Have you received something gift-wrapped from Amazon?

Amazon+Gift+Wrapping+600-w The option of gift-wrapping is useful when you’re shopping online – it’s a nice thought and can makes things special. But on Amazon India, there’s a good chance that you will see gift wrapping paper like the two samples featured in the header image. The logo pattern treatment is a clear overdose of design intent.

The quality of paper is good, so why am I making such a fuss about it?

When Zomato uses sticky tape (with their logo) on home delivery orders, I don’t have a problem with that – it’s not meant to be a gift. But when it’s meant to be one, I expect some creative thinking to go into the process. After all it’s meant to be “person to person” without commercial overtones.

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Here’s a travel podcast platform run by a young entrepreneur couple

The Musafir Stories (TMS) is hosted by Bangalore-based couple Saif Omar and Faiza Khan. Saif has worked in the software services and financial services industry most of his professional life, and was based in the USA. He quit about three years ago, moving back to India and joining the family business. Saif’s wife Faiza is the co-host on TMS and currently works as a Team Lead with a software MNC in Bangalore. Faiza is also an avid baker and inspired crafter of hand-made organic soaps.

Talk to us about your personal journeys, how did the podcast happen?
When we moved back to India, I was looking to consume local podcasts but the options were limited. That’s when we wondered about giving podcasting a shot – even though neither of us has any background in media/journalism, or even full-time travel for that matter.

As kids, most of us have grown up on the culture of listening to stories from grandparents and elders. We can fondly recall sharing first-hand experiences about travel and life in general, with classmates and friends. The culture of story-telling and listening is deep-wired in us.

Looking at TMS at an idea stage, we thought that there might be an audience for casual and informal conversations about travel experiences, especially when pro-travelers can add tips, tricks and hacks to their conversations. That’s how The Musafir Stories was born – it began as a passion project and continues to be so.

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This interview was done for the ALL INDIA RESORT DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION

Have you heard of something called the “holiday hangover”?

Are holiday hangovers pretty much like Monday morning blues? Or worse?
I would say that they are much worse. Once you’re past the dreadful Monday, the blues fade away, and you count the days before the weekend starts. As far as holidays are concerned, you know that the duration between two holidays is much longer than just a week, and it makes you yearn for the next time you’re away from the laptop and the perpetual feeling of catching up. In fact, the only time I welcome a Monday with open arms is when I am at one of my favorite reserve forests – though it doesn’t really matter what day of the week it is, in a forest location.

What are your feelings like when you’re heading back home, after a really nice vacation? A good vacation rejuvenates me as nothing else does. No spa, no mall can come close to the feeling of absolute contentment I feel when I am away from the city and when I am one with nature. Of course, the moment I touch city limits after a good holiday, it’s a sinking feeling. The stress sets in immediately, and I know that until my next vacation I have to wake up to the sounds of incessant honking and traffic – rather than the melodious bird sounds and the pollution-free air that I miss so much. I call it the holiday hangover, and the only ‘fix’ that can help me get over it is another holiday. Most of the times, I cannot wait to simply pack my bags, load the camera, and leave.

In conversation with Travel Blogger Shama Ahmed A communications professional working at an MNC, Shama Ahmed is a travel blogger and nature-lover with a voracious appetite for travel. She loves to take the road less traveled to photograph and study animal behavior in the wild. Partial to the jungles of South India, her love affair with the denizens of the tiger reserves in India started ten years ago, during her first safari – when she was armed with nothing but a small camera phone and oodles of curiosity.

Being the kind of experienced traveler that she is, we talk to Shama about “holiday hangovers” – a topic that we have for long wanted to feature in our Q&A sessions. Shama helps us get under the hood of holiday hangovers in an attempt to understand post vacation blues, and how to get things into perspective.

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This interview was done for the ALL INDIA RESORT DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION

Tell me a story . . .

Indranil Chakraborty is the author of “STORIES AT WORK” – an imprint of Penguin Random House. Indranil combines three qualities to pioneer business storytelling in India: a love for stories; the entrepreneurial bug; and two decades of experience in leading teams and driving change at top firms like Unilever, Tata Group and Mahindra & Mahindra.

His firm, StoryWorks, has helped organizations and leaders harness the power of stories to create and deliver impactful messages.

Since 2013, using the same approach outlined in Stories at Work, he has trained more than 2000 senior leaders in over thirty organizations, teaching them to be more effective in their communication. The firms he has worked with include Airtel, Accenture, Asian Paints, Barclays, Cognizant, GSK Pharma, HCL, ICICI Lombard, Infosys, PepsiCo, Philips, Roche, WNS and Unilever.

More on this story at this link on the AIRDA website