Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Emerald Sea and Rolling Thunder

I hope this succeeds
Some of you would understand, most of you won't.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Airline Customer Care

Today morning I had couple of very interesting conversations with an Airlines Customer Care. I am quickly trying to jot down what I remember before I forget.

As of now I am not in a mind to take any names and insult the airlines. So I would be calling the Airline as what else but “Airline”. 
(Ya I know I can’t think of any more imaginative names, but I am writing this so I would do what I want to. But again I Digress)

Background: Next month during travel to India I have to travel from City A to City B and since there is no direct flight, I had to book using a connecting flight through City C.
So I had booked 2 flights by the same airlines flying from City A to City C and then onto City B (my final destination). I booked these tickets 2 months in advance to get cheap fare (which I did). 

Being the ultra careful person that I am I took prints of all my tickets 2 months in advance, stapled, pinned and arranged them in the correct order of how and when they would be needed and then proceeded to take a backup print of the entire set.

Now one week before I fly to India, I got a mail from the Airline that my Flight from City C to City B has been cancelled and that my flight from City A to City C is still confirmed.

The exact words:
Kindly note that your flight is cancelled and contact customer service center for reaccomodation. 
We regret the inconvenience on account of this change and appreciate your understanding

First reaction on seeing this: Anger, Frustration, Panic, Since every day of my 1 month vacation is very carefully planned out and I cannot afford any changes or delays to my travel itenary.

I got this eMail on a Friday evening so had to wait patiently till Monday morning to contact the customer care. Which by the way does not have an International Number which I can call them on (Although they have flights operating on International Routes)

So today on Monday I called the Domestic Customer care number in India at 6 AM IST. After multiple redirections, which seemed to me like, 

“Thanks, you have reached Airline. We have no idea why you are calling us at this ungodly hour, as expected all our customer care representatives are sleeping or busy chatting with their girlfriends/boyfriends on company phones. Since it would take them 10 minutes to wake up why don’t you play around with our automatic call forwarding service.
For talking to God: Press 1.
For talking to Barak Obama: Press 2
For talking to Barak Obama in Hindi: Press 3
For receiving a free body massage press and hold 4 until your finger starts to pain.
If you are still here and have nothing better to do, please stay on line while I go and wake someone up.

After 5 more minutes Creature comes on line, groggy and sleepy and sounding as if I just woke him up from his wet dream.

Creature:Thanks for calling Airline at 6 AM, I wish you die bugger, how may I be of assistance today?

Me: "Hey hi, Sorry for calling early on your 24 hour customer care number. I am calling from Sydney and I had blah blah booked a ticket from blah blah City A to City C to City B and now blah blah you have cancelled my flight. What can I do ?”

Creature:Fikar not bugger, let me put you on hold while I look for some alternatives” 

Creature goes to brush his teeth and take a massive dump while I hold the line listening to some mind numbing funeral music.

After 32 more minutes (mind you this is an International Call so I am being charged through my teeth by my phone company) Creature comes back online.

Creature:Thanks for holding bugger, I had hoped that you would get pissed off and piss off and disconnect the line, but since you are still here why don’t I tell you your alternatives
Creature:Sir I can re book your tickets so that you can travel from City A to City D and finally reach city B

Me: “Err.. Ok.. That’s good enough, the tickets are on the same day right?”

Creature: Yes your Royal Highness bugger Sir

Me: “Ok, please go ahead and book the tickets then”

Creature:All right bugger, let me put you on hold while I process this and pick my nose

Me…still holding on a international call getting worried if my salary for the month would be spent in paying the phone bill after this call.

Creature:What the hell Bugger you are still here. Ok then, I have booked your tickets from City A to City D and finally to City B

Me: “Thanks a lot, Can you send me the tickets in an Email so I can take a print?”

Creature:Dash off Bugger Sir, Actually sir you cant print the tickets yet, Please call back after 5-6 hours when my shift is over and I am home and disturb someone else

Me: “Err ok.. Thanks for your help”

Creature:Thanks for Calling Airline may your plane crash before take-off and have a nice day

So now I am satisfied that I have got my tickets and am happily waiting for the 5-6 hours to pass when I can call back and get my tickets.

--- After 6 hours ---

I call up airline again, After the obligatory 25 minutes waiting while listening to things like “Your call is important to us, Right now all our customer care relatives are busy jerking off please stay on the line and do not move else you may get splattered

And after again being asked if I want to talk to the Dalai Lama and discuss the low and attractive fares, I finally navigate through the labyrinth of 1s and 2s to reach another human being.

This time its “Person” who is a female of the species.

Person:Hello Sir, How I may I be of assistance today? Would you like to have a look at our specials for the breakfast? We have freshly plucked Kanda-Bhajiya from the gardens of Virar and some extra oily and stale vada pao?

Me: “Err.. Sorry, Did I reach the catering service? I wanted to enquire about my ticket. Can I give you my PNR number?”
(For my international readers – PNR is something like your Ticketing/Reservation Id for Indian flights and Trains)

Person: Ok Sir, if you are not interested in our international cuisine let me have a look at your PNR number. Can I please put you on hold while  I go and flirt with my manager? Thanks

After 43 minutes of baraati music.

Person:Thanks for holding sir, It shows here that your tickets have been confirmed

Me: (Super Enthusiastically) “Woww that’s great, please send me a copy of the ticket”

Person: "Sorry sir, we can’t send you a copy of the ticket .. You can go to the counter at the airport and tell them your PNR Number and they will give you your tickets"

Me: "Err.. Ok.. But you know right.. that the security guard at the gate of the airport will not allow me to even get in the airport and go to your counter if I don’t have a ticket. How do you want me to get in?"

Person: "No sir, Airline has a counter before the security check in where you can get the ticket from"

Me: "Yes maam , that’s fine that Airline has a counter before security check in. Every airline has that .. but what about the police man at the gate of the airport much before the check in counter.. What do I tell him ?"

Person: "Sorry Sir.. we can’t send you a copy of the ticket. It’s against our policies"

Me: "So let me get this straight. I booked my tickets. Took the prints when I booked them. Then you cancelled my flights without any prior notification.
Then you booked them through different cities.. and now it’s your policy to not give me my tickets which I have paid for ?"

Person:That’s absolutely correct sir and for getting that right, I would give you a special 10% discount on the wada paos which you ….

I disconnected at this point hoping to god that after paying my phone bill I have some money left to get a train to the airport.

I finally went to the Airline website, put in my PNR number and got the ticket which according to the Airline policies they can’t send me.

UPDATE : My misfortunes associated with Airlines continued after this first encounter. To read the follow up and sequel Please click here: Airline Customer Care - Part Deux 


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Its a Loong Story...I will tell you later

Areyyyy Yaaar (or add your own salutation)... Its a looong story....I will tell you some other time...

This is one of the most common sentences which we all use.

(At least I do..So as always, I will generalize this statement and assume that you reading this right now, use this sentence a lot as well. If you disagree with me... 

Well I don't should have written something on your own then right ? .... But again I Digress)

When someone says to me it's a long story and then refuses to divulge the details. I feel intrigued, curious and impatient until I know each and every detail.

And till the time I don't know the story. I imagine what the long story might be.
For Example:

Situation: Someone is late to work and tells me that its a long story why they are late and will tell me later.

What I start to Imagine: 
Woowww... Interesting, The Creature (in search for a better name and since I am not gender biased) is hiding from me why creature is late to work. Something definitely very interesting must have happened today. Like .. ??

Ohh... Ohh... I know... Creature's house must have caught fire, which would have been caused by the exploding army tank in front of creature's house, which would have been present there to fight the alien mothership hovering over creature's house , who would have arrived to earth to find out the secret to Life, Universe and Everything.

Finally satisfied with my brilliant reasoning I would go back to work, knowing that I have successfully solved the Enigma of Creature being late.

Until, the Darn Creature would come and tell me that creature was late coz creature missed the bus today morning.

DAMN You Boring, Uninteresting, Unimaginative Reality. Why.. O Why do you always spoil the looong story.

P.S. : As I hope many of my readers already know that the answer the aliens were looking for is Pssstttt............... 42.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Response to 10 classic Indianisms

I hope I don't turn this into a habit anytime soon. 

So once again, I read an article through facebook which someone shared.
Link to original Article:
(UPDATE: You need to read the above article first to understand what I am saying)

I have anonymized the names here

And as a response I am jotting down my thoughts here:

Indianisms are what one would classify as colloquialism and slang. 

How much of sense does 'slap him upside the head' make but it does in America. 

How about 'kiss my ass' - no I rather not kiss your donkey or for that matter your bottom (arse)... but there you have it language evolves and every ethnic group contributes its own flavor. 

Bet you would not understand if I asked you to pass me a coldie but an Australian would... he would know I meant a can of cold beer. He would also know if I asked for it in a handle, I meant a beer glass with a handle...

Oh and by the way 'passing out' comes from the 'passing out parade'. An army term used to describe cadets have completed a military course. This term is used by the British army as well and not restricted to the Indian army.

Unfortunately instead of realising that millions of Indians regard English as their language and have added their own flavour; just like the Irish, the Scots, the Kiwis - you chose to preach and correct. 
Now wonder where that comes from: an innate sense of superiority or just a desperation to be accepted as more whiter than the white.

Can't figure if the article's efforts have to do with a chip on the shoulder or just a sense of inferiority. Like some of my Tamil friends say : Eh, What men!

We should not be so quick to disparage our own idiosyncracies even as we consider colloquialism and slang from other nations to be cool.

When Americans or anybody else for that matter , add a million "subprime's" to our lexicon why can't we add our own flavor to a language that now so many Indians have adopted as our own? Prepone? Years back?  

I think Indianisms are great! English is global enough to accomodate our idiosyncracies into its grammar-not correct it with sarcastic 'dinosaur with bad grammar' put me downs! I am right no?


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Silent Noose

Happiness or Despair - (Call it sadness/depression if you want to).

Am I the only one here who talks to himself ? 

Oh No!! Wait. You right there with your hand on the touch-pad or the mouse, sitting on the chair, lying on your bed or hanging from the ceiling with a noose around your neck.

I know you. I know you used to talk to yourself. You had wonderful and profound conversations with your inner-self, until that fateful day. When someone overheard you two talking.

And since then the inner voice won't answer any of your questions. It has gone Silent.

You have lost your best friend , some one who understood most of your problems, even though you two may not have agreed to everything , actually I remember all the arguments which you had.

The late nights when you stayed up arguing about the cosmos, philosophy and anything under the sun.

But now those days are loong gone. And that's the reason, I can see the noose is out and the voice is gone and dead.