Thursday, April 30, 2009

Some (in)efficient companies

I made my first email account on rediff about 10 years ago. Since then, rediff has grown in size and deteriorated in email service quality. I get some 30-40 junk mails everyday and spam filter is of ultimate useless kind. In fact, it is not only useless, it works in reverse. So much so that I get spams in my inbox and my IIMA call letter landed up in the junk folder. The rediffmail address is used in many of my accounts as login and afaik, the rediff account has no feature of delete, like gmail.

Another such efficient company is Tata. Yes! Don't be surprised. Like every other Indian, I also have immense respect for the house of Tata and their untiring efforts in India's progress. However, their customer care / grievance redressal system is, perhaps, the worst of my experiences. I never got a single acknowledgment, leave apart a reply or followup, from any of the Tata companies for any complaints. For example - my latest pack of 100 tea bags from Tata tea is so pathetic, I really miss the good ol' Taj Mahal tea bags; but none of the email addresses on Tata tea website were responsive for the complaint against bad tea bags. Similarly, the mails against Tata Star bazaar, the retail mart of Tata, went unacknowledged and unanswered. However, I got a very quick and nice reply for a compliment to the head of Croma, the electronics mega-store of Tata.

Another bad experience was with HDFC bank. My first prerequisite for opening a premium account was a fully online account and no visit to branches. However, despite two visits to the branch, my online funds transfer facility was not activated. Finally, I had to abandon that account within a month of opening. But I must appreciate their guts to call me sometime later and to ask for opening an account with HDFC bank.

With such unresponsive and irresponsible behavior, these big brands not only loose some small business but many a customers; and overtime, they may end up loosing everything they claim to stand for. However, there are some very responsive and responsible companies as well, about which I shall write soon.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

And one more...

I've had a deep interest in politics, sociology, and political economy for as long as I remember. However, I usually never wrote on these issues on my blog, for I always wanted to keep this blog for more personal matters. And also, I always thought that it is rather lame to raise opinions and observations if they have no impact.

However, I've learnt lately that they do have an impact and that even if they don't, I still want to raise a voice. Even if that goes unheard, it doesn't go unrecorded. To an extent, this internal kick is most beautifully and succinctly put to words by Mannu Bhandari, the noted Hindi authoress:

अपने व्यक्तिगत दु:ख-दर्द, अन्तर्द्वन्द या आन्तरिक 'नाटक' को देखना बहुत महत्तवपूर्ण, सुखद और आश्वस्तिदायक तो मुझे भी लगता है, मगर जब घर में आग लगी हो तो सिर्फ़ अपने अन्तर्जगत में बने रहना या उसी का प्रकाशन करना क्या खुद ही अप्रासंगिक, हास्यास्पद और किसी हद तक अश्लील नहीं लगने लगता?
आत्मकथ्य - महाभोज
मन्नू भंडारी

So finally giving up before the rebellious me, I decided to write about social-political-economic affairs as well. Initially I decided to make a new blog; however, with my busy schedules, it was already getting tough to run three different blogs for poetry, photography, and writing. Thence, I decided to change the flavor of my writing blog a little but finally, I decided that instead of changing this one, I'd better make a new blog. Although given my academic, social, and personal commitments, it'd be difficult for me to be regular on all four and the frequency overall may decline but at least, I'll be writing soon on my new blog for politics, social issues, and economics.

P.S. - This post as well as the launch of a new blog is delayed for so long for one more reason - for want of an appropriate blog title. For the time being, starting it anyways. If you have an appropriate blog title, please suggest.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mumma's third daughter

This is an old family joke - after two sisters, I was designated as the third daughter of my family. Reason - I didn't hesitate in doing household tasks, kept all my stuff and room very clean, cooked whenever I could, liked writing and other fine arts, and many more similar 'girly' things.

The same joke continues in the family. However, the things are not very different among friends as well - one friend says I am not masculine enough because I use moisturizer and do not hesitate in revealing this. Another friend has a problem with my remembering all the dates and special days. I was most laughed upon and had even heated arguments, when I said I have no problems being a house-husband. And many of them had a problem when I said I like a pink shirt. In the dorm, people feel my room competes with girls' rooms because it is very clean, has some cooking stuff, a broom, three doormats, and no lizards.

Frankly, I hate this stereotyping. Reading different blogs and observing or talking to many of my friends, both male and female, I realize their point. There is a parametric definition of masculinity ingrained in our common psyche. There is a sense of pride inculcated for being a man. I appreciate that and to an extent, share that too. But our parameters of manhood and masculinity are very different. For them, manhood is proved and strengthened by not bathing ten days in a row and killing lizards with their body odor, not brushing their teeth for weeks (yes, I was taunted upon for brushing twice a day), keeping all their stuff on the floor like a pile of garbage, and wearing socks and 'other' stuff after smelling if the stink is bearable for another day. The list is pretty long but I don't want people throwing up all around with the details of proofs of 'manhood'.

And I am declared the third 'daughter' of my family with even more vehemence because I am not ashamed of keeping clean, not shy about applying moisturizer, and rather brave about wearing a pink shirt. As a challenge to all the 'men', there are even more 'girly' things I do - like writing diary, preferring a visit to dolls museum than another fort (yes, it happened in Jaipur), and knowing some sewing also. And I am proud for every bit of all this. After all, if this is the cost of proving my manhood, I refuse it. I'd be happier being called the third daughter than being a stereotype 'man'.


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