Category Archives: Lifestyle

Greeting people in different countries is so confusing!

The Kiss Conundrum


I don’t exactly remember the first time it happened, but I do remember how I felt. Confused, perplexed, awkward – the same that I feel each time I am in a similar situation. You see their mouth curving into a smile, their eyes widening,them coming closer and leaning in…
Even after living in Europe for more than 4 years now and being in such confusing situations for at least 3 years, I only have one major question each time it happens –

How many times should I kiss you on the cheek to greet you?

Greeting people in different countries is so confusing!

Seriously. I don’t know what you were thinking, but I was talking about the feeling you have when someone comes closer to greet you. Firstly, are we hugging or kissing?Secondly, what sort of a kiss is it? Thirdly, do I stop at 2 or move on to 3? Trust me, it’s way too awkward if you stop at 2 while the other person moves on to the third..or vice-versa.

The thing with cheek kisses is, some cultures love it and some hate it. Some like it at 2 and some like it as 3..always..even if you see the person every single day!

A friend of mine was telling me how they end up spending 15 minutes everyday kissing everyone when they arrive for work. She works in France, and it is really rude to not kiss and greet, apparently. Again, maybe it doesn’t hold true for all regions,but for a large majority of people, it does. Strangely, if you just cross the border and move into Switzerland or Germany, people might not entertain this form of greeting. In fact, several German friends of mine have expressed their absolute hatred towards kissing on the cheek to greet someone! They find it too personal and unnecessary. A hand shake would just serve the purpose well enough.Perhaps, hugs and kisses are reserved more for really close friends?

Another point of concern is:which cheek do you kiss first? In some countries, you kiss on the right cheek first and in the others, on the left. Interestingly, there are some theories as well as stories behind these traditions. For instance, one of the stories says that the double kiss in a traditional Italian household meant reassurance of the fact that they were there for each other. Hugs and kisses undoubtedly bring people closer, make them more comfortable and symbolize  openness, trust as well as friendship.I came across an interesting research paper about hugging, and in case you are interested, you can check it out too. It’s incredible as to how each posture and action of ours portrays a different meaning!

For me personally, I have been used to hugging friends when I meet them, and subconsciously did the same after moving to Europe..except it would turn really awkward if the person instead left a peck on one cheek first, and then the other. Sometimes, I would realize it just in time and do the same..standing still after the second one while the other would continue for the third!

To help myself and hopefully a lot of you too, I have started collecting info for the right way to greet people across different countries, and will publish a post soon on my travel blog-Europe Diaries. I hope that it will ease out the awkwardness a bit or at least give us a heads up as to what to expect! If you have any suggestions regarding your home or current location, please do let me know and I shall add it in the post.

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Thanks for being here!Really appreciate you hanging out with me virtually:)

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13 signs you are a Smart Phone addict in an internet-crazy world


1.The moment you wake up, you start checking your mails on your phone, even if it is in the middle of the night.

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2.You keep refreshing your mailbox after every few minutes, because you want to know of ANY mail when it arrives.

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3.You can’t sit through a meal without replying to Whatsapp messages.

4.Your phone is flooded with Facebook updates. Even if you got fed up of them and disabled them, you keep logging onto Facebook a million times through the day.

5.You have that friend who keeps posting his/her daily routine on Facebook and you wonder what is left to be updated. Brushing their teeth?

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6.You get up on a bus and find 5/10 people around you busy typing on their phones.

7.You can’t wait to post pictures on Instagram and ❤ other people’s posts. You love Instagram!

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8.When you are out with your friends, there is that one moment when everyone is looking at their screens instead of talking to each other.

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9.You love #Hashtags and use as many and whenever possible.

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10.You keep posing until you have the perfect Profile picture and upload it immediately.

11.You use your phone to find out EVERYTHING. From the weather forecast to directions to cafe reviews to available movie shows.And, you carry it EVERYWHERE too.

12.You know it is awkward to keep using your phone when you are out with your colleagues. Yet, you do it all the time. You can’t stay away from your phone!

13.Finally, if checking for updates or texting is the last thing you do before sleeping and ofcourse, the first thing in the morning too.. and  if you , my friend, can relate to most of these points…Bingo!

Though, in reality, what you should be doing is this:

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Well, not literally though. 😛  Fellas, take a break and give your mind some rest. Let your life have more meaning and purpose than scrolling down your wall again and again, in hopes of finding something interesting/ hillarious/waste of time/nonsensical.

(Oh wait..didn’t you find the link to this post shared on some Social media too? 😦  )

Social media is just a part of our lives. Doesn’t mean : that’s all you have in life! So, well, the next time you find yourself hooked onto the internet for hours, think of these things:

1.Web addicts have brain changes similar to those hooked on drugs or alcohol, preliminary research suggests.

2.Constantly checking updates on Social Media is almost like Crack for us.The Online world affects your Brain and your thinking!

3.Your sleep  may be disrupted if you keep staring at screens until you sleep.

4.Your Smartphone is killing your cognitive thinking and declarative memory, say experts. Needless to say,  your Smartphone is damaging your brain!

So, I suppose that you’ve had quite some food for thought in the past few minutes. I shall end this post right here with one last interesting video I found on YouTube 🙂

Image References:

1.Hongkiat

2.Twisted Sifter

3.REACTIONGIFS-Reddit

4.FunnyVooz

5.UK MSN News

6.DELIKEENLIKE

7.Teman | Design

Meet Mr.Rob…your next personal assistant?


Who doesn’t mind having a helping hand at home? But, would you be comfortable with a helping claw instead?
Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab has trained a robot to foresee one’s subsequent set of actions, based on his current activities.  With a database of around 120 household activities fed as 3D videos ,  the robot shall observe and identify one’s activity with his  Microsoft Kinect 3D camera and then anticipate what he might do in the next few seconds.
So, basically, Rob (that’s just what I decided to call it!) shall observe your body movements, match your activity to all the videos in his brain, and then guess your next most probable move. He will of course be racing his mind to keep guessing your every  next move based on each and every action of yours!
Well, so let’s presume that one day in the future,  it is super easy for everyone to bring a Rob home . You happily get him home  too and train him to assist you in all your daily household chores.  You are glad that you don’t even have to ask him to pour more coffee in your cup or help you throw the garbage out! And then, one  fine evening, as you are clearing off the food from your table, you move the left-over pasta to an air-tight container and proceed to move towards the refrigerator. Seeing you coming forward in the direction of the refrigerator, Rob quickly moves too, to open the fridge door before you reach it.Only at that moment, you realize how you almost forgot to make that important call and retrace your steps immediately, leaving poor Rob holding the fridge door wide open 😦
Poor Rob! But, you are not even thinking about that. You are busy talking to someone on the phone,trying to  fix an appointment for the next day and you are irritated because they can’t seem to understand English! You look up and find Rob standing right infront of you, waiting to predict your next move. You are walking in circles, angry and impatient. You take a seat when the call is put on hold, randomly start scribbling something on the notepad, and suddenly decide to get up and walk to the kitchen. What do you think Rob is doing? Following you, of course! He is as confused as anyone could be. How do you think he will “read your mind” when you are being so unpredictable?
 
How would you feel to be living with someone who aids you in maintaining your house, but can neither speak nor connect to you? (though we cannot rule out the possibility of robos conversing with you fluently soon!) You cannot talk to him or vent out your anger at him . You cannot even ask him to undo the mess he might have created because he failed to correctly predict your uncertain moves!
Aarghh!!Wouldn’t  having a human at home been much better?? What do you think? Are you read to meet your new assistant, Mr.Rob?

Why you should try out Zumba if you still haven’t!


When I joined a gym about a month ago, I found out that they offered a lot of classes everyday too. As I picked up one of the printed schedules from the stacks to check for the options I had , I found ZUMBA was due to begin in fifteen minutes that evening. Not knowing too much about it, except the fact that it seemed fun and enjoyable, I decided to give it a shot.

The hall was filled with people of all ages and sizes, most of whom seemed regulars and were bubbling with excitement. Soon enough, an exuberant Claudia entered the room , filling the room with even greater energy, as she approached the podium to begin the session for the evening. I must admit that I was amused and even felt a little awkward in the beginning. But, within a few minutes, I had already started enjoying it.I was feeling happy, light-hearted and excited, all at once! Zumba appeared to be a mix of different kinds of dance moves. Each song seemed to be choreographed in one particular style, with not too many new steps to be learnt at a time. In fact, among some of the Samba, Hip Hop,Mambo and belly dance moves that I recognized, at some point, I also felt a tinge of Bollywood and was quite surprised!

It was only later that I found out about Bollywood moves and music being used quite often in Zumba fitness sessions. Well yeah, “Zumba Fitness” has become quite a rage over the years. It is said to have originated “accidentally”   sometime in the 1990’s when Alberto “Beto” Perez realized that he was not carrying the usual music for his aerobics training session and decided to use the Salsa and meringue music he had. Within a few years, it gained popularity as a fun cardio-workout and has now reached more than 10 million people around the world.

It is true that I was out of breath and was sweating in about 15 to 20 minutes into the session. But oh boy! I did survive  the whole hour, and so did the 50 year old lady, the 20-something fitness freak, the middle aged girlfriends, the housewife and the obese. If you are over conscious of yourself or feel that dance is not your ‘thing’ and that there is no point in reading this post, you are completely wrong! Anyone with feet can dance! All you need to do is, shed your inhibitions and get into the groove. You will be surprised with yourself soon after.

Interestingly, while you are immersed in all the dancing and improving your cardiopulmonary endurance in the process, losing calories seems like no burden anymore! Any idea of how many calories you could be burning in your one-hour session? 500-1000, depending on the intensity of your workout, according to various resources online. If you have attended atleast one Zumba session and want to get an estimate of your lost calories, you can use this Calorie Calculator here! A better alternative, ofcourse, is to carry a heart rate monitor, the next time you attend a session.All in all, you will love the whole experience so much that you will most likely become a regular at it and reap the benefits all along.

Well, I hope you get the point of this post and lose yourself (or find yourself) in  a Zumba fitness party or class, whenever you can!

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Image: http://zumbawithdiane.com/

What people I know really think of Organic food


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My survey outcome

When I came to Germany, I used to be quite amused seeing vegetables and fruits sold at thrice the normal price, being fancily labelled as “Bio” to set them apart. I met some freakish people, who would be hell bent upon only buying “Bio” products and some who would shrink away from the sight of these products to save their pockets! I soon found out that Germany was amongst the  “organic”-crazy nations (with the second largest organic market in the world) and had people going the extra mile to make sure they were consuming natural food products. This really set me thinking about the authenticity of  these superior products and I decided to find out all that I could, in order to help me compile a story for Gloobbi.

I wanted to get personal opinions of people I knew (and who they knew!) and thus, created a survey on SurveyMonkey .It wasn’t a  targeted audience and the respondents consisted of my friends/relatives/colleagues/acquaintances/friends and colleagues of friends,  spread across Europe,India,USA,Singapore and Australia. (Thanks to all of you once again!)Although my article wasn’t based on this survey, I just wanted to get an idea of the issues confronted by people in their daily life.

The results that were recorded were quite surprising and I thought of sharing them with all of you.

Whilst the majority of the respondents believed that organic products were undoubtedly healthier than their ordinary counterparts, a big fraction of my survey takers admitted that they were not quite sure about it!Majority of them seemed to rarely visit an exclusively organic supermarket, and were least likely to particularly buy organic food products in a regular supermarket. Of course, there were those who believed that going organic was better for the community and the environment, and that it was much better than knowingly being exposed to pesticides in food.  That the Bio vegetables tasted better was only supported by a few, and I personally don’t feel it might be really true (neither do numerous  scientific studies).

When asked about their biggest concerns about organic food, the most popular one was the obvious choice – the HUGE difference in price.But, besides that, a lot of people expressed their concerns over the fact that these products might not be completely natural and that they were not sure of the conditions in which these fruits/vegetables were grown.

Now, it so happens that official inspection bodies follow a strict set of guidelines before certifying any produce as organic. Soil fertility, animal welfare, water conservation are some of the objectives that organic farming strives to meet.Plants are supposed to be grown only using natural fertilizers and animals are to be kept in good conditions, with absolutely no application of hormonal injections. So, if a product carries the EU or USDA label, for instance, these products are expected to have satisfied all the conditions to be certified as “organic”. When it comes to lesser known labels, that is when people might get confused and question its authenticity.

As I mentioned in my article, I came across two studies carried out at Stanford  and ‘American Academy of Pediatrics’, respectively , which  revealed that there was not much difference between organic and ordinary food in terms of the vitamin content while phosphorus was the only nutrient having higher concentration in the former. The latter even advised parents not to buy organic milk for children, as normal milk was not seen to be affected by the hormonal injections given to cows and there was no difference in the protein or fat content otherwise.

An extremely interesting study in the ‘Social Psychology & Personality’  pointed out that the regular organic food consumers tended towards thinking that they had a leverage over others and thus, had a tendency to carry out lesser altruistic deeds than their ordinary counterparts in the long run!

Well, that was quite some food for thought. I would just like to end this story here by quickly pointing out that perhaps, the most important global concern at this point should be battling the impending food shortage which will be eminent by 2050( as published in a study this month). While usage of GMO’s is being advocated by many scientists , a lot of opposition has been seen in the last few years from many countries in the EU. Maybe it is time to think over the best way to feed the (exponentially?) growing population and decide for the common benefit of all.This is a different issue though and I  think I might just continue this topic on another post!