Monday, 19 July 2010

Neighbourhoodwink

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"When trust is betrayed even once, it will end with disastrous results... Just like the boy who cried wolf"

This topic is something that we are so familiar with. When you go riding/driving and you are waiting at a traffic signal, you will invariably see beggars coming to ask alms from you. There are typical types of beggars - Either little children, women with infants or eunuchs.

Eunuchs are those people who feel that collecting money from you is their right because they are not normal and thus feel deprived of regular means of livelihood. The children work on the simple logic of melting your heart, just like the hapless women with infants in their arms - They show poverty and helplessness and ask you for money. This article might, in the beginning, make you feel that there is a certain coldness or callousness in it, but you will know what I mean as we proceed.

The important thing about these beggars is that they are hardly what they seem. The simplest example is the women with babies. Most often, the babies are not theirs. In fact, the women keep changing like shifts, and the baby remains the same. Baby sharing, much like resource sharing and optimisation that many software engineers read about is a ploy used to play on your emotions where you quickly feel bad and guilty for driving in a luxury car with your A/C turned on, while this hapless woman, probably knocked up by some drunken man, now has a baby and no means of supporting herself, and you end up giving money. And software engineers are usually the people they like to hold on to... Many people have the feeling that software engineers make too much of money very easily (and they feel that it is without much effort, but this is a different point and I would not like to digress)

If you still don't believe me, here's a story to debunk the belief. There was a techie couple who hired a nanny to take care of their child. The nanny rented out the child to one of these women for Rs. 100 per day, and they would drug the child to put it to sleep, and take it around for begging, and return it to the nanny before the child's parents would return. The parents were always wondering why the child was always so sleepy and inactive. One day, the mother returned home early from work, and was flabbergasted to see the child missing. The police was immediately notified, and the shivering nanny revealed the plot. As you can clearly see, the racket shows that the baby is often not theirs, and they make so much money, that they can invest in babies. And moreover, just try looking at the children the next time you see them. The children are most often asleep...

Another common thing that we have often heard about, is collection of relief funds for those afflicted by natural calamities. It is very well known that most of the money that has been contributed never reaches the victims and is siphoned off much earlier. And there are thousands of such cases, where people try to play on the emotions of ordinary people, and hoodwink them...

So, the obvious reaction of the victims of cheating, is to prevent giving out money to these people - you start turning down beggars, and refuse to contribute money to those who come for collection, citing that you have already contributed elsewhere. This, though natural, is an indication of doom. The reason is that, being put in a position where you are unable to differentiate between truth and falsity, you prefer to take the worst case scenario, and try to safeguard yourself so that you are not the victim. While you end up being safe, people who are truly and genuinely in need of help are often turned down as a result of these scams, because you don't know if it is a true case or not.

Therefore, before you start doing any action, it is often wise to look at the repercussions - Something that no charlatan really cares to do about, as all he wishes to do is hoodwink someone and pocket the money. And this will ultimately lead to the downfall of society... Why? People who are desperately in need of money don't get relief due to the above mentioned reasons. So, they resort to crime. They rob, loot, burgle... or even kill to make some fast cash. They get caught, their families are destroyed... Women who are now genuinely hapless get sucked into prostitution, children get pushed into labour, beggary, sometimes getting their limbs amputated to seem hapless, and thus we get sucked into a whirlpool of doom.

Swami Gulagulaananda therefore tries to share this message with all of you, to remain as honest and straightforward as possible. When trust and faith gets lost even once, the repercussions are like the domino effect. It is not difficult to cheat or trick someone, but the loss of credibility is always disastrous.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Vodafone customer care sucks!

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"What's common between Vodafone call centre and Lord Brahma? Both think one day = a million years"

So, what's my problem anyway?
Vodafone customer care has been one of the worst nightmares that I had to face in recent times. What was the problem? I recharged my phone using netbanking twice, each time for Rs. 222. I have been doing these transactions before, and had not faced this problem before. Now, these fateful days, I recharged twice with a gap of a couple of days, and both times, I lost money from my account but my phone didn't get the money. When I called up Vodafone call centre, they asked me to go to the store, and they would fix it.

So, I did... I had to show them my transactions, which I did, and that guy at the store registered the complaint. Now, he was supposed to give the reference number (transaction number) and he put both numbers in the same text box field in the software. I specifically asked him if that was okay, or if he was supposed to give it twice independently, and he said that it was the same and it would be done. You should see all the assurances these people give oh-so-blatantly that it will fill you with confidence... only for the faith to be broken.

Needless to say, only one transaction got reversed with the other Rs. 222 pending with them. It has been over a month, and I am still calling them, listening to their sordid explanations, funny bits of things that they say for which I am thankful that they are on the other end of the telephone and not in front of me. They keep telling me that it will get fixed with 24 hrs, something that never comes, and hence the quote by the all-knowing Swami.

Some incidents that piss me off - Conversations with geniuses from Vodafone
For example, Vodafone tells me - Any transaction that was not successful will be reversed within five days... Now, Einstein, if that had happened, I would not have been complaining to you. The very fact that this had not happened is my grouse. Another call centre guy tells me that they don't have record of the transaction going through, and says that no recharge for that amount has happened. Wise guy, if that transaction had gone through, I would not have been complaining to them! This makes my blood boil. I don't know if they are pretending to be dumb, or if they don't have common sense.

Then another guy tells me that the number that Vodafone had specifically asked me to call if we have any problems (198) which is toll free is a number that is intended only to register complaints. For follow up, I have to call up another number that costs me. So, for Vodafone's fault, in an attempt to recover money that I have already lost, I have to lose more to attempt to get something that I might never get. And he says - Sorry sir, that's the way it is...

Another guy tells me to go to Rajajinagar when I asked him if there was a Vodafone Store near Rajarajeshwarinagar... Now just because they are close alphabetically, doesn't mean they are close geographically, does it? These people blindly type on their keyboards and respond with what is there on the screen. So, till Vodafone comes back to me with a fix, I thought of entertaining myself and others with some Vodafone quotes and jokes. So, here are some... Enjoy!

List of Vodafone quotes by Nikhil Baliga
  • What's common between #Vodafone call centre and Lord Brahma? Both think one day = a million years
  • The only thing slower than Indian police in Bollywood movies is #Vodafone call centre in real life
  • I asked Octopus Paul when #Vodafone would resolve my issue. He shrugged all eight shoulders.He can't see that far into the future apparently
  • Everyday I want to cry stay by my side - #Vodafone should change lyrics to this
  • ‎"Promises are meant to be broken" should be the #Vodafone call centre tag line instead of "Happy to help"
  • If it was Vodafone's birthday today I would have gifted them a clock and a calendar. One should give things that are useful but that which they don't already have
  • They should build a statue of me holding my phone next to Kanyakumari with her garland. We're waiting forever for #Vodafone and Shiva respectively.
  • You know you are licked when you are chatting with #Vodafone and you get BRB in your window
  • After finding my complaint with #Vodafone, scientists are dismantling the Large Hadron Collider. No need to find out what happened before Big Bang
  • Close your eyes, spin around and point your finger to an object. Open your eyes and voilĂ ! Congratulations! You are looking at object with more time sense than #Vodafone
  • Why can #Vodafone call centres never make good terrorists? Their time bombs will never explode on time they set... Maybe a couple months l8r
  • ‎#Vodafone's birthday is most likely on February 29th. They take more time than others for the same thing, and do only one while we do four
  • #Vodafone support centre would make the world's worst pizza delivery boys... Unless it was 30 days or free
  • A sportsman uses a stop watch, #Vodafone uses a stopped watch
Some more quotes and jokes will keep coming. Stay tuned!