibberish. As a result of such convoluted phrasing, the audience simply loses interest in the subject and stops participating.

To be an effective communicator, there are some key factors that we must keep in mind. First, we must always target the audience we are presenting to and should only present relevant information. Also, the information must be communicated in a different manner while presenting to audiences belonging to different age groups or categories so that they can relate to it. The second thing to remember is that pictorial representations always win over textual representations. The chances of us remembering or understanding a pie chart or a histogram are much higher compared to that of retaining figures and numbers. Use of multimedia is very helpful in detangling intricate information and in keeping the audience interested. The third important principle is to sequence the flow of the information. This technique ensures that we adopt a step-by-step approach and not bombard the audience with an overwhelming amount of information. The last point is that we must never undermine the importance of feedback from the audience. This can be done by simply asking questions to the audience to ensure that they are with us in the communication process. Receiving responses from the audience keeps a check on our tendency to ramble through the presentation by just dumping all the data without providing the interpretation.

In the end, we must remember that it really is a challenge to adhere to the best practices in communicating complexity and it does not come naturally to everyone. This thought has been beautifully summed up by E. F. Schumacher in his quote – “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” Hence, we all must put in a conscious effort and discipline ourselves to follow these practices and become a better communicator of ideas, data and stories.


Charles Whaley. (1999). Avoid Excessive Complexity In Communicating At Work. Retrieved on August 9, 2014 from

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The Exotic Tadka!

Hello People!

Two to three months back, I started to draft this article dealing with the topical subject of the monotonically increasing prices of tomatoes. Totally flabbergasted by the high headedness of tomatoes, I had titled the article ‘The Tomato Exoticism’. Since it lay in my draft folder for quite some time, I had feared that this one too would lose relevance and share its fate with the other members of the sad group of expired articles. But thanks to our very dependable government and the inexplicable mayhem of inflation and wroth economics, this article still stands relevant! And at the risk of sounding cruel, one could almost say that the article even got a shot in the arm because the onions joined the tomatoes in an expensive game of one-upmanship. Yes, and that’s how the humble, commonplace, unsung ‘Tadka‘ acquired its nouveau exoticism!  (For the uninitiated, a ‘tadka’ is an amalgam of tomatoes, onions and a few spices added in oil and is imperative to a plethora of Indian/Indianized dishes.)

Since childhood, we have heard and read about weird things breaking long standing curses (e.g. a kiss from a princess has been known to turn a frog into a prince!!). Hence, I’m doing my bit here. Since the government seems to be in no hurry to rein in the runaway prices of the tomatoes and the onions, I think it’s only fair that I should take a chance and and see if this post can break the curse.

My dadi (paternal grandmom) was a beautiful, rosy, chirpy woman who doted on the whole family, more so on her grandchildren. She loved nibbling on sugar-sprinkled tomatoes or on tomatoes roasted over charcoals and would invite us all to share. I wasn’t too enthusiastic about it then but in retrospect, I realize how stupid I was! Yes, I should have had my fill of tomatoes and onions while I still had the chance!

Given the current state of things, you stand the danger of being labelled a snob if you discuss more than three tadka-based recipes at a go. Yes, I even heard about the addition of a new filter (viz. ‘Sans Tadka’) to some recipe-sharing blogs and websites. The ‘haut monde’ has deigned to include this topic in their chit-chat and the freeloaders have found a new zeal to look for their next free meal. Visiting the vegetable market no more remains a quotidian activity. You don’t just stroll in with a friend and pick this and that, not caring twopence about the pennies and dimes jingling in your pockets. No, Sir! This undistinguished chore has lately been exalted and now demands respect, inspires anxiety and even extorts a prayer or two!

With these staple items acquiring the status of edible gems, we have taken another giant leap towards anarchy. And I hope I have not disappointed you by not providing a solution to this problem because no, this one does not have a happy ending. Let’s just pull off what we’re best at – making peace with things.

So what is it gonna be this time? This time, it’s gonna be unsavory Arrabbiattas and insipid Rajmas!

Hang in there and take care!

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The Nexus 4 Redemption

Hello Friends!

I admit that my capacity to dilly-dally before actually posting an article (if at all) is quite impressive. But in this case, I am allowing an aberration. And I have a sound reason to do that. If this post saves the life of even a single phone, the effort will be worthwhile.

We all have our own phone stories. Quite often, more than one.
So here’s my story:

Yesterday night, I did the unthinkable. You see, one second my phone was on the basin and the next second it was in a bucket of water. Just like that. Slipped and slushed! I must have had about two minor heart attacks in that one second! I scooped it out, as fast as Flash, but the sight of my dripping Google Nexus 4 made me want to go and drown myself somewhere. Maybe in the same bucket! 🙁

Okay, another thing – Gunjan almost worships electronic gadgets. I love them too – we all do – but he is really, really devoted to them. I contemplated not telling him about it as I suspected that he might seek to initiate criminal proceedings against me. But my conscience didn’t allow me keep mum because I owed at least that much to my Nexus 4. It needed to be attended to. And quickly so. And by the right person. Not by someone who could have been so careless as to let it soak in water!

So, mustering all my courage, I broke the devastating news to him. I can’t describe what he went through. He was positively distraught. And I was not wrong about the criminal proceedings. He was looking daggers at me, feeling totally betrayed by such alarming irreverence. And I, with the guilt of my heinous crime weighing me down, held my head low and stared numbly at my phone.

And about the braveheart – prima facie, my phone looked just fine. The touch worked as beautifully as ever. The display was as perfect as it comes. But we still weren’t too hopeful. Neither would you be if your Nexus 4 was leaking from every little port! 🙁 And then came the blow. Gunjan tried to play ‘Payphone‘ (no pun intended – we were totally not in the mood 🙁 ) using PowerAmp but it seemed that ‘Maroon 5‘ had lost their voice! Dejected, Gunjan declared that the bucket of water had rendered the gadget as useless as a bottomless bucket.

Having hit a dead end, we did what we all do in such situations – resorted to Google. We looked up a few YouTube videos and out came the tool boxes. After a lot of tedious trials, we pried it open. The fine assortment of ICs, buttons, sensors, chips – which make Nexus what it is – lay before our eyes. I admit that it’s not meant to be treated this way – you don’t wedge apart Google Nexus 4
. It’s nothing short of a violation. But then, you don’t even drop it in a bucket of water!

So after bringing it apart, Gunjan used my hair dryer and tried to dry out every nook and cranny in the panel. Meanwhile, the guilt-ridden me (besides appealing to every God up there) was googling like crazy and going bonkers reading forums. Do you wanna know why? Because I thought it was some kind of a freaking joke. People had suggested to bury the phone in a bag of rice!!! Yes, you heard it right! I thought that in their grief, other unfortunate Nexus-drowning fellows like me had lost their thinking faculties. But I cannot deny that the success stories on the forums kept my dawdling hope just alive.

After drying the panel as best as he could, Gunjan switched on the poor thing. Unable to accept the outrageous treatment meted out to it, the phone continued to act deaf and dumb and ignore all our fervent pleas. If I called on my number, all it did was feebly croon ‘Glad You Came‘ and that’s it. You could scream your lungs into the mic after receiving the call but the other person on the line wouldn’t hear a thing. Neither could you. And if you switched on the speaker, wildly distressing noises forced you to end the call.

Having tried out every trick in the book and devoid of all hope, Gunjan and I (so not united in grief – he was still contemplating suing me) joined the loony group and turned to the mysterious box of rice. Normally, he won’t let me keep a grain of rice on Nexus but today, we both dug in the pile, placed the violated device in the dent, covered it with rice and then closed the box. I can’t tell you how disturbingly similar the rice burial ceremony seemed to a final goodbye.

Saving Private Nexus

In a stupor, we went to sleep. There was nothing left to do but wait.

Morning came and we rushed to exhume my phone. After retrieving it from it’s purported rice grave, Gunjan put the SIM card back in the slot. Mercifully, the panel was parch dry and there weren’t any signs of seepage. He switched it on and it looked just fine. Then, with fluttering hearts, we played ‘Payphone’ again and trust me when I say this, even ‘Maroon 5’ couldn’t be as happy hearing their own song as we were. The crystal clear sound resounded in our room, announcing the restoration of the speakers.
Heady with success, we used my Google Nexus 4‘s kin (Yes, Gunjan too has the same phone and it had been eyeing me with disgust since last night) to call my number. And there – when we could both hear each other’s repeated ‘Hellos’ on the line – that truly was a ‘Dear Diary’ moment! :-):-)

Yes, the life-infusing white grains did the trick! Believe it or not, rice worked like a charm! It worked as a desiccant and healed my ailing, weeping phone. And my Google Nexus 4 is up and alive again! Bless you Google for making such a beautiful and resilient cell! Overnight, my love for the phone has increased exponentially!

And yes, lesson learnt!

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