Scene-Shifter: An Initiative
Interview: Scene Shifter
Scene Shifter is an initiative to try and make life easier for all those that lived in paying guest accommodations before the lockdown was imposed. It was started by two individuals, Kushagra Khera (Founder, Director) and Varada Shyama Bhat (Director), from St. Joseph's College of Commerce and School of Law, Christ University respectively, both individuals having a lot of experience in hosting events, logistics and running organisations. They average 25-30 queries a week, after having started the initiative at the end of July, where they got their first client on the 31st of that month, and they've already serviced over 25 clients successfully.
BLS recently got the opportunity to sit down with them and conduct an interview of their operations.
Samarth: Tell us a bit about the initiative Scene Shifter and what it hopes to accomplish.
Scene Shifter: Our initiative is to provide an affordable low-rent facility for people who are paying exorbitant rents in Bangalore just because they have left behind their belongings and have gone home due to COVID 19. Our functioning is to basically pack and move your belongings to our facility and send it back to your preferred location. We can also send your belongings back to your hometown as well. Scene Shifter started as a one stop solution to the entire problem. We hope that it provides some relief to students who are already facing multiple other issues in the wake of such a pandemic.
Samarth: What inspired y'all to come up with the initiative?
Scene Shifter: I (Kushagra) started this initiative because I got really tired of paying high rent from the month of March. After repeated requests to my landlord and follow ups to be considerate in these tough times went in vain I came up with this idea. I thought along the lines of how if I was facing this problem then how many more students could be affected by it similarly. I have a pretty decent experience in logistics so I thought why not put it to use. What we intend to accomplish is to fill the gap created in this pandemic where students and employees have to rush back to their homes leaving everything behind with no clue when they will come back. No one wants to spend their hard earned money on rent when you are not staying at the property. I want to expand this all across Bengaluru and help them save money. Our services also extend to helping people find a right place to live as and when they return to the city.
Samarth: Okay so how exactly do you to facilitate the transport of belongings, first from out of the accommodation, and secondly, to the destination; especially considering the transport challenges you might face trying to go interstate?
Scene Shifter: With respect to moving, it is a case to case decision. Our biggest service and advantage of having us do what is required is the wide range of choice that we offer. The sort of challenges we are going to face while transporting can be anything ranging from Bangalore traffic police to interstate seal down due to COVID. It is not one distinct problem where we can formulate a universal plan of action. However the more pressing concerns are how to protect our employees during these times and how PG and hostel owners will respond.
Samarth: How do you intend to approach PG and Hostel Owners to initiate the conversation?
Scene Shifter: We do look at that as a small obstacle. From their standpoint we are driving them out of rent, but as we all know, in such times that loom over us, it is a fairly objective call that we had to take even if it is at the cost of bearing the brunt of scorn from these individuals. As per our SOP we take up orders only after the person has already spoken to the PG or Hostel owner. We will not be able to initiate that conversation or go against the decision which would be a result of the talks between the Owner and student. We understand how big an issue this is, and deeply sympathise with persons unable to accept our help because their PG owner is not allowing them to vacate.
Samarth: How many individuals have reached out to you so far, and how are you approaching their demands?
Scene Shifter: We have been helping people with not only moving and packaging but we also offer free consultancy with affordable prices. So more than 10-15 people have reached out to us and we have helped them to the best of our ability and the best of their interest. Our approach to demands is very simple, there are some things we’re good at, we’ll do that for you. In case your demands are out of our domain or out of our reach, we’ll either learn that or put you in touch with the best in the business.
Samarth: How do you guys run your business?
Scene Shifter: Once a client gets in touch with us, we have them courier the keys to a known relative, or a trusted acquaintance in Bangalore; or they could courier it to us directly. Once the keys are received, we proceed to packing on a day that would be convenient to the client, and we also offer to warehouse it for you. There are some instances from the past month where someone wanted to send some parts of the belonging to their relatives in Bangalore, but wanted the rest returned to their hometowns. We were glad to see the final thank you message from them, because they received their belongings safely.
Samarth: Thank you guys! It's a really brilliant initiative and we'd Love to feature you on here again in the future!