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.

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

I am what you see :-)

Holi Bumper(Updated 14th Nov)

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Kamputer Engineer

Computers still are a mystery to many and what computer engineers do all the time is beyond comprehension of most non-IT people that I have met. To speak(or write) the truth, even I did not know what they do till I started working. Ofcourse they send forwards, write blogs and play games(Damn! I send mails to my project team with my blog url in the signature). But surprisingly most people have different opinion about my job profile. Like this lady who thought that I have a hazardous work environment. She told me, now that I have got a job and will sit in front of the computer right through the day, I must protect myself from virus to remain in good health. I was about to tear my hair. "You can check your hotmail mails from US too" sounded okay now. After me spending a reasonable amount of time in the industry, this gentleman asks me what my typing speed is. I tried to explain him that, though I can type without looking at the keyboard now, that is not what I learnt in college or that is not what I am paid for. But then this one takes the cake. Subhabrata, my colleague and friend, used to work in a company that had the Jharkhand government as its client. Subh's office was the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly. Once while he was busy coding, an important visitor dropped in. He was Arjun Munda, the Chief Minister of Jharkhand. And guess what Munda had to say.
He said "ke karat ho? daata entry chal raha ka?"(What are you doing> Data entry?). From that day, Subh has stopped coding.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Customer Speaks

There are people who still live on Gandhian principles. Like the Mavawallah(khoaawallah) on MC Jawle road at Dadar who treated me as a king and with full respect even when I was a small customer considering both my age(must be ten years ago) and my purchase. Ditto about the guy near Maharaja at Kormangala who treated me with a smile even when all I bought was a 50 paise envelope. But then customer service is a term not heard by many. Nirmal and me had been to Udipi Garden(BTM,Bangalore) a few days ago for dinner. This is where I mostly have my dinner on Sundays. The usual norm here is that you are served a finger bowl at the end of yor meals only if you had ordered for some Punjabi dishes or North Indian meals. Nirmal had ordered for a NI meal whereas I went for Pav-Bhaji. The waiter got only one figer bowl and placed it in front of Nirmal. Not that I love washing my hands in a finger bowl, but their attitude sucked. Another example where the customer was not treated as a king and the SLA violated was at the Tribhuvan theatre where I went to watch Parineeta. The A/C was switched off because there were not many people in the hall. I understand that putting the A/C on might not make business sense for them, but then they should not advertise it as a fully A/C theatre. Incidents like these are innumerable. In one case, I was charged a few bucks more than the MRP as freezing charges for a cold drink. Not to enter into a big argument, I asked him whether he did the same for the ice creams. In one case, when I was about 10 years old, I was given a one year old sauce bottle after carefully scraping the manufacturing date with a blade at Brijwasi. After my parents discovered what had happened, they sent me back to 'fight back' and I shouted loudly in front of other customers and got full refund and rightly so. And I thought I was giving these people the opportunity to serve me.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Spice Jet vs Air Deccan

With the proliferation of low cost airlines in the Indian skies, I find comparing Air Deccan and Spice Jet irresistible. The comparison is based on my personal experiences and from a few reliable sources.

Aeroplanes :
Air Deccan has relatively newer A320s. Spice Jet's fleet looks quite old.
Staff :
Spice Jet has a more smiling and a cheerful staff than Air Deccan. I found them all over the airport and were more than willing to help passengers. The Spice Jet air hostesses are more courteous than their Deccan counterparts.
Snacks :
Deccan does not serve any kind of snack. Spice Jet serves 5 rupees worth of Ruffles' Lays/Haldiram's Seng, 200 ml of water worth 3 bucks(unlimited I guess) and one Alpenliebe candy worth 50 paise.
ID Checking :
From what I have heard from people, Air Deccan asks for ID proof only when you are flying on a cheap ticket. They always asked me for photo-id. Spice Jet guy asked me once for the positive id as they call it and on my return trip the girl did not bother to ask. That probably was because the flight was delayed.
Delays : Air Deccan flights are delayed most of the time. In the first month of Spice Jet's operation I heard that they were on time 91 % of the time.
Informing when delayed :
Deccan does this sometimes, whereas Spice guys don't do it yet.

I do not think that the above comparison is in any way going to affect the airlines you choose. Even if you earn a fat salary, you will go for the one that is cheapest. That's called The Middle Class Mentality.

PS: One of the untried way for impersonation that can be used. Get a railway identity card(costs 1 rupee) that accompanies a railway pass in Bombay suburban trains. You can get it from your friend who stays in Bombay. Put your photo on it and write the name of the person in whose name the ticket is booked. Laminate the card for an authentic look. Now you look like a railway employee. Of course don't try this trick at Bombay Airport. Please note that I live by my values and do not recommend impersonation.

Say Chee

Spice Jet offers snacks on board. It is a no-frills airline and do not expect a proper snack like you get in Jet Airways or KingFisher. They serve you potato chips/peanuts, mineral water and a candy on board. All worth Rs 8.50. But then people still compare it with Jet Airways which serves proper snacks. People love to crib. And why not? Cribbing really is fun. I was given a choice to choose between Ruffles' Lays and Haldiram's Seng. I went for Lays . I do not support people involved in murder cases in any form. We were nearing Pune Airport when I finished the packet of Lays. There was no tissue paper in sight to wipe my oily hands. I just wiped it to my denims. I still remember the astonished look on the face of the cutie sitting next to me. But then I didnt use the seat covers as a napkin.

Think Out Of The Box

Everytime I come back to Bangalore, I carry something for friends and colleagues. Last November, just after Diwali, I carried a huge bag full of goodies like bakarwadi, dhokla, barfi , chakli...The list was endless. All this was carried in a huge blue coloured plastic bags that hawkers use to carry their goods. I guess people on board of that Air Deccan flight suspected that no-frills airlines allow hawkers on board too. So this time, when I carried Alphonso magoes, I made sure that I did not carry the box as cabin luggage. The mangoes were carefully packed in a red box and covered with a white plastic bag. I am sure they must have looked like had grenades when scanned. At the Spice Jet check in counter, I wrote my name and phone number with a marker that the cutie provided. I asked her to handle my mangoes with care. At the Bangalore Airport, I had too wait a long time for the mangoes. Finally, I saw a red box coming on the conveyor belt. It was stripped of the white plastic bag was missing. I could not make out why the airline/airport authorities removed the plastic bag. Did they actually open to cross check for grenades? Nevertheless, I was happy because the mangoes had finally arrived. I lifted them from the conveyor and then went to Lech and Gaurav who were waiting for me. I was moving my hand all over the box to ascertain any damage, when someone patted my shoulders. As I turned around, I heard a stranger say "Thats my box of mangoes".

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pretty Old Shirts

Kashyap asked me whether it was a new shirt when I wore it to office last Friday. It is a milky white T-shirt with two press buttons. It has a different style of its own. If Kashyap is to be believed, the T-shirt is funny. Or did I look funny in the shirt? I dont know the answer, but the fact is that it is a 25 year old T-Shirt. Passed on from my dad to me because it no longer fits him, I would love to pass it to my next generation when it no longer fits me. And it is not the only old shirt that I have in my wardrobe, though it is the only one I have with me here at Bangalore. There were many more but only few could survive the barter exchange of my maternal grandmother who got copper vessels in return. One other old shirt, but not that old to fit into the category, is the shirt that Mr Machado, my maternal grandfather's friend, gave me. It is now eight years old and still going strong except for the fact that my maid brushed it so hard that it got a hole on its sleeves. It was such a comfortable shirt that I always used to wear for my exams(Note: not superstitious). Now it has been sent to Bombay for darning. And when I thought I alone am so attached to my father's old shirts or just old shirts for that matter, Keyur proved me wrong. Today morning just as he logged on to his machine I complimented him about his shirt. And Keyur said, "papa ka hai"(its my father's shirt)

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Free Drop Please

Was I praising my landlady in my last post? I have to think again. Her attitude sucks. According to the new agreement we have to pay the rent by the fifth of every month. We changed this from seventh in the old agreement. This Saturday it was the fourth of June and Harish was not feeling well. We had planned that we would pay her by evening. But that was not to be. She messaged for Harish. She told him that she wanted the money right at that moment. Now Harish is a real nice chap. He never says no to her. When Harish told her that he would get it for her in a few minutes, she said that she would accompany him to the ATM. Harish had to ferry the old lady to the ATM in the autorickshaw. The ATM is a kilometre from our home and takes minimum fare by rick. In the rick, she bitched about me. She told Harish that our old roomie Lakshman had left the room over differences in money matters with me. Now that is news to me. Does she hallucinate or is she a schizophrenic? At the ATM, Harish handed the cash to the landlady who immediately walked to the bus stop barely ten metres away. Damn! All this fuss for a free drop to the bus stop.