Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Renew Expired Sodexo Coupons

I am writing this post, since consumers are not well-informed or misguided once the coupons are expired.

During 2017, while clearing cupboard - my wife found unused Sodexo meal coupons. They had expiry date of 31-12-2015. 

When I approached Sodexo they said nothing can be done about the coupons as everything has been accounted so far and accounts are closed. Following is the email I received:

I made some research on it, on every blog, quora and portals it was mentioned that expired coupons cannot be renewed.
Fortunately, I thought of checking government regulations on the same. After spending some time with different options and many circulars, I found a circular of RBI with guidelines on such coupons, though such circular is accessible to public there is no awareness or information to refer them.

Following is the reply I sent to Sodexo thereafter:

RBI circular clearly states if a PPI holder / consumer approaches PPI issuer / Sodexo for refund of the amount, Sodexo will be liable to refund the amount to the consumer. Only exception would be that Sodexo has intimated / advised within 45 days prior to expiry date about its validity.

After this email, Sodexo agreed to refund the amount. They collected my expired coupons and gave me a Sodexo meal card with the equivalent amount.

I hope this article would help people get informed and get their coupons get renewed.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

February 25, 2018: Tata Ultra Marathon - Race Day

Running Route: Lonavala Hill run
Distance: 35.5 kms

I woke up at 3 am and  had hardly got any sleep of may be an hour or 2, anxious whether I could even complete the race. I got out of the room and reached the venue by rickshaw at 3.45 am. I had a plan – take it easy, I have 6 hrs to complete 35 kms, so even if I walk at the speed of 6 kms/hr, I would reach the finish line before the cut-off time.

My purpose to participate was to kill/reduce the fear of doing an ultra, hills and distance. As I reached the venue, it was nicely organised. There were tea, biscuits, fruits, nuts, yoga mats, head lamps and most important for me – phone charging booth!

I did some stretching & went for the starting line, I was feeling very happy to be standing there, felt like I was surrounded by athletes & for few moments forgot my fear of leaving the race incomplete. I was feeling great, wearing the head lamp, I felt happy to be there.

Race started exactly at 4.30 am. I started running slowly (as always), people were running ahead of me and again I was not concerned. I was enjoying the start of the route. It started with an incline from the start, there were streetlights initially, later we totally had to depend on our headlamps.

After 2-3 kms, soles of my feet started feeling numb while running, initially I thought it is due to the socks I was wearing. So I stopped and wore it again, but it was not the case, slowly my whole feet started feeling that. But I was kinda happy with that because I was not feeling any pain but was concerned with the consequence. After may be 4 kms, I reached a fuel station and had the Gluco drink & suddenly my feet got better & I also felt a good amount of energy. I started running with a good speed along with two ladies and a guy (whom I suspected stayed with me for the first 6 kms with concern that this fat guy might fall on the way).

And then there came a sign of uphill, where I thought ’What else was I doing till now?’ but it was actually tough. It was very steep & people were not able to run on it. I decided to walk that full uphill course (because anyway I was not going to win this thing, then why to take the pain). I actually enjoyed the uphill walk & ran whenever there was a bit declines and straight roads. I was feeling great walking and running in the dark, with head lamps on, eating oranges, bananas and glucose drinks in between.

I had no difficulty till 22 kms, I was singing songs aloud which I was listening. But after 22, I had a cramp on my right thigh while running an uphill, I stopped for some time & did some stretching, I felt good, later I walked for a km.

Then after 24 kms, there was steep downhill & while running I felt a very bad pain on my right knee, so again I did stretching & walked for a km and may be 2. I felt like leaving this time, but some positive things came in my mind unconsciously – Pooja telling me: Í know you will complete it’. Ranjit’s message – Kill it Bipin. Kamal’s message of showing courage by participation, Sridhar’s call the day before the run. Ashish Niranjan, Robert and Sandeep sir’s advise to take it easy. Everything I did from training to rafting – everything gave me strength, later on the full course I had this feeling & it encouraged me to complete the course. And luckily I reached the fuel station and I ate & drank everything they offered. A guy named Ramdas from Tata Communication advised me to try drinking Coca Cola and eating oranges with salt and it really worked. I had this whenever I saw a fuel station.

But between 28-29 kms, there was sun on my head, uphill and no fuel station from last 2 kms. Organiser’s car asked me whether I am fine and could get in the car if I am exhausted. He offered this to me twice, I told him – ‘Sorry, but I am not going to leave the race till I am on foot, he can pick me up if I fall on the way.’ He ran with me for half a km and luckily we reached two ambulances where I borrowed water and carried one along. After half km, there was a fuel station, again I had whatever they offered and took a cold water sponge.

After 31 km, I suddenly realised only 4 kms were left & I was still not tired or exhausted, still running strong. I was again singing on the way and again the guy from the car passed me giving me a hi-5. I completed the run strong and had a feeling I could have done more may be 10 kms.

I was happy to do it by my own strength and energy, not taking gels ppl around me were having. Unknown ppl and kids motivating and encouraging me. A guy even offered me orange from his car.

I hope memory of this run always remains with me.

Injuries: Right leg's knee pain
Pain: Cramp on right thigh and knee pain on right leg

February 17, 2018: Tata Ultra Marathon Training

Took rest today. Was too lazy to get out of my bed.

I bought headlamp and reflective vest for the run and I am feeling super excited to run the Ultra Marathon. 

February 16,2018: Tata Ultra Marathon training

Running Route: Oshiwara Backroad
Distance: 7.13 km
Time: 1 hr 15 min
Avg Pace: 10'31"/km. Max Pace: 8'35"/km
Time: 5.24 am to 6.41 am

I was enthusiastic for today's run & was remembering my last 2 run's happiness. But as  I started, my foot started paining. First I thought its due to my shoes, I tried re-wearing them, but after sometime both my foot started started to pain. So rather than running, I started to walk. Today's morning was mostly was walk and run, mostly walk than run.

Today, Robert sir asked me not to run the ultra because it would be tough, got very steep hills and I might not be ready for it. I got disheartened listening to this, as Robert sir was the only support I had, now hearing negative from him made me demotivated. I was feeling sad ans scared & I was not aware of what I was scared of!

Later after coming back home, I spoke with Pooja. I was reassured after listening to her that she wants me to run and asked whether I really want to run or not. She just told me to take care that the run won't affect my back or result in any injury.

Injury: No
Pain: Foot pain. 

February 14, 2018: Tata Ultra Marathon Training

Running Route: Oshiwara Backroad
Distance: 11.03 km.
Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Avg Pace: 8'40"/km. Max Pace: 6'59"/km
Time: 5.15 am - 6.51 am

Second consecutive day, I ran 10 kms and I didn't feel tired or weary. I got up and reached the place, it was very cold when I started running, I was shivering. I kept telling myself that this cold is temporary and I will be sweating after some time (which actually happened later). It actually feels good to see  people around you wearing shawls & sweaters and you running & sweating!

So, I started running better than yesterday and again I was enjoying myself listening to songs & singing then while running. Some faces looked familiar from my yesterday's run & they also looked at me with recognition.

During & after the run I felt confident and it made me feel a bit positive about Tata Ultra run for the first time. Thanks to Ashish Niranjan sir for recommending this to me.

Injuries: No
Pain: No.

February 13, 2018: Tata Ultra Marathon Training

Running Route: Oshiwara Backroad
Distance: 10.11 km
Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Avg Pace: 8'55"/km. Max Pace: 7'28"/km.
Time: 5.21 am to 6.52 am

I am training for Tata Ultra marathon and wanted to run two 10 kms on consecutive days. This was my Day 1.

I started off slowly but later my speed increased. When I started, I had the feeling of why should I do this. I was feeling lazy doing it alone, but after 3-4 kms I started enjoying it. I enjoyed the run while listening to music. I was literally singing and dancing while running.

I completed 10 kms slowly but it was my best run till date. Alone, listening to songs, it is difficult to explain how wonderful and alive i felt during this run.

Injuries : No
Pain : Right calve felt heavy.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sarasgad Trek 20/8/17

Pooja and I started our bus journey with our office colleagues from Kurla offfice for Sarasgad fort trek at 6.30 am (was actually scheduled for 5.45 am). All of us arranged for a professional group 'V-Rangers' to organise the trek, they organised everything from start to end of the journey.

We reached Sarasgad around 8.30 am in the morning while picking up other guys on the way and stopping for breakfast. We had idli, potato wada and tea for breakfast in a proper restaurant.

When we reached there, weather was sunny and everyone was craving for rain. V-rangers briefed everyone about the information and instructions regarding the trek and everyone's quick introductions was made. We came to know that one of the eight Ashtavinayak is from this village.

We started walking for the fort around 8.45 am, the place was peaceful and surroundings were green. The fort was on a hill 1400 feet and __ kms from the base. Climbing that hill was not at all easy, it was rocky, muddy, slippery, slanting, moist steps and it was tiring till we reached at a level when the breeze started coming. We were taking regular breaks between our trek, drinking water between walks. Then it started raining and all the tiredness suddenly went off, we felt rejuvenated with the coolness it brought along with it.
On the top, there was a small Temple and the view from the top was beautiful. We just stood there for a minute or two just looking at the scenery. There was greenery, other hills, villages, adjoining road to it and a water stream running between them. It was very calming.
We rested near the temple for few minutes, more information about the fort was told to us, took some group photographs and then we started descending the hill.

Everyone were sceptical about how we would climb down. Due to the rain, place became muddy, damp and, as a result, slippery! We cannot stop thinking about the path, and how risky it would be after rains while climbing down.

And it was dangerous! Even one of the rangers fell-off. Though Pooja was trekking with ease, it was me who was more scared and needed help in-between. I was mostly climbing down by sitting and supporting myself with my weight. Rangers were very helpful and they were giving clear instructions for everyone to understand. They even used a rope for support where they thought the place is slippery.

Many people slipped and fell but there were no injures, Everyone was supportive of each other. We reached the base around 4.30 pm and everyone was famished and tired.

We walked 20 minutes more for the restaurant, visiting the Ashtavinayak Temple on the way. It was a good restaurant and Pooja loved the food they served. After lunch we refreshed ourselves and started our return journey at 6.30 pm. We reached home at 10 pm. happy with our trip.

It was a nice journey and a very good & thrilling experience which we will always cherish. It was the best trek yet and we are happy that none of us slipped or fell!