Friday, October 31, 2008

So much for a glass of water...

“May I have a glass of water ?”, GT asks the receptionist (quite a fetching pretty young babe!) at a private bank we are waiting at, to meet someone there. She motions to the water container right next to her. GT takes a glass and finds that the water container is empty. And the PYB simply shrugs! I mean it, no exaggeration, just a shrug in the mould of “as if I care!”

GT now requests her, “Madam, would you just arrange for a glass of water?” And I could see he really needed that, as being thirsty and dry-throated, he had started coughing intermittently.

Our PYB of course has different ideas. She responds sweetly with a smile that “The water is over.” (Bet – they told her to answer customers with a sweet smile). Patiently, GT enquires if he can get a glass of water from anywhere else. And the PYB gets out her empty water bottle and says this is all she has!!!

I have been watching this rather interesting episode, quite passively, from where I was sitting, turning the pages of the timepass newspaper that goes by the name of “The Times of India”.

But now, I can almost feel my temper rising quite alarmingly. I charge up to the PYB and demand, “Can’t the Bank not provide a glass of water when someone requests for it ? A customer, that too ?” I brace myself for a long argument and keep telling myself that no way should I let this go….

And guess what the PYB does, she just shrugs and gives me one of her sweet smiles! No Sorry, no trying to find out if a new water container can be brought in or contacting some other admin person to do anything in this regard!

Yeah, her mouthing a Sorry, may not have helped matters but at least it would have demonstrated some sort of sincerity in her approach to the whole episode. But there she was, totally oblivious to whatever was happening.

I was so mad, angry and incensed at this totally indifferent/smug attitude. But as my anger rose, for some strange reason, the sheer futility and pointlessness of what I intended to say hit me. I just walked away, without even acknowledging her response. Huh!

Such things are not even worth wasting my time blogging. But I just had to get it out and here I am, feeling relieved that I let the steam out! Pray, of what use ? I don’t know and well- I am shrugging my shoulders as I type this - I don’t care!

PS : When we finally met the officer, he got us a water bottle, much to our delight!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Full circle of life?!

[Fortunately or unfortunately] You give what you get and get what you give!

Is that all there is to it?

What an idea!!! Its the idea, more than anything, which is the main driver of everything.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Diamond shopping!

So it all began on a chat. A friend of mine requested me to meet him on Sunday. “Sure! Sunday evening date, done deal – okay ?”, I happily chirped. “Great. I wanted a pick up a diamond ring for my girlfriend for our engagement and wanted your help with that”, he responded. Oops! What ? Hey, hang on, buddy, Diamond shopping and moi! Ce n'est pas possible. I am not a gold/diamond jewellery person, even by average or below average standards- with neither interest nor inclination goading me to know about them. Huh! The innocent fellow does not even figure out what he has gotten into.

But the deal is done and it’s too late for me to back out and so in all earnestness, I ask my grandmom and dad the things to look out for while purchasing a diamond. My grandmom goes on a nostalgic route, quite impressed that I am suddenly getting an interest in these things and her eyes glitter, in tune with the diamond earrings she wears. My dad gives an amused laugh, shakes his head, “Oh my god, he has called you to help in buying diamonds? Maybe you should take me along to help you!” I realize this is taking me nowhere. [So much for putting my nose up in the air even at diamond ads!]

So off I go on Sunday evening, meeting him at the Sri Krishna Jewellery showroom on Commercial Street. We enter the shop and I look around like a novice, quite like a fish out of water, but my friend just leads me confidently into a lift, which I did not even observe as existing in the first place!

We go to the diamonds section and he heads straight to the counter where the sales lady pulls out a box with two rings. He looks at both the rings which he has ordered and a confounded look creeps up his face. He is not sure which one to take. I suddenly realize, this is the moment…..

I lean forward to take a closer look at the two diamond rings. Both are quite different and equally striking and for a moment, I can empathise with him, almost. Both rings represent two different styles. One is a seven diamond traditional floral design – quite solid looking. The other is an elegant 5 diamond design and perhaps what one could wear on an evening out or even on a daily basis if one is fond of such stuff, I neatly surmise.

Soon, my stubby fingers model the beautiful rings, which sort of look like an eye sore to me, I mean, the combination is somewhat pathetic to my eyes, but of course, my friend is lost in his girlfriend’s memories and imagining which one would look better in her fingers. So I patiently do the finger-modelling job, strategically placing my fingers, over the table, a bend to the right, for closer examination, the left angle and other positions for observation, with the hidden agenda to induce a quick purchase. We ask the sales lady which one is her choice and she points to the 7 diamond one and lets out a shy smile! I smile, sans comprehension.

Suddenly, my friend enquires about “Hearts and Arrows” collection and if the rings I was modeling belong to that collection. I begin to think perhaps the jewellery stores have started selling Valentine’s day merchandise from October, but realize I could not be more wrong. Apparently, “Hearts and Arrows” is a class of brilliant-cut diamonds, quite in a superior league of its own. So another round of discussion follows on the Hearts and Arrows, while I am fidgeting around, struggling to control my boredom, my friend finishes his discussion with the sales lady and makes his choice.

The 7-diamond ring is billed and packed in one of those cute blue velvet boxes and of course, it occurs to me that if at all I ever remotely intend(!) to buy a diamond ring, then I should call this friend, who has taken the effort to google and learn all about diamond cuts and of course, the hearts and arrows (besides listening to his heart as well!)

By the way, Wikipedia says this about De Beers and Marketing:

"Over the last century, De Beers has been highly successful in increasing consumer demand for diamonds. One of the most effective marketing strategies has been the marketing of diamonds as a symbol of love and commitment.
A young copywriter, Frances Gerety coined the famous advertising line "A Diamond is Forever" in 1947, allegedly while she was dreaming.
In the year 2000, Advertising Age magazine named "A Diamond Is Forever" the best advertising slogan of the twentieth century.
Other successful campaigns started by De Beers include the "eternity ring" (as a symbol of continuing affection and appreciation), the "trilogy" ring (representing the past, present and future of a relationship) and the "right hand ring" (bought and worn by women as a symbol of independence.)"

On a parting note, all I can say is the marketing guys still need to work harder to convert the ever-diminishing club of folks like YT, to sell more diamonds! Good luck, guys! ;)

Friday, October 17, 2008

BlackBerry to BloomBerry! [(c) SS]
Looks like the berries are burying me :(

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

O me! O Life!

O me! O life! ...of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here--that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.
- Walt Whitman

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Came across couple of thought-provoking quotes during my readings of late :

"The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy - I mean that if you are happy you will be good." - Bertrand Russell

"The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not." - Eric Hoffer


Sincerity rewards ?!

It is not an uncommon sight to see chaotic traffic situations in many cities in India. From a personal and prolonged experience of living in 3 Indian cities over the past decade and constantly visiting other cities, I can say that the traffic scenario in all is of the same colour, only the shade being different. The primary reasons attributed for such a chaotic traffic situation are : an increase in the number of cars and two-wheelers, rapidly expanding population not commensurate with the development of infrastructure (read: roads and reliable public transport systems) and general apathy of the Indian population, especially the youngsters, towards the existing public transport system and lack of funds.

Assuming such a stand, the responsible officials of our state governments have a convenient alibi, one that is evergreen for them to use for generations to come… However I beg to differ.
The usual scene at a bus stand in most cities in India is that of a throbbing crowd, bereft of shelter from rain and sun, their feet often ‘tyre fodder’ for rash drivers who in turn accuse them of occupying road space. Ever wondered what would happen if that one sincere person stood in an imaginary line behind the milling crowd? Well, his/her sincerity would be rewarded by the unruly crowd by making him/ her wait forever to board a bus of his choice.

What happens to the motorist who follows the rules? The two-wheeler who keeps to the lane on the left side meant for him/her is usually rudely whacked by an over-speeding commercial cab or many a times, even private cars. If the person’s luck is worse, then the whack is given by a bus driver instead (who, by the way, invariably stops the bus a few yards ahead of the bus stop – some kick to make commuters run to catch the bus)! What happens to the honest motorist who follows the signal, doesn’t jump a red light or refuses to cross the stop line? The motorist is subjected to a volley of the choicest abuses in the vernacular by most of the fellow road-users behind him/her, is overtaken albeit there is no space or scope for such a maneuver, abused again in the face and also made to face some jarring, honking music from the rest of the crowd behind who feel it is because of this sincere person that they have to wait a minute longer!!!! He/she also runs the risk of having his/ her toes run over by the cab that tries to overtake in the narrowest of spaces on the left side. If it’s a car waiting in the right lane, then promptly comes a bike rider who either bangs your rear view mirror (remember its pointless to even expect an apology, after all, which idiot uses rear view mirrors??) or scratches the paint on the sides to a visually telling effect.

Despite all these heroics, are a bunch of city hardened motorists who manage to keep their toes and/ or vehicles intact. However they suffer a different form of injustice. For most people who have driven/ ridden on the left side of the road in India it will not come as a surprise to see an autorikshaw/ yellow board commercial cab/ overzealous two-wheeler who drives/ rides all the way on the wrong side (right side: pun intended!) and finally makes an abrupt swerve to join the mainstream traffic as he/she approaches that part of the road/ signal which cannot be traversed from the right side. Makes most people who wait in the maddening traffic at peak hours wonder if they are indeed doing the right thing by following the rules.

As the sun sets and the evening leads to night there is scant regard for the traffic lights. The reason cited is the sparse traffic on the roads. Surely, the traffic authorities have the sense to reduce the waiting period on the signals and ensure free and safe passage to each direction of traffic flow. Nevertheless, as is always the case in India, the individual gets pride from smashing the rules to smithereens. A sincere person who halts for a red light past 9 pm runs the risk of being crashed into by the over-speeding vehicle from behind. It is a given that only flow of traffic and road space govern movement of a vehicle at a signal. The colour of the light, but obviously, bears little consequence.

The numbers of such situations are far and diverse ranging from urinating on people’s compound walls, parking right under the “no-parking” sign, breaking the queue at any waiting place, spitting in public places …. One could possible go on and on about such scenarios …

The primary cause for all this is lax implementation of rules (oh, we have so many of them) - absence of punishment – applied to all in a fair and equitable manner – whether you are the Minister or his son or his distant cousin’s daughter-in-law or a rickshaw-wallah. The rule-breaker/offender goes scot free and further rubs salt on the wounds by making the sincere person appear foolish for meticulously following the rules. Be it reaching 10 minutes earlier, or having the luxury of a convenient parking (although its illegal), not having to urinate in a stinking public toilet etc…. For now only a small consolation in the conscience of few citizens who do not wish to be a public nuisance prevents the situation from worsening. I do feel that such chaotic scenes will not see their end for some time because there is simply no reward for sincerity.
But, when there is no punishment for erring citizens, where is the room to reward such sincerity among the citizens ?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Got to kill the drought of my posts...

As hockey moms ...oops, excusez moi, (forget I ever said that)... as Ms. Gorgeous would put it in her folksy manner, "Kill, baby, kill!"

Oh, she is currently No.1 on my Favourite People list. She knocks me over, literally! And tops it over by giving me this labyrinthine complex.

Pray, why, you may wonder ? Nopes, not about the gorgeous part. [Despite my 'cool glasses" look, I can't match the beauty contest material of Ms. Gorgeous with her hotshot glasses.]

Well, the story actually goes back to the one day (a little less than 24 hours may be) I spent in Ayodhya when I was 10 -11 years old. So it makes me feel like some big expert on the Ayodhya dispute and pushes me to yearn for greater things in life. After all, I also lived in the neighbourhood of Ayodhya for a few years over and above the one day visit.

No wonder Mr. Nice is floored by Ms. Gorgeous!

Its a folksy thing, people! You gotto catch it... while you can ;) LOL