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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

The Reliance Digital Experience

Walking into the mall with my son is nothing to write about. But when it is on an Indiblogger invite to visit the new Reliance Digital store at R City Mall, Ghatkopar, it turns into a blog post! Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I rarely participate in contests, and the only reason I signed up for this one was because I was anyway going to the mall, and thought I would try out what kind of an experience it would be.

Let me begin then, at the very beginning, when I stepped into the mall, with no idea of where the store was. It had been months since I had been there, and with the ever changing store scene, always have a hard time finding the store I want to get to. This time, I entered to find a huge banner pointing me to the Reliance Digital Store. I might have been thrilled to find the store so soon, but Samhith surely wasn’t. My going around in circles in the mall usually leads to us buying all kinds of unwanted things, which this easily located store deprived him of!

Once inside, we had to wait, since there was just one guy handling the blogger programme, and he was already busy with a bunch. There were a few others waiting around too, and I was tempted to go up and ask if they were bloggers, but then Samhith discovered the camera section and I was hard put to contain his enthusiasm in choosing which camera we should buy next.

The big plus about the store is the variety of products and their easy accessibility. We didn’t really need any help as we tried out the different cameras and discussed the advantages of a Nikon D5200 over a Canon EOS 60D, all based on the information provided next to the cameras. Of course, we then turned more practical and ruminated over whether Samhith’s first camera should be a Nikon or a Canon or a Sony, and when he could get it.

Tearing him away from the camera section was tough, but then we came to the TV section, where the new Samsung Smart TVs caught his attention, and held it for quite a while. Realising that the longer I let him get hooked, the sooner I would have to buy myself a bigger house, I dragged him away and let him loose among the mobiles, iPads and Tabs. Then, of course, there was no dragging him away. Meanwhile, I did a bit of drooling of my own over the gadgets and the accessories, mentally trying to decide how to convince Shankar into getting me an iPad, or at least a Samsung Galaxy Tab!

Meanwhile, our co-ordinator - who turned out to be the Manager of Retail Operations - seemed to be free, so a couple of us grabbed him while we still could, and he gave us a brief idea of what the Reliance Digital concept was all about. He reiterated the emphasis of the store on easy accessibility and complete experience, which we were happy to tell him that we already had a firsthand experience of!

He was also extremely apologetic about making us wait, and mentioned that a number of bloggers had turned up at the same time, leaving them shorthanded. I was surprised to hear that, since I had no idea there were so many bloggers in my area! Had I been alone, I would have taken the opportunity of getting to know some of them, but Samhith is a force to be reckoned with, especially in a shop full of gadgets, and I wasn’t able to take my eyes off him.

A special note here to Indiblogger – Please arrange more such area based blogger programmes. They are so much easier than travelling across half the city, and there is a much better chance of bumping into bloggers from our own area too!

By the time we were ready to leave, the manager came up to us again. It appeared there was some confusion about the ‘Goodie Bag’ they were supposed to hand us. While most of us were under the impression that the gifts were to be given to us after we wrote the blog post, apparently, a few had asked about the gifts, and they were now confused about whether to hand them over or not! Eventually, they asked us for ID proof, and took our addresses, email, and phone numbers and promised to get in touch with us. We walked away from the store, satiated with our share of the window shopping for the day!

Meanwhile, I had arranged to meet my sister, who works nearby, and we proceeded to the food court for the bit of hogging that marks the end of every mall visit.

However, our visit wasn’t quite over... yet! I got a call from the manager of the store, asking if I was still in the mall, and if I could come over for a minute once more. I first thought this was for a photograph which he had mentioned, and politely refused. But when he requested me once again to come over for a minute, I agreed, and, on our way out, stopped by the store once more. Imagine my surprise, then, when he handed over an iPod Shuffle!!! I protested, saying that the email from Indiblogger had mentioned the gift only for those who submitted the blog post, but apparently, in the time we had been gone, they had decided to hand over the gadgets to those who arrived, and we were (I think) the first!

I have no idea of the reason for the change of mind, but there is one thing to be said about it. They made one 10 year old kid really happy!!! I had taken him along, with strict instructions, that I wasn’t buying him anything, and he had kept to our pact, not insisting on any purchase, so you can imagine how thrilled he was, to find ourselves the owners of our first apple gadget!!!

Thank you very much, Indiblogger, as well as RelianceDigital, for the wonderful experience! 


  1. Thats a nice experience you had.
    I didnt recieve the goodie bag :(
    Hoping i get the ipod atleast :(

    1. Thanks!! I am sure you will get yours soon too!!

  2. Nice experience. Congrats to Samhit. For a couple of months I am at Chennai and I did see a Reliance Digital outlet some where but we were on our way to the Kaliamman Koil.

    1. Thanks PNS! good to hear you are in chennai? new posts coming up? and i might not really have gone into this store either if it hadnt been for the indiblogger thing :D

    2. Probably you have not been able to spare time to visit blogs! By the way your area could be in knee deep water these days.

    3. No PNS, I havent yet been able to catch up on blogs :( its been incredibly hectic since i got back, and updating my blog itself seems to take up all the time i have! as to the rain, well, for the last two days we have indeed been in knee deep water.. its better today though..

  3. very informative..thanks and keep posting..:)

  4. You're right. Area-based blogger programmes make so much sense. I have never attended a blogger meet in Mumbai for the simple reason that all of them are always held in the Western suburbs and I refuse to travel for 2 hrs on a Sunday for this.

    PS: So, who's using the Ipod shuffle? You or Samhith?

    1. that is so true, Sudha! we on the central line are neglected all the time! but we central suburbanites should make our presence felt and demand meets this side too! as for the ipod shuffle, well, there is a tug of war going on ;D

  5. hey....good job and lucky you!!


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