Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How to spot the International Space Station from India (Mumbai)

On a clear night, the night sky is lit up with several things and it is fascinating to watch. While it is difficult to spot many things in the city, thanks to the pollution and the light pollution that doesn’t give us a clear view of the sky, there is one thing that you would be able to spot easily if you know where to look – the International Space Station. 

The ISS which orbits roughly 420 kilometers above the Earth at the speed of about 17,000 miles per hour is easy to spot as it is like a bright, unblinking star that is travelling smoothly across the night sky. 

The only thing you’ll need to do is to know when it will pass over your area.

You can do this in 2 ways, 

  1. Check the timings on NASA’s Website
  2. Download an app that helps you check the timing

I use the ISS Detector app for my Android phone.

It is a free app but you may have to watch an ad before you use the app.

The app is pretty simple to use once you put in your location, it works as a compass so you know where to look. 

Once you open the compass, you’ll see two circles and a dot telling you where the ISS would be. It would also show you the trajectory ISS would be following.

If the ISS dot is closer to the center of the circle, it means it would be higher up in the sky,

If the ISS dot is closer to the outer end of the circle, it means it would be closer to the horizon. This is not ideal in the city, if you are surrounded by buildings and other restrictions. This situation would ideally work if you are at the outskirts and have a clear view of the horizon. 

You can set up a reminder on the app to know when the ISS would next fly pass over you. The app would also tell you about the viewing window available, this is generally around 5mins. 

To spot the ISS, it is like a bright, unblinking star which is flying past, sharing a video so you are able to know what to look for. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

3 reasons to watch and not watch Masaba Masaba

Netflix’s recent show Masaba Masaba is a real-life inspired show with Masaba Gupta as the lead. The show follows her and her mother, Neena Gupta’s life leading up to a fashion show.  


Light hearted and warm 

The show is a nice break from all the intense/dark shows that are currently popular. With the lockdown, this is a refreshing way of enjoying the girl-gang vibe 

Quick Watch 

It is only 6 episodes thus making it a nice binge for the weekend. Plus, there’s Neena Gupta in it. She is a delight to watch  

Bollywood insights with a SATC vibe 

The show does give you a sneak-peek into the Bollywood/fashion world and it does have a SATC vibe with good clothes, narration by the lead, and surface level issues that get resolved easily.  

Don’t Watch: 

If You Want Something Intense 

This is an easy, feel-good show. Avoid if you want something more substantial  

If You Cannot Excuse The Simple Narrative And Screenplay 

You can relate to most of the things, but you'll also be able to almost predict what’s going to happen next.  




Friday, August 28, 2020

Observing the Media Trial – #SushantSinghRajput & #RheaChakraborty

I was once editing an article on Ethical Hacking where my colleague had interviewed an ethical hacker and he was discussing how hacking works. It was half way through the edit did I realise that this is in a way, giving out the information on how to hack and we rewrote the entire article.  

That is when I realised that at times, even the most harmless or seemingly informative article can have various other angles and could end up being a beginner’s guide to something horrible. Especially when it is a part of mass media.  

The recent Sushant Singh Rajput and Rhea Chakraborty case is reminding me of the same thing. The case is being covered in a such a hurried way, that I doubt if anyone is pausing to check if they are doing their job right.  

The entire case is going through a media trial and is in a way hampering the due course of our agencies whose job is to investigate.  

I do not know who is right or wrong, if it was a suicide or murder, I do not know. While I am taking every bit of information with a pinch of salt, the case has given me an ideal scenario to test the media theories that I had learnt when studying Mass Media.  

The very first one that comes to my mind is the Agenda Setting Theory  

This theory talks about how media can influence the way people think about a certain issue. It could be by highlighting one news story more than the other in an attempt to make the reader/viewer think that it is a more pressing issue. Or the media can exaggerate a news report to such an extent that the media is now able to control the narrative around the news and thus ends up influencing what the viewer/reader thinks about that issue. 

When the news of Sushant Singh Rajput first broke, there was a limbo for the initial few minutes and soon it was declared as a suicide. As the investigation began, a few incompentencies were highlighted by certain media outlets. This could be seen as both, Journalism and Agenda Setting. Because, while the flaws were being highlighted, the media did not let the investigation to complete before starting its own media trial. It went from pointing out flaws and keeping a check to taking matters in their own hands. 

However, what highlights that the theory could be at play here is the fact that how every person who is a part of this media trail is able to push their own personal bias.  

  • An actress who was vocal about Nepotism for a couple of years now, is able to connect the SSR case with Nepotism 
  • A TV channel and several individuals who evidently support a certain political party are able to float the idea that bigwigs of the other political party are involved 
  • The fact that everything is just by sources, informants etc and no concrete information or evidence is provided also raises questions

Let us also focus a bit on how the daily prime time is now focussing on these “speculations” and “information” without any concrete evidence from the authorities who are investigating the case.  This also leads us to the Gatekeeping Theory, I will talk about it in the next post. 

Also, the basic job of a Journalist is to state the facts as they are. A journalist listens to both parties and puts them up for the readers/viewers to decide.  

In this entire media trial, they clearly already have a culprit and that culprit is not allowed any platform to put forth their view. 

In fact, when a news channel did conduct an interview with the prime accused, hashtags asking for a ban on that media house were trending on all social media. 

When did we stop listening to the other party? 

Demanding a proper investigation is one thing but coming up with your own conclusions without any evidence is not Journalism, it is agenda setting.  

Here is a thought:
If tomorrow, the investigation tells us that it indeed was a suicide without any foul play. Will the people who conducted these media trials accept their mistake? Would this be considered as disservice to journalism? Will you, who invested so much time in buying everything that was provided to you, demand better journalism in the country?  

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Love with the stars

Her face lit up with joy as she saw her phone screen light up with a Snapchat message from him.  

It was a picture. 

It was 1.30am and she wondered what could he possibly be doing that he sending a picture this late. 

She opened the Snapchat and it was a picture of the night sky with a tiny glowing Mars in it. 

“Find me Jupiter,” she replied.

Another picture popped up around 5 minutes later.

It was another picture of the night sky with another glowing dot with, ‘There is it’ written on it.

She smiled. 

She liked that they both could share their joy for stars and planets together. 

Pic: Google Images

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Moha Herbal Face Scrub - Review

I have been using this Moha Herbal Scrub for close to two months now and the reason why I love it is because it is so gentle on the skin. That’s it, that’s where I was sold! A scrub that does the job and is still gentle on the skin is exactly what my skin needs.

We have all heard about how apricot and walnut scrubs can harm your skin and cause micro tears, this has led us to give birth to micro plastic beads in scrubs that is now harming our aquatic animals and polluting our planet. I do not subscribe to the idea of using scrubs with plastic beads in them. I would rather use a gentle scrub or use the scrub super gently on my skin to ensure that it doesn’t harm my skin.

When I first used Moha Herbal Scrub, I was surprised at how gentle it was on my skin and I was sold that this is what I needed. I use it once a week and I guess that does the job.

The interesting this is, they have mentioned on the packaging to leave the scrub on the face for a few minutes before rinsing it. I guess this helps moisturise your face.  

Every time I use this scrub, my skin feels soft and clean without causing any irritation. I generally use it at night.

My Routine:
I steam my face for 10 minutes at night to help get rid of my blackheads and whiteheads. I take a coin sized amount of the scrub and gently scrub my face and neck for 3-4 minutes. I leave it on the face for another 2minutes and the rinse with cold water. I pat dry my face and go ahead with a serum or a night cream.

Key Ingredients (As mentioned on their website)

Walnut shell powder is a soft but effective abrasive, making it a natural non-toxic, exfoliating agent.

Orange peel contains citric acid that helps brighten skin naturally. It is effective in clearing acne, healing wounds, scars, marks and boils.

Nutmeg’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties cure skin eruptions and ease inflammation. It is also known to be effective in eliminating blackheads.

Olive oil, an antioxidant and a rich source of Vitamins A and E, nourishes the skin.

Roses have natural oils that can help lock moisture into the skin, leaving it soft and smooth.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

What we need to consider before we Boycott China


In the last few years, we have developed this tendency of blaming our neighbouring countries for our problems. The TV media must take a huge responsibility for that.  

So, when Sonam Wangchuk posted a video about boycotting Chinese products, I took notice. Having met him in person and spoken to him about his view on India’s education system, I was keen on understanding what his views were. What he said made sense at face value, we have witnessed a similar Swadeshi movement in the past and it worked. We as a country boycotted British goods during the independence struggle and it did dent their vault. But, is it possible now? 

Let’s first begin with TikTok 

The entire ban TikTok wave that took over the internet last month was due to a roast video and a response to Carry Minati’s YouTube video being taken down. The intentional low ratings on Google Play store and the bid to uninstall the app stemmed from this video being taken down and was far from waging a war against China’s economy. (All these YouTubers and Viewers are still happily consuming TikTok, even if it is under the garb of watching it to roast later) 

According to a report by Entrackr TikTok earned revenue of ₹23-25 crore in the last quarter, which ended on December 31, 2019. It is now targeting to earn ₹100 crore. (Link

While India does hold the largest share download wise, we are also giving much more to other Social Media platforms like Facebook. Facebook witnessed a 71 per cent growth in Indian markets with ₹892 cr revenue in financial year 2018-2019. 

To give you a perspective, India’s digital ad market is around ₹17,000 crore, which is dominated by Google and Facebook. (Link

So, in comparison, TikTok still holds a very small share.  

Now that we have TikTok out of the way, let’s talk about actually boycotting Chinese Products 

In 2019, Chinese imports alone accounted for 34 per cent of all the foreign value-added in India’s exports, data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows. (Link

Here’s what Live Mint has to say, 

India is a large market for Chinese goods, accounting for 3% of China’s exports and adding up to $75 billion in 2019. But here’s the thing: India’s $17 billion of exports to China account for a much-higher 5.3% of our total exports. Any trade war with China would hurt India, too. (Link

The Government too is aware of China’s aggressive nature and thus last month mandated approval for foreign direct investment (FDI) from countries with which it shares land borders. The curbs aimed to shield Indian companies from predatory investments, particularly those from China—a big hint that policymakers in New Delhi have become ever more cautious of Beijing’s growing role in the Indian economy. 

This is a good thing considering how China has grown over the years in Asia and the sort of economic debt colonies it is subtly building across the globe. 

Simply speaking, if we are going to boycott their products, they may just do the same for our products.  

Of course, making products in India is the ideal situation, but it needs to be gradual and in a proper manner. We need to ensure that we are able to sustain the boycott and manufacture all the products in the country. If this isn't planned well, we may face shortage of products and that may hamper our economy, job market and even essential services.  

Since we are making things now, let’s also take a look at what happened to our Make in India project, which is now rehashed into Atmanirbhar 

Make in India was introduced to facilitate Indian industries and encourage the start-up culture to make India investment friendly. But according to Business Line Chinese investors have major stakes in 18 out of India’s top 30 unicorns. A report by foreign policy think tank ‘Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations,’ has estimated China linked investments in India’s tech start-up sector alone at $4 billion. 

‘The ease of business’ that most people use loosely in everyday conversations also shows that China has a better ranking than India, India stands at the 63rd rank while China’s rank is 31st. Although I should clarify that India did improve its rank from being 77th previous year to 63rd now.