Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2014 – Can India give its mandate for development?

Being a middle aged Indian citizen and an Aam Aadmi, am looking for a new Government. A government who can really make my life better (am least bothered how much development we did on paper - excel sheet). It really makes me think, when the Central Government says we are 'growing', and I see despite earning more than what I used to earn before, my bank balance keeps on doing down. If India is growing then I should also grow, after all am very much part of India.

For me it doesn't matter which party forms the next government. What matters is which government can provide me better governance? Why can't we have a debate between the Prime-ministerial Candidates on how better then can help India to grow?

An aam aadmi  like me would like to look something on these lines from the next government.

Better India

  • Real financial growth in India and all Indians.
  • Removing corruption from netas to grassroot employees.
  • Developing ‘real’ good institutes (from school to Universities). Focusing on ASK (Attitude – Skill – Knowledge).
  • Emphasizing on manufacturing sector and agriculture. Increase production of both by at least 25%.
  • Allowing FDI in every sector and ensuring Indian companies are good enough to compete with them. 
  • Working towards ‘customer friendly’ business
  • Working towards one India – not dividing the country based on religion, caste
  • Using technology for better administration, monitoring
  • Honoring true ‘freedom of speech’ for all the citizens of the country.
  • Improving the internal security of the country.

Civic Sense

  • Instating proper civic sense among Indian citizens.  When we go aboard we follow proper civic sense, back in our country we treat it as a dump yard.
  • Ensuring dump bins are cleared regularly, Municipality / Corporation workers picking up garbage from home (without asking for bribe)
  • Clean Roads

Road – City Traffic

  • Good roads
  • Indian drivers with better road traffic sense. (By not doing the following – wrong lane driving, rough driving, jumping working traffic signals, not respecting other drivers,  honking without reason)
  • Drivers driving with passion not being inspired by the ruthless driving on movies
  • Using indicators while changing lane, turning. Generally Indian drivers drive use indicators after taking a turn.
  • Working traffic signals
  • Proper road dividers
  • Pedestrians having sense of understanding traffic rules
  • Honest traffic police 
  • Better public transport
  • Auto with meters (which are used) and autowala with better customer service

Health Care

  • Making health care (hospitals – medicine – medical treatment etc.) within reach of common people
  • Improving working conditions of government run hospitals. It should be mandatory for all the doctors to practice at government run hospitals for at least 8 hrs a week
  • Mandating patient first policy for the doctors. 
  • Curriculum focused on student development, ensuring student growth in ASK method
  • Abolishing 'private tuition'. This only shows how weak our education system is, students require tuition as school / institutes dose not go enough to fulfill the student requirement.
  • Examination system should be developed to judge the knowledge of the student. Examination should not be a competition tool.
  • Proper aided R&D system should be set up
  • 'Brighter' students should be encouraged to go for R&D in India.

Note: this write up is in WIP mode. I will keep on updating the document till the next elections.

Monday, July 22, 2013

TataSky Cheap Tricks

I was using the TataSky SD Set-top box for past 7 years, and had subscribed to Annual Mega SD pack for past few years. Also I am quite happy with the services provided by them. Recently TataSky is advertising about upgrading to TataSky HD at Rs.1800. I spoke with their people about the upgrade. They said its quite easy and I would be able to view HD channels also. They also added that the first month is free (for HD) and henceforth I would need to pay Rs. 100 per month as HD access fee.

I liked the offer and went ahead with the upgrade. Now after the upgrade the TataSky gets back and says I wont be able to view HD channels unless I upgrade the pack to Annual Mega HD pack. This was fine with me, so I told them please go ahead with the upgrade on a pro-rata basis (my Annual Mega SD pack is up for renewal in October) and deduct the amount (about Rs. 300) for next three months. This is were the problem starts. TataSky says that's not possible. To upgrade I need to do annual renewal and pay about Rs. 4500.

My question to TataSky is:
  1. When TataSky is offering HD with HD Access fee of Rs. 100 I don't understand why an Annual Mega SD pack customer pay the access fee and watch HD channels? Were as non annual pack subscriber can access the HD channels by paying HD Access fee. So TataSky to me shows very bad consumer service to a annual pack subscriber. 
  2. It seems the TataSky ground staff are not trained (as I was never told about the issue when I spoke with them) with company norms and policy. 
Now I need to think if:
  1. I should still continue with TataSky?
  2. If I do continue, should I downgrade to some base pack and add HD channels?

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Experience of buying Ertiga from ABT Maruti, Chennai

ABT Maruti - Guindy showroom is one of the terrible showroom. The sales guys are too good. They will promise the moon, and always say that the cars are in stock. I had a bitter experience with them. Even after paying them entire amount they started delaying in getting the car registered. The sales person Mr. Rajeev M Kumar, Senior Sales Officer (Mobile: 09677036623, 09500990141) who did my booking never bothered to follow up or call back. He keeps on lying on everything you ask him.

The Sales Manager in ABT, Mr. Venkatesh Kumar (Mobile: 9994492407), also plays an active part in taking the customer for a ride. Though he is the most well behaved sales guy among all the sales executive at ABT. Here is a walk through of my buying experience at ABT Maruti.

After visiting Popular Maruti, and Khivraj Maruti - Besant Nagar (Khivraj guys was not even interested in selling the car) I had visited ABT Maruti on 5 May around 6 pm. By the time I walked to ABT Maruti I had decided to buy Ertiga VXI, Serene Blue color. So, for them I was a decided customer. Mr. Rajeev first tried selling me the disel version (even after I asked him about the model and color which I was looking for). Finally, he checked his stock and said the vehicle of my choice is available with them and he can get it within 7 days. His calculation of 7 days was 3 days for Bank loan and 3 days for registration, one day was buffer. He also made me meet the SBH Bank Manager, who took all the details required for processing the loan. I had agreed with his commitment and walked out of the showroom saying by next Wed, I would walk in and book the car, so that he can start the process. 

When I inquired about the documents which is required to be submitted. The sales executive said I need to submit the following:
  • Form - 16 (of last two AY)
  • Address Proof (either of the following BSNL Landline bill, Govt. Undertaking Bank Passbook, Passport,Gas Bill)
  • ID Proof (they insisted on PAN Card)
  • 6 months bank statement (as i was going for finance)
  • 2 photographs
The sales executive never bother to tell me the actual number of photographs he required. Finally, for
finance I had to submit 2 passport size photographs, for RTO registration 7 passport size photographs.

As promised I walked in to ABT (8th May) to book the car. Paid, Rs. 10,000 signed the required documents. I had asked for the details for RTO registration amount, which Mr. Rajeev promised to get back (but never did eventually). Also during the booking Mr. Rajeev promised to deliver the car on 15 May. I waled out of ABT smiling, and thinking wonderful service. Little did I know that time, that ABT is going to take me for a ride. 

Bank Loan
When the SBH bank manager didn't get back for the loan document, I called up Rajeev (from ABT) only to find out he passed on the documents to Kotak Mahindra Bank. He did all these even without asking for my permission. Finally, when I said that I will cancel the deal, he then handed over the documents to SBH. The SBH branch manager did an excellent job, and ensured the loan gets sanctioned as fast as possible. 

Final Payment

Finally next Tuesday I walked in to ABT (14 May) to get the Loan documents signed and handover rest of the payment which was pending from my end to ABT. 

After making all the payments when I asked for the date on which they will deliver the car, they said it will be next Wednesday, which meant 9 days. When enquired about the reason both Rajeev and Venkatesh gave me the following reason.
  • Cheque to get realized. (Cheque got realized on 16 May. Didnt understand why local cheque gets so long to get encashed)
  • After entire payment is received the dealer raises invoice (the invoice was raised on 17 May)
  • The invoice is then sent to Maruti Suzuki Head Office for Insurance (17th May)
  • Maruti Suzuki Call Center calls up the customer and verifies all details and asks which insurance company the customer would prefer (I didn't get any call)
  • After the customer chooses the insurance company name, the car gets insured
  • The insurance copy is then sent to the dealer
  • The dealer then generates the Form 20 (required for Registration) (Generated on 18 May after 2 PM, despite telling Mr. Venkatesh that I would be out of Chennai at 2 PM. Finally when my trip got cancelled I called up ABT, they refused to come for signing the document as it was 5:00 PM, and next day was Sunday)
  • The customer is then required to sign Form 20. (After making 3 phone calls Mr. Rajeev comes down to my office to sign the document on 20 May, at 1 PM. He also collects 7 photographs)
  • Magistrate Affidivit is prepared (ABT charged me Rs. 1000 for preparing the document)
  • The Form 20 is then sent to dealer's RTO department
  • The dealer's RTO department checks if the computer generated form got any errors
  • If no error, the department asks for the car to be bought to dealer's showroom 
  • Then the car is sent to the RTO for registration. (My car was sent on 22nd May)
  • Once Registration is completed, the dealer waits for Registration number
  • After registration number arrives the dealer gets the number plate done

Once the above steps are completed the car is ready for delivery. Here's another catch, ABT delivers car to customer only on weekdays and that too after 5 pm (I got my car on 22nd May). What I don't understand is most of the documentation can be done in half a day, and when the customer pleads with the dealer to deliver the car at the earliest they ensure they delay the process. I have following questions for Maruti:
  1. Why should the invoice get generated 6 days before the car is delivered to customer?
  2. Why should I pay for the car insurance, if its going to be with the dealer for next 6 days?
  3. Why Maruti Suzuki got no control over dealer behavior? In this case dealer charges saying RTO Registration taxes, also delayed the delivery.
  4. Where is Maruti Suzuki's process, quality control?

ABT Maruti is taking the Maruti Suzuki brand for a ride. Each step they will apply their delay tactics. They will always ask for some document at the 11th hour, and ensure the delivery of the car gets delayed. On the day of booking one of my colleague visited ABT with me, he wanted to get more info on Kizashi. ABT came up with the funniest response, they said they are not able to locate the car keys. 

The reason of sharing this buying experience is not because I got anything personal against ABT or Maruti. For my love for Maruti Suzuki brand, I went to Ertiga (my 2nd Maruti Suzuki car). The experience was so pathetic (thanks to ABT), that I have decided not to go for a Maruti car ever. And also not to recommend a Maruti Suzuki car to anyone I know. Maruti's Ownership with Pride, gone down the drain. 

I don't know if anyone from Maruti Suzuki  would read this, or take any action against ABT ( I have emailed them my experience of purchasing the car). 

Friday, February 22, 2013


Birds by Anandarup
Birds, a photo by Anandarup on Flickr.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ekambareshvara Temple, Kanchipuram

Ekambaranathar Temple or Ekambareswarar Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Shiva, located in Kanchipuram in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is the largest temple in the town of Kanchipuram and is located in the northern part of the town. The temple gopuram (gateway tower) is 59m tall, which is one the tallest gopurams in India.

It is one of the five major Shiva temples or Pancha Bootha Sthalams (each representing a natural element) representing the element - Earth. The other four temples in this category are Thiruvanaikaval Jambukeswara (water), Chidambaram Natarajar (Sky), Thiruvannamalai Arunachaleswara (fire) and Kalahasti Nathar (wind). It is one of the 275 Paadal Petra Sthalams, where all of the four most revered Nayanars (Saivite Saints) have sung the glories of this temple.

Legend has it that once Parvati, the consort of Shiva was doing penance under the temple's ancient Mango tree near Vegavathi river.In order to test her devotion Shiva sent fire on her. Goddess Parvati prayed to her brother, Vishnu, for help. In order to save her, he took the Moon from Shiva's head and showed the rays which then cooled down the tree as well as Parvati. Shiva again sent the river Ganga (Ganges) to disrupt Parvati's penance. Parvati prayed to Ganga and convinced her that both of them were sisters and so should not harm her. Subsequently, Ganga did not disturb her penance and Parvati made a Shiva Linga out of sand to get united with Shiva. The God here came to be known as Ekambareswarar or "Lord of Mango Tree".

According to another legend, it is believed that Parvati worshipped Shiva in the form of a Prithivi Lingam (or a Lingam improvised out of sand), under a mango tree.Legend has it that the neighboring Vegavati river overflowed and threatened to engulf the Shiva Lingam and that Parvati or Kamakshi embraced the Lingam. Shiva touched by the gesture materialized in person and married her. In this context he is referred to as Tazhuva kuzhainthaar ("He who melted in Her embrace") in Tamil.

Tiurkuripputhonda Nayanar, one of the 63 saivite saints, called nayanars was a washer-man in near the temple and he washed the clothes of all the Saivities. He was divinely tricked by God Shiva appearing as an aged Brahmin and asked him to wash before dawn. At the same time Shiva made a cloudy evening. On observing the approach of the evening, the washer-man banged his head in a stone in disappointment. God appeared in his true form and graced his devotee.

Ekambareshvara Temple, Kanchipuram


Monday, January 07, 2013

Boating on Ganges...

Boating in Ganges... by Anandarup
Boating on Ganges..., a photo by Anandarup on Flickr.


Pegion by Anandarup
Pegion, a photo by Anandarup on Flickr.