1. The views expressed in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the organization he works for.
2. This site uses cookies from Google and other third-party service providers to deliver its services, to personalize ads and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google and other third-party service providers. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our flawed reasoning

How we depend on our faith -

When we do good, we say - its all His blessing.
When we do bad, we say - its all His curse.
When we are inflicted pain, we pray for His mercy and pray for punishment of the perpetrators.
When we inflict pain, we say we are doing justice, as per His wishes.
When we die in conflict, we say we attained immortality and bliss in heaven ruled by Him.

What really happens -

We are actually good at passing the buck at someone, without taking responsibility of our actions. We are weak inside!

When we do good, we have worked hard to achieve whatever we do.
When we do bad, we have actually not done justice to our capabilities.
When we are inflicted pain, we allow those to inflict such pain. We become weak ourselves!
When we inflict pain, we are blinded by rage, by envy, by greed, by ego and we attribute it to a "cause".
When we die in conflict, we are bruised, hurt, injured before... we are in pain and yet, it gives a mental satisfaction to think we will have something better in another world. Ironically, we are imagining a world that no one alive today has ever seen.

My research and experiments on past life regression does give ideas on happiness and peace, but in no way, conforms to the detailed accounts that people world-over believe in.

Albeit faith is strong, but faith alone is not sufficient...

May the uniform ability of mankind to question scenarios be ignited indefinitely with an end to his blind belief!

Image source: Internet, no copyright infringement intended.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Social Networking - Security and Privacy - Part 1

People often ask me about the best ways to achieve optimum privacy on a social networking site like facebook. You know, friends, I am an avid Facebooker and I do get a lot of inspiration from interacting with friends and also from my daily philosophical intake. But there are a few things I feel each one should follow.

What is a profile?
Think of an analogy. Let a Facebook profile be a real image of yourself. You stroll in a market full of strangers. What do the strangers see? You! Your face, how you look, some may notice. Others may not.
Makes sense to give a profile snap. But wait, there is a difference. People who hit your facebook profile are deliberately checking you out without you even knowing it. But in real life, we can sometimes get to know when someone checks us out. So why take chances?

To do - 
1. Make sure that the photo is visible to public, but not clickable. Advantages - You are preventing downloads of your photo on someone's personal machine, which further lowers the chances of the photos getting photoshopped or worse, misused. 
2. Watch out for posts that you share with "public"... posts like - "I bought a diamond jewellary from zaveri brothers" could be tracked by someone stalking you. Do not take chances! Facebook has wonderful custom setting. If you wish to tell someone something, will you go and shout on a loudspeaker? unless it is an announcement? Probably not... Share stuff only with those who need to know. That way you are minimizing information overload on friends and also refraining from blurting out information to people who could do without it.

Hmm... welcome to the age of publicity! That I am writing this post may mean I am expecting some likes? Well, not really, I feel, so I write. If it is helpful to someone, I'll feel good. Off late I have come across non-celebrity profiles followed by thousands of people. I was puzzled by the reason as seriously I did not find any worthwhile "content"... but wait a minute. Two things - 1. The profile belonged to a girl, 2. The profile had attractive snaps! Bingo! Thats the reason for likes! It is understandable that people wish to become leaders. But unless you are a celebrity like Aishwarya or Hrithik, trust me you would not wish for that kind of publicity. The hard fact is - sharing and download is rampant for Facebook photos. Anything you post on internet today stays there forever. Take care of what you post! 

To do - 
1. It feels good to get some publicity. But it is even better to know why you are famous! If it is looks that people are after you for, well, unless you are pursuing a modelling career, watch out! You are being stalked with thousands recognizing you and following your every movement!

Know your friends
There was a time when I took pride in the number of friends on my friends list - not any more. What matters is quality, not quantity! Unless you know the person in real life or have interacted enough to know that the person is genuine, please do not add him / her. Might feel bad, but you are asking for trouble, otherwise!

That's all for now.. ciao! 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The hypothetical case of two cages

This is a purely hypothetical situation. I create two cages.

Cage 1
Rules -
I am good and pretty much kind. I will take care of anyone who enters this cage. I will kill anyone who speaks against me or who refuses to enter this cage. The ones who stay in this cage, are obedient etc. will be treated lavishly by me. The others will be killed. I am basically a good person, so no need to worry. And by the way - once you are in this cage, you cannot go out. The more people you bring in this cage, the more reward I bestow upon you. Just remember, anyone who revolts has to be killed. But I am very kind. If anyone seeks apology or needs help, I will help him. I will advise those in my cage to also help him.

Cage 2
Rules -
I am good and pretty much kind. I will take care of anyone who enters this cage. But this is an open cage. You can go out anytime you wish to, but no one ever goes out, not because of me, but because of their own free will. I am kind also to those who speak against me, as I know, one day they will understand their folly. I am all for love and brotherhood. Love everyone, even your enemies, even those who speak against you. However, if someone tries to kill you, make sure to retort with full resistance and if needed, kill him. But I feel, the souls of each one are bound to the one eternal single source of light, so best to avoid killing your fellow species.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The dream that "was" Air India - an experience of a life time

Hi friends

Been away from my blog for some time...

But I have to write again.

This is about India's flagship carrier Air India which provided me with my worst travel experience till date. 

Day 1 - June 1' 2013
I began my journey on June 1' 2013 from the JFK, New York airport, USA bound for Kolkata, India. I was scheduled to reach on June 2' 2013.

I shall start off with my experience at the baggage counter. My baggage were overweight and had to be trimmed down. At the end of it, I ended up with a set of four check in luggage instead of three that I had initially planned for. I handed out 400$ to the Air India desk to pay for my 2 extra pieces of luggage. 
Exhibit 1: Receipt at the JFK airport for extra 2 pieces of luggage

Anyway, I had it done and after the needed security checks I boarded the flight. I took my window seat and found the headphones to be broken. The towels were clearly unwashed and had hair on them.

I settled down and surrendered to my destiny with no idea that the worst part was yet to surface.

After a part of my journey, I decided to relieve myself and went to the washroom. The basin had hair and water clogged in it. There were hardly any napkins, some were strewn on the floor. The toilet bowl was difficult to use given the amount of dirt on it, but I shut down my senses and forgot about it.

Anyway, the food was okay. The flying staff were courteous.

Day 2 - June 2' 2013 - Delhi Airport
After a long journey, I finally reached Delhi Airport. At the Delhi Airport, I had my immigration done and proceeded to pick up my baggage from the carousel. Three of my bags arrived fine, but one did not. This had never happened to me before and I was at my wit's end as I stared blankly at the empty carousel revolving again and again with no bag on it left. The staff of Air India started inquiring of me if I was expecting another baggage to which I nodded a nervous yes! 

I took out the 4 luggage claim tags provided to me at the JFK Airport and provided them to the Air India desk so that they could file the PIR (Property Irregularity Report) on my behalf. 
Exhibit 2: Property Irregularity Report (PIR) copy

I was told that this was a normal phenomenon and that I should expect my bag to arrive by the next flight.

At this time, I was worried, but was taken by the assurances and proceeded with my journey.

I was supposed to take the Air India flight from Delhi at 5PM IST, but found out that it had been rescheduled at 6PM IST. 

I boarded the flight and this leg of the journey was event less. The food was good and the flying staff were courteous. I did not need the washroom (thankfully).

Day 2 - June 2' 2013 - Kolkata Airport
I landed at the Kolkata airport and immediately started waiting at the carousel for my bags to arrive. The ones I received at the Delhi airport arrived fine, but the one that was missing was still missing.
I checked with the Air India person who was on a call at that time. He seemed to be more interested in his call than about speaking with me. Anyway, I finally received a dry reply that I would have to call the following day at a land line number if I needed any information.

I was happy about reaching home but my happiness was marred by this sad incident.

The next few days were spent in endless calls and emails with the Air India baggage services team based in Delhi. Finally I was told that the bag was still at JFK and found in tagless condition in the Delta premises!!!

On Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 11:15 AM, DEL BAGSVCS <DEL.BAGSVCS@airindia.in > wrote:

Dear Sir,
This has reference to your mail below.
At the outset please accept our sincere apology for the inconvenience caused.
We wish to advise you that the bag is traced with Newyork Delta without tag but same has your 
name and address on it.We have requested Delta airlines to forward this bag to India but unfortunately
no forwarding details  are advised so far.
We are requesting our Newyork office to laise with Delta and revert on priority basis.
We shall keep you advise the status.
Harminder Kaur
Baggage Services Delhi

I was unable to understand how an Air India checked-in bag could be found in tagless condition. This took another few days just to get Delta re-deliver this bag to Air India JFK to move it to India and this email probably helped.

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Thu, Jun 6, 2013 at 4:06 PM
Subject: AHLDELAI49953/OHDJFKDL14329
To: Donald.h.ricker@delta.com, Chiranjib Mazumdar
Cc: JFK Baggage Services , Riwo Norbhu

Dear Mr Ricker,

Greetings !

This has reference to the trailing mail.

We wish to bring to your notice that the above OHDJFKDL14329 is definite match for our
AHLDELAI49953 favour Mr Chiranjib Mazumdar.

Despite our ROH requests/PXF messages/TELE typt msgs to forward the above OHD on firav to Delhi on 03JUN/04JUN/05JUN,
the same was forwarded to HDQDL on board DL1731/03JUN under rush tags DL051929/DL282723.

We need your urgent intervention in the matter as baggage contains very important documents and required by
passenger on urgent basis.It has become very difficult for us to explain the passenger regarding delay in
getting the bag from Delta.

Harminder Kaur
Baggage Services Delhi

JFKAI-You are also requested to liaise with Delta and revert with forwarding details.

Finally I was told that the bag would reach on June 10' 2013. I was happy about it and even appreciated the person who had put her effort in getting the bag delivered.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chiranjib Mazumdar
Date: Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM
Subject: Re: AHLDELAI49953/OHDJFKDL14329

Hi Harminder
Thanks a lot!!!
Really appreciate your hard work on this.
Please let me know when the bag is boarded for Kolkata!
Thanks again!

On Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM, DEL BAGSVCS <DEL.BAGSVCS@airindia.in> wrote:

Dear Sir,
Greetings !
This has reference to mail below.
We wish to advise you that bag is received in Delhi just now.
We shall clear the bag from customs and advise you the forwarding details for Kolkatta.
Harminder Kaur
Air India Kolkata finally delivered the bag to me on June 11' 2013. But my happiness was converted to doubt the moment I had a look at the lock.
My TSA lock was intact but the hooks were opened. The lock had been broken! It was temporarily sealed with a yellow tape. The person who delivered the bag asked for tips and I replied back - "I would have, had the lock not been broken."

Picture Notes: Please observe the TSA lock intact, but one hook has been tampered and displaced from its base, so it is dangling by the lock. The other end is fixed as usual, but of course this helped the thieves steal.

I could not wait to check my bag after I returned home with it and yes, my worst fears had come true!

This is what was missing -
Wrist Watches - Count 4
Macbook charger - Count 2
Commemorative 50 states of USA quarter set - Count 1
Portable 2TB Seagate hard disk - Count 1
Apple IPad Charger - Count 1
Dolica Camera Tripod - Count 1
The loss, more than monitory, was of emotional value as some of the items were intended for gifts and even the others have to be purchased by me all over again! 

I got in touch with Air India and notified them about this loss...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chiranjib Mazumdar
Date: Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 6:02 PM
Subject: Re: AHLDELAI49953/OHDJFKDL14329

Cc: baggageservicesccu@gmail.com, CCU BAGSVCS , ER CustomerService

Hi - Please find below the updated list of missing items -
Wrist Watches - Count 4
Macbook charger - Count 2
Commemorative 50 states of USA quarter set - Count 1
Portable 2TB hard disk - Count 1
Dolica tripod - Count 1
Ipad2 charger - Count 1
Sorry, if I knew that my items will be stolen from your "esteemed" carrier, I would have listed everything down prior to boarding my aircraft.
I shall update my list as I remember stuff I had.
Please let me know what you can do!

On Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 4:36 PM, DEL BAGSVCS wrote:

    Dear Mr. Mazumdar,
    This has reference to our telephonic conversation and your trailing mail regarding some items alleged to be missing from your mishandled baggage delivered by our Kolkata Office today.
    At the outset, please accept our sincere apologies for all the inconvenience caused to you due to the above.
    Further, please be advised that as per procedure, the Station which delivers the mishandled baggage, is required to conclude any claim which may arise post-delivery of the same.  Since the mishandled baggage was delivered by our Kolkata Office, we request you to liaise with them.  This mail is being marked to the Kolkata Office also for their necessary action.
    Thanking You and assuring you of our prompt attention at all times.
    Yours faithfully,
    R.R. Khurana
    Dy. Manager- Baggage Services/INTL.
    -----Chiranjib Mazumdar wrote: -----

    From: Chiranjib Mazumdar
    Date: 11/06/2013 03:06PM

    Subject: Re: AHLDELAI49953/OHDJFKDL14329

    Hi - I received my bag today, but regret to inform you that I found the lock to be broken and temporarily sealed with a plastic fixer. I mentioned this fact in my "receipt note" from the delivery man. When I came home with the bag and I opened it, I found several items missing. List below -
    Wrist Watches - Count 4
    Macbook charger - Count 2
    Commemorative 50 states of USA quarter set - Count 1
    Portable 2TB hard disk - Count 1
    These are the ones that I can remember at this point in time.
    I am deeply saddened by this loss, as I did pay extra 400$ just to bring in 2 extra pieces of check-in luggage.
    I wish to know what steps you can take to compensate me for this loss, because I have travelled with Lufthansa, Emirates, American Airlines in the past and this is the first time this happened to me!
    This was be my last trip with Air India, I promise you!
    I would wait for your response...

The Delhi baggage services told me to get in touch with Kolkata as they had delivered the bag to me. The Kolkata baggage services told me to get in touch with Delhi and none of them had a clue on what could be done.
The Kolkata Air India duty manager called me up one afternoon (June 15' 2013) and told me he was sorry about the loss and that he had seen my emails but he reiterated that he had delivered the bag the way it had been received. He did not wish to take ownership of the loss. When I insisted that I was not the person responsible for the loss, he said he would connect with Delhi on this, but after that no response was received.
Since then I have tried to send multiple emails to get a response from them on any sort of compensation, but no positive responses were received and today I found out while replying back that my email to them had been marked as "spam"!  

Air India, being India's flagship airline carrier - Can we not expect greater initiative to provide for customer satisfaction? Do we board international flights to have stuff stolen from our bags? Who is responsible for the fact that my check in bag was found like an orphan in tag less state? Who is responsible for affixing tags to bags? 



And finally, I wrote my last email to Air India yesterday and they did not respond, as I expected...

From: Chiranjib Mazumdar
Subject: Attn: AIR India Head Quarters, AIR India Customer Services or anyone from Air India who cares about customers!Date: June 24, 2013 11:28:02 AM GMT+05:30To: Sangeeta Vaidya , DEL BAGSVCS , HQ TFCSVCS , ER CustomerService , CCU APT , CCU BAGSVCS , del.reservationmanager@airindia.in
Attn: AIR India Head Quarters, AIR India Customer Services or anyone from Air India who cares about customers!
Hi - I need a reply from you to conclude this conversation.
For the aforesaid details mentioned (File reference: AHLDELAI49953/OHDJFKDL14329), given the fact that I incurred a loss of the items below after I received my lost baggage in lock broken, temporary sealed condition, is your airlines liable or able to compensate me?
A simple yes or no will help me.
Please do not send me standard customer communication templates (we are sorry blah blah). I need a simple "Yes, we will provide compensation" OR "No we will not provide compensation." [I assume you do not have the capability to retrieve stolen items]
Can you KINDLY do that PLEASE?
List of items stolen -
Wrist Watches - Count 4Macbook charger - Count 2Commemorative 50 states of USA quarter set - Count 1 Portable 2TB Seagate hard disk - Count 1Apple IPad Charger - Count 1Dolica Camera Tripod - Count 1[There may be more items, but sorry, I did not list them down before packing my baggage]
I incurred an estimated loss IN EXCESS OF Rs. 25000 plus harassment / agony for this unforeseen delay and eventually loss!I paid 400$ for 2 extra pieces of baggage at the JFK NY Airport.
I shall take no response from you by end of day tomorrow (June 25' 2013) as a negative response from your end and I will understand that you will not provide me any sort of compensation!
Based on your response or a lack of it, I shall think about next steps to take.

-- Best regards,Chiranjib Mazumdar

I do not plan to travel with this airline in future based on my experience and readers, based on what you have read, I shall leave it to you to decide what you would like to do!

Update (July 30' 2013) - Air India provided me with some compensation.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

India - Media reporting and repercussions

There are two distinct parts of India as we see today -
one that dreams of becoming a superpower some day, one where the daughter of an auto rickshaw driver secures first rank in one of the most coveted exams, that of the CA, one where we proudly see some sort of slow and staggered development, one where analysts still maintain that we have a chance of surpassing many of the biggest economies of the world by 2050....

And there is another part of India that consists of separatists, losers, sex maniacs who are hellbent on deriving the pleasures of the moment with no regard whatsoever for the dignity of individuals or unity and integrity of the nation. UNFORTUNATELY, not many people know the name of the girl who topped the CA exams, but ask anyone - "Who raped the girl in Delhi?"... everyone knows!

THIS IS THE PROBLEM we have! We are making our villains famous and forgetting our heroes! When the US gun fire incidents occurred recently, Morgan Freeman had an interesting take. He said that we are making a sad nobody famous by flashing his names everywhere. Not many people know the name of the teacher who hid her students and saved them from the gunman! But everyone knows that gunman! Same with our media. They are hellbent on sensationalizing news and deriving more viewership. A news on rape probably grabs eyeballs right away, but a news on a patented invention by a certain IITian may be ignored by an average reader. At least that's what our media houses think!

That is something that even APJ Abdul Kalam mentioned in one of his speeches. This is what he said -

Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why? We are the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote sensing satellites. We are the second largest producer of wheat. We are the second largest producer of rice. Look at Dr. Sudarshan , he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed in the bad news and failures and disasters.

And we are also falling into the same trap someway or the other. Negativity has its own blunt force, a ripple effect. It brings out more negativity. The Delhi rape and all repurcussions after it - candle light vigils, protests unfortunately did nothing to stop the brutal acts. WHY? Because, people who actually did it felt immortalized! People who have no potential of becoming heroes would rather become villains and be famous nationwide than live their whole lives like a loser and die like a sad "no body"! I do not say that is what they think before committing crimes, but that, definitely is one of the driving factors.

How about this?

Let our media report all incidents, but not flash the name of the criminal. Let the victim only be immortalized and the names of the criminals as well as all details about them be hidden, made classified information. If a Times of India article prints 3 bad news articles on the front page, let it also print 5 good news articles on the front page itself and not move to page 5 or 6. 

We do need positive vibes!

And friends... lets not feel ashamed of being an Indian due to all of these saddistic incidents.
We do have a collective responsibilty to rectify the situation! 

Let me become an audiophile for a moment and do some filtering on the "sound"... amplify the "purest of notes" and minimize the "noise." Keep doing it, till the "noise" causing elements feel demotivated and stop creating "noise" altogether! 

No, we do need all criminals to be punished, but lets not give them any sort of limelight and media attention. Trust me, they do not deserve it!