Oye'manju's
Just one of those many thoughts

Jan
23

YAY!! Elevated Express highway between Silkboard and Electronic city is back in News again. If you remember it was in news during the Satyam scam (because Maytas was one of the partners). Forget it, lets discuss good things.. It is in news finally for a good reason. Second (edited: Thnx to Vincent)longest elevated highway is open to public.

A close pal and I took our first ride on the much awaited elevated express highway worth close to 750 crores today without paying toll (We didn’t cheat anyone, officially there was no toll today). With a sluggish ride, we were able to cover 9 kms in 9 minutes on this posh flyover.  Saw tons of people clicking photos, there were couple of couples coupling. I kept staring them and that reminded them that they were still on Hosur road in Bangalore and not in Singapore or New York  as it looked like. LOL.. No offense, it is none of my business to intervene, but Prem Divas is getting closer and Ram Sena might be around and getting naughty on a skyscraper is not a good idea. There are several suicide point look-alike here and there, God forbid nothing bad happens and I didn’t find any cameras which I think was a part of the talk. Maybe I didn’t notice it or it may be a hidden camera. I feel CCTV’s are very much essential to monitor the civic sense.

All in all the ride was very smooth throughout,  only time will tell us how well the traffic will be managed near the toll booth.  I expect some excessive crowding at Silkboard junction as vehicles from elevated and base roads get accumulated before it spreads across to different directions.

If you are taking this elevated highway to ply to work then “I am late to office because of traffic” will not help you escape from your boss. You got to find some new reasons.

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Oct
11

My bus days. Back in 90’s it was different. (I feel like a veteran using the line “back in 90’s). It was red in color. As soon as I get in I flash my buspass to the conductor and hang on the footboard of the BTS buses(now they call it BMTC) along with my seniors school mates.

 Things changed in college. By then the blue colored BMTC buses replaced the red ones and it had some kind of new engine fit into it to help rip on roads. I was vey fond of it. It had good pick and speed and whenever the driver applied brakes I used to do a little gymnastic and stuffs holding the pole. The power was such. In college, it was a shame if you voluntarily show your buspass to the conductor before he/she asks you to flash it. There were few conductors who used to scrutinize my buspass and try to find similarities between the stamp sized b/w computerized photo attached on it and my face. Well, there is a story behind it. When I went to get my buspass done, the officer never told me that he was going to take my photo, he just asked me to look at a webcam and before I was ready, he asked me to go to the next counter and collect my buspass. There was no second shot for me.
Sometimes I had to half-close my eyes and half-smile to prove that  I am the one on my bus pass. And one day a conductor thought I was making faces at him and warned me.

(edited on Oct 12: I forgot to mention: While in a crowded BMTC bus or any city transport bus for that matter, just stay quite for 2 minutes and try to catch the conversations going on. Everyone talks simultaneously, few discuss about the govt., few about last night’s cricket match and the ultimate one or my favorite one is when people talk to their loved/non-loved ones on their cell phones. Listening to the one sided conversation is simply awesome and I must tell you it will make you creative. Next time you get a chance, try to envision things by listening to one sided conversations, but at the sametime don’t go naughty if you are in a bus)

The reason I am blogging about this is, I boarded 4 different buses today and few things that happened to me today made me nostalgic. Luckily it is a Sunday and the buses were not crowded.

“Sorry, I din’t mean to wake you” I said in English to a guy who looked like a fresh techie. He had his ID card exposed in a BMTC bus. This says, he is a fresher who just got his first job. The window seat was empty and I had to cross this techie to grab that place. Everyone loves window seats. I don’t know why he wasn’t interested in a window seat. I had a tough time to get past him to take my seat, coz he wasn’t interested on me taking the window seat either. It might also be because
1. I woke him from his sleep and he was too lazy to move
2. He had a laptop on his lap and that made my entrance very conjusted.
3. Maybe I was in a hurry to grab that window seat and that made him angry, so he stayed unmoved

I took my seat and smiled at him and ensured that he didn’t feel bad about my desire for window seats. And when everything went on as expected, I saw this written on the seat cover in front of me. 

  

bus1bus

 

But again no blames on BMTC, they cannot do much to avoid such activities. I remember writing such things on our college’s rest room walls. But it wasn’t this filthy. We just used to draw our lecturer’s caricature and we used to make him wear shorts and sometimes shorter than shorts.

But jokes apart. A lot has changed about the BMTC services. Nowadays the buses are peppy and beautiful. We have the silver colored Suvarna, Red colored Vajra the volvo and the blue buses which has improved a lot in  years. “If you come early,the bus is late and if you are late the bus already left” is no more a fact after the introduction of BIG10. Compared to other cities, I think BMTC buses are the least pollutants. The idea of having ads and awareness-bringing hoardings on buses are very innovative. They also have a website of their own, one can check the bus routes and contact their call center with queries. Just in case you need it http://www.bmtcinfo.com/english/index.htm

Sep
17

For whatever reasons Dr. Tharoor happens to be the most talked about and happening politician in our parliament, not becoz of his looks or the position he held in UNO but bcoz of  the way(good way) he values aam janta by being available to answer our queries. Having read and heard about his good work for so long and also for the fact that he is my only favorite politician I couldn’t stop myself following him on Twitter. I eventually started following his son Kanishk Tharoor too, who also happens to be an Arsenalite like me.  
I have seen Dr.Tharoor replying to all kinds of tweets thrown towards him by the public. Jobless me did the same thing. I mean I initially thought of introducing myself to MoSEA and soon realised the tweet box entertains only 140 characters. So, of everything in this world I asked him, who does he like the most in English Premiere League and pat came a reply. I pinched myself and made sure it wasn’t a dream. I couldn’t believe,it was so quick and I have a tweet from Dr. Tharoor.                                                                                                                                                                                

 Tweet from honorable Dr. Taroor

 Just imagine what will happen to our country if all our politicians spend some time for public on Twitter. Oh no!! I will take my words back, then we have to train most of them to make them computer savvies,by the time they pick up, the next election campaign would have started.  And I heard Dr. Kalam too has a website where you can write to him or ask questions.  http://www.abdulkalam.com/kalam/index.jsp

I decided to blog on this after seeing all the Halla bols for his tweet on Sep 15th. Journalist Kanchan Gupta’s question was “Tell us Minister, next time you travel to Kerala, will it be cattle class?”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 For which Dr. Tharoor replid “absolutely, in cattle class out of solidarity with all our holy cows!”

Tweet need not be sweet, it can be witty also. Grow up guys, before his entry to politics he was India’s candidate to succeed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. His last tweet was at 3:40 pm, Sep 16th.  Our coolest politician have not tweeted for more than 24 hours now. I know there are lot of people out there who are against this cool trend of connecting to people and are jealous of his popularity and his availability to public. Dr.Tharoor may be a minority voice now, but this is just a beginning in India. Now as India is the third highest Twitter using country in the world and we shouldn’t step back.  At this minute we are 166,828 followers waiting to see a tweet from you, Dr. Tharoor.

Aug
30

No, I am not talking about Sonia Gandhi. Its our very own RCB’s team owner Vijay Mallya’s Force India team’s F1 driver who made us proud. Giancarlo Fisichella gave Force India its first-ever pole position.          

This is just a beginning.

This is just a beginning.

Extremely happy to see an talian wearing tri-colored jersey. Kingfisher’s owner is having a Good time this year. First it was RCB’s comeback and now its Force India’s driver showing India the pole.  I want him to buy a team in EPL too..

Jai Ho……

Aug
30

Gunners couldn’t fire them today. They even stopped us from our all win show in the season. But we are the most tightest rivals ManU will come across this season.

Tough we took the lead in the first half, and went down 2-1, I would say Arsenal outplayed ManU. Again Van Persie and Arshavin rocked.

Still can’t take it.Van Persie’s miss.. Rooney’s equaliser..Abou Diaby’s self goal.. stupid referree’s biased decision.. Why was Arsene Wenger sent out from the dug-out when there was only 35 seconds left for the final whistle? But I would have felt better if we had beaten them at Old Trafford.

Aug
26

The world’s largest mobile phone manufacturers are making their ways to the notebook industry. I navigated few websites and found the rough prediction of what Nokia Netbook 3G is all about.
Unfortunately there is nothing much about it on Nokia’s site.
If  rumors are to be believed, it weighs only about 2.5 pounds with a 10-inch screen. According to an official Nokia site this portable PC will run on Windows based OS supported by an Intel Atom processor. The market availability and pricing, will be announced at Nokia World on September 2.

This video I found on youtube gives all the specifications and features of the next big thing that connects people.

Though they are going the Apple way, I think there are lot of challenges they have to overcome. Unlike Apple’s iPhones and Mac’s, Nokia’s netbook is an extension of their cell phones. I am sure they are doing everything to get there. Battery back ups were unquestionable in Nokia handsets. So, I feel they got my vote there. Similar to itunes Nokia has come up with Nokia music store. http://musicstore.nokia.com/

After this I am keeping my fingers crossed to see what Google’s Android come up with..

Aug
21

Well, of late I am not regular on my blog… I am trying hard not to make my self busy..but situations put you on your knees..
I finally watched Love Aaj Kal.. yuck it was…

There’s loads happening around. Good, bad and worse..
Good thing is Rahul Dravid is called back after his brief lay off.. EPL kicked off with Arsenal registering a convincing win over Everton. 6-1 is indeed the start that Arsenites and their die hard  fans like me needed.

There are bad news going around too… Swine is mercilessly taking lives..
Around 700 people have Swine flu, all are waearing masks..But millions have Aids and many don’t know what to wear..

The worse news is SRK being detained..atleast for SRK and Kjo it may be.. For few it was worse because he was detained on our Independence day.. For Mr.Amar Singh it was just a publicity gimmick for SRK’s new movie “My name is Khan”. Politicians can say anything… I will not be surprised when someone tomorrow says the officers who detained SRK needed some publicity and hence detained him..

I would like to first thank SRK for visiting America to meet his fans and made their day on I-Day and memorable one..

I think SRK has a point here.. I am neither surprised nor do I feel SRK is wrong when he said he was shocked and saddedned by the way he was treated in the airport..Reason is, you treat him as a king one day and the next day you detain him and question.. I completely understand the embarassment one has to go through when called seperately for questioning..

However, had I been a responsible citizen, I would say the officers just sticked to their rule book.. In America no matter you are a superstar or a superman, VIP culture is not entertained..Come on man.. Dr.Abdul Kalam was also frisked and Narendra Modi was denied VISA..
Saluting a VIP and taking a superstar’s autograph when being taken to a court or a police station happens only in India.. And how would a common American officer know who SRK is? How many Indian police officers can recognize Will Smith or Jim Carrey..
If our government overreacts to this, it just proves our ignorance towards a nation’s security..
Just take the example of the U.S and us..

9/11 taught them a lot.. Though they have the highest threats from around the world it is still far safer than India..What have we learnt from the recent
attacks..Since the attack on parliament to the 26/11, we have been only learning.. For us learning never stops…
If we can ape their fashion, lifstyle, music and accent..why not something like this…

With a sense of humor when Shah Rukh said he would like to frisk Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox if they visit India, I felt happy. Not for what SRK said he would do, but for what India should be doing to safe gaurd itself..

And guys the good news is Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood actor who was detained for questioning at a US airport, has been invited for dinner by Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
hey yippee… yeeah.. googly…..

Aug
02

hooooooh.. Been a month I visited my blog..

When Call Centers and BPO industries were booming in Bangalore, there were hundreds of people attending interviews in consultancies and companies in different part of the city to nail this high paying job. Few got through very easily, few scraped through, I got rejected.
I was upset, but only for a couple of hours, because I somehow managed to scrape through in another call center the same evening.

Don’t worry, this blog not on call centers again.

Couple of weeks ago, I was watching a reality TV show and it forced me to recall an incident that occurred with my friend during those days. He was rejected in an interview by a person who addressed herself as a HR. Reason given for the rejection was he sounded arrogant. But the most cruelest part here is it was a telephonic round of interview and he was judged by nothing more than his voice..

Well, fair enough.. Neither he nor me had any problem with it then..  But now I feel, it wasn’t a fair call.. Judging a person without really knowing him/her..
“Never judge a book by its cover” is not just a saying —
Here’s why with a true scenario:

Remember this line” My name’s Susan Boyle. I am nearly 40, currently unemployed, but still looking”.
There were many who judged Ms.Susan Boyle when they saw her the first time. From judges to audiences to TV anchors.

Just look how judges reacted after listening to her song. I bet it was an eye-opener for many.. And hats off to Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and  Piers Morgan for accepting that they were judgemental and cynical…

Jul
02

call-center

Soon after I finished reading One night @ Call center by Chetan Bhagat, I decided to blog on my call center life..As a former call center employee, I feel not every one will have a happy ending like Shyam, Vroom, Isha or Priyanka.. Call center life is more painful than that..But believe me, it isn’t a bad job as many people think. It is a job that helped me climb one step ahead in my life…

I would love to share with you an SMS I got years back when I was a call center agent. This pepped me to work hard, earn more incentives and enjoy life. It goes this way….

Midnight Coffees, Birthday Bumps..
Accentuated English, Dashing clothes..
Irate Customers, F.M in cabs..
So much Money, so little time..
Late night parties, Mugs of BEER..
Crush on T.Ls……..
Fight for appraisals………
Die-hard friendship, tears for love..
nothing missing, just everything.
People call it CALL CENTERS.
We call it LIFE!!!!!!

This went on to become a hoarding on one of our floors which usually had pictures of the agents who took the best call, agent who earned the highest incentive etc.

I also remember seeing a drop of tear in an agent’s eyes on his last working day in the company. When someone asked him the reason for the mellow dramatic act, he said the hoarding made him miss the time he spent with us. Bloody lier I said, the reason is he got kicked badly..  Yes, our rituals not only included giving bumps on one’s birthday but also on his last working day with us. Due to high attrition rates, we often had chances to perform this ritual. Recently, I heard this ritual is being performed on one  more occasion as well. The person who struck s the first sale is also kicked.. Though we were a part of an inbound process, we were forced to sell products to earn incentives…

After attending a couple of call center interviews, I understood what the interviewers needed. The rule- just be dishonest with your replies, this will help you reach their expectations.  So, I just answered them dishonestly and finally managed to bag a job in a call center. That’s the thumb rule here, if you are honest, the feedback you get is “you have an attitude problem”..      and Questions like, Where do you see yourself 2 years from now pisses me off..                                                                                                                                            grow up man, how will I know what will happen to me 2 years from now.

My friends were astonished when my driver came in a Toyota Qualis to pick me at 9pm. I felt honoured, a car waiting at your door step to pick a 20 year old boy.. My neighbours were one of those who refuse to grow up. For them call center agents only sell credit cards and disturb you at work with phone calls.

Cab driver’s have a uniform policy. They will give you two miss calls. The first one is 15 mins before reaching the pick up point, if you give them a chance for the second one, then you are most likely to be in trouble. Because, the second one will come 5 mins after he reaches your place. This means you are un-professional and made him wait.  Consequences of this are he will drive rashly to give you a feel that “he is getting late because of you”.  Sometimes he might not play any music saying that the player has some issues..This usually happens if you are the first pick in your cab.

The most happening time in your call center life is during the training period. You will under go several trainings that include voice and accent, pronunciation etc.. Rolling your R’s, pronouncing consonants, maintaining AHT’s (average handling time – time you take to handle a call), side jacking your senior’s calls, role plays and finally an assessment which will be a gate pass to hit the floor and put on those head sets..

Things will be tough initially as no work is a cake walk, unless you get a hold of the formula called “how to pataav” the customers and make them listen to you.  Its all there – apologizing for no reasons, chumma an argument with customers, flashing your middle finger if you are angry at the customer and even shouting at him with the phones  muted…….                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         An irate customer can screw your day and sometimes you might get an appreciation by a customer for the good work done by you.. And the funniest part is sometimes you never know if they are really appreciating you or in sarcasm.. A friend of mine was talking to a person from the UK who had called to get a fix for his laptop..  After the conversation my friend was in a very happy mood and was doing a bit of jiggling and all.. When we asked the reason for his joy,  he said the customer told him that he has an Irish accent!! This joy was short lived.. A quality analyst walking around heard this discussion and disappointed our poor dude..She said it was a sarcastic comment and he has to work hard on his accent… As a tech support we have had days which were full of disappointments and the happiest days are during Christmas, Thanks giving day and Glitch day.. Christmas and Thanksgiving will have lots of give aways and goodies for the agents…   Though Glitch day is  not a festival but its one of my favorite’s.. This day will come un-expectedly when there are issues like internal applications not working, VOIP network down, under sea cable cut (the last two are the best of all the glitches, this will bring the phones down)…

I have to admit that the money was good, you get exposed to western lifestyle but it might take your health a ride also because of sleepless nights and insomnia..  For me it offered a lot more in return than it took from me. I could earn my bread at a very young age. More importantly for youngsters it teaches you professionalism, it teaches you how to be patient and it exposes you to a an environment which is very systematic and structured..

Over the years we have seen call center operations coming to India. An American on the phone across oceans to a “foreigner” named Raj/Rahul/Manju/Priya/Amit, whose job it is to provide service while he represents a multi-national corporation.. This is indeed a respectable job..

What say….

Jun
28

I could’nt let go of the thought and decided to blog it.
I received an e-mail from a college senior who also is a very close friend currently working in Canada for a top MNC.

I felt very proud about my country after reading his e-mail.

india_flag

Its now been 4 years he left us and this country. I remember how we used to pull his leg when he was applying for admissions in one of the foreign universities. We never thought that one of our friends will go to America to study. Growing up in a close-knit middle class environment, even thinking of going abroad was a big deal.

But one thing we were sure about was we knew he can get anything in his life, he was a dream chaser, he was the most intelligent of us all, we were very happy for him when he got a job in a top mnc there.

Back then we were a group of 4 friends. We along with our immediate family members had been to the airport to send him.

I remember one of us asking him if he would forget us and settle down in his new place. Honestly, I don’t remember his reply to it.

Last month we sent him a parcel as a birthday gift. We sent him a DVD of the movie Swades. It was just for fun and had no serious intentions to it. We thought it is the best thing we can send to our NRI friend.

Now coming back to his e-mail (it might sound a bit mellow dramatic) but I can put few lines straight out of his draft which made me feel proud for him as well as my motherland.

untitled

I was shocked to see this note from him. He was the same guy who was boasting about the western lifestyle and cribbing about the terror attacks and corruption in India.

My deepest thanks to A.R.Rahman sir, for composing such a lovely song and Ashutosh Gowarikar for coming up with a life changing movie. And no comments on SRK’s acting, he simply rocks.

Just when I am writing this blog,  I heard my neighbor’s daughter crying. I went up to them to check what happened. They said their little one lost her first tooth. After 15 minutes, I heard the child jumping in joy. When asked her, she said they are going to bury the tooth in the soil and she was excited for that. This is one of the many things that I remember doing in my good old days.Be it breaking a coconut when you buy a new bicycle or touching the feet of our parents or elders, we should be proud of this rich culture and heritage of our country. This happens only in India my friends…

Mehndi’s came first before tattoos… There are many little things like this that India gave birth to which are altered a bit and fancied in the west.

We take aarthis in temples, read namaaz in mosques, sing carols in churches, worship Wahe guru in Gurudwaars, that says it all.

I accept that we have so many flaws that we are yet to overcome, but we have come a long way.  We can achieve the impossible..

Jai Hind..