Chaos as announcement inside Namma Metro was in Tamil

Originally written for and submitted to the Faking News Forum.

Bangalore. Chaos on the opening day of the much awaited Bangalore’s Namma Metro as passenger announcement inside the coaches was made in Tamil. Most Bangaloreans who were eager to check out the Metro Rail on the first day were surprised to hear Tamil announcements. Ramesh, a Kannadiga by birth said “I was so confused that for a moment I thought I had boarded a Chennai Local Train”.

Recent survey has confirmed that only 33% of the total Bangalore population are Kannadigas. According to 2011 census, Bangalore’s population has ballooned in the past decade mainly due to the IT flourish. Majority of the migrants in the city are from Tamil Nadu. A clear indication as to why Chennai’s population is less than half of Bangalore’s.

“There is a huge raise in the number of Tamilians who have settled in the city and Kannadigas are almost an extinct species. If we have to win the next state elections, we have to support and encourage Tamil in Bangalore. Announcements in Tamil was a strategic move and was not a mistake. The 6.2 km stretch from Byappanahalli to MG Road is Tamil dominated. If Tamil helps a major chunk of the Metro travelers in this route, then why not?” asked Transport Minister R. Ashok to Faking News.

Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda also reacted by stating that talks were on to make Tamil as the official language of Karnataka and soon a bill will be passed in the next session.

Critics told Faking News that Jayalalitha’s visit to Bangalore on the day of the launch of Namma Metro was a wrongly publicized in the media. She was not supposed to answer questions at the court. Infact she had come down to Bangalore to record the next set of announcements for Phase 2 of the metro. “I am very happy that my fellow Tamilians in Bangalore will hear to my voice daily”, said Jayalalitha.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Visveswara Hegde Kageri told Faking News that steps will soon be initiated to introduce and mandate Tamil as the first language in all Government schools across Karnataka. “If today’s kids learn and understand Tamil, their future will be bright in Bangalore”, said the minister.

TCS, which has 10 offices in Bangalore has recently included Tamil in the language skill set for freshers in addition to C, C++ and Java. “4 out of 5 TCS employees are Tamilians. We are planning to rename our company to Tamil Consultancy Services”, said a senior HR Manager.

Vatal Nagaraj staged a protest on MG Road today demanding announcements to be made in Kannada. He also threatened to ride donkeys on the metro rails if the move is not withdrawn.

“Vanakkam”

A year on rails

No. It’s not Ruby on Rails. Gone are the days when the first thing that comes to peoples’ minds used to be the obvious. Google too isn’t spared. I don’t get the fruit when I search apple. I don’t get the fruit when I search blackberry either.

A year ago I decided to try something what most Bangaloreans think is far away being possible. Yes, I started using Indian Railways for my daily commute. In a city which has everything but roads you can ride on;  in a city which has everything but footpaths you can walk on – I have to travel 70km everyday to reach my workplace and back home. The first option, by default, any IT guy in Bangalore looks for is the company provided transport. Cabs pick you right from your door step and drop you at the office gate in the meanwhile you take a long 2 hour sleep. My company does not provide this. The second option is to use Public Transport. Unfortunately, over all these years Bangalore is connected by BMTC buses and Auto Rickshaws and nothing else. I, like every other IT guy started using the BMTC’s Volvo Bus service. 6 months later, I called it a day. Road is NOT the means to travel 70km every single day in Bangalore. And the only means of transport left to try was railways. I was as surprised as you are right now, when I first thought of this option. I decided to give it a try one day and trust me I’ve never looked back since. Here’s why.

Train

Cost

Train is meant to be the transport for the masses. Can you remember the last time the train fare was increased? Way back in 2005. Train fare is no way comparable to BMTC’s Volvo Service. Just to put it on paper, One way fare from Majestic to Whitefield in a Volvo Bus is INR60. So, a to and fro journey costs you INR120 per day. You may ask why not purchase a daily pass which costs just INR90. OK, then for 20 working days in a month it sums up to INR1800. You may now ask why not purchase a monthly pass which costs just INR1400.

Now the train fare. One way fare from Majestic to Whitefield is INR4. Yes, four only. Why even bother to make a monthly calculation? Dirt cheap, isn’t it?

Time

Indian Railways is known for its never ending delays. But believe me, short route trains that I take is always on time. Not even a single day in the whole year that there’s been any delay. Now that allows you to plan your day effectively. Once it starts on time there’s no stopping it because there’s – No traffic signals. No traffic jams. No flyover constructions. No one ways. No speed breakers. No road blocks for functions and protests. The train is the king of its route in its time. Only 3 stops in a 35 km journey that does not take more than 35 minutes. Show me one means of transport within the city that can beat this. BMTC would give a full Bangalore Darshan and drop you after 2 hours. And yeah, rain doesn’t delay the train either.

Energy

No traffic means no strain. No strain means full of energy when you reach office or get back home. You’re as fresh as you were at home when you reach office and only as tired as you were at office when you reach home. People in Bangalore are almost dead by the time they reach home :)

Pollution

When you travel by road, you’re exposed to air pollution, noise pollution, light pollution, visual pollution, thermal pollution and what not. If you’re inside a air conditioned bus for 2 hours then you are exposed to deodorant pollution in the morning and sweat pollution in the evening. Instant protection from all this, if you’re traveling in a train. Health is wealth.

People

In India, train travel is always memorable. It’s in a train that people sitting opposite to each other start a small conversation and end up being long time friends. Your co-passengers are always interactive. They crack jokes so that you have your share of laughter for the day. They debate on current affairs so that you need not read the newspaper in office. What that makes is – keep you occupied for the whole of the journey as opposed to people ear-plugged and staying up to themselves inside a bus where nobody cares for each other.

Food

Woke up late – Skipped breakfast – Late to office? Doesn’t matter. There’s ready made food made available by IRCTC. There’s a vendor showing up every 5 minutes with Coffee, Tea, Masala Dosa, Omelet and lots more. Stayed late in office – Skipped snacks? Doesn’t matter. There’s Chilli Bajji and Sandwich. They’re hygienic and cheap. To add to this, there are villagers who travel to the city to sell fresh vegetables at throw away prices. So, everyday there’s one fresh veggie in my kitchen.

Excuse

Train can be a very useful excuse if you want to escape from office early. Once your boss knows that you use the train to commute, you can always tell him that if I miss this train, then there’s no other train and I cannot go home. Any boss has to buy this reason. But he always knows that the last volvo is at 11:30pm.

Switching to train for my daily commute is one of the best decisions I have taken in the past year. Do you think more and more people can actually try and adopt train as their mainstream transport means until Namma Metro gets underway?

Double check your Infibeam shipment

Here’s one website that’s on its way to become India’s Amazon. Though e-commerce isn’t foreign to Indians with sites like e-bay, Flipkart, Rediff Shopping and Indiatimes Shopping already established, there was immense gap that needed to be bridged with respect to quality of service. The only motive in this market is to gain the trust of the customer and to make sure that when he opens the shipment, there is only one thing on his face, a smile :-)

I was mighty impressed with its quality of service until Infibeam undid everything with this deal of mine.

I was in search of good earphones to listen music at my workplace. Being a Philips fan, I finalized on Philips SHE1360 on Infibeam. I was not looking for an expensive one because it was meant to be carelessly handled in some corner of my bag. Discounted price tag on Infibeam was INR316. Fair enough deal. Ordered it right away.

Infibeam Receipt

As always Infibeam shipped my order within a week. I was as excited as anybody until I opened the multi-layered packaging. To my surprise, the M.R.P (inclusive of all taxes) printed on the product was INR150. Now, that is a 110% increase. Which means Infibeam sells products 110% in excess of M.R.P.

M.R.P

I felt cheated. I called up Infibeam customer care seeking explanation. And the response shocked me -

It’s not profitable for us to sell products of this price range at M.R.P. Hence, we bloat up the price and then pretend to offer a discount. We apologize and offer you credit for the excess amount charged.

And within two days, I received a pre-paid credit from Infibeam for INR166 which I could use for future purchases.

Infibeam Credit
Pre-paid credit

 So, here are few questions.

  1. Are online re-sellers authorized to charge over and above the M.R.P? If it is a shipping charge should it not be mentioned so?
  2. What if I had not observed the M.R.P on the product?
  3.  Why can’t infibeam refund the amount to my credit card rather than giving me a pre-paid credit?
  4. What other action can I possibly take against Infibeam for cheating?
  5. Are we really heading towards corruption free India?
Let me know.

conf.kde.in 2011

Folks, here it is. The Koolest Konference is Koming soon to the silicon valley of India. Block your calendars for the 2nd week of March 2011 and I promise, you’ll have the time of your life, interacting with some of Koolest KDE folks from India and elsewhere.

What is KDE?

KDE is an international team co-operating on development and distribution of Free, Open Source Software for desktop and portable computing. Tell me more.

What is conf.kde.in?

conf.kde.in is a platform for Qt and KDE contributors and enthusiasts to meet up, share their knowledge, contribute, learn, play, have fun and create limitless possibilities. Tell me more.

When and where?

9 – 13 March, 2011 at R.V College of Engineering, Off Mysore Road, Bangalore.

What’s it like to be a KDE-er?

This should explain.

See you there!

I’ll be there at conf.kde.in 2011, will you? Kome, Kode, Kontribute, Kommit and Kollaborate.

Road, Movie.

Warning: Watching Road, Movie might be injurious to your brain.

With all the drama surrounding Suraj’s car accident, we decided to meet at his place to review his mental, physical and the car’s dent-al condition. Just then Joshi proposed the plan for the night and we all set out to watch Road, Movie in Big Cinemas, Gopalan Arcade, Rajajajeshwari Nagar. Gopalan Arcade is a recently opened multiplex and has a pretty good cinema hall. With Suraj’s car in a bad state, we had to bike till RR Nagar and believe me riding through the Bangalore University road is the direct path to Hell if the day is not yours. One side dug up by BWSSB, road humps not marked and cars and trucks coming in wrong directions do not make life any easy.

As we reached Gopalan Arcade, Joshi rushed into the Box Office to buy the tickets and the rest of us joined him in sometime. To our surprise the Screen 2 of Big Cinemas was awesomely furnished with Blazing Red seats with soft cushions and ample leg room to fit a 6 foot tall guy with utmost ease. The hall was almost empty and we were at freedom to choose our seats. As we settled down and turned to the screen we saw an old Mithun Chakravarthi song playing. Yeh Teri Meri Yaari, Yeh Dosti Hamari… This song never seemed to end. Most of us were confused as to which movie we bought tickets actually for. Then another person that it was just an ad and the actual film would start in 5 minutes.

Bang! the movie started at exactly 10pm and me being a huge Abhay Deol fan had very high expectation especially after watching Dev D, which I consider is the best movie of 2009.  The movie went on and there was nothing that would please any viewer in there. Half-an-hour passed, and at 1030pm we saw a red screen that said Interval. We all were like WTF! Is this movie just a 60minute movie? 180INR for a 60 minute movie? This is really insane.  Suddenly Surak turned back to discover that the last row of seats was full of Sofa and we wasted no time in shifting there. Take my word, if you ever go to Big Cinemas, sit in the last row. Those sofas are no less than any bed and if you don’t like the movie there is no one stopping you from sleeping in there. There was nothing much we could do other than just wait and watch. A guy sets off in a 1942 truck to sell oil and shows film in an isolated desert in Rajasthan is bloody shit of a script.

The movie resumed at 1045pm and continued its torture to its viewers until something very unusual happened. Right at 1105pm the screen went black. Lights were on. All the 20 odd people in 400 seater cinema hall were like did the movie end? There was no clue as to what was happening. Big Cinemas suck. There is no representative to keep us informed as to what has happened. 15 minutes past and still no sign of the movie resuming. Then we started questioning some workers as to what the problem was and insisted on getting a refund.

One of the workers told that the tape had broken and the technician there had mishandled the tape during the interval. Big Cinemas technicians do not know how to handle a movie reel? This is hopeless. We are in the middle of a meaningless movie which is heading no where and we had no other choice for having paid 180INR. We could not leave without the refund either. 30 minutes later the film resumed. The last 20 minutes was more torture and to see the THE END was such a relief.

The delay also resulted in me paying extra parking fees for exceeding the permissible time. A dad who makes Aatma Hair oil, A son who sells them in a truck that shows movies in a barren desert of Rajasthan where WATER is smuggled. Only a moron can make such a movie.

PS: Joshi, I am not going to give you the ticket amount. Its your idea. Its your loss. KTHXBYE.