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IIRS and me – How perspectives change!

It was not long ago that I was an undergrad student at IT-BHU, on my way to become a mining engineer. There used to be an organization, IIRS, all over my mind. I desperately wanted to get into remote sensing and use it for geophysical exploration and analysis. It was not easy to do so at IIRS as an undergrad. I finally did a few projects at IIT-KGP and IIT Powai to offset my desire to get into remote sensing and stuff. IIRS still remained a distant dream.

Fast forward to the then future and the current present. I am no where close to remote sensing. All lessons forgotten. Priorities changed. Desires flipped. And suddenly I am about to visit IIRS to sell them a learning solution! On the way to build a solution to enable interactive distance learning at IIRS. Something which could have helped me tremendously while I was studying! But never mind, it will fulfill the aspirations of a lot of students like me. Sitting where ever they are, they would be able to take the lessons taught at IIRS.

Strange but true. Within such a short span, the perspectives could change drastically. What a great situation to be in. I am loving it!

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My experiences with HDFC #1

While I can write a long post on my experiences with HDFC, let me just mention a couple of interesting ones today:

    Internet banking seems to be down for the last couple of hours at least. This is what they have to say:

” Banking Account related features on NetBanking are temporarily unavailable. Please try again shortly. Credit Card Enquiry, Demat and Debit Card details would continue to be available. We regret the inconvenience caused.”


These outages are happening too often at HDFC. And last time (a few weeks ago)  the system was ‘temporarily’ unavailable for over 48 hours. Wow!

A couple of years ago I came to know that I have become a ‘Classic’ customer and I have been appointed a personal banker to help me with any issues and also assist me with some of the privileged facilities. I’ve had various horrible incidents ever since I got into the privileged banking services. The personal banker changes every other month. Anyways, this is what happened today:

  • I get a call from the personal-banker number:
  • “Good morning Mr. Amit Sharma, this is Neetu calling from HDFC, your personal banker.”
  • Of course with the changing bankers I don’t remember their names now. However what a personalized service!  My personal banker personalized my names as well!
  • ” Good morning, I am Amit Srivastava and not Amit Sharma”. “Alright sir, I will update my records”. What the hell??
  • ” Sir I just wanted to check if you are facing any issues with your HDFC deemat account?”
  • ” I do not have any deemat account with HDFC, and I DO NOT need any personal banker. Please downgrade my account. I was happy with the standard account”.

Do these banks ever wonder what impact a poor customer service can have? It is better not to have customer service than to have a horrible one.

I am sure I will face more such funny personalized banking services from HDFC. I will share them here for sure.

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The impact of the Ayodhya verdict..

I’ll keep this simple. This is how the Ayodhya verdict has impacted me so far:

  • I had to cancel an important meeting last Friday in Bangalore because of this. And to add to the frustration, the verdict didn’t come then.
  • I had to go for my marriage registration tomorrow and the advocate says that with the verdict coming, no work will happen tomorrow. Now this gets pushed by a couple of weeks at least.
  • I have to go to Lucknow tomorrow which seems to be turned into a military ground today. And there is a good chance of the trip being cancelled.

Not sure what more is in store.

This is very frustrating. I am sure every Indian will be impacted by this in some or the other way. The case is on for a century and a half and this is going to continue for decades to come (at least). Once and for all the government should proclaim that piece of land and make it a no man’s land. Full stop.

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TOEATs in south..

Everytime I visit Bangalore/ Mysore, there are a couple of things always on my TO-EAT list:
Tea
Vada Sambhar
Garlic Rice and Dal fry @ Greens Mysore

I just love the way tea is prepared in this part of the country. It is strong without being bitter. Somehow almost all tea shops get it right. I don’t know how. I tried to replicate it myself but I end up making it bitter. Hopefully someday, I will conqer the art.

Vada sambhar is just amazing. There’s no question of missing on this one. However, unlike the tea, vada doesn’t taste the same everywhere.

Lately all my trips to the south are headed towards Mysore. And I just can’t resist having Garlic Rice and Dal Fry @ the Greens. I just love the unique taste there. The Gobi Manchurian and the Peas Masala are good as well. And this time I tried the Egg masala too. It was good indeed (well there have been only a few occasions where I haven’t like an egg dish, so I may be biased on this one.)

At least there’s something good in the otherwise long and tiring trips. Looking forward to the Mysore airport being operational!
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How I tracked my passport!

Continuing from where I had left the last post, the taxi had to be tracked somehow. But how? How could we track down the taxi without having any clue about it? Suddenly my friends got reminded of something magical. On our way to the hotel from the airport, the entire journey was captured as a motion video in the camera. Could there be some clues in the video? At least it was worth investigating.

The video was long, so we had to quickly glance through it and find clues. Most of the video had captured the mountains and greeneries (yes Madinah is surprisingly much greener than Riyadh!).  We went through the entire video, and there was nothing which could help us track it down. We saw it all over again. And suddenly we realized that we had captured the driver’s face for a couple of seconds!!!! There was a ray of hope now. If we went to the airport and showed this photograph to the taxi drivers out there, someone must be able to recognize him and help us get in touch. This was really promising. To help us out came one of the hotel staff who was from India. He called up a taxi fellow he knew so that we could go to the airport. The taxi arrived in a few minutes and we rushed to the driver to show him the image and ask if he recognized him.

Bingo! We showed him the image and he didn’t even take a second to recognize the guy! Wow! This was just awesome. It seemed as if I already had the passport.  The taxi in which I had left the passport belonged to an Arab guy, while the driver who recognized him was from Pakistan. He didn’t have his number. However, he was confident that we can track him at the airport. We lost no time to rush to the airport. The way the Pakistani guy (Ghulam Ali) assured me about getting the passport was really promising. I thought for a moment, it is only when I am in India, there’s a negative mentality about Pakistan .  Over here, it feels like they just belong to some state in India! I’ve met quite a few people from Pakistan here, and all of them have been exceedingly helpful in making my stay comfortable over here, in some or the other way. That deserves a post.

Getting back to the passport hunt, we reached the airport and Ghulam Ali went on to hunt the driver. He was back in about 5 minutes, not with the Arab driver, but his phone number! He called him up and asked for the passport. The Arab guy said he has passengers and will check immediately upon dropping them. We headed back to the hotel. We called up the guy again midway and he confirmed that he has the passport with him. I felt so relaxed! All jailed abroad stuff vanished. Ghulam Ali dropped us to the hotel as the Arab guy was in the Madinah city where I wasn’t permitted to go. One of my colleagues went on with him. In about 15 minutes they got back with my passport!!!!!!!!!

I thought Ghulam Ali would demand a good sum of money to have helped. To my surprise, he just asked for the taxi fares to the airport and back (which was half of what the Arab driver had charged us!). This was really something which moved me. I gave him the fare with some extra money for the calls and all he made and a million thanks from my heart!

Ghulam Ali, this post is dedicated to you. I will never forget your kind gesture to have helped me track down my passport. A zillion thanks from the core of my heart!

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