The Perfect Present?

gift-certificateBirthdays, Festivals, Marriage Anniversaries…what do these remind one of? Yes, you thought right, Gifts! We all have found ourselves not once, not twice but several times looking for gifts to present our loved ones with on various occasions. Always, we try to present something different, something unique yet something useful, in other words the ‘Perfect Present’. We want the gifts presented by us to be the best, to be first class and also low on the pocket. Well, now we have an easy option – A prepaid gift card

 Fashioned after a gift voucher and a debit card, a prepaid gift card is worth a fixed sum of money and can be swiped at any store. The value or the amount loaded on is entirely up to you. 

A gift card can be used multiple times at various stores until the amount loaded is exhausted. It is unique in terms of the flexibility it gives to the user in relation to what they can shop for and most importantly where they can shop for. Another advantage it offers is that one can check the amount left in it at any ATM centre.

However, a gift card may be used for purchases only and cash cannot be withdrawn.

Also, the card cannot be topped up again – meaning once the amount loaded is exhausted, one cannot load more money onto the same card.

 These cards come with an expiry date, which range from 5 months to a year, depending on the bank which issues it. If there is any amount left after the expiry date, the banks usually return the amount after deducting bank charges. However, banks impose a specific time period after the date of expiry within which the card must be returned in order to collect the balance. And in case, if the amount is exhausted before the expiry date, the card must be simply returned to the bank.

Till now, we have only seen how the card can be used if we are the receivers. Now, the question of purchasing the card arises. Not all banks offer this system of prepaid gift cards. Infact, there are only a handful which do so, namely, HDFC, IDBI, SBI, ICICI, IndusInd Bank and a few others.

However, one can buy the card from the bank at a fee ranging from Rs.100 to Rs. 200, even if one does not hold an account in the bank. (Some banks charge 1% of the amount loaded if the value of the gift card is more than Rs.10, 000.)

I hope this piece of news makes things easier for you, my dear reader as, instead of searching for gifts for hours together, one can now gift these pre-paid gift cards and also give the receiver a choice to select gifts for themselves and buying it from stores they prefer.

Tackle global warming?

The accidental discovery of a bowl-shaped molecule that pulls carbon dioxide out of the air paves the way for exciting new possibilities to deal with global warming.

These possibilities include genetically engineering microbes to manufacture those carbon dioxide “catchers” said JA Tossell, a Maryland University scientist who led the study. He noted that another scientist discovered the molecule while doing research unrelated to global climate change. These findings are slated for publication next month.

Source: Times of India

‘A Long Way Gone’ – Ishmael Beah

A stunning, unflinching story which leaves the reader haunted…’A long way gone’ by Ishmael Beah is an extraordinary memoir, a firsthand report of the hardships and horrendous concepts such as massacre, that a child soldier faces.

Joyous, rap music-lover, Ishmael Beah with movies as the only exposure to war, at the tender age of 12, along with his country Sierra Leone, is suddenly thrown into a long, bloody civil war, and is transformed from a gentle, loving boy to a ruthless, cold-hearted killer.

The book vividly describes the impact on the young minds, on being witnesses of families being torn apart and also sufferings of the sick, helpless, and those left behind.

Descriptions on the state of refugees, who are ill-treated, bribed by their own nation, and in sequence are forced by circumstances and fate to join the army and commit cruel crimes and atrocities, leaves the reader haunted.

The book, thankfully, takes a turn and Beah is handed over to UNICEF for rehabilitation. He slowly and painfully overcomes his drug addiction and is reinstated with his uncle in Freetown, where again he finds himself heading to war. He tries to escape being a rebel or worse even a recruit, and is successful in his endeavour.

 The book is a must-read and one which kindles the feeling of gratitude that we, who live in a part of the world which is so safe and sheltered, have escaped such pain and brutal cost of losing one’s immediate family at such a young age. The book leaves a lasting impression of a long way gone by a determined mind which comes back, overcoming such trauma, with both humanity and sanity intact.