Archive for July 2010

Some More Wandering Thoughts Albiet On A Wednesday Evening

I was trawling the net to alleviate my boredom today when I came across a job announcement by a "boutique" recruitment firm (whatever that maybe). It was for senior positions in business development. But when I looked for the name of the hiring organisation, I couldn't find it. Now I think about it, these recruitment firms never tell you the name of their clients. Who is it that they are scouting talent for. I don't understand the need for secrecy. What is the problem in revealing the name of the client? How is a potential applicant to judge whether they want to apply or not? One does not make these choices based on the job description or the pay package alone. It all boils down to making INFORMED decisions for which you need full and complete information. I say we apply the Right To Information Act on these recruitment / HR outfits.

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Just finished reading Amitav Ghosh's 'Sea of Poppies'. What can I say - simply awesome. Its part of a trilogy. And the way Ghosh has written the first leaves you panting for more. I am eagerly awaiting the next part. What I love about Ghosh is his attention to detail. His novels are obviously well researched. They also indicate his background in anthropology. And he writes about people and locates them in a historical context. His books demonstrate an amazing divesity in theme, content and setting. Compare his writing with that of Arvind Adiga. As I've said in my previous review of White Tiger, Adiga's writing leaves much to be desired. Both have written with poverty and deprivation as their background. Where Adiga is just too in-your-face, Ghosh's writing is nuanced and somehow more profound. He is unequivocally, my favourite author.

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Was wondering, what is the etimology of the term 'you look fetching'. How did it come about? What does one fetch if one looks fetching? R said something about a dog theory. Like getting a dog to fetch. By that token, what is the dog connection if a woman looks fetching? Would she fetch you a stick?! Thoughts and opinions invited.

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My Sins AGAINST Gender Stereotypes

I was tagged by my blogger friend Maradhi Manni aka Sandhya to do this. That was about a week ago. I didn't see it until last night. So here goes.

The upbringing my sister and I received never made us realise that the world treats men and women differently or that there were different expectations from each. Perhaps not having brothers was the reason why. Or maybe it was because our father is a liberal minded man who believed that his daughters should reach for the stars. Whatever be the case, this is what I grew up to be and I' rather proud of it.

1. Self confident, aggressive, articulate are adjectives that usually describe me. They're also generally considered MALE traits. In fact I've been chided for my aggressive behaviour many times while growing up.

2. Some of my developmental milestones were delayed-I didn't get married the moment I completed my education at the age of 23. Worse, I got married in my thirties. And I'm not in a tearing hurry to pop out babies even though people say that the sound of my biological clock ticking is deafening.

3. I do not do the usual stuff that married women do. I did not change my last name. I do not wear a thaali (mangalsutra), toe rings or sindoor. I do not perform any rituals or poojas. My one concession to spirituality is a daily reading of the 'Hanuman Chalisa'

4. On social occasions, I am usually to be found in the company of men. I enjoy their company and seem to relate to them better. It irritates me to sit with the women and discuss recipes or school bus timings.

5. I can be relied upon to keep a cool head and take quick decisions during emergencies. People usually lean on me for support during crises.

6. I've lived alone in a big city and pretty much fended for myself. I rented an apartment, drove about by myself and even went for movies alone. It was weird at first. But then I began to enjoy it.

7. A few years back I went overseas for a vacation. I went alone and spent my own money. A dream come true. Expensive - but a dream nevertheless.

8. I returned to full time work recently and my father-in-law helps me in kitchen work. He cuts veggies and puts on the cooker so that all I need to do is throw things together when I finally wake up. Today he offered to take over the cooking of the entire lunch. I have gladly relinquished the responsibility.

There are two things where I do uphold the stereotype:

9. I love clothes, especially saris. Even a four door wardrobe seems insufficient! (refer post dated 7th July).

10. I am afraid of the dark and need to sleep with a night light on. Maybe the residue of a childhood nightmare.

So those are my sins. God forgive me for them! I don't know how to go about this tagging business. If you're reading this, and want to try it, by all means go ahead. It is open to persons of both genders.

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Chronicles of Deepa: The Wardrobe, The Dresser and The Side Table

Last month we went to an exhibition held at the Chennai Trade Center. We had been toying with the idea of buying a wardrobe since I needed more storage space. The exhibition was selling furniture on discount. We went to the Zuari stall and after much deliberation chose a nice four door wardrobe and a dresser. Purchases over Rs. 5000 had an attractive "buy for so-much and get this free" offer. And so we also got a side table for free. The Zuari guys said that they needed about 10 days before they could make the delivery. Since we had to dispose of our old cupboard and dresser, this suited us fine. So we paid up the full amount, took our receipt and invoice and headed home pleased with the purchases we had made. That was on 7th June, 2010.

That was the beginning of a month of sheer torture and extreme stress.

About 12 days after we had made the purchase, I received a call from the dealer. One U.M.Retail Pvt. Ltd informing that the items were ready and would be delivered in a day or two. My husband and I quickly made arrangements to dispose the existing furniture. So there I was, sans cupboard, with all my clothes heaped on the bed. My toiletry items were dumped on a stool with a 100 year old mirror propped against the wall (the mirror is another story).

Two more days passed by without a peep from M/s U.M.Retail Pvt Ltd. So my husband called and they assured him that the furniture would be delivered that day itself. Another three days passed by. On 25th June, I called the shop again. I was told it MAY be delivered that day. I lost my cool and gave the guy a yelling. The guy said he would check with their warehouse and get back to me in half an hour.

Never trust a vendor when he says he will call back. An hour went by and he didn't call. I got angrier by the minute. I called back and gave the guy a dressing down. "I have paid full money for this furniture. That means you have my goods in your possession and are willfully not giving it to me. That is a clear case of theft and fraud. I will report you to police". This seemed to cow the down the guy and he gave me the number of their distribution manager Robin. I called Robin and once again faced ambiguous assurances. I had to do an action replay of the previous dressing down. Robin finally admitted that the wardrobe was not in stock and they would not be able to deliver the furniture before Monday.

That was a bit of a problem since I was leaving town on Sunday and my husband would have to hold the fort till Thursday. Easier said than done. He does not handle stress or vendors very well. Outlining a strategy, I told him to use sheer aggression to get our work done. "Keep calling them every hour. Use different phone numbers. If you're calling Robin at one time, call U.M.Retailers next. Harass them into sending the furniture". With that, I left the city.

My husband and I were in touch over phone to discuss developments. He was forced to remain at home in anticipation of the furniture's arrival. On 28th June there seemed to be a glimmer of hope. It appeared that the furniture would be delivered that evening. But alas, our hopes were dashed to the ground. Robin called me to say that the stock had still not arrived and hence delivery that day would not be possible. I told him that I was traveling and he should speak directly to my husband. Robin quailed at the suggestion. "No madam! I'm afraid to speak to him. Please inform him yourself!!" Stress levels hit an all time high when I delivered the news to my husband. He had taken leave that day and put off some visa processing work for this.

After several hundred more phone calls and still more (empty) threats, the furniture finally arrived on 29th June at 9pm. Oh Joyful day! But wait... A new shock awaited us. The dresser mirror was broken.

My husband refused to go back to yelling and threatening Robin on the phone. So I had to take over. Another 6 days followed filled with daily phone calls and entreaties. Sometimes there was no labour to make the delivery and sometimes no truck was taking a route that would bring a replacement dresser to our home. The dresser was finally delivered today at 6pm. We're hoping it will be fitted tomorrow.

I don't understand what went wrong. We paid full money upfront. Had all the required paper work. Had purchased from a reputed company. Despite all this we were practically held ransom by the dealer. At every step their inefficiency was reinforced. I must have spent at least Rs. 1000 in phone calls alone! And I'm not counting the mental stress and harassment we faced due to all this.

I do not know whether Zuari is aware about how unprofessional U.M.Retailers Pvt Ltd is in its dealings with customers. I plan to get in touch with the PR department and put in a written complaint about this dealer.

Hopefully tomorrow, this time, my dresser would have been fitted and life can go back to normal. But, like Robin said during one of the innumerable calls I made "Invoice No. 132? I will never forget it!" Neither will I Robin. Neither will I.

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