If you are in India and have been using mobile phone or a landline, there is a great chance that you have been on the receiving end of spam marketing phone calls or SMS text messages.

stop_spam I have been using Idea cellular pre-paid connection on a temporary basis and I have received spam and frustrating automated calls at least 3 times a day each day. These calls were so frustrating and they were made with different numbers each time so you can not use mobile clients to block these calls !

After doing a quick search on internet I found that there is an apparent way by which you can convey your preference of receiving or not receiving such calls to the providers and by law they are mandated to obey to your preference.

The Quick online tips website mentions a thorough list of all the service providers and ways on how you can convey them to stop the nuisance calls from disturbing you at odd times !!

As per the website, 

The primary objective of the National Do Not Call Registry (NDNC Registry) is to curb Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC). The NDNC Registry will store a data base with all subscriber telephone numbers who opted for the service. The Telemarketer will have to verify their calling telephone numbers list with the NDNC registry before making a call or face a fine of Rs 500 per call/message and defaulter telemarketers might face disconnection of telecom service also.

Customers can make such requests free of cost. The telecom service provider will acknowledge the request within ten days. All promotional calls and messages to your phone will stop within 45 days from registration. Subscriber may confirm whether their number is included in the NDNC registry home page.

I am unsure on how it works as I only registered on the Idea website today requesting them to stop these calls & SMS messages. As per the site, it may take up to 30 days for them to activate the same, so the wait might continue for me.

So, in case you are as frustrated or more as me, then go ahead and start DND for your mobile or landline and potentially enjoy spam free communication !

For actual numbers & more information as per the service provider, visit the URL of Quick online tips.

Its been a long time for me in Pune (India) now to get myself, yet again, familiarized with the surroundings here and hopefully I can now proceed to post few of my experiences during this time !!

One of the most annoying thing that you do and can not avoid here is to “drive your vehicle”. The traffic system & the traffic habits of the crowd (no people plz… they are crowd!) is absolutely amazing and makes you believe that the GOD does exist and runs this whole world ! Including the traffic here in Pune.

Driving in Pune on busy streets is NOT easy and is definitely a challenge even if you are to go to the next door or cross the road !

Things have changed since last time I actually took efforts to drive on roads few years ago for good, but unfortunately so are the number of drivers and in most metros and urban cities, the infrastructure is getting stretched to cope with the demands.

The following 10 commandments are supposed to make you understand how things work here and why you thank GOD each evening after you reach home safely !!

So here I go ..

  1. Rules – What rules? – Apparently the traffic rules have been listed so the commuters can ensure they break them one by one. No one follows the traffic rules and signals so in case you are interested to stick to the rules, be prepared to be a victim of swearing & honking by fellow commuters and the ones who are queuing behind you !
  2. Understand traffic signals – Forget your traditional knowledge of the Green / Amber & Red signals. 
    Here, the Green signal light of course means you go on and cross the signal.  The Amber signal light means you should drive faster to cross the signal and the Red signal light means you honk for fellow drivers and try to push forward inviting accidents, noises & arguments ! If you stick to the actual rules, then read Rule # 1 !
  3. trafficUnderstand positioning of traffic signal ! – I guess in most countries the traffic signals are present and active where the commuters should STOP waiting for road clearance for moving ahead. However, in my dear city the traffic signals are positioned where you are supposed to GO ! 
    This eventually ensures there is a bottleneck at on the road causing traffic chaos !
  4. Stop right on the zebra crossings – Who says the zebra crossings at signals are meant for pedestrian crossing ! They are supposed to be the last point where the commuters with vehicles should stop (if you see a policeman watching) and if ever a pedestrian tries to cross the road, ensure you scare him by raising your accelerator or honking continuously !
  5. Be ready for race, who says F1 is not in India as yet? – If you are waiting at signal (if at all you do), then you are expected to move on the millisecond the light turns green. Someone who is 10 rows behind you and honking continuously is supposedly in more hurry to reach somewhere ! Often the road leading to the signal is wider than the road after the signal where you go, thus ensure you are first in the race !! The signal waiting is a pit-stop & rest of your driving is a race !!

    The traffic police are supposed to be more interested in taking money from offenders than controlling the traffic. Do not ever be surprised to see a brand new road dug up by telephone or electricity officials the next day it was built and apparently the roads are supposed to be built with a “pothole” facility all over !

  6. Do not ever follow lanes ! – Apparently the wise men in traffic office devised the road lanes to make sure the traffic flows properly. However, if you are driving in Pune or probably anywhere in India do not ever try to follow lanes. If you eventually do, then be ready to wait indefinitely to move on !
  7. Turn right / Turn left – If you want to take right turn, ensure you are first on the leftmost lane and park your vehicle horizontal to the road and take right turn. This is supposedly easier method than staying in the right lane and waiting for your turn to be in the queue. For the left turn, exactly opposite.

    While you are doing all this, just ensure you are constantly pressing the horn & weaving the hands asking rest of the traffic to stop and allow you go !

  8. Be ready to be surrounded by Matrix 3 kind of viruses .. aka bikers ! – Remember the war scene in The Matrix 3, where the viruses enter the men’s world in thousands via a small hole ?? Its exactly the same happens each minute, each hour & each day on the roads here. Apparently the space between two cars, buses or other big vehicles is supposedly to be filled in by bikers, auto rickshaws & cyclists. So if you are patiently waiting for your turn on the signals & suddenly feel surrounded by 10-15 bikers around you from all possible directions, do not be scared ! This is meant to happen.
  9. Expect the unexpected ! – If you think you are driving decently in a flowing traffic, you are seriously mistaken ! Expect all the bikers & auto rickshaws to land up in front of you and cross your vehicle in all possible directions anytime causing your vehicle a scratch or making you wonder what is he / she doing? Apparently they have all right to drive left right centre on any road overtaking any vehicle without any warning or following any rules.

    Also, be prepared for a long fight including assault in case some biker or rickshaw touches your car (without your fault) and causes themselves a dash or so !

    The double blinking of your headlight supposedly means “let me go first” rather than “please go”. Don’t wonder if you have to wait for 1 hour to turn right on a road where there are no signals !!

  10. Your ego size is the size of your vehicle ! – If you are driving a bus or a big truck, you are supposed to be the king of the road. You can drive anywhere anyhow and you would not be questioned. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger is your ego and bigger are your rights to drive.
    Apparently bikers have full right to drive their bikes on footpath & pedestrians have no right to exist on the roads ! If you are pedestrian then you carry no value on the road !

No wonder, you thank GOD each day you reach home safely and do a prayer before venturing out !!

In case you want to drive in Bangalore, visit the Bangalore specific 10 commandments here !!

All the best !!

This was forwarded to me by one of my colleagues and I thought it was worth putting it on my blog. I do not know the original author of this post so can not divert the credits to him / her unfortunately.

Anyways, an interesting perspective and worth a read though.

Old Story (global Version):

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the Ant is a fool and laughs, Come, winter, the Ant is warm and well fed. And the Grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold.

Indian Version:

The Ant works hard in the withering heat all summer building its house and laying up  supplies for winter.

The Grasshopper thinks the Ant’s a fool and laughs; dances: plays the summer away. Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls  a press conference and demands to know why ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while are cold and starving.

NDTV, BBC, CNN, show up to provide pictures of the shivering Grasshopper next to the video of  the Ant in his comfortable home with a table  filled with food.

The world is stunned by sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration in front of  the Ant’s house.

Medha Patkar goes on a fast along with other Grasshoppers demanding that Grasshoppers be relocated to warmer climates during winter.

Mayawati states this as ‘injustice’ done on minorities.

Amnesty International and Ban ki Moon criticize the Indian government for not upholding the fundamental rights of the Grasshopper.

The internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support to the Grasshopper (many promising Heaven and Everlasting Peace of prompt support as against the wrath of God for non-compliance).

Opposition MPs stage a walkout. Left parties call for ‘Bengal Band’ in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a Judicial Enquiry.

CPM in Kerala immediately passes a law preventing Ants from working hard in the heat so as to bring about equality of poverty among Ants and Grasshoppers.

Lalu Prasad allocates one free coach to Grasshoppers on all Indian railway trains, Aptly name as the ‘Grasshopper Rath’.

Finally, the Judicial Committee  drafts the ‘Prevention of Terrorism  Against Grasshoppers Act [POTAGA], with effect from beginning of winter.

Arjun Singh makes ‘Special Reservation’ for Grasshoppers in the Educational Institutions and in Government Services.

The Ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA and having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, it’s home is confiscated by the government and handed over to the Grasshopper in a ceremony covered by NDTV.

Arundhati Roy calls it ‘A Triumph of Justice’

Lalu calls it ‘Socialistic Justice’.

CPM calls it the ‘Revolutionary Resurgence of the Downtrodden’.

Ban Ki Moon invites the Grasshopper to address the UN General Assembly.

Moral of the Story

Many years later …. ….

*The Ant has since migrated to the US and set up a multi-billion dollar company in Silicon Valley .

*100s of Grasshoppers  still die of starvation despite reservation somewhere in India

and …

As a result of loosing lots of hard working Ants and feeding the Grasshoppers, India still remains a developing country …!!!

So the elections in India are over and we know officially that the Congress led Government is on the cards. Not a much change as such for common people but I have been pleasantly surprised by the way the common people in India have voted in favour of one party. This is something I think has not happened since a long time and is definitely a welcome change !

india-election Although I have been away from India for a great part of last 5 years of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) rule in India, but whenever I have been, I was probably impressed by the progress work done by them, particularly in the Delhi area where I was the most frequent visitor. The region has definitely progressed well on infrastructure front, but I think few things that the new Government needs to ponder, in my opinion are,

  • Robust internal security Plan -  After what happened in Mumbai, definitely the Indians are in no mood to have another episode of such terrorist mayhem.  Although the previous Government in power (UPA only) had formed something called NIA (National Investigation Agency) which is a national level security agency. It is still unknown what is the structure of the NIA and what procedures & powers are given to the country’s elite force (expected to be).
  • Economic reforms / development – Although the infrastructure upgrades have been planned well since the times of Vajpayee Government but this government is expected, now since they are on their own, to carry them forward with a rapid pace. The massive projects like national highways development, golden quadrilateral, river-interlinking were started during the BJP government should be taken forward with a purpose and be completed to assist the development of the country. 
  • IT & Telecommunications – Although India has long been pressing its position as a leader in “providing” IT Services to the world, its about time we start “consuming” these services within to strengthen the IT & Communication infrastructure in the country. Its such a shame that 3G network is introduced only few weeks ago in India and the average broadband speeds in India are ranked 115th in the world ! The Government & the IT ministry should be really focussing on how to improve the infrastructure and making the high end technology available to the public at affordable rates.
  • Better civilization & public rights – Although RTI (Right to Information) has gone a long way in giving the public a right to know what is happening with respect to various public / personal issues managed within Government, I guess India is still divided over several issues such as castes systems, religion & regionalism. The Women in average Indian society still do not have equal rights as Men and this is really sad to be seen in the 21st century.  The Government needs to step up and create laws that would allow equal rights to all Indians irrespective of Caste, Religion or Region.  Check out my extended thoughts on this on my blog post on Protectionism & Economy.
  • Promote entrepreneurship – Not only in the IT, but the entrepreneurship should be promoted across various sectors. We need innovative solutions that would resolve practical problems such as shortage of electricity, water, food etc., we need young Indians to come forward & get into entrepreneurship.  Do you still remember the person who supposedly developed the petrol using tree leaves ! What happened to him and his project? And remember project Rainbow that used paper to store Terabytes of data ! What about ‘Sakshat’, the $10 laptop?  We need more entrepreneurs to come forward and lead India into the new century.  Read my thoughts on entrepreneurship in India & education system here.
  • Reform the education system – The current education system needs reforms to allow innovation rather than follow up!  We need innovative methods of education rather than reading and mugging up the books, which, in practical life are of little or no use !!  Read more here..

Well, these are few thoughts I could jot down. Might be many more, but your comments are always welcome.  Do leave your comment if you could spare few seconds.

Thanks & more later !

 

[ Image taken from here ]

TATA nano was launched yesterday in India and the bookings for the ‘world’s cheapest car’ will start on 09 April 09 !

Well done TATA to help millions of Indians dare to realize their dream of buying a 4 wheel drive. This is a moment for all Indians to be proud of and hail TATA for fulfilling our dream !

 cam1b_colors_yellow I would love to buy a nano, not just because of its price tag or me being patriotic Indian, but it looks really good ‘small’ car and its really cute to be in one !

TATA should be applauded to dare to dream and subsequently fulfil it. Apparently TATA got the idea of nano when he saw a family of 4 driving on a scooter. He wanted to give Indian people a safe option and more importantly an affordable option to drive on Indian streets and he has definitely achieved his ambition.

Although the basic version of nano will not exactly cost as the price mentioned on its tin (100k rupees) but would eventually cost in the range of 120-130k rupees depending on where you buy.

Visit nano’s website for more information and take time to visit and appreciate the work there by TATA !

Proud to be an Indian !