Lodge Doctors

Ever heard of lodge doctors? If you had lived in TN and had read the vernacular weeklies like Junior Vikatan, Thuglak etc their full page adverts wouldn’t have escaped one’s attention. They would visit almost all the towns on a specific day of every calendar month, have consultation at their rooms in the lodge and would generally claim to have cure for all type of alleged disorders – most of which used to be a topic of *valuable* discussion among teenagers. I don’t know whether they are ‘doctors’ in real sense, though they used to claim so. Not sure whether these specimens exist in other states of India.

Well.. what about them now? Seems that those guys have come a long way. Now, they have started running such clinics in Europe. Only difference is that, they are jumping from one country to another every weekend.

GMail

From now on, my domain’s email would be handled by GMail. Not that it should matter to you in anyway, but I am very much relieved now as my mail id (chakra [at] chakkarapani.com) was literally hijacked by spammers as my web host’s spam filtering was very mediocre. So, I was forced to use my yahoo mail id all these days. Now, I get to use my domain mail ID with all the goodies from GMail. This can’t get any better.

Tuc Tuc

Went to the Brighton on a picnic along with 20+ people on Saturday. The thing that interested me was the sight of few auto rickshaws in the roads of Brighton. They were painted in various different colours and it was nice to see them ply. We also spotted some auto stops and people were queuing up there to get into that vehicle. The autos were operating under a brand name Tuc Tuc (pronounced as ‘tak tak’). Seems that there are 12 auto rickshaws in Brighton (and for the whole of UK) and they are plying on a fixed route with fixed fare, which works out to be cheaper than taxis. All the 12 autos are owned by the same guy, who had visited India & Sri Lanka few years back and got inspired to start a fleet of autos in UK. As there were concerns about safety, category in which this would be licensed (taxi or bus), it took him 3 years to get the business on its wheels (literally) after passing all the tests (the autos have even got a seat belts in them). Seems that this vehicle is a big hit in Brighton and he has got plans to expand into other towns in UK and also in mainland Europe. The best part about this is whenever these vehicles pass by any Indian restaurant or a group of Indian people; they wave at the drivers, who seem to be very happy about it. 🙂

As Tuc Tuc expands their operations, in due course they would realise that it would make sense to import ‘skills’ from India. Some time down the line, when the great auto drivers of Chennai start driving those three wheelers in Britain, the roads in this country would present a very different shape.

There seems to have been some media coverage for Tuc Tuc in Telugu. A friend of mine sent this.

Balance Transfers

I reckon that the 0% interest on balance transfers is one of the most exploited options, when it comes to credit card. I know several people who have spend few thousand pounds through their credit card, transfer the balance to a new card who would offer interest free period for the first 6 or 9 months, after which you apply for a new card and do the same. This way, for years together they haven’t been paying any interest, but only the minimum balance. I have also used this option for a small sum few years back.

I don’t know what/who caused the banks to wake up, but when I search for such an option now, I find that almost all the banks charge 2% handling fee for balance transfers there by making this option unattractive. Yet, there are few banks in some hidden corner who still offer this facility. The key lies in finding them and reading through the small print.

Gayathri Japam

Mumbled the sacred Gayathri mantra about 1000 times today. I am not sure of the count, but I guess it must be somewhere around that 4 digit number. 1000 or 2000 – it shouldn’t matter at all in any way. Lips were murmuring the mantra in express mode while the mind was thinking about the e-mail I forgot to send yesterday, the blog post I wanted to publish, aroma of yummy food that my wife was preparing in the kitchen, the movie I saw the previous week, the deadline for paying credit card bills and several other mundane stuff. When the concentration was down to zilch, in what way does it matter to recite it so many times? At least on regular days when I recite the mantra few times, I have felt that I am doing something religious. Certainly, not today.

Unnees-Bhees

Learnt about an interesting (to me) usage yesterday. Among Urdu speaking people, whenever they want to say that something is next/close/nearer to the other, they use the phrase “unnees-bhees” (meaning 19-20). Their logic is that nineteen is almost equal to twenty and twenty is almost nineteen, so they are next to each other. Of course, this applies to every number in the numerical system, but this is what they use. Useless, but interesting piece of information.

Old Age & Newspapers

On observation, I find that many old people in UK tend to buy one decent newspaper (among Times, Independent, Guardian etc) and at least one tabloid (among Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, News of the World etc). Recently I was talking to an aged gentleman standing in the super market queue with 3 different newspapers and he puts it this way, “What else could I do all alone with 24 hours?”. hmmm…. ‘all alone’ is the key word here and that disturbed me a bit. But then, life is like that. Isn’t it?