Friday, May 30, 2008

An interview I cannot forget..

After graduation like most of my friends I wrote the entrance exams for banking clerical level. Dont ask why, its just my middle class value at the back of my mind to hold on to a “secure job”. Banking and government jobs at one time used to be of high esteem.

Why clerical level?
Well selection criteria is even Non-Graduates.

I wrote this test like the rest of the other entrance exams. All my friends and people I knew didn’t get thro. Imagine my surprise that I passed. the tests!

Anyway, the day of the interview was the same day as my MBA entrance exam(CET-Common entrance Test). SO I rescheduled my interview from morning to afternoon.

I reach the venue in the afternoon. Hordes of candidates waiting in line for an interview. I waited three hours for my turn. Was one of the last 4 to be called.

Entering the room to find a panel of what seemed like retired personnel about 10 of them having chai and snacks and laughing loudly. Am asked to be seated and the interview begins

The first question was why didn’t I make it in the morning. I said, I had an entrance exams for post graduation studies. And that was it.

Every question was mocked with “oh, don’t ask her that. These are MBA” would be students”, and roaring laughter followed.

I somehow went thro this interview not knowing why I was putting up with this. Call it innocence or just lack of experience.

The interview was over in Half an hour. The oldies were still mocking. I knew I wasn’t selected. So yes it certainly hurt my ego to think, I couldn’t make it to even a clerical level exam.

If they had even said, “we think u might be overqualified for the job. I don’t think you should have applied”, or even if they said, “if you work with us and still continue college thro evening classes that will help u get ahead in banking ”perhaps I would not have left with such a bitter feeling about nationalized banks.

I swore I would never join any nationalized bank. Who would want such colleagues. Think Tommy Lee Jones and his alien colleagues in the Post Office scene in Men In Black II, get the picture ?

If one considers some of the Staff in Nationalised Banks, one would be really really surprised how they passed thro these stringent selection processes.

Am wondering if the tests and selection were just an eye wash...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Adventures on the arranged marriage journey...( concluded)

  • Then there was this guy who had his own apartment in Kandivli and I went in to meet him. Of the mundane things he droned about was about his his apartment has a lovely view. And huge windows. He worked at some never heard of company and wanted to join another never heard of company.

Seemed highly opinionated. Then as the conversation(monologue, more like it) progressed, he mentioned about Chennai. And how the women in Chennai shop in the huge Saree Mahals… The poor husbands waiting outside. Its pitiable.

While I didn’t have any firm opinion on it.

I just heard him, until he said, “if my wife was to do the same, I would just throw her out of these huge windows”

Enough heard. I made a quick exit faking a phone call. I think he had all the makings of someone with a murder motive if need be!

  • Then there was this guy(who is known via our family), who wanted to know for how much was my grandmas apartment sold. Am a little concerned when people want to know such intimate finance details about our family. Whew !
  • Or this guy whose folks obviously made the first move and called us to Hyderabad. Said he worked in a top IT firm. I saw him with his Sister, Sisters husband and his dad. We met at a restaurant. Was unable to get a word across to him. He just sat there talking to his baby nephew. The whole meeting was so weird. His dad wanted to know if my folks will make Diamond earrings for me in marriage(just one of the many criteria that some traditional families look for)

His folks wanted us to revert with an answer. My folks were also confused at this very very traditional meeting, but the guy was nothing to write home about, since he barely talked, but apparently was keen to marry. I was like soonest ? Well here is the answer, its “NO”.

  • Then there was this doctor family from the UK. They were very well placed. The guy was a doctor, very handsome, although he had a massive squint( which I was ready to overlook in case he was a nice guy) We went out in Hyderabad. Shopped. Had dinner. The works. The Doc then leaves for the UK and we barely stay in touch. Since this just fizzled off, we called it off. Certainly difficult to be in touch after two meetings, esp if it seems like an effort.
  • Then there was this guy whom I met from Pune. It was quite an effort to keep up the conversation. He was the exact opposite of me. I of course can have a monologue if need be. But then a few tings about the guy was a put off. Dandruff flakes on the shoulder, and poor dental hygiene. Yes I am very particular about a few things. Every bloke would usually buy a head and shoulders or a clinic plus, one doesn't know why, its just a very bloke thing. So this one obviously didn’t believe in it. We then went to visit his family in Pune, maybe I was just very superficial, lets give this a chance. The house was musty smelling. The coffee was cold. The idlis they served were rock hard. I of course went into the kitchen to “help out”: and chat with his mother The kitchen was dark, dingy and not very clean. It certainly put me off. We left, and I said to guy the next day, it was a no go.

    There are those who have been the quite good, but don’t know why it didn’t work out category :

  • The foreign service(or was it ambassador)’s son. Very nice family, nice guy. He was working in the USA and we met once. Our parents got talking while he and I talked. The meeting went well. I knew he liked me. But again, I was wondering what if, and whether this is it. Again 9 years ago and I was just starting off in my career. He even mentioned who am I to stop you from becoming what you want to. It was very nice to hear. But I was undecided after just one meeting. His father called to know our reaction, and I was undecided. His father hung up the phone saying, if she cannot decide then it’s a NO. Well tough luck.
  • The wing commanders son. Doing his PhD in the USA. Very sweet guy. Looked like Bruce Willis. Had nice eyes. Very good family. We bonded and chatted away. We sat on Besant Nagar beach and he asked me the question. I don’t know whether it was cold feet or what. I was just not able to go ahead and decide that this was it. The fear of packing up and quitting my job to go to a foreign land, with someone whom I know recently was surely nerve wrecking. I felt like it was a jump without a parachute and this was 8 years ago. He went on to get married to someone else. And of the proposals, this one was surely one which often leaves me thinking what if….
  • Then there was this guy in Ahmedabad. Very nice family. Everyone was so sweet. He introduced me to his friends and family and it just seemed all rite. We went to visit them in Ahmedabad. He had a beautiful house and a lovely family. I have never seen such lovely hospitality or closeness that his family was. He was an aggressive guy. A go getter. He didn’t want to leave Ahmedabad. He had all the makings of a CEO to be. Very non-compromising, and very very spirited. The tough thing was I felt, there might not be a place in the house for two CEOs.*cough* This is another one, that my folks still wonder, why this one didn’t work out.

Some of the good things that have happened from these experiences :

  • A few lessons that there are all kinds of people out there.
  • It also helped me to learn a lot about myself. I realized that I can be very patient if need be, or what actually is important for me.
  • Atleast the emotional involvement is less, So when something is called off it doesn’t bother as much.
  • Some of the families were so nice that I am still in touch and its no hard feelings, so what if the proposal didn’t work out. Which is very cool.

    Someone asked me why these posts on arranged marriages and in case I wasn’t all for it.

    I am.

    It saves time to sort. It takes care of the basics in terms of a background.

    There is a high HIT rate. And so many couples are “happily married” from the arranged marriage method as opposed to those “falling in love”

    The reason for posting was only for me to keep these memories afresh on people one meets in this lovely journey. It just helps to appreciate that Special one even more.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Adventures on the arranged marriage journey IV

Here was this guy who looked great on paper, Good family background, mother golfer, the gent well placed in an IT firm, takes part in performing arts and media. He calls and one of the things he asked me was whether I drink. I mentioned about how I do enjoy my wine. But since july 2007, have probably had only 3 unfinished beverages..whats come over me ? I don’t know. I just don’t enjoy it anymore I mentioned.

The guy just took off and lectured on alcoholism. Mentioned about how strongly he felt about/against alcohol. Even mentioned, “if your matrimonial profile had also suggested you indulged in any moderate drinking, then we wouldn’t have even gotten in touch!” he also mentioned about how he “let go” of so many proposals just because of this one factor. I like wow!

He then went on to add about how he refuses to leave Chennai, how strongly he feels about alcohol and smoking. Well I don’t smoke and don’t like passive smoking too much, so we had one thing in common.

As for being in Chennai and NEVER leaving the city, wow. I don’t know. I didn’t have any fixed ideas on where I wanted to settle.(I was in Kolkata then). One thing I mentioned to this guy was that, he seemed to have 3 conditions, of which he was not ready to meet midway. Opine that a place to settle etc needs to be mutually decided. For me I was unable to “fall into” someone elses very rigid plans

I thot, since I am not really enjoying my social drinking, let me see what else this relationship will have to offer. One of the things was, the person seemed very self absorbed,”I am like this, I am like that” all this on the phone. And then I realized that the conversation invariably steers towards drinking.

He mentioned he liked to travel and would like to see places “We must one day visit Paris the most romantic city, and I hope to keep you away from wine tasting/drinking there”. I was like hello. Even in the hypothetical situation, huh ?

I then asked him “what if say we have a fight and to spite you I have a drink, now that I know it upset you so much “? He said, “I wont talk to you that day!”

Wow, while it was a hypothetical situation, it surely made me uneasy. I didn’t want to write off someone on just one glitch but it was difficult to even build rapport when everything steers towards drinking, although in his words it was “Alcoholism”.

Strong views. Rigid thots. No go.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Adventures in the arranged marriage journey III

One of these guys had posted a picture on the web, his mother got in touch with us and I was to call him. I did.

We fixed up a venue to meet him.. First he said we will meet at Firangi Paani, then he called up to say, no am fixing at the Oberoi, or was it the Leela(Bangalore), I just cant remember. The first thing I realized when I saw him? His photo in the matrimonial portal was at least 12 years old. It did not capture the bags under his eyes or his crows feet, so I was a little disappointed at the false impression created.

So, does it matter how he looks ?
NO !
Does it matter he faked an old photo?

And I decided to go ahead and chat with the gent. We talked from 19:30 to 22:00 hours. He went on and on about how he has a house in Chennai and how he was buying a Bigger car.

Stifling a yawn I mentioned that had a long day and would like to call for the bill. The guy the continued his droning. At 22:35 I stood up and said, we must be leaving. He called for the bill.
And we left.

When I got home I told my parents this was a no go. We have a communication gap. It would be a waste of time.
When we conveyed that it was a "no go" to his mother, can u guess what the guy did ? He sent me a 4 page sms!
He went on and on about how he spent a lot of time and “money” on phone calls in deciding the venue of dinner, and he spent good money on the dinner !!!! and to top it all, he felt we have some chemistry and that he wanted me to reconsider my refusal !!!

I couldn’t believe what I was reading and "politely" told him off.

So what’s bugging in this case :

1. Most of the time I am a little irritated at having to take the first step since the guys are either busy or need to be bullied by their parents to make the first move/call
2. Am usually not particular about photos etc, and believe the person in person is much more interesting(or not)
3. Its very important to have an intellectual conversation. NO I don’t mean world finance and politics, but a constant conversation on how WIPRO is sending their employees overseas, and how three bachelors from Wipro are sharing accommodation in Bangalore,or how he is thinking of buying a bigger car soon, is hardly intresting material to hear..
4. Thereon, when someone is stifling a yawn, and the other person is unable to understand it. There is a sure problem. A Yawn is a Silent shout. Even when mentioning, I want to call it a day, if a person continues to chatter, I would prorate it to a lot of areas in life, where similar communication might not be deciphered.
5. The last but not least, was the area on “money” and paying up. I used to usually rush to pick the tab, and say lets split the bill, or that I can pay etc. But this one time, I decided to listen to my mother who had mentioned “Behave like a girl”. Which I did. And the guy had a problem paying the tab for dinner. Note to self, be yourself!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Adventures in the arranged marriage journey II

Other types which couldnt be slotted in any one category

  1. For Tamil guys overseas, the usual method say about 8 years ago used to be a la Hyderabad Blues. The guy who would come down and choose a girl in fivedays. SO all he did was see a number of girls. Coffee with one, lunch with the other and so on and so forth. Finally wanting an answer since he can now come in only after say 2 years, and he has spent his own money to come to India. SO now, the girl has to decide as per his convenience. And this still happens..
  2. There are some guys who think its very important to ask their “20 questions” which they do. One of the things, they would ask me is “how do u intend to manage home and career, after marriage”, I ask “HOW DO YOU ??” and there is silence.. either the question is not understood or maybe that is the answer.
  3. Then there was this guy whom I asked just as a part of the chit chat, “So, do you cook” he said confused “you are asking me questions, which I had planned to ask you” like hello. As for me, the men in our family can cook just like the women can. SO it was more like finding something in common. At home we share cooking and household work. You need to meet the guys in my family. The men can not only cook, most of them help in the kitchen even if the wife is a "house wife" and the man is working. In our household when all 4 of us are together, the sunday lunch is more of a ritual when each of us contributes in the cooking, right from salads, to chopping veggies to the actual cooking/stirring etc..its more fun that way and a great way to bond. SO its not some feminist line…
  4. Then there was this guy who was wooing me like there is no tomorrow. Very very aggressive, kept emailing, wanted me to write longer mails etc etc. Then I came to India. We were to meet. He came home with his folks. The GUY did not even lift his head to look and talk to me. I was a bit surprised. His folks were very sweet. After half an hour, I was getting a little frustrated with his two faces, since he was pretending to be shy in front of his folks. I asked his parents, “with your permission,can I take your son out” His mom said ”SO Sweet. Of course” We went out and talked. It seemed he wanted to pretend to be a”nice guy” in front of his folks. I was quite put off. Since am not much of an actress I realized I couldn’t put up with it for the rest of my life and called it off. U know what happened next? His father was huting us to return his photos..its not like I knew where they were. He sent us reminders on mail, saying, please return the photos, It was so bizarre.
  5. Then there was the forgetful guy. He and I hit it off. Went for lunches, dinners, movies and then he started forgetting dates he set up with me. I even remember watching the Omen movie with him. The guy made plans and then forgot. I asked his family whether he was being forced to look at “arranged marriage”? since its impossible that someone can be “forgetful” and still be rocking in his job. Does the forgetfulness also follow in his job ? Apparently not. I got my answer. He was not that interested.
yes i am taking my time compiling this this space for more :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Adventures on the arranged marriage journey...

So why the post on matrimonial advts and the entire process? Well, Let me start- Am single and still having a blast..altho there are times, when i do miss not having that someone to keeps me busy and sane..
Being a traditional person at heart, I am also a part of the Arranged marriage “market”/Database

Some of my escapades on the "matrimonial interviews" are so funny :

Lets take Horroscope for now :

  1. Usually some people put up in their expectation “ stars like “Bharani, Puradam, moolam, etc are non matching stars. Please don’t apply.” Whew, so we just give up a really good possibility just because some jerk updated your time of birth hello.
  2. There was a family in discussion for their son, who once asked my aunt regarding dowry etc and what will the girls’ father give ? My aunt was so angry she just stormed out and said you will have to pay dowry for our daughter. That Family came back a few days later, and asked wanting to look at proceeding further. My aunt said NO. The reason? This Family took the girls horoscope which showed that the Son would prosper a multiple times due to the Wife-to-be’s-stars! How greedy! They were of course politely declined. Whew!
  3. Then there are these boys who get on to “chat mode” decide they want to meet the girl. The guy wanted to come down from say Bangalore, and some old hag in the family, said the horoscope don’t match. Its like, Why not ask the old hag before getting on chat mode boy ?

    Then there is "looks" which is a huge factor for most of Guys’s side :
  4. One family whose son is a stock broker in the USA was so keen on the girls look’s Apparently the guy has rejected a thousand photos just on looks. The mother even hinted he is so busy at work that he doesn’t even date wonders perhaps not interested in women ? Guy is still single and pushing late 30’ but still very good on paper.
  5. Another guy was a complete narcissist. Very very obsessed with his complexion. Said he wanted a FAIR girl. “Fair as in foreigner fair” he later added. I must say the guy looked like the Pillsbury dough boy, fat, chubby and fair(yes by Indian standard) He actually added in every conversation, “when I was in Kuwait, I used to be even fairer”, Or “My friends say I am fair”, “My mother stopped me from drinking coffee, else I would get dark” I don’t get into the sun, or I will get hello!. I did worry, what if one of our offspring was “not as fair” as he was, would we love the child any less? He ofcorse had a very well rehearsed answer, But his narcissism and infatuation with his fair mother was a certain putoff.

    Then is probably Salary/Income which is a huge point of debate :.
  6. One of the points I had written was I was expecting someone who makes a decent sum of money. Since the arranged marriage is a bit traditional, lets assume that men would take on a traditional role of bread earner. Well There was a gunk who apparently didn’t get in touch with me, because I had written that in my list of things I was looking for. So much for honesty.
  7. There are guys who are upset i earn more than them. If not the guys, its atleast some folks in his place. I would certainly not want competition at home.
  8. There are others who earn in dollars and compare salarys using the US exchange rate.How amusing. Listen buddy, if u are 5 indians sharing an apartment in your USD salary, and comparing with my yes “piddly” Indian salary. Don’t forget I get a whole lot of benefits like an apartment tp myself, and NOT having to share with others. Still want to compare with the US exchange rate ?
  9. The other side is those who seem very very agreeable when their sons are earning probably quarter of my salary. Certainly a put off, since it reeks a bit of opportunism.
  10. There was this guy who left his job to do a Ph.D. Well he was pretty upset about me being “obsessed” with my job/career. Actually I am not. But the guy seemed to feel very inadequate since he was on a students stipend and was havig a complex about it. Too bad buster.
  11. This next guy thought i needed to clarify, about what I meant regarding "looking for a partner earning a good pay packet" It turned into a whole discussion with this loser in the USA. Apparently does not have adequate income, and also said he is not interested in coming to India. And how was he expecting to support the spouse – Social Security one guesses.

Does it Matter what the guy earns ? Well it does. If one is used to a certain lifestyle and if pooling incomes could mean a better or continued lifestyle then why not ? While one thinks it’s a bit sensitive to talk about money, this is one of the primary reasons couples fight. How do I know ? I see it all around me. Wife is at home, and husband questions her spending. Or wife is at home, and expects husband to fund HER family’s foreign trips. Whew. Or wives who expect husbands to fund "gifts" for the entire family. There there are fights about whose money is it all..this certainly seems to be a cause for fights in most relationship....

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Indian Arranged Marriage Scene and its current scenario

I often have my non-Indian friends who want to know how this “arranged marriage” thingummy works out. Well its quite it arranged dating if you might.

Eg. If a girl's(of marriage age) parents are on the look out for a suitable boy for their daughter.

'Suitable' would mean someone who fulfills a criteria/check list sort of.
  • This would basically ensure that the BASE/background is similar and
    matching, thereby leading to similar goals in life.
  • In the past there used to be a marriage broker who would know some family
    with a suitable/boy or girl and would carry his/her set of horoscopes and
    details, to seek out suitable matches.
  • Some are still astrologers who help the proespects parents to match horoscopes.
  • Nowadays these are advertised in sites like,, etc.
Most of these adverts are updated by parents, bearing in mind what would be good and matching for their off springs. There is usually a lot of thot put into this.
Example :
  • Socio-Economic background. Some mention, upper class and request similar background. *so that there are no clashes later on on irreconcilable differences*

  • The Partners physical appearance. Yes some even ask for “fair girl” or say things like “girl must be very beautiful” and lets not even comment on the son’s photo that is put up.
  • There are the bride to be’s parents who ask for a groom “who must have clean habits” one wonders if they mean that he should wash his hands after u know what.
  • Some insist, the bride-to-be should be “professionally qualified” and some insist she should have a job/career. This leads to most parents even educating their daughters to eventually find a good match. Whether she works after marriage or not ends up being a mutual/individual choice.
  • There used to be (I think there still is) a big interest for “US Mapillai or US or foreign based grooms. There are some others who then insist the girl needs to be also US based. Some actually place on advt “girl must be from West coast” etc.

    Some details on the prospect are added say example :
  • Family Details : Father retired from nationalised bank and now practising law in PUNE. Mother is a homemaker. XYZ has two elder sisters both married settled in PUNE. XYZ lives in Toronto, Ontario-Canada and is professionaly well settled in a good organization. The family is settled in PUNE for the last 28 years.

  • I am a guy with clean habits have a good self confidence

  • My son is very good in character and look very young, he is very calm and friendly type.
  • Simple/Like to wear Simple and smart dress.god fearing. Looking for affectionate/accommodating partner/likes less argument.(both sides) ** noted about the dressing**

    Then the “expectation from the partner is updated. Some examples :
  • Expectation: We are looking for a confident and educated girl who believes in traditional values but has a modern outlook. PROFILES WITH PICTURES WILL BE RESPONDED. **yes Ugly ones can be stay away**

  • Partner should be very simple, godfearing. Preferably a graduate with some PC knowledge. ** one is guessing this is so that she uses the computer at home, for god knows what**

  • Looking for someone with lots of energy, confidence , optimism...Someone who is charming, loving, caring, just and humane...Someone for whom family comes first....A Great Friend with whom i can share my life...**Am guessing we are talking about one person only **


  • I am looking an understanding, caring , fun loving girl from respectable family. who also respects elders and other family members values. ** I guess this is stemming from more and more girls expecting the guy to move into a nuclear family as opposed to living with parents **

  • Affectionate / Caring / Supportive / Understanding / GOD fearing - These 5 things are easy to quote here. But getting a person with these primary charachters is really a blessing from GOD :-) Mentally strong and independent; Should be able to think from other persons' perspective:-) And ya, a career-oriented person.

  • We are looking a partner for him who is slim, fair, good looking, accommodating, having high regard to family values with a good education(preferably Bachelor's/Master's Engineering degree) and family background. **the guy in this advt was not exactly conventionally good looking**

  • Looking for a home loving girl, educated preferably employed. a blend of tradition with a modern outlook would be welcome.

Then there is an initial contact between parents, or even between the parties.(read boy and girl) This could be on emails, phones, at one time it used to be via letters or even via the marriage brokers.
  • The boy and girl then continue with some communication on email, phones, and or personal meetings depending on the level of the relationship.
  • SOme get into a twenty question like mode, to ensure there likes/dislikes match.
  • Some just go with the flow.
    All this usually with “blessings of the parents” NO, this are not escorted with parents as it used to be in the old days.

If this seems ok, the parents would meet up either in each others homes or maybe even in a restaurant to see how this can progress further.

If all is in "order" i.e. it seems like match they can progress with, the details are discussed, date is set for a formal engagement and marriage thereon.

So whats working about this process ?
  • One need not waste time dating people, and then finding out there is lot of basics which are not common. E.g. Socio-economic background. This gets taken care of with the “base” check.
  • They belong to similar community, language, cultural background, which means there is lesser after marriage “adjustment” and a lot in common between the boy and girl.
  • Also saves time in dating people who might not be that interested in commitment. The arranged marriage is a sure shot hit since only those in the “market” for marrying are in the market in the first place.
  • Most elders might be able to be clued in as to what will work in this moving forward(basis experience) So when families talk, they know whether or not, we can actually be a part of each others lives in the future.
  • Expectations from each other is very limited, and therefore a better chance of success.
    If it does not work *god forbid* family is the one that comes in to counsel and ensure the couple makes it work.
  • The investment in the marriage and wedding is pretty high. Since everyone in the family is involved.
  • Basics like preferences in career or not, food preferences or not, whether trivial or otherwise gets ironed out and or understood during the “knowing each other phase” pre engagement.

So, yes, its quite an interesting phase to be..there are people who would be at a time even "sparring" with two or three different prospects. So one gets to pick and choose almost like "multiple dating" hmmm a lot has changed since the original "Ponnu Pakkal" or seeing the bride ritual, in which half the village and another would be present t see the goings on of a girl coming into serve coffee to the groom and his folks, and he looks at her and then they confirm whether this is the girl he wants to marry.

Yes in the old days it was sufficient that the BOy agreed to marry a girl, thank god times have changed now and how....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Travails of Hotel Stay...

Am usually not very fussy about hotel stay. After all its only my luggage which stays there, and eventually i do spend the night there after a days work,
So what is required from a hotel ?

  • Cleanliness

  • Room Space

  • Clean sanitised Bathrooms

  • TV

  • Laundry

  • Efficient Room service

  1. One of my favorites has been the TAJ Connemara. At the Connemara, if they send you a car to pick you up, by the time you reach the lobby, everyone right from the reception to the Manager acknowledges you by Name. Welcome Ms. Subbaraman. Wow i like that. These guys surely know how to make a guest feel very very special. Thats why they are the TAJ.

Then there was breakfast the next morning.

  • When I found the idlis not that soft(less use of UDad dal) i mentioned it in my feedback. In my next visit there, the chef asked how was the Idly. I was so surprised and touched that they actually noticed the complaint.

  • The second time, there was a challenge with drinking water. I did not know that the bottled water was chargeable. As opposed to what ? there was no other water bottle. And it was certainly not Evian that i had consumed. Just good old Bottled water. Once again, they took note of it. And asked me the next time i was checking out, whether all was in order, in terms of water. How thotful.

2. The Trident Hilton at BHubaneshwar. Well there was feedback that i had written, for which the manager writes to me on email. His Faux pax ? He spelled my name totally wrong. There is nothing more important for a guest that his/her own name. SO when one is making an attempt to get feedback, at least ensure it is addressed correctly.

3. A Chennai Business Hotel (on St. MAry's Road, Alwarpet) challenges :

1. On my arrival to the hotel(my flight was an hour delayed) I was given to understand that the room was not available. There on after waiting for about 30-45 minutes was given the key.
I was informed that it was a "club room" and that I would need to check out the next day. Frankly there was not much of a difference.

My friend (who was there with some stuff given by my family) came up to the room to drop the things off. I get a call from the Hotel reception asking if it will be a "double occupancy" ! I mentioned my friend was dropping stuff off, they said its for "your safety" . MY friend asked me what the matter was, needless to say i was embarrassed to even mention it.

Well it’s a little surprising to note that this hotel has ONLY male housekeeping, room service, and bell boys, who come in to drop luggage etc upto the room. So is this really for "my safety" or a commercial spin ?? The insinuation was unbearable and could not even explain to my male friend that this is what the reception is insinuating!

The fact that the front line staff was NOT at all apologetic as the worst! Finally I got to talk to a manager and was "allowed" to stay on in the club room as it was NOT my fault they couldn't manage the rooms effectively.

Yes a written feedback was sent, but looks like no one wanted to address it in writing or show any sense of remorse.

2. On my arrival on 12th May, I was given a certain room no XYZ . This when I entered, was ALSO occupied by another foreigner/male guest. How shocking!

When I apologised to the guest and checked with the trailing bell boy, was given to understand the room was indeed XYZ!

Speechless and furious, I get into the lift only to be met by the reception staff with a key to another "club room". I must confess there is no difference between a normal room and their supposed club room!

I spent a sleepless night wondering if anyone else will also be able to enter my room due to any such errors in the front office ??

The total indifference and lack of apology was just unbearable. I wrote out a written feedback only to be met by their manager in the morning who assured this wont be repeated.

Wont be repeated ? Am surprised the HOTEL is taking us for granted like this. If it was so much about the safety, and so particular about room occupancy one wonders why no one was sorry that I was given the key to another Male guests room!

The thing is, this hotel on St. Mary's Road Chennai started out pretty all rite say a year ago or so. But now, looks like they are taking their guests for granted .

Friday, May 9, 2008

Realty Bites

Every year as I move to another city, I end up with my two week struggle to find the perfect i finicky ? well a little, am i a worrier ? well a little and yes i find hotels mildly depressing..Well its right in the middle of a new job(position) and then to find a place to stay..and communicate to the hungry shark like estate agents on my budget, which is just never enough for these always having to stretch..when my budget as a trainee was inr 2500 i had to stretch..or even when it was 10,000 i had to stretch, and u get the drift right ?

So yes, here i am looking for apartments in chennai...preferably not in an independent house, with the landlord staying below, who needs a nosy parker finding out your every move..and i certainly dont intend to make mild chit chat with anyone's wife, or aunt so thats out!

An apartment with good ventilation, and windows that dont open into the neighbours house would be great!..i tried, or where most of the advts were given by owners themselves, but the flip side the advts are atleast a month old so most places have been let out already..

I remember looking for a place when i was in Bangalore..the realty agent said the place was for 10000 negotiable so i was under the impression it would be available for inr 9000 + maintenance. Guess what, another agent comes in with an IT sector Boy. IT boy is getting married and needs to zero in on an apt soon. The landlord, greedily smacks his lips when he hears IT boy is from a well know IT firm in Bangalore. He says the apartment is for INR 15,000 but for you i will give it for 14,000, IT boy takes his offer. I am left a speechless spectator at what transpired. What was quoted as INR 10,000 negotiable was just sold at 14,! realty bites indeed..the good part of the story was that i went and found another place in Tippasandra which was a penthouse and an almost private terrace..was really lovely as an apartment..its so important to find a comfortable place to live in...

Then was Kolkata..where i was looking for a place just like my Bangalore one..and then i found it..when i walk in i just know this is my apartment..huge old windows, abundant greenery around, breeze which blows your curtains out, its was a lovely place in Alipore..Yes., i am lucky when it comes to getting the apartment of my choice..but the path to it can be a little annoying at times :)

So yes, i am now on the look out for a good apartment in chennai...thankfully my friend has been looking at places for me(bless him) this is just what i needed as i am really stressed out thinking i havent made much headway my first 3 days in the new position..

Am sure i will find the place of my choice as i usually do...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Flight travails

Another thing that has been hot and bothered these days is flights never keeping their schedule especially while landing in Bombay..whatever is the scheduled arrival, just add 60 minutes for luck and you will be right i.e. late by at least an hour..the usual wishy washy response from the captain would be air traffic congestion and that we are number 22 or so in the queue..

As a family my folks usually come to pick me late i have asked them not to do so..its just not worth the wait..being at the mercy of airlines who are always late!

One thing i seem to have immense luck with is, I usually end up with really loud people sitting next to me, or behind front of me is always some passenger who just decides to stretch his seat back as if it would turn into a bed...this is just a 1.5 hours flight..can one just be a little considerate ?

Oh and dont even get me started on babies....i think most mother/families with infants should be made to sit in a specific section or just made to pay higher...ok ok that may seem a little inconsiderate, but c'mon am returning home after a long day at work..and having a wailing infant, is surely not a huge pleasure...

Have u noticed people who just sit at your seat and then ask if you would like to sit at their seat ? like hello, i paid good money (ok ok not me, my company did) and i came in early to check in at get the window seat, so why mr. fat and bald guy should i re-arrange my seat so that u can sit with your buddy and speak loudly about world finance and politics on a flight full of passengers who would rather pay to keep you quiet ?

As u can see i have had too many flights recently and too little patience...

give me a train and an overnite journey anyway...its so much better...hmmmmmm

Monday, May 5, 2008

A long drive and a lovely extended weekend..

Wanted a little break before starting off on my new position in chennai..had come down to Mumbai to spend time with the family on an extended weekend...among other things, like salon with my mom, shopping and going out with little Rukku has has her vacations, one of the things we did was a long drive on the bombay-pune road and a stop over at pune...

The music slection is ofcourse very important in any drive and ofcourse the fact that it was 2nd of may was not an official holiday as such..Starting early we stopped at the drive-in at Khopoli, which serves some kick ass batata wadas and ofcourse some junka bhakri and some yummy Thalee peet( a bit like our south indian adais) with the dry peanut/garlic chutney..its worth the drive..i can safely say it was the best junka bhakar in town..

We stopped at the Dagdu sheth ganesh mandir..truly beautiful..and all its photos dont do juctice to the grandeur and beauty of the temple and its diety.

Rukku wanted to learn a bit about history so we showed her around shaniwar wada..inspite of the hot summer, the cool breeze was truly exhilarating as we sat under the shade of a huge tree at shaniwar wada...Had glasses of my favorite neera wherever we could find it..its another favorite summer drink for me :)

We packed our little lunch of idlis and tamarind rice, which we polished off at Saras baag under a shady we sat and relaxed watching picnicking families as most schools are closed for summer vacations...we drove back to bombay on a truly pleasurable drive..

nothing beats a little family trip and togetherness...