August 2006


Unrelented Telemarketing Calls — Total Fun

Yesterday seemed to be a real fun day. Two interesting calls landed on to my mobile number duly to be taken by Airtel Missed Alerts and Voice Mails service. Since the call persisted, I adopted a different strategy like the one below:

  • Pick the call.
  • Put it in low volume mode.
  • Let the caller keep barking ‘hello hello’.

Dhruva claims that this this is the best way to manage unethical telemarketing calls at least in India. In US, I guess there are sophisticated devices like TeleZapper which help people save themselves from such menace. But in Indian arena, I think, this is the only option left. If at least about twenty five per cent of the population could do this, I think, the unethical telemarketing shops would go out of market and this will cleanse the atmosphere too.

Now coming to the actual calls in detail:

  1. “Citibank Fabulous Offer for Prestigious Customer” Almost like a tape recorder the tele marketers repeat this for each and everyone. The ‘recorded tape’ kind of runs for about 4 minutes and then a threatening type query — “Would you still use the card?” I still don’t understand the meaning of this card? Some of my assumptions are:
    1. Was this guy a true representative of Citibank?
    2. With this type of question, was it a threat from such underworld mafia for Citibank Card holders?I have rised this doubt to Citiphone Chennai (+914428522484) and at indiaservice (at) citicorp.com

      As the replies come, I would keep this post updated.

      The bad telemarketer was tangibly clear in his goals in both English and Tamil.

  2. “Naukri.com Super Duper Bumper Millennium Comedy HR Consultant” I got a call from a placement consultant and supposedly he was telling me about opportunities for a ‘prestigious’ client in Chennai. The communication skills of this person itself was really pathetically broken and what do you call as butler English in Tamil Nadu. Here is my simple doubtCandidates are also precious assets to organizations right? They should be treated on par thier clients. They (employees) after absorption are valuable assets to the organization and I would put them as ‘internal clients’ of the organization. When presenting before the ‘deemed clients’ of the prospective relationship, would’nt that ‘prestigious client’ ensure that the communication is good. And interestingly my Naukri profile is deactivated.

Taking it on the lighter vien, I think my Airtel Network had some real fun in taking these calls and I just put both of them on long long holds while they were barking for a while and then whispering some bad words before banging thier phones. And they were barking ‘Hello Hello Hello Hello’ for at least half a dozen times. Two things struck my mind at that occasion:

  1. “The Hello Hello Song” in Monisha En Monalisa.

I wanted to suggest them one thing — Instead of barking ‘Hello Hello’ they could have at least chanted ‘Rama Rama Rama Rama’ and at least Lord Rama would give His divine blessings for these cursed souls.

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Young Journalist Awards

Check out  CNN Young Journalist Awards page here. Primarily targetted at students of journalism awaiting results and this is the best place to voice your opinions and have your voice showcased at CNN platform and website.

Is Tamil Nadu Selfish?

A few of the developments in our own state of Tamil Nadu prompted me to initiate a discussion on this topic.

  1. Is our Government open to national cause?
  2. Is the attitude of our people open to national cause?

I strongly feel that both these answers claim a regrettable ‘NO’. The following are some of the good arguments that make one to raise eyebrow. No doubt. We work very hard to bring greater laurels and applauses for our country. But at the end of day, whilst the results are  being analyzed, the attitude of the people counts too. Both from the caps of ‘Views and Reviews’ journalist and also from the personal perspectives and experiences, I can substantiate this with a lot of arguments.  I think our mental attitudes should go in for a lot of refinements.

To discuss the first example, take our language issues. The national language of our country is Hindi. There has been a tougher stands on imposition of Hindi sometime in 1970. Well! The issue was amicably solved that time by the then administrations. But why on earth is the fanatic craze for bringing in a forcible Tamil imposition going on now. The latest version of Tamil Murasu magazine yesterday (25th August 2006) states the Government itself campaigning against Hindi (National Language) in the state. I think, the veteran experts in the Government who are fond of quoting Bharatidasan should also recall his Guru (Bharathiyar) who himself has told that

 

கூடி விளையாடு பாப்பா நீ ஓய்ந்திருக்கலாகாது பாப்பா

This was a poem lyrics of Bharatiyar where he was advising a kid to play together with everybody. Another statement was of the advise that the kid should practice refraining from even scolding others since scoldings and abuse would hurt others mentally.

 

ஓரு குழந்தையை நீ வையாதே பாப்பா

The advise of refraining to even mentally scold others is also strongly emphasized by Thiruvalluvar, whose creation (Thirukkural) has been globally respected and revered by everyone. Here is the couplet from Thirukkurual which emphasizes this thought:

 

தீயினாற் சுட்ட புண் உள்ளாறும் ஆறாதே
நாவினாற் சுட்ட வடு

(The meaning of this couplet is that “Even the injury caused by burns would get cured eventually and the patient would forget the pains as time progresses but the injury inflicted mentally by scolding others would remain in the afflicted person’s minds for ever nurturing enmity and hatred and catalysing the enmity”. The bottomline of the couplet is that we have to spread the blossoming and fragrance of fraternity and friendship without any reservations and second thoughts).

I think, having such a rich heritage, the State of Tamil Nadu should also renounce having a hatred towards our National language and other state languages giving undue preference to Tamil. Our Lordess of Tamil herself would feel very much pained by all these melodrama, duly punctuated and empowered by political backgrounds. We can simply brand all these as political stunts since these guys just wanted to show off as if they are trying to contribute for the welfare of Tamil but the people and the world are far more intelligent to comprehend thier base means as the potential and prowess of Tamil as a global language is well known. The greatness of Tamil is visible from two proverbs in Tamil

 

கல் தோன்றி மண் தோன்றா காலத்தே முன் தோன்றிய மூத்த குடி

(This explains that the language of Tamil is more older than even the origin of stones and pebbles on this earth and hence the prowess and potential of my mother tongue need not require all this base minded politically backgrounded melodrama). My Tami itself has a proverb to indicate the way it demonstrates Herself into the limelight of the world.

 

உள்ளங்கை நெல்லிக்கனி போல

(This proverb indicates that whatever we keep on the palm top is visible directly from distance). And coming to my personal experience with some local fellows. Check out my post here.  I would pray my Lordess Tamil to save her state of Tamil Nadu from the hands of such base minded politicians. It is Her state and Her kingdom. She alone should have the upper hand. She cherishes a rich heritage with so many scholars working for Her with thier lives. To quote, here is a lyrics from Pavendar Bharathidasan:

 

எங்கள் வாழ்வும் எங்கள் வளமும்
மங்காத தமிழ் என்று சங்கே முழங்கு

 

வாழ்க தமிழ்                                                       வளர்க தமிழ்

Food Coupons becoming easy bucks for Chennai Merchants

It is common in any metropolitan city in Chennai for organizations to issue food coupons every month as part of the monthly allowance, which also makes some tax saving. If we claim the amount as liquid cash then the amount becomes taxable.  The advantage of food coupons is that many supermarkets too accept them while purchasing products from them besides just restaurants. At least in Chennai, we have such food coupon processors like AccorIndia and Sodexho Pass.

Interestingly these food coupons are a valuable assets and grade themselves to a good degree of value for any person between liquid cash (which is dangerous to carry in crowded metropolitan cities) and Debit/Credit cards (which make us spendthrift). At least my observation in Chennai is that when we tender a food coupon for a bill of say Rs. 40/- and the food coupon value is Rs. 35/- most of the merchants in Chennai say that they won’t give cash back. A few of them after a hard debate, they would give you Rs. 5/- coupon back. But the latter winning for the customer would normally be for long bargaining and the skills of which are not available to many and hence in just a few minutes, the merchants amasses a lot of fortunes.  I am sure when these merchants submit the coupon to the food coupon processor they are going to reimburse the amount mentioned in full.

Even the bigger and most restaurants of reputation like Hotel Saravana Bhavan resort to this mean practice. I think the top management might not be aware of the same. I know a lot of senior Saravana Bhavan staff who are very religious, social minded philanthropists. All these low cadre jerks sitting at the cash counters and the waiters scratching thier heads for the pie and penny are the ones that spoil the fabric. But this is an exception. But regarding the other merchants, there should be some activity or response from either the government or food coupon processors to ‘check’ on this menace of mean and base-minded merchants.

But I think these would have a longer chain of illicit beneficiaries and some innovative media coverage like those from CNN IBN or Aaj Tak alone can resolve this issue or at least bring this blatant daylight robbery to limelight.

Birthday Celebrations of Madras City

After a bit of hibernation, the city’s birthday bash is back in full vigor unleashed to its fuller and greater potential like never before.  What was sowed as humble seeds as a citizen’s initiative had got matured itself into a series of splendour events planned right through the next week. The essential focus remains on the city itself and August 22 is observed as Madras Day.

There are as many as three dozens of events that are in the pipeline as the time of this writing scheduled between August 20 and August 27. We would like to share with the readers the various events that are planned in the city.

  1. Lyrics Competition by Unwind Center [rob (at) unwindcenter.com]
  2. Short (Video) Documentaries. [Submit in DVD format to Mylapore Times, 77 C. P. Ramaswamy Road, Alwarpet]
  3. T Shirt design contest [Send as JPEG file to madrasday (at) yahoo.com]
  4. Camera Mobile Phone Contest [Send as photos to contest (at) univercell.in]
  5. Madras Quiz for Tamil and English Medium students on Aug 26 and 27. Registration at P. S. Higher Secondary School, Mylapore.
  6. Photography Contest on ‘Marina Moods’ — About themes based on Marina Beach. [Submit to Mylapore Times before August 22]
  7. Heritage walks on weekends
  8. Coins, Maps, Photos and Books Exhibition on Vintage Madras from April 21 to 23 at Clive House inside Fort St. George.
  9. Motorcycle tours of heritage sites by Madras Bulls Motorcycling club.
  10. Hash run by Madras Hash House Harriers
  11. Readings at Nageshwara Rao on August 27.

Check out more details in TheMadrasDay website.

Shame on us (India)

It is a real shame that we (Indians) have to accept before the International community as the latest developments in British investigation reveals that a Indian Private Airliner employee has been a significant contributer to the foiled blast attempt of aircrafts in the UK. Check out the description here.

We have been demonstrating highest amount of capabilities to bring and instrument world peace everywhere and there has been a silent parasite nurturing from within us, who has made us to hung our heads in shame before our international fraternity. Sometime, back we have been discussing an issue  where law protectors take healthy resorts into the underworld mafia’s and this is the core concentration of the issue. Recall our earlier discussion here.

I think our government should really wake up from its deep slumber and see the Terrorists are totally eradicated from the Indian soil. Let them keep thier petty fights like reservations and interstate feudal wars afterwards. Those are just child’s play and almost like a timepass for us. The dire need of the hour is having a solidarity of the nation to ensure that our image as a Peace Protector is upheld and no terrorists are allowed from within our Indian soil.

Acute Road Indiscipline

Chennai is really significant for featuring acute road indiscipline of all types and flavors in almost all categories of the road be it the NH45 (Anna Salai GST) or the smaller townside roads like in Velacherry. The most of the violations that are witnessed from the two wheelers and autorickshaws.

While two wheelers have the luxury of escaping the hands of law by plunging and diving through small bylanes, autorickshaw drivers have strong union supports and contacts with local political hoodlums who have ‘command’ over the cops and also know the best ways to ‘grease’ them and let the erring drivers go scot free for a significant share of the booty for them to enjoy too. The nett result is the full traffic chaos all over the city. 

During the previous regime,  the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, brought in the novel four lane system in the prime roads of Anna Salai which was really promising to bring complete traffic discipline in the Chennai City. With changing governments and each government only vying to find fault at the predecessor government and amassing wealth for thier own kith and kin, this novel system has’nt been success and just gathering dust in the files of Secretariat. 

There are some simple steps which could be followed and which would really bring in enormous traffic disciplinem, timely reach to the intended destination besides reducing the risk of accidents to peer drivers and pedestrians and not to mention the great value of savings in fuel (in these days of ever-increasing fuel prices which are just sky rocketing) and the amount of atmospheric pollution (noise, air etc) which can be minimized. Readers –> Please feel free to share your thoughts and views and we humbly hope that this would reach more of our peers making the city greener. 

Albeit the fact that this has been discussed with respect to Chennai, I fervently feel that it would be of tremendous use for other metropolitan cities and aarterial towns across the globe.

  1. Follow lane disciplines strictly.  Everyone has thier own quota. Two wheelers, Cars, Buses have thier own home lanes. Would you be silent if your neighbor enters your house and sits on your sofa sets without your consent? It is the same argument that applies when you deviate lanes by resorting to unethical overtaking procedures.
  2. Do not overspeed. Everyone is in the same hurry. If you have an appointment with some person, ensure that you start appropriately instead of resorting to late starts, speedy drives and nasty hits. Remember that Speed Thrills but Kills. The roads are designed for normal public commuting and not for moto cross shows like those in Irungattukkottai.
  3. Allow Emergency Vehicles. If you hear a police siren or a fire rescue services or a medical ambulance, try to take off the road and allow passage for them. They are on a noble life saving gesture and every second for them counts. Not only allow, but also coordinate with them, if they need help and assistance. But on the pretext of helping them, do not crowd at them and delay them. There is a limit for everything and an ethical finer blend or mix of judicious limit on anything and everything.
  4. Bring them to Book. If you spot an offender, do not feel lazy to bring them to book and file an FIR against them. If the cop is unwilling to cooperate, feel free to escalate. Chennai City Police have already started whip lashing on the erring cops. Just for fighting for bribes, the entire police station staff in Adambakkam have been en masse transferred to Armed Reserves sometime last week. Check out The New Indian Express news item here.
  5. Banks and Administration Authorities
    1. Do not feel bad to reject loans for erring persons. Erring persons should never get any loans for vehicles.
    2. There should be some sort of unified tracking mechanism like the Social Security Number practiced in Countries like US. Check out Nevada website here.
    3. Banks have the policy of towing the vehicles if the installment is not paid. One more condition for towing the vehicles should be violation of traffic rules. That way, we can make offenders feel more responsible and behave with more civic sense.
    4. Cops should be more responsible towards the pay and perks they recieve on honest work towards government instead of succumbing to the aspirations of local political hoodlums and bribes.

Let us swear to bring to limelight and to the notice of national administration, any of the erring people and make Indian roads better motorable and more pleasurable. Tourists should feel it as pleasure to travel in Indian roads than curse it as a pressure. It all depends on the solidarity of the citizens of the nation.

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