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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Just for Fun! Five random bloopers from the net!


We come across online bloopers everyday in the internet – be it from individuals or brands. It not only lightens up your day; but also provide an opportunity to learn. Here is a quick compilation of five such bloopers. Have you come across similar ones…do share them as comments!

Facebook What’s on your mind?

Off-late Facebook has been trying hard to get what’s in your mind – based on your location, mood, and what not. I am sure you would have seen it prompting the use to share some common events like matches, celebrations and so on. Here is one such attempt that I felt was not that appropriate…
facebook_non_relevant_event
A Feature gone wrong — How can a Texas vs Patriots NFL match be relevant to a person in Kochi who doesn’t even know ABCs of American Football

Sharing Content for the sake of it!

Here is a typical blooper you will encounter often. Simply sharing for the sake of it. It’s amazing to see this can even happen from the Gurus of inbound marketing!
Dennis Ritchie passed away in 2011! It was not just Dharmesh; even Google's Sundar Pichai tweeted the same!
Dennis Ritchie passed away in 2011! It was not just Dharmesh; even Google’s Sundar Pichai tweeted the same!

Google Adsense and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) use the same logo!

It’s bizarre to see the same logo being used in two products of the big brand like Google – Adsense and AMP. More importantly, in adsense its used for an ‘un-available’ reporting option and in the second case as the denotation for showing mobile-friendliness of the page!
Performance Reports > New Report > Filter > URL Channels
Performance Reports > New Report > Filter > URL Channels

AMP Logo in Mobile Search Results
AMP Logo in Mobile Search Results

 Flipkart Lite goes wrong?

While window shopping Flipkart in mobile site; came across this interesting offering 🙂 Looks like either its a bug or a caching issue; anyway it would have been interesting to get camera lenses at toothbrush holders’ price levels!
flipkart_incorrect_products
A bug in live? If such cross-over products are there; it will be interesting 🙂

Sharing 404 pages!

This is yet another common blooper witnessed. You share a webpage, which is already moved or deleted. Here is one from Hootsuite CEO; that too about an important announcement!
Interestingly, someone wants to connect based on the page!
Interestingly, someone wants to connect based on the page!
What are some of the bloopers you have come across…?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Travel Diary: Two Day Trip (Shirdi – Nashik – Pune)


We went on a quick trip to Western part of India; specifically to Shirdi. Though visiting Shirdi was our primary goal, we decided to spend time visiting Nashik and a bit Pune. With a baby, that’s all what we could cover in four days from Kochi.

Our flight from Kochi to Pune was on a Friday afternoon. We decided to directly goto Shirdi. We reached Shirdi by around 9 in the night.

Shirdi

It was my visit to Shirdi. We were barely on time to attend the night Aarti. There are two main aartis in a day. Kakad Aarti at 4:30 in the morning and Shej Aarti at 10:30 in the night. There will be a long queue depending on timing and season. I felt the place has become more a tourist place; you can if sight Pizza Hut or Mc Donald’s. The roads adjacent to the temple premises are full of hotels. The restaurants are expensive; though you can find some budget hotels as well. We stayed in a hotel named Temple View. It was a good one and close to the entrance of temple.

Nashik

Post darshan at Shirdi in the morning, we decided to cover Nashik on the second day. On the way, we had our lunch at Purohit’s Thali Restaurant. It was a great and authentic meal.

Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple

Our first target in Nashik was yet another temple — Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple. The temple is an ancient one and an architectural marvel. Coming from South India, the architecture, customs and look of the temple was amazing. Again, you can expect long queues depending on the time of visit and season. Please note that photography is not allowed in any of these temples and fast queue based on payment are available.

Sula Vineyards

Our next target was Sula Vineyards. We wanted to try out both the tour and wine testing :). This was a good experience with the visit to entire Vineyard – yard, factory, storage and so on. Finally you get to taste five to six wines also. In total, it may take around an hour or two here. The tour operates every hour.


Panchvati

Our final destination for the day was Panchvati. Though it made the trip a complete pilgrimage; I like this place the most. We hired an auto (I think this is the best option) to take us to all the temples in Panchvati. The driver was a good person, knowledgeable about the stories behind each place. There are around nine temples in Panchvati. Among them, the one that I liked much was Sita Gumpha. The main temple here is Kalaram Temple built by Sardar Odhekar of Peshwa in 18th century. Here is a good video I came across in YouTube related to Panchvati

Shani Shingnapur

On the final day, we went back to Pune. En route, Our first target for the day was Shani Shingnapur. Comparatively, this was the temple with less crowd and streamlined queue system.The interesting fact about this place is that none of the houses have doors. The people believe that no theft will happen because of fear of Shani God.

Post this, we visited more temples; this time couple of Ganesha temples. And thus making the trip a complete pilgrimage. At Pune, we stayed in St. Laurn Business Hotel at Koregaon Park.

Darshan Museum

Though we couldn’t visit many places in Pune; we managed to visit Darshan Museum. It was a different experience. It is a biographical museum about the life and teachings of Sadhu T. L. Vaswani. What makes the experience different is that, they have made the tour technologically advanced by including audio-visual and affects. Something similar to Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at Disney World.

Overall a memorable trip; also the first flight journey for our little princess 🙂

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Social Diary: Vinayak Lohani, a man who dedicated his life for child welfare



Source: Wikipedia

While browsing through the new additions in Google Talks, I noticed one by Vinayak Lohani, the founder of Parivaar an NGO for Child Education. This brought me back, the memories of Social Entrepreneurship classes at IIM Bangalore and interactions with him. This blog post is a culmination of few notes back from those days and the Google Talk.

A path, different from the usual brain drain

Vinayak Lohani is a simple man with few words and wonderful actions! As an elite member of the esteemed group – IIT-IIM alumni; one would expect him to be sitting at some corner office in the US heading a company or working on the next million dollar deal. Instead, Vinayak chose to work for the society, to help destitute children get educated. Vinayak is a man with tremendous energy, passion and self-belief who showed we can make a difference in society if we intend to do so. It can be with any initiatives irrespective of how small they are in the beginning. What is important is, tremendous courage and self-belief to pursue one’s passion especially if it is in the development sector.

About Parivaar

Vinayak Lohani’s Parivaar is a humanitarian service organization, based in West Bengal working for total care and overall development of children from unprivileged and exploited categories. Vinayak’s ideology, empowerment being more important than charity work is clearly evident from the way Parivaar has been functioning. Parivaar admits children in the age group of 4-10 and are given all necessary academic, extracurricular and vocational training till they are ready to take care of themselves for a job or higher education.

Today, Parivaar is very successful that it get thousands of applications and they have to screen to admit the most needed children. From a rented building in the beginning, the organization has grown to 20 acre, 2 campus structure which can admit over 3000 students.


Vinayak has a different school of thought that, it is the individual who make decisions or donations and hence its always better to associate with individuals rather than institutions. It is very true that a mass support with even a token contribution can make enough capital for an initiative to succeed. This was exactly what Vinayak managed to do with his alumni network. He believes that everyone talks only about macro level impacts whereas micro level activity is also equally important. He stuck on to his beliefs and started Parivaar with 3-5 children. It is very true that even if small if we can make a life changing impact; it is worth doing it. It is also important that concentrating at an individual level with all the stakeholders achieves the credibility and intimacy factors – whether it is with the children, donors or volunteers.

Empathizing with and belief in people are key to successfully making an impact and empower the impoverished. We can see this clearly in the case of Parivaar. For example, Vinayak who is not a native of West Bengal was able to overcome the language barrier with the emotional connect he was able to make. The belief that all have the required capabilities and enabling the improvised to make them achieve anything is a unique thought we can see in him and Paivaar. A broad vision and the core values in sustenance are what guide any such social entrepreneurs.

Starting from small things and slowly scaling up with enhanced activities will result in the empowerment and wide levels of impact. Clear examples can be taken from Parivaar also. He talks about children who lost 3-4 years of education in the early childhood are able to perform well like others in Class 11 after concrete efforts at Parivaar shows how quality and sincere efforts can achieve the vision.

It’s worth commenting that, Parivaar also has other projects like food stock scheme for tribes, support for women etc. This also shows how a social venture can slowly widen its efforts for a bigger impact. It more impressive that they are able to do this with just individual contributions. A helpful hint that we need to closely work with those who are already in the sector to understand what the ground reality is very true.

Another interesting learning from these talks is about the amount of hand-holding NGOs in these sectors do – for example, Vinayak talks about the first batches of children he originally inducted are now in the job market and Parivaar continues to support them in whichever way they can.

Few takeaways for any aspiring social entrepreneur will be

  1. Belief in people and enabling them by working along with them will empower them irrespective of the background.
  2. Societal change is not all about the macro level impact; individual and grass root level initiatives are equally important for empowerment of the impoverished.
  3. We can start from nothing; all that is required is the passion and be ready to empathize with them.
  4. There is generally no blue print approach in development sector. The right direction of plans evolves from experience
  5. Vinayak also shares his experiences about the societal pressure while pursuing a different passion, that too after an elite education. The difficulties in building one’s credibility, challenges in initial faces of an initiative discussed are all insightful.
It’s truly inspiring to go through the stories of such social entrepreneurs!

Travel Diary: A short road trip to Wayand from Kochi


During the weekend of Christmas last year, we decided to have a quick trip to Wayanad from Kochi. It was the first trip of our 10 months old little angel. Though we were bit nervous;at the end she enjoyed the most 🙂 Since we were also accompanied by our parents, it was a bit less-adventurous journey.

Soochipara Waterfalls

We started at around 6AM; took North Paravur route instead of the usual Alwaye-Thrissur route. We had booked at Best Western Plus Ekobarn around 2PM. We decided to cover Chembra side. Since it was already evening, we could see only Soochipara Waterfalls. Meenumutty falls was closed. One should keep in mind that, these destinations are open only untill 5PM for entry. Since monsoon was poor in 2017, overall the weather was not good. We were expecting chill; while it was as hot as Kochi!

Wildlife Sanctuaries in Wayanad

The second day we decided to cover two wildlife sanctuaries. Tholpetty Wildlife Sanctuary was closed due to worker strike. But the journey via jungle was awesome. It’s easy to find deers, monkeys etc on your jungle ride itself. If lucky, it was mentioned even spotting elephants is possible.

While coming back, we decided to visit Thirunelli Temple. A very old temple; still maintained in its same fashion (without much commercial aspects added). Its situated on top of the hill. The ambience itself is great.

Kuruvadweep

Our next destination was Kuruva Islands. I must say this was one of the disappointing destinations; partly because of the hype created and partly because of the weather. The key attraction is a very shot bamboo rafting required to reach the island. Then its a long walk through preserved forest area. It’s rich in its flora and fauna; but enjoying the experience depend on the time of visit. At the end of the long walk is water-interlock of Kabini river created by rocks. It’s a great ambience and fun.

Lakkidi

While coming back, we stopped at Lakkidi viewpoint. This was one of the most memorable sights for me. One could get the complete view of downtown, hairpins and the roads. Our final destination during this trip was Pookode lake.Its a natural freshwater lake with walkways around it and surrounded by forest. Once again, if we had chosen a better time to visit.


Here is the Wayanad-Flickr Album.

Wayanad

Overall a mixed feeling especially due to the hype Wayanad has. I felt Munnar was much better 🙂 it was a love at first sight for Munnar…

Note: Originally Posted in BuLiTe blog in Jan/2018.