A man who spreads happiness – that’s how I would describe Varun Todi, founder of Oye Happy. Who knew that an attempt to surprise your girlfriend can lead to a gigantic business like Oye Happy. One of the best gifting and experience platforms in India today, Oye Happy offers unique and quirky gifting ideas for everyone. Our curiosity led us to Varun who shared with us the journey of Oye Happy, offbeat stories and dreams for the future.
Everything seems fine but isn’t. You feel sad, anxious, stressed, uneasy, lost, and confused. Most of us have been there one or the other times. With the constant clatter and overload of information, there has been a steep rise in these emotions recently.
I have been there too and it is okay not to feel okay! Here are few quick tips that have helped me in dealing with stress and anxiety in my journey so far.
I just can’t describe the positive shift meditation has brought in my life. It helps in calming your mind and making you feel centered. To reap the benefits out of this magical practice, perseverance is the key. It might seem difficult initially to include a new element in your daily routine, but 5 minutes is all you need for starters. There are multiple guided/ unguided meditation sessions available on the internet today. Just pick the one you like, give it some time, and you would thank me later!
Yoga & Exercise
Certain chemicals in our brain are considered to be responsible for feel-good emotions. Extensive studies have proved that yoga and exercise uplifts your mood by increasing the level of feel-good chemicals like dopamine. No, need to sign up with a gym and pay a hefty amount. Many apps and online resources are providing free/ minimally-priced exercise and yoga services these days.
Connect with loved ones
Being socially active and connected with your loved ones helps in breaking the cycle of negative thoughts. Reaching out to your parents/ siblings/ friends/ anyone you love and sharing your emotions can provide you happiness and much-needed support. Sometimes we feel hesitant in sharing our feeling with the people we love as we do not want to burden them with our problems. But just remember your wellbeing is all they want.
Have you ever felt stormed with series of negative thoughts and segregating one thought from another is no less than solving a puzzle?
Take out your notebook/ mobile/ laptop and jot down your thoughts. Putting down your feeling helps in providing clarity about your thought process, provides the much-needed emotional release, and many times it helps in identifying the main problem. You may wish to write daily, once a week, create a detailed journal or just mention key bullet points, that’s your choice. How about trying this tip the next time you feel stressed?
Identify your stress busters
Certain activities act as stress busters for different people. Some people feel calmer after taking a shower, some after a cup of tea, listening to music, watching a feel-good movie. The list is never-ending and unique for everyone. Often this includes activities we love doing in general, like painting or cooking or dancing. All you need is a bit of trial and error to find the activities that uplift your mood and just go for it next time you feel low.
This tip was shared by one of my best friends. The moment you feel low, get up and start moving, maybe try a few dance moves, bris walking, or but just move. This breaks the chain of negative thoughts and gives you some time to relax.
I hope these tips and tricks help you in dealing with the day-to-day stress and anxiety and enlightens your mood. In case you feel overwhelmed with negative emotions, please reach out to a medical practitioner/therapist.
Here are some organizations in India, which are providing support to people dealing with stress, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Services: Emotional support for people going through stress, despair, suicidal thoughts and feelings (Free services)
A theatre actor, economics teacher, Isa Khan found solace in the beauty of nature, snow-clad mountains, and lush green valleys. His journey, which started from a small town in Uttar Pradesh is today mesmerizing us with beautiful travel content.
Our conversation with Isa was a bit different and special, as he inspires us to chase happiness rather than fit into conventional expectations, to be what we want to be, and yes, to enjoy our different yet beautiful journeys!
We hope this conversation uplifts your mood and brings a sweet smile to your face.
Indian Air Force & Mrs. India –Seems like two extreme worlds. One with the hardships to ensure the safety of the nation while the other reflecting the shimmer of the glamour world.
Shruti Chauhan has merged these two worlds with her hard work, determination, and desire to fulfill her dreams. A Wing Commander in the Indian Airforce, 16 years in the defense services, and 2nd runner-up of Mrs. India Inc World Beauty Pageant 2021, she believes in giving it your all. She is soon to represent India in Mrs. Galaxy Competition in Chicago, USA.
In our conversation with Shruti, we explored her journey, experiences, and dreams!
A soulful Sufi voice, poetry that takes you into the mystic world of Bulle Shah, and with a charming smile, Radhika Sood Nayak mesmerizes you. From working with corporate stalwarts like Hindustan Unilever and ANZ Grindlays Bank to spreading the sparkle of her talent in multiple music festivals like Mumbai Kabir Festival, Kala Ghoda – Make in India Festival, Malwa Kabir Yatra, Rajasthan Kabir Yatra, Radhika’s journey is an inspiring tale of chasing your dreams. Her music video AsāN is a melodious emblem of her love for Sufi music. Let us explore her journey in this podcast with Wired Tales.
A passionate traveler, budding entrepreneur, award-winning marketer, viral photographer, content creator, Riddhi Debh has done it all. This Kolkata-born travel lover is also a proud alumna of IIT Delhi, where she learned the nitty-gritty of Engineering Physics and XLRI Jamshedpur, where she explored the world of Business Management. Bitten by the offbeat travel keeda, she took the plunge and followed her heart, entering into the world of travel and photography.
In a sweet and short conversation with Riddhi, we explored her journey so far and her passion for travel & photography.
Hey Riddhi! A warm welcome to Wired Tales. You are a pretty well-known name in the travel photography community today. How did it all start?
I have been traveling since a kid. Lately, I used to share my travel photographs on Facebook, which were clicked with a mobile phone. At my wedding, I was gifted a DSLR camera by the sales team of my then organization as they were well aware of my love for traveling. That’s when my photography journey started. I had studied engineering physics, so I could understand camera, speed, aperture quickly. Also, I think I had an inherent sense of composition which I gradually bettered. For my honeymoon, I went to Kenya and took lots of photographs there. My husband suggested submitting them somewhere and I ended up submitting the pictures on the website of National Geographic and it was selected in the editor’s list. It was a picture of a leopard climbing a tree against the backdrop of the sunset. At first, I thought it was beginner’s luck, but then I decided to give photography try.
Being a new entrant into the world of photography, how did you hone your skills?
I had left my job at Cadbury and joined EY in Mumbai. There was a lot of work pressure and photography turned out to be a great way for me to have some balance in life. I started learning the art of photography, attending workshops, watching relevant videos on YouTube, and I made a habit to spend few hours every day learning about photography. Gradually the love for photography started. On weekends, I would take a train to some destination, go and shoot there, and it started getting better. I felt photography is such a great way to share stories. And it is my way of telling stories about my travel.
How did you manage your full-time job and the love for traveling and photography?
After working for EY in Mumbai, I shifted to Bangalore. I wanted to create something and typical corporate life was not interesting enough for me. I have the offbeat keeda in my life. I joined an early-stage start-up, Portea. Today it is India’s one of the biggest Home Healthcare companies. The founders were serial entrepreneurs. I joined them and was doing quite well in my job, and between 2014-2019 I was completely focused on it. The camera used to come out when I would go traveling. I used to finish all my vacation days. Traveling was my fuel and I couldn’t work without it. Everyone in my office knew this including the CEO, and thankfully she was ok with it.
How “Rids Goes Places”, your travel content channel on social media platforms was born?
By 2017-18, the start-up I was working for raised significant funds. I was a Vice President in the company then and a very young person too. When we raised the funds, the start-up became like a mid-size company and there was a sense of emptiness. I was bored and it didn’t seem very exciting anymore and I started spending more time on photography. I went to Chile, did a trek in Patagonia and the love for photography resurfaced. I took part in competitions, my photos got published. At that time, I was suggested to start sharing my travel pictures on Instagram instead of Facebook. Towards the end of 2018, I started putting my pictures on Instagram and some pictures of Chile got viral. Till then, I did not have an ambition of becoming a travel content creator. Then I started sharing pictures more often, brands reached out and gradually I started getting better at photography.
When did you take the plunge – left your job and became a full-time travel content creator?
I did not plan to quit my job at all. After working for 5 years with Portea, I thought of taking a 5-6 months break, travel the world, come back and join some company. That was the plan and it never happened. It has been 2 years now. I became busy, things started falling in place and I really love my liberty and freedom to work from anywhere now.
How challenging it was to let go of an established corporate career and pursue your love for travel and photography?
When you work for 7-8 years, you have good savings and you are financially sound. I went up the corporate ladder pretty fast. After I left the job at Portea, I was still consulting start-ups and doing other work. There was too much work and pressure as well. Your friends think you have gone mad. My parents were liberal, but my mother could not take it and suggested pursuing travel photography as a hobby. My husband was very supportive and that really helped. In the first year after leaving my job, I was very chill as I had good savings. I did not go to brands and magazines. Before COVID happened, I had already traveled to 7/8 countries in 12 months. I was happy traveling. I used to travel, come back home and again go exploring. My learning curve was really steep.
How COVID impacted your work?
I have started blogging since COVID happened . I started looking at working with travel companies and brands more seriously. Sitting at home, I was frustrated despite all the privileges we have. The business side of my brain started giving ideas on building new things and I started a company called Nanamuna, which is an interactive storytelling app. At the core, I am a storyteller.
Do you feel you have achieved your final goal?
I do not think I have cracked it completely yet. My mother yet today asks me what I earn compared to what I think I would be earning in my previous company. I can survive but, I am still not there. I am a very minimalistic person. I do not need too many clothes every day or am not looking to purchase my next big car. My requirements are quite simple. There is a lot of work and pressure. You need to have thick skin and realize that some people would not understand you and, you need to have lots of self-confidence.
Also, I want to be known as a photographer. I do not like the fact that there are not many female photographers. It is considered to be too complex for them and I want to break this thought process.
Any message you would like to give to all the travel lovers out there, who want to take the plunge and enter in the world of travel content creation.
You need to be a hustler, and nothing comes easy. Unlike salaried jobs where you have a salary at the end of every month, you have to chase your salary here. You will have to reach out to brands. Your ego quotient needs to be zero. So, three key pointers:
If you have to become an influencer, you need to understand personal branding.
Be ready for egoless hustling.
Work on your art.
Where is Riddhi going to head next?
I am going back to traveling within India in 2021. I have seen India when I was much younger. I have recently finished one month trip to North Bengal and Sikkim. “Dekho Apna Desh” is the plan for 2021.
Most of the women in India, though my belief is 100% of them, encounter these stereotypes regularly. As a kid, I was always curious, why parents did not want a girl child? In a country where we worship Goddesses, how could not you love their real-life avatars? I was enlightened gradually.
Since the birth of a girl child, the family’s sole responsibility is to protect her till the time she is hurriedly “handed over” to another family. Does not she seem like the debts we want to get rid of as soon as possible? Asking the right questions, we get beautiful responses, “ No, our society has progressed a lot, we are providing equal education, job opportunities to girls. But we do need to protect them”. But she does not get what she needs the most; freedom and control over her life. She can’t wear what she wants, go out alone, make crucial life decisions. If not family the society forbids her from being what she wants to be. It is a big responsibility, and of course the society doesn’t want to handle it.
Is it all gloomy and bleak? No, there is some light outside the long dark tunnel in the form of women who broke free! Beautiful ladies from different corners of India shattered the established norms, chose paths they desired, and fought all stereotypes. Would it have been an easy journey? No, but their commendable willpower has transformed them into inspirational icons for all of us.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, let’s meet five Indian superwomen who have carved their lives based on their dreams!
Avani Chaturvedi – In the limitless sky
इक उड़ान कब तलक यूँ कैद रहेगी
रोको ना छोड़ दो इसे..
Defense services have long been considered as a formidable area for women. “Women are not strong enough to fight battles.”, a summary of the numerous tantrums that prevent their entry into defense services. As the first Indian woman to fly a fighter jet & among the first three women fighter pilots of the country, Avani Chaturvedi has broken these myths. An ardent believer of “Never give up”, she chased her dreams to the ends of the sky.
Mehrun-Nisha Shaukat Ali – The female bouncer
There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.
Strength, Courage, Power – Common words describing masculinity and men.
Gentleness, Modesty, Emotional – Common words describing femininity and women.
This is a beautiful example of established societal norms for women’s characteristics. What if they do not abide by these categorizations? Mehrun-Nisha Shaukat Ali, the female bouncer at Hauz Khas Social, Delhi, is smashing these stereotypes with her determination. As a kid in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, she dreamt of joining the police but faced resistance even in continuing her education. Fate brought her to Delhi and, she decided to become a female bouncer. Fighting against family resistances and her career choice, her journey strengthens our willpower to fight against all odds.
Rajani Pandit – The female James Bond
The question is not who is going to let me; it is who is going to stop me.
The word detective portrays images of James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Bomkesh Bakshi. We have a new Indian Superwoman added to the list, Rajani Pandit. She is believed to be the first woman investigator in Maharashtra & India. The cute little girl from Mumbai, who loved reading spy & mystery novels, transitioned to a leading female detective of the country. A career that started with saving her classmate from wrong forces by providing her family timely heads up, helping her colleague while working as an office clerk, she has handled more than 80,000 cases with her team so far.
Neetu Sarkar – Wrestling against all odds
Where there is a woman, there is magic.
Neetu Sarkar is indeed a magical woman. She wanted to wrestle, but was sold off by her family at the age of 13 years to a 43-year-old man, she escaped. She was married again & became a mother of two sons at the age of 14. Financial crisis forced her to take up numerous jobs, but she returned to her first love – wrestling. Tiring efforts, fighting all odds, managing family, Neetu became a world-class champion wrestler and represented India in the World Junior Wrestling Championships in Brazil in 2017.
Nidhi Goyal – Superwoman for Women with disabilities
The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
Women with disabilities often have to face extreme discrimination, biases & even violence. With not much focus being laid on the difficulties faces by these women, a superwoman is all set to change their lives. Nidhi Goyal, a disability and gender rights activist advocates issues related to the health and rights of girls and women with disabilities. As a 15-year-old girl, who lost her right eyesight due to an eye disorder, she discovered the difficulties faced by these women. Her efforts gave birth to Rising Fame, a Mumbai-based NGO, and she was appointed as the UN Women Executive Director’s advisory group. A little surprise, this talented woman is also a stand-up comedian who talks about the stigma attached with disability.
The story of these women inspires us to break the societal chains & be what we want to be. To all the women reading this blog, never let anyone define your freedom and chase your dreams come what may.
I love traveling, I really do. But, when it comes to planning, searching for the best destinations, grabbing the perfect flights and hotel deals, ensuring I pack every essential item, picking the best restaurants and experiences is a herculean task. This is the story of most of us who are bogged down by the endless google searches to ensure our trips are best ever possible & yes, budget-friendly too.
If you share this characteristic with me, my friend, here are five relatively lesser known apps, which make planning & executing your dream trips quite easy. Let’s have a look!
Finding your perfect travel destination with – Lonely Planet
Choose dream destinations
A plethora of destinations to explore, which one to choose? If your trip plans get stuck in choosing the right destination, don’t worry my friend, Lonely Planet app is here to help you. Available in both website & mobile application, Lonely Planet provides you key destinations, attractions, things to do, travel guides, trip stories, videos & many more travel-related features for destinations across the globe. You can choose your dream destination & discover everything you want to know before planning the trip. It also provides the best deals for flights, hotels, tour packages. Did I mention, they have a cute little section of gift items for your travel freak soul!
Key Features: Top attractions, highlights, experiences, stays, restaurants for destinations across the globe, Travel Insurance for Nomads, Multi-day tours, tickets & activities, car rentals, travel guides, online travel shop
My friend Kavya was the trip planner of our group. Any trip wouldn’t have been possible without her clearly defined itineraries. Well, each of us has one such friend! But what about solo trips, business trips, family trips, or trips where you are the solely responsible for planning?
Don’t get scared we won’t leave you hanging to perform endless searches. Let me introduce you to your best travel planner, TripIt.
It helps you create itineraries for every trip including flights, accommodations, activities to do, maps, restaurants, adding trip-related PDFs, photos, syncing plans with your device calendar, etc. You can jot down every detail of your trip and, TripIt will ensure you don’t miss anything with regular notifications and nudges. The pro version keeps you updated about destination-wise travel updates, track the availability of the flight seats you desired, airfare tracker, check-in reminder, time to leave for the airport based on flight status, maps, and many more.
Key Features: Inner Circle (Share your trip plans with loved ones), TripIt Team (For planning trips with teams), Trip itineraries planning, Alerts & notifications based on the trip plan, Airport navigation & support
Grab best flight, hotel & car rental deals with – Skyscanner
Get the best deals
Getting the best deals for flights, hotels, and car rentals in your trip destination requires endless searches. Some sites provide you flight details, others hotel options, and a few car rental features. But is there a way to minimize the efforts and get it all at a one-stop solution?
Everything is possible in the world of travel and, here comes the superhero to resolve all your problems with a boom, Skyscanner. This app is your go-to for best stays, airfare, and car rental deals across the world.
Key Features: Best flight & hotel deals, Car hires
Explore cultures, make new friends, enjoy free stays – Couchsurfing
Experience homely stays
Do you know you can stay for free in destinations across the world? I didn’t believe it when I read it for the first time.
Pinch yourself hard! Couchsurfing provides you stay options with lovely hosts across the world. You can expand your pool of friends across the globe, discover local culture, get the best travel advice from your hosts and join events anywhere and everywhere.
Key Features: Free stays, local events, travel buddies
Pricing Plan: Free, Optional one-time fee for getting “Verified”
I prefer to create a checklist based on numerous google searches about the weather conditions, things I plan to do. However, after reaching the destination, I always discover something is missing. Have you experienced such situations during your trips & felt stuck in deciding what to pack and what to leave? You need one and only, PackPoint app.
This mobile app provides a local weather forecast for your trip destination and a list of essentials to pack based on your trip duration, trip type, and activities you choose. You can also add a custom activity or item and, voila, have the best trip ever, without a miss.
Key Features: Packing plan for trips, Activity-based item lists, TripIt & Evernote integration with Premium version, customized packing templates
The beat of drums synced with Bollywood songs, families & friends dancing joyfully, the aroma of delicious cuisine, glitter & shimmer in every corner; Marriage is a grand affair in India. Two hearts taking vows to be soulmates are often lost in the proceedings of the ceremony. With less time to explore the counterpart, honeymoon comes as the time to take small steps towards building a lasting bond.
The next important question is, what should be your honeymoon destination? Lost in the snow, closer to nature, extravagant parties, greenery all around, depth of the ocean, heights of the mountains, different couples desire different honeymoon escapes. Well, here are 14 beautiful honeymoon destinations in India which cater to all of your dreams!
Birthdays, anniversaries, or the upcoming day of love, Valentine’s day, these celebrations are incomplete without our friend X. Do you remember how X had made your day coming as a sweet surprise from your best friend on your last birthday? How X had burst a bubble of butterflies in your stomach when it came from your sweetheart on last Valentine’s day? How X brought a smile to your parents’ faces when it came from your first salary?
The purpose of our friend X’s life is to bring happiness to everyone. It is none other than “GIFTS”. They are available in a wide variety and prices on many online gifting stores. Choosing the right gift from the right store to bring joy to your loved ones without any glitches or twitches is a big task.
Here are the five best online gifting stores in India, which have something to offer in every budget option.
Ferns N Petals
Ferns & Petals has been my go-to gifting site for years. Every birthday is incomplete in my home without a Ferns & Petals cake. From cakes, flowers, personalized items, digital gifts, art & crafts, books to unique gifting options classified based on your target person & occasion, this store has it all.
Unique Gifts & Features: Live Guitarist, The Man Company (Section with gifting options for Men), GIFT Mall (Section with a wide range of gifting options from electronics, apparels, quirky, grooming, edibles to fun items), Musicians on Call, Corporate Gifts, Personalized Gadgets
Price Range: INR 60 – INR 3 lakhs
Shipping Options: Worldwide
Shipping Period: Same-day delivery option available
Oye Happy is a store with unique gifting options. The gifts are classified based on relationship, occasion & type. With items for Long-distance relationships, travel lovers, courtship period, colleagues & just like that, this store comes as a sweet surprise. They have Social Cause as a unique gifting option with gifts bringing joy to people in need.
Unique Gifts & Features: Name a star, Secret santa gifts, Adopt a parent, Sponsor a dream, Gift a smile, Radio show, Personalized gifts
Price Range: INR 149 – INR 9000
Shipping Options: Across India
Shipping Period: Next-Day delivery option available
Bigsmall rightly justifies its name with gifts ranging from Lionel Messi label pins to backpacks. From Magnetic heng balance lamp, Baby bat bobblehead, Multicoloured LED lamps, Beard catcher, Mechanoid puzzle, they have a wide range of offbeat gifts. Gifts are classified based on occasion, relationship & type. Whether you want gifts for your geeky friends, blogger cousin, creative sister, Bigsmall has gifts based on various personality types.
Unique Gifts & Features: Official merchandises (Harry Potter, Marvel, Disney & many more), Gift cards, Corporate gifts, DIY gift items, Personalized gifts
Price Range: INR 50 – INR 18,000
Shipping Options: Worldwide (For International Shipping, write to them at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Indian Gifts Portal offers you every possible way to impress your loved ones. Flowers, Gourmet, Jewelry, Lifestyle, Plants, Home & Living gifts, there is something to celebrate every moment. The gifts are classified based on category, occasion, country, relationship, recipient & even festivals.
Unique Gifts & Features: 999 Store, Personalized gifts, Find a perfect gift, Country & city wise gift shops, Worldwide free shipping
Mango Shop People store takes you to a cute, dreamy world with Furry panda diary, unicorn table lamp, Scratch off world map, Totoro bed, and many more. Gift hampers, loungewear, accessories, beauty, tech gifts can lift your special one’s mood any day. The gifts are classified based on occasion, type, price & person.
Unique Gifts & Features: Gotham Faux Mongolian Fur Blanket, LED Lamps, Home & Living gifts, Cute Quirky gift items, Corporate gifts