Thursday, September 27, 2012

The black and white of money

Many people talk about black and white money. Here is my understanding of the same -

  1. Black Money- this is the money which people claim to have spent (or not earned) but do not - So effectively this is the money they do not have. Like a businessman may claim that their sales and profits were lesser, to save on tax. So whatever amount that is under reported becomes black money.
  2. White Money - Money earned and accounted for. Like salary coming in the bank account.

Now the interesting part, how to make your black money- white and vice versa.

  1. White to Black - 
    1. NGO donation - Donations to NGO are tax exempt. Many NGO just take a cheque of white money and give you cash. This is done at some service charge.
  2. Black to white
    1. Someone gives you a cheque against cash. This can be shown as payment received against some service or product.
As the economy is one whole, so white to black is balanced by those wanting Black to white.

Pathetic service of Standard Chartered Bank India

Standard Chartered Bank India:

I decided to try stan chart's super value card as it offered a cash back on bills. So i thought any savings however small is worth it. I could not have been more wrong.

When my credit card was made, my mobile was entered without +91 in the system. It is apparently mandatory as their sms sending fails in that case. I came to know this when i went ahead and tried to login to online banking.

Next tried to register some billers as that was the main reason for getting this card. Once the billers are added they never get confirmed. Even after 1.5 months.

Emailing them generally gets a dumb response, which may not be even related to what you are asking. Calling them is even dumber as telecallers do not have your history or account information. They just ask you to email incase you ask some clarification.

I have tried so many credit cards, but still citibank seems to be the best in terms of overall service. Pathetic bank and pathetic service. will close the card soon enough and back to using my citi card. One more experiment done and lesson taken.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Relationships and epics

I was thinking how different is the teachings of Ramayana and Mahabharata when it comes to relationships and families.

Ramayana teaches to give, even at your expense. So Ram agreed to 14 yrs exile. Mahabharata on the other hand teaches you to do the right thing. So you fight with your brother's etc, to take what is rightfully yours.

Ramayana and Mahabharata were both because of hurt male ego at the hands of women. We somehow fail to estimate how powerful a force that is.

While Rama was the king in Ramayana, in Mahabharata Krishna was the king maker. So essentially with time it taught us that being the king maker is more important than being the king. As the accountability of a king is much higher, like with Ram, who has to alienate Sita because of social pressures. But in mahabharata draupadi had 5 husbands, and even after the cheer haran incident, she could live with her honor. This shows how just a womens strength can make people around her respect her.

In Mahabharata it was OK to let Bhim's son Ghatotkach die, so that Arjun can be saved from the deadly arrow of Karna. Ramayana on the other hand at no major casualty on the Ram's side. Lakshman got injured severely but was saved. Ramayana was about more hope, and Mahabharata was about more truth. In war you loose some and you win some.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

pathetic buying experience from goodlife.com

 Goodlife.com

I made the mistake of buying from them, got a defective product, and now --
  1. I have to send the return,
  2. They would issue a gift coupon and not a refund. Thus I am forced into buying something else which i don't really want.

Now what kind of policy is this? This is another site to stay away from

Friday, June 15, 2012

Spoon feeding and liars

Recently i am hearing about lots of people who -
  1. Want to be spoon fed. - They would not do anything proactively, you need to make a personal request to them for official work, else they will not oblige and act busy. They can get away because of  dumb management.
  2. Lie with confidence - Not afraid to say anything even in official emails. When you confront more they act ignorant or have some even more lame excuses. As such discussions are fruitless and time wasting,   people just tend to ignore and people get away with this, further strengthening their resolve
My dad was in government job, and though it had its fair share of people who belonged to the first category, the second category was very very less. The government job is still bound by some vigilance which can act in complete autonomy and thus even in all the chaos and size, there is some order. 

The private organizations which have increased beyond a basic size and geography provide an environment where such people can exist. However this is like termite, which would grow overtime, eat the fabric of the organization, leading to utter collapse. Like termite this is hard to deal with, and needs strong action.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When to act??

There are two distinct theories which discuss when to act on a problem -

  1. Stitch in time saves nine - Act as soon as you see an issue, else it grows further and cause more problems later.
  2. Ripen the fruit before eating - wait till the issue evolves, Once a problem is evolved and becomes prominent, then dealing with it becomes easier and quicker. The decision to act or not is already out of the question, so it becomes easier to tackle with little opposition.
Approach 2 is definitely a safer approach, but it takes more time and might takes up more resources.However for those whom resource conservation is less important than risk, this approach is advised. This approach is also safer as sometimes the problem gets resolved in its own way and you may not be required to do anything.


Approach 2 is also something that rings more in the Indian way of things - Jo bhi ho raha hai acche ki liye ho raha hai, (There might be an unknown good in whatever is happening.)

Approach 1 is more proactive and something that helps to accelerate the things. It needs good advisers and discussion, to correctly mitigate a problem, and requires lot of  control and authority with the decision maker. Needless to say it needs loads of guts and conviction in your thoughts and approach.

Which is your approach?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hot-case or Nut-case

Here is the problem statements -

  1. Employees want something in office to heat food.
  2. 300 Employees approx. (not all being food from home)
  3. Existing microwave becomes faulty.
    1. Probable cause is people keeping foil and steel utensils.
Solution
Install a hot case. Benefits -
  1. Cheap
  2. Less fault prone - People can use foil/steel utensils.
  3. More space
  4. Less electricity consumption.
A perfect solution, only problem is that the Hot-case is just not used. This is what happens when the focus is on the problem and not on meeting the objective.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dilemma of a conflict

There are two sides to a conflict -

  1. It's  hard to get anything without a fight - Baby gets the milk when he cries. In a way it is also the best way (not getting into the medical science of it)
  2. The conflict leads to nowhere, people build higher and higher walls, or the negativity begets more negativity,
To speak up or to shut up is a decision that has perplexed me many a times over the years. Most of my well wishers have always advised me to shut up than speak up. Most of "non well wishers" have used my words to attack my character than the thought. There are very few people who can have a meaningful and objective discussion while holding conflicting views.

Conflicts many a times help in churning, which is sometimes needed to separate the butter and water from the cream. However if you want a to have fruit cream, it does not make sense to churn. Life is never about right/wrong, Black/white, but a lot in between. The many shades of grey between black and white.

I again remember this story by swami Vivekananda . Last blogged about this story in 2007, when i read it for first time. Wish more people read and try to understand the message

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

MyGrahak experience

MyGrahak is a site that i first came to know as they had launched some deal on snapdeal. They provide free delivery in NCR, so it was tempting to order sitting in office, without having to go anywhere.

Ordered Bajra first for the birds on my roof, and then some more orders. The delivery was quick, the quality of grains was not v good, but then the rates were fine for the quality.

Along with my last order, i was to be given free deo with one item. On delivery i found the Deo's to be empty. Called them and a ticket was raised, saying resolution in 48 Hrs. 20 Days and 6 calls later i am still waiting...

I believe except Flipkart no other website understand the importance of a satisfied customer. Best part is with the pathetic laws in our country, you can't do anything.. I am planning to pursue this just to see how long it takes for them to come into action.

FINALLY the amount of 318 is added to my account to be adjusted against next order. Finally can close this issue.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tata Indicomm experience

Decided to buy a tata indicom photon so that there can be access to internet even when we are not at home/office. The perennial need to be connected at all times.

Bought from snapdeal for 1100 got a free bag. Seems the agent might be completing some sort of target, and in all his smartness gave me the most expensive post paid plan without even checking with me. When i asked, said, sir you can change later, this is just trial preactivated.

Now when i told this to tata indicomm and asked for a prepaid plan i was asked to contact a customer care center with ID proof etc. I did that, to know from the center that the application is accepted only at the lajpat nagar office. This was too much pain for me to take so decided it is easier to close the account than to ask for a plan change. Called them and then got 5 calls one after another asking why i want to close and willing to offer me some discount if i move to some another post paid plan. I am not sure 

  1. why tata indicom needs 5 people to call and check the same thing?
  2. Why tata indicomm does not take action against agent for giving plan without consent?
  3. Why it is easier to close a connection than change from post to pre paid.
Overall a very sorry experience. Overall I see the customer value in India is going down and down. Corporations are focused on how many are they adding in a month, rather than how many they are loosing and why? A big population probably allows them to work in this way, but till when??

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

CIBIL - Playing with customers data and the law

My friend mentioned he was facing financial problems as he had bought some property, but the banks were refusing credit citing some problem in the CIBIL report. This made me curious and I ordered my  CIBIL  report from their website and it arrived promptly. There was some interesting data in the report -
  1. It mentioned my old employers and email Id together with the latest ones.
  2. I had an amex card and for one month it showed a delayed payment by 30 days.
CIBIL says one can raise a dispute on it's site, and I thought it to be some easy issues to fix. I could not have been more wrong. The way CIBIL resolves dispute is by saying -- We had forwarded complaint to the information provider, and they have confirmed it is fine, so go and contact the information provider. On further pressing  CIBIL they responded that they work according to ---- The Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005.

This was good information, then i checked the act online on RBI site and asked them to check the point 23. Disclosure of disputed data by a credit information company of the act. This rattled  CIBIL  a little bit but then they again came back to their original statement.

I have already sent 2 letters to  amex  and it is just today that they have finally confirmed the receiving of letter and that they shall act on it. Will update as this proceeds.
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Amex has finally sent  me a letter aditting mistake and that they are sending the correct data to CIBIL. Waiting for CIBIL to confirm the same.   ....................   5th April 2012


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Orchha

Orchha Pics

Delhi to orchha via Orai was a long drive however the roads have improved a lot. Once the yamuna expressway becomes operational, the drive will become very smooth. The bangles at Ferozabad enroute was a treat to buy.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Samsung wave GT-S5253 review

I bought this phone about a week back from flipkart. Delivery was excellent. With this phone noticed a few issues - 

  1. I am unable to connect the audio output to car aux. Either the sound does not come in the speaker, or the phone goes into mute on its own.
  2. The default email application is useless. Downloads on internal memory only. And if you  read an email and delete it it fetches the same the next time.
  3. The GPS is only useful with the default google maps widget, and that itself is rickety. There is too much error in your location, and also GPS does not connect many a times. I bought a ZTE blade with android also recently, and it works much better.
  4. The camera clicks well only in day and for things which are close. So not that great.
  5. Apps are very limited for bada.
  6. I want the predictive typing as default, but did not find the option.
  7. The defaults widget and synchronization with facebook accounts etc is rickety.
  8. The PC application - KIEs does not have the facility to manage SMS.
  9. Google latitude does not work on this phone.
Some good things
  1. Sound is good. speaker is good.
  2. Display is good.
My suggestion is to spend probably 1.5 more and buy samsung Y. Or spend 1.5k less and go for cheaper nokia X2.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

People and Process

Many a times in my career i have seen the struggle between the process and the people. People do not like the process if it does not suit their way of working/style, but want it when they get stuck or in a mess. It's tough to make and implement a process, and most of the people/organizations make the mistake of picking up something from another organization and try to implement the same. This mostly ends up in failure and frustration as all organization culture and people are different.

Generally the people in India seem to hate processes, partly because of our experience with the government/social infrastructure where everything is denied to the common man in the name of some process that takes years and never bears any results.

Every process needs to define exceptions, but should not necessarily try and cater to every exception. That only ends up making it more complicated and hard to follow/implement. I have seen most of the failures happening when people try to make a fool proof process and ultimately end up confusing others and themselves.

Process need not be above people. Process should be for the people. But process is more important than an individual, it might be fine to loose a good person who is not willing to follow the process for the sake of maintaining the sanity in the system. Process implementation is generally painful for the people who develop a huge inertia. The inertia may be because of mindset or long time being in the same state. The process benefits may not be immediate but come in a longer time frame. However its always important to measure a process for the desired benefits and keep on tweaking it.