Saturday, August 20, 2016

Zapstore - An Intergrated Platform for E-Commerce

You'd be wondering about the innumerable no of e-commerce websites launched for  various categories including clothing, watches, electronics, gaming, books etc. Keeping track of the best items and the best deals in these sites can be a tiresome and sometimes an impossible task. The desire for an integrated platform that can address the needs of all buyers , highlight the top preferred items in a particular site , listing out the various retailers available to purchase that and more importantly getting rewarded to list your items and purchasing via the zapstore link can be a wonderful thing.
Who would have thought that, a website is going to reward for your own purchase in a e-commerce store? Sounds exciting right?

So what exactly is Zapstore and how do you go about listing your favourite items & start earning through their reward system?


For starters, Zapstore as mentioned above is an integrated platform that has handpicked the best deals and products from various retailers such as Flipkart, Amazon, PayTM, ebay, Myntra etc.
Not only do they a personal recommendation based on your interests, but you can also get to see other user's top recommendation in a particular category .

So when you are out looking for a good mobile, and you are pretty much confused which model to choose from , you just have to login to Zapstore, select mobiles under the Electronics drop down menu and filter out your budget and specifications. You'll be immediately listed with some top brands and good recommendations across multiple websites in a single page. This integrated view of recommendations, to me is the biggest highlight of shopping through Zapstore. Once you finalized the mobile, just click on that particular link in Zapstore, click on the "Go to Store Button" and make your purchase.

All you have to do now is wait and you'll be credited with a small percentage of your purchase as cashback .Yes, it is that simple.Not just that you also get to earn when one of your social followers makes a purchase from your collection

Here's a list of my favourite curated collection through Zapstore
https://zapstore.com/s/hkmurali


1. Vu 43' HD TV :

I've been trying to get my hands on a large 43-45 ' TV but I couldn't find one in my budget. This was when I discovered the brand VU which is selling a 43' 4K HDTV for just 37,000 Rs (Almost at half the price when compared to other leading brands). Naturally this is top on my personal recommendation list





2. HP AC 621TX Laptop :

My next recommendation would be a HP AC 621TX laptop. At  a 40K price tag, this has impressive features inside , including 2 GB graphics card, 4GB RAM, i3 6500U processor, 1TB hard disk and definitely a worthy purchase







3. One Plus 3  :

Frankly one of the best phones in the market, the One Plus 3 has really created a stir in the market with its brilliant design, amazing specs and a solid build  . At a price tag of 27,999, this can easily be the best high end luxury phone in the market below the 30K price segment. Apple and Samsung can only come a distant second when it comes to this








4. Grand Theft Auto (PC)  :

 Being an avid gamer, I'd definitely rate GTA as one of my most favourite games both on the PC as well as the XBOX platform . With an interesting game play, you get to do a lot of activities around the city and rise up the ranks.









5.Fastrack Wraparound Sunglasses


This is one of my most desired items in recent times. With a blue tint , this wrap around sunglasses from Fastrack is just 623Rs compared to other expensive sunglass brands and can really sport a style statement when it comes to fashion.





In case you  still wonder how this site works or how to go about adding items to your own "Zap" store, here are 3 easy steps

1. Create your Profile



2. Add your favourite item link from a E-commerce site like Flipkart/Amazon/Snapdeal etc in the update box


3.  Share your links with others. Click on the products to buy either from the recommended collections or through the deals listed in the site


4. Check under My account for your cashback earnings summary till date


I am making my own store for the #BestZapStore activity at BlogAdda in association with Zapstore

Friday, August 19, 2016

Dreams that can come true


It's interesting out dreams and aspirations vary so much among people , based on their skill, policy and the determination they possess. For some its a simple goal of getting an engineering or an arts degree,  get a job after graduation and settle in life.

For some the dreams are sky high. They want to prove themselves to the society, be known for their achievement and carve a niche in whatever industry they want to be in. These group of youngsters is collectively known as entrepreneurs. They never believe in working under someone for a salary, nor being told what to do constantly. Instead , they develop a product on their own (be it a handmade product or even a computer/mobile application) that has the potential to earn a sizable amount of income.

This aspiration and dream , in the early days of childhood plays a huge factor in shaping  the child's future.  As the child holds on to his wishes , with every passing day, the passion towards achieving the goal becomes a whole lot stronger. He/she can develop a force to achieve his goal, that can be unstoppable by any external reasons such as society, friends or relatives.

The society usually accepts a standard college degree with placement in a Multinational as a norm. If the person ventures into something he wants to do like music, sports or even movies the society casts a dark shadow as an outcast. He'd be questioned endlessly by his pesky relatives as to why he isn't pursuing a standard IT job like their own son.

I've been a strong advocate of pursuing one's dream no matter what the situation is like. Losing out on a dream and settling for a job you don't like is equivalent to losing out on life. The whole point of existence is to have a purpose, a dream , a wish and an aspiration sky high that you'd like to hit one day

My Path to Success


Growing up, I had a strong inclination to pursue a management degree and not really settle for a typical programming or developer job. Though the idea of placements soon after engineering entertained my mind, I knew it was never my destiny. I never let sight of my dream and wish , as I began to constantly strive towards it. All around me , I could see people happily settling in for a job , secured by campus placement, giving up on their wishes and accepted what was in store for them. Though the society gave me the toughest opposition , calling every step I took as a failure , I battled rough weather for several months. Sometimes it looked completely bleak and gave me the notion that I had to settle in for something, even if it's not the most ideal job. The only thing I knew that kept me going was my belief in a theory : "This too shall Pass on". Nothing was permanent and a change will come that can make everything alright, overnight. Least to say everything did change for the better, overnight and I have never looked back since.

#Advice That Mattered !

So here are somethings I did to achieve victory (Most of them are generic and can be applied to almost anyone)
 
 

From the start, I took this goal as a challenge, never giving up even for a day

I constantly reminded myself that any struggle I face is temporary and the real fun in life is to accept it as a challenge and defeat it











I was given a "No" by a million companies or denied the profile I was looking for . I never saw them as setbacks but rather an elimination in my consideration list.












I increased my network in the industry to get better contacts in related jobs to understand the requirements
I was constantly guided by friends and a few professors to tackle my problems and focus on the solution. I was strongly motivated by their advice that added fuel to my passion to say the least













I took up free online courses that enriched my resume for the jobs I was applying to.
My only aim was to get into the field of Analytics and become a Data Modelling & Prediction Scientist. It felt like an unbelievable , unattainable dream 7-8 years back, with almost no experience on that front.

 I never knew the path or what lay ahead in my direction. But I knew the end only mattered
More than what my resume said , I knew it was my personality and confidence was more important to secure the job and impressing the interviewer .

When I was finally called in for a Business Analyst position with a minimum foray in Analytics I knew this was the job for me. A job that can easily take me all the way to the end, with enough hard-work and determination. I'm not sure if it was luck or anything, but I was given a succession of excellent managers who saw the potential in me and kept me going. Sometimes more than the money or position, that's all it mattered to get me to my destination

After almost 5 years, I finally secured the position of a Data Scientist, a position that I always coveted. Looking back at the past decade, if you were to ask me if I can do this all over again , I don't know what I might do. But then one thing I definitely would NEVER DO: TO GIVE UP

I am blogging about my dreams and the people who helped make them true for the #AdviceThatMattered activity at BlogAdda in association with Stoodnt.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Pseudo Patriotic Indian

Its the 70th Independence day of India, a new era India is witnessing with paradigm shifts in technological advances and economic developments. The last 7 decades post independence from British colonization, in a dramatic turn of events, has only seen several fronts demanding to split this nation in separate states for their own political advantage & ruling power than a call to unite this nation into one super power. Currently we stand at 29 states and 7 Union Territories, after the recent split of AP and Telengana 


But one thing common across all these states is the emergence of suddenly formed patriotic Indians shouting out their pledges, vowing to only buy Indian goods, trying to come up with creative ideas to develop the nation and trolling everyone who may disagree with their opinion, even its a mere choice of a filmstar or a political party

You'd see this kind of people everywhere around you , but in case you are a bit clueless to find the "true - pseudo" patriotic Indian , here are some quick ways in which you can easily find him/her

  • The Khadi Indian with an iPhone : A person who strongly advocates to buy only Indian products and proclaims to be a true Indian at heart . Yet, would be possessing the latest iPhone from US, wearing a GAP Tshirt , dining at McDonalds and  KFC and works for a US multinational.
  • The Brain Drain Dad : Someone who talks about brain drain in India, pities & ridicules the youngsters for going abroad for higher education. Yet , quite proudly says I'm looking only for a US citizen or a green card holder to marry my daughter, with a degree in Princeton/Harvard/Yale, earning a minimum of  $100,000 / year and do not want guys working in India
  • The Tax Saving Professional : The guy who lives in his own family house and claims for House Rent allowance in his IT Filing, by saying he's paying rent to his parents and asking his friend to sign in left hand in the rental form posing as a landlord, in pursuit of saving a few thousand in Income tax. Yet the very next day shouts in anger as to how Vijay Mallya didn't pay his taxes properly and fled to UK.
 
  • The Police Fearing Driver : The guy/girl who feel it's okay to drive past the signal even in red/amber as long as there's no police in the vicinity . The person who feels helmets are there only to save 100rs of fine and all other times while driving, it'll be balanced carefully above the fuel tank. The sudden music lover who can't differentiate between jazz and rock, but insists on using earphones even during the 20 mins of bike driving. 

Source : TheHindu.com
  • The Generous Citizen : A mid level guy who blows his money on alcohol, tobacco, movies, designer clothing and dines out practically the entire month but somehow feels it's only a rich person's prerogative and duty to donate their entire savings to orphanages or flood relief funds. All they need is one Facebook Post or a tweet from a celebrity regarding an expensive purchase of a jet or a high end car. This is enough for the public to go out to the streets burning the effigy of the actor, calling him anti national
  • The Conservative Indian :  After reading through several incidents of rapes and harassment, would raise a call about how unsafe it is for women to go out and the demand for more security against cruel men. Yet the very next day, logs on to Instagram/FB/Twitter, sees a glamourous pic of a celebrity, trolls them and calls her a slut for dressing provacatively and being the sole reason for rapes.
  • The Modi-Fied Indian : The guy who has suddenly woke up from a 20 year hiatus, believes UNESCO has awarded Modi as the best PM in the world and the national anthem as the best anthem in the world , forwards every message praising Modi ,even when most of them is fake. Believes Modi has the power to pass laws single handedly, has supposedly transformed the state of Gujarat like a modern day Singapore (With digitally enhanced graphical photos) though it's still mostly under developed. No matter what you say, he strongly believes in a Modi wave that has resulted in all nations investing several thousand crores in India ( but then doesn't realize most of them never materialized and the remaining few were just loans). Overall believes one can be a true patriotic Indian , only if you believe in Modi, while the rest of them are anti nationals 


  • The Pathanjali Indian : Frankly, this one is my favourite. A brand, recently launched by Baba Ramdev is the new craze among the pseudo patriotic Indians. After having consumed the likes of Britannia, ITC and Unilever products for the past three decades or so, suddenly believes that buying Pathanjali products is equivalent to being patriotic.You ask why and the say ,because its made in India, all items are organic and complete proceeds goes to charity. Even better they believe that even a Pathanjali biscuit is Ayurvedic and has medicinal qualities in them (A toast to stupidity & Ignorance ). However eating a Britannia or a Good Day Biscuit is now suddenly being evil as I'm contributing to a foreign MNC to grow . Little do they know that Pathanjali is not fully organic as they claim, have been caught up in malpractices so many times, produce defective quality items, print items with future manufacturing dates and primarily outsourcing manufacturing to other companies 


Which one of them have you met ? Do share your experiences in the comments box..

Monday, August 01, 2016

A Story that you must read !

This is topic that I have constantly advocated quite strongly in person. A topic that has touched my heart so many times whenever I come across a despair news that someone couldn't face the game of life and had to end it midway. To him he had no way out and taking his life was the only way out.
What he or she doesn't realize is that , life constantly throws you challenges , sometimes very tough that can blind you from any rational thinking and contemplate to do the extreme


I have always wanted to understand what these people are going through , how I can help them out in any way possible to ensure they dont take the extreme step . This is not like any other action where there's an exit strategy possible. This is not like taking a wild chance in a game, lose it and then get back again to win the next one.  Contemplating a suicide is something one should never even have as an alternative 

What the person fails to understand is that, though he may think this is an easy way out , with minimal pain and he never has to face the tough life again , it can have an severe impact with people around him and especially those who are dependent on him. It can cripple those who feel he can take charge and make it alright. To me suicide is the most cowardly act one can ever do. After all you have one job to do in this life. To Live It ! Why bother quitting midway?

Having said that, I came across such a touching "web novel" which quite moved me and gave me so thoughts. I'm pretty confident that no one could have related to a suicide, its negative consequences and the thoughts that lead upto it in such a realistic manner and written about it. The novel is called "The Story of a A Suicide" by Sriram Iyer and the entire story is accessible for free here :

 http://www.storyofasuicide.com/


The story talks about four distinct characters, Hari, Charu, Sam and Mani . They all come together in a strange fashion, connected by love, relationships, betrayal, revenge and of course more importantly passion

One thing the book highlights is that ,  suicide is something that's been happening frequently in youngsters, the ones who are not guided or counselled correctly, dejected by a failure (could be an exam failure, a love failure or even the loss of a dear one). Though it maybe a common event that may have happened to a lot of people , it all depends on how we can handle that situation at that point of time, come out of it , move on and finally succeed in life.

The book takes this as a central plot where it goes to show what kind of ideas form in a typical youngster's mind during a tough situation and what leads him to take the step of a suicide. Finally the novel goes on to show that love and affection from your parents, sister/brother and friends can help a person come out of depression, rejection or failure and can fight anything. In parallel it also shows the bleakness of death and how much further pain and suffering it can cause to people around it


Pic Source : Illustration by Ghana (http://www.storyofasuicide.com/images/chap15/15-footer.jpg)

The parts that really struck a chord with me are the ones where the characters explain the emotions they go through and the times when it goes unchecked it can just magnify to larger proportions that can't be stopped anymore. I also liked the fact, that it is trying to bring out the taboos of the Indian society, speaking openly about it and explain how an individual preference should never be mocked and allowed on his accord to discover life as it comes. Though the 31parts may be disjointed in pieces, the one common thread that you may have noticed is that we have faced more or less every situation in this. Be it a breakup, a nasty argument, a betrayal of a loved one , a revenge plot we may have considered, the social media trolls (posing as friends) humiliating us in a public forum, we may have seen it all.

It also parallels some of the true stories that we read about in schools and colleges, where teens are unable to cope up with exam/studies pressure or even worse, take this step when they face a breakup
The chapters explains how we usually think and react to adverse situations , how we should tackle them and can succeed eventually

Here's a beautifully written paragraph in the story that I felt worth highlighting :
Always, every one of you wants to possess, to control us. From birth to death we are always in the clutches of men of various shades to be passed around like if we were some lab rats.The butcher made the eater happy. The eater made the butcher happy. But where did the lamb disappear? The poor lamb has lost its identity.
I wish more projects come up like to spread the campaign against suicide and completely bring the suicide rates to almost 0%. This site in particular lists 69 possible ways how to overcome something easily. It ranges from a relationship breakup, handling verbal abuse, dealing with harassment, to fit inside a particular group etc  : http://www.storyofasuicide.com/how-do-i-all.html

This too shall pass on 

One of the greatest quotes of all times, it captures life in the most startlingly accurate way. Life is all about change. Sometimes for the good , sometimes for the bad. But nothing is constant. No matter what, nothing is going to stay forever. Even the most toughest moment is only temporary and gonna vanish very soon. When we get to understand this completely, the notion of suicide will never be entertained

Source : 8tracks.com

So my suggestion to all my readers :

Embrace life as it comes, appreciate every single thing that we have been blessed with and tackle any problem head on. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes we win . But never ever give up. Because life is all about living !!

Here's some quick fix tips to deal with Suicidal thoughts and how to overcome them:


1. Put off everything : No matter how grave the situation is  or pressure too high, just put it off and dont think about it for the next two days. So many things change overnight and almost every time the hard times will definitely change for the good.

2. Get help : Be it friends or professional counselling or self help centres, there are plenty of places where you can reach out to get some quality advice and get ideas on overcoming these negative thoughts

3. Avoid alcohol & banned substances : Alcohol and drugs are not a solution to anything , as incorrectly portrayed by movies. They are infact an inhibitor and just makes the negativity grow inside you more than getting you come out of it. So its better to stay sober and think clearly ahead

4. Go out and get a diversion : Though times are tough, go out and get a break. Divert your mind off things, socialize with people and try to motivate yourself to be happy .


Remember this quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

" Everything will be alright in the end. If it's not alright, then it's not the end " 

I'd highly recommend everyone to take some time off and do read this wonderful story