Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Old Phone EnCash karo Ash Karo #CleanupCashout

Whenever I buy a new phone or a laptop I always put away my old gadget in the rear shelf of my almirah as I never knew a better way of getting rid of them.
Since I am a big fan of technology I regularly update my devices as a result my almirah is overflowing with old gadgets.
When there was no more space left to put away the old laptops and mobiles I had no other option but to get rid of them.
I visited my local market where I met a shopkeeper who dealt with buying and selling of old mobiles and laptops. I showed him my mobile and he offered me a ridiculously low price.

 When I argued that it was only 6 months old he argued back that everyone wants a new phone and there are not many takers of a second hand phone. The price that he offered was ridiculously low and even at that price the shopkeeper insisted that I leave my phone with him and I would get paid after he sold it.

I was in no mood to either sell my phone at such a low price or leave it siting endlessly in that dusty mobile shop. I thought me and my phone deserved a better deal. So I left the shop disappointed.

My best friend suggested that I try selling my phone online as there are so many online websites that help you sell stuff you do not need.
I listed my phone for selling online and quoted a reasonable price for it. Here the response was better.
From next day itself I got a regular flow of calls. The problem was that the calls came during odd hours as well as during night.(despite my having specified the timings to call)
The buyers had all sorts of queries
The flow of calls would go as follows day and night
Ring Ring
Me: Hello
Would Be Buyer: you want to sell your phone
Me: Yes
Would Be Buyer: So why do you want to sell it?
Me: Because I got a new phone
Would Be Buyer: Why did you get a new phone?
Me: I saw this new phone and I liked it
Would Be Buyer: As if he did not understand it interrupts me- So your phone is not working
Me: No it works fine
Would Be Buyer: So how much you want for it.
Me: I tell the price (though I have already published it online)
Would Be Buyer: What is the model
Me: I tell the model
Would Be Buyer: And the color
Me: Black
I ask him back did you not read the listing on the site
Would Be Buyer: I saw so many listings so got confused
Would Be Buyer: I don't like black don't you have a white one
Me(agitated by now):Look I am not a shopkeeper who has 50 phones to sell this is the only piece I have
Would Be Buyer: Then give me in xyz Rupees (He simply slashes my price by half)
Me: Cannot give you in that price
Would Be Buyer: Soch Lo (Think again) I cannot give you more as I do not like the black color.
Me: Cannot give you at that price and the Would Be Buyer disconnects the phone.

That was the first of one hundred twenty three (123) calls that I received not only from my own city but from the far off places as well.

This went on for about a week and a unique pattern developed. At that point in time I was located in Delhi and I got calls from as far of places as Kashmir to Kerela.
It seemed the whole country wanted to buy my phone.

I discovered a new law of sales and marketing.
The further the buyer was from the product that is my phone the keener they were that I courier the phone to them. However these “Would Be Buyers” were quite clueless as to how they would pay me.

For that week it seems the national pastime had become to call me and make me repeat the details and the technical specs of my phone.
For me it was a one week long course in sales and marketing
My takeaways from this course:
#The buyers interest are inversely proportional from this distance of the product that is my phone. The keenest buyers are those who are at the other extreme of the city or country and who probably cannot come to complete the sale.
#There are plenty of people who are just their to chit chat and not much interested in making a purchase. Perhaps these are the equivalent of the window shoppers.
#There are those who are direct or indirect incarnations of rats: Their only question is “Phone Ka Bill hai Kya” Do you have a bill of the phone. I call them incarnation of rats because they always use the term “Bill” and never a “receipt” These buyers were only interested in the bill and nothing else. For the sake of mathematical statistics I tried both options. Whether I said I had a bill or claimed that I did not have a bill the deal never went ahead with these kind of buyers.

By the end of week 2 my whole office had come to know that I have advertised for the sale of my old phone and by the number of times I have repeated the technical specs of my phone everyone from the office boy who moves the files around to chotu the tea wala knew the specs of my phone by heart.
I have not sold the phone still but having graduated in dealing with these Would Be Buyers I was beginning to get the hang of how to classify the buyer into categories he or she fell into.
It is that phase of life for the seller when he she gets into this groove of life and begins to make peace with the situation. You get used to this ordeal and begin to feel a sense of calm and peace.
Little do you realise that this is the calm before the storm as I discovered when
my phone number got discovered by a new species, the pesky tele-callers, callers who wanted to sell me everything from a credit card, a loan to  slimming pills.
I become the easy target for them and despite having my number registered with the DND services and blocking innumerable numbers the sellers find a way to dodge my defense and call me from a new number every time.
I find my self defenseless and it is now that I discovered a new selling service called https://www.cashify.in/ that I can access through an app as well.
What it did for me is something beyond my wildest dreams for
it let me find about the best price of my mobile phone
I can sell my phone in 60 seconds.

The phone was picked up from my door step and hard cash delivered to me then and there.
It all happened seamlessly and without any hassles.
With one phone sold and money in my pocket I have understood the principal of #CleanupCashout

At https://www.cashify.in one can easily sell old gadgets at the best possible price as they provide an Instant Quote.
Once you as a seller accepts the price offered and agrees to the terms, there is an assured sale and a  Hassle free Doorstep Pickup and on the spot payment for your old devices.

Can selling your old gadgets get any easier then that?

Diwali is the perfect time to clean up and get rid of the old stuff.
So why not #CleanupCashout those old gadgets and make some space and money this Diwali.

It is so simple to sell your old electronic gadgets that I am ready to sell all my old phones and gadgets through https://www.cashify.in/

Dear Readers you can use the coupon CLEANCASH to get an additional Rs.250 on the sale of your gadgets.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Shop till you drop in London & Europe and take a tax refund

If you are travelling to the United Kingdom or Europe on a non EU passport that is you are not a EU citizen then you are eligible to claim a VAT tax refund on the bills you pay at stores.

London offers some of the most amazing sales and Paris and rest of Europe has deals not to be missed.

So what is VAT refund?
Whenever you buy anything at a store look at the bill. Along with the amount it would be written VAT and some amount next to it.
As a person who is visiting on a non EU or British Passport you are eligible to claim the amount of VAT as a tax refund.

So what does one need to get a VAT refund.
1) Carry your passport with you to the store (The store may want to see it before iniatiating the VAT refund process)
2) At the time of making the payment or later tell them you want a tax refund. The store most likely would guide you to a department that would look at your passport or proof of identity that you are eligible for a tax refund.
You need to show them the receipts of the stuff you have purchased. They would fill a form for you and you need to furnish your details such as name, address, passport number etc.
Make sure that the store signs and stamps the form as without this you would not be eligible for a VAT refund.
Make sure you reach the airport much earlier then you are supposed to for catching your flight out of EU/England as you would need time to get your tax refund processed.

When you reach the airport : Look for the tax refund department .
make sure you carry the form given to you by the store, the receipts and the goods on which you want a tax refund. So do this before you checking your bags

An officer at the department might want to look at the form, receipts and the goods before processing your refunds. A lot of airports have tax refund machines that have automated the process of a tax refund.

At the time of filling up the tax refund form you may get an option of giving your credit card details. Providing these details enables the refund to directly credit back to your credit card. This way you are saved the trouble of changing currency at the last minute.

Your tax refund is processed at the last port from which you leave the EU or UK.
Say for instance You travel from your country to
London ====>Paris====>Rome====>Switzerland====>Austria ====>London
So you would not have to get the tax refund from each of these cities/ countries. Instead collect all the form and get the tax refund processed from the last port of departure before going back to your country.
In the example above London (UK) happens to be the last port of departure so approach that particular tax refund department.

So when I take a taxi even the taxi receipt had a VAT on it can I claim that too?
No VAT that can be claimed is on goods and not on services so go ahead and shop till you drop but make sure you get your VAT refunded before you leave for your country and save big on your shoppings.
Happy shopping.

Besides tax refunds in UK and Europe there are other places around the world where you can get a tax refund Let me know if you are interested and I would do a post on it here.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini the perfect Holiday Destination

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini the perfect Holiday Destination

Yes you read the title of my post right. There is no typo. Traveling on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini in particular can be a memorable experience.
Ships have long been used to transport goods and people from one place to another. However in today's world luxury Cruises represent the epitome of luxury and comfort. I experienced this first hand when I got the opportunity to travel on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini.

To begin with it is a luxury cruise liner that can accommodate over 1500 passengers.
To make this journey comfortable they have a staff 1:2 ratio who manage the ship and look after the guests and keep the cruise liner in top shape.

Different people have different reasons to take a cruise and I found people from various nationalities and age groups.

There were families with children, young couples who had chosen this cruise as part of their Honeymoon and there were Senior Couples who were enjoying a leisurely life that SuperStar Gemini has to offer.
Life on the ship can be luxurious as well as rewarding. Star Cruise SuperStar Gemini offers a number of activities, food and entertainment options to its guests. I found the game of Bingo “Go for gold Jackpot Bingo” was not just easy to play but also quite rewarding as I witnessed quite a few guests walk away with winning the Bingo games .If you want to try your luck there is a full-fledged casino.
The best part is that I found that this cruise offered something for everyone. For those traveling with children there is a full-fledged activity center. It has a care taker and a large number of games and activities to keep the young ones productively occupied. It is an experience that every child should have for a positive Impact on their lives.

Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini Activity Centre

Apart from this there are regular activities like Cake Decorations ,Pizza Making,ice cream party ,paper art, Pajama Party and the list goes on and there are enough activities to keep the young ones not just occupied but they can also learn a new skill and enhance their knowledge about the ship and the world.
For the entire family there are game shows that the entire family can play, experience the Chinese Tea making demonstration or simply go to the deck and enjoy breathtaking view of Sunrise and Sunset.
For the honeymooners and the young couples there are plenty of opportunities to bond and spend quality time together. If you want to spend quality time with your loved ones then Star Cruise SuperStar Gemini is the place to be.

You could laze on the deck 11 breathe in that fresh air that is so refreshing.
Go for a Jog together on deck 7 or maybe request a song as the live band plays peppy music at various places and locations of the ship. One can request a song and if the band knows it then they eagerly play it for you. I heard beautiful Bollywood song renditions by the various artists on the ship.

The cruise lays a lot of emphasis on entertainment. So there are a number of shows lined up for you when you are on board.
These add to the charm of being on board Star Cruise SuperStarGemini and without attending them the experience would never be complete.

Food: Star Cruise SuperStarGemini has a number of restaurants and places to eat and drink. They offer a wide range of cuisines to suit its various guests. They serve Indian , Chinese ,Asian  and Western Cuisines.
There is so much food with so much variety to suit each palate that one cannot possibly go hungry if one is looking in the right places. If you are a vegetarian or a Jain, do not get worried these meals are readily available.
I have listed the restaurants on board Star Cruise SuperStarGemini. These specialize in different kind of foods. The restaurants on board are of two type’s  all inclusive restaurants that one can go to and eat without paying anything extra. You can go and eat here and your meal cost is covered in the ticket. The restaurants not in the inclusive list are the ones that one can go eat and pay.
For each day you can check the list of inclusive restaurants in the Navigator which is the Navigation tool or map to follow the activities for the day on the ship. This is the daily sheet of paper delivered to you in in your cabin.
For the early risers there is Observatory Lounge/KTV on Deck 12 Fwd
Mariners on Deck 9 Mid offer International & Indian Cuisines (Pork and Lard Free)
Dynasty Deck 11 Aft
Bella Vista
Blue Lagoon is the 24 Hour Open restaurants
Taipan: Chinese and A La carte
Topsiders Bar : They offer some wonderful Wraps and Hotdogs

So when you are traveling on Star Cruises SuperStar Gemini be prepared for having a fantastic experience on board the ship.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Superstar Gemini Where the food never fails to surprise you

The food on board superstar Gemini never failed to surprise me. It was a positive surprise to find so much delicious food on a cruise ship. Whatever your preference in food and whatever part of the world you are coming from you are bound to find plenty of good food.

There are plenty of places to Wine & Dine on board Superstar Gemini they are namely
Bella Vista
Oceana Barbecue
Blue Lagoon
Taipan For chinese Food
Food & Beverage Outlets
Observatory Lounge / KTV
Maxims Lounge
Topsiders Bar
Rendezvous Bar
Champs Bar

For a daily schedule and timings of the restaurants  check out your copy of the Star Navigator that is delivered to your cabin everyday.

A guest travelling on board Star Cruise's Superstar Gemini can also tune in to Star Navigator channel on the in cabin TV and view the Star Navigator for the day.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Time for me to #LoveJatao

Looking back at my childhood I consider myself to be extremely lucky that I got the opportunity to spend quality time with my grandparents.

I have fond memories of spending time with them. My grandfather used to take me to the garden to play and read out stories to me from his collection of books.

A lot changed over time. As I grew up so did the role of my grandparents. From a caregiver they became my constant companion, my best friends and the pillars of my life.

The first day when I went to school was the big day for me and I was apprehensive about stepping alone into the big world outside.

My grandfather took the responsibility of taking me to school. With him by my side I felt protected and prepared myself to enter a new environment. From that day onwards my grandfather took upon himself the responsibility of taking me to school. As a routine he would take me to school every morning on his scooter and I loved the experience.

In those days his scooter was his pride and he loved riding it.

His scooter used to be his prized possession. He was the only person to have one in the locality and no one was allowed to even touch it. I was special to him and I was the only one allowed to touch it or even press the horn button. Every time he offered me a ride, it used to be a treat to remember.

I am a foodie like him and I remember how he used to go to a particular restaurant in another part of the city and get sweet and savory treats for us.

It was one of his favorite places to hang out. It is here that he would meet up with friends or go around meeting old neighbors as he grew up in that locality.

So to make the day special I have secretly contacted all his friends and arranged a small getogether at the same restaurant and I plan to go with him and enjoy the sight when he finds all his old friends at one place waiting to greet him and spend quality time together.

The trip would be a special day for me too and for making the day that much more special I have got his old scooter serviced and to relive those old days I plan to recreate the drive on the scooter experience. The only difference would be that this time it would be a reversal of roles. I would be driving it and he would sit pillion, a role reversal of sorts from the day when I used to hold him tightly and sit behind him on the scooter.

After all with grandparents day on the 10th of September it is time to #LoveJatao for our grandparents.

I look forward to hear from you how would you celebrate Grandparents DayDo share a selfie with your grandparents on Sept. 10, 2017 on Twitter or Facebook with #LoveJatao & tag @blogadda to win a goodie from Parachute Advansed.


Thursday, 1 June 2017

Watch The House of Cards Season 5 before the Cards Reshuffle

House of Cards Season 5 "Homecoming of Terror" is a gripping political drama with several under currents and with an element of the unexpected built into the story line. There is much more then meets the eye. People take a stand not based on what is right or wrong but on what benefits them.

The story line is interesting and acting is up to the mark. The female protagonist Claire played by Robin Wright is shown to be calculating and cold and Kevin Spacey as Francis "Frank" J. Underwood matches her calculative and manipulative character.

The Underwood's portray cold and ruthless politician's who have a hidden agenda in whatever they do.

House of Cards Season 5 "Homecoming of Terror" is here and indeed it starts in a style of its own.

The show starts with Claire staring into the camera looking right into your eyes .Her cold stare is enough to bring a chill down your spine.

Spoiler for House of Cards Season 5 Episode 1

Even though this is shown as a scene of a shoot but one thing is quite clear from the narrative style that this series does not use any scene to gain footage. Everything is deftly woven into the story line as a tale of power and political intrigue unfolds.

The story continues from the concluding episode of season 4 in which the supposedly ICO terrorists had captured the Miller family.

The Underwood's had managed to negotiate the release of the mother daughter duo Caroline and Melisa however Melissa's father was ruthlessly beheaded live on TV.

So what do the Underwood's do? They do what they are best at. They use the attack on the American family to their advantage as they declare a war on the face of terror ICO to meet their own political ends.

Going by the narrative style of the series the story unfolds at two levels. On the surface the Underwood's use their power to manipulate the situations to meet their own ends and on a more subtle level there is an underlying narrative that drops hints into what may or may not happen in the coming episodes as the story unfolds.To add to the drama there are plenty of hints that Claire's own political aspirations are ready to take wings.

It is interesting to see how the series progresses.
On the surface of it their would be the power wielding Underwood's trying hard to cling on to power and use every trick in the book to come up trumps and on the other hand are their political rivals doing everything they can to uncover their misdoings

Over all it is a gripping story line with scenes well placed and interconnected. The portrayal of the characters makes it even more riveting.

With references to real life political events, House of Cards Season 5 manages to open a window into the dark aisles of power and give an insight into the games of power that are played.

A must watch political drama that is not to be missed.
“Frank Underwood is coming to India with the television premiere of House Of Cards Season 5 on Saturday, 3rd June, 5 PM onwards, only on Zee CafĂ©!”
You can catch more information here https://www.facebook.com/ZeeCafe

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

My Indian Jugaad

Flash back to the year 2002's I find myself in a foreign land as part of a team where I am the lone Indian. We are visiting a remote site for project evaluation.

One of the foreign team members has a digital camera and I am quite enamoured by the technology.
On my part I am carrying a roll camera. I click pictures and they would have to be developed and printed on to a photographic paper before they can be used.

My foreign counterpart is merrily clicking pictures so that he can use to create the project report or email them to everyone.
I am fascinated by the technology, My colleague is gracious and lets me handle his tech toy. He explains the features and tells me how technically advanced it is. In the evening on our way back we are greeted with rain and thunder storm.
There is a lot of moisture in the air. My foreign colleague is merrily clicking pictures of everything around.
The next morning when he turns on his camera it just would not come on. There is just a blob of wetness in the areas of the display screen. The non functioning of the camera makes him panic. After all it has almost 3 days of pictures related to work that he would like to use in the project report. Just to calm him down a fellow colleague jokingly said looks like you camera caught a cold. But this did not amuse my colleague. Luckily his camera came with a phone support option. He called up and had a long talk. The support guy took him through a number of steps but did not get any success. Finally he reached the conclusion that the camera would have to be sent back to the factory for fixing. Either they would fix it or give him a new one in case it cannot be fixed as the camera was still under warranty. However in either case the photos stored in the cameras internal memory would be lost. That particular camera had an internal memory storage which could not be removed or backed up in a non functional camera state.
This meant that all the work would had to be done again.
This news caused a lot of panic in our team. There were frantic phone calls made to the office as a result our team was told to travel back again to the site to complete the report and the evaluation. This is the last thing that we want to do but what could be done? With heavy hearts we started packing ….
Then my Indian mind came up with a very Indian Jugaad
For those who do not know what a Jugaad is, it is a hack or an innovation.
I told him that I would like to make an attempt to fix his camera.
Rightfully he seemed doubtful about the outcome of my attempts to fix the camera. I could not blame him for his doubts. He was the technology expert and it was his country with access to so much technological advancement. Even the tech support team had given up on fixing up the camera over the phone and in all probability the photographs had been lost. Yet here I was standing in front of him sans any tools or technology offering to help him fix his camera and perhaps even recover his photos. Reluctantly he gave me the camera. I inspected it and took it to my room. Outside my room it was quite sunny. I could feel the warmth of the sun and that is all I needed to fix the camera.
I took a polythene bag and put the camera inside. I then hung it outside my window. The camera hung there in the warm shade not under direct sunlight, I let it remain there for about two hours.
Then there was a knock at the door I opened the door and found my colleague standing there he was curious to know how my attempt was going along. When he saw his digital camera hanging outside my window in a polythene bag he was quite petrified and I saw his jaws drop. I accompanied him to the window and carefully took the polythene bag holding the camera in. I unwrapped the bag and tried to turn on the camera. With a flicker of red light the dead camera came to life. I handed over the camera to him and he frantically scrolled through the pictures saved in the memory. They were all intact. I suggested that he should back up the pictures. It was an advice he promptly followed.
So that day when some of the best technology had failed an Indian Jugaad had saved not just the day but also saved us from a lot of trouble at the office. From now on my tech savvy colleague began to see me in a new light. I became the new tech expert, the expert of Jugaad the Indian way of looking at and solving problems. I am not the only one wherever we Indian's go we make our mark. People around the world take note of our talents and try to emulate them bit.ly/2oQTj8q