Housing Market

In a matter of 4-5 months, if a particular locality (just about 10 streets) adds more than 100 flats to its neighbourhood, all due to the replacement of Victorian houses by newly built apartments, would the house prices come down in that locality due to excess supply or would the market behave as before, i.e., keeping pace with the trend in rest of the country?

OM

I think Om is fast becoming a popular fashion symbol these days. Earlier, I have seen it embroidered/printed in bags or T-Shirts. Someone who was having a bag with Om sign told me that she bought it as she was told that it is a ‘sign of victory’ in India. Today I saw it at a place where I least expected it. Someone who was walking in front of me was wearing a loose fitting trouser and as it slipped for a moment, I could see this familiar symbol tattooed at you know where. While I assume that they do not know it as a religious symbol, I wonder what would have been the case if the same person walks around in similar fashion at India and happen to come across a VHP or Bajrang Dal volunteer.

What are you now?

Before finding a Girl… man is a Superman

After finding a Girl… man is a Spiderman

After getting engaged with a Girl… man is a Gentleman

After Marrying a Girl… man is a Watchman

Five Years after marriage… man is a Doberman

No need to remind what I am & what I’ll be. Check out yours.

Fashion trends



Of late, I could see women of all ages wear a strange kind of jumper like thing called Poncho. I am not fashion conscious, but I assume that this might be a new trend in women’s wear as I don’t remember seeing this piece of costume before in such a scale that 7 out of 10 women I come across wear one (I counted it today on my way to work!). It looks quite cute on some but for many it flows all over and makes them look like a ghost. Not sure whether there is anything new in the world of fashion for men these days as I never bother to watch them.

Party Conferences

Currently Liberal Democrats‘ party conference is going on at Bournemouth. In the last two years, all the three major political parties in UK (Labour, Conservatives & Lib Dems) have had their party conferences in this town. Unlike in India, where they would assemble truckloads of paid thugs fed with booze & grub, conferences here lack any such hoopla. The locals would get to know about the conferences only on listening to the news. While living in Trichy – India, I remember our college declaring holiday for 3-days as the campus turned into makeshift camp for the security men deployed for the ruling party conference. Last year, Tony Blair was here in the town for two days for Labour party annual conference at a venue stones throw from my office, we got to know about it only after he had left the place. Among other things, I am curious to know on what basis a venue is chosen and why Bournemouth appears to be a preferred one for these parties.

Letting down a Gold medallist

A 23-year old Indian by name Devendra has won a gold medal in Athens 2004 Paralympic games. Yes, it is a GOLD medal in Men’s Javelin throw (F44/46) event. With the kind of infrastructure we have for sportsmen, let alone disabled sports men, India owes a lot to Devendra for doing the nation proud. His achievement is really huge and Devendra deserves much bigger ovation than Rathore or Paes-Bhupathi or Anju George or Dhanraj Pillay or our Cricket XI.

Sadly, none of the mainstream newspapers/sites thought that this is worth mentioning and I think we are going to let Devendra pass on without any celebration or a simple pat on the back. Isn’t that shameful?

Links

Looking at the traffic logs of our company website, my colleague pointed out that about 30 people have reached there through my site last month. Not a great figure, but little did I know that people do read pages of the site other than this blog and am pleasantly surprised that they even bother to click the links.

Airline misery

More than a month back, I planned for a trip to India during Christmas holidays this year and booked my tickets. I got the tickets booked through Southall Travels to travel in Kuwait Airways flight scheduled to fly out from London Heathrow on 27th December with a 2 hour stop over at Kuwait enroute to Chennai.

About a week back I got a call from the travel agent with the information that Kuwait Airways has re-scheduled/cancelled some of their flights and as a result, my stop over at Kuwait would be for 27 hours and asked me what I would like to do. She further informed me that the airline would NOT arrange for any accommodation at Kuwait during the transit and we would have to either remain in the terminal for 27 hours or arrange a hotel accommodation on our own. I rubbished the idea of waiting for 27 hours and said that I am ready to travel from as early as 24th December and asked her to look for tickets on a different date.

In the meantime, I checked with the other travel agents about the availability of seats in any other airline during that period. Being the peak travelling season, none were available. I got in touch with Air Transport Users Council, which is the UK’s consumer watchdog for the airline industry, explained the situation and asked about my rights as a passenger. They said that the airline is not obliged to arrange accommodation at Kuwait and if they do so it would be only out of good will. However, they said that if I am not happy with the revised schedule I can always entitled to full refund should I decide to cancel the ticket. BBC’s Q&A on the subject also confirmed this.

The travel agent got back again. She said that the seats are full on the day(s) I asked for and Kuwait Airways could only offer us seats on the flight flying out on December 28th. Further, should I decide to cancel the ticket, I would get it only after 40% deduction, which works out to £440.

As for as I am concerned, if I decide to cancel and press for full refund, I might get it with the help of ATUC, but I would be left stranded as all the tickets in the other airlines have been booked. So, though not very happy with the idea of starting a day late, I don’t have any other choice.

It hasn’t affected my plans badly, but why, despite being charged so heavily, the rules of the game are so unfavourable to the air passengers? What if someone had something important planned and the airline reschedules or cancels the flight as they fancy. It is understandable in case of causes beyond their control like weather, but this is plain BS. While the watchdogs and donkeys of other sectors have got all powers, why doesn’t the ATUC not been given enough teeth to bite?

Professionalism

After months of requests, chase-ups, yelling, abuse and what not, finally Citibank decided to add my wife’s name to my Bank accounts. I still do not understand why they complicated the whole process and kept repeating silly excuses and finger pointing among them, but they really got on my nerve. Even my 3-page long complaint letter and my threat to take the issue with Financial Ombudsman didn’t have the desired effect. I had almost given up and decided to move to some other bank, when I thought that another try would do no harm. I spoke to one of the call centre operators at Chennai as before and went straight into yelling mode. I do not know whether my aggressiveness worked or it is some other factor, the girl I spoke to really got the work done in a matter of two days and called up twice in between to update me of the status. During one of the calls she said, “I was afraid that I should call you before you call us sir, as I understand that you have been made to wait for more than 6 months on this”. At least, she acknowledged it. I have written to Citibank about my experience and also made it a point to appreciate that call centre girl’s professionalism (Well, when our work gets done, we term it as professionalism and other superior adjectives, don’t we?).