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Friday, April 30, 2010

SBI Credit card verification-Double standards

This post shares a little experience I had with SBI Credit cards. If the subject doesn’t interest you, check the March archives here.

I happened to apply for a SBI Credit card recently and everything went smooth till verification process. Here’s the story after the telephonic verification process began:

SBI Credit Card Call Centre Lady (CCL from now on): “Hello sir, I’m calling from SBI regarding your credit cards. I need to verify your name, address and other details sir…”

I gave the details and verification done. Then the CCL says “Sir you’ll be charged Rs 250 as one time fee and you’ll have to spend 25000 every year”

Me: “I wasn’t informed of this before. If this is the case please cancel my application, I don’t need it”
CCL: “Ok Sir”

Next I get the call from agent, who said “Sir it is free for you sir, don’t worry about it”
I got the call again, wherein CCL repeated the line stating the Rs 250 charge and 25k usage obligation. I said “I’m told it is free for me. You can process the application if it is free, else cancel it”

Next, the agent’s boss calls me to say “Sir, you just have to say yes when they mention about the fee and limit.. You’re working in a good company with good designation, it won’t be applicable to you. It is an RBI regulation which requires us to say that, as many users do not use their card and bank suffers a loss. You don’t worry sir, just say yes.. even if something is charged we’ll reverse it”

I replied “If it is free for me, then your representatives should state the same. Why am I being asked to accept some terms on record while you’re saying they’re not applicable to me”

Agent’s Boss: “Its an RBI requirement sir. Its Chennai level verification sir, they won’t be knowing that its free for you, they ask same thing to everyone. After that there’ll be national verification sir. You don’t have to worry, just say Yes”

Me: “If RBI regulation requires you to charge a user some money you charge it… Just that I don’t want a credit card with such obligations. I’m not comfortable with these double standards”

CCL gives another try, I stick to my line, asking her to process it if and only if it is completely free and free from any minimum usage obligations.

A different lady calls, doing the sweat talk again, rewording what Agent’s Boss had mentioned, suggesting that I should just accept to what the verification lady says and they’ll take care of everything. I reiterate my stand, she does some more sweet talk, I’m not convinced and I disconnect.
CCL calls again, I repeat my stand

Agent’s Boss calls again, asking “What seems to be the problem sir?” I wasn’t interested in wasting any more time on this and told him to cancel my application. There were some more calls after that which I didn’t take.

Did you face similar situation? They just wanted me to accept on record some terms I wasn’t comfortable with, while promising me off the record that these terms are not applicable to me. Do you think the verification process are a joke? Verification team seems to be awarded for the no of applications they process and not no of applications they reject (due to various reasons) Most of the time, if you do not know the details, reps would call you from an alternate no, give you all the details and call back from official no (which is recorded)..
Update: About one week later I get an sms from them stating my application is being processed…No idea what they’re upto… Need to tell them to back off…

Related post: My first investment experiences * 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shaniwar Wada, Pune was built at a cost of Rs 16110!

This post was pending since 2 weeks. When I saw Sahara Pune Warriors full page ad in today’s shaniwar-wada-main-entrancenewspapers, which carried Shaniwar Wada’s photo in the backdrop, I decided to sit and complete this post.

Shaniwar Wada is a historical and must visit place in Pune. Your visit to Pune is incomplete if you don’t visit Shaniwar Wada. When I had heard abt it first time I thought this must be something related to weekly markets rural India has (I was translating Shaniwar as Saturday… But later learnt that “Wada” in Marathi roughly translates to “Colony” or basti… and Shaniwar Wada has nothing to do with Saturday (though a lazer show will be held inside on weekends)

Shaniwar Wada was once the residence of Peshwas but now a tourist spot with only foundations of the palace and wall surrounding it.
bajirao-peshwa peshwa-emblem

History: Built in the 18th Century, Shanviwar wada was headquarter of Peshwas. It is said to be the most magnificent and stately mansion ever built in Pune. Foundation stone was laid by Bajirao I (1720-1740) on Jan 10, 1730. The Mansion was completed in 2 years time and inaugurated on Jan 22, 1732. The Palace, which had seven stories, was built at an expense of Rs 16,110 (Another display sums the amount at Rs 16,120…Wow!. I want to go back in time to 18th Century) and it accommodated over 1000 people.

history-2 histroy

Peshwa’s rule ended in June 1818, when Bajirao Peshwa II had to surrender his throne to the British rulers. The palace survived another 10 years, untill an unfortunate and unexplained incident of fire happened on Feb 27, 1828. The fire lasted several days and what was left was just the foundation stones and the outer walls.

view-from-top-shaniwar-wada corner-view-remains-of-foundation

The outer wall had multiple doors, each was named after a city- Main one is Delhi Darwaza that faces north, and other ones are Ganesh Darwaza (south east), Khidki darwaza (East), Mastani Darwaza or Alibahadur Darwaja (North), Narayan Darwaza (south). Main door is the most majestic of them all, large enough to allow elephants and strong (and spiked) to resist charging battle elephants. Each of these doors have its own purpose and history.

close-up-balcony cannon-point

The site is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India, entry fee is Rs 5 takes about 1 hour for a proper walkthrough across the campus. One can walk both inside and on the fort walls.Shanwar Wada is open to public from 8.30AM onwards (better go after 9). The fountain at centre is also as old as the palace

beautiful-yellow-tree walls

I am still trying imagine the seven story palace built with 16120 Rs…Unfortunate that no visuals are available…How much they would have spent if they had to buy an IPL team then?

Nearby places: Lal Mahal, Aga Khan Palace, Jungli Maharaj Mandir and Pataleshwar caves

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Videos: Vasu Dixit of Swarathma performing at Cerebrate

Vasu Dixit is song writer, vocalist and guitar player. He is founder member of Mysore based Folk/Fusion Music Band, Swarathma. The 6 member Swarathma band has performed in cities across India and abroad. The Band also has released an album by the same name. One unique decision the band has taken is that they always perform their own songs and do not entertain requests to sing others’ songs. Vasu Dixit was one of the invitees at Cerebrate.in and sang several nice songs for the audience at Cerebrate.in.
From Cerebrate2010

I made two amateur videos of Vasu’s performance at Swarathma. These are raw videos and the singing is done without any additional instruments or support. I’m sharing those videos with you here, with permission.

The first one is on our belief in gods-in various forms-how we worship god one one side and do unholy activities on the other…

The second one is also related to god and narrates the relationships… You can also see other cerebrate delegates in the video...


Vasu strongly believes that there’s a song in every one of us. He also believes in universal brotherhood.

Also, Swarathma band will be performing in Chennai on 1st of May 2010, at YMCA grounds, Nandanam. They are performing in support of RangDe, a micro credit facilitator. Tickets are priced at Rs 300 and 500 and Rs 100 from each ticket will go towards social investment in your name (Read: My Unique Social Investment)

And if you didn’t know Vasu is brother of Raghu Dixit, of Raghu Dixit Project fame.

Swarathma Band members:
Pavan Kumar K J (percussion, backing vocals)
Vasu Dixit (vocals, rhythm)
Sanjeev Nayak (violin)
Montry Manuel (drums, percussion)
Jishnu Das Gupta (bass, backing vocals)
Varun (lead guitar)

Related: More about Cerebrate.in * Swarathma website * RangDe Website * Swarathma on twitter

About Shrinidhi Hande and his travel blog enidhi.net

2 Minute Elevator pitch
  1. Blogging since 2006- 2100+ posts and 16000+ comments
  2. Alexa India Rank 12000-14000 (Approx range at present)
  3. Traveled to 22 countries and counting
  4. Key focus areas: Travel, lifestyle, automobiles
  5. Average posting frequency- daily
Detailed Profile & stats
I'm Shrinidhi Hande, I am an Associate Manager in an MNC and in my free time, I pursue blogging as a hobby and passion. I'm 33 years young and currently live in Chennai, India. My key interests are travel, adventure and automobiles.
During tandem skydiving in Mysore, December 2013
Connect with me on Facebook * Twitter (2900+ followers) * LinkedIn * Instagram (500+ followers)* or mail me: admin at enidhi dot net

Click on the link to know more about me as a Blogger and Writer * IT Professional * Travel Enthusiast *

As a blogger and Writer

Blogging since May 2006, eNidhi.net (initially on enidhispeaks.blogspot.com) is completing 10 years. This blog focuses largely on travel, automobiles, lifestyle and product reviews.

Key stats as of March 2016:
  • Google Page rank: 3
  • Indiblogger Rank: 81 (Updated July 2015)
  • Alexa Rank: India: 13500, Global: 130000 (as of March 8, 2016)
  • No of posts: 2000 and counting
  • Comments so far: 16500+
  • Frequency of update: 4-5 posts per week
  • Domain Authority: 33, Page Authority: 37
  • Klout Score: 63
Note: Stats are dynamic and change over time. Ask me for latest if required.

This blog is recognized as one of the top travel blogs in India by several independent surveys. Quick list below:

Year 2013 : 
1. Why Travel Top 51 travel blogs and magazines in India
2. HotelDepot Top 30 travel blogs in India-2013 (link is down now)

Year 2014:
1. Myoksha's list of Top 15 Indian Travel Bloggers 2014
2. Quoted in this Travelfriendz.com's profiling of select travel bloggers
3. Social beat Top lifestyle bloggers in Chennai

Year 2015: 
1. Baggout "16 socially active travel blogs in India
2.TravelGenes 20 Awesome Travel Bloggers to look out for in 2015
Baggout
July 2015: Got my first physical Best blogger award- Best Urban Chennai Blogger award at EchovMe Urban Tree Chennai blogger's meet.


Year 2016:
Feb 2016:  Recognized among top 20 travel influencers in India by Influencer.in

July 2016: Travel Globe.com 20 most creative travel bloggers of India

July 2016: Ankionthemove: Top 20 people I met on the road

August 2016 : Featured in Techdivine Power Digital Users

I was one of the 3 Official Bloggers for Tata Nano, for the Tata Nano Superdrive Green Route, (Season 1, 2010) a 26 days Road trip covering entire south India. [Details]. This blog has facilitated business worth up to 30 lakhs by providing a platform for readers to buy and sell memberships [Read More]

I'm contributing as an Official/Guest Blogger at various corporate and group blogs, such as
I have given couple of talks at academic institutions about Social Media
  • A talk at a CII Innovation Event about Social Media for Students, 2011 [Details]
  • A talk about relevance of blogging at Loyola College, August 2010 [Details]
  • Talk about Blogging and workshop on blogging- MSRIT, September 2008
  • Talk at MIC Manipal during Article 19, 2009 
  • Talk about Corporate Blogging- MMSC- Manipal Institute of Communication, 2008
  • Talk on Social Media at Tumkur University, Feb 2012 [Details]
I've been regularly writing articles that are published in mainstream media. Some of them are:
  • Blissful Binsar, Ergo (The Hindu Group publication), November 2008 [Read More]
  • Weekend on a Scorpio- Ergo, October 2010 [Read More]
  • Kannada article in Vijaya Karnataka, 1st Feb 2009 Read More
  • Article on Rock climbing at Ramanagaram, published in Ergo [Read More]
  • Kannada article in Taranga about tiger temples, Sep 2012 [Read More]
  • Read all
I have live blogged several events and conferences as an Official Blogger.
Some of them are:

  • CII Connect 2010, Tamil Nadu's premiere ICT event, jointly organized by CII, STPI and Govt of TN 
  • IAMAI Conference on Digital Payments and Financial Inclusion, Hotel Tajmahal Palace n Towers, Mumbai, 6th August 2010 
  • IAMAI Free for SMEs Conference, Delhi, July 6 2010
  • IAMAI Mobile Application Developers' Meet, IIM-Bangalore, June 29 2010 
  • IAMAI Marketing Conclave, 29th April 2010, New Delhi 
  • IAMAI Mobile Ad Conference, 7th April 2010 Mumbai 
  • IAMAI Conference on National Security and Digital Technology, 24th March 2010, New Delhi 
  • CII Connect 2009 Conference, Chennai, 2009
  • WebInnovations 08 Summit , May 2008, Mumbai
I was quoted in several print articles and TV shows over time
  • Auto Car India story o self drive car rentals-May 2015- link
  • NDTV Good times, Road Trip Thailand show, April 2014
  • TV9 Kannada and English quotes Shrinidhi in its report on Tata Nano Superdrive [Watch video]
  • Mangalore Today quotes Shrinidhi regarding Tata Nano Superdrive, June 2010 [Read]
  • Deccan Chronicle features Shrinidhi Hande in an article about Windows 7 [Read More]
  • Mint features Shrinidhi and his blog in an article on Mainstream media lifting contents from blogs [Read]
  • Times of India publishes a photograph clicked by Shrinidhi Hande, without authorization and later publishes clarification [Details]
  • Chennai Times quotes Shrinidhi on trekking
  • Chenaai Times quotes Shrinidhi on fuel price hike

As an IT Professional:
I have close to 11 years of IT Experience. I started off my career as Software Engineer at Satyam and then handled key responsibilities as a Business Analyst. Currently I am working as a Sr Business Analyst at a leading IT services and consulting MNC, specializing in software products. I've worked for several fortune 500 clients in the space of Container Shipping, Oil and Gas, Pharma, e-Commerce and Consumer Retails. More details on LinkedIn. Detailed professional profile is available on demand.


As a Travel Enthusiast:
I enjoy travel and exploration, particularly renting cars on self drive and going on long drives. I've been fortunate to be able to visit 10 countries so far (Tripadvisor says I've covered only 7% of the world), but have much more to cover.

Some of the travelogues:
International Travel:
I don't call myself globe throttler yet but I've had my share of world travel. Have been fortunate to visit about 17 countries so far and wish to explore more. According to Tripadvisor travel map I have covered 12% of the world so far.

Check these posts for details of US, Chile * Srilanka * Singapore * Europe *Australia * Denmark * Germany and Malaysia travel
Countries visited (listed in the order of visit, first one first):
  1. India (14 countries and 4 UTs yet to be explored)
  2. Srilanka 
  3. Chile 
  4. Malaysia 
  5. USA 
  6. Singapore 
  7. Thailand 
  8. Denmark 
  9. Sweden 
  10. Germany 
  11. Netherlands
  12. Belgium
  13. Lithuania 
  14. Norway 
  15. Switzerland 
  16. Finland 
  17. Australia 
  18. Macau 
  19. Hong Kong
  20. Indonesia 
  21. Maldives 
  22. Philippines 
Planned (2017): Japan

Countries passed through (transit only): Dubai, Qatar, Brazil, France, Poland, Abu Dabhi
Countries seen from across the border: China, Pakistan and Burma

Brands I've worked with: 

Contact Details: 
I will be happy to work with brands- particularly auto, travel, lifestyle, tourism boards. You can leave me a message on facebook or mention me in twitter, write a comment on this post with your contact details (which will not be published if you wish) or mail me at admin at enidhi dot net

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Random Photos, Mumbai

Here’re some random photos clicked during the recent Mumbai visit…

Cerita-bus Cerita bus: Until I saw this bus, I didn’t even know that we’ve a bus manufacturer named Cerita. Googled later to find out that Certia is a Chandigarh based company which makes buses and exclusively buses (Product range). Interestingly, they seem to name their models based on length of the bus (For example JC 12HD where 12 means 12 meters). However I had a look at the engine specs, they were not exciting. (Cerita buses host a Euro II 6 Cyliner Cummins Engine) and website had lots of spelling mistakes.

pedestrian-crossingLong Foot Over Bridge… When I saw this under construction bridge in Bandra, I first thought this one is meant for some Metro or Mono rail.. Then I’m told this is for pedestrian crossing. Now that’s interesting, because as I’ve seen, public prefers to save time and risk their lives crossing the busy traffic road, than walk a few meters, climb all the way up across and down a foot over bridge. So will this elongated FOB be effectively used?

Bandra Worli sea link: Got to check out the much hyped Bandra-Worli sea link. Looked majestic and very deserted at 7.30AM. The construction rig at the centre is kind of spoiling the look in the pics though. Tolled heavily at 50 Rs, you’ll be made to pay for any savings in time and fuel you might have achieved, by not taking the default route that goes through the city. Speed is limited to 50 kmph, not less, not more, but seldom obeyed. No walk through is allowed, but we did spot a few walking.

sea-link Sea-link (2)

Bus-standThe Mumbai bus stand design somehow look cramped. The seat is not wide enough and space between the the seat and barricade is just not enough. Lots of metal is used, which would superheat during day time. Bus stands in Chennai and Bengaluru are more spacious and comfortable.

Juhu Beach: Shops near the beach were wide open even after 9.30PM, weekday (shops in Marina beach Chennai start winding up by 9pm) and there’s no dearth of creativity.However, tender coconut seem to be overpriced, at Rs 20, 25 and 30…Most of the hotels in this area have staff from Karnataka (mainly Udupi side).

For a photo of Mumbai police amphibian vehicle spotted in Juhu beach, click here.

coloured-bubbles shops

Went to Pune by State Govt’s Shivaneri Volvo service. As I was advised to travel by Neeta Volvo, I was looking for one at Dadar but nothing was around. Lot of taxi operators tried to woo me into travelling in their cars to Pune, for the same rate (Rs 250). Backseat of a car would be less comfortable than the bus and bus would give an elevation to click photos, hence took a ticket in the counter and got into a Shivaneri. Journey was nice, but while I was expecting to reach Pune faster, it took about 3 hours, including a small snag (rear wheel mud flap coming off).

shivaneri-volvo-service rear-wheel-mud-guard

Tunnels and scenic hills made the Mumbai-Pune expressway journey a little different from others. Now I know where to take a turn for Lonawala and Khandala…


Photos from my 2008 Mumbai visit * Delhi Photos * Aga Khan Palace, Pune *

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Best of Jan-Feb-March 2010

For the benefit of not so regular readers, here’s a quick sum-up of interesting and popular posts published during January to March 2010.

Product/Service Reviews:

Ford Figo test drive and Review: Ford’s new small car, Figo is good and affordable. Essentially the same Fiesta without a boot, its a good car to buy, except some minor negatives. Read Complete Review of Ford Figo .I also have 2 posts containing photos from Toyota Q-Revolution show. For photos and brief write up on Toyota Etios, Prius, Landcruiser 200, Prado and other cars, Check this post for Prado, landcruiser and fortuner and this for Toyota Etios, Prius and other cars

The 1 Crore Marg Tapovan Villas: Detailed reviews and photographs of Marg Tapovan, a premium residential project comprising of villas priced from 45 lakhs to Rs 1 crore. Read More about Marg tapovan luxury villas

Travel:

Delhi Photos: On a holiday, I was lucky to find Delhi’s roads all empty See the Delhi visit photos

MMTS Photo Ride: We went for a ride in Chennai’s Local train and took some interesting snaps of the city. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of Chennai Local train Photo ride

Date with Mercedes Benz: Took my Mom and Sister for a ride in Mercedes, but unfortunately they didn’t realize that it is a luxury vehicle…Read more about our Mercedes Benz car rental experience

Singapore Underwater world-Some neautiful Photos of Singapore Underwater world from Partho’s collection.You may also wish to see Alamparai Fort photos

Madhugiri Fort near Tumkur: A climb which we thought as simple one, became never ending and took several hours. Read detailed travelogue on Madhugiri Fort

Business

Paypal India issue: RBI crackdown on Paypal’s operations created a huge uproar as it caused inconvenience to thousands of Indian freelancers who relied on paypal for fund transfers. The issue is sorted out now, but to know what all happened, check this post on Paypal India policy changes

Policy Change at local vegetable shop: They don’t want customers to select the vegetables and just take home what is packed and given.. Is that fair? Read full story here and join the debate.

Satyam- 1 year later: As against what many had expected, Satyam Computers survived the crisis and is fast recovering. Read a brief analysis of Satyam fiasco aftermath

After meeting RangDe founders during Cerebrate, I made an investment of Rs 10000 in Rangde, helping women in some remote places with their business ventures. Read more abt my social investment

Other posts:

Climbing Mount Everest: I did a podcast with Everest climber Sandhosh Kumar and also published another post giving key insights into climbing Mount Everest. Must read for adventure enthusiasts.

Adopting to Solar Energy: We got some solar lamps and fans installed in our home. It is expensive as of now, but green. This post provides an insight into the energy of the future- Solar Energy.

Karunakaran Sir MMS: Our Engg College lecturer continues to be as energetic as he was a decade ago. Watch this post with a video to believe

Joining day Experience: What I got to experience, in front of a leading IT services company where freshers were reporting for work… Read more

Be an alert consumer: Some first hand experience accounts on how simple awareness can save you lot of money and effort against a faulty product or service…Must read

Most Popular ones: Of the above, the most commented ones are: Paypal India policy change, MMTS photo ride, Joining Day, and Alert Consumer Case studies

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interesting notes from IAMAI's 2nd Mobile Ad Conference, Mumbai

This post is one week overdue, nevertheless, here it goes.

Most of us get irritated by the unsolicited SMS and voice calls that we get on our mobiles, trying to sell us something. We often vent our anger by shouting at the telemarketing lady or cursing the mobile company and brand for intruding our privacy and wasting our time.

While that’s about us, as consumers, mobile advertising as such is a whole new emerging industry, with heads of marketing companies, mobile operators and brand managers spending lots and lots of effort and time working on new strategies for Mobile advertising.

 DSC_4204live-blogging-team

I attended a full day conference at Mumbai last week, called Mobile Advertising Conference, organized by IAMAI (Internet & Mobile Association of India). We (myself along with two others- Vikrama and Sneha, live blogged the event. While complete coverage of the event can be found at IAMAI’s official blog, this post lists some interesting observations made during the conference.

  • Hardcore advertising segment is worth 10,000 crores for India of which online piece is 600-700 crores, With about 40-50 million mobile internet users, mobile advertising currently stands at 45-70 crores and growing fast.
  • There are 557 million mobile subscriber, but mobile ad industry is very small. Main hurdle is data capability of handsets. Only 30% of the market has data capable handset. 70% of market out of 420 million GSM subscriber are not addressable by means other than voice and SMS. Even among the 30% users having high end handsets, only 20-30% actually use the mobile internet and data services, this makes it less than 10% of the total market, making it one big element of disconnect.
  • For each call that we make, mobile operators preserve a database called CDR- Call Data Record. CDR will have about 43 fields and contains complete set of information such as no. called, balance before and after the call, call duration, location, type of call, date, time and so on. If this information becomes accessible to marketers, the amount of customization they can do to target right ads to right user, is huge…
  • Unlike TV or print medium, mobile is something we keep close to us all the time. Hence it makes much more personal and effective. While TV and print ads can be skipped, ads delivered to mobiles are often read.
  • There is severe lack of creativity in mobile advertising. We often come across interesting TV and print ads which we like and might share with others, but there’re hardly any mobile ads which we like and feel like forwarding. Because of this, most of the ads are treated as spam.
  • The option to give opt-in (wherein subscriber decides if he wishes to receive ads or not) can kill the industry. None of the mediums- TV, print, internet asks you if you’d like to see the ads. Then why so for mobile ads? (the counter argument goes like this- In TV or print, advertisements subsidise the production cost so that end user can pay very less for subscription. But in mobile, user is paying full amount for subscription and he shouldn’t be forced with ads)
  • Between 2000 and 2009, amount of ad inventory radio ad got grew by 4.5 times. Print ads grew only by 1.4 times, Television ads grew 12.5 times-mobile advertising has started from zero and has reached sound position.
  • Unlike print, tv or internet, mobile advertising is complex and involves multiple stakeholders. There’re operators/carriers, Advertisers (brands), Handset makers, Ad publishers (Agencies that run mobile ad campaigns-about 4000-6000 of them are active in India), consumers and enablers (those who build platforms and applications through which ads are served) play a crucial role. Who owns the customer is another challenging aspect.
  • In India, internet revolution is expected to come through mobiles and not PCs. This means further potential for mobile advertising…

As hundreds of executives spend thousands of man hours brainstorming how to make more efficient, targeted and successful mobile advertising campaigns, how do we, consumers, protect our interests and privacy? That obviously wasn’t part of the agenda…

The next IAMAI event will be the Marketing Conclave, scheduled on 29th April 2010, at Hotel Le Meridian, New Delhi. Details

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SME Legend 2010: SAP Talkshow: SAP & Wipro tie up to offer ERP as SaaS

News Just in from SME Legend 2010, SAP Talkshow at Taj West End, Bangalore..

April 12, Bangalore: SAP has tied up with Software Major Wipro to offer SAP as a SaaS (Software as a Service), so that small companies can avail SAP services on a monthly rental basis.

One of the biggest hurdles companies face when decide to adopt SAP is the price. Most of the SMEs may not be able to afford the same. However, with SAP services now available as SaaS, small and medium enterprises can adopt SAP for a very less amount, a nominal monthly fee.

Bringing you the news first, ahead of any news channel or website, live as it is being announced by Debdeep Sengupta, VP, SME & Channels, SAP India...

Debdeep hosted a talkshow wherein he interacted with couple of key customers who had adopted SAP aggressively. SAP Business By Design concept was also demoed during the event.
Dignitaries
Will update this post with more details by evening...

Post event update: I had a casual discussion with Debdeep during lunch, addressing my question that SAP Certifications are very expensive to go for, he informed that SAP training is now available as e learning module at SAP e-learning centres and this costs far cheaper than regular course.

The Panel included Luis Murguia, Senior Vice President, SME, SAP EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa & India), Anand Sudarshan, Manipal Universal Learning, Anup Guha, CFO, Greaves Cotton Ltd and Mr Sandeep Ranjan, Founder and CEO, Prognosys e-service Pvt Ltd

The event lasted for about 2 hours, wherein Debdeep hosted a talkshow with the panel members, who discussed how and why they went for SAP. Manipal Universal, Greaves Cotton and Prognosys are some of the key SME customers for SAP and their insights were highly valued.


For more detailed coverage, please stay tuned to Business Blogging Blog

2hours @ police station


Yesterday I got to spend some time in the Police station- NO, I wasn’t busted by police, just went there to meet a old friend.

Early in the morning, I went to the lodge where he was staying. I was welcomed by this cute little one.
dog-standing-on-2-legs   the-police-belt-upside-down
As I went up and asked the room boy which is room no xyz (note: exact room no withheld due to security reasons), the room boy asked ಯಾರ್ ಸಾರ್? ಪೋಲಿಸ್ನೋರ? (police person?) and guided me in. TV9 was showing some rowdy being killed in police encounter.

After initial pleasantries, he got ready and we went to his station. Our first encounter was with a civilian dressed official from traffic police dept, who’d complained that some unknown guys rounded him up and beat him heavily while he was having food. Since the victim couldn’t identify/suspect anyone, Sunil asked his assistant to meet the restaurant owner (where this guy was having food) and collect more information from him to investigate.

One person had come to collect is 1987 model Yahama RX135- Police had seized it as it had no proper number plate and rider didn't have any documents. Now that he came with original RC book which was almost deteriorated, the vehicle was examined for correct engine no, chassis no and then handed over to the owner, with a warning to fix the number plate immediately.

We went inside, there was a man against whom there was a complaint that he always beats his wife. Another person was also held for repeated petty crimes. Both these people pleaded innocent during initial interrogation and were asked to wait. There was an cupboard in his chamber which was double locked. for a moment I thought- If the one in Police station needs double locking, how safe are things outside?

Since Peenya is an industrial area and has workers from outside the state it has very low recovery rate for thefts. Unlike other places where the thief resides locally and tries to sell the stolen goods locally, thefts in Peenya happen wherein outsiders steal something while returning to their home towns and that becomes very difficult to trace (this is a typical scenario, need not be always)
interrogating-petty-criminal the-gun
Computerization of police department has been minimal and there’s still huge volume of paperwork that needs to be done for every small and regular activity. Despite some recent recruitment, there’s still severe shortage of staff. Lot of efforts are also spent in dealing with politically motivated escalations.

I got to have a closer look at his official weapon, which was heavy (about half a kilo when loaded). I’m told this weapon has a very short range of 30 meters, can fire 10 bullets per magazine and is practically ineffective against modern weapons. On his table, there was a booklet published by the commissioner of police, which included photos and description of all petty offenders in the city. Then came a call from an MLA, who said “ನಮ್ ಹುಡುಗ್ರನ್ನ ಯಾರೋ ಹೊಡ್ದವರಂತೆ, ಸ್ವಲ್ಪ ವಿಚಾರಿಸಿ ” (someone has beaten up our boys-check on that).

An auto driver and his passengers arrived at the station. Passenger complained that “I travel from place x(I forgot the name) to Jalahalli cross everyday and fare comes to around 73-74 rupees, today meter has crossed 90 rupees and still I’ve not reached-there’s something wrong with the meter”. Auto driver insisted nothing wrong from his side and said his meter is correct. After taking auto details and promising a check, a compromise was arranged between both parties as an immediate resolution.

As we spoke, I introduced him to the idea of facebook and twitter, since he is still relying on orkut for social networking. However he had no time for this as work was piling up.
 Sunil the-police-lathi
There was roll call to be done (assigning daily task to all staff). The constable doing the duty of sentry had to be relieved, but his replacement was not around. teams had to be sent out for regular patrolling, for specific investigations and visitors and their complaints had to be attended to.

I asked him for his opinion on VS Acharya, he said Acharya sir is very honest and respectable man.

As I was getting late, I took leave and left. Wishing him all the best and good luck Bengaluru Police
Related: Encounter Dayanayak * Home Minister VS Charya’s Blog *

November 2010 Update:
Below is a brief video about India's reputed police officer, Kiren Bedi

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mumbai-Pune-Bengaluru-Chennai: Action packed week

This week was really action packed for me. Giving a brief update on what’s keeping me busy.

Sunday, 4th April: Went to watch a live music concert by Guitarist Prasanna and grammy winner Victor Wooten. They were assisted by Dr S. Kathick with Ghatam and Bangalore Amrit with Khanjira. The jugalbandi was a treat to ears. Some photos of the event are published here

The event was part of Victor Wooten’s India tour, sponsored by Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music (SAM). SAM aims to bridge the void created by non availability of quality music institutions. Initially SAM would conduct residential 6 month diploma courses in Music, costing Rs 2.5 lakhs. Details: www.sam.org.in

Wednesday, 7th April: Was in Mumbai to attend IAMAI’s Mobile Advertising Conference. I live blogged the event, listening to each speaker and publishing excerpts of their talks. Standby for a separate post on this on this event. For now, you can catch all the updates here at IAMAI blog

After the event took a hotel in Juhu went for a walk in the beach, met Sandeep Srinivas.

Thursday, 8th April: Explored the Bandra Worli sea link, went to Dadar and got on a Pune bound Shivaneri (Govt Volvo service). Requested the fellow passenger to give me the window seat, so that I can check out Mumbai Pune expressway. He agreed.

Met Shekar Malode for the first time in Pune, next day, rented a cab and explored some of the prominent tourist attractions of Pune. Visited Parvati hills, Saras Bagh, Aga Khan Palace, Shanivar Wada, Lal Mahal, Jungli Baba Samadhi, Pataleshwar Cave etc. As I was taking photos of Pune city as I was being driven around, looks like Pune police noticed it and raised an alert. I got a call from Cab company asking me not to take any photos, as they got a call from Police in this regard. Exact reason and details not known, but I appreciate their alertness.

Saturday, 10th April: Reached Bengaluru from Pune and got to see the BIAL for the first time. Avoiding all cabs got into a Jayanagar bound Vayu Vajra, reached home in about 60 mins, which as impressively fast. Met some friends, went for a play in Ranga Shankara. The play, titled “Dreams of Taleem” was just ok ok.

Will be attending SME Legend 2010, SAP Talkshow tomorrow at Taj Westend. The invite only event organized by SAP would exhibit the how SAP is best suited ERP for SMEs.

In between, was also updating Everest Climber Sandhosh Kumar’s blog with his day to day experience accounts. Read it here. If time permits, pls checkout www.millionpledges.com to participate in an initiative against Child Sexual Abuse.

The action packed week would end once I reach Chennai tomorrow night. Will publish detailed blog posts where appropriate and as & when time permits.

Aga Khan Palace, Pune, Maharashtra

Aga Khan Palace is a small but beautiful tourist attraction in the city of Pune. The place is also being used as Mahatma Gandhi memorial.

Aga-khan-palace-front profile Aga-khan-palace-side profile

Mahatma Gandhi, Kasturbai, Sarojini Naidu and others were kept under House Arrest (internment) in Aga Khan Palace during british rule. Kasturbai died in one of the rooms here due to bad health. Her Samadhi is also present in the same campus.
signage-mk-kasturbai stairs-aga-khan palace

The palace also exhibits wide range of artefacts that were used by Mahatma Gandhi, Sarojini Devi and other freedom fighters.
another-view-aga khan palace mahatma-gandhi-statue

The palace was built by Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan 3rd in the year 1892. He became king in 1885 at a young age of 8 years(he was born in 1877). He is the same person who built Alighar University. His grand son Shah Karim Aga Khan became 4th Aga Khan (what happened to the person in between?) on 11th July 1957 and he gifted the Aga khan palace to Govt of India 1969.  (Info sourced from displays inside the building)
the corridor-aga khan palace circular-stairs

The campus was deserted on a Friday morning. Entry fee was Rs 5. The Aga Khan Palace was also featured in the movie-“Gandhi”. A must visit place when in Pune

How to go to Aga Khan Palace?

View Larger Map
Nearby: Shanivar Wada * Pataleshwar temple *

Friday, April 09, 2010

3 Wheelers with a difference

Showcasing 2 unique 3 wheelers, which I noticed recently (may not be unique to those who see it regularly)

The Mumbai Police amphibian patrol vehicle
On an early morning I went to Juhu beach, primarily for a walk, secondarily to try my luck spotting some celebrity hollywood star or industrialist (I’m told many of them stay in Juhu). I didn’t spot any of them (it was too dark to spot as well), instead, what I saw was this:
police-boat
Does this vehicle have a name? if you know pls comment.

Mumbai police have recently acquired amphibian vehicles that can be driven both on water and on land. These boats, with their 3 wheels would add extra muscle to Mumbai Police. However I couldn’t see it in action. I feel people in Chennai should buy something like this- will be handy during the annual floods. Trying to imagine how it will be to drive this on the roads of Velachery…

The fully mechanical sugar cane juice machine-Pune
The next day I was in Pune, accidentally spotted this cart. The cart is used to churn sugarcane and squeeze juice out of it. Unlike mechanized ones, this cart is powered manually.
juice-cart-front
The gears were made out of wood. The top half has meshing gears, which were for initial squeezing. The bottom half was plain and was being for finer squeezing. As in most of the setups, one is stationary and the other is powered-by hand.

This looked like a family business. Father, Mother and son were involved in making the juice-either feeding the cane or rotating the handle or collecting the juice. I tried rotating the handle, it wasn’t that difficult. At times sugar cane would get stuck between the gears and vendor would use knife to ease them. The juice was good, but there was watery due to excessive ice.
gears Guruprasad-rasavanti-gruh
Another idea would be to offer this as a Do It Yourself juice machine, wherein customers can have their daily exercise trying to make juice out of sugarcane sticks…

If you have any additional information about these machines, please share.
Also read: Tender coconut carts- Coco Fresco by Coconut board… *