Friday, August 03, 2007


Probably that was the aim of Travenues, a travel 2.0 technology company, when they started working on their travel portal IXIGO and I think they have done a pretty good job there.

If you didn’t know about IXIGO, it’s a travel portal. How is it different from hordes of travel portals? Like some of the majors in the league like Yatra, MakeMyTrip and some of the lesser known like Indiatimes and Rediff (yeah they too!!). What is refreshingly different is
· They don’t book tickets for you so the initial cynicism of costlier tickets is gone. You have to book the tickets on sites which you choose to book from. They only display the results for you. They even claim themselves as infomediary and not intermediary.
· The search is extremely fast compared to MakyMyTrip, Cleartip and Yatra.
· They show prices including the tax amount, which means no hidden surprises and one stop shop for deciding which flight to choose
· They take all permutation and combinations for flight routes,flight carriers and then display the result. And to my wonder they search for lesser known routes as well. I mean I did a search for BLR-ALLAHABAD and I had 10 results. They were not in my budget though :(
· To top it, they allow you to customize “comfort features” like maximum no. of stops you want in your journey, filter results for combination of carriers or single carrier.
· They filter data from travel portals like Yatra and airline websites like Air Deccan as well so no running around to multiple websites and comparing fares. You can watch the flight details on the same page. So it indeed is one-stop-too-quick-a-shop for flight decisions.
· And they are constantly adding new features, from multiple airline combinations, direct checkout, book-marking results they have sprung forward to launch IXIGO search on mobile in collaboration with ONYOMO.

Infact, if you have heard about it on this blog only, they were chosen as one of the top six
startups in the internet space in India and invited to showcase their product at,
India's premier product startup showcase event. Part 1 and Part 2. (There is no sound in
the presentation when I watched it)

Features I think they should include. I think they should include search for +/- 2 days as is in case of Yatra. When one goes to search for a flight, rarely one is fixed on the days one wants to travel, one just has a rough date in mind and cheaper fare so +/-2 days would really present one with options of quickly looking and deciding to utmost satisfaction that one has got the best deal.

But considering my strategy of looking for the cheapest fare on these sites and then booking on the site of the carrier, I think this portal replicates my strategy very well :D... and I really think its EASY GO!!

Check it out @ and let me know what do you think abt the portal and if you disagree with my review of it

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Answer: My Bollywood Family

As I said in my options there are some obvious and unobvious choices. The most obvious choice would have been Bachchan family, infact as many may argue, Silsila and Abhimaan were closely related to Bachchan seniors’ life. Deol family too has had a very dramatic life with Dharmendra allegedly marrying twice.

But I think the most fitting family to fit the answer would be Dutt family. Yes, the Dutt family and I hope at the end of this blog many of you might see my point. Dutt’s would be a story that would provide ideal masala mix of emotion, tragedy, thrill although may not be the end.

Sunil Dutt, born in 1929, Khurd district (now in Pak), moved to India with his family during partition and settled in Haryana. He faced parents’ death at an early age and struggled to complete graduation at Jai Hind College in Mumbai while working as a radio announcer at Radio Ceylon.

He got introduced as an actor in Railway Platform in 1955. It is believed that Dutt braved the raging fire to save Nargis on Mother India’s sets and thereby won her love. Sunil and Nargis had a son, Sanjay and two daughters Priya and Anju. Sanjay Dutt had from an early age (at around high school) was addicted to drugs which worsened after Nargis’ death owing to pancreatic cancer. She incidentally died a week before Rocky’s release, Sanju’s first movie in a lead role directed and produced by Sunil Dutt himself, was to be released. This worsened Sanjay Dutt’s addiction who took more to it. Finally Sunil Dutt had to send him to a rehab in Texas whence Sanju suffered from a collapsed lung. It took 3-3.5 yrs of treatment when Sanjay could be “purged”. Richa Sharma had nursed him back after this and a year later they had a baby Trishala. Barely 2 months later he learnt that his wife had brain tumor. He lost the bitter custody battle for the baby against his in-laws after Richa succumbed to brain tumor.

Meanwhile in 1984 post Indira Gandhi’s assassination on Rajiv Gandhi invitation, Sunil entered politics. Since then he had been a loyal supported of Congress and worked really hard for national and world peace. Snapshots:
· Walked from Mumbai to Amritsar in wake of militiancy in Punjab for a stretch of 2000 Kms
· Walked from Nagasaki to Hiroshima for world peace and nuclear disarmament.
· Helped Imran Khan raise 1,00,000 pounds for building a cancer hospital in his mother’s name through a fund raising dinner, at Birmingham

Sunil resigned as MP in wake of Hindu-Muslim riots in 1992-93 and did a lot of relief work for muslims. Till then Sanjay had shot to fame and even accorded as successor to Amitabh. Sunil staunchly criticized Shiv Sena for the riots for which his family allegedly received a lot of threats. And months before the Mumbai serial blasts in 1993 Sanjay allegedly purchased one AK-56 from Abu Salem with help of few produced friends for personal and family safety. He had earlier taken 3 AK-56 rifles, 25 hand grenades, one 9 mm pistol and cartridges but later returned everything except one AK-56 rifle.

Following Sanjay’s arrest in serial blast case, Shiv Sena upped the ante against Sanjay and branded him as a terrorist through their mouthpiece Saamna. Sunil Dutt fought a bitter court battle only to hear that his son is not a terrorist. While Sanjay was in jail, he was regularly visited by his brother-in-law Kumar Gaurav, his then g/f Rhea Pillai. Sunil is said to have waited for hours to meet his own Congressmen leaders in Mumbai and Delhi to seek atleast bail for his son who disappointed him. Sharad Pawar was the CM then and PV Narsimharao was the PM. He then went back to Bal Thackrey, who in a small personal meeting at Thackrey’s resident, changed his stand. So did his mouthpiece Saamna, it was only then political support and support from Bollywood fraternity could be mobilized and public opinion could be moulded. Sanju was released from jail on bail and since then it is said he is one of the most humble stars of the industry. Later he married Rhea. Sanjay was later questioned in hawala deals and other cases as well.

He was later absolved from TADA charges but held guilty under Arms Act. But Sunil Dutt didn’t survive so long what he wanted to hear for more than 12-13 years: that his son was not a terrorist. Later Priya Dutt won from the same constituency in Mumbai where his father was a MP of.

And to close the serial blast trials, this day Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to 6 yrs RI. I think Dutt family has lived the most ups and down as a (Bollywood) family. So according to me Dutt's would be the perfect choice for a typical Bollywood script. It would make for perfect mix of several Bollywood movies.

P.S. I was reading the book Black Friday by notable investigative journalist, Hussain Zaidi and found some of the info in the book and some through Wikipedia and other internet links. It is an amazing book. One must read it to relive what we didn’t live through.

P.S.S.: Sources:
1) Sunil Dutt’s Biography as MP here.
2) Sunil Dutt’s interview on Rediff here
3) Sunil and Sanjay- Documentary by BBC Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Do watch these.

Next: My take on a new travel portal. What's different abt this travel portal? First to appear on my Blog!