After a long time, read something through to its ending. Even though it wasn’t very big. Read “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. Thanks to Nishit. And regretted not having read Orwell till now. Beautiful allegory. As you read through it, you can fit it into just so many things around you. Of course, people may love or hate it, depending on their outlook of life. I fall in the first category 🙂 Call me cynical and skeptical 😛
Supermarket Layout and Exteriors
I have been wondering about Subhiksha – the chain of supermarkets. First thing, I invariably find their entrance to be very non-inviting. From the road I often can not sort of figure out whether there is a way to enter at all and hence whether the shop is open. And this is not the case with one outlet of theirs but several – and at all times of the day. Compare that with a Food World or a Fabmall, where you can very often see some merchandise from the road and also the queue at the billing counter. The result was that despite Subhiksha stores being located at very convenient locations for me, I never ventured into any of their stores. Until one fine Sunday evening. I was kind of tired and a Subhiksha store was the closest one I could go to. I thought this was the right time to break the barrier. Got in only to find out that the store is closed for stock taking!!! Closed on a Sunday evening?? You do not need too much of Market Research to figure out that in a city like Bangalore that’s suicidal. But is it that its only me who finds them so non-inviting? Or are they losing business from others too?
Customer Service Centers vs. Delivery People
Recently I had posted about my experience with Bluedart. Their Customer Service Center was quite responsive, but the delivery just could not keep up with the standards. Had a similar experience with a new Airtel Mobile Connection recently. I asked for plan X. I was given the plan Y. And I had no idea that this has happened. But for some fortunate reason I decided to register online soon after the SIM getting activated. There the description of the plan was there. If I had used the phone in a way as if I was on the plan I had asked for, I would have gone bankrupt at the end of the month. I was furious. Once again, customer service center did a much better job than the agent who had gotten my application form. Because the plan I asked for had been withdrawn he conveniently changed the name of the plan in the application without caring to inform me!! Give me a break. And when I went to him to complain, he was terribly rude. He tells me that if I do not want it I should send a mail to customer service (was “kind” enough to pass on the e-mail id) and get it canceled and if I have to cancel my Standing Instruction of payment, I should contact my bank. The only thing that did finally keep me to Airtel is that there aren’t many feasible alternatives for GSM here. Hutch has a poor connectivity throughout Bangalore. BSNL seems like an unreachable species. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go with regional players like Spice. Their plans seem to target students more than anyone else, anyway.
What I felt in both the instances was that customer service centers did well enough (it could have been better, but still). But the people at the deliver end, with whom I had the face to face contact, were terrible. There can be two reasons for this. Either that it is easy enough for customer service to “do” their thing (i.e. promising nice things), because they do not have take up the task of “actual delivery”. The delivery people might be too overloaded to keep up to the promises given by the customer service. This could be the case with Bluedart. However, I do not see that being the situation in Airtel’s incident. Customer Service was quite fast in responding to my queries to them over e-mails and they changed the plan to a different one, which I had finally settled for, far more quickly than I had expected. The agent was obviously being utterly careless when he changed the plan name on my form without having taken my permission. Is it that companies are taking their jobs as granted and not giving them as much training as they do to their customer service center staff? Is it a case of an outsourced process (customer service) doing better than one which is probably not outsourced and hence not enough focus being given to the quality? Aren’t there such simple do’s and dont’s spelled out for the agents. I could have easily dragged Airtel to the consumer court for something as serious as this save for that deep ingrained Indian mentality of “avoiding police and courts”. I suppose its high time companies started taking care of their front-ends too.
Have been to Jog Falls, Nandi Hills, Shivasamudra Falls and Banerghatta Park in last few weeks.
Jog Falls was through a KSTDC trip. Contrary to what is written there, the trips run only on Friday and Saturday nights(Subhiksha has a lesson to learn here I guess :D). There is something sad about the location of Jog Falls with respect to Bangalore. It is too far and there aren’t many other things that you can see on the way. KSTDC bus is not that good (there isn’t even an AC bus available) and takes too much of time in reaching there. Plus as if to justify taking you that far they have created useless sights on the way. There is a temple which has nothing great about it, and there are some two-three “view-points” for the fall, which for most part waste your time. Finally when you reach the fall, getting down takes a lot of time as the path is not that easy to go on. While you are down there near the fall, you feel its really worth it. Getting up does not take as much time, but it tires you like hell. More than a week’s share of workout done in those few minutes. Overall, it’d be nice if they stopped fooling around and made you reach the fall little earlier. For those who do not like South Indian food, it is advisable to pack something for taking care of their hunger. Probably a better way of visiting the fall is to stop there during a longer trip which is taking you further from there. Traveling for so long for those very few hours at the fall may make you feel like it wasn’t such a great idea.
Somebody told me when I informed him of my plan to go to Nandi Hills that there is nothing there – just a hill. And well! He was right. 🙂 Its only a picnic spot, something for which we did not go prepared. The “fun” was to be traveling in a new Scorpio being driven by a novice driver!! Ask me what do you do when the vehicle gets stuck on a uphill slope and putting the breaks off to enable it to accelerate up only starts taking it back… Or better still ask those poor bike riders who were coming just behind us and were taken by surprise couple of times, when suddenly our vehicle decided to go backwards without any warning. And I learnt a driving lesson purely inductively – the black and yellow strips on the railings indicated hairpin turns. Yes – and do not ask how many of those were there. Finally do not ask who the driver was 😀
Shivasamudra Falls ride was again on the same Scorpio as mentioned above. But this was easier on the plain roads. The climbing down and climbing up for the fall was much easier than at the Jog Falls and the amount of water you get to see is also higher than the Jog Falls. Even though its not that high, it was a more pleasant experience.
For Banerghatta I had to ride my bike for 25 kilometers to get a Scorpio ride for the remaining 5 kilometers :D. Since we reached early in the morning, we did not have to wait much for Safari trip. We saw lions, tigers and
beers bears. But they all appear so tamed that there isn’t much of excitement.
Saw “Bas Ek Pal“. Had watched “My Brother Nikhil” recently before this, which was a much acclaimed movie by the same director. “My Brother Nikhil” had succeeded in doing something very odd. You felt sympathy for the way the HIV positive person was treated by the society and by his own parents. And this sympathy remains there despite the fact that the victim is associated with a highly tabooed characteristic of homo-sexuality. Director tried to create a similar effect in “Bas Ek Pal” I suppose, where the protagonist becomes a victim of other people’s game after demonstrating a desperate behaviour twoards the heroine. Somehow, the sympathy for his victimization is not generated as well. His “unreasoble behaviour” takes away the sympathy. However, I should put disclaimer on this comparison. I had seen “My Brother Nikhil” at home, alone, while “Bas Ek Pal” was watched at the theatre. So, the “ever-ready-to-make-fun-of-things” Indian theatre going Junta might have affected my perception of “Bas Ek Pal”, which did not come into play in the case of “My Brother Nikhil”.
Also saw “Khosla ka Ghosla“. I think the beauty of the movie is that it has the right amount of seriousness and humour, together. One may question the moral of the kind of ending it has. Basically a “tit for tat” to defeat the comical villain. Cheating him because he was cheating you. And letting the “cheating him in response to his cheating” strategy win instead of a more Gandhian approach 🙂 But all I’d say that it is not to be taken seriously. Enjoy the treatments of subjects like generation gap, the disharmony coming from a boy from a middle class family becoming a computer engineer and having a totally different outlook towards life, success and money, the dreams of a middle class man who has spent his life saving for that dream home for himself and his children etc. And of course, enjoy the feel good a success of tit for tat strategy gives you, but do not take it too seriously. Its very unlikely to work in real life anyway. The real life villains won’t be that comical.
So much for now!