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DMart Woes

So, the inevitable happened. I missed one day ..5th Jan 2018. Just after 4 days of starting NaBloPoMo. Sigh!! I completely forgot! And the thing to blame is shopping in DMart. As you may know

DMart is the most profitable supermarket chain with focus on efficiency across value chain with lowest prices, costs and inventory price to the users. It has been named as the Wal-Mart of India.

 

I don’t like shopping there at all….that place doesn’t give me good vibes at all and the crowd!! OH MY GOD! It is like Kumbh Mela every damn evening in DMart. It is a whole family outing thing for people..from grandpa to youngest kid ..all just strolling in the aisles ..shopping + dinner from the numerous “100 variety dosa” stalls outside the supermarket. Public has been spotted even opening stuff from shelf or freezer and eating. The trick to shop there and maintain sanity and patience is for one person to join the queue after entering and another to shop and bring the cart to that person. Such is the crowd at DMart that people of same family wear same shirts to not get lost! 😀 😀

Since the discount on diapers ( yes a very important consideration for middle class parents) is the maximum in DMart (even more than Amazon), I am forced to go there. So we got terribly late and had late dinner at 10.30. Blogging just slipped out of my mind. And I won’t post on back date…honesty and integrity and all that 😀

Let’s hope it was the first and last time in the NaBloPoMo journey of this month.

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New Year Obsession

As a new year approaches, different people have different ways of celebrating and look forward to partying, dining out, family get-togethers, ringing in the new year at some holiday destination etc. The one thing I am passionate (obsession in D’s opinion) about is collecting new year calendars offered for free by supermarkets, shops etc. 😀

It is such a middle class 90’s generation kid thing no? Every year my father also used to hunt for calendars and we used to get them from local grocery shop, Life Insurance Corporation uncles who worked as agents, State Bank branch where father had account etc. The Bengali gold jewellery shop used to give Bengali new year calendar in April. Then there is my mother who loves changing the calendar page every month of every calendar at home. My father, even after seeing the old page, doesn’t change it and waits for mom to do it when she gets time. So sweet!

So when I set up my home, having two calendars (one for living room and one for bedroom) was a must, though I have seen my friends and similar age relatives’ homes and no one hangs a calendar anymore!! All are dependent on gadgets. I guess calendars at home have become a passé. When I was working, I used to keep a desk calendar and marking the holidays in it by red circles made me so happy! So hunting for new calendars became a new year thing for me.  D calls it the crazy time of the year and dreads it as I drag him to all sort of places to hunt for calendars and ask everywhere. 😀

But here in Bangalore neither we have LIC agents (actually we dont have LIC now that term insurance is in) nor any fixed local kirana store. And State Banks are misers in giving out calendars. Actually with internet banking and all other facilities, we hardly visit any physical branch of a bank. So,horror of horrors,I have to buy calendars here and that too only two are available in English – Deccan Herald and Bangalore Press. D’s office also used to give a calendar each employee but they discontinued since two years. But, as I luckily discovered 4 years ago, there is one hypermarket in our area which gives new year calendar for free to every customer who ask for it till stocks last. Sadly, they stopped this year. 😦 😦 Booo hoo hoo…I guess cost cutting is everywhere now.

Sigh…looks like we need to pay a visit to our State Bank branch and we need to make friends with a LIC agent. 😀

 

 

Blank Passport

So as you know D has gone off to Netherlands for the third time. During the weekend he visited Hamburg with my sister and her family who came from Denmark….Killing two birds (meeting and sightseeing a new place) that’s my sister. She has lived in Paris, Lisbon and now Denmark. She has visited Italy several times and seen Venice, Rome etc. D has been to Sweden and Netherlands and now Germany. My parents had visited my sister in Denmark.

And me?? Nowhere…zilch..zero. My passport is blank as the face of many students studying engineering…as empty as the ATMs nowadays.  Boo hoo hoo!! Sob!! I fear I am going to die with a blank white passport without a single visa stamp in it..not even of Nepal!

So I asked God ….Google god not the other one…”cheapest countries to visit for Indians” and the gist of the many places, he enlightened me with, and the ones I find interesting are as follows:-

1. Seychelles

2. Bhutan

3. Thailand

4. Singapore

5. Vietnam

6. Malaysia

7. Indonesia

8. Dubai

9. Nepal

10. Sri Lanka

11. Maldives

12. Cambodia

13. Hungary

14. Costa Rica

Hmmmmm…….

So I should start working on my bucket list,eh?

 

Day 26: Indian Humor

A resident of Panvel filed an RTI after he was fined Rs 100 for a traffic offense but was not given a receipt for it. That made the police tense and they tried to pacify him and what not. Fine. But what  that guy said is a joke. Speaking to the newspaper Mid-Day, he said, “At the time we crossed the signal the lights had turned orange, so this is not precisely a crime. Blah Blah. Blah Blah.”

India is the only place where the orange signal instead of signifying “go slow” means “press your accelerator and go before signal becomes red”. 😐

So our politicians and bureaucrats have a very good sense of humor.

Our Planning Commission has estimated that anyone who spends Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 in villages per day is above poverty line!! 🙂

I think our esteemed members of Commission do not go to buy vegetables and staples from the market themselves. With onion at Rs 40/kg, potato at Rs 29/kg and cauliflower at Rs 25/kg (According to today’s HOPCOM price) and then rice or flour and dal, I wonder what can a person do with Rs 33.33 in my hometown, let alone metros like Bangalore! To go from home to office will cost more than Rs 15 in bus and if it’s a Volvo then …..!!! So that’s Indian humor. But wait it gets better! 🙂

After this, ex actor and now politician Raj Babbar stated a full meal could be had for Rs 12 in Mumbai!! Wow! Apparently he also provided a break up of his estimate – Rs 6 for two rotis, Rs 5 for half plate of dal and Rs 1 for a spoon of vegetable. But where all this is available that he kept it as a secret. Was he talking about real nutritious food for filling one’s stomach or just having a morsel/ an idea of it? Do these people actually live in India or some other planet? So again a very good example of Indian humor. 🙂

Now I suspect what to be the outcome of an eternal Delhi – Mumbai fight, Congress leader Rasheed Masood said a meal could be had in parts of Delhi for Rs 5. He said further that “You can eat a meal in Delhi in Rs 5, I don’t know about Mumbai. You can get a meal for Rs 5 near Jama Masjid.” Maybe we should leave Bangalore and move to Delhi!  * Sets a reminder – Have to search for houses for rent near Jama Masjid, Delhi* By the way which hospital in Delhi will be best after having that Rs 5 meal, dear politician? So again a very good example of Indian humor. Our politicians beat the hell out of famous stand up comedians!! 🙂

And now I am going to die of laughter!! After Raj Babbar and Rasheed Masood, Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah has said that one can have the full meal for Re. 1. 😀 Firstly we know it is extremely hard to get a Re 1 coin (Read my post – Killer Chillar) and secondly even if we get the precious coin, the question arises again where? Mr. Abdullah says it depends on the common man – how much they can afford and they have to manage in that only.

So now they are going to teach us financial management so that we can have a meal at Re 1. Isn’t that an absolutely delightful example of Indian humor? Did you think we Indians are a serious lot? Humor is the only thing that is making us go on with our daily lives!!

Further reading

A hilarious cartoon by Jiggyasa

 

 

Day 25: Bad Day At Work

There is this colleague, a PhD and Professor nonetheless, who has some serious anger management and ego issues. Both are inversely proportional to his height. He has shouted at some colleagues for small non issues and today I was his target. I also didn’t stay quiet. Nobody shouts at me and gets away with it. But as one of my friends used to say – “Whether mud falls on you or you fall into mud, you are the one who will get dirty”. So I left before the scene got worse.

But I couldn’t stop myself from crying. All my female colleagues rushed to console me. And as a result of crying, I got a headache. Humph! Later I let the Director know.

Whenever I am in a bad mood, two things cheer me up surely.

1st Eating any chicken dish.

2nd Listening to this song.

Though scientists swear by chocolates, somehow eating chocolates never cheers me up. What cheers you up? And please don’t say alcohol.

“If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim.”― H. Jackson Brown Jr., P.S. I Love You

Further reading

13 Tips for Dealing with a Really Lousy Day.

Day 21: Sad Day

On July 21, my sister, BIL and my niece were on their way to Italy from Copenhagen. They had two bags as hand luggage. One of the bags which contained two laptops, one tablet, one mobile and two pen drives was stolen in the most professional way from the inside of the airport building. All the important data, passport, resident card, research work, photos..everything gone. A loss of Rs 2 lakh at least. Add to that the fact they had to cancel their flight to Italy and lose money in that process. Denmark being a country with very low crime rate has low staff in law and order. The airport has no CCTV cameras and public can enter the airport building! The police and staff are themselves saying “There is a slim chance of getting the stuff back”. They and the public just blame the East European immigrants for these sort of organized theft and crime in their country, but don’t seem to do anything about it.

So it was a sad, tensed and shocking day for all of us. It was like 5 years of their lives has been wiped out. I was not in a mood to post anything. So I am posting now and backdating it.

Day 18: Killer Chillar

Location : The Supermarket

I buy some grocery items and cosmetics. I stand in queue at the billing counter and when my turn arrives, the person at the counter scans the items and tells me the amount. It is 439 INR. I give him a 500 INR note and he hands me back 60 INR and one eclairs toffee instead of Re 1.

WTH!! Many of you must have faced a similar situation. Why am I unhappy with one of the most popular chocolates? Because

# It is not a fair exchange

# In reality I am being forced to buy something instead of getting money due.

# You know how a pot of water fills by drops of water. Similarly losing change at grocery stores and other such places regularly is actually creating a big difference.

# Chocolates and candies are bad for teeth so there can be an increase in dental bills

# Chocolates and candies are high in saturated fat, and a large part of the calories in this food come from sugars. This food also has Trans Fat.

# Most importantly I want my change and I DO NOT want an eclairs!

A survey conducted in 2012 by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in response to complaints from the public, found that 44% of people in 12 Indian cities had the same experience; candies instead of coins for change.

According to The Hindu dated 4 April 2013, 18 bank branches have been identified to distribute coins daily and tide over the shortage

1. There is a dearth of Rs. 2, Rs. 5 coins in many cities across India

2. Banks say they distribute 10-30 bags, each containing 2,500 coins, every month

3. RBI has pumped in coins worth nearly Rs. 16 crore over the past year

After RBI’s decision, coin counters in banks have closed down and the shortage of small-denomination notes and coins has hit the roof. Small-time traders and merchants depend heavily upon these coin counters at banks. There is a huge bottleneck in the circulation of coins in the market. For my research for this post, I came to know that shopkeepers and retailers are forced to pay 8% premium to get 100 Re1 coins in the black market. This means they pay Rs8 to Rs10 extra to get 100 coins in Re1, Rs2 and Rs5 denominations. But why do they do that? Because of customers who want their change back and they are not wrong in doing that. But due to insufficient coin circulation, customers are not able to give change but want their due change. Moreover, customers are choosy about which coins they want; the 50-paise coin being the least popular. Though RBI has not discontinued 50 paise coins, people refuse to accept them including beggars. But there are some places where they are still in use.

Some shopkeepers blame the ATMs that churn out only notes of large denominations, some shopkeepers allege that the coins are all taken to Tamil Nadu, melted and made into razor blades.  Confused? ’The one rupee coin after melting can yield six to seven blades, making its total worth over Rs 50. The shopkeepers are turning to beggars and eunuchs for help! But even the beggars are refusing to part with the precious change and if they do, they charge extra for it. Shopkeepers also procure coins from temples and churches, who also don’t give it for free.

Some of the coin counters still functioning are predated by agents who are actually into this very business..they have an understanding with bank officials at the counters and get coins easily instead of shopkeepers standing in queue. Later they sell these coins at a profit to desperate retailers.

A possible solution to this problem, the note to coin change machine made by UK-based Thomas Automatics has been acquired by the government and 150 of those have been installed in banks, railway stations and temples across India since 2003 as of 2007. But it has its own set of issues like equipment failure, low public acceptance etc.

That day is not far when we, the consumers, have to start giving eclairs toffee to toll booths, shopkeepers etc. Toll booths have not started giving eclairs toffee yet but I think they are the ones who should. Maybe the toffee will have some calming effect on drivers and help prevent accidents. 🙂

or maybe RBI can just declare the eclairs toffee as the new Re 1 coin.

P.S. Chillar means change in Hindi. Candies as change can kill us with diabetes hence the name “Killer Chillar” 😀

Appeal to the Public from RBI Website

The Bank, with active co-operation from various agencies, has endeavoured to distribute the coins in an equitable manner to all parts of the country. The mission cannot be successful without unstinting support from the people at large and the various voluntary agencies. Members of public are requested to avoid holding on to coins and instead, use them freely for transactions to make sure that there is a smooth circulation of coins. Voluntary agencies are requested to educate the public about the various facilities available in their areas for distribution of coins, exchange of soiled notes and proper handling of notes.

P.P.S I missed again on Day 17. I was physically and exhausted due to a tiring day at work.