Thursday, April 26, 2007

Cricket World Cup 2007

This is the most boring World Cup ever seen. With not a single country managing to give even something of a fight to Australia and not a single exciting match on show. With only a few matches that can be counted as exciting - Zimbabwe v/s Ireland, Pakistan v/s Ireland, West Indies v/s England - this World Cup can be remembered with only one word - boring.
Hardly any exceptional performances - Lasith Malinga's four-off four is the only exploit that can be remembered for times to come.

With so many "world events" happening - the champions trophy happened less than an year ago and the 20-20 world cup is round the corner - it seems that the Cricket World Cup, which is supposed to be the show piece event of World Cricket, has lost its value to most teams. They seem to be fatigued and bored. With countries like India treating the World Cup matches as just another match, the excitement of cricket seems to have been on the wane.

It is time ICC does some radical rethinking on its strategy of how many matches a country should play in a year and also how many show piece world events should be there. Unless this is done the Cricket World Cup is in grave danger of being reduced to just another tournament with stakes that no one cares about.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What difference a Wheel can make

Recently this article on The incredible story of Tata Motors and the Rs 1-lakh car on, about how Tata Motors turned around from the lows of late 1990s and how it transformed itself from a truck making giant to a leading car manufacturer.

I would like to share one interesting part of this article which gives an interesting insight in the mindset of rural India. Mr Wagh mentioned in the para was invovled in the designing of the latest Tata offering Ace and he narrates his experiences when researching in the early part of the development of Ace.

Before starting the project, Wagh did something no one at Tata Motors ever had: He talked to customers. The three-wheeler men inevitably insisted on a cheap, dependable truck that could go from village to market carrying, say, 200 chickens, a ton of onions or potatoes, or 2,000 eggs. One night, as sunset approached, Wagh stuck with one rickshaw driver. "I kept asking the question. Why? Why? Why do you want a four-wheeler?" Wagh remembered. Finally, he got the real answer. It turned out it wasn't really a problem of chickens or eggs. "If I had a four-wheeler, I would have better marriage prospects in my village," the young man said. Drivers of three-wheelers are looked down upon in India. Wagh realized that four wheels had emotional, not just practical, appeal.

Even in the wildest of my dreams I could not have thought that an extra wheel to man's vehicle can enhance the marriage prospects in rural India. Interesting isn't? Is this the reason why truck drivers have such a good image in the villages?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More on Eldeco

This is what one of the readers have to say about the Eldeco and Ananda, Noida:

The blokes at Eldeco Infrastructure and Properties Ltd, the makers of Eldeco Ananda at Noida, have a way of plumbing to new depths of ineptitude. Case in point? The massive steel tubes that have come up in the basement car park. Who ever wanted them anyway. Even assuming that these barricades serve a purpose i.e. we get disciplined enough to park our cars in a way that enables others to also find their space, these bars could have been a little lower and hence making it possible for people to get out of their cars without fear of banging the door onto these bars.
Someone in Eldeco needs his head examined. Not only is this effort so hopelessly counterproductive and irritating, it has also cost them a tidy packet, with all the fabricating and welding and painting, which amount could have been spent on a better treadmill at the gym.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Customer Satisfaction 102

After my recent posting on Customer satisfaction, I got some responses which highlight the issues that a customer has to face these days from the service providers. One of these makes an interesting read.

I am a highly satisfied customer.So feels my vegetable vendor, Kabadiwala, maid servant, driver, barber and all other persons with whom I have to interact regularly. This is because I do not have an alternative.
Recently I had to visit office of Registrar of marriage to get marriage certificate of my son. The counter clerk asked for sending across certain documents, like marriage invitation card, proof of residence, photographs, two witnesses and insisted that I need not come personally to deliver these documents. Any official on my behalf could come and see her. I was very satisfied.
My representative on reaching there phoned me to intimate that a sum of Rs.200/-has been requested towards some welfare organisation, for which a receipt would be issued. Shortly thereafter he intimated that another Rs.400 has been demanded for expediting the process. On the appointed time we all reached the office of Deputy registrar and the certificate of marriage was issued in about 30 minutes time. We were satisfied.
However the lady too wanted to be satisfied. She requested us to come to her cabin and fill up an opinion /feedback form. The information was sought on courtesy, promptness, etc and whether any one demanded any bribe.
Any suggestions?

Would love to hear what you have to say about this.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cricket World Cup 2007

Will South Africa reach the semi-finals? This is what everybody is wondering about after South Africa lost to New Zealand in yesterday's match. With Australia guaranteed to top the league in the Super 8s, New Zealand already in and Sri Lanka, with one match against Ireland remaining, are sure to make it to the final four, the race for the last of the semi-final spots is between South Africa and England. The current form of West Indies and the reputation of Bangladesh makes them not so hot in the race for the last spot of the final four.
The interesting feature of this race is that the English are there in the race thanks to the inconsistent showing by South Africa in the Super 8s. There are numerous statistical analysis available about what combination of results in the next few matches along with the run rate equation would make which team reach the last four, but my take is that whoever of these teams reaches the last four is not a deserving one. The only team that can be called deserving would be Bangladesh, if they make it.

The other three - South Africa, West Indies and England - can be blamed for making this World Cup lacklustre. All of them promised a lot before the tournament began. South Africa climbed to the number 1 spot in the ODI rankings. England beat Australia in Australia for 4 consecutive times and West Indies were looking a rejuvenated side after there recent form in the Champions trophy. And the cricket fans were finally hoping that there would, finally, be some competition for Australia. But it was too good to be true. They only flattered to decieve.

The only hope now is that one of these teams pick themselves up in the same way as Pakistan did in the 1992 World Cup. Pakistan were then nearly down and out of the Cup until they miraculously made it to the semi-final as the last of the lot and then went to beat the league toppers New Zealand in the semis and finally went on to win the Cup in the most astonishing manner. If only one of these teams can do to Australia, what Pakistan did to New Zealand and then go on to win the Cup, it will not only help this dismal Cup end on a high not but will also electrify the international cricket scene.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Info: Product Comparison Site

Here is a good site where one can compare electronic/electrical goods available in India.

I found this site informative and useful. It also has the price and feature comparison tool which I found particularly useful.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Customer Satisfaction 101

Recently I learned a new lesson on how to make a dis-satisfied customer satisfied, courtesy the most-intelligent staff of Eldeco.

Long time back we had given a list of complaints to Eldeco. There was no response to the list for quite some time and then all of a sudden recently the Eldeco staff came to review the status of list of complaints. One of the points in the list, was the bad quality of wooden floor that they had put in one of our bedrooms and we had asked for a replacement.
The person who came to us asked us to write a letter to Eldeco mentioning this complaint along with the fact that we are a "satisfied" customer and that this is our only complaint towards Eldeco. And he also quitely suggested that if we show our statisfaction from the services provided by Eldeco it would help him pursue our case with the Eldeco Group's Management and if we don't show our satisfaction then it would be very difficult for him to get things done.

This whole thing shocked us to no end. Imagine the guts of the person saying this. We obviously refused to write such a thing in the letter.

Moral of the Story: The whole episode showed us how to make a dis-satisfied customer, satisfied. Ask him to write a letter saying that he satisfied in case he wants to get his work done.

Postscript: Nice lesson from Eldeco on customer satisfaction, must be put together with the brilliant case study on them which they have been displaying on thier website.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Bangladesh's growth in Cricket continues

Yesterday's match in the Cricket World Cup 2007 between the first (England) and the latest (Bangladesh) Test playing nations throws up yet another instance of how fast the Bangladeshi cricket team is matuaring. Thier recent win against South Africa surely have boosted Bangladeshis and it showed in yesterday's match.
Despite being cleaned up by english bowlers in less than 40 overs and not posting a challenging total, they didn't gave up and put on a decent fight streching England to nearly 45 overs. That is really a good job done by the bangladeshi bowlers. Making the English take more time to reach a not-so-challanging target. As per fashion it can be said that they were helped by the poor form of english batsmen, but then you still have to bowl well to ensure that the poor form continues. And that is why credit must be given to the Bangladeshis.
In their match against India in the World Cup, there was a banner which said "Bangladesh: World Champions 2011" and that time it looked like wishful thinking but not any more. If the recent improvements continue my take is that the Bangladeshis would be a force to reckon with in the next World Cup. They won't be pushovers then!

मेरी पहला हिंदी पोस्ट

आज जब सोचा कि एक नयी ब्लोग एंट्री कि जाये तो देखा कि ब्लॉगर ने ब्लोग कोम्पोसेर में एक नया बटन दिया हैं, हिंदी में लिखने के लिए। तो सोचा क्यो नही ट्राई किया जाया हिंदी में ब्लोग, परंतु जब लिखने बैठे तो सब अंग्रेजी में ही लिखने लगे। और ब्लॉगर ने जब उसे हिंदी में कनवर्ट किया तो लगा कि कुछ तो गड़बड़ हो गयी हैं। जो सोचा वो लिखा दिखायी नही दिया। फिर समझ में आया कि जब हम सोच अंग्रेजी में रहे थे तो ब्लॉगर भी तो अंग्रेजी में ही लिखेगा, बलेही लिपि देवनागरी हो। तो यह हुई थी गड़बड़। फिर कोशिश कि की जब हिंदी में लिखना हैं तो हिंदी में सोचा जाये, पर बड़ी परेशानी हुई लिखने और सोचने में। शुरुआत में कुछ कथनी हुई पर बाद में कुछ कुछ वापस आ गया। और फिर तो दिमाग एकदम हिंदी में ही चलने लगा।

पर इस सब के बाद एक विचार आता हैं अपने मस्तिष्क में की आदत कितनी खराब हो गयी हैं, की हिंदी में भी जब बोलते हैं तो बीच बीच में अंग्रेजी की कितने शब्द आते हैं। थोड़ी (अभी तो बस थोड़ी सी ही) शरम आती हैं की अपनी मात्रा और राष्ट्र भाषा से कितने दूर होते जा रहे हैं हम। और अपने बच्चो को क्या सिखायेंगे? क्या व्हो हिंदी ठीक से पढ़ भी पाएंगे? या लिख पाएंगे? या फिर हिंदी पढने की कोशिश भी करेंगे?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Customer (Non-) Support from Eldeco

We had filed some complaints regarding the finishing of our house when we shifted to Ananda in January 2007. Some of the complaints have been taken care off but most of them have not been taken care off till date. See the portion circled in red in the photo, which has been taken from the complaint register maintained by the Estate Manager at Ananda, Noida. We had filed complaints on 23rd Jan, 2007 and till date some of them have a "not done" status.

I wonder what does Eldeco mean by customer satisfaction, with complaints remaining unanswered for nearly three and half (3.5) months. They do not seem like an progressive organization and are not at all bothered about the customer once they have sold the apartment. The funny part is that they are not even ready to handover the maintanence to the residents even when we have been asking them to do so since last 5-6 months. It seems Eldeco wants to derive some sadistic pleasure from putting us to this misery.
I think even Government of India departments are better performers now. Earlier I was staying in a flat constructed by NOIDA and I used to crib about lack of support from NOIDA, but I think Eldeco has managed to put even NOIDA to shame.

What happens when a maestro plays the subway?

Recently read this interesting article in the Washington Post. Its about what happened when Washington Post arranged for Joshua Bell, a world famous violinist, to bring his $3.5 million violin to a subway stop, open up his case for donations, and see how people respond. The story even shows you hidden video. Before you read the article, take a guess at what you think happened.

One particular piece of the article which caught my attention about why babies love music:
The poet Billy Collins once laughingly observed that all babies are born with a knowledge of poetry, because the lub-dub of the mother's heart is in iambic meter. Then, Collins said, life slowly starts to choke the poetry out of us. It may be true with music, too.
Which makes me think about my daughter Nandini, she is only a year old and the way she has taken to dancing is really interesting. Niether of her parents are into dancing, her mother does have an ear for the music. Since she learned to walk Nandini has been dancing and has improved on her steps without any external help or teaching. Seems like she is a born dancer. And the moment music starts playing on our radio, she drops what ever she is doing and starts dancing. It is really fun to watch her dance. Its so natural and straight from the heart.

We always used to wonder how she has learned to dance, now we know!!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Funny - How to Cheat the Mumbai Train System

Read this post on Freakonomics about how people in Mumbai Suburban train system have devised a way to cheat on the local train system.
"Here’s how it works. You pay 500 rupees (about $11) to join an organization of fellow ticketless travelers. Then, if you do get caught traveling without a ticket, you pay the fine to the authorities and then turn in your receipt to the ticketless-traveler organization — which refunds you 100% of the fine."

My thoughts on it:
It is very amusing to read this and not at all surprising, given the level of intelligence in India. The person who thought about this has to be given credit for thinking about this system and also credit to people who have made this organization popular. The government of India should now hire the persons who established this organization and ask them to devise methods to reduce ticketless travel in the local trains. These are the persons who should be there in the administration.

The Strange World of Eldeco

Recently read this article on Eldeco:
It says that ".. (Eldeco) are trying to deliver dream homes to savvy customers, not just in the metros but in the second tier cities as well."
Sure they do know what the customers dream of, otherwise how would they how to make them a nightmare. Eldeco Ananda at Noida can be made a good case study on how to turn customer's dream into nightmares. The list of problems here are endless.
1. Erratic power supply (even with power backup), which even causes the bulbs in common corridors to fuse every week, not to speak of what happens in our homes.
2. Water supply which seems straight out of Yamuna river. Even Noida Authority flats have better water quality then at Eldeco Ananda.
3. Poor construction quality, seepage in walls galore.
4. Massive delay in delivery. The deadline for possession was March 2006. Its now April 2007 and the work is still at least 5-6 months away from completion. Though some brave hearts like us have agreed to shift due to monetary pressures.
5. Its summer now, but the swimming pool is still empty. I think they are waiting for the winter to set in to start the swimming pool, so that people can enjoy sun bathing by the pool side.
6. The piped gas supply has not started yet. The residents are made to believe that it is not safe to start the supply until 75% occupancy is there.
7. High maintenance charges with no accountability from Eldeco Management.
8. The gymnasium is a sham, with 72 houses, they have equipment which can not even handle 5 persons at the same time. Private gyms which charge much less are much better than this.

Maybe its Ananda, Devil style.

Electricity bill woes at Eldeco

The electricity bill for the month of Feb '07 at Ananda is another case in point of gross mismanagement by Eldeco. The electricity bill has an item called "electricty duty" which is calculated based on the consumption in the currect month and this has been the case since the bills started coming. But this month a gross error in the "computer generated" bill was made by calculating the duty on the total consumption of electricity till date. Not that the "mis"-calculation amounts to much but it is beyond ones thought that how come such errors could suddenly pop up in a computer generated bill.
When will Eldeco stop cheating on us???

Cricket World Cup 2007

Yesterday's match in the Cricket World Cup 2007 between Bangladesh and South Africa showed that Bangladesh's win against India in the group stages was not a flash in the pan. With victories against three big Test playing nations - New Zealand, India and South Africa - in last one month, it shows that cricket in Bangladesh is improving and Bangladesh can no longer be considered pushovers in international cricket.
In today's Hindustan Times, Sunil Gavaskar had said that after the recent losses of the Indian team at the World Cup, instead of deriding the Indian team the Indian cricket fan should instead praise the good cricket played by both Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Yesterday's victory against SA goes a long way in supporting Gavaskar's comment. It is time the Indian cricket fan starts praising the other teams for playing better instead of just criticising our own team. The criticism is justified but not praising the other team is not. Time the Indian cricket fan grows up.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Eldeco Marketing

Sometime back I had a discussion with one of the marketing folks at Eldeco Properties and Infrastructre Ltd, regarding the house that I had bought in their premium project at Noida, Eldeco Ananda. I had a problem regarding my electricity bill which was generated by Eldeco themselves and had asked the marketing person to get the mistake rectified, to which he had agreed to and told me that he will get back in a couple of days.
After a few days I found that the problem is still there in my bill, so I called this person again and asked him about the status. He said, matter of factly that this was not his problem and he would not be able to get the issue fixed. When I said that then why did you commit to get back to me when we talked the last time. To my utter disbelief he said that he had never said that he will get back to me and instead it was I who was supposed to get back to him. Now I wonder if the problem was with my bill and if I had agreed to get it resolved then why would I get back to him. I would get the issue resolved and be happy, why the hell would I give him a call to tell him that the problem has been fixed. That would have been the most stupidest thing to do.
So I got a litte disturbed and the cumulative anger of all the promises broken by Eldeco till then, caused me to say that "Enough is enough, I had made a big mistake of buying a flat from Eldeco and now I will make sure that no body from my friends and my acquaintances buys a flat from Eldeco".
To my utter disbelief the person said "if you want to do so, then sir that is your problem".

Shocking, isn't it? but true to the last word. With persons like this in the marketing department, not even God can help Eldeco. Not to talk about the poor people like us who have been hoodwinked by Eldeco to buy a flat. :-(

Pandian v/s Geetha

Recently read this interesting article on Shobha Warrier's blog at "Of Cabbages and Men" about how the growth of organized retail sector in India is a double edged sword - it benefits some and kills some.

I say that, that is how capitalism works. It lets people who wants to grow, grow more otherwise someone else will grow more than you and overtake you.

Had Pandian, the vegetable seller, who was doing well, been a growth oriented person, he would have thought of setting up a bigger shop instead of letting himself be confined to the street where he started his life as a business man. This would have made him grow big and make his life more stable. Who knows if would have grown so big that Reliance would have felt threatened by him. Didn't Dhirubhai himself had the same humble beginnings as Pandian. Maybe he would have created many more Geethas and much earlier.

It is a dog-eat-dog world and one has to be constantly on one's toes and ensure that one is not eaten up someone at the back.

Eldeco cares ;-)

Ever since we moved to our new house at Eldeco Ananda we have been facing a lot of problems and have been reporting it to the authorities. And it seemed that they didn't care and that all our pleas were falling on deaf ears. This was the story of all the residents here. But we were in for a "surprise". On April 4th, two of the Eldeco representatives came to our house asking if are facing any problems in our house. We thought that Eldeco finally has cared about us helpless people. But it seems that it was all a cruel joke on their part. When we asked why they said that they have got an email from us regarding our complaints. The strange thing is that we haven’t written any email to any one in Eldeco about anything.

The two things close to an email that come my mind are either an email from RWA (residents welfare association) or a blog that Sonal has been maintaining chronicling all our troubles with Eldeco.

If it’s the email from RWA managing committee kudos to them to finally get things moving.

But if it is the blog that Sonal has been maintaining that I think she has been partially successful in achieving the goal of generating enough bad publicity which will make Eldeco care about us.

Sonal maintains her blog at and one of the things that she writes about is our troubles at Eldeco Ananda and the lackadaisical attitude of Eldeco in addressing the issues raised by us. Off late the blog has been getting a lot of hits regarding Eldeco and Mr. Pankaj Bajaj, one of them being “Pankaj bajaj scam”!!. It does not seem strange after what have been through, but I wonder who else would have connected Mr. Bajaj with a scam.

At Penang, Malaysia, 02/12/2006

Working alone on a Saturday afternoon in the cold hall at Intel's Penang Development Center waiting for the compiles to get over. Random net surfing, watching live score of ashes and that too is over now, so what to do?

Do a long pending wish, write a blog. So here it is: my first entry.

Its been 2 days since I arrived at Penang on an official trip. The task ahead was critical and required extra effort and hearing stories from my collegues already there at Penang, I was very apprehensive if I would be able to turn things around. On top of that leaving Nandini and Sonal at home after such a long time was not an easy thing to do. So I was not very upbeat about the journey.

The trip wasn't finalized till the last minute and that made things even worse. Nevertheless work had to be done and some one had to go, so here I am at Penang reluctantly or otherwise.

The first impression of Penang was good. The view of the airport from the plane reminded me of San Francisco. Though the differnce was in size. But the similarities were striking. An airport surrounded by hills on one side and by the sea on the other. Lush green hills made the view very pleasent. The temperature was pleasent, but humidity little bit on the higher side, which was understandable. After all Penang is an island.

After arrival at the airport, my first task was to quickly check-in at the hotel and reach office as soon as possible. And ever since I have been here in the office, understanding the setup and how things work and what do I need to do to move to the next level.

Now that my collegues have left for home back in India, I am alone, trying to manage on my own, so the wait time is more prononuced. Earlier we used to have a small gupp session and discussed life and musings, but with me alone, I thought its a good idea to start my blog.

Lets see till how long I manage to write.