January 2007

Akismet rocks

Akismet simply rocks. As of today, it has successfully slain down one thousand spam comments without hindering the normal reading flow of Views and Reviews. We need to join hands to congratulate Automattic for the simply excellent tool that saves weblogs from very disgusting comments.

Good work, Automattic. Good Luck to Akismetic and Automatic Team!

Good News to Chennaiites

There is some good news for Chennaiites and inbound travellers to Chennai. The long-pending demands of autodrivers to streamline the fares that have been prevalent in Chennai has been revised now. Autodrivers have also been directed to recalibrate their meters within 90 days. Now all meters are electronic in nature and relatively more tamper proof.

Tamil Nadu State Transport Authority has published the revised rate cards and also the Auto Fare slabs.There is some more good news for ethical drivers and bad news for erring drivers. The driving and line violation fines have been increased upto INR 1000.

An interesting encounter with Citibank Telemarketer

It was an interesting encounter with a Citibank Telemarketer.  As I was returning home from Corporation Bank on 8th January 2007, since I had bruises following a light accident at Tambaram, as I walking towards the Poondi Bazaar bus stop to catch a bus to Camp Road doctor and then to home, I got a telephone call from the number (+91 44 42172228). Over to the conversation.

The conversation, in partial Tamil and English, has been given in English for readers’ comprehension. The Colloqial language has been as far as possible given expression, subject to the thought and content restriction stipulations of  Views and Reviews.

8th January 2007 1130 hours:(Tring Tring Tring Tring)Deepak: Hello

TM (Telemarketer): This is Devi calling on behalf of Citibank.

Deepak: Yes. Tell me.

TM: I was given your telephone number as a reference from your friend (Redhy Issac), who is working with you.

Deepak: Fine. Tell me. How can I help you?

TM: I am calling you regarding Personal Loan at a very attractive interest rate.

Deepak: Sorry. I am not interested. And Citibank Online has added me to thier Do Not Call list long time back, as part of one of the then TM disturbances report, which I would like to remind you for your kind consideration.

TM: Ok. No problem. I am building a reference. Can I just have your address alone?

Deepak: Why? I am not interested na?

TM: No need to take a personal loan This is purely for reference only. Can I have your address?

Deepak: This sounds silly. When I don’t need a personal loan and I am not interested in loan offers from a banking institution, having a reference added to that financial institution does not sound logical. Isn’t it?

TM: No sir. I need to build some references. I just need your addresses.

[Conversational Commentary: This is what in Tamil we call as ‘Parrot Talk’. Whatever we say, a trained parrot does not understand. It keeps saying what it has beent trained by its master. In Tamil, we call it as கிளி பேச்சு]

Deepak: I don’t find any logical reasoning why should this reference process come into the picture when there is no interest and when the customer has specifically opted for Do Not Call.

TM: [Banged the Phone Down with a deafening voice]

8th January 2007 1630 hours:I sent an email to indiaservice (at) citicorp.com and reported this Do Not Call Registry Violation. An abstract (partial quote) of the mail is:I would like to bring to your attention a call from your sales team. She introduced herself as recommended by my friend but inspite of refusing the offer of personal loan, she wanted my residentail address. On persistent refusal she is banging the phone.

8th January 2007 1722 hours:Dear Customer,This is an automated acknowledgement.

We have received your Query. Your Query Reference # is 4424134

Warm Regards  

Manager Customer Care

13 January 2007 1543 hours:An abstract (Partial Quote) of the email saysWe are concerned to note the dissatisfaction expressed in your mail, with regard to the call received from one of our executives.

We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to you in this regard.

We confirm having shared your feedback to the concerned department and assure that such instances does not recur.

Further, we are unable to investigate your query as we are unable to find your account number.   

We suggest our customers not to disclose their account number via mail due to security purposes.  Please provide us the following details:

1) Name as mentioned in the application form

2) Date of Birth

3) Postal Mailing address as mentioned in the application form

4) Location of your account

14th January 2007 0820 hours: (Reply from Deepak)(Partial Quote of the Email)You don’t need an account number to investigate into this. It is a general professional etiquette of a telemarketer to introduce a diplomatic way, verify the comfortability beforing striking a deal. If the customer refuses offer, the TM should regret calling.

19th January 2007:There were about six calls to my friend (Redhy Issac) from the same above number.  Redhy was telling me that the telemarketer almost was narrating about the report and above conversation to him. She was asking her friend also to talk to him. When he got frustrated with her and asked her to call me directly, she was refusing the same but insistent on him requesting me to write again to Citibank purportedly for withdrawing the complaint.Over the calls he could feel that there traces of her supervisor and some called RM asking her to call him. My guess is that RM should be something like Regional Manager but when he asked her about what is RM, she has’nt responded properly to that query.

Now comes the unanswered questions:

  1. Why does Citibank executives call a different customer to talk to a different customer?
    1. What is the motive or rationale behind the ploy of having a messenger service?
    2. How does Citibank India ensures Privacy of Customers with type of executives in thier realm?
    3. Why hasn’t the telemarketing executive or RM contacted the reporter directly and chosen an intermediate messenger?
  2. Why has been a delay of more than one week for a simple DNC registry violation from the time of incidence reporting to the reply, with all sorts of automation procedures in place?
  3. With the type of mean and base attitude the executives are nurturing, how effective are the following with Citbank India against the following scams?
    1. Executives forcing one customer from whom a reference to another has been obtained to resort to forgery or phishing request on behalf of another for monetary and other shady gains?
    2. With the type of conversations on 19th the Telemarketing had with Redhy, we inferred that there might have  been pressures from her higher ups on her to withdraw the complaint. How does Citibank trying to accomodate such persons in view of addressing issue 3.1 above.

I have again written to indiaservice (at) citicorp.com. Let me keep posted over the responses recieved.

Super Duper Superstition Spree in Chennai

Superstitious beliefs were never remote and particularly with small villages and towns, you can find diversified amount of superstitions of all kind and creed. This Pongal day there was one interesting superstitious belief in Tamil Nadu that since Makara Sankranthi started on Simha Lagnam it would be cast ill effects on male population.

All along places like Cuddalore and Thiruvotriyur, people were bringing rice to road junctions and pouring it there. Over it they were lighting lamps and praying God for welfare of thier male counterparts in thier family. The interesting thing was that the number of lamps lit should be equal to number of male counterparts in thier family. After the prayers the lamps were immersed in a nearby waterbody like sea or pond or lake.

Eminent Astrologers have declared these as baseless superstitions and were spread like rumor only. Check out Tamil News WordPress for more details.

Thursday Teal

What the heck is Thursday Teal? I was actually looking out for something equivalent to Monday Blues for Thursday? But why? This time, Pongal had been quite long holidays in Tamil Nadu. With the core Pongal (Thai 1st Day) falling on Monday preceded by two days weekend and succeeded by two days of Pongal flavors like ‘Kanu Mattup Pongal'(also observed is Thiruvalluvar Dhinam) and ‘Kaanum Pongal’, Tamil Nadu featured a virtual state holiday for about five days. Simply put all banking and financial houses had downed thier shutters. So no banking transaction whatsoever important could be done these days. My friend (Redhy) too was also acutely affected by this, since he had to transfer funds to his State Bank of India, Kerala branch but none of the banks’ Chennai components were operational. I think Government should something in regularizing the holidays in ensuring that it does not affect the normal (business) life.

Coming back to the discussion — After five days holidays, Thursday morning featured acute traffic snarls everywhere in Chennai. Almost what we have discussed in our ‘Monday Blues’ could be observed and was applicable to the Thursday syndrome. I was searching for a befitting word to describe this. ‘Teal’ was a good color and was rhyming with Thursday and hence named it as ‘Thursday Teals’.  The other reason, it can be called ‘Thursday Teals’ is that normally during anxieties we say ‘butterflies in stomach’ and different colors like this befit a better description of the situation too.

How was your Thursday Teal experience this year? Share it with us.

We command and bring the righteousness to the world…

As we described during the launch of Views and Reviews and in its mission/vision, we strive to bring righteousness by voicing for it and against any sort of unrigheousness of any kind and also refraining from succumbing to unrighteousness. For a while, I have been recieving some harsh criticisms and notably some marked from a guy from my previous organization. I have actually forwarded a report to them too. This being from a known circle. Of course, I admit that spam comes from larger quarters. A few of them from the known circle were quite unparliamentary. Thanks to Akismet, that these get landed up as spam and I don’t need to waste time even moderating them.

I thought I would fondly recall Dr. MGRs song from Enga Veetup Pillai which emphasizes this and the necessity to stand by the side of righteousness only. You can check out this YouTube hosted clipping of this song here:

‘E’ Tamil Film Casting wrong effect on Society

Sometime back we were discussing about how Gilly (Tamil Film) provoked a rampant juvenile crime in Chennai. Reading through Tamil Murasu paper yesterday, it was evident that one more latest box office hit in Chennai (“E”) is joining the race. Already the film features only pure violence and hero itself serving as a standing testimony of violence in the film.

The item was describing the modus operandi that a bootlegger in a southern part of the state of Tamil Nadu adopted similar to what the hero was demonstrating in the film to show a original jewel to the pawn broker. And then he would involve him in some conversation, put him on hold while he goes to his home, keeps the original jewels and brings fake jewels for mortgage. After about five to six successful attempts, the bootlegger has been cornered with the help of public.

This now poses a question to us — Why should we need this cine field at all? Let us swear in the New Year that we boycott such ugly vulgar films and strive to cultivate a holy and healthy society.

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