Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Water woes

Dealing with salesmen and the like has taken the funny bone out of me! A lot of problems owe their existance to the dependence on various faceless (no public face) companies. In the case of drinking water, Chennaiites depend on either bottled water ot Purifiers from compaies such as Eureka Forbes. Now, I resorted to an Aquaguard water purifier simply because I became tired of waiting for Kinley all hours. It's another story with Eureka Forbes. The salesman I encountered was completely unscrupulous, lying at will after giving me a damaged product. Since there is no complaint cell or proper accountability, you have to call several people aimlessly for a simple thing such as a bill and warranty card. They have a call centre, which like all call centres has no connect with the company. At the end of it all, after paying anywhere between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000, you end up calling the call centre local office and other numbers listed on a little chit that the saleman gives you for something that is rightfully yours! Obviously, replacement of a damaged product is going to be much more tedious....

Contrast this with a company like Asian paints, where the everything is organised and put down on paper. There is even a telephonic post service follow up from Mumbai - this for a product which is not life threatening as water! When are these faceless companies going to show the public a face and accountability,  and put some transparent processes in place?

Friday, April 9, 2010

He and I....

We  fight about the menu, we fight about the car
We fight, therefore we are.
He likes order in the garden, I like order in my file
But, together, we've travelled many a mile!
Numbers speak to him, words speak to me
Disparity - is this the key?
He says aqua and I say green
Over colours too we vent spleen,
Our daughter is like him, our son, like me
Together we are one happy family!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thrill seekers

We see them everyday on the roads, of course in India "only". They are the thrill seekers and come in various sizes and shapes. No, they are not stuntsmen or adventure sportsmen/women. I am talking about the "common man" - the one who is affected by the budgets, protests, strikes and such... R K Lakshman's common man. There are many categories of  common man/woman who seek an adrenaline rush every time they set foot or wheel  on the roads. Here are some stereotypes I've encountered...

The quintessential middle order shopkeeper/trader astride the largest black bike in the market, clad in his trademark white "bush" shirt and lungi sporting the city version of the handlebar moustache. He'll be bowling along merrily in front of your ride  and then just near the turn you need to take, he'll stop dead in his tracks. Wave a ham hand at a passerby (an obvious acquaintance whom I'm sure he met only yesterday), spit out paan accurately at a corporation- planted sapling and proceed thus "Hello, how are you? ..... Business is good ... the usual... you know my wife's second cousin, that no-good fellow..." Well, you know the drill, blaring horns, obscenities flying thick and fast and finally he moves his bike to the side of the road, muttering darkly about lack of manners...

The group of pimply youngsters (he could be the one who brings in your cylinder, water or whatever) - characterised by their tight shirts with all kinds of inscriptions, faded in-the-wrong places jeans, knapsacks, mobile phones with headsets dangling from the neck... These get their daily dose of adrenaline by simply jumping off the moving bus in front of your drive. Neat na? Vehicles screeching to a halt because of this acrobatic display gives them greater kicks, while you want to incapacitate them with one....

The call centre employee (most probably the owner of  that shrill preoccupied voice that you'd like to stifle once and for all; at "customer care")  - clad in the demure crepe salwar, flowers in the hair, handbag with a just over a dozen charms and that villian - the cell phone. She of course has never deciphered that the handsfree works in the same manner as the headset in office. So, she traipses along, head tilted, cell in the ear, now giggling, now chattering, now blushing... across the road! Again you screech to a halt, horn blaring, murderous intent in the eyes... "Sorry.." she says and runs across and continues traipsing, cooing...till the next vehicle is brought to its knees...(Yes, it's that same voice !!)

Of course no discussion on stereotypes is complete without the mention of the anathema of all things orderly; why the auto driver of course. He will move about in the traffic at will, now in front , now on the side, now to your left; never tires of playing hide-and-seek. He will appear on the right, cut in front and stall left. He gets his customer and zooms off leaving you and your tyre sore!

 I am sure you have met many of these and more... Do write and tell me about them.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Neighbours all!!

Statutory Warning : This piece is only part truth; mostly fiction. It was inspired by some people who lived next door; but that's it.

Neighbours, they come in different shapes and sizes
Most are nice but there are some surprises;
Like the one who had a temper so foul
I secretly  referred to him as "The Ghoul"
Or the ones who borrowed everything from milk to channa
And then made off with my world space antenna!
One neighbour's kid was a complete vandal
While her husband's behaviour caused many a scandal..
But by far the most interesting were the family of eight
who held their family meetings by the common gate
All private matters were discussed threadbare
We passersby blushed, but did they care?
What about the nice guys, aren't they worth a mention?
Sure, but it's the bad ones who grab all the attention.....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm back!

Yup, back after a long hiatus.... which I spent in the company of painters, carpenters, plumbers and their ilk. Oh, and I also lived in a permanent cloud of sawdust, putty dust and simple plain dust. My ten year old house needed a facelift and i ended up giving it half a facelift... mostly because i had by now had enough of this exalted company!
But I discovered some interesting facts... for instance, I learned that carpenters do not polish... that's the polisher's job and for polish touch-ups there's this guy (this is still a predominantly male domain)  who's randomly appointed to "finish up" and is called the "helper". My" helper", who looked like Makarand Despande on a bad hair day, really finished up the door he was "finishing up". This fellow with a wild look in his eyes, scurried between the four doors like a cartoon in fast forward, left such a trail of disaster in his wake, I have still to recover from his whirlwind tour of my house. On  the inside of the bathroom, the door frame of which he "touched up", were marks that resembled canine tracks on the beach... Another door had his thumb print  clearly etched on the freshly painted wall beside it. and a third looked like a variant of khurja pottery, with huge blobs of varnish dripping from the top....For me, personally, the final straw was when this bedraggled chap was romanced by his girlfriend/wife on his cell in the middle of this whirlwind tour. Vodafone dating tip alerts had hit pay dirt!  Anyway, the Makarand-lookalike squirmed, giggled and twirled his finger around his hair...Well you get the drift. Valentine's day was thus officially declared closed. (It was after feb 14th, so...)..

P.S : I had  half expected him to etch a neat heart on  the fresh yellow wall... black heart on yellow wall (only because he was painting the doors black). What say?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Snapshots of an enchanted childhood

There are a few snapshots in life which remain etched in memory, much like still photos stuck in an album. Here's one of my enduring memories...
Mrs. Rodrigues, my fifth standard class teacher, steamrollering into class in a bright green frock -those were days when we did not use the term "dress"- embellished with equally loud yellow and pink flowers. Throw in matching green watch straps and sandals and you have captured the essence of Mrs. Rodrigues! This dress, apart from giving any self respecting parrot a severe inferiority complex, also jolted us into complete consciousness in about 20 seconds. Not a bad ploy, considering she handled English, history and geography for the class.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Now that Quick Gun Murugan has been declared a hit, I guess we will see a spate of sequels and prequels or atleast comic tracks in Tamil featuring Bladerunner Balaji, Rapid fire Raghu, Cycle chain Chinni and so on.
The movie got most of it right... loud costumes, routine rowdy dialogue, gangster and moll senti scenes etc, but the crowd was missing. These kinda movies need a crowd in key scenes, egging on the hero, echoing dialogues...Hopefully the sequel The Good the Bad and the Idli will get that right. Not a bad Shanshanka Ghosh, Not a bad!