bhargavkesavan

Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…


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Mandatory accessory, Powerbank.


Have you been out for long without having enough battery on your mobile & realized you should have carried a power bank with you? Missed taking those sunset snaps just because you ran out of battery after using mobile the whole day?

Google maps, WhatsApp, Instagram, Music consume most of your battery with and without your knowledge. How often do you check which app consumes most of your battery?

We spend a lot of time in commute and at outdoors, you can’t expect your phone to have full battery all the times. You can save or extend the battery for a day by turning off data, reducing brightness, closing all unused apps & even turning off location sharing & data for apps that uses it in background.

 

Over the period I used few power banks and I’ve recommended few to my friends and relatives. Here is my power bank collection. I use it on a regular basis.

1. Anker, 2. Vinsic 3. GuliKit 4. Reconnect

Before looking at the Powerbank options…

Rule #1

Use your own Powerbank, do not lend it from others. If you do so, do not use mobile while charging using Powerbank. You’re not only draining the backup charge for its owner but also not optimizing the value of charging time.

Rule #2 

There is no Rule 2! Once power backup is gone, its gone. so use it productively!

Anker

I’ve been using Anker power bank since 2015. Its ultra compact, 10000 mAh portable power bank. It can do a full charge of my iPhone 5c & 6s for 5 times. It comes with a pouch to make it easy to carry. There are two ports in this power bank, so you can charge two mobiles at once. Indicator is helpful in identifying how much battery is left until next charge. It also comes with a scratch guard to protect the power bank.

After house key & laptop if you can find one accessory on my bag, it is this power bank! (Don’t try to snatch it when I’m away, I’ll find you!)

As Anker became a major player in power bank and other accessories, there are various options available from Anker in market. You can checkout these power banks from Anker.

Anker Ultra compact 10,000 mAh – https://amzn.to/2Kzqgjg
Anker Ultra slim 10,000 mAh – https://amzn.to/2H9n1wR
Anker Ultra small 10,000 mAh – https://amzn.to/2YQkqCK

 

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Vinsic

This is a beast! It’s ultraslim & 20000 mAh, it does full battery charge for iPhones 5,6 for almost 10 times. I carry it when I go on a road trip. Irrespective of devices, this can be used even to charge your camera and camera battery, provided you have the right cable.

Best part about this power bank is that, it comes with digital indicator, so it’s very easy to know how much battery is left and you can plan to charge this power bank accordingly. It comes with two USB ports as well, so you can charge two devices at a time.

Checkout this power bank here – 

Vinsic Ultraslim 20000 mAh – https://amzn.to/2HlqdFZ
Vinsic Ultraslim 20000 mAh – https://amzn.to/2H5yiyo
Visit New upgraded version 20000 mAh – https://amzn.to/31CSpLX

 

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Gulikit

This is a new addition to my power bank, this has a battery indicator as well, which is easy to know how much battery power left for further charge. It has one USB port, it is smaller than your phone! Best part is that you can attach it with your Nintindo switch and use it. It’s a 10000 mAh power bank, it charges phone fast and it can charge your phone more than 6 times.

Gulikit 10000 mAh – https://amzn.to/2TBmN6D


Reconnect

My wife uses this power bank from close to 7 years and it’s great. It’s compact, light weight and it can charge android phones for more than 5 times.

BK7_6975

I’m sure you’re already on amazon to get your power bank! Which power bank are you using? Do let me know in comments!

BK7_6965

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The Vessel – Modern Architecture with Ancient Design!


Did I tell you about the new attraction in the city? NYC is never ending attraction, you can never get bored. Every time you visit, you will see something new. It’ll make you smile every time you visit (Yeah, not when you want to pee during the winter!)

A few months back at the multi billion dollar ($25B) property Hudson Yards, a new attraction was opened for public, it’s called The Vessel.

What’s this Vessel? It’s a 16 stories building which has 154 flights of stairs with 2,500 steps & has about 80 landing spots. It is designed by a British designer Thomas Heatherwick. He said in an introduction video that this building is modeled after our India’s step wells in Rajasthan and several other places. It costs $200 Million to construct this.

This is located between 10th & 11th avenue on 33rd street. There is no entry fee to visit The Vessel, but you have to get a ticket to enter. Tickets are free of cost, you can get it on spot. Tickets are just to ensure a limited number of people are climbing it at a given time, so that it doesn’t get over crowded as it can hold 1,000 people at a time.

If you cannot climb all your way up, there is an elevator at the entrance of stairs that goes to the top, you can get down & spend sometime & take the elevator back to come down.

You can visit Vessel on a weekday without much wait time, but if you are visiting on weekend, it’s better you make a free reservation for a time slot through their website.

There are two options

  1. You can reserver a time slot for present day or for future days for free.
  2. You can book a Flex Pass for $10/person + tax, you can enter Vessel any time from morning till evening.

Visiting at evening & during sunset will give you good perspective for photography.

There is an expensive mall in Hudson Property & it also has several offices like HBO, CNN, Time Warner etc… & it also has residential buildings (really, who stays here?)

Here are some photos that I took here on different occasions.

Checkout other perspective of Vessel & others spots on my Instagram profile.


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Manhattanhenge, 2019


You might remember this post from 2016, Manhattanhenge, New York’s Stonehenge.

Yes, it’s that day of the year & the one of the four days in the whole year. Annually twice, twice in May & twice in July occurs the Manhattanhenge which was designed 200 years back while making the blue print of the modern Manhattan.

I was among thousands of other fellow photographers on Tudor city, soon to walk out and find a better spot near Bryant park. As usual there were many passers who looked very surprised and curious to find out why is the roads crowded with hundreds of photographers on each traffic lights.

Someone asked me what I was photographing, I was glad to explain about Manhattanhenge & they joined others in the Bryant park junction. Just the buses were a bit irritating similar to 2016! Just for an hour or so if buses were routed through alternate street that would be great! As the number of viewers grow each year, this should be considered by NYPD.

Alright, lets jump on to the photos. Here are the photos of Manhattanhenge & behind the scenes that I shot today. If you’re in the city tomorrow (Saturday, 07/13) don’t miss it. You can watch it from 42nd, 34th, 24th & 13th street.

Manhattanhenge, 2019. Shot from 42nd Street.
Shot on 07/12, 42nd street.
Bye, bye, Sun!
Viewers and Photographers on both sides of the roads through out the 42nd street!
I couldn’t find a good spot on Tudor city overpass, so I’d to run back to 42nd street, the same spot where I shot Manhattanhenge in 2016.
I was standing among this hundred+ photographers just to realize I can’t make a shot & took a run to 42nd st!
Hundreds of hands and cameras to capture this beauty!


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Best Food carts in Avenue of Americas!


If there is one thing that you need not worry during your visit to NYC, that’s Food. There are plenty of options to eat when you are in the Big Apple. You will get food from $4 to even $3000 a meal!

They say that if you want to try out all the eateries in the Manhattan, you will need 84 years! I know we don’t have so much time left, so I’m going to list the best three food carts in the Midtown Manhattan or in fact the best in entire New York City.

When you enter Avenue of the Americas from 42nd street or from any of the midtown streets, you will start seeing food carts in every corners; especially during lunch hours. There are food carts which functions just during the lunch hours and only on weekdays.

Trini Paki Boys

First time I’d food from here is during Fall 2014. Mohamed runs his cart for 17+ years now and his Mom use to take care of their business before him, so for close to 25+ years this cart is right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

I usually have Veggie over rice and Veggie over Dhal roti. Dhal roti is very special in this cart. Mohamed is very kind person, he gets along his customers very easily, in fact it should be said in other way, customers get along with him very easily for his friendly nature. He always know what I was going to order.

His cart is so famous that he got published in print media in Japan, He was published on Travel & Living Channel and several other media has praised his food over the time.

If you are in city & like to enjoy a tasty food on a weekday, do stop between 43rd and 44th street on Avenue of Americas.

Here is the google map marker http://bit.ly/TriniPakiBoys

This is Mohamed
Trini Paki Boys

Royal Grill Halal Food

When Mohamed is out on vacation or takes a day off, my next best food cart is Royal Grill Halal Food, it’s just two streets from my office and I’ve had at least hundred lunches from here. Mohamed Alam and his wife are the best people ever to run a food cart.

They are so kind and hardworking people. They start their day as early as 7 AM in the morning and their cart is open until 11:30 PM. They’ll change their shift with their employee at 7 PM but the food taste will remain same.

Alam serves Veggie samosa in his cart along with veggie rice. Falafel over rice, Veggie Biriyani (Not the typical Indian biriyani), Veggie rice with Dhal are the best food here for vegetarians. My wife likes the falafel rice from here, so whenever I order falafel at evening hours, Alam makes it fresh for me before I take bus to home.

This cart has been published in so many news articles & is featured on ABC 7, PIX 11 tv channels. Alam and his wife has won best food cart award a few times and they have also won The Vendy Award. What makes his cart special is that he remembers all his customers favorite food from his cart. He will always welcome everyone with smile! He also provides a loyalty card, which gets punched each time you have food form his cart & your every 8th meal is free for being a regular customer. I’ve missed tens of such cards, sometimes purposefully.

Here is the google map marker to his food cart – http://bit.ly/RoyalGrillHalalFood

That’s me with Alam & his employee inside food cart.

Moshes Falafel

You know Little Brazil? It’s on 46th street, two streets further from Royal Grill Halal. Little Brazil is famous for food carts, you will literally see a fleet of food carts during lunch hours. This cart is here for close to 4 decades! You will see few elderly youth running this store who attracts their customers with their witty talks.

It’s the best ever cart specially for falafel, I love the pita that comes with the yummy hummus & a pickle. It costs a couple dollars more than the previous two carts but it tastes equally excellent! They have a happy hour during evening hours, so if you miss that prime lunch rush hour, you can have little discount in price.

What I like here is that since its not rice and no gravy in food, you will get the food in a paper bag for take out. So we can say Moshes Falafel has banned plastic bags way before NY’s plastic ban!

Here is the google map marker for this cart – http://bit.ly/MoshesFalafel

Fruit Cart

Yes this is not favorite for most people, yet when you prefer fruits or like to see what varieties of fruits available, just stop by the Fruit cart next to Trini Paki Boys. A mom and daughter from Vietnam runs this cart for more than a decade. You will see ample varieties of fruits.

You can get fruit juices of various combos and custom combos as well and all for less than $5 you might get the same juice in Jamba Juice or other fancy branded stores but this cart is no less than any of those. You will get two stomachs full of fruits for just $4 a small order and don’t even ask about the large order which I struggled to finish one whole day! (nope! no exaggeration!)

Google map marker – Just go to Trini Paki Boys from above, the cart towards city bike stand is this! You can’t miss them. They’re open throughout weekdays.

Small!

What makes New York City best is that you will find hundreds of food carts run by people from all over the world, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Iran, Turkey, China and every single country in this world & you can taste every one of them and have your stomach full.


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5 Most irritating text messages!


Do you recall when there was a time when all relatives use to live together people use to wish each other in person, be it someones birthday or a festival or any occasion? 

When people moved to different places this culture changed to letter & when telephone was an affordable accessory at home, we use to call our relatives and friends at their neighbor house telephone even when they didn’t had phone at home?

Then came the pager & then cellphone era with 100 messages per day, we reserved 10 messages to most important person and used remaining messages to send forward messages or normal chat conversation.

And then came this age with WhatsApp! And thats it.

The already disconnected world further disconnected.

Messages changed from personally typing to forward messages only to image forwards to stickers.

Did you notice during the recent occasions like New Year or Pongal that even image forward message was not that trending but the WhatsApp stickers?

Let’s see what this communication evolution has for us in future,

Until then here is the most irritating text messages. 

1. K

Have you ever typed so many words in this small screen, correcting so many typos and looked up for special timing emojis for the text and curiously waited for other persons response and got a K as response?

I really wonder if they have a flight to catch or in so urge to run or fly to wash room or what else could be the super urgent matter that they couldn’t type anything from the alphabets but just K. Its the most easy work with just two letters, why the hell can people not type it fully if not a proper response to messages?


2. 🙂

There is another set of people that I’m not sure if they really understand how a smiley works or what it represents. Out of all smilies they pick the most irritating emoji, a slightly smile face emoji. How in the world do they go around and look for a half smile face when there is clearly a smiley that even makes you smile when you look at it? I assume people do really smile when they send a smiley.

3. 👍 

Yeah. I really feel like breaking that thumb when someone sends it to me as a reply. Just imagine talking to someone in person and as a reply they show you a thumbs up to your face. Come on, really… just imagine it. How did you feel? You being talking to someone in person, face to face and when you expect a reply they show you a thumbs up to your face. I’ll definitely try my best to break that thumb when it dances in front of my face!

Just type some god damn words, you idiots!

4. rofl

I have seen people replying to texts or commenting on posts with a grim face but as rofl, lmao or lol. Why?? if there was no short abbreviations, do you really think people will type laughing my ass off or roll on floor laugh? 

Emojis are meant to show our expressions in texts when you didn’t get a real laugh why fake it?

5. hmm, Tq, gtg, wc, thmh, refl,

This is like K but not ok! “Once upon a time, long long ago, so long ago” when there was number of messages per day limitations and number of characters in text limitations, people used short words for everything in the text and the msg wl b lk ts almst n al msgs. But why the hell now? Now you can even write a movie story or even a blog post in messages & these ancient messengers still didn’t adapt to new world. 

Have you felt any of these as irritating texts anytime? Or do you think there are other most commonly irritating texts other than this? Do let me know in comments. 

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Endangered Animals – Grace-ful Ice


It’s December & Cold… So? It’s time to see Ice carvings happening in New York City. Ice sculptors of Okamoto Studio performed Live ice carvings on the theme “Endangered Animals” this year at the Grace building (HBO) at Midtown Manhattan.

It takes an average of two hours to give life to the giant ice bars which is sculpted, flamed, brushed and what not to give it a perfect shape!

Take a look at the endangered animals that are carved so beautifully by the passionate artists of Okamoto Studio. BTW… if you’re in the city, you can still see this ice carvings till late noon today, do stop by if you’re around.

That stripes stands out!
Dolphin is cute even it’s an ice statue!

Every year during second week of December ArtsBrookfield arranges Okamoto Studio to perform ice carvings in their properties in the city, also Okamoto studio performs live ice carvings every Saturday night at the New York Botanical garden, do checkout their social media pages for updates.

Checkout the Ice carvings from 2014-2017 in my previous posts in this blog. Do follow my Instagram profile & enjoy the photos


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5 Reasons why you should not use cellphone in restroom


Cellphones have become a third hand these days & it has become an inseparable gadget of ours. Everyone use cellphone throughout the day since the moment we’re awake and until we fall asleep. Many even fall asleep while using cellphones. If phones are not on silent/vibrate mode at night, notification sounds will even disturbs our sleep many a times.

How many times in a week does it happen to you?

This cellphone usage in recent times has gone one setup further in being engaged even in restrooms. You could have heard people talking, listening to music, watching videos even in restrooms especially even in public restrooms.

You may think and what’s the big deal in that right? yeah, right… that’s what we’re going to see in this post.

Do you use cellphone in restroom?

Here is the five reasons why you shouldn’t any longer! 

Effective Immediately!

1. Unaware of time consumption

When you’re in restroom at anytime of the day, either at home or at office or at public restroom; once you start using your cellphone you will never realize how long you’ve spent sitting there! Just compare the time you spend in restroom with cellphone and without cellphone. You can see at least a 15-20 minutes what so ever was your business there. You can save plenty of time if you stop carrying your third hand with you to restroom!

2. Save health

Since you won’t realize how long you’ve spent sitting there, You’re impacting the blood circulation to your legs and to your butt. Since you don’t move the legs or your body for a long time it’ll result in making your legs feel numb. 

Just get out soon and feel good!

3. Back pain 

Often you don’t realize that astute pain in your lower back after sitting for a long time, since the scroll will never get over on your facebook or twitter or instagram you will never realize that back pain until you try to sit straight which you will never do until you hold that cellphone which makes you bend towards it. 

4. Common enemy – Germs

Yes, you should be worried about germs at all places, especially restroom. If there is one proverb that should be modified for restroom then that must be

All that glitters are not clean!

You know very well restroom is the birth place for germs & unless hands are washed even our hands and legs are full of germs. When you use cellphone inside restroom and place it on the bathtub handle or on wash basin or anywhere inside restroom you’re loading your cellphone with germs which you’ll carry outside eventually to use even after washing hands. What’s the use? Your fingers will carry those germs everywhere until you sterilize our phone and hands again!

When was the last time you ever cleaned your phone?
Do you use cell phone in restroom? Then this is for you...
If you keep using it daily then this is how you may have to wipe the germs!

5. Save your cellphone 

Another reason why you should not carry your cellphone to restroom is saving it from falling on restroom floor or on the coast itself! Ever imagine how will you recover your phone if at all if it slides on to the coast? Eww… no way!!!

Never going to use cellphone in 24 hours so I’ve to use it in restroom!
Oopsie!!!

Bonus point!

Well there is an important and another reason why you shouldn’t carry cellphone to restroom, it’s simply because you should not! Just get on to the main business and do the smooth transaction and get out! Why do you want to sit there for long time!

If you still carry cellphone to restroom, you’re not in danger… You’re the danger!!!