Category Archives: mumbai

The Technoramus Chronicles – An Invitation to Torture

This is not a sad story unless you are me or one of the hapless nokia customer service executives that falls into my clutches.
I decided to enter the smart phone market on the 10th of June. This landmark day was also the choice of the Slavonia in 1909 when it ran into trouble off Azores and used the SOS was for the first time as an emergency signal. Fitting therefore that I chose this day to acquire an instrument with which to solve every emergency of entertainment.
SOS: What’s the latest on #iranelection.
SOS: I don’t know what’s for dinner. Why don’t YOU ask the cook.
SOS: Where in heaven’s name is JD Somani Road ? You mean its not the same as BD Somani  road?! 
SOS: Need to let the world know the monsoon has still not arrived in bombay.
You get the picture. (In case you didn’t photo of phone below)

The Instrument of Torture...

The Instrument of Torture...

I spent the 10th feeling rather chuffed at having purchased such a smart phone and the 11th and 12th feeling extremely dumb in comparison to it. Can’t set up email. The apps for twitter and chat don’t work like they are supposed to. Latitude hangs and while I can’t find current location on GPS, my colleague picks up phone and figures it out in 30 seconds.


Idiot me.
 By the 14th though, I was feeling happier, working my way through the menus and looking up to display my coolest new discovery to whichever unfortunate happened by. The evening of the 14th saw the family party. Full of the best kind of victims – technologically backward aunts and uncles who would be impressed even by my abilities on phone and young male cousins who would be impressed by my phone if not by me. All went well until I decided to impress folks with the camera. There is a perfectly good camera at home, but my NEW COOL phone, can take better photographs, can ‘t it?!

It can’t.

In fact, the screen blanks out after exactly a couple of shots of just half the khaandaan. I wonder what would have happened if it had been a full family gathering.
There I was, egg (or dahi, if you are a real purist vegetarian type) on face, and folks had already started on horror stories of what would happen when I tried to get it repaired, instead of consoling me.
The First Instinct
My first instinct was to call The Mobile Store – where I bought the phone. Answer to my ‘Will you give me a proper phone’ question
“Please take the phone to a Nokia service center. We will give you a replacement phone if Nokia gives us a ‘DOA’ …
I interrupt, “DOA?”
“Dead on Arrival, madam. “
I look in horror at my shining, beautiful new phone and imagine it in death throes, leaking engine grease or whatever passes for blood in its species.
“Dead? But only my camera does not work”
“Yes madam. Which is why we will not give you a proper phone or your money back. Go speak to Nokia”
Lessons in the Language
While working my way through  the nokia website I discovered that the guys at Shivaji Park were the only ones who picked up the phone. I was completely relieved to actually hear human voice say Nokia Care instead of automated MTNL voice claiming ‘Aaple dial kiyela number vyasta aahe. Krupa karoon nantar dial etc. etc.’ or the fake cheerful Vodafone voice saying “You seem to have dialed a wrong number”
Me.  ‘Til what time are you open?”
Lady: 10 madam.
Me: Really? I need to give my phone for repair. Where exactly is your shop.
Lady: On LJ Road near shiv sena bhavan. Aap na, petrol pump se left leke seedha aao. Dukaan vahin pe hai”
Armed with these directions (and not to mention the still functioning GPS on my phone) I catch a taxi to Shivaji Park. Arrive at 7:10. Heart lighter at thought of restoring phone to full health as I catch sight of a blue and white Nokia board with lots of shiny phones by the window. No. that is a retail store. Two doors down, a rather smaller, less shiny, Nokia Care board is visible. I walk towards it only to find a grimy shutter drawn all the way down and all is locked and barred. Maybe they shifted to the new shiny place. Go back, and ask man: Nokia Care?
Haan madam. Band hai.
Lekin mujhe das baje…
Haan madam. Das Baje KHULTA hai. Saat baje band. Aap thoda late aaye.
Note to self. Do not speak ever for such info in English. The ‘till’ at beginning of sentence was clearly not heard or understood.
Lessons in Patience:
All that followed has been, and still is, an exercise in patience.. Care center located nearer home. Arrive punctually at 10:00 only to find that the center is not open.
At 10:20 I call the Nokia call center. ‘Your center is not open’
‘Sorry madam. Which center?’
‘Your center in saki naka.’
Nokia wait music… 5 minutes later… still on Nokia wait music.
Finally human voice. ‘Madam. He is in traffic jam just a few minutes away. You know saki naka”
In disbelief. “I just came here via saki naka to get here at 10. There is no traffic jam”
Oh. “On hold again”
“Madam, here is cell phone number of sanjay. You can call him and confirm”
Call cell phone. No answer.
5 minutes later
Call cell phone: ‘Madam just parking and coming’
Finally at about 10:45 I’m sitting down in front of babe to tell her my raam kahani.
‘Madam you leave phone. And pick it up at end of day’ .
‘I don’t have another instrument. So why don’t you do it now and I’ll wait’
An hour later I’ve
a)      surveyed the entire shop. Thought that Nokia’s standards of props required in a care center just do not suit the kind of retail space available in Bombay. In trying to fit all the POP’s, chairs for visitors, tables, fundu machines to spit out appointment receipts and tokens and loudspeakers there is no space left over for the customers for whom all this is meant!
b)      Filled in feedback form. As with every pre-folded thing the folds defeat me and I’ve stuffed the badly folded form into their feedback box.
c)       Gone shopping and bought myself a couple of shirts. And felt fat because none of the skirts fit like they are supposed to.
d)      Sat and stared at all my fellow sufferers including the chap that made me feel like an excessively polite model customer. Atleast I don’t say ‘ladki. Apne sir ko bulao. Kab se mujhe chutiya bana rahi hai’
The original late latif strolls back, gives me a horrible replacement phone (that he says is new… probably because the model is so bad no one bought it!) and says, he will let me know the verdict end of day.
End of day. No call. So I call back.
“sorry. This software problem cannot be solved here the phone will have to go back to the center in gurgaon. That repair will take 10 -12 days madam. I will call and tell you.”
Further call to nokia asking if they will just give me another phone or my money back.
Answer from very polite call center lady whom I admire for her equanimity in the face of my outrage. : No. Sorry madam. But no.
So I possess myself in patience and smilingly tell anyone who asks me where the cool new phone is, that it has gone to the Nokia hospital.
June 23, 2009 – Calling Up
I can no longer wait to find out what is going on. I call the Saki Naka place and following conversation ensues.
Me: I had given my phone for repair on16th. Can you tell me the status.
Voice: Job sheet number.
(I read it out … silence… )
Madam ek minute.
More conversation.
Madam physical check karna padega.
Me: Mobile phone shaayad dilli gaya hai. Aapke sanjay sir ne bola ki wahin bhejna padega.
Voice: madam aapka e75 hai? Yahin hai. Hamara engineer pehle dekhega …
By this point my blood begins to boil. I thought I was six days closer to having the phone back and now they tell me it has been lying anaath at their center and no one cares?!
Lose it.  Editing the irrational parts of conversation… here is what I am told.
Sanjay Sir has gone on emergency to gaon. The engineer will look at phone. And the voice will call me personally by end of day to tell me what is going on. But can make no commitments on date.
June 23, 2009 – Getting hung up on
Blood still boiling, I call the Nokia Call Center to vent on the treatment meted out to me only to have the following happen (again irrational parts of conversation edited out)
Me: Can I meet someone at Nokia so I can throw the phone in their face and get my money back?
Agent: No.
Me: lets see what else we can do. Then repeat of sad story so far…
Agent (somewhere through sad story): You need a target date from service center.
Me: The jobsheet has 16th wriiten and they have not given me a new one.
Agent: Then you need to go to the center and speak to the technician.
Me: I just spoke to them. They have not given me a target date.
Agent: That is what I am telling you, you need to go back to the center and speak to technician.
Me: I just did. (this back and forth happens for a bit until…
Can I meet someone at Nokia So I can throw phone in their face and get my money back?
Agent: No.
Me: Okay. Can you atleast accept a complaint about your call center…
Agent has hung up on me and fake cheerful Oz accented woman asking me if I want to give a customer satisfaction survey.
Further calls to prise a target date out of the nokia care center which saw the miraculous recovery of the sanjay who had gone to gaon on emergency amongst other things followed. The net result… I still have no phone and am currently entertaining myself with fantasies of ‘me American – you Iraqi prisoner’ involving me (as american) and the product manager of the Nokia E75 as Iraqi prisoner.


Ungli Uthao

Some of us folks aren’t quite able to fly back for the day to exercise franchise. So we spend it watching the news where we see the special care with which polling officers in mumbai apply indelible ink to middle finger and even more special care with which some voters display the mark of their having performed patriotic duty.


SRK Votes

Shahrukh Khan: Vote in Aadaab mode

See, hiding behind the facial fuzz would work if I didn't also have to comb hair forward to hide the aloepaecia.

Ranbir Kapoor: See, hiding behind the facial fuzz would work if I didn't also have to comb hair forward to hide the aloepaecia. Oh - and don't miss how the color of my shirt matches my face.

.Look at the ring. I also went to the astrologer.

Sonam Kapoor: Look at the ring. I also went to the astrologer.


Manyata Dutt: Constipated?

and my all time favourites…
We are so old we don't have to be politically correct

Kiron & Anupam Kher: We are so old we don't have to be politically correct

The Family Finger

Bachchans: The Family Finger

Licensed to Spill

Yes. I had my license impounded. Again.

The previous time it happened I was glad. The fine seemed a small price to pay for having a parchi that certified me to drive in exchange for my dubious, expired, international license. This time, I was not so thrilled.

There were five cops standing at the turning and one of them figured I was on the phone and waved at me to stop. I did. (I wish I hadn’t seen him, then I could have driven safely away). But stop I did and the man turned up and started the usual cop conversation under such circs. (all the cop bits translated from Marathi / hindi and all of my bits translated from the hindi)

Cop: You have to pay a fine.

Me: Okay. How much?

Cop: You can’t pay it here because the saab with the bill book is not here.

Me: Okay. But where do I pay it

Cop: You have to go to the chowky. Actually you have to go to court.

Me: Okay.

Copy: I can’t gaurantee anything. In court it depends on the judge. He may suspend your license, decide on any sentence.

Me: Okay.

In the meanwhile a fatter cop walks up. (I am wondering if cop hierarchy is determined by level of gut hanging over the belt).

Fatter Cop: What happened?

Cop: Mobile phone offence. Writing chit.

Fatter Cop: Tch tch. don’t send for court. Ladies log. What will she do there. (turning to me) Madam you go to Ghatkopar chowkie under the bridge.

he then turns around and walks off.  In short order the ‘parchi’ is in my hand, my license in his pocket and I’m on the road again.

Later, I read it in peace, start googling and discover the following. is quite decent. Among other things, states the rather insane rule on mobile phone usage: ‘Phone must be swtched off when driver is at the wheel’  and confirms that no one less than a Sub-Inspector can accept a fine amount and issue a receipt for it. Also gives a list of the chowkies with no address or location information!

It is not upto the cop to decide whether you have to go to court. The rule says if you go within three working days to the chowky and pay the fine they have to give it to you. After three days you gotta go to court.

Also in the public interest… if you get stuck on the Eastern Express Highway betweeen Mulund and Kurla, the chowky you need to head towards is right under the flyover on the highway. Its opposite the turn-off to the Ghatkopar Bus Depot.

The Happy New Year Stack

Where do vehicles seized by the police go? Here’s the answer. Clearly the folks at the Powai Police Station are commited to using space efficiently and have a few muscle men in their number.




These people … They’re sworn to destroy us. Forget peace for now. We have to show them we’re strong.
We have laws, we represent civilization. Some people say we can’t afford to be civilized. I’ve always resisted such people.  But I don’t know who these maniacs are or where they come from…  …Every civilization finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values. I have made a decision.
” – Golda Meir before ordering assassinations as retribution for Black September as quoted in Munich.

 ‘All this blood comes back to us.’  – Robert. A member of the assassination squad.

Munich was definitely the movie to watch at the end of a day where I heard conspiracy theories without being able to respond. – ‘The govt is not telling us but the death toll from the attacks is over a 1000. CST was the site of the worst carnage. Public bol rahi hai ki wahan pe cheh sau se zyaada log mare hain. ‘ 

The evidence to support this claim… the shooting happened on platform 11 – 14 just before the departure time of 3 major outstation trains.  Whoever heard of CST being less than crowded at 8:30 on a weekday night… The police never releases 100% of the death toll…. only ever state 50% of it.

Solutions suggested included bombing pakistan and targeted assassinations. And admiration for the rally (I heard more anger and intolerance on the soundbytes… but that is another thing entirely)

Sigh. What a world we live in.

C’est La Vie

Its amazing how the most quotidian days can acquire a miraculous character in hindsight. The very chore that was cause for much grumbling ensures one is out of harms way. Otherwise it would have been one of those irritating days that melt into ‘the past’ with no feature to distinguish it from others of its kind.

I’m still trying to get my head around how 20 ppl sail up to the Gateway of India (The Gateway of India?!!), armed to the teeth and no one notices? How big are these back-packs that they get to hold AK-47’s and grenades enough? Or I should say how big is the weaponry?

If the rest of the world were half as squeamish as i, it would be a peaceful world.

Gender Benders

Some time ago I heard this one from a chappie who used to be in Market Research. He reported that in a survey for a feminine hygiene brand, they discovered men in the south used them. ‘Huh?’ He chortled, ‘They stick it on their shirt collars. Great sweat absorption apparently’.  Me dismissed this as attempt of chap to be funny. Heard  it elsewhere. Dismissed as urban legend.

The past couple of days the air conditioning has been on the blitz in the office. Our little corner of it has turned into an oxygen deprived sauna. The Chennai man on the team has taken to sporting white tissue on the inside of his shirt collar. When asked, says ‘I sweat a lot.So….’ (The rest of us do laundry, but this clearly is a man out to save the waters and detergents, if not the papers)

It seems that urban legend may be true after all. HSBC … your follow up to the washingmachine-makes-fab-lassi ad is here!