Rickshaw blues

I am sure a lot of you have gone through the rickshaw blues, where the auto drivers simply refuse to take you where you want to go. I experienced such a thing today near Andheri east railway station today. I wanted to go a client’s place near the International Airport today and no rickshaw would take me there. I waited for almost 40 mins and must have asked atleast 10-12 auto drivers to take me there. Initially, I decided to board the bus and head for the meeting but when I reached the bus stop, there was a really long queue to board the bus and I realised it was going to be futile waiting here. After waiting for the bus for a few mins, I started to walk ahead so as to get an auto. However, no rickshaw would stop. In fact, a lot of them were slowing just enough to hear and destination and would then speed off so that I could not board the rick. This, I believe is a common tactic of these guys.  A lot of these guys just simply wait for a passenger for long distance. However, I do not understand why they run empty rickshaws when they could be making some money with a shorter distance fare. Anyways, so I kept walking further and further in hope that I would be able to get an empty rick near a junction. However, after crossing 3 junctions I was still not able to get a rick. Finally near the highway, a rickshaw stopped and I just boarded the rick without telling him the destination. He asked me where I wanted to go, I told him near the airport. Even though he didnt say anything, I did see a wee bit of frustration on his face for accepting a shorter fare.

In the morning when I had left for the meeting I felt I had left a bit early, however looking at the events this morning I think it paid off :).


Vodafone sucks!!!

I recently received my Vodafone bill for the month and was shocked at looking the monthly charges which were higher than the usage charges. I recently converted myself to a Blackberry user and have a Blackberry plan from Vodafone. Previously I used to have Vodafone Mobile Connect wherein I used to pay Rs. 250 every month for the same. Now once I moved to Blackberry, the VMC plan became defunct and it was not automatically removed from my plan. It is common knowledge, which even Vodafone acknowledges, that VMC and Blackberry plans dont go hand in hand. However, for that month I was charged with VMC plan charge and Blackberry plan. I called up the customer care center and asked them to deactivate the VMC, which they promptly did and was assured that in this month’s bill the same would not be added. However, to my surprise the same was added in the bill. I immediately called up the Customer Service and asked them about this. The rep said the same cant be reversed as I have chosen to deactivate the plan after the cycle has started. On top it, the customer rep was raising his voice the entire time he was speaking with me. I remained calm and asked him to arrange a call back with his superiors as he was of no help to me. This is one way to rip customers off as most people dont care as to when they deactivate/ activate the plan. Ideally the same should be on a pro-rata basis, from the date on which they choose to activate/ deactivate the plan, but Vodafone chooses to make extra money by charging the amount for the entire month, which is like stealing in broad daylight. I am seriously thinking of filing a complain in the consumer court. I know the amount is trivial but it is more to do with the what is right.

Trip to Pune

Yesterday I traveled to Pune to attend a couple of meetings and was seriously thinking of doing the bike trip. However, I was advised by a couple of colleagues, to avoid the road trip as it could rain and thus chances of the bike skidding on the highway were high. Therefore, I decided to drop the bike trip plan and booked myself a train ticket to Pune. I then called my friends, S and N, who stay in Pune and informed that I will be coming in the morning and if we can meet up for breakfast. The train journey was pretty much uneventful. I reached Pune at 915am and met S and N and then headed towards Pune Club. One thing I noticed about Pune was the weather, it was nice and cool in the morning compared to Mumbai. Also not many shops are open at 10 am.

We had breakfast, which consisted of Misal Pav and Tea and discussed from bikes to my purpose of my visit to Pune. It was really nice to meet them and also give me mangoes that they had got from Ratnagiri. After meeting them, I had to attend my official meeting. Sometimes meetings can be eye openers. I got to know a lot of work related issues that the customer was facing (w/o being involved in any of it) and was happy to help them with some solutions to reduce their pain. It was a very fruitful meeting and hopeful the one coming up by the end of this week should bear some results.

My next meeting was in Bavdhan, which is at the opposite end of the city. I boarded a rick and after 45 mins of sitting in the rick and going around the city was dropped in a place which was about a 1km away from where I had to be. This place is on Mumbai-Bangalore highway and this was the first time I was actually walking on the highway in a different city. I finally got another rick and made it to the place of my meeting. The first thought that hit me once I reached there was, how do I get to Mumbai from this place. The meeting lasted a bit longer than I expected it to last, however, was given a drop by the people whom I had just met. They dropped me at the bus stop from where I could get the bus to Mumbai. After waiting for 20 mins or so, I boarded a bus to Mumbai. In the bus, I watched my first ever Marathi movie. I didnt take down the name of the movie, but it was about a villager who takes advantage of 2 fighting politicians and gets a seat for his constituency. The movie is full of witty dialogues, though some of it I couldnt understand. It is a shame that even after living in this city for more than 20 years, I dont understand the local language, Marathi, properly.

It took me almost 4.5 hours to get home from Pune, out of which 2.5 hours were spent in Mumbai itself. This is probably one of the reasons why I prefer the maddening rush of the crowd in the trains as compared to the ride in polluted streets. The time saved while traveling in the train is precious and also results in a stress free journey. So I finally reached home at around 11:15pm in the evening, dead tired. It was an eventful journey and hopefully the meetings would result in a favorable response for my organization.