Sunday, July 19, 2020

PickYourTrail - Top Travel Itinerary App in India

The best part about travelling to a new city or a country is to explore the place at your own place, learn about its culture, food and people. However the fear of travelling in an entirely new place with people speaking a different language can be a tricky thing if you want to do it all by yourself. To overcome this, thousands of travel operators offer you a tourist package along with a guide to help you in your journey. Yet, at the same time, large group tours does not allow for customization which kinda spoils the experience to plan your trip in the way you want .

In fact most tour companies don't even allow the choice of airlines, hotels or places you want to cover, especially in group tours. The last time I checked for an European group tour, a travel company said we will book only in Oman Airlines and will never opt or Emirates or Etihad to get more profit, despite quoting 1.1Lakhs + for the tour. This got me thinking. Is there a company that allows me to book what I want ? Would I get the option to choose my trip at my own pace and select the places I want and get it booked through them accordingly? The answer was

About PickYourTrail (PYT)

PickYourTrail is a revolutionary travel firm from Chennai,Tamil Nadu, India that does customization like noone does. Synonymous to their company name, you can pick the trail you want to go to. Unlike other tour operators who offers a fixed tourist package to countries , PickYourtrail helps you to customize your itinerary at every part of the journey . From morning to night, from Day 1 to last day, you get to decide all of these options:

  • Activities / Tours
  • Pickup/Drop options
  • Choice and segment of hotel
  • With or without flights ( yes, you can simply book the land package too)

A touchless Experience

Rather than back and forth of quotes, negotiations and haggling with the travel agent for price reductions, PYT helps to avoid everything by letting you choose your itinerary and everything can be done online through the website or the app. The whole experience can be customized by yourself in a matter of minutes.  Yes, you also have agents to help with your booking and let them book according to your needs.

Currently PickYourTrail is promoting Staycations in popular cities in India such as Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad etc. These involve attractive deals in popular hotels with full safety precautions and unbeatable rates at the top hotels in these cities. Something to look forward to as a travel venture , after being holed up inside homes for more than 120 days :)

Where is your next trip to, even if its in the distant future? Do let me know your answers in comments

You can also download from the Android playstore or Apple App Store

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Top Non Chinese Phones under 20000

With the recent initiative by the Government of India to push towards "AatmaNirbhar" (Made in India) and the call against using Chinese brands has been becoming quite popular among many people. When friends and relatives started asking me for suggestions on best mobile phones, almost all of them barring one or two, said they didn't want a Chinese owned or Chinese subsidary company branded mobile phone. When I looked it up, i found that 7 out of the top 10 popular mobiles, esp in the 10,000 to 20,000 INR price segment was a Chinese brand. So I felt it'll be useful for people to get a list of the Top Non Chinese phones under 20000.

Before we list down the list of non Chinese phones under 20,000 , here's a list of brands that are directly or indirectly associated with China. So the choice is upto you to decide , if you want to consciously avoid a phone among these brands.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Product Scans with Smart Consumer App

As we walk into a retail store and pick up items one after the another (with a mask on, of course), 90% of the times we don’t read up on the labels and we tend to miss out on some important information, especially in challenging times such as these, arising concerns related to food allergies, calorie consumption, and food safety.

Our smartphone however has the power to get us that desired info through scanning product barcodes. The Smart Consumer app by GS1 India helps customers access information in just a single scan. All you need to do is scan the barcode of the product through the app and all the brand’s information , ingredients, MRP , directly uploaded by the manufacturer will be present on your smartphone, brining complete transparency and reliability to what’s being purchased. 

Product information from a Scan

Some of the key product info that gets displayed in the app include :
       Product’s shelf life
       Product & Brand image,
       Registered Address of Manufacturer 
       FSSAI/AGMARK license validity
Esp. in cases where there’s little information or the font is too small to read, a single scan from your app can do the trick.

A direct feedback to Manufacturer

The ‘Smart Consumer app’ also enables consumers to directly share feedback on products with their respective manufacturers. Instead of going through a cumbersome process of getting the email id, and drafting long mails or contacting helpline, you can simply scan the barcode, click the feedback section, enter your details and complaint and it will be directly received by the brand owners in real-time.

Increase in the number of Scans

The app is gaining popularity and as quoted by tthe developers,  compared to the last few months. It further implies that consumers are becoming more conscious of what they consume. The highest number of scans, above 74k, are of products falling under the food category, followed by personal care (30k) and household items (25k).”

Be informed. Purchase Wisely

Ensure you install the app, scan the barcode and review the information thoroughly before putting that item in your basket. You can install the app from here:
App Link for 

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Quantum Universe - Karmic Healing , Achieving World Peace and More !

The concept of Quantum universe and its acclaimed powers is not new and has been documented, highly researched by several people across the world. However there has always been a slight disagreement between the scientific community vs the Astrological & Vedic communities about its effectiveness.

In fact , I remember reading about the same in a couple of Dan Brown's novels (The Lost Symbol , Angels & Demons etc) where he talks about the power of group prayers, meditation, the existence of the soul and how energy arising out of a group movement can move mountains and has infinite power.

So when I was invited for a launch of Quantum Universe organized by Aathmeswar Sathiyaji (founder of Sathiya Yogam) and team, I decided to go and find out all about it. The organization claimed that this new initiative deals with unexplored connections between human lifestyle and the quantum world. Subjects touched upon would include Science, Technology, Astronomy, Vedic Wisdom, and Tradition.

During the 3+ hour long discourse (it should have been shortened given interest of time) , it was mainly about how our Vedas have accurately predicted the solar movements, the solar & lunar eclipses as well as how one can utilize this quantum energy available in the universe to transform oneself, armed with a key thing : Right & Good 'Intention'.

The organization doesn't affiliate to any said religion and  claims to focus on the power of spiritual mass meditation, activation of different chakras in the body, performing Homams in the house and using crystals to attract the right energies.

The common questions that may arise out of all this will surround about the beliefs :
  • Do I believe in it? 
  • Does this thing actually work? 
  • Does it have a scientific proof to its theory?
I don't have answers to all these and I have my own concerns , doubts and questions. So I dont have sufficient knowledge or proof to recommend this.
So decide for yourself by fully researching about this programme
If you want to find out about them, you can give them a visit and know about their offerings

Sathiya Yogam Ashram
Plot No.1271/34, 77th Street, 12th Sector,
West KK Nagar, Chennai – 600078

A friend of mine,Shrinidhi has something to say about this .

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Lizol Brand Launch - Cement Surface Cleaners

India has witnessed a significant improvement in India when it comes to infrastructure development in the last two decades. This is not only in the case of urban areas but also in the rural areas. Along with  Tier 1 cities, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities has also seen some good growth in their township. But how much has it changed inside a house? 

The answer came to me during a recent product launch of Lizol's Cement Surface Cleaner in Chennai . The company , after a significant amount of research found out that 55% of houses in India and in particular Tamil Nadu still live with a  cement floor surface as compared to tiled floors in apartments and buildings in cities.  According to the 2011 Census, 1 in every 3 Indian households has a cement floor wherein Tamil Nadu is the largest state where 2 out of 3 homes have cement floors. 9 years post that, the numbers have only marginally shifted towards tiled floors.

These cement floors, however comes with their own problems. One of the biggest concern faced by the Indian homemaker is the removal of the white patches/stains found on cement floors.

How are white stains on Cement floors formed?

A cement floor is made of calcium hydroxide. Calcium hydroxide reacts with the carbon dioxide and forms calcium carbonate salt on the cement floor. The calcium carbonate residue goes inside the pores on cement floors and forms hard to remove white stains.

No amount of washing away with water, phenyl or acids can make this white patches go away and makes the floor look really dirty and patchy, if not harmful.

During the launch event, Lizol introduced to us , a brand new one of a kind Cement surface floor clearner. (Company also claims it to be a global first). The company demonstrated the efficacy of the product by pouring calcium carbonate in two cement surfaces and tried removing the stain , one with phenyl and other with the Lizol Cement surface cleaner. 

The Lizol cement cleaner did the job cleanly and removed the white stain almost instantly and needed just a few ml to get the job done. Phenyl , though a good anti bacterial agent, didn't remove the stain .


Launch Dates & Pricing  

Initally, Lizol cement floor cleaner is being launched across four states with the highest cement floor penetration in India, namely; Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka and Kerala. The Lizol Cement Surface Cleaner will be available in two variants lemon and pine and two different sizes - 100ml and 400ml. The 100 ml trial pack is priced at Rs. 25 and the 400 ml bottle is priced at Rs. 74.

The 25 Rs Trial pack , in my opinion could be a great move for middle class families to afford a branded floor cleaner and use it on a regular use. This also gives them the advantage to move away from unbranded generic phenyl sold in stores that's not effective against white patches.

About Reckitt Benckiser

Lizol is one of the key brands of the global Reckitt Benckiser, who also owns many household brands such as:

Dettol, Harpic, Woolite, Mortein, Vanish, Air Wick, Veet, Durex, Strepsils, Enfamil, Nutramigen, Nurofen, Strepsils, Gaviscon, Mucinex, Scholl, Clearasil, Finish, Calgon.