Deepavali – Wishes & Celebrations

Happy Deepavali folks!

We had our celebrations over the weekend. Days of hardwork and few night-outs did pay off as 50+ adults and about 20 kids had a blast. Though it took us until 3 a.m next morning to wind up and call it a day, it was a fun filled evening. It was a team effort and Renga a.k.a. Dubukku did a fantastic job of compering. ‘Akka’ Premalatha took quite a lot of photos and I’ll link it to the album whenever she or some one uploads it somewhere. Though I have got them all in my laptop, I am too lazy to do that.

Again, a very Happy & Safe Deepavali to you all.

UPDATE:

Many thanks to Premalatha for promptly uploading the photographs. Standing in the middle with a kid is Balan, ‘enjoying’ the kuthaattam of Renga & yours truly. At the far left is Suresh.

Visit Premalatha’s blog to have a look at other photographs.

Gotcha!

What a relief! Citibank has credited my account with the money that was transferred out without my knowledge. The bank said that they would send me a report on the incident. Will keep you posted when I receive one. Thanks to those who sent me mails of support. Sorry I am unable to reply back in time. Will get back to you a bit later.

Police in UK

It was interesting to note that the Police Stations in UK are not open 24 hours. Chesham Police Station – the place I went to log a complaint on the fraudulent bank transaction is open only between 8 a.m to 2 p.m and that too on Monday to Fridays. I called up Thames Valley Police head quarters who took the complaint over phone. However, I am confident that in an emergency police would be able to rush to the scene of crime very quickly. I have seen that on few occasions, police arrived within 2 minutes of ringing 999.

Getting Robbed

We have heard them a lot before – about the Internet scams robbing money off people, phishing emails, fake Paypal accounts, Nigeria 420 scams taking away your little savings et al. But they happened to someone somewhere or sometimes to a friend’s friend and most of the time we would be safe. How would it be when we come to face with such a thing in real life? Let me tell you, it’s not that easy to take.

On Friday evening, someone from Citibank called up and asked whether I had made any money transfer to anyone in Florida. When I replied in negative, I was told that my account’s security has been breached and a huge transfer has been made to a recently opened account at Citibank, Florida. Since the recipient account was opened only hours ago and the very first transaction happened to be a huge money transfer from abroad, staff at the Florida end got suspicious and have alerted their London counterparts, who in turn contacted me to cross check the same. The fraudster has wiped clear of my account, leaving £36 – perhaps for sundry expenses. Now, my card has been locked and I have filed a police complaint, after which I have passed on the Crime Reference number to the bank. I have been told that I would get my money back as the fraud has been discovered quite early. I am waiting with fingers crossed.

I wonder how the fraudster might have effected this transaction. Citibank representative who called me that evening told that my Internet password could have reached someone; I have reasons to suspect that it might not have been through Internet. Though I hadn’t put all my eggs in the same basket, the other baskets – meaning, my other accounts are accessible through the same Internet login. If someone manages to login into my account and transfer money from one of my accounts, he/she would have done the same from my other accounts as well. Another reason is that, I have never done online banking from any public computer and to my knowledge our corporate network is reasonably secure. Anyway, I have also requested Citibank to send me a detailed incident report on the above.

Now, as I await the return of my money, I have decided to spread my little eggs in to few other places as well. Those who have been reading these pages regularly would know very well about how I had cribbed in the past about Citibank. Only recently, I wrote that they have turned a new leaf. Now, the promptness with which they acted in this case has really pleased me. Pleased or otherwise, when I heard about it for the first time, it did give me a severe jolt.

Battery Blast

Well.. it has been a busy few weeks here and I think the pressure has subsided a bit, but am not sure about it though. Anyway, I don’t think anyone missed my rants.

On the other night we were having dinner and Anirud was playing quietly when we heard a sound like that of a deepavali cracker. My first instinct was to check the gas appliances and when that was intact, I found a little black rod lying on the carpet, which suggested that it could be from a battery. I was sure that there were no batteries lying around in the house. It was then I saw a piece of red plastic along with some greasy stuff that made me check one of Anirud’s battery powered toy of the same colour. Indeed, one of the AA batteries, which was there in the toy had burst out though the toy hasn’t been in use for quite sometime. Thankfully, the little fella wasn’t too close to the toy at that time.

I have seen old batteries leak, but never one that burst out this way. Earlier when I had to replace the batteries for that toy, I picked up one from a pack left behind in the house by the previous occupant. It was from an unknown brand and I shouldn’t have used that in the first place. Anyway, I’ll be more careful in future. Better to be safe than sorry.

David vs Goliath ?

Though nothing is gonna change by a belated post like this on the already embroiled IIPM vs Bloggers tussle, I wonder whether this episode would make a good case study for crisis management in IIPM or for that matter in any B School – how not to shoot yourself on your own foot, that is?

While applauding Gaurav for standing firm on what he believes in, we need to remember that not many would be able to handle the situation the way he did. How many of us would be ready to call it quits and pick up the gauntlet on our own? As bloggers, we need to know what really our limits are, if there are any and what we need to do in case we receive such “judicially notarized” emails from another Arindam.

Deepavali Get Together @ London

Inviting you all for a Diwali/Deepavali get-together on Saturday, 29th October 2005 at London (exact venue to be announced in due course), being organised by Balan, Renga & yours truly.

As I have burnt my fingers quite badly by paying the bills in the Indian Blogger’s Meet a while ago, we have decided to charge £10 per head for those above the age of 10. Apart from good South Indian food, we are planning to make the evening as memorable as possible with various events. Spread the word about the event and let us look forward to an enchanting evening. I would appreciate if you could confirm your interest over e-mail to sam_chakra [at] yahoo [dot] com.

As an added incentive, Renga has kindly consented to *sing* (Yes! It is true!) during the get together. For all his fans & critics out there, this reason should simply be enough for you to make it to the event. Don’t worry about any stampede. If the turnup is very heavy coz of this incentive, Renga has assured us of a fall back plan – he will dance.

Very much around

I haven’t gone underground like the Deputy Mayor of Chennai. No probs at the home ground over those stats as well. Despite carrying a rucksack and travelling in the Tube daily, am very much alive as well. Just that there are too many things I am handling at the moment that my mind is clogged. Few more days and I should be back to my normal self.

Back to UK

A real quick visit to Chennai and am quite thrilled that I managed to meet 3 bloggers (4 if I count my cousin Vasu, who was blogging 4 or 5 bluemoons ago).

When I opened the door to face the ultimate reality, the first thing Venkatachalam did was to fall at my feet. He had told me that he would visit my place like a Remo and shock me, but in reality came in like a TN minister and indeed shocked me. I have talked to him over phone last year but this is the first time I met the man behind that lousy blog. A true AGENT that he is, he tried very well to sell me insurance, but I have decided to give some business to his competitors. No one who has visited my place has ever commented about the board in our apartment gate that reads “Salesmen & Donation Seekers are not welcome”. But Venkat got a bit offended by that note.

Jokes apart, it was nice talking to Venkat and the 2 hours he was in the house was a good time I had in several days. He was friendly, jovial, helpful, cheerful, smiling and what not. I didn’t feel like meeting a person for the first time and I am glad that I made his acquaintance. He threatened me to take his Insurance agent avatar again if I don’t write a line or two like the above. So, I better.

On the day before I left, Karthik Tiffin Centre fame Prabhu Karthik and Avyukta man Keerthivasan were kind enough to visit me. In general, we were talking in glowing terms about the HR personnel of various companies, while Anirud made every attempt to enter into the discussion. Perhaps, next time I should organise a proper meet.

Oh yeah.. there was a bit of drama at the airport on the way back. Will save that for another post.