Almost Always The Truth

This blog is about small incidents which have occured in the life of Neel Arurkar. Neel also writes about his family and friends in this blog.

My Photo
Location: Mumbai/Bangalore/Pune, Maharashtra/Karnataka, India

I am what you see :-)

Holi Bumper(Updated 14th Nov)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

A Home Away From Home

Finally, I now sleep on a cot. After more than one year of staying like a typical bachelor, my rented house here in Bangalore is finally getting furnished. To start with, we got a study table, thanks to our landlady who now exhibits a different behaviour after signing a new agreement that guarantees her ten percent more rent. Two comfortable wooden chairs followed. Nothing is for free though. In return I had to e-mail a letter to her niece who stays in the US and type a letter related to some investments. A cot was the next thing on my list and I bought a second hand one from a fellow Infoscion at a reasonable price(thanks BB). It is wrought iron cot with a small dent in it and it makes noises whenever I turn sides. That apart, the cot is positioned in such a place that it either hinders the opening of the cupboard or the bedroom door and has to be constantly moved. But that discomfort is more than compensated by the convenience of not rolling the bed everyday(maid servant finds sweeping the floor difficult if the bed is not rolled). A washing machine was on the cards too, but that proposal was shot down by my roomies, one of whom thinks that we already are paying the maid too much too spend more on the washing machine. Why should they be concerned anyway considering the fact that I am the only one who washes the clothes by hand after I had one of my favourite shirts torn at the hands of the maid?The next thing to do now is to cement the (small)gaps near the entrance door so that the rain water does not enter our house. I miss you Bombay.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Private Eye

It was a weird favour my friend had asked for. I am not sure that whether I should classify it as a favour. Let us call it an assignment. The task assigned needed some investigating abilities and was challenging. One of my friend's friend was getting married and the prospective groom was from my company. My friend wanted to know 'more' details about him. These details included how he looks in real life, whether he drinks or not and any other details that might be useful. I was given a strict deadline of about six hours. Now that was a difficult target to meet considering that my company has more than 36000 people. A little efforts and I came to know in which department he works. Beyond that I could not just proceed. I tried calling all the acquaintances that came to my mind who work in that department but that did not fetch any success. The six hour deadline was drawing to a close. I was stuck. My friend once again came to my desk to give me a 'gentle' reminder and I decided to give a 'deeper' thought. There was this guy who came to my mind who had last been in touch with me some six months ago and worked in the same department as the prospective groom. He was now working in the same department but in a different city. As a last resort, I contacted(via messenger) him expecting a 'I dunno him' response. But he had met the prospective groom a couple of times! My questions followed. I asked the question that I personally hate to ask. I dont know why people want to know whether a person drinks or not. He told me that atleast he had not shared the bar table with the prospective groom. The task was completed. Information was passed to my friend who in turn passed it to his friend. His friend inturn passed a 'thank you' which my friend passed on to me.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Mask Of Sophistication

A minute is all that it took for the rains to bring almost entire city of Bangalore to darkness. Harish was not feeling well and we were at Dr Nithu's dental dispensary. Dr Nithu is a cute dentist(except for the dark lipstick) and that was the only reason I accompanied Harish to the dispensary. Harish's check up was barely finished when we could hear deafening thunder. Within a minute the electricity was gone and I was using my mobile phone as a torch to guide Nithu and her clerk find candles. I could hear large droplets bang against the clinic's door. It was frightening. It seemed as if the wind would just blow the door off the shabbily and newly constructed clinic. Nithu was cool and I heard her even humming a song while writing down the prescription. She asked us to wait till the rains subsided and that did not take more than five minutes. As we left the clinic, car floodlights were the only sources of light. The short spell of showers had created a havoc and we could see more water than road. There was a huge ten feet by three feet hoarding that lay on the road obstructing the traffic. At one instance, we found ourselves trapped on an island. We had to step into the river and that would mean wetting my shoes. I tried to walk on tiptoes but the water just rushed into my shoes. What the heck? Why was I being so sophisticated? Did I not enjoy walking in knee deep waters in Bombay when I was in school? I removed the mask of sophistication superimposed on me and started walking on the flooded road, at times even enjoying the water splashes as the cars raced ahead.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

My Stocks With Udayan Mukherjee

Ever since I got a cable connection at my Bangalore house, I have been glued to CNBC. I often wondered how people ask their questions to Udayan on his show "Your Stocks With Udayan Mukherjee". Does CNBC broadcast the telephone calls live? Do they edit if you speak trash? Many questions and they were answered a few days ago when CNBC guys called me at home to ask whether I can ask a question on the show. I had filled some sick question on their site and left my contact details. They asked me to be at home(I was in Bombay) between 1700 and 1730 hours when they would call me up. They called me at 1640 just to confirm whether I was ready. At 1720, I received a call from CNBC. The operator asked me to hold the line for a minute. I could hear some advertisements which were followed by headlines. Then the following conversation ensued:(Conversation took place in 1st week of April)
UM: Our next caller for the day is Neel Arurkar, a software engineer from Mumbai. Neel, what is your question?
Me: I am looking at investments in tech stocks. Considering that fourth quarter results are around, should I invest in tier-I companies like I******,Wipro, TCS or tier-II companies like Satyam, Aztec. I have a short to medium term outlook?(I called Satyam as tier-II company !!!)
UM:Neel, let me ask you a question.Why look for short term gains? A man as young as you should have a long term prospective.
Neel: I typically hold the stocks till they appreciate for about 10% and then move out to some other stock.
UM: Doesnt 40% in two years make sense?Jamshed what do you want to say?
Neel(thinks) : 40% in two years :-( I want to double my money every fifteen days.
J: Satyam is looking undervalued at present and I would recommend my young friend to go for it.(and some explanation on why Satyam looks good)

After this, Udayan moved to the next caller and I still kept listening to the proceedings going on. It just seemed like you are listening to a TV. After a minute or two, my line got cut. As I did not have a cable connection, I could not verify if the program was being telecast live. But I did see the telecast of the show at 7pm at Heramb's house. My voice seemed so different on TV. A day later, I got a call from their studio and was asked whether I could come to their studio for a show. No... They were not going to interview me. I was going to be a part of the audience. But sadly, it was Bangalore calling. I had to reach Bangalore on the day of the show.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A New Management

A huge banner at Udipi Upchar said that the restaurant would reopen on 11th May 2005 'under a new management'. Udipi Upchar was the closest 'proper' hotel to my house. I prefered having food here on Saturday and Sunday afternoons when I was too lazy to walk a kilometre to Balaji. I conciously avoided the flies around and ignored the huge garbage dump barely 10 metres away. Now after two weeks of renovation, the 'new management' has started the new hotel. All that I have had since the hotel has reopened is a glass of juice. It cost me a rupee more. The 'new management' inlcudes new wooden chairs, a new coupon printer, a new cashier and old cooks. They have even changed the name of the hotel to Upahar Nidhi. I had often wondered what they meant by Upchar(treatment) in their old name. Upahar(food) seems more appropriate and more commonly used in Udipi restaurant names. Talking about Udipi restaurants, the Udipi suffixes and prefixes to the hotel name became popular(atleast in Bombay) after a hotelier called A.Rama Nayak started his own restaurant and urged fellow hoteliers from Udipi(a district in Karnataka,India) to use it to give brand equity to their hotel name. Now with managements changing in Udipi restaurants everywhere , the new managements are dropping the 'Udipi' from the hotel name. I am glad that the so called new management did not do the same.
For Erratum, please click on Comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Compensation Review

A day after we(all Infoscions) got our hikes, we decided to do a compensation review for our maid. It is a year since she has been hired and her raise was due. Her performance over the last financial year was reviewed. We noticed that she had stopped mopping the floor. We did not remember the last time she mopped it. On an average, she did not come for 3 days in a week. Also, she did not have much work. She had to wash four guys' clothes and sweep the floor once in a while. She was sort of 'on bench'. But then a hike was given. She was given a decent 12.5% hike. Her next appraisal target is to mop the floor once a week and fold the dried clothes and stack them up. We have noticed an change in her performance since the hike. If she sustains this performance over the next cycle, she will surely get a CRR 1.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Cigarettes Available : For Free

This was the subject of the post I put on the Bulletin Board(BB). The exact post that was posted is here --"I have 8 gold flake cigarettes with me. You don’t need to pay anything for it. The reason I am giving it to you is that I do not want to throw them away.The cigarettes will be given to the person who calls me on my extension / drops a mail to me first. Please note that you can collect the cigarettes only tomorrow after 1030 hours." There were a few comments in reply. But I feel people should know why this guy is offering cigarettes for free. These cigarettes are not mine. I found them in Rishdi's bag. If you have not read the posts below, Rishdi was a fellow passenger in our bus that met with an accident. Dheepak and me spent time with him till his friends came about 12 hours after the accident. I found a cigarette packet in Rishdi's bag and asked him whether I should let it remain there. Rishdi's parents were not aware that Rishdi smokes and he wanted the packet to be removed. This is how I got my hands on the packet. I have tried to smoke a few times before just for the sake of it but did not quite get it right. This is why the cigarettes were offered on the BB and the winner of the contest has already been decided.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

KSRTC sucks too

I did not want to write a Part III to "To God's Own Country", but just cannot resist. How can I let go the unprofessional behaviour of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) without leaving it open for searches on the web? It has been more than 15 days and 4 trips to KSRTC offices since the accident but we are yet to get our money refunded. Everyone whom we met at KSRTC office just passes the buck to someone else. We have wasted so much time on this that I dont intend to write a long post on this. Let me write about the officials we met at KSRTC. I will write their names too, because they are government servants and are answerable to me.
If you have not read previous two articles or just want to know more about the context, here is a brief description. We were travelling in a KSRTC bus from Bangalore to Ernakulam via Mysore. Our bus met with an accident near Mysore while on our way to Ernakulam. The tickets for which we(Dheepak, Subh and me) are seeking refund are to and fro tickets.

Mysore Officials : We came in contact with three officers and a few desk clerks at Mysore. The desk clerks were all horrible and the officers were all polite. The first officer asked us to wait for his two senior officers. The two officers informed us that we could get the refund only at Bangalore. The reason they gave us was that we had booked our tickets at Bangalore and they could be refunded only at the place of booking. This despite KSRTC having an computerised online system for ticket bookings. This is the typical mentality of people working with governments in India. I do not blame them for not giving refund at Mysore. It is the fault in the system(I am not talking about the computerised reservation system). One good thing about one of the officers here was that he had met a few of the victims of the tragedy at the hospltal. He also knew the driver's name, his experience and informed us that one of his legs had been amputated. These two senior officers called up the Depot Manager, GVR Venkatareddy at Bangalore to ensure that we get our refund soon on our return to Bangalore. He told us that KSRTC had given compensation of Rs 5000 to the seriously injured. Rishdi had seriously hurt his eye and did he did not get the compensation. Then why do all commuters on KSRTC buses pay one rupee towards accident relief fund when KSRTC guys are not serious about directing this money to seriously injured victims. Should they also go 20 times to the office like us and beg for money which is rightfully theirs?

GVR Venkatareddy(Depot Manager) : We never could find him in office.

Mr. Ravindranath(Assistant Traffic Manager) : When we could not find the Depot Manager, we were directed to him by some clerk. He was called the man with a walky talky. He always carried a walky talky with him and his job was directing traffic in and out of the depot. It took us about ten minutes for us to explain our case. He directed us to Depot Number 4 manager, who directed us back to this guy to submit our application for refund. We were informed that we are entitled to get full refund on our return journey and amount from Bangalore to Mysore would be deducted from the 'to' journey because we had travelled that much distance. I wanted to ask him whether KSRTC would pay for our accomodation at Mysore? Our application was accepted by Mr. Ravindranath and we were assured that he would let us know the details in 2-3 days. That never happended. Everytime I called him, he asked me to come to meet him at the Depot. And we have wasted our two Saturdays with this idiot. Everytime we go there he informs us that our application is being processed. And he assures us that he would call us in 2-3 days to let us know the status, something that he religiously forgets. I do not understand the logic behind his calling us to office. If he just wants to inform us that our application is being processed, then why does he want us to spend 2-3 hours in travelling to the Depot. A typical phone call to this idiot sounds like this:
Neel : Hello, Mr Ravindranath I am Neel.
Mr R : Elli ( go ahead in Kannada)
Neel : I am from the Ernakulam bus that met with an accident ( He never remebers me by name)
Mr R : You come to my office tommorow
Neel : Has the refund amount been arranged?
Mr R : You come (his exact words)
Neel : Has the refund amount been arranged?
Mr R : You come (his exact words)
Neel : Has the refund amount been arranged? ( once again!!!)
Mr R : Ha Ha You come.

Mr Pasha (ATS): I do not exactly know what ATS stands for, but from what I know of him it must be for A Trained Sucker. He coolly informs us that he can give us the refund on the spot if I have the tickets. Then I coolly inform him that the tickets are with you. Then he coolly informs that the tickets are at the Divisional Office of KSRTC and you cannot say that the tickets are with you. Then again I coolly inform him that by 'you' I meant KSRTC and not the fat ba***** he thinks of. He then asks us to get the tickets from KSRTC Divisional Office if we want the refund. When we tell him that the tickets were sent from people at this depot and it is their duty to get it back he smiles sheepishly. He gives us the address of the Divisional Office and removes our complaint from the public grievances file and asks us to produce it at the Divisonal Office. I refused to accept it. I would prefer that paper to lie in the files so that a rat could have a bit of it, grow fatter and bold and then have a bite of Pasha's a**e.
When I get back the money, I have decided to send an sms to these guys everyday. The sms would read " Remember that you are a public servant and to serve him/her is your duty. Whatever money you get is because of the money I pay in taxes and for tickets. I am the king. Treat me royally". Also, I would make public their phone numbers so that if anyone of the people who read my blog would want to tell them how much they suck, they can. I do not find anything immoral in making public their mobile phone numbers. After all, they are their official phones.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Apathy At The KR Hospital,Mysore

(Please Note : This is To God's Own Country -Part-II. Read the post below before coming to this post)
At the KR Hospital, the Infosys Security Officer saw to it that our forms were filled quickly. We thought that that would assure us of quick medical relief. With every minute passing by, I was having more difficulty walking around. The first step in order to get medical relief was to let a clerk know about my address, father's name and stuff like that. He also noted down what injuries I had suffered. A guy with a stethoscope sat dumbly next to him quietly. For some fifteen minutes I was in that room, I doubt if he ever uttered a word. Later, I understood that this guy who was actually a doctor, did the sole thing of filling the OutPatientDept Forms. The clerk took my left thumb in his hand and pressed it against an ink pad and then onto a register were my contact details were registered. A nurse like a machine was giving anti-tetanus to patients without changing the cotton. I did not take the anti-tetanus for obvious reasons. Well, there is no blood oozing out but still, why take chances? We were asked to proceed to a doctor who I guess was the Resident Medical Officer (RMO). A young chap of about 27, he looked confident and unshaken. While on my way to the RMO, I found a guy sitting helplessly and was calling for help. There was no hospital official to asist this chap. When I went to him, I realised that this guy had hurt his eye. A safety glass had pierced the iris of his right eye. His pants were torn in the accident and there was blood on his body, but the only thing on his mind was about the eye. I held him by his shoulder and took him to the RMO who then asked me to take him to the Ophthalmology Dept. The Ophthalmology Dept was two blocks away and I had to limp for about 5 minutes to reach there. The collapsible gate at the department was shut and I had to rattle it and shout "Koi Hey?"(Is anyone here?). A security guard who was lying on the floor, lifted his blanket and informed us that the doctor was not there. I had to convince him that this was really urgent for him to go and wake up the doctor. It was 1:30 am by then and the doctor was fast asleep. Dr Adarsh emerged from his room. As he checked the patient, I could see that he did not know what has to be done. He kept cleaning wounds on his face but did nothing much. What I thought was a simple procedure to take out the glass from his eye was not that easy. Dr. Adarsh knew that an operation was necessary and that could be carried out only in the morning when his boss comes. He asked me to go back to the registration desk and get the necessary paper work done for this guy to get admitted. This meant ten minutes of limping and 15 minutes of blabber with the officials. Before leaving Dr. Adarsh's room, I asked the patient what his name was. He was Rishdi. That was when Adarsh realised that Rishdi and me were total strangers bound just by a relation of humanity. At the registration desk, people were more interested in talking to officials who had come to enquire about the accident than to me. This place had all sorts of people - the police, the traffic police and even reporters. Earlier, a reporter had asked for an interview and was interested in showing that people from Infosys were injured in the accident. I did not show interest in speaking to him. Finally with the admitting paper work done, Dheepak and me went back to ophthalmology dept. Dr. Adarsh was a helpful guy. He came with us half way to the eye ward. Adarsh said that he appreciated the good work we were doing and I am going to take the credit for doing it(along with Dheepak) because we deserved it. Admitting Rishdi into the ward was another headache. The ward was on the second floor and the elevators were not working. We found that there was no one at the ward and it took another ten minutes to find the ward-in-charge, a lady who was busy sleeping in her room. Rishdi admitted, Dheepak and me proceeded to the OPD where I had to be examined. There were five other Infy guys(from Mysore) and they were proceeding to Apollo Hospital for checkup. Subh too decided to get the checkup done at Apollo and Dheepak accompanied him with a promise that he will be back soon with me. All the Infy guys were relatively less hurt, except for one who had fractured his leg. I could see the couple that was seated in front of me was fine too. There was no news of the ISRO guy who was sitting next to Subh. We did not see him even once after the accident. We are sure he must be fine too, but where did he vanish? During one more visit to the registration desk, I heard "erdu janag sethu" and eventhough my knowledge of Kannada is limited, looking at people's faces and knowing that 'erdu' means 'two', I could make out that two people had died on the spot.Infy guys were taken to Apollo in Infy ambulance and I was the only one left behind. There were some 10 odd people who were admitted to the ICU though. The reason for me staying behind was not only that I had to undergo checkup, but Rishdi was alone and had to undergo operation in the morning at 0830 hours. By the time the RMO checked me, it was 0330 hours. I told him that I had pain in my groins and suspected that to be a fracture. He told me that that I could walk properly it was not a fracture and asked me to get Xrayed just to be sure. He chatted with me for the next five minutes. Shravankumar Singh was from Rajasthan but could speak fluent Kannada. He informed me that he was a postgraduate and had studied in Pillani and Manipal. Shravan then proceeded to ask personal questions like what was my salary, whether I was happy with it, whether I am married and stuff like that. Probably he was benchmarking him against me. To get XRayed was not easy. It involved more paperwork. Now I was not just limping but limping with about 5 kgs of Rishdi's baggage. It was another half an hour before I was ready to go to the XRay dept. An helpful security guard not only kept Rishdi's baggage under lock and key, but also accompanied me to the XRay dept. I had to wake up guys here too. The security guard at the XRay dept did not know Hindi or did he just pretend? I was finally Xrayed and was told that I should expect the results by 1000 hours the next day. Back to the main building, I met the helpful guy who had escorted me to the XRay dept. He gave the baggage back to me and demanded "Chai-Pani". I had to shell out a ten rupee note. Rest of the time was spent on the Hospital bench-alone waiting for dawn and Dheepak. There was nothing to do till the next day when Rishdi was going to be operated and my XRay reports would be ready. Still unsure about whether it was a fracture, I waited for Dheepak till he came at about six in the morning. I stayed awake even as Dheepak lied down on the bench for a short nap of about forty minutes. At about eight, we went to Rishdi's ward where we met Dr. Adarsh. Adarsh asked us to take Rishdi to the operation theatre. At the operation theatre, it was a really long wait before we met Dr. Venkatagowda, Adarsh's boss. He informed us that the operation would involve a few stitches to the eye and then insertion of an artificial lens. Rishdi was not sure what to do and was seeking medical advice from some expert doctor from his hometown. While we waited for Rishdi's parents to arrive, we were asked to get Rishdi's eye XRayed. We stepped out of the poorly maintained Ophthalmology Dept to proceed to the XRay Dept. The operation theatre at the ophthalmology dept had dust and dirt lying everywhere. Personally I wouldnt have prefered to undergo an eye operation in such an unhygienic environment. At the XRay dept, the radiologist kept us waiting for half an hour and at the end of thirty minutes demanded a bribe, which we had to part away with. Rishdi and me then wnet to the canteen, where I spoon fed Rishdi. Rishdi was a brave guy. Even with an injury as serious as an eye injury, I could not see an element of fear in his eyes. Rishdi's friends from Bangalore had come by the time we went to the Ophthalmology Dept again. I briefed them on how to proceed and what things to do next. Rishdi handed over to his friends, I went to the XRay dept to collect my XRay, where I was politely informed that I would not be handed over the XRay since it was a Medico Legal Case (MLC). I was asked to bring the doctor who had asked for the XRay along with me. That doctor had a packed schedule till 6pm in the operation theatre and it was about 11 am then. I pleaded to the nurses over there. I told them that I had not slept for about 30 hours. That did not seem to move them. But then, I heard one of them talking in Konkani with the other. I grabbed the chance and whatever broken Konkani I know, I used it to plead my case. I was given the results in ten minutes. The language card works. The nurses directed the corrupt radiologist to some other doctor, who reported that "There is no evidence of fracture". Our accomodation was arranged by Infosys in its plush campus at Hebbal, Mysore. After about 32 hours, I retired. I had a bath only after waking up. It was a long bath. I ensured that everything was working just the way it should. I got an anti-tetanus administered from the resident docor at Infy. I did not have to limp from the next day onwards. A good 12 hour sleep assured me that I was fine. By the time I was back in office, the news had spread to everyone I knew. I was flooded with calls and visits and I narrated a story atleast a hundred times. When they ask me, how am I feeling, I state that I am fine except for a little pain in the upper thighs, with the groins euphemistically being replaced by upper thighs. I am fine now and Rishdi is fine too. An artificial lens is going to be put in his eyes in about 3 months from now. Till then, Rishdi cannot see with his right eye.