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Did you know the name of these sciences ?

  1. Paleography     : Study of Development of scripts.

2. Epigraphy         : Study of Inscriptions

3. Numismatics    : Study of Coins

4. Archaeology     : Study of monuments, material remains.

Don’t criticise, just emphathize

Instead of condemning people, let us try to understand them. Instead of criticising let us  try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.”

”God himself, sir, does not propose to judge a man until the end of his days.”

Why should you and I ?

The moral is clear, “Don’t criticise, condemn or complain”.

One of the most damaging myths out there


Multitasking is known to slow people down by 50% and increases chances of mistakes by 50%. Mutli tasking is like putting your braIn on drugs.

When your multitask, you actually switch between tasks, Semi attending to each one. It is very ineffective. We as humans cannot ideally do more than one thing well at a time. Multitasking is one of the most damaging myths out there.

How to read like superman ? Speed Reading explained

I have heard many people telling me, “I wish I could read faster, I wish i had more time to read before my examinations.” Many people love reading books but are left behind only because they think their reading speed is slow. It is a myth that some people are born with super speed reading capabilities. Here i will discuss few methods and techniques with which your can increase your reading speed instantly. Believe me it works instantly, you just have to apply the techniques discussed here.

Well before we start let us under stand how reading works. Reading is base on a primary concept of “Sub-Vocalization”. Sub-vocalization means that your mind sees the written letters, thinks about the sounds those letters represent, and then connects these sounds to the meanings. Long story short, words are symbols of ideas. When we talk or read, we’re really just using symbols to communicate what we’re thinking.

subvocalization in reading

Now lets identify a few bad habits which reduces reading speed :

1)Distractions in reading environment : Simply reduce the distractions in your surroundings while reading. For example listening to music, television or multitasking few things like accessing social media websites. The point here is to have minimal distractions in your environment. Less distractions help you focus on reading and learning.

2)Are You reading out loud ? : Many people have a habit of reading out loud which in fact reduces your reading speed. Reading silently is easily 5 to 10 times faster than reading our loud because it helps to eliminate or reduce the sub-vocalization effect.

3)Sub-vocalization ? : It is essentially a bad habit as regards to reading because it reduces your reading speed.The aim is to decrease sub-vocalization. Since words are directly related to meaning, controlling what you “hear” in your mind means that you can decrease the amount of time it takes to construct meaning.

4)Regression: How many times does it happen, that when you read you miss the line and have to search for the same again. This is called regression. It negatively affects your reading speed because your eyes are not moving forward all the time.

5)Do you focus on individual words ? : Remember that sentences, not individual words, have meaning. When your eyes stop, pause or wander, it means that you’re probably trying to derive more meaning out of an individual word rather than out of the sentence’s complete meaning.

how to read like superman

Techniques to increase your reading speed at superman level (no pun intended):

1)Focus on block/group of words: The most important key here is to focus on group of words.Instead of reading individual words you should focus on reading a group of words. This means that you don’t want to think about passages word-by-word; you want to think about them phrase-by-phrase. We will define a “phrase” simply as a small group of words, between three and ten words long. Reading Phrases Instead of Words (stopping sub-vocalization and reading blocks of words) increases your speed dramatically. You don’t need to think about sounds of words. You don’t need to read every word. This technique will be almost 80% responsible to increase your speed.

2)Meta-Guiding: This is a fancy sounding word for a simple concept: All you need to do is use your finger, a pointer (like a pencil) or an index card to trace in front of your line of vision as you read. It helps you eliminate regression.

3)Remove Distrations: Make sure that you have distraction free environment where you can focus on reading. Try to avoid and eliminate distraction as much as possible.

4)Focus on eliminating the bad habits of reading: Avoid sub-vocalization. Improve Your Physical and Mental Conditions. Do not read when you are exhausted and tired off. Take suitable rest when needed. Improve your body posture while reading. Do not lay on bed and read, instead read in a good sitting position.

5)Practice reading Fast: Try to read as fast as you can, do not try to understand each and every word.The key is to practice reading at a pace where you simply cannot pronounce words or think about their sounds. Practice speed reading by timing yourself reading and then answering comprehension questions. By using already read text or material.

Here are the prime locations for your eyes and your attention:

  • Titles
  • Headings
  • The first sentence( s) in a paragraph
  • The last sentence( s) in a paragraph
  • The first paragraph( s) in a passage
  • The last paragraph( s) in a passage
  • Sentences with bold, underlined, or italicized words
  • Picture captions

Focus on these key areas in the text or book as a general rule, it can help you get collective information. The above list is general in nature and not exhaustive. You can add whatever you feel important.

Well following these tips and techniques and avoiding the bad habits of reading you can definitely improve your reading speed and be on superman mode for reading 😉

When You Should & Shouldn’t Speed Read

Speed reading is not a skill you need to use every time you read.

Normally its good to use speed reading in following situations :

  1. When You’re Reading for Pleasure.
  2. When You Don’t Need to Have a Perfect Understanding of the Whole Text. But need to have only general and observational understanding.
  3. When You’re Reading Something that is Easy.
  4. When You’re Reading Familiar Text. ( During Revisions )

When to avoid speed reading ?

  1. When You’re Studying First-Time Material.
  2. When You’re Reading Unfamiliar Text.
  3. When the Reading Level of the Content is High and text is difficult for you to understand.

Well I hope that this article would definitely help you to increase your reading speed. Follow our blog for learning such skill based education and concepts.


Third party Litigation financing in India is Legal !


At the outset, let me clarify that contrary to popular belief, third-party litigation funding is not prohibited in India.

While lawyers in India are not allowed to fund a litigation when they are representing one of the parties to the case, a third-party (non-lawyer) is allowed to fund the litigation cost of a disputing party. If the party wins the case, the third-party funder is allowed to take a fee, which could be a percentage of the claim received by the party. The funders do not get anything if the party loses the case.

Litigation funding, though not prevalent in India, has always been allowed. In fact, Privy Council in 1876 in Ram Kumar Coondoo v. Chunder Canto Mookerjee, permitted third-party funding on the grounds of promoting access to justice. Later, the Supreme Court in 1954 too confirmed as an obiter that there is nothing morally wrong, nothing to shock the conscience, nothing against public policy and public morals in a transaction where a third-party (non-lawyer) has financed a litigation. Again, in 2018, the Supreme

Court in Bar Council of India v AK Balaji 3 confirmed the legality of third-party funding in litigation. Certain states have also amended the Order XXV of the Code of Civil  Procedure, 1908 to set out the situations in which a funder can be made a party to litigations.

While third-party funding is allowed in India, it comes with certain riders. A funding agreement between a party in dispute and a funder should not be found to be extortionate and unconscionable, so as to be inequitable against the party and should not be made for improper objects, e.g. for the purpose of gambling in litigation, or of injuring or oppressing others. 4

Third-party litigation funding is allowed and far more prevalent in developed countries like the US and UK, and has been picking up pace in other countries like HongKong and Singapore. In most developed countries, the third-party funding is used for disputes relating to commercial contracts, international commercial arbitration and class action suits. In modern times, the doctrines of Champerty and Maintenance under old English common law are no longer relevant in litigation / arbitration between sophisticated parties and there has been a general trend towards liberalizing and abolishing these doctrines.

There have been instances where Indian parties have obtained third-party funding to conduct litigations / arbitrations in offshore jurisdictions, however, there have not been many instances of such fundings being used for domestic litigations / arbitrations.

Benefits of third-party funding

Third-party funding can increase access to justice as the parties with no or low financial wherewithal can also pursue or defend their case. It also helps in sharing the financial risk of losing a litigation with the funder. Large corporates also see this as an effective tool of cost management as third-party funding does not affect the company’s balance sheet.

It is also seen in developed countries that litigation funder brings to the table vast experience of complex litigation and helps the client in realistic estimation of a claim and analyzing the risks and rewards of a dispute.

The funding comes with a cost, as when a party wins a case, a lion’s share of the claim amount may have to be paid to the funder. But, for a party which was not able to fight a case due to lack of money, recovering a portion of the claim is better than nothing.

Areas of concern and mitigation

One of the areas of concern is that third-party funding may increase the volume of frivolous claims in India. However, this concern is unfounded as the funders are unlikely to risk their own investment for unmeritorious claims.

Litigants have been reluctant to seek third-party funding, as they fear that they will lose control over the litigation, as the lawyers will act on the instruction of the funder because their fees shall be paid by the funder. Some analysts fear that the third-party funding may create conflict situations as the lawyer-client relationship can become ancillary to the financial rewards pursued by the funder.

Another area of concern is confidentiality and privilege. During a litigation, a party is likely to disclose various confidential information to its lawyer, which is protected by lawyer-client privilege, however, this may not be the case with a funder. However, it is understood from the practices followed in developed countries that usually the funder and the party enter into robust and lucid funding agreements which details out the level of funder’s involvement in the case, its confidentiality and avoidance of conflict obligations.

It is also seen that litigation funders from developed countries are eyeing the Indian market considering the increase in the number of international disputes involving Indian parties. However, such overseas funds shall have to devise structures that are permissible under the Foreign Exchange Management Act and are tax efficient. These overseas funders shall also have to be cautious before funding a party in dispute, as litigations in India can be long-drawn and enforcement of foreign arbitral award in India is still a challenge. These challenges make the return on funder’s investment uncertain.

Regulatory environment needs to evolve

Third-party funding is a global growth story and is likely to spread its wings in India. However, a key driver of growth of third-party funding in India will be the evolution of the regulatory environment around it. On the basis of interpretation of a handful of judgments allowing third-party funding, in the absence of any legislative statute, the likelihood of third-party funding gaining momentum may not be bright. There is a need for a law which codifies the contours of third-party funding for litigation and arbitration and puts adequate global best practice standards to take care of the concerns of all stakeholders. The law also needs to set minimum ethical and financial standards and regulate conflicts and disclosure of funding.

12 Productivity Life Hacks From Successful Entrepreneurs

Time is precious. Here’s how to make it worthwhile – from those who can’t afford to lose it. Be more productive” often stands at the top of the list for New Year resolutions – but finding the tools to implement it in everyday life is a different kettle of fish. Especially when tips from technology moguls like Tim Cook include setting an alarm clock to start their day at 3:45 am every morning.

Here is a round-up of 12 successful entrepreneurs and chief executives from various industries ranging from gaming to transportation about their own secret productivity hacks – and the good news is none of them mentioned-sleep deprivation as a personal favourite.

Here’s a round-up of the real tricks you can apply to your life to boost productivity in your free time, at work and for your future targets.



Trello, the popular web-based project management tool, is now established in many workplaces, and with good reason: It’s a useful way of planning ahead. And the basic version is free – so why not use it at home? Yunha Kim, the founder of Simple Habit, certainly sees the appeal: “I have Trello boards for projects such as product releases, but also for random to-dos such as calling a friend or my dentist,” she says. “It helps me stay organised and proactive.”


 When facing a day that is sure to be full of face-to-face interactions, Jen Rubio, the co- founder of Away, has taken the habit of spending the first hour of her day completely alone. She calls it “owning the first hour”. She may meditate, work out or get straight to work and start answering emails; but she always takes that time to be on her own. “I’m at my own pace, free of meetings or push notifications. It energises me,” she says.


 Colour-coded post-its are good, but they also accumulate, and it all goes down from the moment you lose your to-do list. Todoist lets you keep track of the tasks you need to complete, the plans you’ve made with friends or the books you want to read by organising them more efficiently and centralising them on your phone. A personal favourite of Christine Foster, managing director at The Alan Turing Institute: “I use it to get to ‘inbox zero’. I love jotting down plays that friends recommend or fun places to take my children,” she says.


Andrew Keen, writer of How To Fix The Future, says that he couldn’t live without Freedom – the self-described “internet blocker” app. “It lets me write books without the endless distraction of dumb emails and even dumber social media updates,” he says. And although the app isn’t free, starting at just under `500 a month, it will buy you attention. Something Keen describes as “one of the most scarce and valuable commodities of the digital age.”



“The traditional meeting is a dated concept,” says Clare Gilmartin, CEO at Trainline. Its corporate atmosphere can indeed be daunting, with team members potentially feeling the pressure of being judged by their superiors. That is counter productive, says Gilmartin; she prefers to organise small, mission-based meetings throughout the day. A better way to let her team share ideas informally and to boost creativity and innovation.


 Scott Walchek, CEO at Trov, still maintains that meetings are crucial to let teams communicate. He makes sure each week starts with a 20-minute-long recorded meeting for different departments to explain what they are doing. “This isn’t a status meeting,” he says. “We encourage teams to say nothing if their work doesn’t have immediate impact.” A way to take the pressure off while ensuring that each department is aware of what others in the company are doing.


This one is for those working in the creative industry: How do you make sure that you remain aware of your productivity goals when your work is your passion? Alex Ward, the co-founder of Three Fields Entertainment, explains the challenges he faced when gaming, which began as a hobby, became his 9-to-5 activity. “Playing games can be individual and solitary, whereas making them requires working as part of a team,” he says. It is crucial, he continues, to always remain focused on collaborating, problem- solving and stepping in to lend a hand in different areas.


Although it may be tempting – and financially sensible – to constantly chase the lowest price, business coach Christine Hassler says that it is worth looking at the quality of investments too. And putting more money in when it is worth it. “In the first five years, I thought I could save money by doing many things myself or hiring the person with the lowest fee,” she says. But that cost her opportunities. “Now, I hire the most qualified people for any job,” she says.



Overthinking causes worrying, and worrying stands in the way of accomplishment. It is better, sometimes, to take a risk and go for it, according to Hayden Wood, the co-founder of Bulb. He remembers starting his company and still not having a name two months before launching because the team was afraid of getting it wrong. “My advice is: Don’t overthink or worry,” he says. “Once it becomes yours, it’ll feel right.”


 Small changes can contribute to improving your overall quality of life. For Robin Chase, the co-founder of Buzzcar, it starts with commuting. From spending 18 per cent of her income on transport, she went to spending 8 per cent, “and my quality of life is better,” she says. Chase walks and bikes, or books a seat in a shared autonomous vehicle. Yet another reason to cut the time spent stuck in an Uber during morning rush.


 “Don’t get it right, get it written!” – a familiar piece of advice for Elizabeth Varley, the CEO of TechHub. “My mother would tell me this when I’d be meticulously wording a paragraph of an essay due the next day in school,” she says. Getting things right is important – but if your standards of “right” stop you from accepting an option that is perfectly good, it becomes counterproductive. In many cases, it results in tasks not getting done at all. You can start embracing low(er) expectations, or so it seems.


Another parental piece of advice, this time from the mother of Otegha Uwagba, who founded Women Who: “Not everyone’s gonna clap for you”. That’s particularly true if you are working in the creative industries, where your work is almost certainly bound to be met with negative criticism at some point. “Not everyone’s going to like, appreciate or be into whatever you’re doing,” says Uwagba, “and that’s okay. Learn not to take it personally, and to move on.”

Goodness of probiotic yogurt

Among various fermented dairy products, yogurt has been a significant ingredient of the human diet for thousands of years.

Consumption of fermented dairy products maintains the balance of intestinal micro bacteria and improves the host metabolism. Yoghurt is most accepted dairy product as it is easily digested because during fermentation, milk protein, fat and lactose components undergo partial hydrolysis. Yogurt is categorized as a food of high nutritional value due to its relatively low fat content in combination with its high protein content, as well as vitamins of the B complex, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. However, nutritional value of different yogurts may significantly vary depending on the type of milk and straining process. Yogurt has been shown to have various beneficial effects on many aspects of human health, like blood pressure, cholesterol reduction, muscle building and prevention of various1 metabolic diseases. As far as gastrointestinal health is concerned, yogurt contains cultures of lactic acid bacteria that improve digestive system function through their positive impact on gut microflora, bowel transit and gastrointestinal 2immune responses.

Yogurt is alive

Since yogurt is a culture of living healthy bacteria. There are millions of bacteria of  various species persisting in yogurt. Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus are the species found in yogurt. These are the main/starter cultures in yogurt. The function of the starter cultures is to ferment lactose (milk sugar) to produce lactic acid. Further lactic acts on milk protein and give a universal texture to yogurt as well as an acidic flavor. Few other species are also found in yogurt like Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidus.

Enrichment enhances quality of yogurt

Additionally, the low viability of probiotics causes the short shelf life of fermented dairy products. Thus, to maintain the health-benefiting properties of yogurt its viability should be prolonged. Antioxidants are known to increase the shelf life of food products, when added. In this context, plant extracts, a good source of antioxidants and exhibiting significant antioxidant activity may also enhance the viability of enriched yogurt.

According to a study done by Mosiyani et al, basil and savory plant extract have enhanced the viability of probiotic bacteria and probiotic yogurt.

Ayurvedic herbs to carry while travelling

Clothes, shoes, powerbanks, sunscreen—these are always top priority when packing for a holiday. But how many of us remember to carry a few preventives in case of a medical problem? There’s nothing worse than falling sick while travelling, so a natural first-aid kit is a handy troubleshooter. Here are seven natural kitchen ingredients I recommend you travel with. And remember, organic and locally sourced is always better.

ALMONDS: The right way to jumpstart your day

 They’re rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fibre and protein. And they release energy or sugars more gradually than a cup of tea with sugar, so they don’t cause a spike in blood sugar levels, making it the right kind of energy. Soak a handful of almonds overnight. Peel off the skin and eat them first thing in the morning.

Did you know: Almonds are rich in magnesium, which is necessary for a good night’s rest.

TURMERIC: The natural remedy for minor accidents

 In ayurveda, this beautiful golden-yellow powder has always been acknowledged as a medical wonder. And rightly so. Turmeric is a great antiseptic— perfect for most injuries, cuts and wounds. Just mix one or two teaspoons of turmeric with water to make a paste and apply it over the wound.

Did you know: If you’re sleep deprived, hungover or just fatigued, add a pinch of turmeric (mix in some black pepper to make it more absorbable in the body) in a glass of water and drink it. It also works as a relaxant.

FENNEL SEEDS: The best digestive aid

 Fennel seeds aid digestion, helping to alleviate gas or bloating. From reducing water retention to regulating blood pressure, fennel seeds pack in a nutritious and medicinal punch. Make sure to eat a few after a heavy meal to reap its many benefits. Did you know: Fennel seed tea is an excellent diuretic and detoxifier. It can also help ease symptoms of asthma.

CINNAMON: The counter to our culinary indulgences

 Who doesn’t reach out for that extra helping of dessert while travelling? Cinnamon (powder or sticks) not only offers a great way to add spice to any drink, it also works to control and reduce blood sugar levels. Travel usually throws our routines into disarray, but a cup of cinnamon tea can alleviate the stress that can be caused by a new environment and a changed diet.

Did you know: Cinnamon powder won’t properly mix in warm liquids; it’ll just end up turning sludgy. A simple trick is to first mix the powder with a bit of honey before adding it to a warm liquid.

HONEY: The healing balm

 Honey can be used to combat colds and help heal an injury, and just when you need some comfort. Rather than sweeten your breakfast with sugar, add honey to your meal.

Did you know: Eating honey or even applying some on the lips or the soles of your feet helps if they are chapped or dry.

SEA SALT: The natural electrolyte

 Rich in minerals, sea salt makes for an excellent electrolyte minus the sugar. It is the perfect way to prevent dehydration after a day spent out in the sun. At restaurants, whenever you can, ask the server to hold off on regular salt and add a dash of your own sea salt—your immune system will thank you for it.

Did you know: Himalayan pink salt can also help with respiratory and sinus issues. If you feel a sore throat coming on, crush a spoonful of salt crystals into a warm glass of water and gargle.

CLOVES: The portable dentist

 Few things are worse than having to make a trip to the dentist’s while travelling. Cloves are a literal lifesaver when you have a toothache. Chew on a few cloves (or apply some clove oil on the affected area) for near-immediate pain relief. As a bonus, cloves also fight halitosis, so you have the perfect breath freshener after a long flight.

Did you know: Cloves are naturally anti-inflammatory and help reduce acidity. Eat a few after a rich meal.

Ayurvedic Herbs To Cure Insomnia Without Side Effects

Scientific researches have proved what is written in our Vedas for ages. Ayurvedic medicinal herbs boost sleep without side effects.

It is not for nothing that herbs find mention in scriptures and plays from across the world. Remember Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which Ophelia says: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembering. Please remember, love. And there are pansies, they are for thoughts” In India and other Asian countries, herbs are a part of everyday life. In fact, herbs are the remedy for the most common problem we face these days: sleep disorders.

With increasing cases of sleeplessness, people are turning to medication. Alterations in the quantity, quality as well as the patterns of the sleep, may contribute to various disorders of sleep, besides negatively affecting performance, learning ability and quality of social life. Sleep disturbances are common in many psychiatric illnesses and are also components of the diagnostic criteria for specific disorders. It is a well-established fact that health problems right from anxiety, tension, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, liver and digestive problems to depression can lead to sleep disorders while sleep disorders too can lead us up to such diseases.

According to an article titled ‘Chronic Insomnia Increases Risk of Type 2 Diabetes’, published in online medical journal, Endocrine Web, author Kathleen Doheny says, “Insomnia puts the body in a constant state of stress. Stress is a known contributor to the development and progression of obesity and diabetes because it causes the body to not be ever able to go into repair and relaxation mode. It is always in a reaction mode. It must be taken care of.” Therefore, irrespective of presence on an underlying disease or not, sleep disorders need to be prevented and managed effectively. Wherever the underlying cause is known, one should get the disease treated with the help of their health care provider.

As regards prescriptions for sleep disorders, medicines come under the category of psychotropic drugs, which are habit forming and associated with mild to severe harmful side effects. In majority of cases safe Ayurvedic medicinal herbs can be an ideal alternative, extending additional health benefits, especially herbs like brahmi that can help us sleep.

Brahmi/Mandookparni/Gotu kola (Centella asiatica)

 It promotes sleep, is anti-stress nervine tonic, improves memory and mental focus and blood circulation. It also heals diabetic neuropathy, varicose veins, hemorrhoids/piles, and is effective in certain digestive system infections. It also improves libido. It is considered a longevity enhancing herb in China.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

This unique herb, helps you relax mentally and physically. It energises you and is a powerful anti-stress/ adaptogen, immuno-modulator. Ashwagandha improves vigour and vitality especially male libido, sperm count, sperm mobility and is antiinflammatory too. This herb is useful in reducing oxidative stress that occurs from loss of sleep.

However, women should take it only when so adviced by their health care provider.

Shankhpuspi (Convolvulus pluricaulis)

This herb contains flavonoids, glycosides and alkaloids that help soothe your nervous system. It brings relief to mental fatigue. It acts as a natural tranquilliser for anxiety neurosis and facilitates sleep. It is a common herb that improves memory, reduces stress, balances sleep and does much more. Use alone or in combination with other herbs.

Valerian/Tagar (Valeriana officinalis/wallichi)

It is used for treating brain-related disorders such as insomnia and nervous unrest. It has a sedative effect on the brain and can be used as a tranquiliser. It brings relief to mild anxiety and nervousness. It cleanses undigested toxins from blood joints, nerves, and the colon. It helps in reducing the vata and kapha dosha. it relieves pain and spasms of involuntary muscles. It is effective in inducing sleep. It is used in treatment of epilepsy, schizophrenia and many other health problems. However, its long term use is not recommended, as it may cause a drop in the blood pressure.

Vacha (Acorus Calamus)

 It has calming effect on brain and is effective in curing tension and insomnia. It acts as a coolant that relaxes the nerves, thereby inducing sleep. This herb is a nervous system tonic that will ward off stress. However it is not a preferred herb for routine use in management of sleep disorders, as it may bring about a drop in blood pressure and heart rate.

Sarpgandha /Indian snakeroot ( Rauwolfia Serpentina)

It contains more than 50 alkaloids. These alkaloids help in reducing high blood pressure that can cause sleeping issues. It is also used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Owing to its antihypertensive and anti-schizophrenic effect, Sarpgandha is not recommended for long term or routine use in management of sleep disorders in general.

Jatamasi (Nardostachys jatamansi)

It is a natural brain tonic and a memory enhancer. It allows calmness and relaxation to a hyperactive mind. It helps in inducing sound sleep while rejuvenating and nourishing the nervous system. In Ayurveda, it is prescribed against stress, spasm, epilepsy, convulsion and hysteria. In fact, it is one of the excellent herbs to treat epilepsy. Also it is considered a tonic for heart.

Brahmi is available for oral administration either alone or in poly herbal formulae as tablet, capsule, syrup, and even as chocolates. Organic brahmi coarse powder filled in vegan capsules is also a preferred choice. One to two capsules twice a day is recommended after meals. Brahmi is used in beauty products. Ashwagandha can be similarly administered and is found in similar forms as brahmi.

Essence of Consumer Loyalty

Forget deals galore; it is time to treat customers as business partners and make good of their insights if companies want to thrive in the long run.

Consider this. I am a loyalty member of Jet Airways, Vistara, Emirates, Etihad, Air India and a few other carriers. I am also a member of the loyalty clubs of Marriott, Hyatt, Taj, ITC, Hilton, Leela and a few more. I am a gold or platinum member of Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle and Westside. Then there are various other memberships to travel and e- commerce portals. However, I cannot be all that loyal to all these companies if I am a member of the loyalty programmes designed by competing brands. I will be more of an opportunist. It seems these so-called loyalty-marketing programmes have failed to create any sense of loyalty among millions of customers. Perhaps they are also trying to be opportunistic in a world where customer expectations are always changing.

Enterprises seem to think that loyalty can be bought or forced on customers. In reality, they should try to engage people more deeply if they want to create loyal customers who bring value to the business. When people do not get involved, they do not care and have no reason to feel loyal. By treating them as partners, one can engage customers beyond the traditional buyer-seller connect. But if this were the case, why had not anyone done it?

We can get customers involved by treating them with respect, and they will reward companies with more business. Amazon is an excellent example of this policy, but Flipkart, the new Wal-Mart of India, may take a long time to master this strategy. Amazon invites customers to review the products they purchased, encourages them to publish lists of other favourite brands/products and also allows them to sell used items on its platform. Such opportunities often provide anonymous consumers with a chance to participate in the company’s business. Also, it has a noquestions-asked 30-day return policy in place and refunds your money within 72 hours, again a gesture of respect.

Incidentally, many customers complain that Amazon has blocked them permanently for returning too many items, but many of these issues have been resolved; overall, the company is quite lenient in this respect.

What Companies Should Do

Businesses desiring to differentiate their loyalty programmes should start by seeking feedback from customers. As they always have great ideas/insights, inviting them to co- create things will have a long-lasting effect. But this must go beyond conventional market research techniques. One should seek suggestions at all contact points and may even reward people if their recommendations are acted upon. It will be a good idea to set up a centre where customers are thanked for their input and updates are given on what the company is doing with their ideas.

As of now, personalised e-mail messages from these loyalty clubs seeking our feedback are quite rare. Businesses expect their customers to get in touch via the ‘Contact’ tab on websites. But very few would like to submit their opinions using those forms as they doubt whether their comments would reach the top management. By personalising the feedback, large corporations can overcome the perception that all suggestions go into a black hole. Consumers are more likely to communicate when they know whom to address and especially if they know that someone will act on it. Two recent examples prove this point. A skin allergy complaint sent to Nivea via its website was acknowledged but never acted upon. Another complaint was sent to L’Oreal and the company named an official who would look into it. The issue was quickly addressed. Resolutions happen fast if issues are pitched on social media platforms as they have high visibility and inaction could instantly lead to massive customer backlash.

In a bid to take customer loyalty to the next level, some companies are setting up customer advocacy centres. These will invite select customers so that feedback can be obtained before or during the launch phase. Companies can hold customer get-togethers regularly and use these occasions for specific group sessions. By closely involving them with the company’s plans to improve its services or expand its product offerings, insights could be gathered and leveraged, thus ensuring a higher degree of loyalty. The company will also be way ahead of competitors which do not engage in such activities.

Some of the companies I had worked with have given ownership to their customers. They have also formed a strong bond with their constituents by giving them firm shares. For instance, a pan-India jewellery retail chain headquartered in Kerala quickly set up 100- plus stores in India and the Gulf region using this route. Also, similar to an employee stock ownership plan, which is an excellent way of linking a company’s fortunes to its employee compensation, giving a customer a piece of the company via outright stock grants or options would, in the customer’s mind, position him/her as a partner.

Consequently, they will be keen to bring in more business by trying to influence family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Enterprises can also extend ESOPs to their most valued customers. They can also issue loyalty certificates, allowing most active customers to earn actual stock after fulfilling specific criteria such as doing a certain amount of business with the firm over a specified time frame.

Customers cannot be bribed into loyalty. The proverbial carrot, in the form of frequent flier miles or other incentives, is not the primary impetus any more. Think of creative ways to engage customers so that they become passionate about your products as well as the business. That will lead to strong advocates, repeat business and long-term sustainability. In fact, brand equity can go on even after a business fails. For instance, frequent fliers in India miss Kingfisher. When the carrier was in business, we all loved it for its unique services. If it makes a comeback, it might give Vistara a run for its fleet.

That is the kind of loyalty one cannot buy.