Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Life is like that!

He: You bring out the best in me!
She: Anything for ya buddy!
He: But I think there is a lot of scope for improvement in me!
She: Really? And what do you plan to do about it?
He: How about Coffee this Friday? *grin*
She: Naaah!! You are just perfect!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Games people play!

If there is one single thing in my life that I most cordially hate, then it is people trying to fix me up. Yeah I mean matchmaking. How much ever people justify it, matchmaking is not right. It sort of takes away your right to make your own decisions and choices. I have been a victim so many times that I have lost count.

It is not flattering to be calculatingly nudged towards a guy especially if you have some grey matter in between your ears and can judge for yourself if you like the guy and would like to be introduced.

I have never indulged in match making myself because I think it is interference in a person’s personal life. I have faced situations where a guy who fancies a gal in my friends circle has requested for an intro. If I know the guy fairly well and am convinced of his sincerity then I do tell the girl of his interest. Never more than that. Then it is upto the girl to take it further or reject him. And if the girl was not interested then no power on this earth will make me try and convince her otherwise even if God himself tells me to!!!

The most irritating thing about some guys is that they go overboard when trying to match make a friend with a gal. When a girl shows disinterest they take it upon themselves to somehow convince the girl to the contrary. This includes subtle hints to the good character of the guy and pointed references to his undying interest in her etc. I have seen some disastrous relationships take birth due to this. All because some people did not want to respect a person’s right to make a choice and say “no”. I must at this juncture admit that there are girls who cave into such pressure and that some match made relationships do blossom too. But then it still does not justify the aggressive matchmaking described above.

I just wish people who match make realise that there should be interest in both parties before they start aiding and abetting the couple. I wish they realise that they are responsible for the consequences of their action. Having just been through the matchmaking tactics of some people let me tell you it doesn’t feel nice to be hounded like an animal. Yeah that is what it feels like.

( p.s I am in scorching Delhi now. Any place place worth visiting where I will not be roasted alive?)

Monday, May 14, 2007

End of an era

Long time ago, my Dad opened my very own bank account at a small branch of a centralised bank near my house. The bank catered to the small village like township where I live, on the outskirts of Bangalore. My first deposits were money given on birthdays, my First Holy Communion, Confirmation, pocket money savings etc. I felt so proud the day I opened my account.

When I started working in ad agencies during weekend, my bank account started taking on a respectable look. The first time it touched 10 K I nearly swooned. I felt rich!!!! ( of course it took a year to save that) I was walking on air and showed by passbook to everyone and sundry.

Times have passed. Now I bank with a MNC Bank as my salary gets credited directly into my account. My bank pays my phone bills, insurance premium, credit cards bills automatically. I make direct money transfers instead of writing cheques and always getting my signature wrong (:p)

Today I went to my old bank to close my account. It’s been years since I stepped in here. The squalor of the place hit me first, then the crowd and then the noise. Most of the old staff had taken VRS and left. Strange faces looked at me bored.

I told the lady behind the counter that I wanted to close my account. She looked at me accusingly and I felt that old familiar feeling when I had gone to close my BSNL account...guilt. The staff at BSNL made me feel like a Capitalist that had endangered their jobs. The eyes looked at me accusingly and then she told me to give a letter requesting the Bank Manager to close the account. I had already taken the letter. She looked disappointed. She then told me to get it endorsed by the Bank Manager.

The Manager looked at me up and down like a school Principal and wanted to know why I wished to close the account. I told her that I already had another account and did not wish to keep this one. She checked my account and turned around and said that there was quite a decent sum in my account and I should make it a fixed deposit. I told her politely that I had already made investments for this year and would she please close my account. "I am against closing an account " she said as though it was her discretion to close my account or not. I felt like a student back in the Principals office as I stood next to her desk. She finally approved the closure in the PC on her desk and returned the letter to me.

I was back to the lady who now asked me if I had a cheque book. I replied in the affirmative. Seizing the chance, she immediately returned the letter to me asking me to come back with the cheque book. Pushing the letter back I told her evenly that the cheque book had no leaves left. She looked disappointed and irritated. She checked my account in her system and barked " There is too much money in here. I cant give you cash, It will have to be a DD. It will take time. Please wait!!!"
I told her I will be back as I stayed close by. The smug expression vanished as she realised that she would not get the satisfaction of seeing me sit and wait. Then a brainwave struck her. "Do you have a Credit Card?" she asked. I replied in the affirmative. "Well you will have to come with your credit and a letter stating that you are cancelling the same and then we will close the account. Please come on Monday" she said dismissively. I took out the Credit Card from my wallet and handed it over to her. She hid her disappointment well. She pointed to a man on the table next to her and asked me to surrender the card to him with a letter.

I walked upto the credit card cancelling man and handed over my Credit Card. Before he could say anything I asked him for a piece of paper. He gave me a computer printout sheet. I asked him for a pen. He looked at his pen and said that he cannot give me the pen so I can go home, write the letter and come back. I turned around and asked the man sitting on the table behind me if he could lend me a pen. He gave me one while credit card cancelling man looked at him daggers. I wrote a letter cancelling my Credit Card and gave it to Mr Credit Card Cancelling Man. If looks could kill then my last post would have been my last post. Mr Credit Card Cancelling Man picks up the phone and calls the Head Credit Card Cancelling Man and gets the disappointing news that I had no dues. He grumbles and cancels my card on the system.

I was back with the lady now who had by now lost the will to fight. She tells me that I could withdraw any amount of money I wanted. I clean out my account and walk out of the bank with a sigh of relief. I am glad I will never have to come in here again and feel like a third class citizen!

As I walk out I can hear the manager’s voice in my head "Why do you want to close your account?" If she doesn’t know why, then it is no point telling her is it?

Friday, May 11, 2007

About turn...

He: Hello is this 123456789?
She: Yes
He: Hi, I am XYZ.
She: Oh!
He: Listen! I don't know how to tell you this but I am not ready for marriage yet.
She : *whew* me tooooo!
He: I am just 26!
She: And I am still younger!
He: My aunt sort of promised your aunt that she will make me meet you.
She: I know!
He: So what do we do?
She: I have no idea.
He: Well let’s honour their promise and meet up for a couple of minutes. We can then go back and tell our respective aunts that we met and that we didn’t like each other.
She: Great! When do I meet you?
He: Would 6 pm be alright?
She: Perfect!

Next day

He: Hi
She: Hi! I told my aunt that I didn’t like you *smile*
He: Oh!
She: My aunt will never do this anymore not after the firing I gave her for setting me up like this.
He: Ok! hmm well can I meet you today?
She: I don’t think so. But why?
He: Well....I am doing a rethink on this whole marriage issue...
She: I wish you best of luck then. Bye
He: Wait...!!!!
She: *slams the phone down*

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Massacre of the senses

I am so so fed up of watching celebrities and cricketers in ads. This celebrity exposure overdose has successfully reduced my already pathetic TV viewing time to zero. Maybe there is an audience out there for this celebrity endorsements, but I am totally fed up. You pick up a magazine or a newspaper and even here you have some celebrity grinning or looking gravely at you. Does anybody in the ad agencies and product marketing teams know that most of us are fed up of this celebrity overdose?

I personally find ads with regular models more palatable.

I was recently watching the Malayalam DD channel. The hostess was a regular girl with DD's trademark make up. But it struck me then that she looked startlingly refreshing to my TV weary eyes. The DD people are so real compared to the plastic dolls in the private channels! I get a severe case of gaudy toxic syndrome after watching Channels like Zoom and Zee for more than five minutes. There is more designer clothes, make up, pedicure, manicure, furnishings and light in a single program second than in an hour of a DD program.

I am not suggesting that private TV channels should go the DD way. But I personally am finding it increasingly difficult to watch the over made up sets and backdrops and stars of these channels day in and day out. It is like an assault on your senses.

Compared to these channels, Star World is refreshing to the eye. Its pastel shades and non intrusive backdrops a treat to behold. On the other hand the sets of a private Indian channel looks like a furniture, furnishing, electronics cum designer wear showroom!!!

The news channels are comparatively okay except for CNN IBN and Times.

Sometimes I watch a bit of Malayalam serials when a visiting relation from Kerala puts it on. The overkill here is in terms of negative emotions. Revenge, anger, hate and lots and lots of tears. Everyone is planning revenge on the other. Everyone seem to hate everyone and plotting against other! The strident background music is a strain on your nerves and soon you feel a little jumpy and irritable after watching these serials for some time. But I also realise why all this is so addictive. It would be very difficult not to watch the next serial when a possible outcome of a plot is left hanging in the air. Luckily Malayalam serials are not big budget, saving us the clothes and make up overkill.

A hilarious scene from a Hindi serial I saw long time back. A heavily over made up and over clothed actress telling another heavily over made up and over clothed actress that she will "change into better clothes" to go out with her. My jaws dropped as I wondered what she would do to make her appearance better. There was nothing more that a makeup man or clothier could do to enhance her appearance!

Perhaps this is the infancy of Indian TV channels and in the long run, tasteful sets and soberly dressed anchors will give our eyes a break. Till then I stick to Star World and DD.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The King of goodtimes in the sky!

Last month I spent a lot of time with Kingfisher Airlines. Now my room looks like a Kingfisher brand zone with KF pouches and umpteen KF headphones and KF pens. In fact red is the dominant color of the room now .

KF rules the roost in service, decor, ambience and popularity. The queues at the KH check in counters are long while other airlines sport deserted look. Since my office Travel Desk has a tie up with KF most of us fly KF except those who are on Jets miles privilege scheme. These people curse for being stuck with Jet. Not that Jet is bad but KF is better :)

Some observations on KF:

KF is perhaps the most potential candidate for a hijacking in the near future, if the terrorists who took a heavy beating to their morale by the quick turnaround of the Mumbaikars after the Mumbai blasts, ever think of trying to rattle us Indians again.

At Trivandrum last month, the last flight out had just one guy scanning baggage and then stamping the scanned baggage, That is over 200 pieces of baggage being scanned by one person! He was of course not too thorough due to the abnormally long queue that formed due to this. But the KF staffs (KFS) is polite and in the not so remote chance of you being hijacked, they will mind their p's and q's when they inform your near and dear ones of the unfortunate accident.

KFS: Mr P, It is with great regret that we inform your Sir, that your beloved daughter was travelling on ill fated flight number IT 7000 that was hijacked to Bihar.
Dad: $%^&%@
KFS: Our sentiments exactly Sir which protocol prevents us from verbalising. Thank you!

The food they serve is superb. Just the right quantity with a lot of thought going into the menu. The famed KF Air Hostess was just pre launch propaganda. The KF girls are mostly short and ordinary looking but very very well trained and extremely polite and very friendly.

The Jet staffs on the other hand are cold but proactive if you ask them for anything. They work like automatons. Their dull uniform doesn’t help matter either and you feel like you are sitting in a sterilisation chamber. The KF ambiance is unbeatable due to the color "red" dominating the cabin. If only they would remove the terrible “Great Indian comedy show" from their in flight entertainment, the flight would be just perfect.

The announcements by the pilots are informal, freindly and with a personal touch... a joke or two, apologies if there is a delay due to traffic congestion, promises of making up the delay and an informal introduction of the crew. The announcement is conversational and KF manages what other airlines cannot i.e. make the passenger "feel at home".

Well I had good times with the King of Good Times. And that is saying a lot since I fly with them regularly and they are yet to disappoint me. Kudos to whoever thought of and designed the entire Kingfisher experience.