Thursday, July 17, 2008

Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

Must say that I didn’t go with too many expectations, other than the fact that my mom loved the movie. You see, the two of us are partners in crime and do our movie marathons(watch 3 shows of different movies in the same multiplex, such that even the ushers start recognizing us by the end of the third show). Now we do it in different cities. Mom was gushing about Jaaane Tu... And I was trying to ask her, whether it is like Jab we met ? She said it’s a bit like Dil Chahta Hai, hmm cult movie status.

My verdict ? Super movie. Fresh story line. Nice looking people. Good music. its a 5/5

Its told in a story form by a bunch of friends waiting to receive someone at the airport.The basic premise of the movie. Boy loves girl, Girl loves boy. Only they don’t know it. And everyone around them does. Boy spends a lot of time with girl. Runs when she calls. They are always there for each other. After graduation the girls’ cool parents decide to ask the boy if he would join the “family” he assumed it’s the business. A few funny dialogues and finally the “misunderstanding” is cleared. The boy and girl don’t see each other as anything other than friends (a bit like Kuch kuch..but not as warped). They even decide to find each other a partner. How they do. The gentle nuances of jealousy, and coping with the fact that they are with other people, brings in a whole lo of introspection. Throw in a few friends, lovely parents, a dead father who speaks thro the portrait(Naseeruddin Shah is simply super and endearing) So is Ratna Pathak Shah.

Boy has been informed by his mother that his late father was against any kind of violence, so the boy(who is called Rats, short for Rathore) is brought up very peace loving. He avoids all kinds of conflicts by wit and his charm. The girl Aditi, or Meaaow as she is called due to her love for cats, wants a guy who will fight the bad guys, and defend her..her cool parents Jayant Kriplani and Anuradha Patel all have very cute cameo roles. Her brother, played by Prateik(don’t remember if he calls himself Prateik Patil or Babbar) who hates Jai. Or atleast pretends to. His sibling rivalry, his love for his sister, and her best bud, and how he actually is keen for her wellbeing, and misses her friendship’s very delicately dealt with.

Throw in another cameo by the Khan Brothers Arbaaz and Sohail, was the surpise. Altho I do believe Paresh Rawal was a bit wasted,( cause I thot he might actually be a love interest for Ratna and that didn’t happen..). How the two eventually know that they are meant to be. And How Jai learns his family secret and his mother acknowledges he indeed is a chip off the old block was all really endearing.

Yes ofcourse the boy and girl know they are meant to be much to the delight of the audience. At the end of the scene is a tramp holding a banner which reads” Mr. Godot” I knew I had to google and find out what it was..and here it is(thanks to Yahoo answers)

Who's Mr.GODOT in the movie Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na?
As far as I know, Mr. Godot is a character that everyone waits for but doesn't arrive. So who's GODOT in Jaane Tu?
Answer : Mr Godot is used to say "we all wait for someone in our lives; and we are not even aware of who (s)he really is"The use of this term has been done as the movie is an adaptation of "Waiting for Godot" is a play by Samuel Beckett (coz aditi and jai dont know that its each other they really want in life.. i hear a lot of aaahhhs.. :) )


More info on :

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Landlord/House owner travails

Having traveled around as much as I have been and staying in rental accommodations, i have so many tales to tell. Some my own and some from friends in similar positions..

There are landlords who let out their apartments wanting to earn extra money(obviously) or even so that the apartment/house atleast gets looked after. So there are a number of categories to put them into:

  1. The strict vegetarian one : One who does not allow non vegetarians to even see the house. Some are as strict that they don’t even want tenants who eat non veg outside. AM guessing the problem must be that they might use the Toilets or something.
  2. The elderly gentleman/lady : Children in USA. Having a house in a nice place. Ready to let out to young couples and or families so that they get the income, the house is taken care of and they usually are helpful. Some of these landlords are very picky and intrusive. “why did u move the bed, we heard the sound” “why did u leave the light on “ “Why didn’t draw the pump for water” etc etc. So yes they can get very nosy about everything.
  3. The greedy one : This one is constantly on the look out for “better prospects” and makes up excuses that his daughter or niece or someone or the other is returning back. Actually he is fibbing. He has been informed he can rent the place for a higher value and that’s why the build up of lies. They usually target the singletons.
  4. The “no bachelors/singleton” ones : One of the landlords actually mentioned that bachelors leave the house dirty and at times single girls bring in “boyfriends” and other neighbours complain. (*wonder if the neighbours just have so much time that they only need to know who is coming/going out of the tenants house*)
  5. The AS_IS basis apartments : There are those who want to let out their dingy and dirty apartments, without even so much as a white wash. Why bother ? and these are those who are even refusing to compromise on the rent .Like hello. Its not that much of a shortage of supply u know. I saw this place on the main road in Bangalore. The Apartment was stinky, dirty, and the walls had not seen even whitewash in a long while, add to that poor wood work. Landlord even had his cupboards there with his own stuff(wonder why) He wanted 20,000 for it and didn’t want to compromise. Then there was another in Chennai. He sent his agent. The apartment was fine and well furnished. It just had too much woodwork making it dark with dark granite floors. What looked bad were the toilets. And yes, they were reluctant to even change toilet seats, or remove any of the messy clutter they had put in.
  6. Then there are the first timers ; Will buy a house/apartment. Obviously spend a lot of money on the purchase and the furniture and expect highway robbery prices for it. The house is done up to “attract” a certain kind of clientele - read Corporate leases. Most corporates pay anything and can pay huge deposits. But these guys will refuse to do something as basic as adding a soap dish for the bathroom, or a towel rack. So, how many “highly placed” officials who actually “entertain” will be able to use such bathrooms one wonders. Gets overtly familiar. And still at times tries to use the old fashioned method of landlords ” whatever changes you want you can do it yourself” yeah right. The tenant can change the mirrors in the bathroom, add Hooks, add shelves and god knows what(“as per individual needs they say”.)They know we don’t take it back when we leave, but the excuse is, do whatever changes you want yourself. Will call up incessantly regarding payments when its actually paid by the company and I am only living there. Will turn up un-announced and talk about leakages that some down stair neighbours complained about etc etc. One wonders if they can take a crash course on handling their corporate tenants, since after all just letting out an apartment that too for a VERY high market value, one does tend to feel a little gypped. So yes, they have the money, but no class. The apartment belies it.
  7. The Garish interiors and still house proud one : Have seen number of apartments where there are *groan* POP(Plaster of Paris) ceilings-same as in restaurants. Garish pink colours for the living room, flourescent green for the bedrooms, and lemon for the bathrooms. Very “what were you thinking* kind of interiors but the dude thinks with this he will surely snare so many tenants. Different strokes for different folks, I do decide to give this a miss.
  8. Builder Apartments : These are one of the best. Sicne I have had experiences of the builder doing up the place very well and does indeed fulfill whatever the tenant wants. Very very comfortable dealing with such people. The only challenge one has is that they return the deposit in cash! Like hello…..and that needs quite a bit of careful handling.
  9. The perfect LandLord : In my case was the land lady for my apartment I Kolkata. She was non-interfering as she stayed in Bangalore. I have never even seen her. But she had her team of house repair guys etc, who would handle the few nitty-gritty of a “just moved in” apartment. Her Chinese contractor, to her friend who understood why toilets needs Soap Dish rack, or Towel rack, mirrors, or even why the door needed a double lock, it was very well handled. I think she kindof ruined it for me, in a way that I am now expecting similar perfection from other landlords as well.

One thing I know for sure is, if I were to rent out my own place, I know what category I would rather fall into..

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

So who is the actual Target Audience ?

Have seen some advertisements recently on the telly and wonder to myself..who are they actually targeting ?

  • Wheel advt : The one with the Paseena Roko Andolan or some such. Which incidentally has a disclaimer which says its only for creative expression and such an organization doesn’t exist. Ofcourse it doesn’t. The advt is just too annoying. There are bunch of stereotype women with searchlight bindis and pale sarees putting husbands in jail because their wives are sweating while washing clothes. They finally get dumbfounded by a wife (with an excessive fan in the background) who looks cool because her husband has bought Wheel something washing powder. .WOT?
  • The Clinic Family Sachet : A Family of three. Husband wife and daughter in a bus. A bunch of school boys are getting down at the stop. While the mother grabs one of the boys and tries to keep him with them, to add to the number 4 in their family of 3. Why ? The clinic sachet is now in a family pack of 4. This advt also has a disclaimer that it was not meant to hurt any sentiment. Now really!
  • The Pears advt : When the little girl runs as soon as she wakes up to see her mothers face(who uses Pears) The kid says, “its my exam today, and your face is lucky for me” Whatever happened to good old fashioned STUDYING during exams? And why involve kids into superstitions?
  • The Big Bazaar Clothes advt : C’mon Dhoni, what’s with the “Kapdon se hee Pehchaan hotee hai” or similar tag line…Wot ?

Monday, July 14, 2008


It was a good weekend. Drove down to Pondicherry with my dad. The east coast road is indeed a pleasure to drive in. The wind blowing, the clean roads and the greenery with the blue grey Bay of Bengal on one was such a pleasure. Listening to some Dasavatharam cd. By now the driver knows I love the Mukunda Mukunda song and puts it on repeat mode. We packed a lunch of idli, and other snacks. Meditation at the Aurobindo ashram, followed by lunch in the park. The hot sun wouldn’t allow us to actually step out the promenade. So many tourists. The thing about Pondicherry is that there are about 4 parallel lanes after the “canal” which is the only remnant of what looks remotely French. The architecture, the buildings with the pale shades of yellow/White, or Grey/Blue are very European in nature.(French I am told). Tiled lanes, and lanes with names that begin as Rue de La Marine, Rue Manapulla Vinayaga Coil..very quaint. Some cafes claiming to have authentic French Cuisine..well will try that another time..

Last weekend was walking in the green lanes in Besant Nagar while returning from an errand..The greenery on both sides especially along the Theosophical Society of India is very serene with different shades of green trees dotted on both sides..surely worth a walk on a lazy Sunday afternoon…

Ofcourse watched some telly. My favorite Shows are back, Army Wives and Gossip Girl on Zee Cafe..tra la la :D Was a bit of a challenge to keep my dad interested in it tho..

Did some intense reading. U guessed it Dilberts How to work on vague Objectives..seriously funny..

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Same brand, different levels of services

Have experienced some very poor and obvious inconsistency in services between one franchisee to another, while same may be true even of various Branches of banks, hotels, services, there are very few who actually get the formula of consistency right..

So who has it wrong :

  1. Kaya Skin clinic. Their Bandra branch is one of the best. The Bangalore one comes a close second. The worse one is the Kolkata Alipur branch. Reason? Well the Kolkata branch does even have the latest phone numbers of their Bangalore counterparts. Let’s admit Kaya is not a cheap service. If they cannot get their around to having a customer data base such that their customers can indeed avail of services in any city(as they claim), then they indeed have got it wrong. Alternatively there needs to be a system such that transfers of customers etc are well noted/and actioned. If you want to be frustrated with the innate lack of response/action/or understanding of a problem even on emails, just send an email on The service in Bandra one was quite good. I did have a few issues which I had expressed and it got immediately addressed in Bandra. The Bangalore one was all rite. But the Kolkata one had some inexperienced people, who handled some of the delicate services, the noise; loud chatter etc was just not like any Kaya Clinic. One wonders if Marico even have a check to ensure uniform service levels across the country.
  2. Lakme Salon : What started as a niche service with the Lakme Salon in Churchgate, Mumbai has now become a mushrooming easily accessible Salon in every city . So what’s going wrong ? Inconsistency in services. Yes they get the green shaded interiors right. They have the use of products down correct. But the staffs from one location to the other are very differently trained. Example the one in Borivli, Mumbai used to be one of the very best, but now with people changing the service is very So-SO. One of the worst ones is LAKME in 12th Main Indira Nagar, Bangalore. The Franchisee is a retired teacher who walks around with an air of knowledge that she doesn’t have. What does one need at a Salon ? Perhaps a head stylist/or supervisor who knows her job-and at least looks like she uses her own products. Someone with crow black hair dye, and dishing out advise like “I think you need to go darker(on hair color)” when the trend was to go lighter at that time, was really disappointing. Bad enough it’s crowded, worse is having people with no frame of reference on good service. Having complained about this earlier recd ZERO feedback from LAKME. Disappointing.
  3. AYUSH : These are the Coimbatore Arya Vaidya Sala venture with Unilever, Yes the Kerala massages(Abhyangams) and good. The one in Indira Nagar Bangalore was very professional. Very good service.(yes, the same one next to Dravids house J. Have found the service even better at Egmore, Chennai. The one which got it bad ? Besant Nagar branch. They don’t even know how to address a complaint. The Egmore one gives a discount of 10% if you are a regular. But if u visit the Besant Nagar one, they won’t offer the same discount. Why ? Because they are separate franchisees. Secondly The Besant Nagar one had some serious comment written by me in the feedback only to NEVER hear from them. How sad. Seems like they are suffering from too much business.
  4. Kiah Diamond Jewelry : Am not much of an expert. But these are a bit cheaper than the over priced Nakshatra(I guess we are paying for the advt. to be done by the Ex Ms. World, but then the Ex Ms. Universe is selling branch Kiah..Hmmm) Kiah in Bangalore was one of the best. They allowed one to buy on installments(now this is quite interesting for buying a small bauble, which one might be able to pay over period of time). Not THAT stressful on the pocket and the vanity and pride of owning a diamond pays for itself. Kiah in Bangalore(Commercial Street) actually has some cleaning services as well, which is quite convenient since the product is high maintenance. The worse one was in Kolkata in South City Mall. On Saturday as I was walking around the Mall, I just walked in. There was no other customer. I almost felt like Julia Roberts when she walks into a high end store. First of the staff have a demeanor about them like “you cannot afford to buy this. Why bother getting up to serve this customer” all of them were sitting around, and seemed pretty over staffed. I looked around and felt a little uncomfortable as they couldn’t answer any of my questions on whether they had polishing/cleaning services or if they had any installment based plans. They were clueless and didn’t even want to ask any other branch like Bangalore whose example I had given I realized, this differs from store to store. Have left behind a seriously caustic moment and wanted a response back. Haven’t heard from them till date..

    So who’s got it right ?

  1. Saravanna Bhavan : Say what you want, this chain has got it right. The service, the timeliness, and the taste is the same whether irrespective of which branch one goes to.
    Canara Bank : Yes the humble Canara Bank, who are now going in for an image makeover. The service is the same, whether it was in Santa Cruz, Mumbai, or Dahisar, Mumbai, or Kilpauk, Chennai. No frills, just plain vanilla service. That’s all rite as long as one can expect consistency.
  2. Shoppers Stop : Same service. Almost similar merchandise. You wouldn’t really know if you were in Hyderabad, or in Chennai, Kolkata Bangalore or in Kandivli, Mumbai. Other than Size of some of the stores, most of layout is the same. Why the citizen card works in any branch. Its cool.
  3. INOX and PVR : Again they have got it right. Consistency. Irrespective of the city. The online booking of tickets, the screens, and the popcorn-it’s just uniform.
  4. Café Coffee day/ Barista : Menu, Decor, and services irrespective of city. It’s the same, Ok I would also grudgingly add Mc Donald’s for consistency. Décor, service, menu, and layout is usually the same from city to city/branch to branch.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Travails of finding a good driver

Chennai is booming. Right from my travails of real estate to finding a maid, well now the latest challenge has been finding a decent driver. What do I mean by decent ? well one who probably would misuse the petrol. Like my friend said his car was used by his driver with an L board to give driving lessons in Mandaveli..since it was a MH registration the car was easily recognized and reported to my friend. Whew.

I know a friend whose dad needs a driver who can help him to get in and out of a car, and drivers are getting pricey even for such tasks..its a bit of a shame.

What started as a wage of a steep INR 5000 for a driver n Chennai is now gaining huge proportions. They need INR 5000 plus a bata(tips) of INR 20 per late staying,and conveyance if he is staying far..You’ve got to be kidding even I don’t get such benefits at work!

The IT boom has led to more call taxis and more drivers for the shift pickup and drop. I even called up an agency who said that they didn’t have anything in my budget. So INR 5000 which was biting, is considered LOW!

Like hello. Considering one used to pay 4000-4500 in Bangalore and Kolkata(which is a cheaper city) upto april this year..I am quite lucky to have found some very honest and good drivers in these two cities. Knowing my folks they are very friendly and caring towards the drivers. Both my drivers were given mobile phones while I was leaving..but that is after one sets a good working relationship.

Now, in Chennai I have to call up driver services on an hourly that atleast I can get dropped to work in my car and my father can go out shopping or to the temple as the need may be. Evenings i usually go home with a friend. Since am, an early bird to work, and somehow get agitated if anyone or anything delays me while going to work..

The idea is to get a driver only by contacts or thro people you know. Everytime it looks like the goal post is near, one realizes that the driver needs more salary or is not ok with the timing etc..If anyone knows a decent driver who is ready to work 6 days, please let me know.

As for why I dont drive ? well first of all i dont like it..second of all, am all stressed out at the idea..and thirdly am not good at this..thot i need not add to the bad jokes on women drivers and just prove these guys right!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Travails of finding and keeping good Domestic Help

One of the things most Indian working women will agree is that there is a dire need of good domestic help. Granted there is the vaccum cleaners and the washing machines, but think about it, who has the time or the inclination..

My mother for example belongs to the old school of thot that the more housework you do around the house, the better shape one is in, she perhaps is right. So I used to do this complete sweeping and swabbing of the house over the weekends, and do the entire weeks laundry over the weekend..whew how on Monday morning when one is swapping stories of “what did u do in the weekend” I used to only have my very exhausting stry of housecleaning and laundry to share..

IN Bangalore I did the entire work was something enjoyed. Then in Kolkata, I started getting used to having a weekend maid. Bless her. She would do everything like a little genie..and even sample my experimental and at times slightly bizarre cooking. Yes this is the same lady I had rescued from being exploited by the neighbours who used to cheat her of her wages. The other blessing in Kolkata was the IFB Laundromat for all my rugs and bedcovers etc to be laundered. Super service.

Then in Chennai. Well it seems like a bit of a challenge to find good help. IN fact on the day I was moving in my furniture the maid from the house above said she was available for work. The wage range was 1000! In a city like Chennai that’s a bit steep..since I was aware that my friends were paying say 500-800 for about 1-2 hours of work.

What happens is, if there is some new resident-imagine this - aggressive housewives, overweight, well manicured hands, spends time in the afternoon shopping, and hasn’t done a day of work in her life(at home or professionally) and will just overnight set the trend of highly maid domestic help service in a building premise..

So I have this maid…who stands and does a perfunctory sweeping action with the broom, most of the time is standing to see what I am doing. My dad asked her if she wanted anything…and realized she was just gaping for no reason..whew.Then there is the swabbing of floors, where she decides to generously pour out the LIZOL..i even asked her would u do this at your home ? so, why do I put up with this ? cause maybe I don’t have the energy or the inclination to be working like a beaver even when I get home..

Yes I am a bit miffed at this. Cause here I am struggling to have a clean home after getting back from work only to pay thro my nose..seems like my salary increases are just to pay off maids and drivers…as for drivers ? well that’s another thing

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

SO what all are necessary when one moves to a new city/location

For me one of the things that really helps is the JUST DIAL or the ask me services. I am a fan. Right from getting the phone number of the electricity department(to complain regarding power cuts) to local home delivery restaurants, its just what a new comer in a city/location needs

  • Some of the immediate requirements if you are any thing of a TV buff like me would be a cable connection. Am tired of these set top box cable mafias and not being able to use the set top box when u have on the suggestion of a friend taken on TATA SKY and must say I am indeed very happy. Its very convenient to pay, to order and even the setting up was very professional.
  • Internet. Here TATA INDICOm is one of the worst. They just couldn’t care to even respond other than their auto message with the refernce number after which there is ZERO follow up. Airtel just makes it too pricey saying there aren’t enough customers in the builing. What next-do we have to start selling actively to neighbours and residents ? Looks like that’s the idea. So this time its BSNL which might just work out.
  • Salons/Spas. Again if u are anything as indulgent as I am, this is a must have J Its how I spend the rest of my weekends, relaxing. Thankfully found one in the next am quite happy with their clean décor and sanitized environment.
  • Ofcourse details on services of drivers and maid etc also availed thro Just dial.
  • The most difficult is Gas connection. Now if I have to change my ration card to every city I am transferred to, how is that even possible ? this is another racket wherein if one needs a Gas connection it ONLY with the GAS stove(they make their money on the very substandard GAS Stove that one needs to pay for with the gas connection. Thank god for friends who can spare a gas cylinder. Only hoping more and more apartments start initiating piped gas. Would be so much better for constant transferring people like myself.
  • Oh yes and details of nearby departmental stores and veggie markets..

    Its surely a good trend that more and more businesses are giving their contact details to services like just dial/ask me services so its easier tot get info on an SMS or an email. The flip side, one starts getting random messages from some “Abdullah massage wallah with 12 massages”, or from some “Panorama Biryani Place” just because I had asked for details of spa and or eating places…