A simple mind

Call this post a cumulative list of grouches/wondering/rants. But there are a few things in life that I will just not understand and thus I list them here. They are in no particular order of preference and I am pretty sure I will keep growing this list. So here goes …

1. I will never get the kind of people who have LCD screens to watch movies in the cars. Now it’s a well known fact that I am an avid tweeter and I use my phone to text (at times) while driving and despite being a skilled practitioner, I know this is not a simple task. Infact, sometimes I find just changing the radio channels distracting. So I will not understand the kind of people who will want to see a movie in their car while driving because it can be terribly distracting! You are putting my life at risk and not even doing justice to that movie!

2. People who stop their car at the red light AFTER having crossed the stop line. It is there for a purpose people! Not just street art. Thankfully for us, we stay in a place like Delhi, where there aren’t very many people who use the zebra crossing because they have already jay-walked across the middle of the road while the light was green for cars. After all, there is a reason the Delhi cricket team is called Delhi Daredevils. It seems to be an apt title for all citizens of Delhi

3. Jaywalkers. #NuffSaid

4. Girls who in this biting cold wear close-to-nothing kind of sheer stockings to show off their ultra thin legs. It cannot be all about fashion in this  weather girl! Cover up for God’s Sake!

5. Taxes! … moving on …

6. No let’s come back to Taxes. Why do I have to pay them and why is it so much? And why is so much of my money being wasted in painting zebra crossings that no one is using anyway?!! *sulks*

7. Girls with ultra thin legs. I mean seriously! Where are you getting them from? … no wait… let’s change this to ultra thin girls. Do they not eat?!

8. Men who crib about lady drivers. Listen here dude! All the bus drivers, autorickshaw drivers, cycle rickshaw and cycle riders and most bike riders are men. And I am sure there is statistics somewhere to prove that in any given city, they are far more responsible for accidents than the women drivers. So STFU already will ya?!

9. Why is all the stuff that you love to eat always super fattening and the non-fattening stuff boring? With all the advances in science and technology, why hasn’t anyone figured out a way of making french-fries and chocolate that can be eaten guilt-free? Non-fattening beer? No? Listen, the earth is going to end anyway, we’re all going to die. So why not focus your funds and energies on things that can actually make a difference?!

10. Men who incessantly keep staring at you! You guys make me look down sometimes to check whether I’m wearing all my clothes. I am really not some piece of art on a wall you know. Give us some space!

11. Men who look past you. What are you gay?! 😉 *ok this is a fake point. Just had to put it in for the funnies*

12. PMS! No actually, guys who PMS. And seriously, ALL guys PMS. I will never get that. I’m sure there is science behind it but I am pretty sure most men don’t actually follow that. They just up and about decide – I am going to be grouchy today! And God bless the women around them then because not even chocolate will appease the beast 😛

13. MNS. Nope, I sure don’t understand it. Not yet. *It’s a private joke. Don’t ask.*

Well that’s about all I have right now. But like I said… I’m pretty sure I will keep adding stuff here. There’s a lot in life to amaze you. I’m sure you guys will keep giving me substance to abuse on my blog :P. And I am not inviting any arguments here after point number 8.

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Let the games begin!

The moment we have all been waiting for since the first posters and signboards were put up announcing it 2 years ago is here finally. The opening ceremony for the Common Wealth Games – India, is today – 03 October 2010. It has been quite a ride and maybe a little more so for those who stay in Delhi. Sure many a things have been brought to surface, many a things that went wrong and were brought to light. For us in Delhi, or let’s say me personally, I have seen it change the face of Delhi in the course of these last 2 years. And on the threshold of the games, my heart does warm up with pride when I drive around the city which can truly be called world class now.

Common Wealth Games - Delhi 2010

Common Wealth Games - Delhi 2010 (image from http://hoowstuffworks.blogspot.com)

And before we know it, it’ll all be over. And we will move on to look forward to another event soon. To complain about the inconveniences caused, to root for its eventual success. And so will life go on. Many a events will happen and many will pass.  The mindset that comes with it – maybe it’s inherent. Maybe it will change. Maybe it is changing because people are demanding for it to.  Maybe things will actually improve (I believe they have already). Who knows. We have to wait and watch. For now, Let the games begin! 🙂

(I stumbled across this wonderful post while searching for an image for this post. All about Common Wealth Games, Delhi 2010 – Do find the time to read it.)

Photo Tweetup

What do you get when a bunch of photography enthusiasts get together on Twitter? Why a Tweet-up of course!

And that is exactly what is planned for tomorrow – 13 Feb 2010. Daksh Sharma (@indianterrain) and Mita Majumdar (@mita_majumdar) bitten by the photography bug have arranged a tweet-up at Red Fort (Delhi) at 8AM. (More details here – http://twtvite.com/6hz2yg )

It’s open for all and you are welcome too :). We start early (kinda have to if we wanna reach by 8AM).

A bunch of us are getting together at the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station and moving from there. I will be getting there along with Ananda Gupta (@aanondo) from Karol Bagh. We can give you a ride in our Metro cab if you wanna go with us :). If you do, plan to meet us by 7AM. (If you do, you can coordinate with @aanondo on his mobile – 9810401435 or leave me a tweet – @sunainak)

Daksh (@indianterrain) will be coming from GK. So if anyone wants to hitch a ride with him you can call him on his mobile – 9891700977

The list of other attendees is available on the twtvite link above. Feel free to hook up with them if you wanna join us.

We look forward to seeing you there 🙂

Crossword puzzles that Full Circle couldn’t solve!

My friend and I were waiting our turn in the queue at the cash counter of Full Circle – a well known book store in Khan Market, Delhi – when our discussion about our reading interests was interrupted by a loud, thickly-accented female voice.

“What do you mean??!!! I am a regular customer of this store! You cannot make an exception for your regular customer? Surely you don’t expect me to carry the card with me every time!”

The voice in question belonged to a middle-aged, well-dressed lady (one of the many that are found in abundance in Khan Market). She was upset at the lady behind the counter for being unable to give her a member’s discount because of the non-availability of a membership card. The membership card is a “Friends of Full Circle Bookstore” card, which you can obtain ‘on-request’ from the cash counter at the store on purchase of a book. Why I highlight ‘on-request’ is because until this incident took place, I too was unaware that such a thing existed despite the fact that I am a frequent visitor of the store. So obviously it is not too well marketed by the store. The card allows you to collect 10 points on every Rs. 100 spent by you, for 10 visits. On your 11th visit, you get to redeem your points by getting a discount equivalent to the total number of points collected.

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The conversation that followed, was interesting enough to hold our fancy for the next 5 minutes –

Lady – “I have many purses. My card could be in any one of the bags. You cannot expect me to carry the card with me everytime! I am a regular customer and I have been to each one of your stores. You can check your records. I live here in Golf Links!”

(Obviously the Golf Links bit was added for tashan value ;). After all, we are rich and speak in an accent. It is our birth right to show off!!! )

The executive behind the counter, by now suitably embarrassed, quietly relented, and started drawing out a fresh card for the lady. Through with the billing procedure, she handed the bill along with the card to the lady.

Lady – “What is this? You have made a fresh card for me? Have you given me a discount?”

Executive – “Yes Ma’am.”

Lady (incredulous by now) – “You mean you have given me a discount and added my points for THIS purchase????!!!”

Executive – “Yes Ma’am.”

Lady – “But I bought 3 books. Should you not add my points for the 3 books as 3 different visits???”

(My friend and I gave each other conspiratorial grins. Oh come-on lady!!! You are Rich!! You live in golf links! And the babe just gave you a discount. Don’t argue and behave like a baniya!!! Just take your books and your discount and Run!!!!)

And Run she must!!!! For if you ask me, it is neither lady’s fault, nor that of the female behind the counter. The fault completely lays with the store owners. You call me a Friend of the Bookstore, but how about being friendly with me? If I am not mistaken, there are at least 2 stores of Full Circle in Delhi. If I am a member with them, should they not have my details including my membership number and the total points collected by me, stored in their systems and easily accessible at both the stores?

Crosswords Bookstores, another chain of bookstores with a presence all over India, also offer membership cards. But they store my information electronically for it to be available as and when I need to access it. I mean this is what usability is all about! We are Humans! You cannot expect us to remember to carry these things with us everywhere. That’s where technology needs to come to our rescue. And believe you me, even though Crosswords charges Rs 150 for their membership card, unlike Full Circle’s which is for free, I would much rather pay Rs 150 and take membership with Crosswords. They advertise their membership card (even on their website), hold special events and schemes for members, provide special privileges to the members and also give them a discount on EVERY purchase.

And Crossword’s user focus goes beyond the Membership card. Being an avid reader, I have purchased books from Crosswords, Teksons Bookstores and Full Circle. I have the hardest time locating the books of my choice at Teksons and Full Circle. They have such a hap-hazard categorisation of books! I always have to take the help of the executives at the store. Crosswords Bookstores, on the other hand, have a beautiful categorisation of books. I have purchased books from them in their larger stores in Ahmedabad and their much smaller one in Delhi (Shopper’s Stop, Rajouri garden). And the usability of their layout doesn’t fail to please in either case. They have books categorised according to the high-level genres, author names and even have sections called best sellers, Crosswords recommends, Crosswords top 10 etc. Buying books at Crosswords is always a pleasure! Now that’s taking customer experience to a different level. Usability beyond service with a smile.

(P.S – I hope they open more Crosswords stores in Delhi. One small outlet is just not enough!)

Sab Chalta hai, Take it easy!!!

killerBlueLine

NEW DELHI: The driver of the Blueline bus, which mowed down an 11-year-old boy in Badarpur on Saturday, taking the toll to 100, has been arrested. He was arrested on Sunday evening by the Badarpur police station where a case of death due to rash and negligent driving has been registered against him. (Times of India, 29 October 2007)

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Delhi’s been seeing blue for quite some time now. A blue monster is loose on the streets, eating anyone and anything that came in its path. Much (and a very valid) hue and cry has already been raised on this subject. The death toll is increasing and we need to control the situation. As a regular passenger, who has suffered like others during the blue-line strikes, my attempt here is to add another perspective.

I agree that the blue-line drivers are rash (also un-educated, rude & uncouth if I may add), but we need to take some of the blame too. I commute from Okhla to Karol Bagh everyday, and everyday I see people hanging on the buses from all possible sides. Some think they are dare-devils and get their kicks in life by doing so. Some – like the children in the above picture – are trying to save a few rupees. Some just don’t find space beyond the footrest of the bus because it is already splitting at its seams with 160 odd passengers. Every single one of these people are requested by the conductors of the buses to step inside. But all of these people and many more continue to adamantly ignore him and travel the same way every single day. Given the traffic situation in Delhi, the speed of the buses and the precarious position in which these people are dangling, who is to be blamed if one of them slips and is ‘Mowed Down’? The bus driver? The traffic policeman? Parents of these children? Bystanders like me and many others who quietly see this everyday and just honk for the bus to get out of our way? Are we really saying that someone else is responsible for our lives?

All of us see this happening every day. All we contribute to the situation is a couple of tsks. Maybe like the many other wrongs happening on the streets of Delhi, this one is also to be blamed on the government. The government in turn increases the challan and threatens to stop the blue-lines completely. The bus drivers panic and woo the local traffic policemen in their favour by bribing them with 200 rupees every fortnight (that’s the going rate I believe, though it differs for blue-lines, chartered buses and trucks). The thula (traffic policeman) of course is then ‘morally’ bound to ignore the antics of these monsters. The result is the great big khichdi we call the bad ‘traffic situation’ of Delhi. But ye to regular hai na … Sab chalta hai, Take it easy!!!