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19 December 2007

Lessons from the accident

Yesterday, while driving from office to home at around 10.00 PM, a rashly driven bike came and hit the left window of my car leaving a deep dent.

The car looks sad and forlorn after the mishap. No point in telling that the biker was rash. Which biker is not?

Looking at the dent and thinking about the accident, my mind went back to one of the classes on Safety and Accidents that I had attended when I was working in a manufacturing industry. The instructor in that class was vehement that there are no such things as accidents. There are only human mistakes which can be avoided.

I tried to analyse the mistakes which I could have made that caused this accident. I came out with a small list.

The accident occurred when I was taking a right turn at Bannerghatta road and this biker tried to cut across from left. The following mistakes could have been made by me.

1. I had applied sunfilm on my car windows. Since it was night time and the street lights were not working there, I could not see the left side of my car clearly when I was taking the right turn. This meant that I missed seeing the biker on my left. Action point is that in such scenarios, I should down my windows when driving at night so that I can see both the sides clearly.

2. Just before the accident occurred, there was a minor drizzle, which was minor enough not to warrant the use of windshield wipers. So my wind shield was layered with small droplets which did not impact visibility but was an irritant. Had I had some clothes in my car, I could have stopped the car somewhere and wiped the windshield. Unfortunately I did not have any wiping
clothes at that time to wipe the windshield. The action point is to keep a windshield wiping cloth always in my car.

3. All the cars have some mechanism which squirts water on the windshield and helps in the cleaning of the windshield. At the time the accident occurred, there was no water in the tank or my car and this prevented me from frequently cleaning my windshield in case of scenario 2 above. Coupled with that the fact that the windshield had a little bit of accumulated dirt, increased the irritancy level. Action point is that at all times, the windshield cleaning mechanism should be working.

18 December 2007

What an incompetence!!!

I had purchased an IDBI Flexibond for my wife which is maturing this december.
I got a letter from Mr.John, General Manager, IDBI asking me to intimate any change in address or Bank Details to their Registrar ISIL.....
"In case of change in Bank details or address, please inform the Registrar, Information Services India Limited....... before December 18, 2007. You can inform by phone, fax or through email" his letter said.
I was impressed with the efficiency..
Since my wife's bank account had changed, she sent an email to the address mentioned immediately. That was on December 10th, the date we received the GMs letter. The time of the mail was around 10.00 AM.
In the afternoon, I called the ISIL's number in Mumbai (I am in Bangalore). I wanted to get a confirmation that the bank account details has been updated.
I was tossed around from one line to another till a lady answered the phone.
I explained to her the reason for my call.
"What time did you sent the mail?" she asked.
I told her the time was around 10 in the morning.
"See, we have received so many emails. We are yet to go through them. After going through your mail, you will get a confirmation in three day's time".
I reminded her that December 18th is the last date.
"Don't worry" she said reassuringly, "You will get the confirmation before that"
I waited till 17th for the confirmation that never came.
So I send a reminder mail. And called the number again.
As usual we went through almost all the lines in their Mumbai office till the phone was answered by a lady.
I explained to her the reason for my call.
"Did you send a scanned copy of your document?" She asked me. This was news. Mr. John forgot to mention this.
"No, why do you require that?" I asked stupidly.
"How will we verify the signatures" she asked with a 'what all types I have to put up with in a day' kind of voice.
"Can't you validate the email ids?" I enquired tentatively.
"We are not authorized to do that" came the prompt reply.
"What should I do?" I asked.
"Can you fax the application letter to us"
In these days of emails, a fax machine is as difficult to find as water in Sahara. After much search, I located one.
The operator dialled the number. The machine kept ringing.
"I think they have kept the fax machine in Phone mode" he informed me.
Again I called the Mumbai number to inform her this. Again the world tour...
"Try after 10 minutes" she informed me.
The machine went into the Fax mode full 30 minutes afterwards. All the while, I waited at the Fax machine shop. What else can I do? The next shop could be in Timbuctu for all I know.
Again I called ISIL to check if the fax printout has come correctly.
"The fax machine is in another part of the building. Can you courier the same?"
Finally I send the same by courier on the 17th of December.
Of course I realize now that I should have done a lot of things differently.
1. I should have found out (through my incredible mental prowess which enables me to understand Mr.John's mind) that 'You can send by email' means 'Better make a scanned copy and send it by mail, followed by fax and finally by courier, not to mention the phone calls'!!.
2. Should have known (again using the same superior mental capability) that it has been ages since (almost 16 Flexibonds since!!) the preprinted stationery was changed at IDBI. I should have been able to read what is not in the lines and send the courier on 10th itself!!.
3. Should consider about Rs.150 lost in the whole transaction as a cost of my incomptence and not blame IDBI for their sheer bad customer service!!
4. I should have known that if I were ISIL, I would have given the customer the fax number and then kept the fax machine in the phone mode. Normal human behaviour, you see...
5. Given the multiple investment options available at that time and considering my previous experience, should not have invested in the IDBI Flexibonds at all in the first place.

Mind you, other than the email id of the registrar, there was no other email id where I can raise my complaints against the poor service of the registrar. It was almost like IDBI had washed their hands off the IDBI Flexibonds and put the onus on the Registrar.

Tail Piece: After all this I am not sure if the bank details have been changed in their records. I will come to know this when the redemption check comes. Will keep you posted.....

PS: I got a confirmation from ISIL that the bank account details have been changed. I will believe it only when money is credited in the Bank. But a temporary relief nevertheless....

14 December 2007

Deft Definitions

Marriage is like ordering something from a restaurant. You always think you ordered the best until you see what the other guy is eating.

11 December 2007

Learning Spanish

I am interested in learning spanish language. Any good sites you can recommend?
One of the sites recommended by Sunil (see comment) is It has seven free lessons but you have to become a member.
Another good site is BBC spanish language site. It has 6 lessons and is highly interactive with a lot of activities. Also it looks at learning language from the perspective of a traveller / tourist. It is good for beginners.
Another good site is This has a lot of free lessons interspersed with quizzes.

08 December 2007

IT Small Talk!!!

Overheard in the cafeteria of an IT Organization in Bangalore..

Participants: Shyama Sunder, Vasu Acharya and Zeeshan Ali, all Project Managers. Zeeshan is new to the organization and has come from another domain. The other two are organization veterans who has done a stint at QMS.

Shyama Sunder is in a melancholy mood as he is sipping coffee with his friend Vasu and Zeeshan in the Cafeteria.

Vasu: Why are you looking sad, Shyama?
Shyama: My SQA has raised an NCR on my project
Vasu: Why, you did not update your PPR?
Shyama: No, the ETC of my project was overshot
Vasu: Why, any PIR?
Shyama: No PIRs, a few CRs which were not updated
Vasu: That would have changed your EE
Shyama: Yes it did. I did not update my CAR

…….. Melancholic Silence in the Cafeteria…..

Shyama: Yesterday my boss bashed me….
Vasu: Why?
Shyama: My project is in Red and I am yet to raise RAG in EPM for it. The boss accused me of underestimating the PRs and not reflecting the same in PPR.
Vasu: That should have been a major NCR?
Shyama: Yes it was. Significant mismatch between EV and EVa. I was able to convince the DDR that it was not my fault. So he did not raise it as an NCR but as an observation.
Vasu: Was there no QCR attached to your project?
Shyama: No. It is a small project, Tier 2 type MIP.
Vasu: There is some confusion in my project.
Shyama: Thank god that there are others in this world with problems……..
Vasu: There is some confusion between the BEW and BEWP. Which one should be the budgeted work?
Shyama: Well, I think BEWP should be the budgeted work and not BEW. That will help you to calculate the EV.
Vasu: Don’t talk to me about EV. I am getting so many notifications on my Project EV. I am sick of that word.
Shyama: What is the WRD of your project? How many MA and how many MI defects.
Vasu: I have to update the EPM on that. I think my project RE is over 90%. But my DL is 40%.
Shyama: Oh, that is not good. What happened? By the way, have you updated DTS?
Vasu: Not yet. Too many sites to be updated for a single project…
Shyama: Have you done the PCB for you project?
Vasu: I don’t think that you need to do the PCB for a project. It is more at the organization level.
Shyama: May be MRB will take a look at this…
Vasu: May be they will. In the meantime let us finish the coffee and keep an eye on PAL for any updates…..

Zeeshan (who is new to the organization): What are you guys talking about? The only ETC I know is etc., PCB stands for Printed Circuit Board, DL is Driving License for my CAR and I have heard that in Spain they show red RAG to the bull and you are my PALs…..

VASU and Shyama: Welcome to IT Zeeshan.

03 December 2007

Baby's first words!!

"My wife is teaching our newborn to say 'Papa' " My friend Jai told me ecstatically
I couldn't but feel sympethetic with his predicament.....
My dear Jai, can't you see that you are being conned here? That your wife is playing a dirty trick on you. Poor you, on cloud nine...Little does you know...
Let us take this teaching the baby to say 'Papa' to the logical conclusion. We all know that the chances are that an average baby will choose the prime time of midnight (when all the world is in slumber) to scream. And what will the baby say when she screams? She will say the word she has been taught to say. And what is that? 'Papa'. The baby will scream 'Papa' and what will your wife (snuggling to the pillow, shall we say?) tell you? "Baby is calling you. Get up and see what she wants". And you will have to get up, change the diapers, prepare baby food (they eat only at midnight!!!) and feed the baby.
What happens? Your sleep is lost. Next day, your boss wonders whether 'everyone' was awake when he was discussing an important project.
Why did all this happen? Because your baby was taught to say 'Papa'.
And you are ecstatic. Wake up man. Understand that you are being taken for a grand ride here.

Cleanliness at the local barber shop!!

I stay in the new apartment complex in Kanakapura Road.
Kanakapura road has always been a less developed area. It is not as sophisticated as, lets say, Jayanagar. Hence the people who were living there used to be mostly lower / lower middle class and all the businesses here cater to this class.
This is the case with the barber shop (hair cutting saloon) that I go to after I moved here.
The problem with this barber shop is neatness (the lack of it). The towels are dirty, the combs are black with sticking hair from inception, the general air that of seediness...
Today when I went there, I told the owner that the place is very dirty.
"Do you expect me to cut the hair or clean the place? " he asked me....
I am frustrated due to my lack of knowledge of Kannada.
How do I tell him that what I am buying from his is not the hair cutting service, but the whole ambinence? That I expect to have my hair cut in a neat and clean environment? That neatness is a part of the whole 'hair cutting' experience and not an extra facility or favour that he is bestowing on me...That the previous place that I used to go used to be neat and clean and one enjoyed going there... That with all the new apartment complexes coming up in that area, the customer expectation is going to change dramatically and he better be prepared now....
And finally, what do I do? Do I bid goodbye to this guy and search around for some other 'service provider'? What would you do in my position?....