Monday, June 30, 2014

A decade of being employed






Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shop Critical

I have learned the hard way to mind my business, without judging who people are and what they do. I am more troubled by the lack of space being provided for the truth to unfold. Humans cannot seem to wait for or honor the truth. Instead, we make it up based on who we believe people should or should not be. - Iyanla Vanzant

Well I believe, its okay to judge someone based on your own experiences; that too if you have paid to get that experience.  Continuing on my other post comparing ebay.in and amazon.in, penning down some more experiences with a few other eCommerce sites in India. India is a very inconsistent country and same applies to experiences you get in here. While I did not write so much in affirmative about infibeam.com in my earlier post, one or two of my experiences has been good with them since then. I had a good experience with flipkart.com too, because they shipped the item I bought to N.E India and delivered in record 3 or 4 days. Hats Off! Anyways, I am going to write about snapdeal.com, myntra.com and jabong.com in this post.

snapdeal.com is a self proclaimed #1 shooping  portal in India. Their TV ads are long these days that too in the prime time. I happen to buy a book last month from them. I mostly placed the order with them because that was the best price with free shopping I could find. However, I was quite skeptical about them initially and so placed a Cash On Delivery (COD) order. The initial shipping time promised was 4 - 5 days or so. But I got a mail on the 5th day that due to unavoidable circumstances the shipping will be delayed. It was probably shipped on 7th or 8th day. I anyway did not worry much as it was a COD. Then I also wanted to buy another book last week, shipping time promised was 1 week. I placed a COD order, but cancelled it the next day because no body can (at least I can't) wait 7 + 5 days to get your ordered item. Gimme a Break! I think snapdeal's business model is very simple. They publish a plathora of items in their site, and once someone orders something, they will figure out ways to source the item (I don't know how) and finally ship it. They assume online shoppers are patient enough to wait 10+ days for getting the items. WTF!

myntra.com is quite matured enough. I think so far they happen to be the fastest shipper. They have some amazing deals every other day and products are good, return policy is awesome. However, last year during The Great Online Sale, they probably experienced the thundering herd problem. My item was delayed by a week than their normal shipping schedules. But it's okay. Only turn off is the minimum order amount for getting a free shipping which is INR900. That's on the higher side, but I guess myntra sells branded and expensive goods, so 900 bucks should not be on the higher side. I like their reward points funda. Its a good gesture to give rewards to return customers. I like Myntra's site design. The engineers in Myntra has really done a great job.

jabong.com is another large eCommerce portal. I was quite amazed by their collection of lifestyle products. Buying stuffs during weekend is pleasant. Once I got 35% discount on orders above INR1500. Most of the items are covered under free shipping and they ship almost all over India including N.E. India. I hope the experience remains same going forward as well (I have some of my stuffs in transit!). Update: Jabong didn't live up to my expectation. A few stuffs I bought looked old/creased and one of it was dirty as well. The stuffs looked quite nice in the site though. All that glitters is not gold, indeed. I wonder if I'll ever buy from them again. Not clothes for sure.

      It's really nice to see India's eCommerce scene getting better and larger. People like me who usually shop alone and don't really want to roam around the floors of the malls, its an great convenience. A few bad experience may spill water on the excitement, but shit happens sometimes. Error happens. So, its okay as long as my money is safe and I am not cheated!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Shark And The Octopus

I watched this movie, Short Term 12 (IMDB) and its one of those movies which make me feel "wow" after watching it. Short Term 12 is told through the eyes of Grace, a twenty-something supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers.  Amazing plot and cinematography; mind blowing acting. The movie although initially runs with a depressing note, has a happy ending. In the movie, Jayden, a gifted but troubled teenage girl tells a story to Grace about an octopus and a shark, relating it to her own abused life, by none other than her own father.

The story although sounds very melancholic; I found it to be thought provoking! Just reproducing the same here:

Once upon a time, somewhere miles and miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there lived a young octopus named Nina. Nina spent most of her time alone making strange creations out of rocks and shells. And she was very happy. But then on Monday the shark showed up. 

"What's your name?" said the shark.
 
"Nina," she replied.
 
"Do you want to be my friend?" he asked.
 
"OK". What do I have to do?" said Nina.
 
"Not much," said the shark. 
"Just let me eat one of your arms."
Nina had never had a friend before, so she wondered if this was what you had to do to get one. She looked down at her eight arms and decided it wouldn't be so bad to give up one. So she donated an arm to her wonderful new friend.

Every day that week, Nina and the shark would play together. They explored caves, built castles of sand, and swam really, really fast. And every night the shark would be hungry, and Nina would give him another one of her arms to eat.

On Sunday, after playing all day, the shark told Nina that he was very hungry.

"I don't understand," she said.
"I've already given you six of my arms, and now you want one more?"

The shark looked at her with a friendly smile and said, "I don't want one. This time I want them all."
 
"But why?" Nina asked.

And the shark replied, "because that's what friends are for."

When the shark finished his meal, he felt very sad and lonely. He missed having someone to explore caves, build castles, and swim really, really fast with. 

He missed Nina very much. So he-- he swam away to find another friend.
 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cool Practical Thoughts

HOW I START MY YEAR
by MICHAEL DOILEY
(Author of The Best Possible You & How to Meditate)

Make this the best year of your life

Years pass us by quickly and rapidly. Don’t let this year pass you by again. Make it the best year of your life by becoming the best possible you. Here comes 2014, what changes do you want to make? The first step is to learn to take control of your life and become joyous and successful. Let this year be about the transformation of your life. Start by deciding what’s the most important thing for you, set transformational goals to achieve it. Once you start changing paradigms, your life will start rolling. Don’t let negative memories cripple you. Allow yourself to dream a little, think freely. Ask yourself, where do you see your life going? Don’t stop thinking about your perfect life, which is not tied to your job. Before moving forward, take some time to think about what happened in the past year, whether you have any regrets, or if you would like to change anything. You must also list the lessons you learnt.

-> Ask yourself, are you ready for your best year yet?
-> Make goals.
-> List lessons learnt from the past year so that you don’t repeat those mistakes.
-> Find out what stops you from achieving your goals. These things will help create the life you want, rather than what has been offered to you. Good times don’t come by chance, but by deep thought and goal orientation.

You have an internal guide. When you listen to this guide, you will realize how intuitive you are. Your inner voice will guide you regarding new relationships, your job etc.
Knowing that you can trust your inner wisdom will give you further positive feelings about yourself. Get rid of that casual approach to life. Don’t hold yourself back.


DISCLAIMER: This article appeared in The Sunday Times of India in the Times Life section on 5th Jan, 2014. It has been reproduced here in its entirety just for informational and educational purpose. Copyright of the article belongs to original author/publisher.

Friday, January 3, 2014

ebay India vs. Amazon India

I prefer buying most of my stuffs online; apart from groceries. I had been a die hard fan of India's eCommerce giant flipkart.com, but in last few months Flipkart has grown very arrogant and annoying. Be it their shipping charges policy or their delivery network. Flipkart don't deliver in the North East India, so I can't buy stuffs for my parents in Flipkart. Many things listed in their website, they don't deliver at my pincode inspite of I living in a tier-I city of India. I tried some other Indian portals like infibeam.com, but those guys haven't matured to be in the eCommerce ecosystem. Once or twice I had to spend a lot of my patience cycle with their customer service. So, in last few months I zeroed in two portals. The two online giants of the world, eBay and Amazon.

eBay India and Amazon India, the Indian versions of eBay & Amazon respectively have impressive infrastructure for online shopping. Both of them hosts a plethora of sellers, selling variety of stuffs but ofcourse eBay has a far bigger spread. I think Amazon India will catch up soon. But in whatever shopping experience I have with both of them, I saw a significant difference in the way they guarantee the buyers for the stuffs they buy in their platforms. And I can write it in bold letters that the eBay India policy is far better then Amazon India. 

eBay India guarantee customers' trust with their famous PaisaPay facility. In PaisaPay, a buyer has 101% mental peace that if the items they ordered is not shipped by the shipping date promised by the seller, an automatic refund of the amount paid is initiated. Again, if the item is delivered and not received by the buyer in the promised time period, entire amount paid by the buyer is refunded. The crux is eBay don't pay the seller until buyer receives and is satisfied with the item they ordered.
(http://pages.ebay.in/ebayexplained/paisapay.html)

Amazon India on the other hand pays the seller as soon as the order is placed. Things are okay until the stuffs ordered comes under Amazon Fulfilled category. I believe, items under Amazon Fulfilled category is kept in Amazon's own warehouse and hence buyers can expect a better shopping experience for those items. But for the other items buyer comes at the mercy of the sellers. If the item ordered are not shipped by the seller during the promised time period, buyer has to follow-up with the sellers themselves. If a buyer complaints for delayed shipment with Amazon India's customer service, they just drop a polite mail to the seller asking about the whereabouts of the ordered items. So, Amazon don't guarantee any refund. They can't because the amount has already been transferred to the seller. If the seller is unresponsive, both buyer and Amazon India is at the mercy of the seller. So the buyer have to finally shout at the the customer service representatives and after that Amazon's A-z Guarantee Claim is filed, which takes minimum 1-2 weeks or more for any meaningful actions to be taken. Till than Amazon will keep sending a polite mail to the seller with contents similar to the following:

Hello,
We've been contacted by one of our mutual customers regarding an order placed with your store. Below is the information provided by the customer:
--------------------
Order#: XXX-YYYYYYY-ZZZZZZZ
Item: ***************************
Reason: Where's My Stuff ?

Details: The cx is irate and needs the item as soon as possible or cancel the order and refund the amount....The item has not arrived as scheduled. Please send a status update to the customer
.

As a buyer, you have no other option but to have the patience to wait until the seller responds or Amazon's A-z Guarantee Claim is resolved. I don't know if its a joint nexus between Amazon & the sellers, but its a pathetic policy for a company who claims to be "Earth’s most customer-centric company"! Bullshit!

DISCLAIMER: The above views are my personal views and I have written this out of my own personal experience with eBay India and Amazon India's online shopping portal. The expressed views and opinions need not be true to their words and hence can't be used for any legal proceedings.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

ReTrOsPeCtIvE RuMiNaTiOnS

2013... just a few hours to go and as always I am penning down my thoughts for the year that was. For me the whole year was not better than a crappy one apart from a few good things. The best among all was my trip to Ladakh! (http://youtu.be/oXAk8RpmVU4) Some memories to be cherished for the rest of my life. The two weeks in the US was good as well.  Professionally the year was not good, but throughout the year I indulged in different aspects related to my profession and it was kinda enriching. But, I realized that I was little low on my productivity in 2013, which I have to really improve in the new year. Also, I feel that I have outgrown my cynical attitude towards life, job and people which I have to put an end at the earliest. Personally, the year was just the same; like it was last year, the year previous to that and so on. I growing older year after year is probably the only change. I watched 106 movies of different languages in the whole year (http://t.co/6utFMBqLaQ). I developed a new kind of fondness for serious movies, but ofcourse horror, disturbing and slasher movies are still my favorites. I blogged very less in the whole year which I really need to meliorate in 2014. Hmmm... apart from these contemplations, I really don't remember anything worth blogging on the last day of a (kinda) wasted year!

I really want to start the new year with lots of Umeedon wali dhoop, sunshine wali aasha! Amen...

Wishing all my readers A Very Happy & Prosperous New Year - 2014 !
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ashiyana

1.5 years ago when I had planted random plants in the balcony of my apartment, it was just to make the balcony look little green which is otherwise so barren. Interestingly, I ended up harvesting around 750gms of French Bean, more than a 1 Kg of tomatoes and 6 lemons so far. But, what I discovered this morning was amazing. I had put 3 mango saplings in one tub, and over the time the saplings have grown quite leafy and resembles a thick shurb. I saw a small bird's nest being built in the midst of the saplings with the leaves of the mango plants. The nest is engineered very well and I have seen a small bird (smaller than a sparrow), coming and going to the nest. I think its still under construction and the bird hasn't yet got the possession. But it was so nice and cute to see the nest. An ashiyana coming up inside mine.  

Home Sweet Home
Ashiyana (आशियाना ) is a Hindi word meaning 'Home'