Living a smart life

My sponge cake batter is yellow and fluffy and almost ready to bake. The oven is pre-heated, and I pour the batter into my cake tin. I remember my mom’s instructions very clearly, “Remember, the cake should be baked for nine minutes, and nine minutes only.”

The oven dial is not exactly accurate, and I need a timer. I will have to scramble to get my phone from my bedroom, open the clock app, seek the timer and set it to nine minutes.

Or I could just say, “Ok Google, set a timer for nine minutes.”

And when nine minutes are up, my cake will be all soft and sweet and scrumptious.

The uses of my smart home assistant extend beyond the kitchen.

I use it to get a weather update. My mom uses it to discover new recipes. The husband uses it to get the news.

And this nifty little smart device is not the only smart thing at home.

In our small household, we have a few smart devices between us. And they’ve made our lives easier. My productivity has gone up (I work from home), and it’s easier to organize my tasks and errands. My home feels cozier, warmer and even more personalized.

But should you invest in such devices?

There’s only one answer here: A resounding YES. We need a Smart Home in the 21st century.

Why? Because smart devices will give you so much more than you could ever imagine. It’s time for a #SmartHomeRevolution.

Here’s how they make your life easier.

Unwind and relax

You come home from a long day at work. You want to relax on the couch, listen to soothing music, and catch up on football scores.  And you want to do all that without lifting a tired finger from your tired body.

So what do you do?

You ask your home assistant to do it—it will dim the lights to your favourite setting, play your favourite Kishore Kumar songs at low volume and narrate the scores of the Premier League matches.

Stay on top of things

I hate to say this, but old age is quickly catching up to me. I can’t remember everything anymore. So when I need to keep track of things to buy, who else do I turn to but my handy assistant?

Starting a shopping list with just my voice, all I need to do is keep adding things to the list and then access it when I go shopping.

And then I can also remember to pay the utility bills, the domestic help and credit card bills on time, using the voice reminders.

Learn more about the world

The other day a kid was caught using a smart home device to do his math homework. I think that’s brilliant, and it turns out the kid later thanked the assistant. The kid’s mother was rather amused as well.

Arithmetic apart, the world is a wonder, and any curious soul is filled with mind boggling questions that need precise, accurate answers. The smart home assistant comes to the rescue. How heavy is an elephant? What is the currency of Japan? When was Akbar born? Who fought in the Second World War?

Useful for homework, useful for work, useful for kids, teens, grownups and grandparents.

Get entertained

It’s party time! Get your home assistant to do the entertaining so you can focus on having a good time with your buddies. Your handy assistant will set the perfect mood lighting by syncing with your Smart lights, pull out recipes that will impress your guests, and even play your choice of movies and music.

Meanwhile, the kids have fun play dates with their little friends when they have quizzes, games and nursery rhymes for company.

Feel independent

Seniors and differently abled people often struggle with simple day-to-day tasks that we take for granted, like booking a cab on their phone. The font is too small, the location is difficult to pin on the map, and the phone app itself can be confusing.

But a virtual assistant can provide tremendous support. They can book cabs easily through a series of voice commands. And then, they can order food, book movie tickets, and listen to their favourite devotional text… without needing to ask anyone for help.

How wonderful is that!

Get fit

When the husband embarked on his weight loss journey, his constant companion was his fitness band. It kept him motivated, alert, active and engaged. The result: around a dozen kilos lighter, he ran a half marathon in less than six months!

And if running and exercise is not your thing, your smart devices can help you with your wellness activities. De-stress with meditation and sleep guidance, access healthy recipes and count your calories by simply asking your assistant.

And so, say yes to #GetFitwithFlipkart.

Keep yourself secure

My friend in Mumbai uses a Smart Camera to keep an eye on her bedridden mother’s household in Bengaluru. With this easy-to-use technology, she ensures her mother’s needs are attended to at all times, day or night.

When I heard about the daylight theft in my neighbours’ house a few months ago when they were away, my first thought was—why didn’t they have home cameras? With such inexpensive yet super useful tools, their hard-earned money would be secure.

Still sitting on the fence about creating a smart home? It’s a new year, it’s time for an upgrade!

#GetFitWithFlipkart #SmartHomeRevolution

Chic Phones: Let’s bling

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If you’re already bored of statement necklaces, statement rings, and statement what-nots, it’s time to get a new accessory to flaunt—your mobile phone. And with the blingy mobile phones out there, it’s easy to make heads turn. So check out these two seriously fashionable handsets and see your friends go green with envy.

To start with, there’s the Micromax Q55 Bling with Swarovski “elements”. That’s the one grabbing attention in the Twinkle Khanna TV ad. The phone is very feminine, and I’m sure teenage and college girls are lapping them all over India.

micromax-twinkle-khanna-mobile Micromax_Bling

Of course, we never judge a book by its cover, so we looked at its features, and the phone does seem to have the essentials—a 2 MP camera, pre-loaded Facebook app, Opera mini and Nimbuzz. The price—very affordable! Rs 7000 approximately.

For those believe that only gold glitters, set your eyes on the Nokia N97 mini Gold edition. Yup, you read that correctly, it’s gold! The phone is plated with 18 carat gold, with a matching headset.


Flaunting the phone will surely speak volumes about your style and bank balance, because the phone is close to Rs 40,000 (really!). In terms of features, it’s the same as the regular Nokia N97 mini, the gold adding a luxurious touch. (If only the phone was on Android, instead of Symbian.)

Speaking Chic says: Why should mobile phones be only for calling, texting and tweeting, right?What we’d like to see next: an Apple iPhone plated in white gold, and a diamond-encrusted Blackberry. Sounds too far-fetched? Maybe not.

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Geeky Chic: Mouse rugs!

Who said gadgets have to be boring and umm, well, unstylish? I recently stumbled across this very cool accessory, guaranteed to lighten up the drabbest of office cubicles and workstations. Here it is.



Believe it or faint, this miniature Turkish carpet is actually a mouse pad! Called a mouse rug, there are hundreds of colours and designs available (check out their website).

The cool design’s not the only reason I love this geeky accessory. For starters, my optical mouse rolls smoothly across its surface, made with yarn-dyed nylon. And the bonus: the rug is hand washable, ideal for a rough and messy user like me!

So now my four-month-new sleek-n-silver laptop gets a dash of old world charm and plenty of style. I can’t help but glance at my mouse rug ever so often despite my busy-ness, and it never fails to make me feel happy. 🙂

I’m now tempted to try out their book rugs and coaster rugs, which are smaller, but otherwise identical.

Before you rush to the mouse rug website, be warned—they don’t deliver in India! All you need to do is ask your spiteful aunt/ long-lost friend/ sworn enemy (or my sweet cousin) in Dubai or USA for it. And remember to say please!