September 2006

Security Processes must be constant and ongoing…

Yesterday I had a chance to visit Saravana Stores, T. Nagar. As you know the street where Saravana Stores is located (Ranganathan Street) is the core business hub and is heavily crowded at both its entrances (like from Usman Road and from Mambalam Railway Station). Saravana Stores is really an excellent shopping mall catering to all tiers of people since they try to sell quality products at wholesale rate. No wonder, the crowd is also really heavy.

With Dussehra celebrations in place, the second floor of Saravana Stores has some good dolls in place for kolu too and the most interesting thing was that of the dogs, cats idols similar to those roadside shops at Pondy Bazaar. I really like Saravana Stores security measure that they don’t insist you on leaving the luggage back and then suffering from goods getting stolen from the cloaked rooms or bags getting missed/messed up. Instead they tie the bags in a plastic cover and you can carry the cover with you. The showroom is aesthetically designed, with good airconditioning and good closed circuit television (CCTV) security surviellance camera to watch the entire premises.

With all these in place, I noticed one flaw yesterday, which I have put it in the complaint register since I could’nt get a proper response from the accused there. In the dolls stand, one guy was asking and writing the orders. His attitude was arrogant type. All Saravana stores employees have good ID cards being displayed or at least the embelem of the stores is embossed in thier shirt near the pocket. This guy did’nt have any and when demanded he became unruly. I think he was trying to do some shady things and slowly was whisking here and there. Just wanted to bring this to other readers’ attention that we have full rights to demand the identity in case we are in suspicion. We only need the services of the provider and there is nothing great relationship or to ‘satisfy’ any of the mediocre middle man. We are’nt gaining anything out of such appeasement in concrete shapes. Rather by demanding an identify proof, we are helping out the service provider who can provide us a better safe and secure service in the future in more resilent condition. I have put a complaint in Saravana Stores complaint book since this is the first time I am noting a security lapse and I was apprehending whether the stringent security conditions are being relaxed out of monotony.

Indian Police (and particularly Chennai) has the bad habit that only during emergencies they are active. They should rather coordinate with business houses in ensuring that security processes are intact and a systematic security process is in place throughout the time instead of being in slumber and then waking up hurriedly and then giving way to very many hanky panky behavior from all quarters. Quite interestingly, one Coimbatore based industrialist raised this question to airport authorities in Chennai too.

Chennai — Sputum City

It was an interesting incident that I encountered sometime last week in Adambakkam. I was starting in the morning to my workplace and was hurrying a bit. The delay and alongside the stretched night’s reading for the upcoming MBA examinations had been keeping my minds bit confused. After I boarded the bus, I had a bit of doubt and found my wallet missing. I was shocked whether it was pocket lifted and I had to get down the bus to ensure that I try to get the credit card numbers and have them blocked rightaway. Immediately at Medawalkam Koot Road, I got down from the bus. Since it was a regular bus trip, the conductor interrupted and asked why. I told him that. He told me once check the bag first in case it is lying and he asked me to sit in his place. After a bit of ransacking the bag, it was lying inside topsy-turvy. I was very thankful to the conductor for many things:

  1. Saved a great mental agony of deemed to be missing credit card.
  2. Saved from the harrowing moments to go through stupid bank call centers in getting the replacement cards through useless bureocratic setups and procedures.
  3. Saved time in getting down and re-getting another bus.

After getting down at the desired bus stop, while boarding the next bus to Guindy, I encountered an interesting situation. From a bus which was overtaking, a guy was spitting down from his end seat. In Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Chennai buses, the last seat in the bus would be a full length. I was watching him from a distance and since he was sitting near the right edge, and very interestingly the traffic cop came near him to block a car that was trying to cross the yellow line. Our ‘Spittle King’ was so very engaged in his activity, that he continued to spit on the cop too. Though at the moment we can not control the laughter, we have to understand the embarassment the cop underwent since he was on duty and could rarely find some place to go and change his dress or clean. After that the two guys were arguing hot and cold but that is another story.

What I wanted to convey is the intensity of this spitting spree that is going on in the city of Chennai. You can not pass through Chennai roads even for a half furlong without finding stains of spittings on the road. I recall that Ramesh has shared a similar view as a comment in my other blog post “Sky Scrapers in Chennai“.

I really wonder, if the State Government  could initiate some concrete steps to bring down this spitting spree. Spitting in public places is highly disgusting, very much indisciplined, serious health hazard, a bad spot for the cleaner and greener Greater chennai, accompanied by the ‘Korr… Brrr. sounds’ that these sputum kings produce during the act of spitting. I have never come across this in any of the cities to a significant extent. Even Tamil Film actors like Vivek bring this message to people but it falls into deaf years. In one film he used to say to his friend who used to spit everywhere and he showed his shoe-turned flower bouque and his friend spit into it. He commented the following [translated into English]

“Oh My! I am trying to make the best use of this torn shoes as a flower vase but these guys are making it like spit baskets. If and only if there was some Government scheme that all these spittle is collected and diverted to a reservoir, at least from Tamil Nadu, the entire district of Ramanathapuram would find best water resource”. He was comparing the district of Ramanathapuram (RamNad district) since it is highest agricultural producer with more water requirements.

Our audience is more attracted towards glamourous movies but it is a sad thing that good messages do not reach the people to a stronger extent. At least, shall we hope that the current Government of Tamil Nadu would take some concrete steps to reduce this spitting menace in the city of Chennai. If they fail to do, I think, other metros would call us ‘Sputum City’, a name that we have hung our head in shame as against the respected names like Garden City for Bangalore and Pink City for Ajmer. Do we need such a negative recognition?

Related links of Interest:

  1. Spitting to be fined in Chennai.
  2. Spitting is banned in West Bengal

Mushrooming Housekeeping Services

These are the days even both residential and commercial houses are busy every second. For a residence all the family members might be going out for work and kids to school. For commercial houses, in order to stay top on the market, they have to ensure that they focus on the work of specialization round the clock.

To address the requirements from both the quarters, we have one more section of service providers called ‘Housekeeping Agents’. But of late, Chennai seems to be facing a lot of difficulties to the random mushrooming of housekeeping agents. Let us divide the problem into two parts for better analysis and study of how much the situation is grim in Chennai.

Residential Sector

The house servants who are hired to services at home must have a valid background checks done necessarily. Not only there are problems that they may do thieving of things in the house, but also it might present undue and unnecessary security problems to women in house.  If using the friendship of these house servants, if antisocials take refuge at the house, then the houseowner also becomes liable to answer the questions from police and national administration.

Commercial Sector

Sometime about two months back myself and my friend were at a famous software company based in Nungambakkam. They seem to employ a third party housekeeping services for their services like cleaning and organizing things. We have been waiting a while near the reception to meet a friend and in the middle, we could witness some unruly things.

  1. As and when the supervisor pops his head, these guys take that long broomstick and pretend to clean the place. When he goes out of the eye-sight, again they resume thier gossips.
  2. Some of the persons who are thus employed are also very much arrogant and sharply see the girls coming in and going. On the pretext of sweeping they almost brush up near them.

This related to the risk that we mentioned in ‘Residential Sector’ makes us think that even commercial houses must take extra care in recruiting properly checked agents for cleaning only. With the mushrooming of call centers, these housekeeping services have a good bountiful business but at the same time, the security of employees who are the actual assets need to be enforced. If these guys go unchecked, there might be antisocials that take help from them and creating more such accidents like the one for Prathiba Srikanth in HP Call Center at Bangalore.

But our security rests in our hands too. If at all we encounter any indisciplined guy near us, it is our proactive stand to bring them to limelight for the benefit of society.

Misusing Religion and Religious Concepts

One of the great saints in Tamil said that though there are so many religions all religions are different roads that lead to the single Almighty. Even in English, there is a well known proverb ‘All Roads Lead To Rome’. But for the past few years, at least from the region of Tamil Nadu itself, there has been a steady increase in the atrocities created by anti social elements on the pretext of religious heads.

It all started with Premananda, who started his Ashram near Viralimalai, Tiruchi. He had been involving in largescale sexual exploitation of young woman and children and he had been going scott free till two young girls managed to escape to Chennai, took shelter at the social service organization (Udavum Karangal). Media like Nakkheeran took greatest efforts to bring the bureocratic red tape procedures which were saving him to broad limelight and judiciary woke up. It was then the Pudukkotai judge, Banumathy, gave the world’s most desired judgement for the heinous crimes that he has conducted on humanity — double life sentences to be executed in separate terms along side the clause that future judges should not overwrite this judgement.

It was then the Kanchi seer, Sankaracharya was arrested for murdering the manager of Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kanchipuram. This one brought to limelight too much of atrocities that has been created by this seer.

For sometime these incidents were sailing low and now it is again cropping its ugly face again. We have covered some of them briefly in our earlier discussion. A few more, now from the Christian society arena.

I think the nation’s antisocials have decided to pick each religion and its followers in turn to wreck thier anger and vengence for no proper cause and reason.

  1. Realtor case and Bishop Anandaraj.
  2. Realtor case and Bishop Saravanan (from Vellore) —

I think, the HR & CE department of the government of Tamil Nadu, should stop its petty causes like interfereing with Archakas and first try and solve the religion misuse problem.

Private Banks in India — Banking for the Booty

Sometime back we have been discussing the essence of Small Savings and also the need to patronize Nationalized Banks. For the interested readers, please check out the following permalinks:

  1. Need for small savings.
  2. Nationalized Banks — Truly caring for the nation.

Just thought of sharing some of my personal experiences too with nation’s second largest private banking group (ICICI) which I humbly hope would be useful for others to make a decision of whether to have a relationship with such a base-minded branch. A few of them also indicate how much the bank management is planning meticulously to demoralize other banks and supposedly walk over thier carcasses.

There are actually three salient instances I would like to share.

  1. Failure to setup Standing Instructions Sometime in January 2003, I chose to have some funds opened up as a Recurring Deposit in ICICI Branch, Egmore. The staff also offered to setup a standing instruction so that the said commitments from us would directly go in from our linked (parent) Savings Account. After three months, when I audited the account, the standing instruction was not being obeyed up. As usual, the jokers at the phone bank could not help anything. The branch was showcasing Chennai’s most roughest and arrogant staff that used to literally stand testimony for our other post ‘Neeya Naana‘. After one year, at the time of maturity, I was promised that a one shot debit would be done and maturity amount given. But the Central Processing Unit of the bank said that ‘We are sorry for the wrong information’ but gave only the first EMI amount. If you have a chance to go through Egmore High Road (after Santosham Chest Hospital) and before the turn to Egmore Railway station), you can find this branch. You can always find these staff giggling at each other totally shirking work and responsibility.
  2. Transfer of Account from Koramangala to Chennai I had one more ICICI branch savings account at Koramangala branch, Bangalore and when I dropped in at Adyar branch, Chennai to find out if I can transfer-close the same to my Chennai account, the supposedly manager (thus reflecting from his ID card) was shaking his head like what you call in Tamil as boom boom madu and he was trying to convince that since the accounts are linked, ‘You just give a cheque from one of the account and the amount would be sweeped in from the accounts’. And when I gave a cheque to the Canara Bank on 5th December 2005, the instrument promptly bounced but ICICI did not have the guts to even call me and inform regarding the bounce or debit charges. They could not accept thier own manager’s false and fake information. Interestingly, these guys sent the instrument only on 15th January 2006 after incessant firing showered on them from multiple quarters.
  3. So exceeded >> I hence decided that this bank is no more good so we would abruptly close the relationship and hence I debited all the funds from both the accounts and transferred to my Indian Bank. But the closure instruction was again dancing. Neither my extension counter at Vidyodaya nor the base branch at Nungambakkam or the facilitation counter at Bazulla road was able to locate and process ethically the closure instructions. Again a second round of tamasha made them inoperable and to close the inoperable accounts.
  4. Credit Card Mishandling I have one more charge against ICICI Adyar branch. For some reason which the ICICI Credit Card Unit or me do not know, why ExpressIT courier could not deliver the credit card at my home or office (inspite of someone waiting for the consignment dedicatedly) and redirect the same to Adyar branch, duly signed and recieved by Bharathi over there. ICICI Adyar branch does not have anything to deal with credit card at all.
  5. My friends’ date with ICICI My friend, Santosh Kumar Sinha too had many subtle experiences with ICICI bank. When he attempted to give a closure instruction at Cenotaph Road branch, he was shocked to see a hefty amount of debits on the pretext of non-maintenance and dormancy charges. And for closure, he was again asked to deposit some amount to the tune of INR 200/- I really don’t understand and asked him why 200 since the closure charges are only 110. While he was confused, the only thing he could reply ‘Let the beggars go off. Let us not fight with them again‘. In my case, while closing, I sweeped to zero and then kept a fifty paise in the account. Bazulla road branch seemed to have gobbled the fifty paise as ‘Account Closure Charges’. 🙂
  6. Fingerpointing Following up with point number (2) above, when I chose to ask for details, ICICI had the guts to charge Canara Bank on the pretext that they are answerable for delayed delivery of the instrument and other lame reasons.

I think it is high time that the Finance Ministry of India, wakes up before ICICI makes the entire nation pauper by transferring funds to thier personal private wallets.

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