Friday, February 27, 2009

Calvin & Hobbes Lemonade Stand's business perspective

I got this as a forward few days ago.

This cartoon strip was created about 15 years ago. But the explanation of the business perspective has a resonance to the American Auto industry's position in the economy even today!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Simple irritations in life.......Jumping the Queue!

They say your immense joy comes from simpler things in life like daydreaming, rolling on the grass, sharing your ice cream....
Yes of course, these are the ones that help us discover ourselves.

But have you realized that there are simpler things in life that could petrify you to the core? WE encounter such situations each day as we go about our daily chores, meet different people, and it happens at the common places and common situations. These irritable situations leave us red-faced, angry, yet we keep moving accepting it in our stride.

A classic situation. Jumping the Queue - while boarding the bus, at the pantry, waiting to get into the restroom, at the bank ATM, while shopping......

Image from

The Queue-jumping folks have their own justification for doing so. Their excuses lame enough to earn the wrath of others. The most heard one is "I have an emergency. Can I please go ahead of you?" These justifications makes others wonder their worth! Am I so clear with no emergency? Is my time not precious?

I get angry lot when someone jumps the queue. One such incident occurred yesterday at the pantry while I was patiently waiting my turn to refill my coffee mug, a person just barges in, overtakes me and fills his cup!! What the heck! Am i insane to be standing there holding my coffee mug? Or am I jobless that I CAN wait for a couple more minutes? A similar one happened sometime ago. It was lunch time and I was waiting near the oven to heat my food. A very respected senior person from our organization just walked, over-took me and heated his food. All this while, I had to patiently wait. He didn't even realize his mistake!

What happened to conduct and manners? Are those dirty words now? Or is this what is called as being smart? The most sad part is at the public restrooms. People just walk by and jump the queue. What about so many folks behind you patiently waiting?

The phenomenon of jumping the line is not limited to a section of people and does not depend on their education and other sophistication but their values and virtues. It does not happen at all places. There have been two instances where in I jumped the queue unaware of the queue being there. It happened once at a souvenir shop in New York city. The crowd was large that I missed the queue. I thought the counter was free, and what I had to take was an ugly look from the cashier, and a stern but polite dismissal. I was so ashamed and I apologized profusely; for being so ignorant. The whole passed with my guilt engulfing me throughout.

How much does it take to wait for your turn? 2 more minutes? And why cant you? Do you have an agenda to avoid a catastrophe waiting to happen within this 2 minutes?

Please wait for your turn. It can take you a long way!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire everywhere and the Great Indian Tamasha!

Tuesday's Times of India was splashed with Oscar brags - Slumdog Millionaire. about 9 pages dedicated to it directly and indirectly. The articles ranged from Pookutty's hometown hoopla, the voice behind "Jai Ho" to who recommended the phrase "Jai Ho!". And yes, not to forget the sad state of affairs of those two poor kids still living in the slums; and the girl's biological mother trying to get custodial rights now that the girl has become a famous person overnight.

Log onto cyber space and there you see the whole nation feeling patriotic about this thing. Read the congratulatory messages; one could sense RELIGION, LANGUAGE bias and patriotism in the posts; each section trying to claim Rahman as their own!!!!

One cannot imagine the hype and hoopla created around it. Chuck the paper, tune in to a TV channel; and there you see the repeated footings played over again and again and again......And I don't get get what the reason Mr Anil Kapoor was exuberant for when he shouted ...India is great, Bollywood is great. Why at all did Bollywood come into picture here? When the other actor mentioned, "We have shown the world what we are in software, service, nuclear energy..and now with movies".....What were they thinking?

And the fact that it was not even an Indian movie! And why are we euphoric about it? AR Rahman has created far more better pieces than "Jai Ho". It has got to do with our mental inability to shun away the thought that acknowledgement from the west is final and God-sent judgement.
That is not the end of the world.

Why do we take credit for others? Was it not embarrassing for the whole of India when Bobby Jindal - the Louisiana Governor openly declared that he was not an Indian but a staunch American! Yet, we never seem to learn a lesson out of it.

The movie is not a success in India? Why? The reason is simple. The whole idea of Indian poverty, the way of life is filmed to showcase it to the West who have never seen it. But with people who walk by the slums day in and day out, accustomed to the way of life, does it matter? Yes, there are poor in India, living wretched life; but that is not all India. It could happen anywhere....Are there no slums in Brazil? in Peru? Are people not struggling in Russia? Are people not living a life of poverty in Sudan, in Zimbabwe..? But at the end of it all, its about the never-say-die spirit that triumphs.

But the ultimate Tamasha was when the UPA government claimed Slumdog's success as its own. A Congress leader claimed that the success of this movie was due to UPA's governance; when quizzed, another leader said that this person was referring to the protagonist in the movie going from rags to riches. The party further stated that the movie was a testimony to “conducive atmosphere created by the UPA government” for the “young achieving India.”

It seemed the UPA government has made "some" contributions whether it were 123 nuclear agreement, Chandrayans success, first Olympic gold, second largest growing economy.....phew!

The positive seems the movie has boosted Mumbai's slum tourism. Foreign tourists are curious about the slum, they want to visit it. One of the tourist was surprised that there was so many positive things happening in the slum; the industries; which was not reflected in the movie; expect for the poverty.

Well, its time for the India's tourism department to review its advertising campaign. It has been promoting the hills of Chattisgarh , medieval architecture of Delhi and the Western Ghats, the Himalayas, the blue waters of Goa...the deserts of Rajasthan as Incredible India....whereas the hottest destination seems to be Mumbai slums.

Incredible! India

Monday, February 23, 2009

Poor Animals :-(

We have all heard a lot of cliches involving animals and birds. Diction using animals and birds occupy an important place in our conversations and communications. We use them to support our statements effectively; using them to convey our core feelings and the state of being. Different societies and culture value animals differently; when I say this each society has its own set of idioms and phrases to covey their meaning well. One another reason maybe the need for a terseness to convey what a man wants to convey in fewer words as possible, yet communicate the intent well.

There are few idioms and similes which use animals in a mistaken notion. I feel sad for these animals. I wonder what these poor animals would do if they had known law and justice :-P

Few of the similes:

as bald as a coot : A simile to describe someone who is bald headed.
Mind you, a coot is not bald. Poor coot, why bring the coot in here?

sick as a dog : There is no proven theory to state that dog get more sicker than other animals. Yet we use this term to refer someone who is very sick.

as drunk as a skunk : to refer someone who had drunk to falling down..The skunks don't imbibe. Yet the poor animal 's name comes in as it rhymes with "drunk"(Its an alliteration). But they do have a ability to excrete a strong, foul-smelling odor which they use as a defense mechanism.

as mean as a snake : How can meanness be attributed to snakes? What infamous character have they got to tag them "mean"?

deaf as an adder : to hint at someone who has problem in hearing. Well, yeah, snakes don't have eardrum, but they do perceive sound!

to drink like a fish : to mean someone who drinks a lot. Here again, a fish doesn't drink as humans do.

Now look at few of the metaphors here....

Black sheep.....
Dog eat dog.....
Rat race.....
A wolf in sheep's clothing.....
A lone wolf....
A spring chicken.....
Fat as a pig........

Imagine what must be going through that poor black sheep's mind? It would want to yell "RACISM!"; and the innocent dog - It would really wish to go pounce on the guy who is accusing it of cannibalism. And the rat!; come on! We all have heard of the race between the hare and the tortoise...where did the rat hop in from? The spring chicken - Is it a sin for the chicken to hatch itself out during the spring time of the year? The most annoying thing is about the pig. How cute they are, yet people accuse them as obese and fat!!! Unacceptable!

Image courtesy :

String of Pearls...

"All my life, I've had a choice of hate and love. I chose love, and I'm here"

Quote by AR Rahman at the 81st Oscars

I found this statement truly inspiring, encouraging and hopeful. A level-headed person that Rahman is; he is a true human being, a rare gem.

I'll stop it at this, as I am so small to write about him..:-)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Women are more beautiful during recession!!!!

I read an article in Times of India yesterday. The commercial tax-department of India registered a surge in cumulative VAT collection by 13% from the cosmetic industry. The same department saw a negative collection figure from others namely the construction, mining, software, gems and the textile industry. We have read them, heard them , watched them all....

Slump is steel production.....
Real estates prices slump......
Reduction in % of sale of cars......


The report further says that a daily care product company has paid Rs 100.31 crore this year towards VAT as against 81.69 crore last year.

Well, women try to cheer themselves more by indulging themselves in "look good" products in times of recession. That is because they tend to cut back on other luxuries. Well, its proven that shopping is therapeutic; unless you are a shopaholic and you shop till you drop. The thought of owning diamonds and designer dresses are a luxury in times of economic slump. People tend to substitute their shopping lists with "affordable luxuries" such as these. While the diamonds and the clothes remain left out on the rack; you can see cosmetics and other personal grooming products clear off shelf at a faster rate.

It basically drills down to the feel good factor. Its the thing to do with masking your unpleasantness of life, drowning your sorrows in alcohol(Does one need a reason to guzzle onto alcohol? You are happy, celebrate with a beer, you are sad, agonize with a beer!). No wonder the sale of lifestyle products, alcohol and pharmaceuticals remain high even during recession.

One might have heard about "Lipstick Effect". It was a term coined during the 2001 recession by Leonard Lauder, retired chairman and heir to the personal products giant, Estee Lauder. The lipstick sale in USA increased by 11% during 2001 recession. This effect was noticed also during the Great Depression between 1929 and 1933 when the industrial production decreased by half whereas the cosmetic production rose; and the cosmetic sale was up by 25%. It was also noted that the number of people working in the cosmetic industry in the US increased during the recessions of 1990 and 2001. Similar effects have been seen through out the UK, Germany and Japan.

This is similar to men picking up gadgets and other accessories than a brand new car!
Do we have a "Gadget effect" here? No survey yet on this.

With India's economy growing and People's purchasing power getting better each day; no wonder we are seeing the so-called "Lipstick effect" here as well...Way to go! I doubt if there were any indexes to measure the cosmetics sale in India during any economic gloom; prior to this.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Evening wonders

As the sun sets, the world cocoons itself to retire; but that's when the nature is in full bloom

I was lucky enough to see minuscule of nature's bounty of beauty. I thank the Almighty for this amazing world; its magnificence. These things make us realize how small we are.

My privilege to share.
Enjoy them...

Could not believe what I was witnessing, the perfect silhouette- Niagara, Ontario, Canada as seen from the USA side

After few minutes elapsed, the sky was deep orange-red
Bridging culture, Rainbow bridge, Niagara, US-Canada border

A lone yacht on the sea - Monterey Bay, CA

Calm waters, Monterey Bay, CA(Should have captured the birds fully)
Monterey Bay, CA

A beautiful silhouette- Monterey Bay, CA

NY City, NY

Chrysler Building is the most beautiful building in NY city, Its even more spectacular with the suns rays
falling on it

Night sky, San Francisco, CA

San Francisco skyline during sun set

The Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco during sun set

The sun bidding adieu; veiling itself under water, Zuma Beach, Malibu, CA

Night sky bedazzled with lights, Bangalore
Silhouette of Casinos, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Luxor shimmering under the sun set, Las Vegas, Nevada
The bluish snow on the ground sort of accentuates the bluish, orange streak during sunset, Tahoe, Nevada/CA
The Trails and the Pine Trees, Lake Tahoe

The sun before it finally set, Coorg

Sun almost set - Coorg, Karnataka

A lazy evening sky; clear yet dull; calm Singapore river, Singapore

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Bourne Sanction

Are you a Jason Bourne maniac? Then be sure not to miss the latest series The Bourne Sanction by Eric Van Lustbader. Action packed thriller for the die-hard Jason Bourne fans.

This story revolves around a terrorist attack on USA; on a structure of symbolic and economical importance. The idea behind the attack; is to cripple America's economy and the morale of the people. The journey Jason Bourne takes to avoid this massive calamity has been told in a heart-thumping manner. The actions; the run and chase scenes are so fast paced; yet described in minute details.

The highlight of this novel is the character "Arkadin" who is as brilliant and as crooked up as Jason Bourne himself. The confrontation they have and the realization that each one is seeing the mirror image of the other is brilliant.

The author has once again brought about the excitement and suspense; as you read Jason Bourne's journey from Washington to Moscow and Munich in an effort to nullify the planned terrorist attack. Lots of characters in the novel; they vanish at the same speed as they arrive; fueling in new twists in the plot; and thus keeping the reader hooked to the story.

A fabulous must-read

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

हाती और हाता

I overheard this conversation while I was writing lines of code....
A south Indian colleague was trying to learn Hindi.

He was asking what is the word for "Elephant" in Kannada. Another colleague said it is आने
He was quick enough to relate it to आना meaning "To come" in Hindi.

Continued asking what was the Hindi word for "Elephant". Someone mentioned it as हाथी.

He was like "Oh! I thought हाथी means a Girl's hand and हाता is a boy's hand; as हाथ means hand.

LOL......I laughed away unnoticed .......

Knock Knock! Who's Inside You?

This incident occurred yesterday evening. I take public transport for commuting to and from home-office as my workplace is very far away(or rather my residence is outside the city limits). I was waiting for the bus at the central bus station. The buses come in an interval known to them. I spotted a bus that goes to my destination and walked forward to hop on in. At that time; a lady; probably in her early 40s rushed through. In an effort to barge in; me and her put our best foot forward at the same time. In the process; I by mistake stamped on her foot. It was unintentional.
I was about to apologize; when she stood for a moment; stamped by right foot hard; then continued hopping onto the bus. Ouch!! That terribly hurt.
I got myself a window seat; just behind the lady. What I felt was not animosity; but happiness. Well; here it is why.

The lady just demonstrated that there is a kid within her; always looking for a chance to get unleashed and let her hair down. She was content with her achievement of stomping on my poor feet. She did it! Have we not done these silly things as a kid? How happy were we to go stealthily behind that bad girl; pinch her and run away.That ultimate surge of joy in pulling that poor girl's plait, the satisfaction of playing in the mud; getting our hands dirty; with not a worry on our mind.

As a kid, I wanted to grow older. I remember how I draped my mom's Saree; wore her sandals and walked like her; trying to be her. How I would grumble when my parents bought me shoes which had mickey mouse and flowers on it? Why not the the sandals as my mom wore? I remember courting the number of years for me to go to get out of school. Because that was ultimate freedom for us innocent kids. No need to wear the boring school uniform each day; no need to carry the lunch box.; and yeah above all no need to attend all the classes. We were looking forward to our future as we wanted to break ourselves from the limitation and rules set by our elders.

But what has happened now that we have grown up? Each one of us are fighting our way to survive in this mad dog-eat-dog world; trying to keep up with this rat race. We are being adults tackling our responsibilities; trying to fulfill our obligations; forgetting that the inner-most child within us now is waiting patiently to fulfill the essential part of being us - happy, peaceful and serene. What is preventing us from be the genuine part of us. Look beyond that harsh; wicked and cunning you; you would see the real you; yearning for a simple life - When you can

draw wings to a puppy and paint the sky green;
run around chasing butterflies;
fight over a broken toy;
get your hands and legs dirty;
cry to finish off your milk;
Jump into a puddle;
run around bare-footed;
enjoy your chocolate;
drench in the rain;
try to feed your pet;
Climb trees;
Laugh out loud after a nasty fall;
Cry over a broken shirt button;
Get scared of the ghost;
Ask silly questions;
Wait for Santa Claus on Christmas Eve;
Look forward to cutting cakes on your birthday;
Count the stars;
Draw a tree upside down;
Learn alphabets ;
Talk nonsense;
Forget to tie shoe laces;
Have a piggy bank;
Frown over long journeys;
Find elders' talk boring;
Laugh your gut out watching Tom & Jerry;
Be worried about your Math class;
Listen to bed time story of Alice in Wonderland;
And imagine having a town made of chocolates, ice creams and candies......................

The list is endless isn't it?

And yes, the best in you surfaces with the child in you.
A couple of my creation when I unleashed the child within me

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Gesture - The Art of Saying NO

We use gestures as an alternate form of communication. Gestures are powerful means of non-verbal communication. Gestures allow us to express variety of things; from approval; to rejection to hostility. They are boon to few people who feel uncomfortable to communicate verbally certain things. Let me take one such dilemma commonly faced by Indians.
How often have you said a bold NO? Why is that we Indians think that saying "no" amounts to rude behavior. Declining an offer is considered rude and impolite. We have trouble to say a firm "NO" and thus put ourselves in jeopardy; be it at work or otherwise.
I have faced this uncomfortable situation lot many times; biting off more than I can chew and hence choked to death! Why? Because I can never get to say NO.
We have been fed repeatedly with the idea never to DISOBEY. So declining something is "mapped" to disobedience by our poor mindset.
That's the culture; but what about the funny and embarrassing situations that this behaviour has put each one into? Whats the aftermath?
A funny incident of mine. The first time I landed in USA; I had no idea there were "Cultural Differences in Gestures" too. Well; I can be pardoned. I did not attend the "How to gesture effectively" and such classes.
A day in office; my colleague came to me and asked if I would like to join for a send-off lunch to another person as he was heading back to India. I had lots of work on my plate and I could not afford to stay away from office that long. The lady who invited me was an American. Well now; I want to decline the offer politely; but my Indianess is poking me and yelling at me "That would be so rude!".
So I resort to my safe method; as I have always done.

I shook my head from side to side

She was bewildered. I was also avoiding eye contact as I was already feeling so bad about declining the offer(Disobedience factor you see). She was looking into my eyes and asked "Bindoooooo, you want to join?" I give a shy smile. She thought I would join as I shook my head from side to side(It means YES in Saudi Arabia).
Oh my! I feebly said NO. I managed to find my voice and said "No Rosemary, I wont be able to join as I have lot of work to do and I must be done with it by today".

I later learnt that there are cultural differences while using gestures; and not all gestures are universal. Also there are innocent gestures which could get you killed! More than anything; A firm NO does not amount to impolite behaviour.


One more snippet I just recalled....

A colleague of mine who was a Japanese American was sharing with me the cultural differences she encountered when she visited Japan. She was born and raised in USA. She visited Japan for the first time. People gave her a queer look when she walked broadening her shoulders; when she laughed out loud; whenever she consumed half the space in the elevator. Women in Japan are supposed to talk very slow; in a feeble voice; occupy as tiny space as possible; and always walk with shoulders drooped; as a sign of respect!

Happy Gesturing!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Happy Happy Birthday!! Gautam

Gautam is special to me in a way. I say this because I have learnt a lot from him. Even though I am so observant that I can literally nit-pick even the minutest detail; I would rarely appreciate the beauty in them. But after talking to Gautam; the way I perceive things changed. I started appreciating beauty even in the sickest of things; that I removed the word 'hell'uva from my dictionary and replaced that with 'heaven'uva.
I have not met him. He is my gtalk pal. I have just talked to him on the phone precisely 3 times. I got to know him through a mutual friend who referred my name for some work to Gautam. The first things we spoke were when he asked me suggestions about his subjects for his MS(I bet Gautam would not remember this)
What I like about Gautam is that I can discuss variety of topics with him. He would be all ears even though the topic is not his interest(for eg, politics, fashion...); and pro actively fuelling the discussion when the topic exhilarates him(Language, Travel, Aghori Sadhus, Photography....).
If there is anyone who can savour a cup of hot chai served in a tumbler washed with a running water; sitting amidst strangers in a dirty place with a stray dog for company....that can be only you Gautam...Yeah I know you would offer the chai to the poor dog and not to people :-P

Many More Happy Returns of the Day! Wish you have a great year ahead filled with fun, photography, travel and more fun!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Chile Relleno with Black Beans and Herb Rice

Pancake with Blueberry and Cream

Apple Mudpie

Sea Food (I don't remember the name of the dish)

Chocolate Fantasy

Choco Brownie Sizzlers and Vanilla Ice cream with Chocolate Sauce


French Toast with Bananas, Cream
and Strawberry Sauce

Nutty Pancake with Blueberry and Cream

Monday, February 9, 2009

My first swimming class

Well, this is my third post for the day. Feel like relaxing too much today; hence 3rd one back to back. I wanted to keep myself occupied during weekends, or rather learn something new. Wanted to learn lot of things; Classical music, Salsa, foreign language...a lateral path.
This thought has been for almost a year now. Finally; got coaxed by my friend and we joined the swimming classes.
All set; bought the costumes and accessories. Saturday was the first class. Went in on dot and changed to the swim suit; while shivering away to glory. Admired the swimming caps and goggles and the costumes the ladies on. I was very much excited to meet the coach as she is the only woman in the 2000 Sydney Olympics swim team for India.
She was very friendly, began with general instructions and FAQs. My first jerk.

Rule of the pool
To take a shower before getting into the pool

Oh dear! it was so cold and taking a way. Yet! managed to quickly run under the shower and walk towards the pool. Waited in line to get into the pool. Saw the ladies go in one by one with shrieks and yells. No sooner did my feet touch the water, a chill went down my spine. How am I going to stand in this frozen stuff? Let alone swim!!!
Again didn't want to embarrass myself; got into the pool, I actually stood holding the railing as I was scared I would drown. My friend came to my rescue or the coach? Oh I was so scared to even remember. Our coach assured that no one drowns in 4 feet of water. How cute!
Started with trying to stand in the pool, walking in the pool, jogging., moving your hands..
Later the tough part. Take in a gulp of air quickly through your mouth, force your head into water and breathe out through your nose in gulps. Oh my dear! how tough that was!
We did that for 15 minutes. The next exercise was even tougher. Actually as we progressed, each activity was tougher than the one that just preceded.
Facing the wall, cupping the wall with your palms, taking in deep breath, pushing your head down so that it touches your chest while breathing out in intervals through your nose so that you can float! Trust me! I was never able to do this; unless the coach came around and grabbed my legs away from the bottom of the pool. Well if you thought this was silly; remember this is the very first time I am getting into any water body.
The next activity was leaning against the wall, throwing your body forward and floating. I always managed to drown, literally as I was beating my palms hard against the water as if trying to hold it! Water is like glass, delicate, cant hold it, don't even try!

My coach : "Don't panic, Relax and take it easy"...
Me : Nodded my head in approval

We practised it for sometime until the end of class. There was more fun once getting out of the pool. Each one rushed for the shower and to change, while others in queue were shivering all the while. Got the brush of swimming or rather being in the water for an hour!

I still have not been able to float properly!

Looking forward to learning all the 3 styles well...Wish me the best!

I spotted a sparrow!

I did write about the dwindling sparrows in our neighborhood sometime back. I spotted few of them on my trip to Coorg. Though I wanted to click many snaps of them, they all flew away but one. And I couldn't manage to capture its face as the street was crowded and I didn't want to cause a traffic jam...

Children, Innonence in its pure form

I started my swimming class....[:D]....Will talk about it later. Being the very first class, the coach was giving us instructions and answering FAQs. She was telling about the strokes we would be learning.
There was this foreign kid aged about 3 years old who had accompanied his mother for the class. We were all listening to what our coach was talking with apt attention, when she mentioned "We wont be doing the butterfly style".
The word "BUTTERFLY" caught the kid's attention. He was so thrilled and excited to hear the word; that he jumped from his mother's lap and clapped his hands and running towards the coach repeating "Butterfly!"..We all burst out laughing.
How innocent the kids are...and as they grow they lose their innocence. Obviously; even we would have been excited about a butterfly many years back...not anymore! Alas! The rat race, trying to keep up with competition, the dog-eat-dog world blinds us from simple pleasures.
Image from

Friday, February 6, 2009

The Mall Experience

The Great Indian shopping diaspora!. We no longer are afraid to live our dream. The ever hungry consumers lap up everything that comes their way; latest gadgets, the latest jeans in town, the designer watches, name it and you have it.
Gone are the days when folks used to ask their people staying abroad to get a decent latest gadget; now its just a stone's throw away. With disposable income due to growth in service sectors; the consumers indulge in these good things and satisfy their insatiable demands.

I am one among the millions who has adapted to the mall culture quite well. After walking into a couple of malls, I forgot my old shopping grounds; and why wont I? - when I can get everything under the sun err...rather shade? Yeah, its alright for me to pay Rs 100 for a packet of popcorn and Rs 60 for a tall glass of cola which has ice cubes loaded in it; and Rs 40 for a small cup of coffee with very less of milk and more of water! Its still alright; when you can do your shopping in an air-conditioned enclosure; beautified with artificial palm trees; instead of roaming around outside on the streets; bargaining to the street vendor while wiping away your beads of sweat!
Just go into an outlet, take your pick; cram yourself in the queue; give a disgusting look at the guy who jumped the queue and he would not even notice, don't even think of the dirty word "bargain", swipe your plastic, get a cold "thanks" along with your receipt, walk to the security so that he suspiciously examines your purchase and your receipt and walk away!
How different is this compared to your personal experience when walking to the cloth store where your mom bought her Saree; dad his clothes; you went to the same store since you could start identifying things around you...started with a frock while you are an infant, then a frock when you are 5 years old, later a salwar when you are 10 years and so with the shop keeper, share a smile along with a cup of tea he ordered for you...bargain to hell; completely agree to disagree on the price; negotiate and come up with a final quote, pay and wave good-bye and he sends you off with a genuine warm smile and thank you....

Why would you want to do that when you could get various brands and offers; minus the smile and hospitality....bored with shopping? go catch a movie in a multiplex housed in the mall with a bag of popcorn...get out of the movie and your exit leads to the food court..various stalls...various cuisines...not inviting but COLD....

I recently had a not so pleasant experience. The malls were all geared up for the off season sale. I was drawn to it. I could not resist the 30% discount offer on footwear. A shoe freak I am, I bought 2 pairs of shoes and other things. It was a weekend; large crowd in the mall reveling at the discounts and picking up stuff. Unfortunately one of the computers at a counter could not handle the traffic and it crashed. I could not tolerate the inefficiency of the guys at the cash counters!! What an apathy! Dear me, how long does it take you to jot down the Bar code number, the Item code of the product, press some numbers on the calculator to prepare the bill????
Those guys took ages! Were they not preparing receipt the same manner much before the computers were introduced? Didn't the management think of any mitigation plan and train them for such worst scenarios?
Well, after being at the counter for almost 1 hour(nothing much could be done when people were jumping queues and the mis-management of the cashiers); got my bill; paid for it and left for the greener pastures. I realized that out of my 2 pairs of footwear; only one's price was calculated after the discount; but not the other; much later after reaching home. My bad about the carelessness as I was just restless to get out of the chaos environment in the mall. I decided to go the next day after work to sort this out.

After work, on a Monday; I go to the mall(in an auto rickshaw; cost me 50 bucks) along with my receipt and the 2 pairs of footwear. I am stopped at the entrance to surrender my baggage at the counter. I tell them that I need to carry these inside and give an explanation. The lady says "There is no return"(as its off-sale and I got it on discount). I say I don't want to return; I just want to get the extra money I paid for it. After consulting with a senior person; I m let go after getting a pink sticker stuck on my purchase. I go to the counter which billed me previously, explain to them; they take my bill and the footwear; come back after 5 minutes and ask me to go to the 5th floor for the consumer complaint cell. I take the escalators, jostle around, after no help from any; I find the hidden consumer cell; I explain my stand to the person in charge. He has a long conversation on the phone. I am made to wait for 30 minutes. Finally he says "Ma'am we don't have a cash return policy. I will give you a credit note; which would be valid for 30 days only". I retort saying that it was the carelessness of the cashier and I am not asking for exchange or return; all I was asking was for the extra money I paid. No use! Finally, exhaustive I was; I agreed for the credit note. I got a credit note; and I had to do a purchase to "own" my money.

How easy it was when we made a purchase at our local store and returned it when we were not satisfied. We got our money back... there was no defined Return Policy, no Credit Note, no Exchange Policy...It was all based on trust....Bargaining was the order; it had its charm;

I walked in again the following week in order to buy something with the credit note. I searched hard but whatever I chose I had to shell out considerable the minimum price for a shirt or a nominal top I picked up was not less than Rs 500.

And stupid of me to think that I could purchase something out of the credit note which was Rs 135/-