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Why do we Indians have to suck at providing quality service?

I have always realised, that we in India – don’t give a damn about quality.
I don’t exactly know why, but I am guessing it has something to do with the demand always exceeding the supply – considering, we’re bursting at our seams with the large population.
So, as long as the goods keep coming, the manufacturer (and not the customer) is king – and they can keep dishing out crap – because there will always be someone to buy it.
I have a complete live example to give – hence this post.
This is about the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF website).
Last year, we guys from college had gone for the 4th Pune International Film Festival and it was tonnes of fun (even though the organisation had a lot to be desired).
So, when it came around this year – we went for it again (It is still going on – at the time of writing this).
This time around, the movies are pretty good and we’re having lots of fun again – but nothing has changed organization side.
And considering it is an “International” film festival, the standards are far from it.
The schedule of movies was available extremely late – just a day before the festival and the catalogue (which has the synopsis of all the movies) – only a couple of days after the festival started.
The schedule is given only for the next 3 days (out of the total 7 days of the festival).
So, if I am working and need to really catch a movie and need to inform my boss about it, there are chances that I would be doing it only hours in advance
Quite a few movies had their running times mis-reported in the schedule – which caused a mix up of our plans.
Then, the schedule (or the catalogue) ends up having movies in the wrong category – so you never find the movie you’re looking for (there is no index or a table of content).
In 3 days the festival has been running, the schedule has on been changed on 2 occasions , on the fly. They exchanged the timing of a couple of movies minutes before they started – which again threw all our plans out of the window.
Their website (which I think is one of the most important things) is totally un-updated and you have news from PIFF 2006 lying around.
It also has a schedule section – which lists movies which have already finished showing and a catalogue section which contains information on only 1/10th of the movies running.
But, the icing on the cake is this – which actually prompted me to write this blog.
I wrote the organizers, the following email:

Dear Sir / Madam,
This is a very humble request to the organising committee to please put up the complete schedule of films on the website (preferably in the document / excel / pdf format) which is also up to date.
Today (18th), the schedule for the remaining days became available at the venues (19th onwards), but the website still shows the schedule only till the 18th.
I request you to please update this – so that we can better plan which movies to go for.
Thank you and regards,
– Saurabh Jain


To this, I got the following reply from a Moti Irani:

Please stop visiting our website we are all far too busy collect the schedule from INOX or Esquare

Hah!
Hows that for providing shoddy service and having the audacity to tell your customers to F*** Off? A perfect case of demand more than supply.
I don’t know, but if something is worth doing, its worth doing well.
In my opinion, if they have a website running, it should be updated – otherwise there is absolutely no point in having it in the first place.
[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 88. ]

Awesome upsets …

I woke up today, to the news that India lost to Bangladesh in their Cricket World Cup opening match by 5 wickets.
For those who do not follow cricket very much, or don’t see the magnitude of the situation, here is a brief comparison.

Bangladesh is a small country to the north east of India with an area of 144,000 sq. kms and a population of 147,365,352 compared to India which has an area of 3,287,590 sq. kms and a population of 1.027 billion.
Bangladesh was given the status of a test playing nation only in 2000 as compared to India who is playing tests from 1932.
And out of the previous 14 encounters, Bangladesh has managed to beat India only once.
[ stats courtesy – Wikipedia.org ]

In all fairness, Bangladesh deserved to win the match yesterday.
They played an awesome game – did everything perfectly and I am really happy for them.
The other major, major upset was Ireland beating Pakistan which was such a shocker that the Indian upset match looks pale in comparison.
But this is not what the post is about.
This entire upset situation got me thinking about the difference in professionalism exhibited by professional cricket players playing in the Indian Cricket team and working professionals in other professions (software, automobiles, etc – you get the picture).
I did some research and found out that the Indian team is the highest paid sports team in the world in terms of sponsorships.
Moreover, even if you leave out the sponsorships and other things which contribute to the income of players, the top Indian players get a salary of about Rs. 5,000,000 (USD 113,324) which makes it a professional sport.
By professional sport, I mean – Indian players now, do not need to get other day jobs (like players from other countries like Scotland, UAE have to do) – they can make do by just playing the sport.
So the thought that comes to my mind is – shouldn’t the players be made accountable if they lose a particular game – especially very pathetically?
I mean, how difficult is it to play cricket?
Every kid in the country can play cricket – so there is no extreme skill involved per se.
And when you’re a professional player, all you are supposed to do is just practice, play and be good at what you do.
At the time of writing this, the Indian team ranks 6th out of the 11 test playing teams – not a very good stat considering the amounts they make and they come from a country of a billion people compared to higher ranked, much smaller countries like New Zealand (3rd), Pakistan (4th) and Sri Lanka (5th).
If cricket is like any other profession, why shouldn’t you be penalized for screwing up?
If you’re working in say, an automobile company, and make a major mistake – you’ll not only get your salary docked, but may also lose your job.
So, why can’t this be done to our cricketers?
If its a profession, why should there be different rules and points of views of judging performances?
Maybe losing marginally to a much stronger team very closely could be forgiven – after all its a sport, but then any major loss should be properly penalized and salaries should be docked.
I might be prejudiced and harsh and just talking through my head, but don’t most of the people think that nowadays, its the “money” which is the biggest incentive for the men in blue?
So be it …
What say?
[ Min number of posts to go till Mar 17, 2008 : 89.]

Remember remember … (V for Vendetta)

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot. Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!
A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah! Hip hip hoorah!

V for Vendetta” is an excellent movie.
Apart from the brilliant acting, direction, cinematography and everything else which made it such a treat to watch, it had a very, very strong message …

“People should not be afraid of their governments … The governments should be afraid of their people …”


PS: The following blog contains references to the movies “V for Vendetta” and “Rang De Basanti” … Though the references might be obvious to the plot of the movie, it may turn out to be spoilers for the majority of the people who haven’t seen the movies.

So, if you do intend to watch the movies, I must sadly ask you to skip this post … else, please carry on …

Though, we as Indians cannot relate to the movie a lot, I think most of the americans will be able to …
Michael Ironside who does voice acting for Sam Fisher – an NSA agent in the game “Splinter Cell” says that there are only two primary emotions that every animal understands : more so human beings – “Love and Fear”
What America is going through or went through (atleast from what we hear or see here) corresponds in some way the Britain in the movie “V for Vendetta” is going through …
I remember – after the 9/11 attacks, people were petrified beyond belief …
In the movie, “V”, which is an analogy to the Guy Fawkes incident, V (Hugo Weaving) successfully bombs the parliament building (without killing innocent people).
Though actually blowing up a building does not solve much of a purpose practically, it does bring hope and faith to the people and shows the government that people are not to be taken for granted.
According to him (V), its not the act of destroying a building, but the ideology behind it and what it (the building) stands for that you are destroying.

Strength through unity! Unity through faith!


Anyways, the problem with the government in the movie was that it was bullying its people and using fear as a method of controlling them.
That got me thinking whether a similar scheme of things would work for our country …
The problem with India is that its not bullying its people in a way that blowing up a building (parliament maybe?) would solve .
The problems that India faces (from its government) is mainly of corruption and apathy and having incompetent fools who don’t know what they are supposed to do.
Unlike the U.S, there is no restriction on the number of times someone can come to power, so the main agenda of the politicians is to please the majority voter bank before the elections so that they can be elected again.
A prime example is the government trying to impose another 27% reservations for the OBC (Other Backward Classes) (taking the total reservations to 49.5%) in the Education sector. The main reason for doing this, as blatantly mentioned by many of the politicians is to please a section of the society.
Thanks to the election commission, this matter has been halted for the time being and now the government is giving thought whether the move would be politically feasible for them.
In such a scenario … another movie comes to mind which I recently caught – “Rang De Basanti”.
In the movie, some college students go and assasinate the defence minister of the country because he was corrupt.
Again, the movie was brilliantly made and a treat to the eyes.
In the movie, after they have knocked off the defence minister (which is a relatively easy thing to do) – and not get caught, the government puts the assasination blame on terrorists (India has plenty of them to pass the blame around) and work of Pakistan’s ISI.
However, our protagonists go to a radio station and broadcast saying that it was them and not some terrorists who knocked off the minister – also giving complete reasons as to why they did it. This is the best part of the movie and apparently brings the government down to its knees.
However, unfortunately, these unarmed students are gunned down by the special task force with orders from higher authorities that there should be no survivors left.
Again, though going and knocking off corrupt politicians one by one may seem to some – an excellent method to rid the country of idiots, it will take a very long time and is not at all feasible. (because India has just so many politicians … we are the largest democracy in the world)
Besides, you also run the risk of getting killed soon…
This actually got me thinking and being the conspiracy theorist that I am … what if … just what if … the Parliament Attacks on Dec 13, 2001 were not actually done by millitants, but a couple of kids who just wanted to change something …
(some sort of a Rang De Basanti meets V for Vendetta)
But the bottom line is … change by the constitutional means … going to vote, electing a new government, etc etc … takes a very long time …
We need a V 😉

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. I see no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Of education and jobs and you know … money !

We had our final practical exams today – which went relatively well.
The external examiner, apart from being a jovial fellow, turned out to be pretty much entertaining also …
Anyways, I did finish my program (assignment we are supposed to code in 3 hours) well before time and was left musing on some issues, which finally resulted in this post.
A recent news article flashed through my memory – one which in 4 ISB (Indian School of Business) graduates were offered jobs which paid salaries of approximately Rs. 10,400,000 – the highest that any MBA graduate from the country.
Now, ignoring the fact, that the salaries are actually in US Dollars (USD 233,800 to be precise) and these students will probably be abroad (where it is much more expensive to live), the salaries ARE pretty high. More so, when you are starting in a company.
Now comparing this to the salaries that we (Engineering graduates) from the Pune University make – which is more or less in the range of Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 450,000, it would take us approximate 20 years to make the same amount that one of these ISB guys make in 1 year.
Which in more harsh and simpler terms means that one of these 4 guys will make more in 15 days of working compared to what we guys will make in a year of working.
A pretty compelling reason to do an MBA, ain’t it?
However, IIM-Ahemdabad, which is considered one of the toughest schools in the world to get into and which is also one of the better IIMs in the country, has a national average package of Rs. 1,000,000 (10 lacs) and their highest Indian offer was Rs. 3,400,000 (34 lacs). I’m not aware of their international packages.
Makes you do some thinking …
Doing some more research on this subject, brought me to this very interesting artice by the Hindustan Times – titled : The Jobs Paradox
A quote from the article states:

They are qualified engineers and MBAs, but they have no jobs. India had more than 60,000 unemployed graduate engineers at last count, according to government figures. No official figure for unemployed MBAs has been published yet.
And yet, India also has a shortage of skilled technical manpower. The country will face a shortfall of 1,50,000 IT engineers in 2010, says a Nasscom-McKinsey report released four months ago.

The article further goes to say that though India produces a LOT of Engineers and other graduates – many of them are “unemployable”.
The only standard body governing technical education in the country is the AICTE – which sadly cannot maintain standards … Most of the institutes certified by them are not upto the standards at all – and it does not take an expert to notice this.
Another problem (which the article also states) that there is big shortage of good teachers. The main reason being that teachers don’t draw a big salary in most of the colleges. Freshly placed students tend to make as much as the teachers – if not more … one reason, why teaching is not such a lucrative option and why there is such a dearth of good teachers.
Even in my college, though we always tend to get good overall results every year, barring a few teachers, others don’t make a case for joining the college.
This is the case with most of the colleges around Pune – even the so called better colleges.
A good teacher is recognised instantly and respected by all the students – so we do get to hear accounts of “good” teachers – but these have been too far and few …
This finally brings us back to the question of how the results tend to be good irrespective of the teachers?
There are two points to the answer – students who are sincere and/or brilliant from the beginning who carry themselves through and a very redundant and predictable education system – the latter of which I’ll leave for discussion on a different article.
Hence, this creates a catch 22 situation.
Colleges, in order to do well, need to pick good students from the starting — and good students only go to colleges that are doing well.
The case with our college is slightly different – its more of a proximity thing.
Our college is located in the heart of the city – and thus is more or less close to every corner of the city. ( The average time of getting to college is about 15 mins)
This draws more or less the good students from around who probably don’t want to spend their lives travelling to colleges – and hence, the college is doing well.
But at the end of the day, all the colleges are failing to produce engineers which companies can use – so much, that the companies, given up all hope of finding good people, have started picking up good students early (before graduation) and training them on weekends – so that, by the time they pass out, they can start working immediately.
Then there is the question of reservation – and with it now poised to reach 50%, I pity the students and more so the companies – because finding good talent will become even more difficult.
One of the recruiters who came to our college mentioned that they prefer “a particular college in the city” over others – because they have no – or very low reservation policies.
Hence, the probability of finding brilliant students is much more there.
Other colleges do have brilliant students, but they are more difficult to locate and generally lost because of such reservation policies.
Something for everone to ponder about …
By the way, do give the original article a read. Very worth it …
Links here : The Jobs Paradox – Hindustan Times

Reports from a Bank …

I don’t know how many people will agree with me, but ICICI banks, generally, suck !
All the money they spend on the Amitabh Bachan ads and the stupid “Bharosa hai” campaign could be put to better use, buying some sense for the people running the bank.
My dad and grandfather both have an account at the Shangrila Garden ICICI branch which is quite near my college – and to my great misery as well.
The proximity of the bank to my college, accounts for my gzillion trips to the bank – mostly to deposit cheques and stuff.
These guys have installed a cheque accepting machine, which, hardly anyone knows how to use – and most people are afraid, would eat up their cheques.
If you want to withdraw money, you probably have to wait in line for 20 minutes atleast during anytime of the day – at the ATM adjacent to the bank – which most probably is out of cash and is being refuelled. In relation to that, if you need cash due to a financial crisis that you’re experiencing go now at cashcomet’s official website. They are always open to help people even though they have bad credit. Many times, I’ve had to deal with their not so helpful employees who’d give you the “Oh – why the hell did you ever be born” look everytime I made a minor mistake filling out a form or something.
Once, they refused to make me a demand draft to pay my fees ( which I had to do in about 4 hours time ) because apparently, their central server was down.
So, basically, ICICI is one of the banks in my “I will not bank here off my free will” list and atleast for the time being, plan to keep it there.
So, today, to my awesome luck – I was to go and deposit a couple of cheques ( 4 actually ) in the bank.
I was already late for my first lecture at 8, so I decided to bunk it and go and deposit the cheques first. ( the bank opens at 8 am )
So, I enter the bank at 8:30 – and I learn that I cannot use the machine to deposit the cheques and I need to do it the old fashioned way off the counter.
Then to my surprise, I learn that they have changed the system and I now need to take a token to even do that …
Agony !!!
Anyways, I do that and wait …. and wait … and wait …
With about 10 minutes left for my next lecture and still about 20 guys in front of me at 8:50 in the morning, I throw my token in the bin and decide to come back later.
Fast forward to 1:15 pm
I enter the bank again – and it seems like the entire population of Pune had decided to bank at the same time.
There is total chaos at the bank – with about gzillion people running about, with no place for a guy like me with his big college bag to even stand.
I knew I had it !
Luckily, the token generating machine crashed – and all the token numbers of the gzillion people there got mixed up.
When I went to get my token – the guard asked me to just go directly and give the cheques to the person at the counter.
There was a line out there – surprisingly consisting of only 5 people. I blessed the guard for having some sense and headed for the counter.
Now here is where the surprises start.
The female at counter number 5 – inspite of all the chaos and rush and madness was pretty chilled out.
She was actually genuinely smiling and thanking all the people for banking there.
She actually apologized when she asked another female to fill out another form which the other female herself had screwed up!
Hmm …
When my turn came – I gave her the entire pile of 4 cheques – she flipped through them – and found that the last cheque slip did not have my dad’s cell phone number.
The horror !
At other times, I would have gotten a look from the employee which would make me want to kill myself and everyone else in the room – but this time, this person at the other end of the counter, just smiled – and said “Sir, all the cheques will go separately – so you need to fill the cell phone numbers on all the slips.”
I was dumbstruck! I just took the slip, filled it up, and returned it back to her which she promptly stamped and returned the counterfoil back to me.
I slowly made my way out of the maddening crowds – the counterfoils in my hand – wondering what was going on …
Maybe ICICI got some employee etiquette program going on – or maybe she was just a nice person.
Anyways, need more such service around.
Even though I still don’t approve of ICICI, just want to give credit where it is due …
So there …

Torture on the airwaves …

 

The Pakistani’s have developed a new torture technique.
It’s guaranteed to get any information out, from any human being, or even otherwise.
What they do is, they tap into Doordarshan signals broadcasted every Sunday night at 9:30 pm and tape this serial called “Kalakaarz”.
Then they repeat the 30 min episode 6 times to make it a 3 hour long version and store it by day and date.
They also rank it from 1 – 5 stars depending on the intensity of torture the show can inflict.
Then they tie the victim to the chair, in front of the T.V and play the tape.
Apparently, they later realized that making a 3 hour version of the episode was a waste of man power and good ol’ tape, because the victims would either surrender within the first 7 minutes, or if they resisted, they would die by the 9th minute of the episode.
Tests show that none of the victims survived after the 11th minute.
So now, they just tape the first 15 minutes of the episode and save multiple episodes on 1 tape instead.
Quite a save, don’t you think?

Not having cable has its good as well as bad effects.

The good thing is that you have ample time (about 3 hours everyday more) than your fellow mates to put to better use.
The bad thing is that once in a while, when you just want to take your dinner and sit in front of the T.V. set, you have only one channel to turn too.
And with Doordarshan and its C grade programming, you’d be better of watching the static screen.
Today was one such day.
I happened to turn on the T.V and watch – one complete episode of that crappy show “Kalakaarz” which recently started on DD – and the worst part is, I somehow managed to survive through the entire show (Doing Engg gives you a lot of patience).
The show is about trying to scout for acting talent.
It is definitely in response to the huge successes that shows like Indian Idol and Fame Gurukul have been.
But even though I don’t like the way these shows go about doing what they do, at least they have some quality standards.
No offence, but the people who turn up as participants on the Doordarshan show, would not even qualify to be extras in a C grade flick, even if they offered to work for free.

And I have heard, that these participants undergo a number of screening tests before they go on air.

Woah ! Can you imagine how bad the people must be who dont make the cut?
Or maybe no one turns out for the auditions.
So what these Doordarshan people must be doing is, sending out agents to catch people from the street opposite their studios, kidnap their family members and threaten to kill them unless they turn up for the show.

I really, really pity the judges who come on the show.
Atleast we have the remote control.
I know Doordarshan charges a LOT for advertising time … even on the most crappiest shows, because their TRP is generated automatically.
If you don’t have cable, then you’re watching Doordarshan – and the number of people not having cable in India is pretty high …
The only real good thing about this entire crappy TV channel is that you get to watch decent news and the occasional India match, if its being played in India itself.
My entire point being, if Doordarshan charges so damn much to put up advertisements and the people watching the channel is HUGE, why don’t decent shows go to it?
And why does it not push for better shows?
It is not that you cannot make out whether a show is good or not till the end.
It’s right there – on your face – and its pretty much pathetic.
And most of the shows look like table scraps from bigger distributors (Balaji telefilms) which were thrown out from other channels.

Doordarshan, once upon a time, was pretty darn good.
Remember Malgudi days, Surabhi, Amravati ki Kathayen, Tipu Sultan, etc etc?
They even had Street Hawk (man how I miss that show) and Knight Rider (pretty lame by today’s standards, but still watchable)
Now, those were some really good shows – even compared to today’s standards.
They should probably dump all the crap they are showing now and revert back to the programming of about a decade ago.
Sure it won’t be glitzy and glamorous with pretty looking stupid women who do nothing but cry, bitch and conspire all day … but I bet it would have class and grace … and probably more “cable” TV watching audience would even consider tuning into to maybe watch Malgudi days.

And I challenge any of you cable viewing folk to tune into Doordarshan on Thursday nights at about 9 – I think to watch this show called “Aankhen”.
Thats probably the only other show which could beat the one I mentioned above.
Writing more about it, would be wasting blogger’s bandwidth and mine also.
So, I shall stop right here.
Thank God for the “moddable” XBOX and Bit torrents and the amazing number of people who seed TV shows like LOST, Whose Line is it Anyways, Joey, etc etc 🙂
And all your college buds who believe in sharing 🙂
I love you guys 🙂

Politics and Religion

I cannot, for the life of me, comprehend how people – completely logical, sane people – make rules to govern the country based on some religion bias.
If you think, this does not happen in India, you should just take a look around.
Most of the things in our country are based on religion bias.
To me, religion should be a thing which you should practice at home. Period.
Don’t bring it out.
Your a hindu, he’s a muslim, he’s a Parsi, he’s catholic – who gives a damn?
Where in the world is all this going to help?
Will it help me get a job?
Imagine me walking into a company, slam my resume on the desk and yell “Hey you ! Yes you there! I’m a jain … now gimme a job!”

I don’t know if this actually is possible – but the thought that it could be … even in the remotest, possible way is very scary.
Unfortunately, this does happen on the caste level – which is just as stupid.
So many times you find advertisements in the newspaper which go:
Vacancy for the post of a professor: 7 (Open 3, ST 2, BC 2)

Not only is this really bad, what it does is turns us Open category people against the reserved caste people even when we previously had no problem against them.
C’mon – if I was a BC and had a certificate, I would be stupid NOT to use it to get a reserved seat in a college or a job.
But what the law in turn does is, gets the open category people pissed off on the reserved category people – and many times people don’t spend a minute to realise that its not
the reserved category people which are to blame, its the damn, stupid pre historic laws.
And why aren’t they changed?
Because it is suicidal.
Governments go to power to actually stay in power for eternity.
Doing this will make sure, a large percentage of their votes get depleted.
The biggest, most stupidest things that I have seen on Earth – something which walks away with the top prize for the Most Stupidest, Idiotic thing ever – are religious riots.
Hehe …
It is like we all have a set of Pokemon cards, and we pull out swords and sticks and go at each other’s throats because the other guy said that my Pokemon’s powers were not good enough, or it was crappy.
Who cares?
I mean … most of the religious backgrounds are based on mythological – fairy tale stories.
These things never happened.
But amazingly enough, the people who invented them, must be geniuses because thousands of years down the line, they are still effective – people are still fighting over the same, stupid reasons from the time that they were invented.
Somehow, I don’t believe when people say that religion teaches you to live life in a nice way.
It does set down some guidelines on what you should do, but at the end of the day, isn’t it just common sense?
Does it have to be written somewhere that it is wrong to kill another guy, or steal from someone else?
If you are not from India, you will not believe that we actually have different laws for different religions…
Some laws go like “You are supposed to do this, this, this blah blah … unless you are a Muslim” or “You are not allowed to do this and this, unless you are a Hindu …”
How about inventing one which says “If you kill another person, you will actually go to jail. Unless of course, you are a Jain – in which case, you shall be given the President’s medal”
That’d be really cool 🙂
I studied in one of the best schools in Pune.
But, it was a convent school – Catholics being the minorities and so, had some reservations.
I mean, if you think about it, their primary aim is to encourage Christianity – it being run by the Jesuit society.
But then, that is not a valid enough reason to justify a boy with 60% getting into the institute just for being catholic over a non catholic boy getting 85%.
In the junior college, there were even reservation over vocational seats – the situation was that you could get a Computer Science seat only if you were catholic with a decently high percentage or a non catholic with an impossibly high percentage – above 90% which is only possible if you have just topped the boards exams, or are from one of them ICSE schools.
What this does again, is divide the students.
Imagine how pissed off a student would be who scored 89% and missed out a computer science seat just because another guy with 75% got it because of his religion.
In the hunt for an engineering college, I actually came across this college in Solapur, which had reservations for Jains.
I was like “Full on. For the first time, I can get a taste of reservation.”

So, me and my dad go on a one day picnic to Solapur to check out the college and apply for it.
However, to my bad luck, the college was not what I expected it to be (it sucked in my POV) – and I probably would have hung myself on my second day there.
So, we came back which brought an end to my “reservation” dreams.
Hehe … probably reason why I am so pissed off with this entire issue and am writing this.
But on a serious note, I just can’t imagine why normally sane and logical people write such atrocious laws.
I mean, it’s like a very bad director making a crappy movie and he knows it – because, he can actually see how it is coming out.
But instead of stopping it and improving it, he goes ahead and makes it anyways …
I mean, c’mon…. grow a brain!

BUC – Bandwidth under Control

I don’t know how many of you know this, but BSNL has got this awesome feature called “Bandwidth under control” in which, they themselves help you in controlling your broadband usage.
I am using the Rs. 500 plan in which I get a 256 kbps line and a 1 GB limit for a month.
Now, 1 GB per month is roughly 33 MB per day.
I generally stick to about 25 – 35 MB per day, which keeps me in the 1 GB safe zone … however, during exams and submissions and seminars, this limit touches about 55 – 60 MB per day.
So, what BSNL does is awesome …
During the peak time, exams and practicals and stuff, my phone magically goes dead for 2 days.
No phone, no broadband.
This works perfectly.
Coz, during the peak times, when I really need to use the internet, I would be hitting about 150 MB in 2 days.
So, by cutting my phone, these guys help me save up on that.
It’s really awesome you know …
You should definitely give it a try …

Ad – Sense …

Wanted to talk about this topic since ages … but never actually got the chance …
Anyways, now that I am totally useless with nothing better to do, wanted to take this up …
Ads … hmm …
You get all kinds of them …
And ad making is not easy …
Imagine getting your message across in less than 15 seconds … something experienced speakers cant do in hours of speech.
It is an art …
How many times have you seen an ad, and gone
“Woah … Who ever thought of that must be God Damn brilliant !”
I do all the time …
The only thing going on in India, which we can probably compare on a world level – if you really think of it, are the ad agencies …
Ofcourse, we have all these crappy, utterly disgusting ads, which make you wanna run to the sink and puke …
Like all those Fair and Lovely ads …
I really hate them !
Apart from promoting low self esteem and making women believe that no one will marry you, if you are not fair, they come up with such utter crap like the one in which a mom and her daughter keep showing 5 fingers to each other signifying that a new sachet costs only 5 bucks.
Aaaarghhh !!!
That pissing off ad ran for so long, that I swear, I could have strangled the guy who made it if I ever saw him on the streets …
And now, that they get a person like Shehnaz Hussain in the ad, who looks absolutely – horrific, their ads have reached an all new low.
I guess she looks like that due to trying out all her products on herself first …
Anyways, I dont want to talk about all these “crap, waste of air space ads” …
I want to talk about those extremely slick ones doing the rounds nowadays … which give you that big grin on your face and that “woah !” feeling …
I really, really, really love the Tata Safari Dicor ad – the one which reads “Reclaim your life”
The “I always wanted to quit on Monday mornings” line, then the guy in the suit standing alone as the sea of humanity passes him by….
The “I always wanted to ride the waves” line, and then finally the car jumping out with the musical cresendo in the background is just so brilliant !!!
These guys got everything just perfect … and I just cant get enough of it …
Come to think of it, Safari has always had very nice ads.
Remember the one with the Canoeing and the “Make your own roads” punchline ?
That was very cool for its time …
The other really good ad doing the rounds nowadays is the Bajaj Avenger – “Feel like God” ad.
That is also brilliantly done … just loved it …
The punchline comes so very nicely in the end, that you cant help grinning everytime you see that ad …
Another product, which sometime ago had excellent ads, but now they mostly suck is Pepsi.
At one particular point of time, all their ads were brilliant.
The Sumo soccer players one and then the one in which the sky diver feeds the birds some pepsi, were really good ones.
I remember skipping through channels just to catch the Sumo Wrestler ad when it was first aired.
Can’t remember it properly now, but wasn’t one of their first Indian ads – one in which Aishwarya Rai ( before she became Miss World ) asks Amir Khan for a pepsi, and he jumps around, hopping from one bus to another finally manages to get her one ?
Now, both of them have switched to Coca Cola … :p
Coca Cola, in comparison, always had bad ads …
They weren’t any smart, but always piggybacked on the star power of Amir Khan and whichever people they could hire …
Their only catchy ads were about the Amir Khan one in which he pulls out bottles of coke from the well …
The only other cool ad which comes to mind, even though it gets bugging after a while was the close up one – “Kya aap close up karte hai ?” ad.
It was so different that it had to work.
And lastly, the Pulsar stunt ad, which these 2 bikers show off on Pulsars on a bridge was too slick to be an indian ad.
Very nicely done …
One thing I would really want to do is be part of the creative team which comes up with the Safari or the Avenger or the Pulsar ads …
So, incase you have unlimited resources, and are in need of a damn good ad idea, look me up 🙂
I shall be happy to provide you with my creative insights …

Slaves to technology …

Councillor Harmann: Down here, sometimes I think about all those people still plugged into the Matrix and when I look at these machines I… I can’t help thinking that in a way… we are plugged into them.
Neo: But we control these machines; they don’t control us.
Councillor Harmann: Of course not. How could they? The idea is pure nonsense. But… it does make one wonder… just… what is control?
Neo: If we wanted, we could shut these machines down.
Councillor Harmann: [Of] course. That’s it. You hit it. That’s control, isn’t it? If we wanted we could smash them to bits. Although, if we did, we’d have to consider what would happen to our lights, our heat, our air…
Neo: So we need machines and they need us, is that your point, Councilor?

Councillor Harmann: No. No point. Old men like me don’t bother with making points. There’s no point.

Neo: Is that why there are no young men on the council?
Councillor Harmann: Good point.
=============================================
Remember this conversation ?
If you have seen Matrix Reloaded, you probably have … one of the very key points the movie makes …
Just a few days ago ( 3 and a half to be precise ), my phone line .. from which I get my broadband, got dinked …
And, this, as you must have guesses it, starved me out of my internet connection.
Now, I am NOT one of your classic nerds or geeks who cannot do without the internet … I can …
But somehow, not being able to access it, check email and stuff, made me restless …
I could no longer … just connect and google for something that I didnt understand …
Didn’t know how to do something ? Then was just stuck up there …
Probably had to pick one of the reference books I had bought years ago and flip through the pages …
In other words, I was plain paralysed …
Life was not always like this …
During my dial up days ( may they rest in peace ), when the prices would pinch the pocket, I could do without checking my mail 3 times a day …
Whenever got stuck, would pull out some book and actually go through it …
Just the other day was talking to one of my friends and we were discussing, how we no longer consider accessing the internet as a privelege … or it being something cool …
Its a way of life …
And it confuses me and makes me wonder, how some students doing Engineering have no email account .. or most of them check emails like once in a year, which causes their accounts to expire.
Ignorance is bliss I guess …
Once you get sucked into all this, it gets difficult to pull out …
Technology makes life simpler for you … but then once you have used it, addiction is imperative.
Also, depending on technology, so much, in a country like India, where the basic infrastructure is not strong enough to support technology … is very dangerous …
Like, I had to send a parcel to US the other day … and went to the post office at 8 in the morning hoping to wrap it all up by 8:30
Of course, they didn’t have lights …
I had to wait for an hour while they got their UPS or generators, or whatever they had – started … because without computers, they could not process my parcel …
How did they do it BEFORE they started using computers ???
Another place where all hell breaks loose is banks and bill paying counters which use computers exclusively … and the lights go …
Had to pick up a draft from ICICI to pay my Engg fees .. and they could not process my request because their central servers were down …
And they, for the love of God, could not give me a hand written draft like in the good old days …
Had to wait for four hours for a draft, which I could easily get in 10 minutes from a co operative bank still doing work the old way …
( I am saying this coz I think almost all Nationalised Banks and Private Banks in Pune are now computerised … Actually most of the co operative banks are too … yay !!! )
My point in this entire discussion being … using technology for simplifying your life, is like tasting blood ( please … I’m speaking figuratively ) … it becomes extremely difficult to go back to old ways …
And if you’re in a country like India, and still get roped in, don’t forget how to do things the old way …
Not yet … anyways …