Clumsiness is a characteristic I seemed to be born with. It was proved(yet again) yesterday at lunchtime when I dropped a very pretty China dish at a restaurant. Of course I had excuses to make myself believe it had nothing to do with me - like - it was placed on the edge of the table, it was bound to happen anyway, etc.. But the fact remains that I do this very often. Though it was the first time I broke china, am pretty much used to dropping silverware at restaurants. And I always buy cheap glassware at home because they never live long!
Dropping delicate things from my hands really annoys me. Every other electronic instrument in my house has suffered considerably from this. I dropped the speakers attached to my computer just 2 days after I bought them. And now I have to keep shaking it vigorously every now and then to make them work. I must have dropped my cell phone a hundred times, and fortunately it still works! But it’s vibrating alert stops working at times. Luckily, to get it back working, all I have to do is bang the phone to something!! And then there is my computer's UPS that I negligently dropped when I was shifting the comp. Result? I need to bang it(again!) to get it going. And there is more! Its exactly the same story with my electric shaver!! And then there are a few more instruments(landline receiver, stabilizer, and may be more) that have been dropped too but haven’t yet malfunctioned!
I have come to conclude that I am just unrepairably careless. But luckily so far, I have never dropped my camera or any of my lenses. May be because I have a big fear inside me about having to loose it, or may be because I just take extra care of them. But it only re-iterates the fact that I am lot careless about so many other things.
With my long holidays due to start in a month's time, I am beginning to make some plans to spend it effectively. One of the things in my mind was to spend some time trying to be useful. I am scouting for short-term volunteering opportunities in and around Bangalore where I can do some work and be of help. If you know have any inputs on this, please email me at the email address on the right side column. Thank you for your help in advance.
I drove to Shopper's Stop a few days back to buy myself some clothes in a sale. I was a regular there and had even subscribed to their loyalty program. And the loyalty card did come with benefits - free parking and loyalty points that you can reclaim later. It is the former that I am talking here about.
As I drove into the premise, a board stuck near the gate announced the new parking rules. Even customers with loyalty card need to pay up! And you could claim a refund on purchasing something inside. Some one at the gate was collecting money. I was annoyed but went in anyway. When inside, I had a chat with one of the friendly staff who was helping me buy stuff.
Me: Your new parking rules are annoying. I think it is rude. Tell your boss I will never come back here unless they change the rules back. Friendly staff: Sir, you can claim the money back with your shopping bill Me: Well, what is the point? I am a regular here, and what if I come in some day and don't buy anything?
I was pretty annoyed at the fact that they were charging a regular customer Rs.10 for parking, that too in an area in the city where parking spaces are ample and free. I made sure my friendly salesman got the point. He did not speak much, but went and conveyed my words to his boss. The boss came with a smile, presuming some aura around his head.
Boss with smile still on: Sir? You mentioned about some parking problems? Me: Yes, I think it is ridiculous to charge me for parking The Boss: Sir, you can get it refunded with your shopping bill Me(repeating the same story again): Ya, what if I don't buy anything? Boss: Then you will have to pay sir. Me: What about my being regular here, owning a loyalty card etc? Boss: Sir... (mumble...)
He did not have any answer. I wanted to go on to say around how much I spend here in a year and how they are going to loose a good customer trying to extract a little more from me, but I figured he was neither the decision maker nor was competent enough to answer me. I just went back without buying anything and deciding never to come back again.
I am sure there would be many annoyed customers like me though I am not sure if they all would decide never to return. But it is common for people to encounter stupidity of this kind from big companies, banks, retailers and the like. Have such things happened to you?
Lot has been said about it and lot has been cribbed about it. And we see that things only keep getting worse. Ofcourse the government gets the blame for being non functional, rightly so. They seem to be busy fighting within themselves and have little time for mundane issues of infrastructure. There are two things that trouble everyone: flooding and traffic jams. I don't know much about the former and am fortunate to be living in a locality where I am not affected. But traffic jams have not spared me.
Blaming the government apart, I have often wondered how much do we contribute to the problem. I have often wondered if we can do our little to improve the situation. A good lot of us drive our own vehicles and hence contribute for the traffic woes. So being part of the problem, I feel we should do our bit for the solution. I can't immediately think of obvious and easy measures but I can think of a few small things that could make a difference.
- Follow the rules. Most people tend to break it after long wait in traffic jams. It is only natural thing that many people do out of frustration, but it can only make things worse. We multiply the problem if we jump to the right line and block the oncoming traffic too. No one can go anywhere then. And jumping signals has become such a common place these days. I think we need to value the lights. - There could be alternates to using your own vehicles. Take the company bus to work if you have one. I know most of us travelling to EC or whitefield have company transport. But we still prefer to take out our cars, get stuck in a jam(while contributing to it) and prefer to shout at the government and break our head. I have felt that travelling in the bus is a good thing. You can read something, or strike conversation with fellow colleagues and pass the time well instead of waiting for the traffic to clear up. It helps to our pocket too, doing it in the days when fuel costs are rising without barriers. - Avoid peak hours where possible. And public transport is very handy in off peak hours, try using it. I have tried it out with some degree of success. Frequency of BMTC buses during off peak hours is not bad and you will most likely find a seat to sit comfortably. As I realise, a good lot of people have never travelled in public transport. Hey! Give it at least a try! People take the heavily crowded trains in Bombay without a word of complaint. And when in Bangalore, no one wants it, even though BMTC buses are easier to use and much safer than the trains in Bombay. - When you have a four wheeler and two wheeler, which is my case, try using the two wheeler as much as possible. I had almost stopped using my bike. Now I use my car only when it is not possible to use bike - such as when I am going long distances or I have to ferry a few people with me.
These are a few simple things we can give a go on. Sometimes it may be hard to do all these, but the least thing is we can try and see if it works out. And about the flooding part, a good lot of us throw garbage randomly. Things can improve to some extent if we use the dustbins and garbage dumps instead of thinking that it is our right to throw everything everywhere.
There are other things that people with time in their hand can do: such as taking some public initiatives, attending public meetings or gatherings held in the locality for resolving the problems and all that. But I havent done any of these things personally but would not mind doing it if I find some time and information.
There could be many other initiatives that we could take. Why don't you post your suggestions here so we all can consider following them? We could probably save Bangalore with such individual initiatives. I sincerely feel that there is no need for a mass moment if every individual is disciplined. But personally, I have begun to feel that Bangalore can take growth no further. I feel happy when I see a new venture goes to Chennai or Pune instead of Bangalore. I encourage people to re-locate if they feel fed up of thie town. What is your take?
A few years ago, I used to crib regularly in this space about having to do work that you just don't like to do - for the sake of living. It’s a thing I eventually got used to. And I have made many rants in this blog about the commute to office that used to appear eternal, and was stretching longer with time.
After putting much thought on it for almost a year now, I have taken a step that I always wanted to take but never did. Two days ago, I walked up to my manager and said I am quitting. I did not have another job in hand, and neither wanted one. I just wanted a break. My manager was taken by surprise but did well to hide it. After a short conversation, he asked me if he could offer any incentives to hold me back. But I was determined to take a break anyway. I intend to take off from work for six months.
Unfortunately I still have to wait for two more months before I am a free bird. I agreed to stay back for some more time and finish some critical tasks that had dependencies on me.
So what do I plan to do now? There are many things do. I am already beginning to feel that six months is not good enough. There are many places to visit, many photographs to take, many things to learn, many books to read and many many more activities to do. But having limited time in my hands, I have to use it efficiently and am beginning to plan it out.
The foremost thing in my mind is a ski trip. I got addicted to the sport when I skied for a week in Auli six months ago. I am planning to spend two weeks there again. The next thing is a short photography excursion to Ooty with light and life. And then I want to spend around 30 to 45 days travelling places. While I haven’t decided where all to go, I know there is no dearth of places. There are many books to read that have been pending for a long time. There are many things to learn, read and experience about photography. To add with fun, I also want to dedicate a good amount of time in social service and some kind of welfare activities. Besides, I need to give a visit to so many of my relatives who have been complaining for almost a decade that I haven’t visited them lately :) And then, I want some quite relaxed time for myself too. Did not I tell you six months is not enough? But right now is a two months wait ahead for my holiday to start.. :)