Jun 13, 2007

Credit Card Troubles

I neither have a credit card nor do I need one at this point of time. Last week, I got a call from a private bank. This is how the conversation went.

The lady on the phone : Madam, I’m calling from xxx bank.
Me : Is this regarding credit cards?
The lady on the phone : Yes, madam
Me : No, I’m not interested
The lady on the phone : Since you are working for company, we are offering you a free credit card
Me : I don’t need it
The lady on the phone : It’s absolutely free, for lifetime
Me : Still, I don’t need one
The lady on the phone : We have already allocated the card for you and we will be dispatching it soon
Me : (In an angry tone) Who asked you to allocate it? Did I ever apply for a credit card? Just because I’m from company, you just send a credit card to me? You are not sending the card to me. Why do I have to face the hassles unnecessarily? After a year, you will charge me with some useless charges. Why do you guys cause so much trouble to people?
The lady on the phone : No charges will be charged, madam. It’s absolutely free. Why do you reject a free credit card?
Me : I don’t want a credit card, even if it is free. Please cancel it

And the worst part is that the same bank had sent me a credit card to my home address without me applying for it a couple of years back. I wonder how they got my details. I had to put an unnecessary item in my to-do list to cancel the card. Though it’s easy to cancel, I don’t want to spend time on such useless work. It’s so irritating when these people call and disturb you all the time. If I need a credit card, I would call different banks and enquire about the options. Why do these banks adopt such stupid marketing tactics? Is it that they believe that if anything offered for free, people will just grab it? I guess that mindset has gone past long ago and people are more aware of what they are getting into. Just by using the word “FREE”, the agents cannot capture the consumers.

Mysore revisited

What do you do when your cousins visit Bangalore on their summer vacation? Take them to Mysore, of course! Though I had visited Mysore last October, I didn’t mind going again. We hired a Tavera and started very early, around 7.30 AM (What do you expect on a Saturday morning?). Once we hit the Mysore Road, it was a smooth, no-traffic ride. We stopped at a restaurant Indra Dhanush, around 80 kms from Bangalore for breakfast. It’s a good enough place to have a sumptuous South Indian breakfast. We then visited Ranganatha Swamy temple in Srirangapatna. It’s a beautiful, ancient temple and had lots of visitors as well. The only negative part is the parking charge of 30 rupees which I feel could be reduced.

The heritage city Mysore greeted us warmly and our first pitstop was the famous zoo. The kids had a good time, admiring the different species. It was two and half hours of excitement and fun. Our stomachs growled so much that we rushed for lunch to a restaurant Hotel Saptagiri. The food wasn’t so good. Wish I could wake up early on such outing days and pack food from home, like how my grandmothers used to do.

This time, I definitely wanted to visit the Mysore palace. Last time, I couldn’t go inside because of the huge crowd during Dussehra. The camera had to be deposited in a particular place before we step inside the palace. I was a bit apprehensive about the safety of my camera. But I had no other option. When I deposited, I was surprised to see that the people in the counter placed the cameras inside individual lockers, locked them and gave the keys to the camera owners. I was very glad to see this kind of service. The palace was amazing with lots of colourful paintings adorning the walls. A piece of information that shocked me was that the palace was constructed in the 1890s and the total cost was (Any guesses?) around 42 lakhs. For the same amount, today all I can get is a 1300 sq ft apartment in the outskirts of Bangalore. Sigh!

We decided to skip Chamundi hills and head straight to the Brindavan Gardens. A lovely breeze swept away all the tiredness and we felt refreshed, sitting under the shade of a huge tree in the sprawling gardens. Waiting for the colourful lights to be switched on, we took a stroll around. It was a lovely sight to watch the lit gardens and a glowing evening sky. We took a small boat ride to reach the other side of the gardens to watch the musical fountain show. By the time we reached the other side, there was a huge crowd waiting for the show to begin. All we had to do to get a glimpse of the dancing fountains was to climb a nearby hillock and it was worth the effort. The perfect finishing touch to this show was the way the fountains danced to the tunes of “Saare Jahaan Se Achcha”. Impeccable, I should say!

After a quick dinner in the same place where we had breakfast, we headed back home with sleepy eyes, tired faces and most importantly happy memories.

Jun 4, 2007

Simple

Is it so complex to write about the word "simple"? I have been thinking of what to write on this topic for the past few days. I got a glimpse of a few ideas but I never tried to spend some time exploring them. Forget it, this is the time!

"Simple" means many things to me. A simple, yet delicious tomato rasam (South Indian tomato lentils soup) with a roasted papad and yummy curd rice is one perfect combo with which I can survive for long. After coming back from a long trip or a wedding function, all I need to satisfy my appetite is this kind of simple home made food.

A simple song, according to me is one where minimal musical instruments are used. The Tamil song "Pottu Vaiththa Oru vatta nila" from the movie Idhayam is a perfect example. It's a beautiful, soothing melody sung by the genius Yesudas and composed by the melody raja "Illayaraja". There are many such simple, yet lovely songs composed by the maestro worth listening to umpteen number of times.

I like to interact with people who are not complicated in their thinking and lead simple lives. One such person is my grandfather. Although he could afford the materialistic riches, he led a very simple life, with 4-5 pairs of clothes to wear. As a kid, I used to observe the way he spent his days. He maintained a very strict schedule, getting up everyday at 5 AM, listening to the radio news, raising water from the well using a hand pulley, watering the plants in his garden etc. After retirement from his work, he tried to resolve issues in his village, typing letters to the concerned authorities using a small typewriter and following them up with the government officials rather than enjoying his retirement life.

I try to be a simple woman. More than the external appearance, I want to be simple from within. Whenever I come across a problem, I want to think in a simple manner and not complicate the solution. The materialistic and the gadget freakish world has only complicated the lifestyle.

Life was more simple in the 80s. All I had was a small TV with just a single Doordarshan channel to watch. I never had to think which channel to watch. There was no concept of "remote". Eating out in a restaurant was considered something very special. Travelling in a train was something to look forward to. Things have changed so much in the past 15 years, some for the good and some for the bad. I guess it's all part of evolution and it's upto me to find the simple pleasures in these complicated days of life.

8 things about me

Tagged by Skely

1) Whenever I go to a restaurant, I ask for the menu, peruse it for a while and then order Veg Pulav.
2) While walking on the pavement, if the person driving a motorbike on the same pavement honks at me from behind, I shout at him angrily in my mind.
3) I make peculiar sounds while I’m sneezing.
4) I get amazed by watching aeroplanes. Whenever I hear the sound of flights, I look up and observe them with awe.
5) I talk to the moon and the stars. Of course, I have to be in a certain mood for it.
6) When I lend a pen to someone (even to my husband), I ensure I get it back.
7) If I get hurt, the first emotion I express is anger, after which I feel the pain.
8) I can converse better with guys than girls.

I tag everyone who is reading this :-)

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