Gaurang's Thoughts

Tips for Booking Ticks in Indian Railways

Traveling in India is an adventure in itself. With abundance of choatic streets in most of the places, even reaching at the stations / getting tickets becomes very challenging.

Following are the learnings from my 30,000 kms long journey across India I did in past a few years.

1. While booking Indian Railway ticket, when it will be a short trip of a day or two and you are booking about 10 days before the travel day, ensure that you check availability of both "To"  & "Return" ticket. Chances are there that you may successfully book the "To" ticket with very a few "waiting number", but what will surprise you is the fact that Return ticket will have very "large waiting number". So you may end up canceling your "To" ticket if the only way you want to travel is through Train and you want to avoid probability game of Tatkaal.

This is an inexhaustive list. Keep on visiting for more tips.

How I saved thousands by just 1 tweet

Imagine having bought a pair of jeans and getting it altered to further discovering that it didn’t fit you well ( perhaps because of your negligence or company's misaligned inventory ). 

Having about INR 2000 at stake, you request the Customer Support to help you with that. But they didn’t help, to save themselves from prospective losses, probably.

Now the buyer the tweets about it to the Company and guess what happens, first they assured the support from their team, second within a few hours a call is received for understanding the issue, third confirming the exchange of jeans.

The buyer eventually saves himself from the loss of 2000 bucks that too with just one tweet. 

The buyer was me, and to thank them, a few days after, I did quite a lot of shopping ( Bought 2.5x worth of things ). 

For the buyer, it became the best experience ever and Company somehow increased the revenue.

And had there been zero interaction through Twitter, the loyal customer might have become the disgruntled one and company would have suffered intangible losses in coming days / weeks / months. 

That’s one of the thousand incidents which happens on daily basis. Companies which are continuously finding ways to interact with their audience or better prospective buyers are at very high advantage as compared to those who aren’t interacting at all.

We are moving from information age to Social Age where almost everyone is connecting with each other through one channel or another and not connecting due to not having proper channels is simply an excuse. 

Brands have to become active on Social Channels, explore and understand what their audience is talking about, what’s trending and somehow associate their products with the trend to stay relevant and continuously interact with the audience by either sharing relevant content or commenting on the activities of the audience. 

As the engagement increases, humanification of brand takes place and people starts connecting with the brand and eventually forms the relationship. ( One great example is Paulo Coelho )

Having this relationship lets Brands sell their products and services at extremely high speed, for e.g..: the notion of Pre-Booking Mobile Phones, Books released by authors. 

Authors have built relationship with users through Twitter, Facebook,LinkedIn, Instagram, Pininterest by sharing content of audience’s interest, responding to them periodically, solving their queries, sharing their fans' photos with their products, etc. So when any book they pre-launch, thousands of people / followers converts into buyers. 


My office

A photo posted by Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) on

Feb 24, 2015 at 12:24pm PST

Engagements helps brands solve queries of their customers in real-time basis which improves the customer experience drastically. 

We are living in the era of “Selling at Scale”, where Brand’s engagement with their Customers has become indispensable which leads to great user experience, increased sales and free marketing through word of mouth in scale

Bottom-line : If spending 60 minutes on daily basis can get you 1-2 multi-thousand dollars deal then it's a great ROI. ( Isn't it ? )

Gary Vaynerchuk is a Digital Marketing Guru and he interacts with his audience in a very interesting way. He records video and answer his visitor's questions through it.





Written for Ad:Tech : Topic : Leveraging engagement to deliver real business results


Blogs & Books I loved to read so far

Suppose you want to be exceptionally great at something. What will you do ?

Majority of people just dream about becoming great without putting in kind of efforts required to achieving them leave alone extra efforts. While what rest of them do is quite exceptional. They put in extra hours to their craft to really outshine majority.

Often, achievements requires great sacrifices. Sacrifice of personal time which most of the people don't consider as an option.

I stumbled upon a fantasic blog post which refreshed every concept I had in my mind of becoming rockstar at something.

When you are having a job, you are given a set of "Key Responsibilities", while it's important to be great at those for optimal work -> output -> promotions, it's equally important to expand the list of KRs for growth. The longer the list will be, more importance you will hold in the eyes of your boss and the company. And that means great growth ( financially and Role-wise ). Won't you like that ?

It has become a cliche to "Work Hard", but it never lost it's importance. Working Hard is a critical act which every successful purpose performs, failing in which will lead to distress in life. You have to kill your ego / moodiness to keep on working on the task allocated to you as often we have to do the works we don't like much.

Being ultra productive is very important. People like Will Smith, who had very humble beginning, they never wasted any single second and they putted all of the time to work on their craft to shine and at times, outshine others.

In an average job, average employee works at 60% efficiency ( 40%-80% ) eventually making it to be about 3 hours a day as the work-time often is full of distractions / time is spent surfing the internet, Switching tasks / getting back to work takes about 27 minutes ( Source ) which makes it to loss of more than 3 hours of what could have led to some productive work, such a massive opportunity cost isn't it ?

In a work-year of 200 days, easily you are wasting 600 hours ( often 30% more ). That's the key differentiator between high achievers and someone who achieves much lesser in their respective career. These hours could easily be accumulated for getting into elite club of skill masters -- 10,000  hours which is required to "mastering" desired skill.

Therefore, save these hours and put them in your craft, be that missing piece in your company who knows it all, who does it all, by learning everything you possibly can by obviously putting in these saved hours. That's how great achievers achieve, by doing exceptionally great work.


Google Adsense removed "Payment by Cheque" Payment option for Indian Adsense Publishers

It may be thrilling news for  Indian Adsense Publishers to know that recently "Payment by Cheque" Payment option is removed from the possible Google Payment methods.

Now Google Adsense has only  "Wire Transfer" payment method, which will be ultra-fast for receiving the payments from Adsense Programme. ( 2 - 5 business days is what it takes to get into your Bank account - depends on your bank as well. )

Following are the screenshots of how does it look it.

Fig 1. Look at Top-right, there is a "Settings Wheel", Click on it and then select Payments.

Fig2. Click on Payment Settings ( on the left ) and Click on "Add a new payment method"

Fig 3. Enter the details of your Bank Account ( SWIFT Code is for receiving international payments - Contact your Bank for the relevant details ) [ IFSC Code should be mentioned in your Cheque Book / Bank Documents which you received while opening the Bank Account ]

Also, this is my personal opinion to choose the SWIFT Code of your Bank which lets you remit the money in INR and not in USD as I have heard that FEMA plays major roles in 3rd party currency transactions, in which you may have to get registered with them. Talk to your Banker / Lawyer / CA regarding this or if you know it already then please leave a comment below so that fellow Indian Adsense Publishers can get benefitted with this important piece of information.

In case, you have an ICICI Bank account then following details will be useful ( That's the response I received from ICICI Customer Support ) : 

We can suggest from our experience that the simplest way to know the SWIFT details is by referring the below link:

SWIFT details are currency-specific.

Please select the respective currency from the drop down menu and click on Go .

If the funds are being remitted in INR currency, then the SWIFT code of ICICI Bank to be mentioned is ICICINBBNRI and it is unique for all our ICICI bank branches.

Further, ICICI Bank does not charge, however your local bank may charge you for the wire transfer. We levy a nominal Foreign Currency Conversion Service Tax as below: Slab wise Structure: · 0.1236 per cent. of the gross amount of currency exchanged for an amount upto rupees 100,000, subject to the minimum amount of rupees 30.9 · Rupees 123.6 and0.0618 per cent. of the gross amount of currency exchanged for an amount of rupees exceeding rupees 100,000 and upto rupees 10,00,000 · Rupees 679.8 and 0.01236 per cent. of the gross amount of currency exchanged for an amount of rupees exceeding 10,00,000, subject to maximum amount of rupees 6180.Education cess (including higher education cess) @ 3% would be charged on the service tax computed as above.

You may also refer below link for charges related information:




My experience of being a part of Jagriti Yatra 2013

I was tired, tired of starting up and not sticking to the plan in multiple projects / startups ( Qwerz, Startup4Startup, Uni2versity, SkilledInterns, SocioMedio ) which I started starting back then when I was a sophomore.

Eventually I lost all of the efforts and time I put in, in those projects. I started with an online community to connect students of my university. One after the another I was starting up and loosing my faith in them perhaps because of instant gratification we human beings suffer with. But the learnings I had from them were tremendous since all mistakes i was committing were very new to me. I also learnt to fight with every limitation I possessed and I kept on starting up and giving up on them.

I was exhausted and I wanted to surround myself with positivity. That’s when Jagriti Yatra happened to me. A train yatra full of young, bright minds from all parts of India, which have big dreams and passion to transform our India. It started in Mumbai with amazing classical performances done by TISS students, inspirational sessions by people like Indian chiefs of Rolls Royce, Indian Railways shared about their vision about India and how Youth of India will transform India in years to come. , Devdutt Patnaik brilliantly illustrated how Indian history ( also read as mythology ) resonates with the business culture. The ceremony left us awestruck and we were very inspired already and were curious about what all will happen with us in coming days.

When I ran out of ideas, It seemed like Jagriti Yatra planned it all, already. Soon I was going to discover that Jagriti Yatra was having tonnes of them inside it’s coaches of the JY train.

Focusing on various Industrial vertices like Energy, Water and Sanitation, Education, Healthcare, Agriculture, etc., we were given exposure to all domains. We were actively following the domain we were passionate about and passively understanding nuances of other verticals, directly from the founder of the organisations.

They shared with us their past experiences, how their maniac work culture, ethics, perseverance and integrity helped their baby organization to become such a massive organization which empowers the community directly. Food was delicious and it was ensured that we eat what people in the same State eats. So imagine eating Idli Sambhar when you are arriving at Bangalore and Dal Baati with lots of ghee when you are crossing Rajasthan. It was absolutely blissful. When we reached Delhi, In Goonj’s Office we watched a movie of Our National Anthem “jan gan man” performed by deaf and dumb children through hand gestures” which touched our hearts and the founder's advice to chase our dreams with all zeal and enthusiasm, is the message we carried to Rajasthan where we met the founder of Barefoot College.

What he did was something which is unique in very true sense. He empowered illiterate grannies from all over the world and made them skilled enough to build solar panels which were mechanical and which revolved around in direction of the sun with great precision. That absolutely stunned all of us. Perhaps that’s the reason why Tilonia is such an important Case Study for many NGOs and Social entrepreneurs. Every place we went to, we were coming across very unique case studies, each of them demonstrating how a single person with great courage and good team can change the lives of their community.

We also learnt about people whose heart got broken while seeing pains of others, so much that they worked tirelessly in order to eliminate these problems to ensure better lives of others. Clothes as a commodity is unheard of. Goonj managed to make villagers earn a piece of cloth for them by working for it, for their own community, in their very own village by building Roads, Bridges, Huts. This certainly reminded us of how important clothes are for people who are deprived of them.

When we were out of ideas or when we needed inspiration, we were showered with them, not only we learnt about Healthcare at Aravind Hospital which works on cross-subsidized model, helping poorest of the poor get their eye's operation done , we learnt about how Bio Gas Plants function. We also learnt about importance of clean water by knowing how Water borne diseases were jeopardizing the health of villages who were deprived of clean water.Whenever we visited villages, We were given opportunities to talk to them. They were sharing their stories, things about their daily lives.

Instantly, I could connect with these villagers and the problems they were facing and somehow I eagerly wanted to remove the pains from their lives. That’s when I was discovering myself and the reason of my existence.That was my Jagriti in true sense and I could find it through Jagriti Yatra.Though being an introvert, I talked with so many fellow Yatris and made some life long friends. Also, being an alumni of JY, one becomes a part of Jagriti Yatra’s fraternity which is always welcoming and shares the same spirit like oneself and hence in every part of india, we have a family to talk to and to live with.

I miss my JY days, and indeed every Indian should be part of Jagriti Yatra at least once in their lifetime.

Gaurang Agrawal

JY Alumni 2013

Written for Rodinhoods: