Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Top 10 signs you are in Pune

You know you are in Pune when:

1. Your consumption of kanda pohe and chai exceeds limits set by the EPA.
2. Every restaurant is suffixed 'rice plate'.
3. The only place you see chicks is E-square or Inox.
4. You get homes on rent without any documentation or a 11-month lease agreement.
5. You see women riding two wheelers with covered hair and faces, resembling terrorists.
6. You notice that places are named according to the days of the week.
7. Cops don't catch you for jumping a red light.
8. You walk in the afternoon sun without sweating a drop.
9. The only mode of transport is your car or bike.
10. Getting from one end of the city to another doesn't take more than 45 minutes.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Shopping for a Small Car

Gone are the days when buying a small car meant choosing between a Maruti 800 and a Zen. In a market full of choices, buying a small car can be quiet a trial for the first-time buyer. Let alone first-time buyers, even people looking for a car change are left downright confused in a market full of small cars, where each manufacturer is vying for the jingling thing in your pocket. Read marketing gimmicks like MUV, NV, Xing thing, German engineering, and More Car Per Car, and the prospective small-car buyer in you sits down to the floor, helplessly.

What do I want from my car?
So what are you looking for? You need a car that is stylish, has enough space for your family of four, is fuel-efficient, has low running costs, is backed by a network of easily accessible service stations, and one that would fetch good resale value five years down the line. So how do you decide which car is worth your money? Read on...

How much can I afford?
At your first peek into the small car market, you will find cars starting as low as 2.6 lakhs to as high as 5.5 lakhs. For this reason, the first thing to do is decide how much you want to invest on your new baby. Setting your budget not only helps you think clearly, but also picks out the cars that fit in your budget. Don't let those loan companies stretch you beyond your budget.

Petrol or Diesel?
Next, you decide the type of car you need: Petrol or Diesel. Choose Diesel, and your choices are fairly limited. Also, you decision for a diesel car should be so only if you have a lot of driving to do.

Diesels in the small car segment can literally be counted on fingers - namely Zen D, Indica Diesel, and Palio D. Although the bestseller in Diesel is undoubtedly the Indica Diesel, customers have their own reasons for going for each one of the other cars.

Choose petrol, and you are back to the sizable list that includes Maruti 800, Indica Petrol, Santro, Zen, Alto, WagonR, Palio, Getz, and Corsa Sail. Adding to this are soon to be launched Ford Fusion and Honda Fit.

Entry Level Cars
If you are migrating from a two-wheeler or a Premiere Padmini to a new car, the Maruti 800 and the Alto LXi are great options. These cars are absolute value for money, have incredible fuel efficiency, perform commendably, and most of all, are very easy to drive.

Premium Hatchbacks
Throw in a few more lakhs and you have the flesh of the league in small cars - the Hyundai Santro, Maruti Zen, Maruti WagonR, Tata Indica, and Fiat Palio. Besides being more powerful than Segment A cars, these cars are aesthetically designed and are available with a host of options and subsequent pricelists. Options include power steering, power windows, body-colored bumpers, booster-assisted brakes with ABS, rear wipers, rear defoggers, leather seats, wood-finish interiors, and sporty gear knobs. These cars have plush interiors and are generally very appealing to the eye.

Big Small Cars
The top-of-the-line cars in the small car segment are the Hyundai Getz and Opel Corsa Sail. These cars, although smaller than mid-sized cars, are meatier than small cars and provide the power that motor enthusiasts crave for. Being small, these can be driven around the city with ease. Being powerful, these cars offer both breath-taking acceleration and breakneck top-speeds. These cars are most suited for the buyer who wants good power and performance in a small package. Fuel efficiency of these cars is best left not discussed.

So what’s my decision?
Summing it up, choosing a small car can be quiet a crucial task, especially if you make an uninformed decision and realize that another car is better than yours. So take your time, do the market research. Get feedback from existing owners. Read up reviews on popular motoring mags. With the correct information and your finest choice, nothing stands between you and your dream small car. Happy small car shopping!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

FW: Too good

Below is a mail that spells out unity in diversity found in India. Further down are the effects of forwarding such a mail to my roommates – Abhilash, Jeba, and Shashikant Akula.

~* Da Mail *~

From: Anish

Guys, checkout this forward.
too good :)
Akula, tum hyderabad mein kya kara?!?

Tamils are always proud to be Tamizhs. Pretty courteous (that is what they
think, at least!). They speak yenglish but sorry, no indi (Hindi) saar...what da??. The more common Madarasi (chennaisi..., now?) is an ardent fan of kireeket matches. Their counterparts in Bombay think they live in America but speak Hinglish like "...are you sure ki Sujata aa rahi hai ya I'll go akela!" Andthey take great pride in making stupid mistakes in Hindi Grammar.

Thamizhs, are verrry lecky to have "simble" neighbours in the "keralites"who are a komblex race of peoblle (they migrated around 2000 B.C. from themiddle east, I guess, and now even the Sheikhs feel wary of them) but theyeat a lot of chooclyte and own 99.998765% of chai shops in the world and form 99.89% of nursing community.

Not far begind the kerals is the telugu desam, who are totally againesht flaunting their wealthu to the woruldu, though they occasionally come out withu brick red shirtsu and parrot green pantsu with pleetsu (pleat).Worustu, no?! But they (think) are greatu in CICSu, Microsu and COBOLu!Generally sane peoplesu (and so you can always findu them judgingu,probhingu, queschioningu othersu ....)

The Canadians, excuse me, the Kannadigas aor (are) the coolest dobun south but if there is political unrest in Hersogovnia oare (or) an ebolavirus outbreak in Zaire, they bash up the Tamils in Karnataka. Cauveryvery bad! When it comes to Rajkumar (actor), if a fly sits on his nose,they'll burn the entire city of Bengaloroo to kill the fly! To hell withSilicon valley! I-ron, firshtu, girlu, Lasht Bussu, roadu, crickeatu, filamu are some of their favourites.

Maharashtrians are a conservative, confused, complex lot-kar. -Kar, that is because gavasakar, tendulkar, bahulkar,.. confused that is becausesitting in southern part of India they would ask the other person "are youfrom Maharashtra or from south India..?" and genuinely wonder why the other person takes some time to answer the question. They like the principles of pheejix and their favourite character in the alphabet is Zay (god knows where that came from). Although soft, peace loving people but they elect the shivsena to rule them.

And right there next to the Maharashtrians are the Gujjubhais. They liketo keep kes in the benk and their favourite past time is eating snakes (snacks) like paav bhaji, masala papad and pijja at the local snake bar. They gobble down palak sev like their life depends on it and believe in the brotherhood and sisterhood of man and woman (everybody is a bhai or aben).

If you go further eesht, the land uf Udissa - the land of irron ("r"unsilent) where sombalpuroa and Bhubaneshbara are big towns. The people are bery cordial and if you are Vikram they bill soorly ask your name starts from B or Bhe. They do not sout, sam or soot but occasnally bawsh their phace at the wasbashin. James Bond Mohanty in our colleze had a roll nomber jero, jero, sebhen.

Bengalees are bery bery similor, but or bery proud oph Subas Chondro Boashand Shoatyojit Roy (I used to know a director by name Satyajit Ray who wasalso pretty good) and eberybody is X da. I used to habe a friend by name. Dada. Bonder...neber mind. Bot I most conphess, Roshgollas are berygoooood, tho!

Bihari kids are supposed to be the smartest kids in India (if not in theuniverse!). How we wish they grow up the same way,...but... And Bihareesare bery phond of Laloo and Ranchi, isse bhadiya tumre pass koochi haikaa?! * spit spit... *

UPites and MPites are busy going to ischool and istudying metals to make lots of ishteel.

Punjabis are very sweet and aggressive and offer Rotti Shotti Khayega! towhich I once replied No. He said Tage itu, yaar! By Godu! Surjeetu, what happenedu, oi?!. Then of course, everybodys a paappe or a kaakke. Thats Punjab for you.

And Kashmir (called Cashmir by many, may be because of the amount of cashspent to keep it in India)?!?I know Roja (or Roza?)was shot (I mean filmed) somewhere nearby... But at the end of the day, wherever you are in the world, whether it is inSunnyvale, CA; Birmingham, UK; UmmAl Quwain, UAE; or Serangoon Road, Singapore, ask them who they are and you'll get just one answer --- "INDIANS" ====
~* Da Effectz *~

Abhilash: kya subah subah chutiya forward bhej taa hain?
Anish: You brisht insaan! forgot that you like only romantic poems, love stories, and other mushy forwards :D
Abhilash: You are 100% correct there...
Akula: You also don't forget that you are also not from mumbai.
Anish: I'm not from Mumbai. I'm from Navi Mumbai :) Hey shashi, i was just kidding re. Dil pe mat le yaar :) After all, where ever we are from, we are all just INDIANS :)
Akula: Tu kaha le ya yaar <(º¿º)>
Abhilash: the world would be a better place without boundaries... i am a world citizen... i speak the language of love and peace...fuck you... akula!!!
Anish: Omg! I'm about to fall off the chair!!!!
Akula: Sorry!! we figure it late that you are guy
Abhilash: fall off the chair, you !@#$@@#$#$# ... the reception has the first-aid kit!! break your pen@#$#$ ... she'll heal it...
Anish: you basket! that was a good one :) The poet in you is raring to go. Its time to pen down "Romance of a Goon, under a brishtful moon" by Abrishtlash Warrier. :)
Abhilash: That was a good one too... hope i am under a brishtful moon... two moons actually!!!
Akula: ya ya, but the night would look like moon day with 2 moons then.
Abhilash: abhay @#$#@$#@%$#$ from hyderaBAD... do u even know what the connotations are of two moons? forget it... do u even know what a "connotation" is?
Anish: And so the plot thickens... concoction of connotations, with two moons adding their flavor!And whoever said life is plain vanilla, better eat his words, or at least taste one moon :) Jeba, you there? we miss your interjections in this very happening e-mail thread. Wake up!!!
Akula: If you read the mail properly, and i suggest read the mail properly, I was actually talking about light and brightness of 2 moons and about "connotation".
Anish: RUNNING COMMENTARY: And Shashi has made a come back!!! Assuming Abhilash doesn't read mails properly, would you enlighten us with your understanding of "light and brightness" of two moons and the associated connotation? Our viewers are eager to hear you talk :)
Jeba: Looks like its a lot about two moons and way too many morons! Whilst you go on mooning... this bloody Indian don't have time to breathe... don't wanna miss the bus again!
Abhilash: i cannot read your mail again... that is asking for too much. what the fuck does that sentence mean anyways??? and jeba, what happened? your ass on fire kya?
Jeba: Ass already roasted... trying to save other vital parts! :(
Abhilash: nahi, yeh theek nahin kara tu, anish!!! spare me the torture of hearing the hyderBADi talking about moons!! would have sent him to titan if i could have...
Akula: where do you think this will end up!! then at moon or light.
Anish: I don't know where this will end up. But if you don't stop talking, you'll end up at Titan :D And I don't mean the Titan showroom in Hyderabad! :)
Akula: after all you are "lash", if you would have been abhilash then i would made u "lash"and listen i think anish!! is trying to keep you busy!!
Akula: I don't think like u
Anish: I don't *think* like u
Abhilash: we all knew that... good that you realize it now. you are closer to enlightenment now... than ever before...
Abhilash: akula writes: "and listen i think anish!! is trying to keep you busy!!" WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT EXCLAMATION MARK DOING THERE AFTER 'ANISH'?
Akula: for your kind information i have written to you to read it, but not to review it.
Anish: the cool akula, and brishtful abhilash,We are now on the verge of waging a proxy cold-war by e-mail. Chillax guys :) We're here only to have some fun. And Akula, itna dil pe mat le, nahi to mooh mein lena padega! ~* Om shanti Om *~
Abhilash: i am like that only... you have a problem, then don't write wrong english.. wrong that i can catch.. if i can't, good for you.. good for me... and anish, good that u don't "think" like him... if he ever does, that is...
Abhilash: Meri daadi main aag lagi hain, aur janab akula maachis main aag lagaane ko aaye hain!!

Sunday, September 05, 2004

An ode to my dear ‘kitti’

Kitti, or the cute little cat that entered my life on May 24th, 2001 left for heavenly abode today, the 5th of September 2004. His meows still buzz in my head, and I can feel him going round my legs in an effort to show his love. His purr still rings in my head, reminding me of the countless naps we have caught together. I can still feel his ‘bottle brush’ tail, which was the flag of antagonism on seeing another male cat.

Kitti entered my life as a mid-sized cat, extremely scared of his surroundings. His countless encounters with ‘vasu’, another broad-faced male cat in the locality, left him wounded on his left leg and hiding on the back on my settee for days together. A little medication and lots of love, made kitti fierce as any other cat in the locality. At times, his encounters with vasu left him severely wounded. On one occasion, kitti lost his front fang. On yet another account, kitti ate just about anything and swallowed a chameleon. This made him really sick, and on the got him to verge of life and death. A few injections and plenty of nutritious cat food got him back to the pink of health and ready for his next competitor, blacky.

Come monsoons, kitti developed severe chest congestion showing typical symptoms of heavy breathing and an occasional sneeze – symptoms of a respiratory illness in cats. My dad and me took him to the vet, who again gave him injections. I left for Pune on the 31st of August for a new job. On my visit to Mumbai in the weekend, I learnt that kitti had been refusing food for the last 6 days and was living just on water. Again, we took him to the vet who gave him another injection to increase his appetite, which had no effect. Kitti continued refusing food, which prompted Tarun and me to take him to the vet again this morning.

At the vets’ clinic, kitti was unusually restless, wriggling out of the bag and extremely scared seeing the number of dogs there. Seeing kitti’s unusual behavior, we left him inside the car for a while for him to get ‘free.’ When kitti was fine again, we put him back into the bag and got back to the clinic. Another 10 minutes, and kitti was restless again. This time more than anything I have seen. Kitti wriggled out of Tarun’s arms. Kitti got ferociously violent and scratched Tarun to let go of him. Resistance from Tarun got him a bad bite on his hands and me rushing to get Kitti under control. Caught the uncontrollable animal by his neck flap and held him against the ground to calm him down. Now, kitti did what he does when he is most scared. He urinated uncontrollably and finally became docile. Meanwhile, hearing the unearthly moans, the attendant at the clinic asked me to take Kitti to the vet immediately, ignoring the queue. When I picked up Kitti, he was limp, loose and almost lifeless. He was making sounds like sneezing and breathing very slow. Took him to the vet’s table and lay him there. He was gone. My Kitti had breathed his last. His eyes still wide open, he lay lifeless on the vet’s table until he was officially confirmed dead.

The feeling of having a loved one die in your arms is so emotionally traumatic. Though, I was strong when this uneventful episode occurred, I am shaken now. Loneliness gets to me and I can’t help but miss Kitti. I loved him, love him, and will always. He was a family member, and not just another pet. We will always miss you kitty. May your soul rest in peace.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

An Idea can change my life

Ok, I am writing in from Pune city. I moved base, thanks to a new job. Just as soon as I got here, I purchased a prepaid mobile connection and that too an Idea Chitchat to very well complement my philosophy of life - live an idea.

Impressed with their well-conceptualized ads, I had made up my mind to buy an Idea instead of any other. Hours passed and as I discovered the features of the service, I was stunned beyond movement to find that Idea Cellular charges its customers even when they call up the service helpdesk.

As quality and customer service become an indispensable part of every industry, the latter is often a liability for the company. Organizations spend millions of dollars providing customer service and post-sales support. For a cellular operator like Idea Cellular, this is not the case. Idea charges its customers for support. For example, if I want to activate roaming on my connection, calls made to the helpdesk as chargeable as per Idea Cellular. I have not seen such a policy with any other cellular operator anywhere in India. Even Reliance is better in this respect - calls made to customer care numbers are toll free. So Idea Cellular, since "an idea can change my life", how about the idea of providing toll free customer support?