A Walk Through the Famous NaschMarkt in Vienna

This is a photo blog of the famous Naschmarkt of Vienna. It’s a rush of so many colours, senses, smells that words fall short of describing it.

So, if you are planning a trip to Vienna, here’s what you should go looking for. Right from trinkets, gemstones, and world war remnants, to flowers, fruits, vegetables and furniture, Naschmarkt attracts sellers and buyers from far and wide!

Have a look!

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Ma..

With a smile on her face, she braves the odds

With a fire in her heart, she steers the boat.

 

She stands tall, taller than your ego,

Yet she is humble and pines for the little.

 

You have her and so do I,

Some never knew her, while some ran out of time.

 

Her presence is magic, yet I fail to tell her so,

She has the belly to take in all the wrongs, yet she never minces words.

 

It’s her. It’s her, the muse of my life,

She never ceases to amaze, and wraps that enigma like an enchanted cloak.

 

You inspire me like the never ending flame,

And push me to grow like a Giant Sequoia,

 

Even if I grow up to be with an ounce of goodness that you exude,

I would call myself worth living.

 

(Image courtesy: Shutterstock)

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Earth Day Feature: We Need to Relook at the Way We Handle Menstruation

Menstruation has been a culturally closed-door topic in India and eventually the most overlooked one. Any dialogue around menstruation is met with a hush-hush, hesitation and the menstruating girl or a woman is made to feel dirty and shameful. Menstruation is a healthy physical process the body undergoes for the maintenance and upkeep of the female reproductive system. But in our society, it is associated with the old wives’ tales of not touching drinking water, pickle jars or even entering the kitchen. Even today, in many homes, menstruating women are made to sit separately so that they do not come in contact with the other members of the house. Basically, menstruation is considered nothing more than reproductive readiness.

EcoFemme is a for-profit organisation based in the innovation hub of Auroville, Tamil Nadu that is solving this problem with their washable cloth pads. Check out my interaction with the co-founder of EcoFemme, Kathy Walkling.

Read the entire post here.

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How Popular Brands Use SMS Marketing

Reposted via How to fit SMS in Digital Marketing Strategy | Juvlon

Were you under the impression that savvy marketers use SMS Marketing just to promote their products or deals with a plain “Grab the deal before it expires” tag? You are sadly mistaken. Marketers around the world have realised the potential of SMS Marketing in converting customers. A 160-characters media plan can reap humongous results in a multi-channel marketing strategy. Why? Because it is sharp, targeted and customers have willingly opted-in to hear from you!

SMS Marketing – The Wonder Tool
SMS Marketing is one of the best things that have happened to the industry. I mean, think about this. You can reach your customers, 24/7, at a single touch, and anywhere! Of course, the risk of getting spammed is always present unless you keep your outgoing texts in check.
According to Techipedia, 98% of SMS messages sent are opened, and 83% of them are opened within 3 minutes. That not only shows the opportunity behind texting as a communications medium but also how crucial it is to get it right — because you’re talking with people in a medium they clearly find extremely important.

Customers treat SMS as deeply personal. So a simple request – “Hi Dave, get 50% off of your next meal when you show this message!” – can get terrific response rates. It’s an effective way to keep your lists of users up-to-date and honest, saving on admin costs and white mail.

SMS – Your ticket to constant Digital Marketing success

SMS marketing packs a bunch of awesome features that lets you communicate to your audience with a focused messaging strategy. And how you can use them?

1. Sending alerts and reminders
Keep your customers updated on their orders or the upcoming events. SMS alerts and reminders, reinforce the importance of your brand.

2. Special offers
Send out tailored offers and deals to your audience to make them feel special

3. Integrate SMS with Emails
Including URLs encourages subscriptions which can eventually be made into a conversion. Furthermore, your total customer view will be improved through incorporating SMS into your email and e-commerce sale as it allows you to track the customer’s activity back to the SMS.

How are brands Using SMS Marketing?
Top notch brands are using SMS marketing on full throttle to reflect their brand persona through the SMSes they send out. Taking a leaf out of their marketing book, here are some of the fresh brands who are getting SMS Marketing right to the T.

1. Comic Con Pune. Arts & Entertainment
This is just the second year and Comic Con is already making fans go crazy waiting for the next year to come. For ardent pop culture followers, comic con sure knows how to keep them hooked. Just a month before the event, Comic Con started sending out teaser texts telling their followers about various offers and about the event on the whole. Check out the texts below.

Screenshot_20170403-123352

2. Swiggy – Online Food Delivery
Swiggy has made life easy for all those of us who love food and just don’t have the time to cook or go to a restaurant. They have managed to capture their customers’ loyalty through their live SMS order tracking services and plenty of offers! Check out some below.

Screenshot_20170403-123431

3. Ferns and Petals – Gifts and Flowers
Popular gifting brand Ferns and Petals have taken live order tracking to a whole new level. Using well-crafted, personalised SMSes, FnP keeps you updated about the status of your order supported with the order link, and the customer service, incase of any loss.

Screenshot_20170403-123530

SMS Marketing is a valuable addition to Digital Marketing for brands. While popular brands have added it on to their promotion bandwagon, for rising brands SMS serves as a fast outreach channel.

Cover image courtesy: https://www.fortytwo.com

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3 Startups That Are Helping India On Path Towards Healthcare SDGs

via 3 Startups That Are Helping India On Path Towards Healthcare SDGs

Setting up the Millennium Development Goals was the first step taken towards creating a better world, a better environment and a better life. But, over the time Millennium Development Goals turned out to be myopic and did not address the problem, holistically. For development in Healthcare, many other allied issues had to be address and a vertical, compartmentalised approach wasn’t enough. That is when SDGs came into the picture.

SDGs or Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in September 2015 at the United Nations Summit. While India has made significant progress in its state of Healthcare, we are still miles away from reaching an ‘acceptable point’ in terms of the quality of healthcare and its distribution at the ground level.

There were 17 Sustainable Development Goals that were adopted, of which Goal #3 zeroes in on the current state of healthcare. It states –

Ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.

Detailed listing of Goal #3 – Global

SDG-GOAL-03

 

India’s Healthcare SDGs

 

Where Do We Lack?

 

The sheer size and scale of the country points means that the success of the global goals, to a large extent, depends on progress made in India. But, there are certain glaring lacunae in the current healthcare system in India, that need to be addressed on priority to achieve the SDGs.

Read more.

Unlocking Creativity

 

creative-confidence-equation
Source: Taraleaver.com

 

I am currently facing the usual writers’ block. As most of us do, I started asking myself whether I can really write, or produce something so good that my readers would come flooding to my blog. It is still a dream. So while I was here staring blankly at my screen, making out the letters on my keypad, tossing up ideas in my mind, I decided to read something. And not my usual sci-fi, fiction or fantasy! I laid my hands on Creative Confidence, by Tom Kelly and David Kelly.

I consider this blog as homework after reading the first chapter.

How do you define creativity?

Most of us don’t. We just associate it with anything arty, like design, painting, decorating, handicrafts etc. As I did, we all need to get one thing straight. Each one of us is creative. And being creative is not being artful. Creativity is not restricted to the realms of art and craft. It seeps deeper than that. It is a state of mind, a way of thinking that shows up depending on our surroundings, our activities and what situation we are in. Circulating money in stock market and making a profit out of it is creativity in itself. Not everyone can do that. Creativity is an extension of one’s imagination. The power and the ability to do something, differently.

Creativity is a hereditary trait. Hell No!

There is no gene defined for creativity that you inherit from your forefathers. Einstein’s father wasn’t a stalwart of relativity. While we were kids, we did not just grow up crunching numbers or analyzing reports. Most of the complex things start simple.  We scribbled, babbled, made vague noises testing our vocal chords. Intelligence is a creative state of mind. Many of us raise our hands up and say, “Oh no, I am not creative at all!” Many others cringe to accept that they have a creative side to them. Today, the number one quality required in most c-level positions is creativity. Ability to think and act out of the box.

How to develop Creativity?

There is no crash course defined to develop creativity. It is either you want to be creative or you don’t want to be. Unrestricted, boundless ideas flowing through your mind and a free approach to ideas around you, is the first step towards unleashing your creative aura. Get out of your comfort zone, try something that you have never tried before, learn a new skill, do something freehand or as they say, let your “chi” flow freely :D.

It is all in your mind. Research point to the fact that we humans use only about 10% of our brain (yes, I watched Lucy). So why are we wasting the remaining 90%? Is there a biological or global restriction on using the remaining 90? No.

Entrepreneurs are creative. Period.

They think differently and they dare to act upon it. We live in an age of entrepreneurship where a modestly skilled – not educated- but skilled individual devices a solution to the most common problems that we face. Organizations are moving out of the corporate bureaucracy to motivate their employees to think creatively and harness it to design amazing products and solutions.

So, next time you enter your mind palace, remember that you are creative. It’s just a matter of bringing it into action.

10 Growth Hacking Tools to Increase Footfalls in your e-Commerce Store This Holiday Season

Writeratti

10 Growth Hacking Tools To Increase Footfalls on Your e-Commerce Store This Holiday Season

With Holiday Season just around the corner, merchants are geared up to welcome enthusiastic shoppers to cash in on the Holiday Season Sales. In Q4 2014, mobile devices represented 45 percent of the holiday season Web traffic, a 26 percent increase over the previous year.  It is predicted that this holiday, mobile traffic to most retailers will top 60 percent of their share. As smart devices made a boom just 3-4 years back, e-commerce businesses readjusted their strategies to be out there more and more at the tip of their shoppers’ fingers!

So, you have your store ready, your products are waiting to be grabbed. How do you get people to come over and notice you? Here are 10 handpicked tools to increase consumer footfalls in your e-commerce store this holiday season.

  1. Refer-a-friend

Developed by ShopSocially, Refer-a-friend allows merchants to convert their referral traffic by 3x. The Refer-a-Friend app

View original post 622 more words

Escaping into the Serenity of Sikkim

“It feels great to be back home right?”

I never said yes. Because I had just come back from a place that felt closer than home.

Sikkim, oh you small wonder!

Sikkim has breathed life into my stagnant self. It is amazing the effect that a place can have on you. The breathtaking Himalayas, the gentle locals, the tiny and close-knit city, the peaceful monasteries and ambient nature. One tends to turn into a poet upon visiting this place or even a monk ( I am actually weighing one of those options).

Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim
Skies at Rumtek, Sikkim. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I decided to make a travelogue about Sikkim, but that has to hold on for a bit. I first want to relish every single feeling that erupted in my mind upon arriving at this tiny eastern thumb of India. This place has etched something so deep in my heart, even the most delightful red velvet cake can’t counter that effect.

Most of the people around us are not even aware that Sikkim is a state and not a city. For those who have never explored the opportunity of a vacation at this place, here’s a real life experience straight from the horse’s mouth for you.

General Information

Map of Sikkim
Map of Sikkim

Sikkim is a small eastern state surrounded by 3 countries – Nepal, China and Bhutan and consisting of 4 zones, marked by 4 major cities –

  1. East Sikkim – Gangtok –State Capital
  2. West Sikkim- Geyzing
  3. South Sikkim – Namchi
  4. North Sikkim – Mangan

Temperature

Summer: Max 21 C and Min 13 C

Winter: Max 13 C and Min 5 C

Best time to visit: Sept-Oct (Summer) | March – April (Post winter)

Languages: Hindi, English, Nepali, Bhutia and Bengali (scarcely)

State Tree: Rhododendron niveum

Religion: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam

Culture

Sikkim as a whole package is a winning combination. The culture here is heavily influenced by Buddhism which is evident by the beautiful monasteries surrounding it, maroon clad cool monks sprinkled in the population and the general discipline and humility exuded by the locals here.

A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali
A Bhutanese devotee at Do-Drul Chorten Monastery, Deorali. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Let me ask you, what makes a place or a city perfect?

I say the sound balance in thought and conduct of each and every individual who lives there makes even the remotest place serene. Sikkim is one such rare beauty. The people, no matter what occupation, caste, creed or religion they belong to, live by the same principles as the others – modesty, cleanliness, discipline, humility and honesty. In-spite of the variety in background and occupation, everyone takes the onus to keep their surroundings clean. Even the public toilets are clean here! I have never heard of the concept of a clean public loo in India!

Social Life

In Sikkim, there is a complete absence of gender bias. I have crossed paths with more women police than men in Sikkim.

The laws are strict and people follow them. The most interesting and a healthy habit that makes these people so adorable is that they give equal importance to work and enjoyment. Their day starts at 6-7 AM and the streets are empty by 8 PM. Every evening from 1600 hrs onwards, the entire city of Gangtok is on MG Marg enjoying the picturesque view, the fountains, coffee and endless dishes of momos and rolls. Oh, I have had more momos in the 4 days I was there than in my entire lifetime! 😀

Evenings at MG Marg
Evenings at MG Marg. Picture Credits: Nidhi

Old, young, working class, children everyone spends time in the evening talking, taking a walk, meeting their friends or just doing pranayama on of the wooden benches.

What you won’t find here is eve-teasing, robbery, spitting or defecating in public, throwing trash on the streets and physical fights.

Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting
Streets painted with Buddha murals to avoid spitting

I miss my morning coffee at Baker’s café, at my favourite table overlooking the Kanchendzonga mountains and daffodil shrub growing on the rooftop below.

View of a cloud laden Kanchendzonga from Baker's Cafe, MG Marg, Sikkim
Kanchendzonga from Baker’s Cafe. Picture Credits: Nidhi

I miss this lovely city of Gangtok where Football is more revered than God and where, roads are connected by hidden staircases.

I miss this state of world biodiversity heritage where orchids line the streets and even the most deserted bus stop looks like a mural monument 🙂

I miss the prayer flags, the saintly cats…the ropeway, the bakhut clad elegant women scurrying to work, the Tata Max sumos cruising through winding roads and above all the fresh air.

Sikkim, here is my humble ode to you and your people. I am coming back soon.

Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level
Prayer Flags at Tsomgo Lake, 14000 ft above sea level. Picture Credits: Nidhi

All the pictures are clicked by me on my visit to Sikkim. Being original media, any form of plagiarism, editing or reusing of images and content without my prior permission will be treated as an infringement of copyright and bear legal consequences.

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