Sunday, January 14, 2018

HDFC Diner's Club - Hoodwinking Customers

I have been super excited for last week or so about this new card that I had applied for - HDFC Diners club black card. Read numerous reviews and read through HDFC official diner's club website for all the benefits. Most celebrated of all the benefits are the 10X program where you receive 10X reward points if you shop via smartbuy and their affiliated partners. I received the card today and the first thing I wanted to do was go ahead and book my flight tickets. we as a family do anywhere from 10-15 flight trips a year. An average of 20k/trip and assuming we do 10 trips would save me Rs 60,000/- outright. Seems too good to be true but this deal is from the most trusted bank in India and with all the reviews around there on the net claiming you can save 33% off of your flights had me hooked. A trip for 3 of us costs around Rs 12,000/- to Bangalore. I straight away went to smartbuy website and selected the flights I wanted to travel on. The cost came to Rs 15,500 and seemed a little on the higher side. So I went back to HDFC Diners club website from where you can book tickets but you will only get 1X reward points. I quickly did a search for the same flights. Cost of the flight came to Rs 11,300/-. So to get a 10X reward of 5000 points, I am having to shell out Rs 4200 additional on the flight tickets. If I were to do a simple math after deducting all the benefits, if I book tickets through a normal site I get the tickets for Rs 10,900/- and if I book the tickets through smartbuy it would cost me around Rs 10,400/-. This seems such a farce compared to the claim of 33% savings on flights. I will upload the screenshots of both the sites so that all you customers can check for yourself. I have only compared their flights and have not looked into hotel deals or restaurants. This review of the point system is only for flights. while I was on the net last one week trying to read through all the too good to be true benefits, there are tons of customers wanting this card just for the 10x savings. To all you guys out there you are not losing out on much if you don't own this card.

Friday, December 03, 2010

It happens only in Bengaluru

My wife had been complaining about backache for a long time. Finally we decided to visit Manipal hospital in Bengaluru. We took an appointment for the coming Saturday. The appointment was at 4:00 PM. With quite a lot of difficulty, managed to pull my wife out of the house and reach Manipal hospital by 3:45 PM. We went and spoke to the receptionist. She told us that the doc has gone for an emergency and they are not sure when he would be back. They asked us to wait for a while until they made some enquires. The receptionist came back saying that the doc will be in office in an hour. We decided to wait. I had a couple of coffees and my wife ate cup noodles. We went out for a walk in the hospital lawns. It was around 5:30 PM and decided to head back to the doc’s office. Once there, we had to wait another 5-10 minutes and they let us in to see the doc. Doc examined my wife and told us that we need to get an X-Ray done. We had to go to the radiology section. We made the payment for the X-Ray and when our turn came, we were called into the Radiology room. Here we met a person who was supposed to do the X-Rays. We exchanged greetings. He told us that he will explain in brief the procedure to be followed. We agreed. The next question he posed was – “Sir, which language are you comfortable in?”. I was delighted to know that Manipal was offering such great services to its patients. There might be people from varying backgrounds who could get admitted to the hospital. Being able to service the patient in his own language is a definite ++, it would help them feel at home and help them feel secure. Before we could tell him which language, he started – “Sir, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Hindi…”. My mind was working fast to pick one of those choices but it was not able to. For a split second I couldn’t realize what was happening. I looked at my wife, she had the same blank expression on her face. She had started out to pick one of the choices but couldn’t do so. After 2-3 seconds I realized he had missed out Kannada. I told him – “Naavu Kannadane” (We speak Kannada only).. Now it was the radiologist’s turn to look dumbfounded. Slowly his expressions changed to a sheepish grin and while scratching his head he blurted out – “Sirrr.. um.. Engglishhh ok…?"

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blasts in Bangalore

This was waiting to happen for quite some time now. We all knew Bangalore can't be far behind other major cities in India when it comes to terror attacks and explosions. I seriously wonder why it has taken the BAD so much longer to actually kick off blasts in Bangalore. There can be many possible reasons to this. Bangalore police is giving these guys a real hard time or they are in the process of planning something real huge. The second possibility seems more realistic and scary. And the fact that we have had 8-9 serial blasts on 07/25 rules out Bangalore police giving these BAD guys a tough time. This is an excerpt from the Times - "Bangalore police have not yet linked Friday's blasts to terror groups. Since they were low intensity blasts, police say the intention was to create terror and panic and not cause massive damage." I just hope these comments from Bangalore police are to calm down the residents and not to convince themselves that these low intensity blasts were actually caused to disrupt harmony and create panic. Everyone knows what the goal of the BAD is. Its definitely not to set of a few low intensity blasts and laugh their a**es off seeing innocents run helter skelter. They have a cause and are ready to live or die by it. Hope our Police get a whiff of what the BAD are upto. Even to a layman's eye these blasts seem like a dry run of a massive plan which if executed might leave a permanent scar on the city. Is anybody listening? Have the authorities thought of this angle as yet? Or are we going to let it happen and then worry about blaming groups for the attacks or give reasons for the attacks?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Aikaa Magic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is a story of a little kid named Chandu. He loved being taken out to parks, eateries, bakeries and restaurants. This was a day as normal as any other day and the kid was all set to go out and enjoy the evening. The weather was perfect with a few clouds hovering above and leaves and small branches of trees dancing to the tunes of the breezy wind. Chandu had worn blue peddle pushers and his favorite bubble gummer (read Velcro) shoes. It was Mr. R's turn to take Chandu out this evening. Chandu had three uncles and Mr. R was the youngest of them all. The kid loved Mr. R more than anyone else. He would always look forward to going out with Mr. R.
Mr. R came out of his room and called to Chandu "Baa ma hogona" (come lets go). Chandu wished his grand mom a bye and started off with Mr. R. They walked all the way till the bus stop holding hands and swinging it. Mr. R asked Chandu where he'd like to go. Pat came the reply "Ulity building" (read Utility building). Chandu liked hotel Ulaas the best and he would always order a plain dosa. Ulaas was located on the first floor of the 24 floors tall Utility building. Even the waiters had gotten bored serving the kid plain dosa almost every time he went there.
It was 10 minutes now at the bus stop and Mr. R had started getting impatient. By the time he could get any more impatient they saw a bus arriving. To Chandu's disappointed it was not a double decker. He always preferred traveling by a double decker standing at the front glass window of the top deck. He told Mr. R "double decker al hogona" (let’s go in the double decker). Mr. R didn’t trust the frequency of the double decker buses and carried Chandu onto the crowded bus. They moved away from the entrance and settled down somewhere at the middle of the bus near a pole. Since Chandu couldn’t reach the handles at the top, the pole would help him stand without being pushed around or thrown onto the floor in the crowded bus. He held the pole with both his hands and started looking around. He found two beautiful ladies seated just next to him. A cute stare got him a little seating place in between the young women. Chandu looked up at Mr. R and Mr. R gave Chandu a reassuring smile. Chandu put aside Mr. R for a while and started enjoying the view outside & the wind blowing onto his face. He would have preferred the place at the corner, but both the women wanted him. So he had to settle down away from the window and in between the two of them. About 4-5 stops went by and it was time to get down. Chandu waved both the ladies a bye and in return got both his cheeks pulled and a kiss planted on his forehead. In spite of it being a crowded bus and it not being a double decker, Chandu had enjoyed the ride and was now looking forward to eating plain dosa at Ulaas. He held Mr. R's hand and crossed the road towards Utility building hopping in happiness. They reached the stairs to Ulaas but Mr. R didn’t take it. Chandu asked his uncle why they were not taking the stairs. Mr. R said "Olge solpa kelsa ide, adh mugsi plain dose thinoke hogona". (I have some work inside, let’s finish that and then go to eat plain dosa). They got inside and Mr. R pressed a button on the wall. In a few seconds a door to a room opened and both Chandu and Mr. R got in. It was a small room that could hold about 8-10 people. There was a person standing towards the right hand side corner. Mr. R paid him Rs 2/- and settled down at the other end. The door closed and Chandu was wondering what they were unto. Before Chandu could go ahead and ask Mr. R why they were standing there silently, the doors to the room opened. Mr. R walked the kid out of the room and towards the large window right opposite the room. As they walked towards the window Chandu could see a clear sky with streaks of orange and grey. It looked more like a photo frame with a beautiful painting in it. They got closer and Chandu peeked out the window holding the window with his tiny hands and standing on his heels. What Chandu witnessed was something that he had never seen before. The world outside the window was full of toys. Not the lame GI Joes and cars and trucks you had to push around with your hands. These were GI Joes, cars, buses, bikes etc. moving on the realistic looking roads without any push required from anybody. Chandu was awestruck. It was like the world had transformed into something that he had always wished for. A world full of toys. Toys that would move around in perfect harmony, Toys that wouldn’t require Chandu to push. Chandu turned around with amazement and smiled at Mr. R with his twinkling eyes full of questions. Mr. R smiled back at Chandu as if to say "see what I have got you". Chandu looked out of the window again trying to gulp in everything. He kept staring out the window to his heart's content and then said "aikaaa, Magic. henge neen ellanu ist chikadh maadbitte?" (wow, magic. how did you turn everything into such tiny objects?). Mr. R laughed slightly and said nothing. Mr. R was very happy with the amazed, excited look on Chandu's face. He let Chandu enjoy the toyworld for some more time before he took him to Ulaas for a hot plain dosa.

This is a true story. The room was a lift and both Chandu and Mr. R had climbed to the top most floor of Utility building. If Mr. R had explained Chandu about the functioning of a lift beforehand, Chandu would never have experienced the MAGIC!!!!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Good days ahead!!! (Hopefully)

After the trip to atlanta and a tiring day at the not so good six flags, I woke up real late on monday morning (26th May 2008). Called home in India and mom told me that BJP has won 110 seats of the 224 and needs another 3 seats to form a simple majority. This has come in as a great news to me and i am sure the whole of BJP and all the supporters of BJP are rejoicing. As Advani says this is the turning point, I wish it is so and BJP comes back to the center. This is the beginning for BJP in Karnataka and by no means the end. I wish they realise this and work towards their manifesto and the promises they have made. Citizens of India are real smart these days and will not let BJP retain power if they do not deliver. I wish BJP all the very best and hope that BJP bring about a positive change in Karnataka.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The art of selling

The other day I was reading a book on investments - Contrarian Investment strategies. It reminded me of the day I had tried reading "Gone with the Wind" during high school days. There were too many characters and nothing went into my head. I dropped out at around 110 pages. Now I am at the 60th page on this book and its giving me the same kind of creeps. Too many variables to comprehend. Infact the author mentions that stock markets are full of complex variables which cannot be comprehended by a human brain and this is where everybody ranging from experts to retail investors fail (trying to time the market). Little would he have realised that his book is going to be full of such variables which would be tuff to comprehend (chuckle!!). Anyways its a do or die situation for me with respect to stock markets. I have to tame the markets to get me to the super riches. Hence I stayed on with the book. But offcourse skipping most of the sentences and trying to skim out the important parts. But I am not getting what I am looking for. I want to know when to sell a stock, how many days to hold it? But this book doesnt seem to tell me anything of that sort. Everybody knows when to buy a stock. Low P/E, Low book values, high cash flows. But when do we sell? Anybody has any idea?

Environment Freindly..

These days all talks are about environment. Environment friendly vehicles, Environment friendly machines, Environment friendly campuses, Environment friendly bikinis (This is amongst the latest news I have heard). Guess Thai bikinis are made of Fish skin and offcourse we need to get rid of these bikinis as they are not environment friendly. Imagine if these bikinis start rotting in your cupboard or worst while wearing them. But the best of all inventions till date and the most environment friendly of them all i'll tell you has been what is dubbed as the "Father of all bombs" (chuckle!!). Isnt it great that we as a human race have matured so much that even while making bombs and artillery we think of mother earth. It doesnt matter that the bombs when used can cause catastrophic results. But they are offcourse environment friendly. Its just that they'll wipe out any living being on earth. thereby leaving no environment at all.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Crazy Me

Its been one whole year since I myself visited this page. I don't know if its a problem with Gemini or if its with me but I tend to lose interest in everything that I start off with. I got a couple of requests from friends to continue writing but I just couldn't put my brain to so much trouble. Unexpected was the fact that even a request from a gorgeous babe did not ignite the passion to blog. Main apne marzi ka malik hoon and here I am blogging again trying to fight off the Gemini trademark.