Google Sandeep Parkhi

Jul 24, 2015

Are we becoming dumb with digital revolution?

Last week my 5 and 1/2 year old son, Arjun, got a fracture in his right hand while playing at his School. Such a lovely kid he is, that he didn't even cry and did his classwork in the school on that day. Since there was hardly any swelling and he wasn't crying as well, his School teachers didn't think it was a fracture. And they were not at fault. Since even after he got home, we also didn't think it was a fracture and applied ointment after telephonically consulting his doctor. Next day morning, when he still wasn't allowing us to touch his hand, we took him to our family doctor. He also didn't think that it was a fracture since Arjun was pretty comfortable otherwise. Still the doctor asked us to confirm by taking X-Ray and then we found that it was a fracture. He took him to an Orthopedic Doctor and Arjun got a plaster on his hand for three weeks. He was advised not to go to School as well since there was a chance that other children unknowingly may hurt his hand again. All of a sudden, Arjun's routine changed and this playfully talkative child had to undergo through a temporary phase of partial restrictions on activities. However, Arjun isn't even complaining that he could not play outside or couldn't attend RSS Shakha and is getting bored etc. He is supporting us wonderfully well that way. And his non stop talking continues. He is also trying to be self dependent as far as possible. He is trying to put his plastered hand in the pouch (purchased after we clicked the picture below) himself, after waking up in the morning. He is eating with a spoon in his left hand. He is fastening his shoe bands with one hand. See his cheerful picture below:

Now coming to the point on what bothers me the most. Even though the fact that Arjun's hand got fractured was known to most of the close aids, people try to show the superficial concern by posting "Get well soon Arjun" on WhatsApp. Let me be very clear on this. I absolutely don't have any sort of expectation that people should show the sympathy towards Arjun, or should call him showing the concern etc. Neither does Arjun expects that. He is enjoying this phase as well. What I feel disgusting is that people's apathy and lack of warmth in relationship gets exposed because of all this. They know that this kid is not on WhatsApp. So is there any point in posting get well soon messages there? The only intention of posting these messages is to officially register the concern, even though it is superficial. I don't like this mentality of wearing masks in close relations, which is very prevalent these days in the society. We should remain just like what we are and should never try to portray us as being something different. If I am not concerned with somebody, I should simply stay away from him/her rather than pretending that I am very much concerned. But if I am genuinely concerned with someone, it should definitely be whole hearted. If someone else, who I feel is close to me, chooses to stay away from me, even though I would feel sad, still it would be acceptable since that would be his/her choice, as long as there is no effort of hiding the real face behind the artificial mask. 

So if someone is genuinely concerned with Arjun, he should have simply called him and this talkative child would have excitedly told you the stories on how he got injured, how did he attend the school that day, what did he say to the doctor etc...

Same thing goes with wishing someone else. They are not "Warm Wishes" anymore. They are just full of some beautiful WhatsApp smileys. Just to complete the formality, post a Birthday/Anniversary wish and move on to post some jokes or philosophy of life. People keep on pouring the wishes, without bothering even to think that the person to whom we are wishing is not on WhatsApp. Day in and day out I see this on WhatsApp. Husband is on WhatsApp while his wife is not. Still people wish on her birthday in WhatsApp groups. And husband has to keep on posting "Thank You" replies. Kids like Arjun also get the birthday wishes on WhatsApp even though they are not there.  One of my childhood friends is not on WhatsApp. But he got wishes on WhatsApp group of our common friends. I simply don't understand what we want to show by doing this. If the Birthday is of someone else, are we wishing each other on the group in his absence? These days, we hardly remember anybody's birthday. Facebook tells us whose birthday is today. 

I am a techie by nature, and absolutely not against the technology. I definitely understand that earlier postcards were the only means of communication. As the technology has evolved, only the means of communication are changing and postcards were replaced by phone calls, emails, Orkut/facebook and now WhatsApp. And I completely agree that we should change with the world else we will lag behind. Only thing is that we should know where to stop and identify the moment when technology is taking control over your mind, your life and changing your basic nature. 

Use of technology which increases our productivity, brings out the creativity, eases out the otherwise day to day complex tasks is acceptable. But people are definitely becoming more and dumb and becoming the slaves of technology. Post any puzzle and rather than using own mind, people prefer to Google for the ready made answer. Below is a representative image of a group that I had received through Social Media, who went on to visit their grandma after a long time.

Picture Credit: Unknown. Received through Social Media

Here are some of the real life examples that we are getting dumb.

Example 1: 

There was a period some 10-15 years ago, when I used to remember all the phone numbers and had literally written over 100 phone numbers (with STD codes for landlines) on paper just to test. Nowadays, we are completely dependent on mobile phones. We don't even see the number once. We ask the person to give a missed call and save the number from call log. Later on there is only dialling by name. One fine day, your mobile phone is lost and you don't even know your wife's or parents' phone number. In my case, I still remember most of the numbers written on that piece of paper at that time, even though they are obsolete now. But I hardly know any of the numbers saved in my mobile phone. It's a fact!    

Example 2: 

Now this is a real life story told by one of my friends settled in US long back. He was in some store and bought goods worth $52 and gave the cashier a $100 note. If it would have been in India, any streetside vendor would have immediately asked "२ रुपये छुट्टे है क्या?" But the cashier there simply could't understand this. Only thing he entered in his system that Cash tendered was $100 and he needed to return $48. Since he didn't have change to return $48, he went on asking at other cash counters for a change. Same thing has now started happening in India in big stores. Even when we buy vegetables from a streetside vendor, forget about bargaining, but people don't even bother to do the basic calculations. Rather we can't do it nowadays, without using Calculator App in mobile. So if the vendors asks for Rs.248, we pay Rs. 248, if he asks for Rs.268, we pay Rs. 268. Even if you try doing the mental arithmetic, I am sure that the person on the other side of the counter will be far quicker than you, irrespective of the fact that he has sold same vegetable at different rates to different persons and some have bought it 1 Pav (250 grams) while you have bought 1 and 1/2 pav (how many grams ????????........ ok....I think it's 375 grams). I still remember the days when I used to enjoy doing complex calculations quickly using Vedic Mathematics techniques. Obviously, it couldn't be quicker than calculations in excel, but your mind conditioning gets far far better.

Example 3: 

Another example dated some 3-4 years back. I went to buy bananas. They were priced at Rs.30 per dozen. I asked the vendor to give me 6 bananas. He immediately said "साहब २० के ८ ले लो". It took some extra 5-6 seconds for me to check that he was right. 

Example 4:

This was what I had posted at the time of my birthday in 2012. I had deliberately hidden my birthday from facebook, a week before. And later did the comparison with my 2011 birthday. 

All in all, it's the time to realise that we are getting dumber day by day. Anyway, it's said that we hardly use even 10% of our brain. And if continue using our brain even lesser, how can we expect it to remain sharp? It will get rusted soon, unless we undergo digital detoxification. I really admire the creative brains who have developed WhatsApp, facebook, Candy Crush etc. They are not at fault in this. Problem is with us only. And if your mobile phone's battery is lasting longer, it means you are enjoying life more. I am also the part of this, but at least have realised how my life has changed over the years.

I was an avid reader till couple of years back. Nowadays, I often complain that I hardly get the free time to read. I am still to finish Amish's latest book "Scion of Ikshvaku" that I had pre-ordered and got delivered on same day of release i.e on 22nd June 2015. Earlier, I was frequently writing some articles, used to keep experimenting with some workarounds and editing HTML here on my website. Now this post is after a gap of more than 1 year. क्या करू? टाईम ही नही मिलता.....अजिबात वेळ नाही मिळत हो......... आणि जर मिळालाच आणि वाचत बसलो तर Candy Crush मध्ये प्रगती कशी होईल?

Feb 1, 2014

Sony DSLT Photography Training Program

It was a cold winter morning on 26th January 2014, a Republic Day of India. This year it happened to be a Sunday as well. So it was the only weekly off that most of us had. But instead of relaxing at home, about a thirty photography enthusiasts in Nagpur preferred to gather at wee hours of the morning, near Sitabuldi. 

The occasion was Wildlife Photo Shoot and Training Program organised by Sony Alpha Flagship Store M/s Altaf H Vali, in association with Sony India.

I had purchased Sony SLT A58 camera from M/s Altaf H Vali in October 2013 and in the month of December, I got the message from them that they have organised a Photography Training Program on 26th January at Pench Tiger Reserve, Karmazari. Without any hesitation, I got myself registered for the same. Ever since then, I got the regular updates from the Store about tour itinerary etc.

Finally the day came and I reached the Store at 6 am, along with my wife and son. The day, which proved to be a full of surprises later on, began. To start with, the participants were given neatly laminated ID cards.

As per the itinerary, we were scheduled to have breakfast after reaching the resort in Karmazari. Still the food packets containing Snacks and Fruit Juice were distributed to all of us, as a light refreshment in the Bus. We boarded the bus for two and a half hour journey to Karmazari. The staff from M/s Altaf H Vali periodically enquired whether we are comfortable and do we need something. 

Because of the poor road condition, it took two and half hours to travel a distance of 90 Kms and at around 9 am, we reached the Resort in Karmazari.  The program was arranged at Baaz Jungle Resort ( It's a beautiful Resort. Breakfast was ready and separate room was allotted for ladies to freshen up. 

Immediately after breakfast, the training program began. 

Mr. Adnan from Altaf H Vali welcomed all of us and introduced the trainers as well. It was made clear that this training program would not, in itself, make any one of us a professional photographer. However, it would certainly be a step for all of us in that direction to be one.

First part of the training was conducted by Mr. Sameer Ashraf from Sony, who is a DSLT Pro Specialist. We were delighted to know that he has worked for the National Geographic and has even covered the war of Afghanistan. He explained the evolution of DSLT technology. We came to know the advantages of having a Camera with Translucent Mirror. He demonstrated how the mirror moves in DSLR, while it remains stationary in DSLT, enabling us to get more FPS (frames per second). SLT technology also allows the Auto Focus function to work while capturing videos, which is not possible in conventional SLR cameras. Stationary mirror also reduces the time for the Camera to get ready for the next click. View finder, being a Tru-Finder also gives the perfect impression of how the clicked picture would look like, thereby minimising the errors due to trial and error. We got to compare the results of DSLR cameras of other makes, with the same settings and since the cameras were connected to a LCD panel, it was all there for us to see, live. Getting the knowledge of all this was fabulous. 

Second trainer for the day was Mr. Chandrakanth Kamath (, who is a renowned wildlife photographer himself. He started with "What is Photography?" and explained it beautifully that "photo" means light and "graphy" means writing (just like calligraphy). So photography literally means "Writing with the Light". He took us through the Basics of Photography and explained the Exposure Triangle comprising Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. He enlightened us with some methods adopted by professional photographers in tricky situations like Wildlife Photography. He emphasised that to be a professional photographer, one needs to have the Right Attitude, Visual Eye, Proper Equipment and Knowledge Sharing Habit as well. Each of these was discussed in detail. He also said that to be a good wildlife photographer, once needs to love the animals and nature as a whole. He explained how "Passion" and "Patience" are a must. He also showed the pictures depicting how, the Patience pays. He shared some thumb rules of photography like The Rule of Thirds and ideal shutter speed at a given focal length (when tripod is not used). He also suggested some recommended settings for us to click the photographs while going for a Jungle Safari. 

The formal training concluded with a participation Certificate distribution at the hands of Mr. Masaaki Hori, who is Sony India Head for Digital Imaging Division.

Another element of surprise was that along with the Certificates, we were given Sony pouch and 8 GB Dual Connector Pen Drive having USB and Micro USB connectivity. We were given T-shirts with Sony Branding.

Now it was the time to enjoy delicious lunch and it was a privilege for me to share the lunch table with Mr. Hori, and discuss the future of technology with him.

After lunch, we boarded open Maruti Gypsy for Jungle Safari. We were given the option to carry extra demo lenses to try in the Jungle. However I preferred not to carry any of these costly items not belonging to me, and experimented with my 70-300 mm lens only. 

The calmness in the Jungle was fabulous. We were able to enjoy the "Flora" but not much fortunate to enjoy the "Fauna". It seemed as if all the animals were enjoying the National Holiday. We were able to see only the Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Monkeys and Nilgai.

After returning to the Resort, we enjoyed the High Tea. Before going into the Jungle, spontaneously Mr. Adnan had announced a competition with prizes for top four photographs clicked in the Jungle. So each one of us was asked to submit only one best photograph. This process was a bit time consuming since it took us a while to select the photograph and get it downloaded in Mr. Sameer's laptop. Then the trainers selected the best four photographs and prizes were distributed. The bumper prize for the Best photograph was sponsored by the Resort as one night all expenses paid stay with family and one Jungle Safari. After that, we boarded the bus again for return journey and reached Nagpur at 10 pm. 

It was an exiting day for all of us. I came to know how illiterate I was in photography before attending this training program. We gathered some knowledge and made new like minded friends as well.

Now I would like to share my some of my thoughts on "Buying a Camera".

E-Commerce v/s Assisted Buying: Personally speaking, I am the one who prefers to buy most of the things online. With e-commerce on the rise, you get many lucrative deals while buying online. However, I would still resist to suggest the readers to buy a camera online. When I visited M/s Altaf H Vali in October before buying a Camera, I was a novice and was completely unaware of the DSLR/DSLT technology and certainly was not in a position to make informed decision on my own, which is a must in buying online. The staff in the Store (especially Mr. Rajeshwar) properly guided me and gave all the necessary buying assistance. It took me two or three visits to M/s Altaf H Vali before arriving at the decision to buy. I was stunned to know that there might be some Warranty Issues in products bought online. When a multi-national company like Nikon has put the following notice on their website (click here to check this URL on Nikon India website), it must be carrying some weight:     


So I would recommend the readers to buy such high value items from authorised dealers or flagship stores wherein you get buying assistance, after sales services and chance to attend programs like this one. Especially, Photography is the field wherein you need to literally establish the relationship with the dealer to plan your post camera purchases like lenses, tripods, flashguns, various filters, other accessories etc. And this relationship has to be mutually beneficial. And I see this training program as an effort from M/s Altaf H Vali to fulfil their side of the obligation in this relationship.

Brand "Sony" in Camera Technology: As far as my understanding goes, Sony is certainly giving a tough fight to the likes of Nikon and Canon. Especially after the acquisition of Konica Minolta in the year 2006, Sony has increased it's market share exponentially. The world certainly seem to have moved ahead from DSLR to DSLT or mirrorless technology. Both Translucent (SLT) and Mirrorless have their own pros and cons. Mirrorless ones are compact and easy to carry. But that comes with a limited space for lens manufacturers to give the required precision. DSLT/DSLR Cameras are somewhat bulky, but they give the professional look to the camera. This is needless to say that Nikon and Canon are equally good and it's a matter of choice. Making informed decision is more important. 

All in all, at the end of this, I would still rate myself as being on level One on the scale of Ten (before this program, I must admit that I was on Level Zero). So it's a beginning for me. I am thankful to M/s Altaf H Vali, especially Mr. Adnan, for arranging this fabulous training program. I am also thankful to the trainers Mr. Sameer Ashraf and Mr. Chandrakanth Kamath for sharing their knowledge with us. And a big Thanks to Mr. Masaaki Hori for spending a day with us in his busy schedule.

Happy Clicking!!!!!

Disclaimer: This post is neither about recommending to buy from a specific dealer nor about recommending brand "Sony". I have just shared my personal experiences.

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