Archive for the ‘experience’ Category

Pazhani Padayatra Experiences

Dear Friends,

Sorry for the delay in posting the same though I wish I could have posted it a week before. Some or the other way I was engaged with other activities and hence the delay.

Overall it was a good experience as I  had gone for the padayatra after 7 years break/gap! Fact not to be denied was the 7 years of IT life has contributed a lot in terms of health, stamina etc., :( . I used to do a good amount of physical activties, push ups etc., but for about 2 years could not do anything of that sort due to the present lifestyle!

The day before the yatra, I had stayed in office till 2 AM due to a release and reached home only at 3 AM. Due to lack of sleep and travel, had a good fever! :(. Had met the doctor and put 2 injections and then only started the yatra.

During the course of time though it seemed to be okay, I had been having a backpain and cold. So did NOT drink the tender coconut which is very essential and will be available aplenty. I remember a decade back when we used to go for the pilgrimage, on an average we used to drink 2 tender coconuts per day. Sadly, this time out of 5 days walk we had only one. Just one! :(.

Had been managing with few paracetamol, crocin etc., :) On the last day, looked like there was a blood clot on my left thigh due to which I could not really bear the pain and walk further. It was about 125 kms I had walked and rest 35 kms I was unable to.  Hence, I went by bus, which was never the case in our history! :(

My brother had managed to come by walk and reached on time.

Differences I had seen over these years

1. Earlier the distributions (food, eatables, snacks etc.,) will just be available only on the initial 2 days and nothing would be available for the rest of the journey.   Hence, we used to preserve the food whatever we get without bothering the weight and manage with that for the rest of the journey. Otherwise survival was difficult :). These years until pazhani there were more free meals (annadhanams), distributions which was a good sign I felt. It facilitates the people by all means! Lot more people are giving much more to boss (thalaivar  @ pazhani!) !! Vaazhga Valamudan!

2. Earlier these were no medical camps and aids provided. I remember in the year 2000 or so, the medical camps started operating. Now, there were good number of medical camps available for doing a good service for the devotees.  They used to apply the Turpantine Oil (White colour fluid) on the legs with which it smoothens the nerves and veins! Much appreciated and wonderful service!! May god bless them all abundantly! :)

3. Worst part was the roads which were newly made, due to which pretty small stones were the obstacles for the efficient walking and it was more painful! :(. Earlier one or the other places it used to be. But this time every day we had such kinda roads for about 8 to 10 kms! Almost every diety was scolding the entire TN government for having done such a nasty roads on this time. Everyone knows that this is the time people go for walk! Either they would have put the roads few months back or they would have applied good amount of Tar which would have helped the stones to get settled down! Neither they did and the ultimate sufferers were the devotees!

Not to wonder, after reaching the target place (Iraakkaala Madam for our Nagarathars, which is very close the adivaaram), I had seen many such people who had broken the journey in the middle and came by bus all because of the road condition! Pathetic!

4. Out of all these years, we had a very great and wonderful dharshan of Lord Muruga this time. We could reach on time and had seen the Raaja Alangaaram (King style), Thanga Ratham (Golden Chariot) and also before going to Pallaiyarai we had seen the God just 2 feet in front of us! This was the first time we got a chance to see our boss this way! :)

My brother had walked non stop 35 kms and reached Pazhani on time within 10 hrs. We have a calculation of 4 Kms per hour by walk. Average, 15 mts per km. It was all a bear foot walk.

During the yatra and even after returning I had got a nice scoldings from my brother, mom on the way I live my life and the fastings I have!  Too much and I could not digest :). However as exactly my brother said, “A very good lesson learnt” and the boss teaches such lessons in a little hard way, so that we will never forget!!

5.  For the first time, I was out of internet, email, sms, phone calls, status, delivery, release, issues etc,. :) Totally disconnected and hence saved the purpose of the trip! We intentionally did NOT carry any such devices. Also we follow the rituals and norms in a rigid way.

Few of them are :

  • We never look at our face in the mirror (as it may deviate the intention of the yatra)
  • We never lead any luxury life by all means — not even applying shampoo, combing hair etc.,
  • We never have any callback (status update.. he he he ) to house members
  • As Pazhani is a hill and we do fast (religious fasting and NOT refraining from having food), we never climb any temple which is on a hill. The very first hill temple will/should be Pazhani.
  • Though we take bath every day, we used to wear the same set of clothes for all the daysjust to reflect the life what Lord Muruga has, as he  has gone out of anger because of the Wisdom Fruit (Gnaana Pazham) with his brother Lord Ganesha and he maintains a bachelor and kinda sanyasi life. Only after reaching Pazhani, we will wear a new set of clothes.

Overall, it was a very pleasant experience! Let us see how far the next year’s yatra goes!!

Another factor was, the stamina and health can’t be prepared over night!

 

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escaped from a terrific accident

Hi friends,

Just wanted to share with you an accident I met with recently and the terrible shock!

Day before yesterday early morning I started from office at around 4 45 AM after giving a release. I had dropped one of my team members and was driving back home. Though I was tired and yawning, believed that I could manage to drive home safely as I was used to the late night stays.

The music system was also boosting my confidence as it was playing a nice set of Ilayaraja’s melody songs. All was good for quite sometime. The distance between office and my home was around 18 kms and the tiredness joined hands with the cool breeze and altogether they made me feel drowsy.

Felt sleepy and increased yawning gave a symptom that i would doze off. Yes, indeed was somehow. But still had been managing to drive while crossing the important areas like Intermediate Ring Road, SilkBoard, Bannerghatta Road etc.,

It was just 1.5 kms to reach my home and after taking a turn in the main road, again I felt drowsy. But by the time I could realize what had happened, all what I could hear was the screaming voice of a man. He was standing infront of my car and looked like shouting at me. I then realized something  bad had happened and looked at myself and the position of car.

Thank god! I had not hit him. But then how come he was throwing a different sight at me? I was also safely sitting inside the car. Then what the heck?

With the puzzling mind, I looked at the road and the situation of the car. Oops.. I had got into the ditch which was on the roadside in a few seconds and the car was tilted at around 40 degrees. Shucks!!!

Now I could bring out an analogy of why the man standing infront of the car was shouting at me and the collapsed state of my car. Luckily I had kept the window next to the driver seat open and using which I was attempting to come out. Immediately he came for rescue and he came to the other side of the car by managing to jump on the raw grasses and plants left unnoticed. He managed to open the door and gave his hand to lift me up! I luckily came out.  By God’s grace, I was not injured and had safely come out.

It was 5 15 AM and I was just 1.5 kms away from my home. I did NOT have the customer care or the Maruti On Road Service (MOS). Hence I called up my wife and asked her to come quietly without giving any info to my mom who would most probably have waken up by that time. I had been waiting on the roadside and there were many cars, two wheelers, early morning joggers stared at my car and stood for a while with an intention of lending a helping hand. I had been informing them that nothing had happened and I was safe. Also had been answering to their queries out of curiosity and listening to their advices as well.

In the middle, an auto had stopped and two people got down and they looked at the car. Tried on their own for sometime and told that they would get few more people to lift the car. He had come after sometime and we tried to provide a solid height for the car by shifting the big stones to the bottom of the car,  but still no luck. One cab stopped and it looked like a call center taxi coming from an IT company to drop the employees at their home. The driver came out and told that it may not really work out. One of the employees who came out the car, took some snaps of the tilted car on her my mobile.  The day was slowing rising and the light was spreading out.

After sometime one other car also stopped and the driver of that car suggested that it would work out only through a Crane and if you try to do something manually the car wheel may get cut and you can’t even drive. It would be better if I can call up the crane services. I nodded for doing the same.

There were couple of other people gathered in the place, who looked like staying nearby and heading back to home from their shift at office. Their attire confirmed of their profession. They also joined hands.

In the meanwhile my wife had come and I had called up Maruti On Road Service and got a reply that one person was coming on his way to assist us. We had been waiting and the MOS employee had come to the spot. He told that he could NOT really tow the vehicle by looking at the condition and he gave the number of Crane Services. I had also called up JustDial (an excellent services provided by these people by sending the required info to you in the form of Email and/or SMS at the very next moment) and obtained few more numbers.

The real critic started after the Crane person arrived on the spot. By that time the autowala who had helped initially had also took few more people along with him. The other few techies also joined hands. So altogether we were 10 people trying to do all trial and errors by pushing/lifting the car through the wooden sticks which are of considerable size to apply pressure and also with the help of big stones lying down on the roadside. Luckily we were able to see some effects. But still it was a collective effort and not that easy.

I could still hear the voice of one of the techies to the other saying that “Macha, I was thinking that it was just a Maruti 800 and it would not weigh so much! My god! But I stood corrected Macha! Too heavy da it is!!“. The other person agreed to him. I had told him that “it would hold good if the car was on the ordinary position instead of the tilted angle!

After about an hour, we were able to get the car out of the ditch and the overall look was so very pathetic due to the heavy damages! The right side of the car was totally smashed including the bumper, Bonnet. The door was jammed. The bonnet was broken. Both the bumpers fell out. Looked like the oil was leaking as well.

Gave tips to various groups of people who assisted in this regard and we reached home at 6 45 AM.

The most important and terrible shock was I never thought and imagined that this kinda situation would happen when commuting by Car. Good or bad, the travel in Car had safeguarded and it was luckily in the interior road and NOT on the main road. Had I driven my bike, it would have been even more terrible and injuries would be assured for the traveller!

Though having been getting calls from relatives, in laws and friends and getting their suggestions and advices, I do NOT have any other say rather than admitting the fact and consequences of continuous late nights and restless works!

Another beauty was that during these period, I could not even recollect the fact that I was supposed to renew my Car Insurance and it got expired by Jul 2010 itself 😦

Nevertheless, A good lesson learnt !

Cheers….

(S)Kandha Sashti Fasting

Dear Friends,

Its been so long I had posted any blogs here. I am back to form with many more posts. Before I could share them, here is one blog entry with respect to the religious festival. Hope all of you are doing well and enjoying in the blogosphere!

Here you go…

Just wanted to share few info about Skandha/Kandha Sashti.

This is a religious festival in Hinduism. People do observe fasting for 6 days starting from Amavasya Thithi (which comes after Diwali, and generally it is determined based on the Panchangam (Calendar)).

This is actually for the historical reasons where Lord Subramanya killed the Raakshash Soorapadma after obtaining the blessings + Spear (aka vel) from his motherLorddess Parvathi.

Sashti is also the 6th day starting from Prathamai (first day), Dwithiyai (Second day), Thrithiyai (Third day), Chathurthasi/Chathruthi (Fourth day), Panchami (fifth day), Sashti (sixth day), [Sapthamai (seventh day), Ashtamai,   Navami, Dasami are on the list..].

On the Sashti day, Lord Subramanya killed the Asura SooraPadma which is called as Soora Samharam. In one of his six houses (where he officially dwells), Tiruchendur is the place where this event happened and this is very famous for it. Though all the other 5 houses would be equally celebrating the victory of Lord Subramanya over Asura Soorapadma, Tiruchendur is the biggest! Lot more dieties would like to visit the place during this time.

The day after Soora Samhara, the Lord Subramanya gets married to Deivanai (Daughter of Indira) and that is called as Thirukkalyanam.

People tend to visit Tiruchendur to see both Soora Samharam and Thirukkalyanam and get the blessings of god!

Typically this rigid fasting is observed for the people who have excess fat in their body.

My Sashti Fasting

I do observe fasting for the continuous 6 days. The type of fasting varies from place to place and individual to individual. But the one I follow is very rigid. For the full 6 days, I refrain from taking food including water. The end of every day after visiting Murugan Temple and doing a Pooja at home, I take one glass of milk and one fruit (Apple/Banana whatever available).

People do wonder in office and ask me how do I manage without even taking a drop of water for the whole day. I just smile and say with God’s blessings and the determination + willingness, things are possible 🙂It overall purifies your mind, body, soul also provides you a self control!

Today is the 6th day and the fasting ends todayPlanning to do a great pooja with different abhishegams at home today evening. (Panchamirtam, Viboothi, Tender coconut, Rose Water, Sandal etc.,)

I had started this in the year 2007 when I was in Bahrain. I could not continue the same in 2008 as I  had lost around 16 kgs during my onsite term!! But from 2009 it is again continued. This is the third year!

Many Thanks to Lord Muruga and all the well wishers to bless me with his support to continue the fasting amidst the professional works 🙂 Just remember/recollect my dad’s words here during my college days when I tried to observe fasting, he used to day not to do the rigid fasting by then as I was a student and I need more energy for the class/lab works etc,. I used to be on fasting till half a day for first 5 days and only on the sixth day I fasted for the whole day.

Now that I thought I have grown up (!!#@?), I thought I can take up the full course and thankfully I am able to do it for 3 years!

I wish all the people who observe fasting on the Sashti days get their intention, reasons satisfied out of the fasting. Let Lord Muruga bless all the readers as well abundantly!

Few Useful links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murugan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aru_Padaiveedu

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vel

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2009/10/skanda-sashti-2009.html

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2007/11/how-to-observe-skanda-shasti-vratam.html

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2009/10/soorasamharam-2009-date-surasamharam.html — I think he updates the blog every year without changing the URL/blog post entry. You can see the dates for the year 2010 in the same URL which speaks for 2009.

http://www.hindu-blog.com/2009/10/tirukalyanam-during-skanda-sashti-thiru.html

 

last day

Everyone will have this so called day in our life at various phases. Huh! Right from schooling, college, Employment.. it continues to exist throughout.

I am into such situation now. Leaving this company and today is the penultimate day!

The amount of feelings you have is directly proportional to the years of attachment? Thought it was a hard decision which took more than 7 to 8 months to get its shape, all the acquaintances, people would be slowly moving out of the circle. Yes it is the part of life,  but still the transition period is slightly painful and can’t just be literally expressed through words no matter how good you are at it.

Many people feel reluctant just on the part of losing all the existing people and the comfortable zones they have been living with so far and also the efforts to be put in to creating a similar nest/structure in the new endeavor! Though I have never thought of this and i am not bothered/scared of all as I generally get along with people well and make my own people in the places, the nostalgic feelings are abominable!

Well, I remember by turning back few years back. It is around 4.5 years I have spent in this company. Certainly I was relatively younger in my career and to the industry. Was having many hopes, dreams and ambitions while joining the new venture.  Perhaps, could have been the side effects of the hardships you had faced during the antecedent ventures. Nevertheless, I did have many such hopes and dreams.

Of course, few of them have got very well fulfilled but some of them are yet to! I scold myself a bit as 4+ years gap is too much! :(. Still having been concentrating on other aspects like forming an organization SHaDE (www.shade.org.in) etc ., and that gives me a sense of satisfaction.

Nevertheless, carrying away all the mixed feelings, experiences and about to step in to a new horizon with few new plus few old-but-yet-to-get-fulfilled dreams,ambitions into the new venture!!

Cheers,

2nd company annual day

This is the 2nd company Annual day I had attended today 08th Jan 2010, Friday 🙂

I still very well remember the very first company day I had attended in my career in this company 2 years back and my blog on the same 🙂 Nostalgic! (Link is here :))

Though there are various reasons (which would probably be shared later), one good thing was I could meet most of my friends, colleagues from the other building at one shot in the auditorium, which otherwise would be little tedious meeting them in person in their respective seats :).

Had a good time and a relaxation out of the regular routine!

Good Evening and Good Weekend 🙂

3000 Posts in JavaRanch

No matter what, It is always yet another factor which keeps me feel happy and little proud of the consistency with respect to the technical stuff I deal in my day-to-day life for my bread and butter 🙂

Yet another milestone of 3000 posts in JavaRanch . The page is available  at http://www.coderanch.com/t/470408/Ranch-Office/Hurray-Reached-posts-JR

The earlier one was when I reached 1000 posts, which was blogged here https://blogsofraghs.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/1000-posts-in-javaranch/

As usual, sharing the screenshot here 🙂

3000 posts in JavaRanch on 11Nov09 Wed 246 AM IST

snapshot of the 3001st Post in JavaRanch

Way to go!!

GIDS 2009

Blogging after a long gap.. As this post is mainly for GIDS, talk about the rest of the stuff later 🙂

GIDS 2009 – Great Indian Developer Summit (Thank god, there exists other gids — Giri Institute of Development Studies in http://www.gids.org.in/) , a great technical conference from the people all over the world ranging from Java to .Net to Web 2.0 🙂

First thing to appreciate is the way the events are organized. Phew, got really amazed by the way delegates are notified of all the events and registrations and any such notices through an SMS.

Thanks to my colleague Vivek Juneja who had actually let us know and coordinated with the GIDS organizers to get the concession package for a team of 10 people from the same company! Feel like the money spent was not wasted 🙂

Moreover, happened to visit IISC, Bangalore for the first time which I had been waiting for 🙂 though it happens in JN Tata Auditorium.

Attended the Day 3 and 4 sessions on yesterday (Java) and today (workshops) .

Day 3 : JAVA

==========

1. Struts 2.0 Deep Dive by Prabhu Subramanian of DuraSoft, India

It was a nice session to get to know about Struts 2.0 — the new features offerred by Struts 2.0 , the benefits and betterments from earlier versions, significant differences of Struts 1.x Vs 2.0 were neatly covered and the session ended with a hands on demo application of a traditional “NumberGuess” application.

But the session was not satisfying the title I believe. It was  not a deep dive at all rather just a gentle intro! 😦

2. Know your Java by Venkat Subramaniam

This is one of the excellent and interesting sessions. Venkat is a very nice person and well experienced and I have already interacted with him in one of the Book Promo sessions in JavaRanch for his book “Programming Groovy” and was glad to see him in person and attend his session. 🙂 He is the directory of the company http://www.agiledevelopers.com .

The session was very good and inquisitive as he had prepared Q&A in basic Java on some categories like Strings, basics, Derived, Math etc., each with the points of  100,500,1000. Volunteers are asked to come to stage and pick up their choice of interest and give a try for answering the question. Venkat did NOT only validate the answer but also demonstrated then and there in his Apple MAC which was really satisfying and convincing  :). I got one 500 points and at the end he called up the peopel whoever has got 1000 points and handed over his books :).

I would have picked up one for 1000 points but somehow dint want to go for “derived” topic and went for my favorite “Strings” area hence I missed the book! 😦 Had I not missed the initial few minutes of the session, I would have grabbed one?

Tea break 🙂

3. Unleashing the power of Java on Intel by Mukeh Gangadhar

It was an informative session by an Intel engineer and nice to rehearse the electronics terms (processor, cpu cyles, throughput etc., after a decade) as he was demonstrating the various ways to optimize the Java applications running on Intel and other tools available for monitoring the performance.

Lunch break 🙂

4. Building RESTful applications with JAX-RS by Criag McClanahan

Was very very excited to see him as he was the original founder of popular open source J2EE Web application framework called Struts 🙂 . He had been also the one of the main persons in JSF (Java server Faces). Though I could not attend his first session “What is RESTful?”, was somehow able to cope up with this session.

5. Programming Groovy by Venkat Subramaniam

This was again one of the interesting sessions and could not even believe that the session was over after the stipulated time. It was all about Groovy a new dynamic language which runs on top of JVM and the features it offers, few excellent benefits it offers, programming features of the language etc. Of course everything with the instant demo!

Kept all the audiences in sync 😉 Kudos..

Tea break 🙂

Day 4 – Workshops

=============

1. Building external DSLs for Java by Venkat Subramaniam

Started with an introduction of DSL (Domain Specific Languages) and what it is all about and continued with the need for the DSL, the two different types of DSL (Internal and External) the present trends and activities being done on it.

The good part is the Q & A session wherein we get to know about the good collection of views and the way venkat takes them up and clarifies. He discussed about Xtext — an DSL tool comes as a plugin for  Eclipse. He had demonstrated one application with XText and the source code it generates along with the parser 🙂

[will blog in detail about the DSL on a separate post]

2. JRuby in Action by Ola Bini

Ola Bini has been one of the 8 core developers of Ruby language and he has been promoting the same thought some of them have quit in the middle. It was nice to see the Ruby features and the pros and cons with the application being demonstrated.

One thing is Ruby was developed based out of Java (following and/or keeping Java in mind) but it just works like a C program but with the Garbage Collectable facility. Has drawbacks on performance compared to Java and few others. Still people go for it due to the features, ease of use .

3. Get Connected – A web based Tutorial by Jim Webber

He is a director, architect of Thought Works and an author of the book “Building Enterprise Web Services”.

Attending right now 🙂

He is talking about the evolution of Web and the various paradigms the history has been seeing. The needs and driving factors of information sharing, various parameters such as client, ISP, Cache, Router etc., wherein some of them drive the trends while few others facilitate.

Also discusses about Http Vs Https and the different parameters associated with it.  its on going…

Today evening there is an award ceremony for which the chief guest is Cyrus Broacha. 🙂

Looks great altogether.

Few comments and suggestions to the Organizing committee

1. The way delegates are kept informed was well. Good lunch and snacks 🙂

2. The audio/video aids were neat and adding values to the talks.

3. Distributing prizes based on a lucky draw for almost all the events like the feedback form after each session,  blogging entry with the url, completion of survey, handing over a EXPO Passport which has to be stamped from all the sponsors around. 🙂 The prizes are Sony 72 MP digital  Camera, 3 days and 2 nights trip to Singapore, Technical books, Badge etc., — A way to keep the participants enthusiastic. Nice Guys!

4. Nice to see plenty of volunteers being around everywhere to assist the delegates for their queries.

4. Only one of the main halls were having an electric outlet for getting our laptops charged! Had to suffer in the sessions happening on other halls! Moroever the credentials (if any) and way to access the wireless network would have been mentioned well rather than letting the delegates suffer! Of course I did for the whole day yesterday! — Point to be noted Organizers! None of the volunteers whom I aksed had an answer for the query! 😦

5. Handing over the goodies (Tshirts) would have been done better — like giving to delegates at the time of registration itself than making all of them form a line and every individual has to spend around 20-30 minutes in the crowd just to get to know that they can get the  Tshirt on the next day as that would be their last day! 😦 Absolutely no need for all these circus guys!

6. Looked like there was no option to choose/customize the technical books given away based on the individual’s interest. I still remember and could not control my laughter on seeing my ex-colleagues face after getting a book on “Software Testing on Visual Studio .NET” when she is a hard core Java/J2EE Developer and the only sentence she could utter was, “fayda kya hai?” [whats the use!]. could have been better!

7. Upon seeing most of the speakers using my dream product Apple Mac Notebook, my craze towards the same has got drastically increased and falling in love with it more and more :)) One excellent feature in Mac which lacks in any other OS is the zooming the desktop with no compromise on the resoultion. Wonderful. Is nt it?

Well, its time to move on.. will have to finish the entry and submit this URL to the organizing committee and also to test my so called LUCK 🙂 Let me see and definitely would keep you posted on the status 🙂 (if I get).

Cya later…

Damn Happy at the moment

How many of you (us) capture, save, cherish the moments and momentary occasions? I am glad to say that I fall in that category.

I would like to say I am damn happy at the moment because of having bought one Audio CD that contains one of my most favorite songs in the movie ‘Dhinandhorum‘ [casting: Murali, Suvalakshmi and Directed by Nagaraj, released in Feb 1998]. The reason being all my efforts in searching for the song in the music portals, websites were in vain. Also with my friends!

The songs are:

1. Oh Kannukkul Sugam Paaindhadhenna (Unnikrishnan, Swarnalatha)
2. Nenjathil Vegu Naatkalaai (Unnikrishnan, Anuradha Sriram)
3. En Vaanam Neethaanaa (SP Balasubramaniam)

As I had been to Reliance Timeout (Cunningham Road, Bangalore) to get a headphone and to grab some books, happened to see one music CD named ‘Azhagoviyam’ which contained this movie with other few. Felt so glad and had a dilemma whether should I get this CD or can i continue searching?  Finally purchased the CD as NOT to regret later (as usual) for having missed the chance!

Now I am listening to the songs of Dhinandhorum 🙂 and felt like sharing the happiness I do enjoy at the moment..

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New GMail with Themes

New Gmail Theme

New Gmail Theme

Looks Like I am working on a Mainframes Terminal? 🙂 Huh.. No way.. Its the ‘Gmail’ with the ‘Themes’ 🙂

Always been wondering about the 6 letter world ‘Google’ as their breathing mantra is all about ‘Innovation’, ‘Creativity’. They just rock and I simply fall in love with every aspect of Gmail.

I do remember I was one of the few to comment the same sharing the addiction towards Gmail service by bypassing all the predecessors Yahoo, Rediffmail which were ruling till then.

Thanks to my colleagye Vivek Juneja for just setting this theme ‘Terminal‘ (with Courier New font — towards which I started having a liking of late) accidentally when he was trying to find out a theme called ‘Mountain‘ which he is using in his machine. I guess the set of themes vary depends on the browser you use. Vivek uses Google’s own new browser ‘Google Chrome’ and there he has little more different themes. As I do use ‘Flock’ which is based on ‘Mozilla Firefox’, I don’t.

Though I always go with the simple and pleasant colours, this one has dominated today because of the power saving thought [Check out www.blackle.com – yet another stuff from Google which suggests you to go for black background to save the power consumption]. Moreover accidental events sometimes yield good results 🙂

One good aspect whih has NOT dissatisfied me was the font style is retained in the mail content with this theme :). Way to go Google..

I Love you Google 🙂

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An Atrocity from Citibank

I do keep facing atrocities at various parts and with few people at times! Its just one sample to describe.

There exists a facility called ‘Ready Credit‘ from Citibank which the bank offers to certain (valued added — they say) customers based on the level of usage, salary credit, funds maintained etc., I have used this facility once and of course I am thankful to citibank for the same. The situation was, when I have given a cheque to ING Vysya bank and they did NOT process it on time but they did it on the next month for 2 cheques altogether. Being the very first month I did not keep a track and the next month there was a shortage for two cheques at the same time! ;(. By then Citibank did really help me by pulling out some money from the so called Ready Credit account and they honored the cheque as well as preventing a black mark on my transaction history. Hats Off! The very next day I paid them back the money with the applicable interest (it was Rs. 10/- i guess). This happened in last year (July 2007).

Today I happened to receive the Suvidha Account Statement via email (which I have opted for). As I do check my account everyday (the helping stuff I do insist me to check and acknowledge me promptly the individual volunteers for their contribution), I thought of skipping it. But somehow there was an instinct to just glimpse! I was just browsing through as all were known transactions until the last few which triggered me. It was like ‘Education Cess 2%, Service Charge 10%’. I was surprised and shocked to see such entries as I have NOT done any such transactions. I found out later that these 2 charges for the ‘Citibank Ready Credit Account Charges‘ which was Rs. 750/- and the Service Charge for the same is Rs.90/– plus the Education Cess was Rs.2.10/ which is altogether Rs. 842/-. Isnt it a good/big sum? All happened without my knowledge:(.

The ultimate ATROCITY was all these happened albeit I rejected for the same on all the 3 calls in last month from Citibank executives asking for the same Ready Credit Account!

Immediately called up the Customer Care and asked for the clarification. With no feelings, he just apologized for the same – at the max what he could do being an employee of citibank! He said that he will ensure the same does NOT repeat again in future. But he could not proceed further when I replied him back for the same saying, “this is the 3rd time I face such thing with citibank but with various aspects”! 😦 He does NOT have answer for my query stating, “Does Citibank look the money from customers like this?“! Moreover, he said the money would be credited back to my account within 13th of this month. I have to wait for 3 more days.Huh?

I just asked, “When you have an Auto Debit System” why not you have an “Auto Credit System?”. Again no answer! :(. Moreover “If I had used the money from bank and give it back after few days, would not the bank levy some interest towards the amount? “. Here my money was blocked for about 13 days (if at all it gets credited within 13th of this month as promised) and there is NO interest for the same! — Again no answer/reciprocation and I was just left with my own satisfaction of having asked! That’s it!

I had already one such scenario in the year 2006 wherein I just happened to find out that there was an auto debit of Rs. 13,000 or so. Obviously wondering and shocked to see that, had to call up the customer care from the ATM Centre itself (opposite to KPN Travels, Madiwala, Bangalore) and it was extended 4,5 times to various divisions but no one had the proper answer for the sudden auto debit. Later it got escalated to the Head Office, Chennai and a person named ‘Ashok’ who took it up and asked for 2 days time to investigate. He got back to me saying that it was not just mine but almost all the employees of my company. It was all because the main reason for the auto debit was one transaction entry in our salary account and that was entered as ‘Salary Credit‘ instead of ‘Reimbursement‘ for the claims we do every month. No doubt, the claims would be very less compared to the salary and there the discrepancy. But I had no answer for my query, “Would not there be any sense to detect the sudden decrease of salary and how come there would be two salary credits on a single month?”. As we do have two salaries – one is the base component gets credited on the last day of the month and the other – the flexible credit for reimbursements which happens on the 10th of the same month. But NO proper answer because it was all done on a dumb terminal with which they just get escaped — “System“! Thank god, I just noticed it a littler earlier before one of my cheques to a friend was processed. otherwise it would have got bounced 😦  All because of this barbarity from my employer and the Citibank with no fault of mine! :(. After all the issues are sorted out, I had to wait for more than a weeks’ time to get back my own money  with NO interest! Same answer for the question asking would the bank simply accept the principal alone? — Silence was the answer I was given!

I do understand that “If at all something is destined to happen, no matter what we would face”. But still, there should be a limit/extent to which our candidature can be considered. For no fault of us, it keeps going and growing! What else I would better call this, except “Atrocity“!?

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