Super Innovative Startups 2015

Super Innovative Startups That Could Change Your Life

There are loads of lists on the internet about the hottest/coolest/sexiest startups in the world today. As someone who’s been watching this space for a few years now, I’ve been specifically fascinated by startups that are high on innovation and look to fix or address a genuine, everyday problem. That, is the inspiration behind my list below; startups that made me go wow either thanks to the problem they’re solving or how they’re using technology to shake up an existing industry.

  1. Duflduflfeature1As someone who spends a lot of time traveling and therefore, packing and repacking and packing again, Dufl is a dream. You’ve got to check out their story as reported here on TechCrunch. Forget the pain of picking clothes, packing suitcases and parading through airports looking like Uncle Scrooge. It’s quite simple – sign up for the service, Dufl sends you a suitcase that you pack with your usual travel clothes. Once you are ready, your case is picked up by FedEx and transported to the nearest Dufl hub. Your clothes are then catalogued and made available for viewing and selection through the Dufl app. Whenever traveling next, just ‘pick’ out the clothes you want on the app and Dufl will ensure the bag reaches your hotel or address, before you touchdown! Once done with your visit, just schedule a pick up and Dufl will pick up the bag and take it back to their hub and have it washed, pressed and ready for use – boom! Within months of launch, it’s great to see Dufl now have a presence across the US & Japan!

    For their full story, visit www.dufl.com

     

  2. LechallechalGoogle maps navigation achieved through haptic feedback in footwear – the story of dreams! 2 things that have me really excited about this product – fantastic design, I’d love to be seen wearing those shoes; and Made in India – so proud!To see how this startup is making quick progress, visit www.lechal.com
  3. LummalummaA genuine problem that, if solved, can help thousands of people globally survive the pain of wrong medication and on  an everyday level, just make lives easier!www.getlumma.com has a detailed description of where the team has progress.

     

  4. Carvanacarvana

    Not as young or revolutionary as the 3 listed before it, Carvana is definitely poised to shake up how people (in the US) buy and sell used cars. Carvana lets people buy high quality used cars, sight unseen, through a very interactive, highly transparent and immersive experience on their website. On visiting the gallery of cars on Carvana, one of the first things that strikes you is the quality of the photography. Every car is available for viewing in 360 degrees, inside and outside. Any knicks or scratches are left for potential buyers to beware of and are even highlighted as hot-spots to avoid any surprises later. Established in 2013 out of their HQ in Phoenix, AZ, Carvana has operations and distribution facilities in Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Charlotte, N.C., and Birmingham, Alabama and hopes to close 2015 with $120 million in revenue, up from $45 million the previous year. The latest buzz around the venture capital markets is that Carvana is looking to raise $300 million.One of the coolest features of the Carvana process that I feel isn’t spoken about enough is the way cars are photographed and catalogued. I’ll let this part of their corporate video do the talking.

    Visit carvana.com to buy your next car!

2015 Bollywood Upcoming Releases – Shaandaar, Dilwale and more

If you thought the first nine months of the year gave you varied entertainment, expect a masala filled journey to the close of 2015!

Calendar Girls

September 26th, 2015

Madhur Bhandarkar, who gave us nearly a movie a year from 2003 till 2012, is making a comeback to the silver screen after a 3-year hiatus with Calendar Girls. The movie makes no bones about its theme as declared in its title – the life of the Kingfisher Calendar girls. Bhandarkar, who has, off-late, based his movies on taking his audience ‘behind-the-scenes’ of glamorous professions promises a lot with Calendar Girl. I’m quite keen to watch it but don’t expect it to rock the box office.

Jazbaa

October 9th, 2015

It’s been 5 years since we saw Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on screen, romancing Hrithik Roshan in the box office dud, Guzaarish. She makes her comeback in a feisty role as a lawyer who’s been wronged in her personal life. It’s also the return of Sanjay Gupta and White Feather Films after the acclaimed 2013 release, Shootout at Wadala. While most leading ladies prefer to make a glamorous return to the screen, we’ll have to wait and see how Ash’s return plays out.

Shaandaar

October 22nd, 2015

It has all the trappings of being amongst the year’s funnest movies. Featuring the current ‘it’ actors, Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, the movie has Shahid playing a techie Event Planner specializing in destination weddings and how he meets his match at one such destination wedding. The movie is being co-produced by Fox Star, Dharma Productions and Phantom Films. Safe to say, where there’s Alia bitiya, Karan Johar’s hand isn’t far away. Am eagerly awaiting this film and almost certain, this will be a top 5 grosser for 2015.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

November 11th, 2015

The banner that gave us Salman Khan returns with their favourite star in the leading role in Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. Starring Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor.

(Trailer not yet available)

Tamasha

November 27th, 2015

 

The sizzling chemistry of Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone combine once again after setting the box office on fire the last time with Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. The first-look poster that released a few days ago, has an interesting setting of the couple with various deities and iconic romantic scenes from yesteryear’s classics in the background(??). The tagline reads “Why always the same story”, rousing quite a few conspiracy theories around the movies storyline.

Update: The trailer just came out today. It’s impossible to not feel as if Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was transposed to gorgeous Corsica (where the first half is shot) and Instagram inspired colours slapped on to the post work! The twist in the trailer itself is quite intriguing and reveals little. Let’s wait and can’t wait to watch.

 

Bajirao Mastani

December 18th, 2015

Bajirao-Mastani

 

 

 

 

 

Going head-to-head with SRK’s Dilwale will be none less than Sanjay Leela Bhansali as he unleashes a period classic, Bajirao Mastani, featuring his (now) favourite casting of Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. To add additional tadka to the already hot-as-hell on and off screen pair is Priyanka Chopra who interestingly, featured in a cameo item number in the last film made by Bhansali, featuring the same lead star couple, Ram Leela. The first-looks and especially Ranveer’s multiple avatars in the film, look gorgeous and seem tailor-made for large-screen viewing.

(Trailer not yet available)

 

Dilwale

December 18th, 2015

dilwale-first look

 

 

 

 

 

 

And just when you were wondering how an entire Bollywood year went by without an SRK film, here he comes to round up what should have been a rather fulfilling year for Bombay. Back in action (pun intended) with Rohit Shetty, SRK is back to romancing his favourite on-screen star, Kajol. Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon play the second lead in the film. Shot largely in Bulgaria, the movie promises larger than life action with Shetty’s trademark style of humour, as characterised by his Golmaal franchise and more recently, Chennai Express.

(Trailer not yet available)

 

Which movie are you looking forward to the most?
Best Bollywood Movies 2015

Best Hindi / Bollywood movies of 2015

 

It’s been a strange sort of a year for Bollywood. Where I say strange, I actually mean refreshing. We’ve seen a very mixed breed of Hindi movies taking to screens and a new breed of leading men who are slighting the hold of the mighty Khans on the Box Office. We’ve also seen the oft-used formula of the Big-Fat-Indian Wedding wane away in 2015.

Now I’m no movie expert or critic. In fact, I’ve been accused of being too easy-to-please when it came to films, in general. However, I felt this current crop of films deserved a mention and to be discovered by people who are playing catch up with tinsel town’s releases this year. Here’s my compilation, sorted in order of release (earliest to most recent), of the best Hindi or Bollywood movies of 2015, till September 18, 2015.

Baby (Available on iTunes)

baby-movie-poster

Shamitabh

Image Courtesy: IBTimes.co.in

(Image courtesy: IBTimes.co.in)

Badlapur

(Image courtesy: Filmy Keeda)

Dum Laga Ke Haisha (Available on iTunes)

dlkh1

NH10

NH10-poster-780

Detective Byomkesh Bakshi (Available on iTunes)

Detective_Byomkesh_Bakshi_poster

Margarita, with a straw

(Image courtesy: Wikimedia Foundation)

Tanu Weds Manu Returns

tanu-fullsize-story_032315071941

 

Dil Dhadakne Do

dildhadaknedo12

 

Baahubali

Bahubali-The-Beginning-First-Teaser-Poster

Bajrangi Bhaijaan

bajrangi-bhaijaan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, none of the above movies are on Netflix yet. So for now, you’ll either have to make do with watching it on TV channels if you are in India, or on iTunes.

If you've watched these movies, which one was your 
favourite? Leave me a comment below.

Saudi Arabian Airlines: A set of surprises

The below is a long and detailed post on Manika and my experience with Saudi Arabian Airlines, flying to the US West Coast from India and back. If you don’t want to read through the entire story, here’s a quick summary and highlight of the airline that suddenly everyone flying to the US wants to know about.

Love:

  • Fares – at least 20% cheaper than the other biggies and flying via Jeddah/Riyadh to New York, Washington, D.C. & Los Angeles.
    (Comparison further down in the article)
  • Seat comfort – best economy class seat when compared against Emirates, Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Lufthansa, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, Jet Airways and any of the American carriers, in my opinion.
  • Large toilets – while the average toilet on their ultra long-haul Boeing 777-300ERs is larger than that of other carriers, two of the six economy class lavatories were extra large sized and a dream to use.
  • Food – as expected with all of the Middle-Eastern carriers, food on Saudi was good.
  • Responsible staff – we were faced with a bit of a jolt (described below) which could’ve gone very sour if not for the ground staff who dealt with it calmly, surely and in a very organized manner. Very re-assuring.
  • On-time – flights left and arrived bang on time.

Loathe:

  • Transit airports – Jeddah and Riyadh aren’t exactly what you’d call world-class airports, with very limited dining, entertainment and rest options.
  • On-board staff – like most Middle-Eastern carriers, the staff were cold though not rude like some other airline staff.
  • Dress code – Yes! You cannot just hop onto the plane wearing whatever you want. Neither men nor women can travel in shorts and women have to wear something that covers their upper bodies upto the neck.
  • No Alcohol – not exactly a loathe for me but I can imagine a lot of international travellers who’d be quite annoyed at the prospect of not being able to “pass out” on an international flight after a quick night cap. What’s worse, you cannot carry any spirits as a part of your checked-in baggage either.
  • Call Center – I was on calls with their US office quite often towards the end of my trip and mostly dealt with inept staff who required incredible amounts of cajoling to understand what I was trying to say.

Verdict

Fly Saudia! I loved my experience. To read the full story, keep scrolling.


July 2015 was special for me. I got to take the entire month, 33 days to be precise, off from work and spent the time vacationing on the U.S. west coast and South-west Mexico, with Manika.

While I generally like to treat my family to comfortable travels vis-a-vis my fairly barebones brand of official travel, this was always meant to be a shopping trip. As a result, we chose to drive the best bargain possible on the air tickets so that we had more to splurge on ourselves.

We booked tickets late May, which was quite late for travel in July. Emirates and other popular airlines were quoting Rs. 85,000 / $1350 per head, round trip. However, Saudi Arabian Airlines was offering the same sector, Chennai to Los Angeles and back, for Rs. 58,000 or $920 a pop. This wasn’t entirely a surprise since, in 2014, my mom had flown Saudiaa (as its popularly referred to) to Los Angeles (LAX) and didn’t have too many complaints, save for the quality of the transit airport terminal in Jeddah. We decided to take it and I was to return on July 21st and Manika on July 31st.

As we neared our travel date, I started developing cold feet. I was wondering if it was a blunder booking a not-so-popular airline for what was essentially a 33-hour journey, each way. With not many options on hand, I decided to bite the bullet and we headed to the airport on June 28th to board our flight.

Onward, Chennai to LAX, via Jeddah. Or not…

Upon reaching the airport, we discovered that the incoming flight from Jeddah was delayed by 6 hours and this meant we would miss our connection to LAX! The worst had started even before it had started! However, Saudiaa staff responded in a calm, swift and effective manner to start accommodating passengers with connections, on to other airlines. Most people were being put on Etihad and that definitely put a smile on my face. However, we were soon informed that the spare seats on Etihad had filled up and the next option would be Gulf Air! Shiver-me-timbers! I did NOT want to travel GF all the way to LAX. It had a notorious reputation for the worst airline toilets! Soon enough, Saudiaa staff approached us and directed us to the… Emirates counter!! Joy knew no bounds at this point, especially since I knew they flew the A380 on the Dubai-LAX route! Despite a longer layover, I was looking forward to this a lot now.

The Emirates flight was great and that’s all I will say for now since this post is about the Saudiaa experience and not Emirates.

Changing Dates

My next brush with Saudiaa was once I landed into the U.S. I decided I wanted to extend my return and go back with Manika on 31st instead of 21st. On checking with the airline office, we were informed that for some strange reason pertaining to the Emirates flight we flew into the U.S., a date change would now cost only Rs. 3000 or $45! I had been dreading what the actual cost might have been. Glee! Dates changed, now onto the holiday.

The Return Leg

After a great 30 days, I again started sweltering at the prospect of my impending 33-hour journey back to Chennai from Los Angeles. In fact, I was quite miserable and spent a long time exploring options ranging from upgrading to Business Class to reading up every possible review out there to get a sense of what the journey might be like. I hardly found any information online about the travel experience. Even the information on the mostly reliable SeatGuru.com was mostly sketchy. And thus this post.

We reached the airport about 2 hours before our flight time, braced for the worst. Our secret prayers that we get moved to another airline again, were not answered. The other major worry on my head was the amount of excess baggage we were carrying. Between us, we were permitted 23 kg x 2 per person, so 92 kgs  in total. Comfortable, right? Wrong! We had maxed out each bag by atleast 2 kgs and had 2 additional bags of ~23 kg each! (Yes, it had been that kinda trip that left Uncle Sam smiling)

The check-in line seemed short and we fell in line. While mentally rehearsing lines to try and get excess baggage on the 2 pieces waived or minimised, I felt a tug on my arm – a Saudi staff. What I heard next absolutely shocked me. He told me that I could not travel on Saudi Arabian Airlines wearing shorts and that I would have to change into trousers or anything full length. Flabbergasted, I had to rummage through each of the 6 bags to find the one, sole, singular linen trouser that I had carried on this trip. Thank God for that!

Now if you’re thinking of this as ludicrous, there’s more. One one of the many websites I had scoured reading reviews, I learnt that Saudia didn’t allow passengers to carry alcohol of any form, not even in checked-in baggage! So not only do they not serve alcohol, you cannot ferry any either! Go figure!

Having changed into trousers and won the baggage battle (we only paid $60 for one additional bag), we moved towards security and towards our gate.

Once on board, we made our way past Business Class, my mind still racing if I could pull off some coup to secure an upgrade. As we wade across to our seats, I remember distinctly feeling the cabin to be very well cooled; not too cold, not too warm. As we sunk into 43K & L, we couldn’t help but notice the leg room and seat width. The leather seats were plush and the entertainment screen was LARGE (not as much as the A380 but large for a 777-300!). Saudi Arabian Airlines cabin Boeing 777-300 ER

The next 18 hours to Riyadh via Jeddah (fuelling stop) was the best international economy class airline experience I’ve ever encountered. Top notch food, great thermostat control, enjoyable array of entertainment content and on-time performance made the flight an absolute delight.

The airport in Jeddah as well as Riyadh makes the layover very painful and that’s where you dearly wished you were on Business Class. Uncomfortable seating, lack of too many dining options and very few outlets accepting credit cards made our stop at Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport rather laborious. We were told by an enthusiastic Indian employee that a fancy transit terminal was in the works and could be expected in the coming years.

The final leg to Chennai on-board Saudia’s A330 was just as we had expected. Mediocre – like all Middle Eastern carrier flights from/to Indian destinations. But even there, it was less mediocre than Qatar Air, Oman Air or Emirates on the same sector.

Final verdict

Go for it. At fares atleast 20% cheaper than the competition and manageable trade-offs, Saudi Arabian Airlines is a hidden gem – at least till their fares remain where they are.

Struggling with iPhone heating up, battery life and other problems after iOS 8?

So I guess it’s fairly clear that Apple have (again) messed up the public release of the ‘biggest update’ to the “world’s most advance mobile operating system”.

Users across the Internet have been complaining of plunging battery life, phones heating up, performance lags and of course, the mammoth 5GB space requirement for the OS upgrade.

Having gone through the Wi-Fi upgrade route (from Settings –> General –> Software Update), I was encountering all of the above issues. The phone was getting so hot that I couldn’t hold it after 10 minutes of data usage. Calls were literally impossible since the phone would burn my face! Moreover, my Messages inbox became incredibly laggy and would keep hanging.

As is the norm these days, I took to Twitter to rant. And I am thankful I did. Cameron Clare (@camclare) seems to have figured out the solution to this problem and has drafted a decent article on the subject. Do read the story here.

However, while his route does seem to sort the issue of battery life out, I can’t say it does much for the phone heating up since I am finding it very hard to continue typing at this point! (Yes, I love the WordPress iOS app!)

Do you have a fix to the issue of the iPhone overheating after upgrading to iOS 8?

Aachi’s Charm in Chennai’s Choicest

Renovated in July 2013, The Raintree offers a quintessential South Indian dining experience set in a gorgeous location in the heart of Chennai. We were invited to try the ‘Aachi Samayal’ – a 2014 take on the age old style of cooking adopted by the maamis or homemakers of the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu in yesteryears.

While the traditional way of eating a South Indian meal is off a banana leaf, the Raintree team have improvised to place a neatly cut banana leaf on a piece of fine crockery which makes for easy eating for those not used to licking their fingers off the leaf. Expect to be pampered and spoilt over a grand four-course meal replete with the choicest Chettinad fare in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

Must order: The Jasmine Martini – a unique concoction which involves a jasmine infused sugar syrup fused with vodka to make for a stunning drink that tastes better than it sounds or reads!

Veg: Rs. 899
Non-Veg: Rs. 999

The Aachi Samayal is available for lunch. At those prices, you should definitely be planning your next Saturday lunch there.

The Raintree
Vivanta by Taj – Connamara
Binny Road
Chennai – 600002
Ph: 044-2852 0123

Modern take on a traditional cup of filter coffee

Modern take on a traditional cup of filter coffee

A finely cut banana leaf placed on a piece of modern crockery to match tradition with convenience

A finely cut banana leaf placed on a piece of modern crockery to match tradition with convenience

Pineapple Halwa (Dessert)

Pineapple Halwa (Dessert)

 

 

The Moment of Truth: Haptik

About 28-odd months ago was founded the idea of Haptik, when Aakrit and I met on the sidelines of Startup Weekend, Gurgaon in November 2011. I can safely admit that though the idea has turned completely on its head since, the passion the team has shared towards building a genuine remedy for the pathetic state of customer service today, has been unflinching. In Swapan, Aakrit found the perfect co-founder whose dedication towards clean, efficient code is very admirable.

Today, as we officially launch Haptik as an India-first service, we are excited, nervous, pleased, confident and proud of where we’ve come. We realise that the this is just the beginning and that while the idea has the potential to be, as Nikhil from Operations puts it, “the next big thing”, it’s up to us to ensure this potential converts to numbers that’ll make Aakrit Vaish and the rest of us happy.

Personally, the journey has been fulfilling. I’ve managed to stay fairly in control of all of the design you see in the iOS app (despite Aakrit’s best efforts at vandalism) and a lot of what’s in the Android app, besides everything on the website, Facebook page and the Twitter page. Swapan, I know I’ve been a pain in terms of alignment, colours, spacing, etc; but thanks for putting up with it all. I trust the fruit of the labour is the app in users’ hands from today! In the days to come, I am eager to learn from how our users react to the app and keep improvising to ensure a better customer experience.

I’ll leave you guys with this picture of my chair; which I got around 8 months back when Haptik’s development efforts started heating up.

The chair that designed Haptik!

The chair that designed Haptik!

Its survived many hours of design and onerous Skype calls and is in this condition as we standby to launch. Here’s to many more worn chairs and even more satisfied users of Haptik.

How to get Jet Privilege Customer Service to respond

Jet Privilege Customer Care

I have been a member of the Jet Privilege programme by Jet Airways for a while now. Starting off as a Blue member, working my way up to Blue Plus and then all the way upto Silver before settling at Blue Plus since I realized that FFP points didn’t count for much versus real money saved by flying no frills airlines. However, I got a credit card that was co-branded with the Jet Privilege programme so that I earned miles every time I spent on the credit card. As a result, I managed to build up a fairly comfortable buffer of points which I redeem every once in a while. The experience in doing so has been terrible.

The problem is literally a template. Book a ticket online using online redemption of miles. This part of the process is super easy and convenient. Though it is a redemption, there are usually taxes and charges which you pay online and you have your redemption ticket within minutes. However, God forbid you want to make any changes to your reservation, that’s when your nightmare starts. Modifications to online redemption tickets is not possible online. You are required to write in to the Jet Privilege support desk.

E-mails sent to Jet Privilege support receive an instant auto responder with a message that says you would hear back from their agents within “three working days”. So basically, no last minute modifications or changes, unless you have nerves of steel. On almost every occasion that I have tried to reach them in the last 8 months, I have never heard back from their agents. As travelers, we of course need to make alternate arrangements to our reservations and schedules which are dependent on our airline responding. However, Jet Airways doesn’t seem to agree. I have had nerve racking instances of waiting for them to respond, upto 24 hours before my departure date.

Those of you sniggering saying depending on e-mail for customer support in India is an effort in vain – well, this is 2014. I don’t see why I should call a number for elementary services such as the above. However, I still did call them recently. I even made Manika call them. And poor Manika, twice, waited for nearly 20 minutes on hold and finally ran out of patience on both occasions.

So to work my way around this, I have come up with a workaround that’s never failed me till date. Follow up the e-mail to jetprivilege@jetairways.com with a tweet to @jetairways – somehow, that always seems to light a fire somewhere in the Jet Airways office and things seem to move pretty quickly after that point. You will typically receive a call from a Mumbai landline number where the agent will be quite courteous and swift in resolving your case.

Hope this helps you in your adventure with Jet Privilege.

 

Hello. We are Haptik.

Haptik – Customer Service done the 2013 way. 

Read official release on our blog – http://blog.haptik.co/post/63727777754/hello-we-are-haptik

Just short of 23 months since the idea’s germination, the thought to let companies & customers ‘chat’ through a closed channel of communication vide a smartphone app

Haptik Logo - Hand device

Haptik Logo – Hand device

and for consumers to be able to access customer service in a smart, intelligent manner has finally taken birth.

Ably led by CEO Aakrit Vaish and supported and built by a guy who I’ve begun to admire for his unassuming awesomeness, Swapan Rajdev (CTO), I think this idea and now company is in the hands of wonderful people. I’ve shared a bit of the last 12 months of my life and a lot of the last 2 months working with these fantastic gentlemen in turning this idea into reality. Miten Sampat as a friend and adviser and Raveesh Bhalla as Lead Engineer & Interaction Designer have also been key to this idea shaping up with clear purpose while maintaining high levels of quality. I am part of this team as Design & Marketing Partner.

We announced the company to the world today, via a post on our official blog.

During the last fortnight, we’ve released an alpha version to select friends and family who’ve been kind enough to go through TestFlight’s painful sign up process and give us feedback on the app. Your efforts are much appreciated!

The next few months are exciting – with all the hard work and weeks of self analysis, criticism and second guessing out of the way, Haptik will go into Beta this month. We’ve opened up invites on our homepage and the response is encouraging. It also has Swapan going through sleepless nights in working to ensure the back-end works perfect when we release the app to all of you. A launch video is also in the pipeline sometime this month.

I’d once again encourage all of you to read our blog to better understand what Haptik is and then sign up for a chance at early access once we are in beta. If you like what you see, don’t forget to like our Facebook page and stay upto date with everything as it happens on our Twitter feed.

Petcialize – Everybody needs company

We hear of incredible ideas in today’s startup-crazy world – ideas that instantly spawn the investor minds into wanting to pull out the nearest napkin and evaluate the cash model and customer lifespan or coerce the working class superheroes into putting in their papers the very next day in the quest to start off on their own. Recently, one of my ex co-founders and very current best friends, Rohit came up to me with ‘news’ of this new idea he had chanced upon – Petworking. Hail Mary – my first, instant reaction. But if something as ludicrous as this had one percent chance of seeing the light of day, Rohit had the balls (and time!) to do it.

Today, with the support of Sandy’s Chocolate Laboratory and ItsPets.in, Petcialize (love the name!) saw it’s first event happen with attendance of over 20 pets and their ‘human’ owners.

For Manika and me, it was some much needed time with Ekda outside of home. We will be the first to admit that we represent a growing (perhaps majority) class of pet-owners who shower proxy love on their pets. We are there to take care of most of their needs in the form of providers but rarely there in the form of givers. Pets however, being the amazing beings they are, still manage to keep their loyalties clear and are able to distinguish between caretakers and masters.

Ekda attended her first petworking event organized by Petcialize - an event by Rohit Koliyot

Ekda attended her first petworking event organized by Petcialize – an event by Rohit Koliyot

The drive to Sandys Chocolate Laboratory in Ganapathy Colony (fabulous, lush green out-cum-in door outlet in Chennai’s Alwarpet locality) had Ekda all excited, head out of the window almost through the 20-minute drive. It was also a time for me to reflect and feel quite guilty about the proxy love that I had been meting out to her. While I was looking forward to the idea of the next couple of hours surrounded by pets & their owners, I was a little hesitant as to how it might actually pan out – given that I am a first time pet owner and definitely at my first ‘petworking’ event.

Walking into the venue, I was absolutely overcome by the pets in attendance. It did help that we knew some of the other pet owners present and that helped us and Ekda ease into the place. Welcoming all pets were treat bags graciously sponsored by ItsPets.in, partners for the event. Though meant to be an all-pets event, it was no surprise that 100% of the animals around were dogs. What was surprising though was that most of them were labradors and beagles! An Argentinian Mastiff and a gorgeous chocolate-coloured Setter added glam value to the event.

Casper at Petcialize

Casper with the Palam family at Petcialize petworking event

120 minutes passed by even before we knew it – we met new people, new pets and it was a fantastic new experience for us humans overall. Ekda, who is otherwise petrified of machines, humans as well as other dogs, came into a bit of her own about 60 minutes into the evening. Though she didn’t really petcialize much (that trophy undoubtedly belonged to Casper!), she did her own bit of exploring the venue, away from Manika and me – something we’d never have ever imagined.

The Beagle Company!

The Beagle Company!

I dearly wish this event happens every weekend. Due to constraints of space and resources to manage an event of this sorts, Petcialize obviously need to restrict entry to about 20 pets per event. But given the demand generated by the first event, I am sure they’ll easily fill up weekly dos such as this with a pet attending at least two events a month. I personally look forward to a beach house event where these fellows jump into a swimming pool and show off their survival instincts.

Rohit – I can only thank you for this. As you have acknowledged, the business future of Petcialize might seem daunting as of now, but trust me, you have the blessings of everyone who’s lives’ you helped reconnect with their pets today.

If you want to attend the events or be notified of goings on at Petcialize, please register with them here for free – http://goo.gl/gzZoqI

Love the idea? Share your support by liking their Facebook page.