Pampering myself with Quickr

Like every year this Diwali came with some surprise to me. This Diwali brought a lot of gifts, recognition, fun and love from people around me. In addition Quickr and Blogadda gave me the golden opportunity of buying anything worth Rs. 5000 and to get that reimbursed from Quickr. Earlier many a times I tried selling different products on Quickr but never tried to buy anything. So this time I was excited to have a different experience,

This was a thrilling offer especially when Quickr sells mostly used items and Rs 5000 worth articles mean a lot for many buyers. The offer for me was to buy anything of my choice from the website and blog about my experience in detail and then get the money reimbursed.

So I decided to login to the website using their URL www.quickr.com.  At the first step it asked me about my city-

Quickr City Selection

I found that there are almost all known cities to choose from. Since this is a C2C website this brings in the flexibility for sellers to meet directly and negotiate their deals.

First thing that attracted me was user friendly and refreshing navigation of the website –

Quickr Easy nagitation

I tried the translated versions of their website as well. I was amazed to see the near correctness of their language translations, even though some of the terms were not translated. For example, words like Mobiles and Tablets, Community and Events were not translated. But I think it is better not to translate these words as these are known by their English terms more than the vernacular terms and that seemed justified to me.  Only I felt if these could be written in those languages that could make things easier for the users.

The nice little chat icon on the top right hand corner is aesthetically designed and serves the important purpose of getting instant online help from the website support. I was imagining how useful the website will be for someone like my parents who would need help even while browsing on this site. However, for me these features were not required and I have directly gone for logging in to the website.

For a first time user the website asks for mobile number for alerts and the category of customer (Individual / business). It makes life easier for the first time users as asking too many information for registration may put them off.

Quickr2

Since my login ID was already created, I had to sign in using my credentials. The sign in option was pretty straightforward. The website asked my email and password already registered with Quickr. I felt a provision of logging in using my Facebook or Twitter credentials would have been better. May be this is an enhancement opportunity for the website.

The first login screen took me to my dashboard. The design of their dashboard is really cool. It gave me the detail of all my previous ads and all necessary features to manage my ads –

Quickr Dashboard

I was not sure why my previous ads were not displayed. Probably this feature do not capture the expired ads. Since my objective of login was to buy products for myself for this Diwali, I moved on.

Their homepage had a bouquet of products listed in an easily identifiable manner. It was easy to choose the product of services of my choice.

Quickr Menu

What I liked most in this changed menu design was its easy comprehensibility for a normal user. The icons were designed in such a manner that anyone could identify each product easily. I felt that would make decision making easier for any user and his/her navigation challenges will be reduced.

Out of the bouquet of product ranges on sell I was amazed to find two categories, 1. Matrimonial and 2. Community and 3. Events and Services. I was under the impression that Quickr was a website to sell used items and was never aware that there was an option of charity through this site.

I didn’t have any product to purchase for myself so I thought of purchasing a service and see the experience. I have selected parlour and salon as I wanted spa services to pamper myself this Diwali –

Services

I have selected the link for Salons to find out the best salons in the city.

I found the right spa in no time –

Soul Ecstasy

There were a lot of options but I had choose a professional one where I could expect best services. Spa soul ecstasy in Banswadi, Bangalore seemed to be an ideal choice.

Soul Ecstasy

Image – Justdial

The spa ambience, interior and services were good. I will keep them as an average spa as I felt that the rooms were very small and the bathing facility modern but tiny. It was little difficult to take bath as it was made at one corner of the room and was very tiny.

Soul Ecstasy Spa

image – justdial.com

I took their signature services and additional two services worth 7800 over two days but had to pay in advance. But it was okay for me to experience the ecstasy and pamper myself with the awesome gift given by Quickr.

For me finding the correct spa and getting the service was easy as I got their phone number on the website and called them up. I have called some other spas in nearby places before selecting them. I found them to be on cheaper side in terms of cost, but felt the spa was not a complete spa as I missed Jacuzzi and sauna very much. I hope they will soon come up with better variety of spa with Jacuzzi and Sauna for people like us.

IMG-20141023-00085

Overall, I found that as a C2C website Quickr is a great concept as it enables buyers and sellers to meet and do business where both side wins. I felt if the website brings some rating option for buyers and sellers based on each transaction, then it will be helpful for everyone.

Also I felt that there are very less number of products and services listed on the website. The team needs to look into this and expand their areas so that more people are benefited from this business format.

***

This post is a part of Quikr.com activityat BlogAdda.com

Diwali in my childhood

There is a popular saying in Bengali – “Baaro Maase Taro Parbon”, meaning they have more festivals than they have months in a year. If we elaborate this, it stands as Bengalis celebrate more festivals than anyone else in India.

This cultural trait becomes Bengal’s own because West Bengal and specifically Kolkata had been a confluence of Indian culture for ages. When Kolkata was the capital of India it used to host global businesses. Then it was a good business hub before losing its glory to other Indian cities.

In my childhood I lived in Howrah the twin city of Kolkata. It was just opposite the Ganga river and we never felt away from the capital city. Being a confluence of different cultures, Kolkata is always known for its festivals. October and November being the festive months bring most cheer to Bengalis during these months.

Even though Durga Puja was our main festival, we also celebrated Kaali Puja and Diwali. Kali Puja and Diwali was always back to back. One day Kali Puja and next day Diwali was celebrated. Even today it is like that and so Bengalis have double maaja during these days.

In my childhood our festival season started one week before the Durga puja. With schools closed for more than one month we were only to celebrate the whole month with new clothes, good food, holidays and travel plans and a lot of crackers. Since we had small time businesses in the city we were always fortunate enough to get crackers at less price compared to my friends.  That was a sense of pride for me, because I could buy more crackers for same money compared to my friends.

Normally Diwali used to be celebrated after one or two weeks of Durga Puja. Since Durga Puja was our main festival, Kali Puja and Diwali used to come to us as a bonus. Different parts of West Bengal started celebrating different pujas in grand manner. For example, while Durga puja was continued to be celebrated in most part of Bengal but in places like Barasat and Naihati Kali Puja became more prominent and were celebrated in grand manner.

For the organizers of those pujas it was very easy and cost effective that way. Kolkata and West Bengal spends a lot of money in creating the best art forms during these pujas. There is artistic form to be seen in everything, in idols, pandals, lights or even in the ambience. All these innovations needed involvement of artists from different parts of India and sometimes from other parts of the world. So all those organizers collaborated and the arts & crafts used during Durga puja started being reused in subsequent pujas giving all such pujas a touch of novelty.

This innovative idea by puja committees brought much needed joy to the youngstars like me as we could keep our pandal hopping on and see the best pandals for months together. Since I grew up in a joint family, I never had any dearth of people to move around. Also my relatives from other parts of West Bengal used to come to our house during these times and we used to go around the city. So those festival time used to be fun filled and without any home task. Since we studied in government schools we never used to have a lot of homework too. So Diwali time used to be only fun times.

We have never celebrated Diwali the way Marawadis or other North Indians celebrate. We only used to light diyas in our house and used to have Laxmi puja in the morning. Bursting crackers used to continue for three four days and those days used to be extra ordinary. The ban on noise crackers above 60 decibel took that fun away from us for many years and the use of crackers had reduced during that time. Recently again the ban is raised from 60 decibel to 90 decibel giving many young stars the much needed relief and ensuring fun.

I had to shift outside my home for over four years now. I really miss my childhood and our joint family days during each festival. I realize that one good effect that joint families had was their unlimited fun and strong support system. I live alone today. I can’t go home for every festival, neither can they come to my place. We have become like islands today, connected only through mobile phone and internet. The personal touch, the fun filled evenings with relatives went missing long back from my life.

I wish I could unite with my family like this every festive season –

***

This amazing video is from GharWaaliDiwali

The secrets of a happy home

My son was then running around the building and making everyone’s life a mess everyday. From the time he used to be awake he used to make our life a great challenge. Morning breakfast needed to be different every day, there were different Cerelac variety for different days, at times it used to be food from his parents’ plates. Going to office or out for shopping was a big headache for me he would never let me go outside home without him. Even if my wife took him elsewhere or diverted his attention in any manner he would know when I opened the main door of our flat and would come running.

It was difficult for us to hide anything from him. Even when we used to take tea, we had to give him. So we switched to green tea so that it was good for a toddler like him to drink something good. Ever since he started his normal diet our challenge grew because he didn’t want separate food, he always wanted the food we eat. We had to accustom ourselves with less spicy food and many a times used to resort to only vegetarian food or fish.

They were our neighbours. Priya and Prakash came to the building before us but we became close mates since both the families were Bengalis. Getting a Bengali family as a neighbour in Hyderabad was definitely a plus for us. Our families were almost similar yet we were very different.

Tinku was the name of their son. He was then eight but seemed to be of two years or younger. He was suffering from a rarest heart disease that needed regular attention from a childcare physician. He used to gasp for breathing and many a times have spasm in his body. Those were the moments no onlookers would have stayed calm or tension free. Even we used to get afraid when he used to fight for his breath. Once he had stopped breathing for sometime and his parents almost broke down in tears. We were not used to such scenes and we had taken our child away not to let him experience the most painful scene in his tender age.

My child always shared his toys with Tinkudada. Tinku dada could not talk. His ever open mouth always gasped for breath when my child would give him toys and play on his own to keep him happy. If Tinkudada ever laughed that would have the most glorious moment in his life. Both of them would laugh together and we elder will smile with tears in our eyes.

It was heartening to see the family in pain for a child. All their time, dedication, effort, happiness everything was concentrated on the child. If the child ever laughed, that was the laugh of that family, if he ever stopped breathing the whole family died. As their friend and well wisher we used to die as well.

I remember that I told my wife once, it will be good for them if the child dies. This kind of every day death for years was ruining their life, their happiness and we used to wonder what had helped the couple to keep their cool and peace.

They would never visit any places or go out during festivals. I remember one year during Durga Puja when we were going out for pandal hopping with our child and booked a cab, we offered them a ride. But they had refused telling the child was not well. We could not say anything else. We wished them luck, blessed the child and went for pandal hopping. Once during the kite festival when my child was busy enjoying on the rooftop with me and my friends flying kites, this kid was silently gasping for his breath in his flat with his parents were around.

We knew Prakash was a regular drinker. Since they did not have much money he used to go to nearby bar for labour class people. It was evident that he just wanted to forget the pain of his child. We used to feel sorry for Priya who was always around the child 24X7 and never took rest.

I remember the Diwali in 2010 when we all were celebrating bursting crackers on our building rooftop and my son was running around. We had to run around him more than we could burst crackers. There was music, party, late night cracker fest and lots of food that. When we were doing all that on rooftop, Tinku and has family were watching television in their closed flat. Probably they could not sleep that night and their celebration was from within the closed doors of their flat.

After some time we left Hyderabad and went back to Kolkata. Eventually the two families got detached from each other. After all who wants to around sad people and families? That imbibes negative energy in us. We can feel sorry for them but can’t help in any other manner.

One year have passed ever since we went out of the city and then for some reason I had to visit Hyderabad again for sometime. I met Priya in a multiplex by chance. She was with her brother. I was elated to find her. But I was searching for Tinku but he was nowhere to be found. I asked Priya about Tinku. She said Tinku was no more in this world.

She tried to hold back her tears and I could not. The celebration faded away in one moment. I loved the child as much I loved my child. Any child needs our love and care and it does not matter whose child it is. The child was there but every moment he was suffering. Probably this death gave him the much needed relief, probably his parents could look for another child and happiness in their subsequent life. I went back to Kolkata in a few days.

The news of Tinku’s death made me think of so many sweet memories both the families had together. Tinku could not take part in those celebrations but his brother my son had made him celebrate, made him laugh, made him enjoy.

I could not share the news with anyone. I reached my home and rang the doorbell. The whole building was well lit, there was music from inside, voices of a lot of people could be heard, too. My wife opened the door. My son came running from nowhere shouting, “Papa has come, papa has come”.

My homecoming was the beginning of his celebration and every time he began his celebration our celebration also started. The light, food, relatives all of that reminded me that another Diwali had come. I went to the terrace with my child to start celebration.

After all, life has to go on.

***

Inside story of the Writers’ Express team

Game of blogs is a unique initiative from Blogadda that has given all the participants unique opportunity to collaborate and create a story. The challenge was not easy by any means because none of the bloggers knew each other in advance and timeline was also limited for each phase.

Ever since I have started blogging I tried to participate in all such blogging events not because I win prizes but because they give me chance to explore different shades of life. Every new contest is thus a new challenge in itself. In this case the challenge was more. My article needed to be acceptable to everyone in the group and also it needed to be written in a coherent manner with articles written by others. We understood the extent of challenge as the competition went into subsequent stages.

Initially, we were allotted ten bloggers in our group. I presume that all groups were allotted ten bloggers to maintain transparency.  The moment I received the mail from Blogadda, I have created a Googlegroup for all our communication and asked for a volunteer who would want to be our leader. It was very difficult for me to nominate myself as a leader as I knew that due to my tight daily schedule I would not be able to lead the group and manage all communications. Pawan Hegde came forward instantly as a leader and the group didn’t have any problem in accepting him as a leader. There was another blogger named Preetam who responded to my initial mail giving the group a name “Writer’s Express”.  We didn’t have any time to brainstorm over the name and so we decided to do that later and go straight into the activity.

From the initial group of ten bloggers only five responded to my mail. Preetam didn’t respond to our mails after his first mail and after suggesting a name for our group. As the activity demanded at least one post each from seven members in the team so we had to ask Blogadda about more bloggers and Blogadda was quick to respond and allocated two more bloggers to us. But they have not responded to our emails as well. So we had to take Blogadda’s permission to add bloggers known to us so that we can quickly move on with this activity. Blogadda was quick to oblige as well.

To start the activity Blogadda has given us description of five main characters that needed to be in our story. The conditions were also laid out. We were not supposed to kill any main character and not introduce more than three characters in our story. Also we were supposed to submit our entries within seven days of the start of the contest keeping all constraints in mind.

Pawan was fast enough to create a word document to chart out our story ideas and a time was fixed for the team to be online on Google hangout to brainstorm the story ideas. We were informed about our groups on 11th September, Thursday and the end of first round was scheduled on 17th September, Wednesday.

We had a first round of discussion on 11th September at night 10 pm and all of us gave our story ideas. We kept in mind that the activity would continue for three weeks. There were around ten story ideas that have come up. Pawan himself has given maximum story ideas but the team has selected the idea of Anuradha. It was very interesting and engaging plot by her. The decision on the plot was made the next day after she charted out the idea elaborately.

Another challenge was to arrive at the writing sequence. Pawan pointed out that all of us could write in parallel and hence only the chapters needed to be fleshed out in elaborate manner. I was anxious that if we did not write in a sequence then we would miss on important flow and sequence of events but the idea of writing in parallel was inevitable one.

Anuradha was quick to flesh out first eight chapters for the first round and Pawan was quick to capture our writing sequence. I volunteered for second chapter and promised to publish that on Saturday, 13th September. Pawan took up the first chapter. He also came up with a brilliant idea of creating a Google document where all of us could write and then all of us can review and give our comments / feedback on the document to maintain the flow. It proved to be really wonderful game changer for the team.

Even though Pawan was selected as a leader of the group, I was taking up leadership role whenever he was out or didn’t have time to coordinate. In that way I would say that we did well as this was a big challenge for any team collaborating online from different parts of India.

Once the story idea was fixed and we all got together in final act of writing, we all started our part of the story. Since the chapters were already outlined by Anuradha, it was easy for each of us to write the chapters independently. Another challenge came up when for the sake of elaborating the story we had to mention one or two extra names in the story. This would have increased the maximum number of additional characters permissible in our story so I had to clarify with Blogadda that mere mention of some names would not be considered in the character count.

Once our doubts were clarified and we started putting our parts of story on the shared Google drive for everyone’s review there were huge number of comments that came up. At the initial stage these were minor issues but as we kept on writing new chapters the continuity and conflict related issues started coming up more. But first round was still okay to handle. Anuradha turned out to be a branding expert and she took charge of creating our logo and characters and the team really loved them. Later we were joined by another great artist cum blogger Shilpa Halwe who has designed some characters as well. However, later on team did not use any of the character illustrations.

For designing the logo the team did little brainstorming over emails. After Pawan created the topic and then we decided on a meaning, Anuradha came up with three designs of the logo and we have selected one. In this respect Anuradha has done phenomenal work. As we saw all other team’s logo was on display on Blogadda page, I have sent them our logo to put up on their site. Blogadda not only added our logo on their page but twitted the same to others.

In the second round the challenge grew as Blogadda announced a twist in the story and introduced another character in the story. Anuradha had to incorporate the twist and flesh out her story idea in ten different chapters. I am sure it was a herculean task for her but to maintain continuity of the story we could not chip in and was dependant on her. I should add that she has done a wonderful job in managing this load.

Pawan clarified in the beginning of the second round that he wouldn’t be around and I had to take up the leadership role in second round. The second round end date was 19th October but I had a travel scheduled on the same evening and I clarified beforehand that someone from the team had to take up the leadership role of submitting the story in word format to Blogadda team. Even Pawan was scheduled to travel on the same day and I assume Shaznin finally took up the role of submitting our story in the second round.

The challenges in the second round were many. Especially with the story getting bigger and more aspects were added by different bloggers we lost continuity in plot or many a times ended up in having conflict in what others have written in other chapters. Since all of us were loaded with our daily work and normal blogging (on other topics) in parallel this round was very tough for us. But the team has managed it well. Especially some of the team members have worked till late night to sail through this round. We thus completed 18 chapters in two rounds.

Unfortunately most of our team members had travel plans from 19th September onwards and even though I suggested to add other members and to include others in the team it was not done. Since I did not have any email connectivity from 19th September onwards I was completely cut off from what happened in that week.

When I did come back after ten days of travel I saw multiple mail threads and more than fifty mails on this activity. I could read a few of the mails that told me that we were not selected for the third round. However, when I checked the Blogadda site I did see wild card entry provision in third round and we could not take part in that as most of us were travelling that week.

So our journey that started with much enthusiasm ended abruptly because of our travel.

Overall, to me this activity was a great learning experience. It gave us much needed exposure and networking opportunity with other bloggers. Even though all of us are blogging on different matters for years, we hardly have any opportunity to collaborate with each other or know each other. I have learnt many nuances of story writing and working with such a great team, gave me unique opportunity to explore my limitations. I came to know great writers like Anuradha and Manjulika and that is a great plus in my blogging life.

I thank entire team of Blogadda for bringing in such a wonderful activity for us. Kudos and keep it up.

***

With Pawan Hegde, Sujata Tawde, Shilpa Halwe, Manjulika Pramod, Shazneen Pathak, Anuradha Pentapalli

When India changes the world

What really shows that the world is becoming increasingly Indianized? Is it Bollywood? Is it the fact that Indian cuisine being accepted and tried by foreigners or is it the fact that Indian festivals are being celebrated worldwide?

Before we can discuss this we need to understand how significant is the effect of such Indian trait that is widely accepted throughout the globe or that has changed the world. Only then we can say that these are the areas where the world is Indianized.

1. Bollywood

Hema Malini in Atlanta

Acceptance of Bollywood can be understood by its effect on international audience. By the number of times such Bollywood events are hosted and attended by International celebrities or by the number of times Indian stars acted in any foreign movies.

This factor can also be seen when Bollywood songs are played in foreign lands in the functions that are NOT Indian. There are occasional cases where Bollywood songs are played in foreign discs, too. This was shown in the movie Queen.

Even though all of the above is happening in different places across the world but still it can not  be said that the world is Indianized through Bollywood. This discussion by Bollywood legends says it all about Bollywood’s International effect –

2. Music

India is known for its creative brilliance. Even though India has achieved many milestones in creating new music in last few decades, other than Poet Rabindranath winning Nobel prize for his book on songs and poems, we did not find any impact of Indian music worldwide.

Then came brilliance of Zubin Mehta, Pt. Rabishankar, Ustad Amzad Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain et al. that has influenced global music. Then came A R Rahman with his brilliance and made it BIG in international scene –

These achievements of our musicians show how Indian music is accepted with open hearts in international scenario. This shows that India could influence the world with her own creation and thus made a significant step forward. World was forced to talk about and listen to Indian music

3. Sports

Once upon a time Hockey was known as our national sports. There was a time when India was unrivalled global hero in the Hockey grounds. But slowly this game became so much popular among other nations that today no one considers this game to be Indian Pride. In fact it is more international than many other games and it has lost its Indianness. This shows the real power of India that goes beyond the boundaries of our nation to makes itself truly global.

Once hockey Indianized the world European power play took it over India lost its sheen in Hockey. Then Hockey was completely taken over by other nations like Australia, Belgium, Spain, Netherlands etc. It was no longer Indian and that is one significant area where the world is Indianized.

Then came the sports that is today known as national sports of India – Kabaddi. There is still a chance that Kabaddi being taken up as a game in 2020 Olympics. If that happens, that may be just another game that will Indianize the world with its power. The success of Pro-Kabaddi league has really made us proud and made another Indian phenomenon going global.

Al Jazeera4. Festivals

culture mix

Holi                                                                La Tomatina

Indian festivals, be it Diwali, Holi or Dusserra are celebrated all over the world but these are still confined mostly to Indian communities. The foreigners may join these festivals today but they have never internalized these and hence these festivals could never make impact like Bollywood or Indian Music. This is because we can claim that Indian festivals made the world change only when the world accept the festivals widely. But we don’t see the foreign nations celebrating these festivals widely and hence probably this wouldn’t be apt to claim that popular Indian festivals have changed the world.

But world cannot ignore our festivals. Take for instance last year’s presidential address from US president Barrack Obama on the occasion of Diwali –

IPLBut there is a completely different form of Indian festival that is however widely accepted and celebrated by the world. This is the game of CRICKET. Cricket today has gone beyond being an ordinary game to a much needed form of entertainment and business. I am talking about the T-20 format of cricket that has made big in international scenario. It is the festival of Indian Premier League or IPL.

Even though this is not a traditional festival the way we know festivals but this league has changed the scenario in International cricket. The first time this format of cricket was introduced it had become very popular across the globe. Many other countries (cricket playing and non playing) have adopted this new format of the game. Thus IPL not only popularized the game but it has made good business out of it and created a new form of entertainment for everyone. This has truly become a global phenomenon that India can cherish for years.

IPL

5. Cuisine

Indian cuisine is found to be appreciated all over the globe today. However the taste may be made different to suit different taste buds. Most often it is found that foreign countries can not withstand Indian spices but still Punjabi and South Indian Food have made significant impact to global taste buds. Bollywood movies like Cheeni Kum, Queen and English Vinglish show the reality.

The restaurant chains like Saravana Bhavan and Speciality Restaurant have made significant growth in overseas market. According to an article in economic Times in 2012 Saravana Bhavan had more restaurants overseas than in India.

Speciality restaurants, another Kolkata based restaurant chain has taken a giant stride in global market. According to their annual report 2013-‘14 their net Profit After Tax was Rs. 188.9 million. In this financial year they have gone for a joint venture company in Doha, Qatar under their brand Mainland China.

We see similar success story of Indian restaurants from far-East as well.

This Wharton Business School article

also supports this. This article shows that Indian restaurants are growing big in overseas markets. Most of them have expansion plans, that signifies that the business of Indian cuisine is expanding rapidly. It is good to note that other than normal food chains, beverage chains like Cafe’ Coffee Day are also expanding their businesses overseas.

The growth of Indian cuisine abroad may be attributed to these factors. One – More Indians traveling abroad and hence Indian cuisine becoming important requirement in overseas countries and Two – more expats coming to India and becoming fond of Indian food which is in turn becoming popular in overseas market.

But with the growth of Indian taste buds overseas, which is evident from the above discussion shows how the world is being more Indianized today.

6. Spirituality

Atlanta ISKCON website

If one thing has made the world truly Indian, that is Indian spirituality. With western market economy taking on our lives and making us extremely stressful everyday many foreigners today take resort to spirituality for a stress-free life.

The devotion for Krishna is one of the most significant ways that the world follows Indianizm today. ISKCON is doing a wonderful job in this regard. This movement is popularly known as Hare Krishna Movement and they have temples in 120 locations around the globe. This way Indian spirituality binds the world in one thread.

7. Yoga and Meditation

Meditation

These two ancient techniques of rejuvenating the inner soul and improving the coordination between the body and mind have taken over the world into a maniac called Indianizm. Yoga and meditation techniques dates back Indians have always appreciated the value of meditation and Indian yogis have shown how they can win over all environmental odds by yoga and meditation.

The world reeling under stressful lives had to resort to Indian yoga and meditation to get a life free from stress and hassle. It is amazing to find that yoga professionals are the number one Indian exports. As per this report of Business Standard yoga institutes are opening in unlikely places like Tunisia, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

8. The Number Zero

Zero

If anything that has revolutionized the world’s business that is the invention of the number ‘zero’. When Indian mathematician Brahmagupta invented this in seventh century A.D. and elaborated its importance to the world the world maths have changed. This has revolutionized global business for ages. This has changed the world so much that we don’t even recognize this as Indian. In other words this simple yet powerful Indian invention has changed the globe.

9. The Decimal System

Ancient Hindus used a system counted on the base of 10 which was later known as the decimal system. Indians used this system of counting even in ancient ciivilization of Harappa.

The Decimal System

French Mathematician Laplace once said – “It is India that gave us the ingenuous method of expressing all numbers by the means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit, but it’s very simplicity, the great ease which it has lent to all computations, puts our arithmetic in the first rank of useful inventions, and we shall appreciate the grandeur of this achievement when we remember that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest minds produced by antiquity.”

The decimal system of counting has made computing easy for us.  This has surely Indianized the world long back.

10. The Ayurveda

Ayurveda Ayurveda is the knowledge of life. The knowledge that talks about ‘Panchabhoota’ and teaches us the concept of five elements that consist the body of any living species on earth. Ayurveda talks about naturotherapy and shows how nature can help us cure all ailments.

Ayurvedic knowledge originated from India and practiced in India for ages.  We can see its use even in the Ramayana and Mahabharata.  The world could not stay away from this invention and today the entire world is appreciative and many foreigners and believers of Ayurvedic medicine. Unfortunately with the advent of complicated patenting raj many Indian inventions that were available for free are being patented by foreigners and losing their Indianness and becoming global. The world has realized the true potential of this Indian curative system and adopted it to the extent that Ayurveda has overshadowed many international treatments today.

We find that there are many factors that make the world an extended Indian colony. We need to sustain this and be more acceptable in different areas and very soon we can see India ruling over the whole world. India has the potential of becoming a true global power if we exploit our strengths in all areas, then other nations will not have any problem in following us or our values.

India is known for her hospitality, too. Now Indian hospitality can be seen in the services of International airliner Lufthansa. Experience Indianness onboard a Lufthansa flight and get surprised –

***

This is a part of “More Indian than you think” contest in association with Indiblogger

Global collaboration – world class offerings

It was 6:30 in the evening. Kunal got ready and dressed up. His cab will arrive anytime now and he needs to go to his office.

His nieces Padma and Madhuri came running to him.

“Uncle, come we will burst crackers together”, Madhuri urged while pulling his hand.

“Uncle, today is Diwali and how can you go to office today?” Padma who is elder among these two asked in amazement, “Don’t you have leave today?”

“No darling, I need to go to office today, you all enjoy”, Kunal replied.

Kunal Pal is from Kolkata but he is residing in Chennai for more than five years. His elder brother Rajat came to Chennai twenty years back and is employed in a bank. Rajat’s children Padma and Madhuri both study in nearby convent schools. Kunal came graduated from Anna University in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. After his graduation he has joined a IT Services company in Chennai and was getting ready to go to office.

The driver Muthu called him up –

“We are waiting below anna, come come.”

He rushed out. Since he is the last pickup in this cab there are six other colleagues in this cab waiting for his pickup. If he is not on time all of them will be late. The cab may leave as well.

“Yes Muthu, five minutes”.

Kunal gets ready and runs to his pick up point. The cab does not come to his door for pickup. He needs to go to a nearby pickup point by walk. It takes him around five minutes. Pallavi, Sandip, Rakesh all will be waiting for him in the cab. All of them are from different parts of India. They all sacrifice their India festivals to work for their overseas clients. Instead they get US holidays, most of which is of no use to them because all their friends and relatives will be working on those days.

His work starts at 7pm every evening. He works for a Bangalore based company that manages IT network for their global clients. He is part of a global service support group that supports global IT infrastructure for the clients. His job involves a lot of coordination with different departments as a part of his job.

Every day he reaches office before Seven pm. He needs to login immediately. The login and break time is tracked by the back-end system. Avaya call management system displays the call details on giant LCD monitors. Calls will start coming from 7pm IST. But today as soon as he logged in it showed a call in queue. Still he had two minutes to go but picked the call –

“Good morning! Thanks for calling XXXX helpdesk and you are speaking with Paul. May I know your name and social security number please”, he greeted the caller in a warm voice and in a clear US accent.

Bengali Kunal Pal is known as Paul here. All his colleagues call him Paul as well. He hates this identity theft but the customers hardly understand this by speaking with him. They feel comfortable that they are speaking to a guy from US and feel at home.

He completes the call within three minutes. Well below the standard AHT (Average Handling Time) set for them. Good to start a day in positive note. Even though he couldn’t resolve the query, he documented the call in his system and escalated the issue to their resolver team. The resolver team known as the L2 team works out of China and they will do further analysis on these escalations and will get back with a resolution.

Besides him is the desk of Sandip. He is known as Sandi to all. He is the team leader for this team. Sandi also manages the L2 team sitting in Shanghai, China. Even though L2 team mainly works on BMC (an application used to track jobs) for all leave weekly off related decisions they need to apply to Sandi.

“Sandi, the POS machine is not working at Sanders. It’s been two days that printer setup is not done and network is in mess. Becky was very upset,” Paul gave a short description of the issue as he felt this issue could escalate to senior management.

“Hope you have escalated to Xin’s team. Let them send field techs there if necessary. I will check with Xin in today’s call”, Sandi assured him of action.

Xin is a senior member working in L2 desk in Shanghai. He has daily call with Sandi to discuss various issues. Sandi checks the update of the ticket. It should go to the network team in Budapest but some of the updates are also not captured in their knowledge base yet.

“Paul, our knowledge base needs to be updated with this issue. Please drop a mail to Tony”, he asserted.

Tony or Antonio John Pinto is the knowledge manager for this client. He and his team of knowledge managers working out of company’s Bogota and Philippines offices take care of company knowledge management system on Remedy (a software application that helps in workflow management and knowledge management). They work round the clock and there is at least one person to support company’s round the clock operation.

This information needs to go to them in a separate mail and they will update the knowledge base only after consulting with client’s SPOC.

Meanwhile, Sandi sees that the L2 desk has raised the issue to Bob’s team in Budapest. They manage the network for all the client location. The telephony (POS is a card based payment system that uses telephony network as well) team reports to Dave who works out of his home in Canada. This team is partly in Bangalore and partly in Netherlands.

Meanwhile Sandi sees Trisha one of their team members approaching him.

“Sandi, I need to talk to you”, Trisha came to complain about something. She looked agitated.

“What happened Trisha, why are you so angry today?” Sandi tried to calm her down.

“Can we please go inside a meeting room?” Trisha asked.

They went into a meeting room as Sandi realized that she wanted to address some immediate issues. She spoke up as soon as they entered the room.

“If Perla’s team can’t handle payroll properly, can’t we hire some Indians to do that job?”she was fuming in anger.

Perla Johnson and her team of five accountants are from an outsourced accountant firm based out in Sydney Australia and they process payroll for all employees of this company.

“Why? What happened?” Sandi was clueless.

“They have again deducted more tax from me. Also my Diwali bonus is not credited yet”, Trisha was fuming in frustration.

“Raise it to Venkat in Bangalore na. Let him look into it”, Sandi tried to give a solution to this problem.

“Listen Sandi, I am fed up with every day goof up of our Finance guys. Either they should learn Indian accounting system or our Bangalore team should take over. This is disgusting. I needed the bonus for my Diwali shopping.”

“Well, send a mail to Venkat and CC me. Will see how quickly we can resolve this.”

Sandi knows that Perla and her team do a decent job but due to time difference with them Indian employees can’t talk to them directly. That is part of the frustration that Trisha is showing. Moreover, Indian tax rules change every year and most of the employees become confused about their TDS and blame the outsourced Australian company for every mess that happens.

Sandi comes back to his desk. Xin has updated the status of Paul’s ticket. The ticket is now allocated to Bob’s team. If needed they will transfer the ticket to Dave’s team after checking but that may take some time.

Meanwhile a mail pops up in his system. He opens the mail. “We are having a challenge in our new deal in Japan. The client wants BMC in Japanese language and we need Japanese speaking knowledge managers. We need the entire BMC guide in Japanese”, this was from Akash.

Akash Ganapathy is the Program Manager who works out of Bangalore. He handles transitions as well. Sid knows that this new transition is for a Japanese retail giant that needs to setup a backbone for their global IT support. But their local team can work only on Japanese version of software. This may give additional challenges to the company as all field staff also need to be well versed in Japanese language. Even though these service centres can be managed from far-East locations like Shanghai or Hong Kong where Japanese speaking professionals are available but the field staff need to be based out of Tokyo.

The day passes with many other eventful incidents. Towards the end of the Sandi sees Bob’s update on Paul’s ticket. He has checked the cloud settings and everything seemed perfect. He has transferred the ticket to Dave’s team for checking Telephony connection. Probably recent cyclone in Ohio had damaged the telephone network.

The transfer will automatically raise a service request in Telephony team’s queue. The field tech assigned the SR will directly visit the site, rectify the issue and update the ticket from his mobile. Customer knows that it may take two working day’s time for a field technician to visit the site.

It is 8 am in the morning. Both Paul and Sandi have completed more than twelve hours of work and they were ready to go. While going back home they mostly never get the office cab due to their extended working hours. Sometime Rebeccca drops them home. Rebecca is the Voice and Accent trainer and she also lives nearby.

Next day Sandi came earlier than his regular cab. A different cab was sent for him. He needed to attend a meeting little earlier than his usual time and hence their transport team has arranged a different cab for him. He logged in at 6:30 after the meeting got over.

He looked into the BMC Remedy system. Dave’s team have closed the Sanders’ request and the technician sent there has replaced the required Hardware. Now the POS system is working fine and customer request is closed.

“Paul, that Sanders’ request is closed. Please send a Customer Satisfaction Survey request to them. Don’t depend on automated survey form. Many a times that does not go out of our system. Do it now, else Deborah’s team will start marking observations. Anyways you have not yet achieved required CSI score.” Sandi told Paul.

Deborah and her team of QAs works out of company’s South Africa office. They take care of entire company’s MIS reporting as well. Some of their team members are in Sao-Paulo in Brazil.

Meanwhile, Sandi’s mailbox received another mail. This time it is from Deborah herself. She has sent the last month’s audit report to everyone. His teams performed well in documentation and process follow up but scored low on CSI and training.

Sandi knows that training is very important for any team. But his team is fairly new due to high level of attrition and the training team is not able to manage the training from Budapest. They needed process training for the team and the trainer Pallavi is based out in Budapest. She is asked to travel to Bangalore for conducting training for the Indian teams. She will conduct the training for chosen members from multiple teams and part of the training will be through webinar.

Sandi knows that after this training his team will be better equipped to resolve customer issues in less AHT and will improve upon the CSI score.

Paul and his team are not alone. Today there are hundreds of teams like him that deliver world class services through technology driven global teams. In a way Indian BPO and KPO industry has Indianized the world by delivering truly world class services.

***

Update on 28th October – This post has won an entry pass to 2014 INK Live conference