December 1st, 2016 by Jeet

cantonment railway station

Indian railways has announced dynamic pricing for some exclusive trains like Shatabdi express, Rajdhani express and Duronto express. Before proceeding any further let’s first understand what dynamic pricing is?

Dynamic pricing, also referred to as surge pricing, demand pricing, or time-based pricing is a pricing strategy in which businesses set flexible prices for products or service based on current market demands. Businesses are able to change prices based on algorithms that take into account competitor pricing, supply and demand, and other external factors in the market. Dynamic pricing is a common practice in several industries such as hospitality, travel, entertainment, retail, electricity, and public transport.

Source: Wikipedia

As per this system base fare will rise by 10% with every 10% of berth sold subject to a ceiling of 1.4-1.5 times, depending on ticket class. It also puts severe restrictions on how you will do the journey. Check the salient Features of Premium Special Train on Dynamic Pricing:

• Premium special train is being introduced from Railway with dynamic fare pricing.
• Dynamic fare stands for the fare component which may be increased with the subsequent bookings.
• Advance Reservation Period (ARP) of this train will be a maximum of 15 days.
• Agents will not be allowed to book tickets in these trains.
• Dynamic fare shall be charged for confirm as well as RAC passengers.
• Waitlist Ticket Booking is not allowed in this train.
• Upgradation option shall not be applicable in this train.
• Modification is not allowed.
• Only E-tickets will be permitted for booking.
• I-ticket Booking is not allowed in this train.
• E-ticket booking is allowed in General Quota only.
• Tatkal/ Ladies/Other Quota tickets cannot be booked in this train.
• No concession shall be applicable in this train.
• Identity card number of the prescribed proof of identity is required at the time of booking. At least
one passenger should travel with his/her ID card in original which was used at the time of booking.
• Vacant berths left at the time of charting will be offered for current booking at current booking
counters of train originating stations.
• Cancellation is not allowed. However, ticket can be cancelled only if the train is cancelled.
• Dynamic Fare along with Total fare will be displayed after filling Reservation form. Users must ensure
the Fare and Journey Details before proceeding for payment.

I experienced dynamic pricing first hand yesterday when I was trying to book a ticket for Yeshwantpur – Howrah duronto express. I did not find the name Duronto express in the list on IRCTC.co.in and I purchased the ticket on Yeshwantpur – Howrach AC express for AC 2 tier for Rs 1516. But the allocated berth was side upper, hence had to cancel it. The ticket was for a senior citizen. So if you must have a lower berth, select book only if one lower berth is allocated while booking your ticket. This way if lower berth is not available, your ticket will not be booked. Otherwise after booking you will have to cancel the ticket and in the process will also lose around Rs 250 on cancellation charge. The cancellation charge was increased to deter agents who bulk book and cancel. But it is also affecting genuine train travellers like me.

Then again booked on Yeshwantpur – Howrah AC express for AC 3 tier for Rs 1066. I had to cancel this ticket as well for change of date. Finally when I was trying to book ticket with the changed date, I found Yeshwantpur – Howrah Duronto express on the list this time. I prefer Duronto express for better service and less travel time ( 29 hrs). The amount flashed on the screen looked unbelieveable at first. Yes it was Rs 1965. Yes Rs 449 more than the AC 2 tier ticket I purchased earlier and Rs 899 for than the AC 3 tier ticket I purchased earlier. This is when 71 tickets on AC 3 tier was still available and the journey date is almost couple of months away. I take Indian Railway’s idea of dynamic pricing but should not that be fair? I also get that Duranto express runs better but does it provide a premium service to command that price. Note that the prices are for a senior citizen. The actual price for AC 3 tier I found on Duronto was Rs 3310. For that price I would prefer to look for a flight which will drastically reduce my travel time. For a AC 2 tier on Duronto, people would prefer a flight for that price. The less the pricing gap between AC berths on trains and flight, there would be more converts from train to flight. There should be fair pricing. If premium service is provided, then they can charge for it. They can use dynamic pricing on current premium trains but there should be a fair and decent cap on it.

November 27th, 2016 by admin

Gangarama Temple

Gangarama temple is a center of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist culture and learning. Located at the center of Sri Lanka’s capital city Colombo, it is also popular with youth. Sundays see more visitors but you will get to see a more vibrant atmosphere there. If you would like to see the rituals visit in the morning but visit in the evening as well if you can as the lighting in the evening makes it ecstatic. I suggest you to plan your visit in the late afternoon that you can see Gangarama temple in both daylight and under night sky.

Timings: 5.30 AM to 10 PM
Museum ticket fees: Rs 100

Address: Gangaramaya, 61, Sri Jinarathana Road,Colombo 2, Sri Lanka
Website: http://gangaramaya.com/

Gangarama Temple

We reached there in the morning. After entering the temple premises saw two best of the vintage cars from the brand of Mercedes and Rolls Royce. Then we went to the museum which possesses a treasure trove collection of artifacts, historical timelines, currency collection from various periods, various Buddha idols, postage collection etc. Leaving the museum, we saw a white pagoda where people pray to Lord Buddha. Sri Lankan temples resembles a lot with south Indian temples in architecture and style. They light a lot of clay lamps and incense sticks. It makes for an awesome view. Here you can find Sri Lankan women with their beautiful saree paying homeage. Sri lankan saree wearing style is little different than India’s. The Bodhi tree is a sacred place and people offer their prayer. Ashok chakra which is the national emblem of India can also be seen there. Emperor Ashoka was a great proponent of Buddhism and helped spread it both within and outside India. I found people walking around the Bodhi tree with small pots of water and then emptying them on the feet of Lord Buddha.

Gangarama Temple

Gangarama Temple

There is also an idol of Lord Buddha inside the Beira lake on an artificial elevated platform. A wooden bridge leads to this place and on the way we found a sleeping Buddha. Once inside, we found few small idols of Buddha with a bigger one in the background. Two huge elephant tusks adorn them from both sides. There were few other statues of Buddha on both sides. On three sides of this place, metal statues of Buddha were placed in various ashana positions. One of the room had an inscription – Treasury of Truth but entry to that room was closed. The lake offers boating on swan like boats. There is also a cantilever bridge which allows people to walk from one side of the lake to an island. This section is very popular with youth and can be coined a lover’s spot.

There were some swans, wild ducks who swam and walked freely around the lake. It also has few variety of birds. Since Gangarama temple is located at the heart of the city and close to the central business district, one can see high rise buildings in the background like the Hyatt hotel, world trade center etc. Visit there with time in hand so that you can pray in peace, learn about new culture, enjoy some great views and stroll around in pleasure.

Gangarama Temple

November 22nd, 2016 by admin

With Bangalore’s dwindling green cover the wildlife in Bangalore is also receding. But in the heart of the city, our lane is pretty endowed with various wildlife. The lane do not have a single big tree. Though there are balcony gardens. I see a group of pigeons who have made this lane their home. I also see squirrels who have become permanent residents of this lane. The sparrow which has become a rare sight in Bangalore can be seen here pretty often. Crows visits frequently. I think they are also encouraged by the friendly nature of the human residents of the lane. I know of two family including ours who keep water and grains for these cute neighbours. I have seen even cats visiting to have water.

Few dogs also enjoy the benevolence of this lane. I know of people who provides them food everyday. In the process these dogs also became guards of this lane. Evolution process says – To adapt is to thrive. I take heart when I see these cute neighbours adapting to the concrete jungle. Simply saying they are writing their own survival story.

November 21st, 2016 by Jeet

hammered-entrance

Hammered is located off Cunningham road. This was a posh area even during the old days and has a classic aura and still an awesome area. Hammered is a lounge / Pub / restaurant. I had read about it opening on Bangalore Mirror but never visited before. Last week this place was selected for a farewell party for one our colleague. It is located on the same place where F-bar was located before. F-bar closed down recently.

Address:

No.18, Ali Asker Road, Off Next to Dolci Desserts,, Cunningham Rd,
Vasanth Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560051
Phone: 080 4121 7527
Time: 11 AM to 1 AM

Our party was scheduled on a Sunday evening between 7 PM to 10 PM. The demonetization drive had already started and I was low on cash. My options were either to go there on a two wheeler or book a Ola cab using Ola money. I went for Ola cab and I was using Ola Money for the first time. I had recharged Ola Money wallet for Rs 599 and received 20% cashback using a coupon. After reaching Cunningham road I was looking on Ola app to find some option which will allow me to make the payment through Ola Money wallet. I was surprised when told by the driver that payment is done. Wow! Automatic payment.

At Hammered a long corridor led me to the reception desk. The first look itself gave an impression of a spacious, air filled restaurant with a colonial aura. The ground floor looked secluded and can be used by families or people looking for a relatively peaceful environment. A open staircase leads to the first floor.

hammered

hammered2

Here one section is the open rooftop and other is the glass boxed which contains the bar desk. Normally happening restaurants in Bangalore are little cramped. Hammered is refreshing. Lighting is aesthetically done and not hard hitting. Now let’s discuss food. We go to restaurants for food, is not it?

First I went for BIRA white beer, the new handcrafted beer as claimed by the manufacturer. It brings you a little of microbrewery on the table. Then switched to my all time favourite Corona. My colleagues went for various cocktails and mocktails. They have good variety of them. We were taken good care by chef Ahmed Sheriff and he personally advised on the food. Chicken tikka, potato wedges, honey chilly potato, kebab platter were for starters. In main course, I tried prawn volcano which is crispy prawn cooked with dark wine oyster sauce. Went for some breads (kulcha) with chicken makhani. However, the chicken sukka was not upto the mark.

In deserts I tried the awesome roasted almond ganache tart (It is roasted almond ganache made from different sponge and rich chocolate ganache inside of roasted almond and served with vanilla ice cream.), Blue berry panna cotta (It is Bavarian cream layer of passion fruit, served with white chocolate flakes.).

It normally offers north Indian, Thai, Japanese and continental food. Hammered also feature live bands, live sport screens and hookah. Some of my colleagues tried mango flavoured hookah. A visit there might typically cost around Rs 1200 for two. It can service around 650 people at a time.

Spent there over 3 hours and it was very satisfying. I could not find their website but more info can be found about Hammered on Zomato.

hammered-outline

hammered-bar-desk

November 13th, 2016 by Jeet

Sunday or Monday are probably the only day where I am privileged to inhale the early morning fresh air. Today morning from my balcony I say a squirrel on the opposite house balcony moving around freely and having something with interesting poses. After watching it for a while, I decided to shoot it! (well, with the camera). By the time I came back with the camera, the squirrel was no longer there. However, decided to shoot a few neighbourhood scene anyway.

Yellow Rose

flower

flower-closeup

pegion

neighbourhood-pegion

November 12th, 2016 by Jeet

runnr,food ordering platform

Recently the Indian government ordered the demonetization of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes. By 10th night I was out of cash. Searched all the ATMs around but only encountered NO CASH scenario. So out of no choice I thought of trying online food ordering apps. I download the Runnr app from Google Play. Using the app seems to be pretty simple. You would need to sign-up using your name, email address and phone number. Following this you will receive a verification email in the provided email address. You should also be able to verify using a call / OTP option from the app.

Now you will be directed to the restaurants or food outlets screen. Here you can select a restaurant from the Top Picks or recommended section or scroll down to look through a large list. Also, if you know the restaurant name, you can use the search box to lookup directly.

runnr,restaurant,online food ordering platform

I selected Danny Lamba’s Punjabi Dhaba located at BDA complex, Indiranagar. The time quoted was 30 mins and I was fine with that. Delivery is free for order value of over Rs 200. Rs 20 will be charged for order of less than Rs 200. It is simple to make payment. They have four options:

  1. Card
  2. Cash
  3. Net Banking
  4. Wallet (my wallet powered by Citrus, Paytm, Mobikwik and FreeCharge)

Looks like they save your card details after the transaction for future ease of use. If you are not comfortable, you can delete your card details from their server. Besides the card number, click on settings on the right hand side and click on Delete. Soon I received an email on the order confirmation which included the order ID and delivery time. Few minutes later received a SMS stating the restaurant has started preparing your order and a runnr will be assigned shortly. I was also delighted to find that it is possible to live track the delivery person. Also, it is possible to call the delivery person directly from the app. Then again received a SMS stating a delivery person (name and phone number given) has picked up the order and you will be receiving it soon.

runnr,online food ordering platform

At 1.05 PM the delivery person landed at my lane and handed over the order. On my first order, they were able to meet the delivery time they quoted. I think Runnr is not associated with the packaging of the food, they just deliver. Today afternoon again I ordered from the same restaurant but they took 1 hour to deliver against their quoted time of 30 mins. I received a call from them stating one of the item I ordered is not available and offered to replace with another item. That is ok. However, I think Danny Lamba’s Punjabi Dhaba should have intimated me earlier once they have received the order. On the website I see there is a merchant login option, so I think the restaurants get intimated when the order is placed. If it does not work this way then Runnr should make some way to intimate the restaurants about the order the moment it is placed. I was told by the delivery person that one item was not available and he had callback for this. The app allows you to rate your experience on the order and I did justice to it.

Overall, I am happy with the service. Online food ordering platform like Runnr opens new roads of revenue for restaurants and convenience for users. It is because of them I am able to have lunch for the last two days sitting right in the convenience of my home. This kind of services will go a long way to take our country to a cashless society. Roadrunnr acquired TinyOwl and rebranded as Runnr.

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