Commitment

Over the last few years I have spent a lot of time architecting myself to be a self improving being. I care deeply about this. Given any situation, I like to come out with a sense that I have learnt and would do better the next time I am in that situation. Or simply put, every passing day, I want to push my limits in every area of life.

This begins by constant self evaluation of my actions. It often involves questions like – was there a better way to do this? Did I meet my commitments for the day? Did I make a positive impact to the space around me? My ‘alacrous soliloquy’ tag, today partly comes from such discussions in my head.

The side-affect? I would get upset over small issues and welcome seriously large problems as new opportunity to learn, to test myself.

What I do hope for, is to strike a balance. To know when not to care about what went right or wrong, to accept facts I cannot change and to limit the harshness emitting from this learning process.

Value

Long time back I had defined friendship upon trust. A few years later, I would like to revisit that bit and base it on Value. What I said back then was

“Friendship demands trust. For me trust is the respect that a friend gives me, I value that and I like to give the same in return. For any reason (and generally many) If I fail to see that respect for me and/or I feel I cant give that respect to you, we shall seize to be friends!”

and I still believe in it. However in recent times I have started to realise (thanks to great coaches in my life) that Friendship or any relationship is driven by value. A relationship could simply be adding value to each other on an ongoing basis. And the value may be as simple as making me smile.

So how does the belief change in the light of Value?

“Relationship is driven by value. I gain tangible or intangible value from every relationship that I maintain and my existence in that relationship adds value to the other person as well. If for any reason, I fail to see value for me or my value addition to a relationship or put another way, if for any reason I do not add value to a relationship, perhaps that ship is just dead weight”

One of the reasons may be trust, but it may not always be the factor affecting value.

The choice I now make is to add value to every relationship that I carry. I may not always be able to do so and should I give up on those relationships is something that I haven’t figured.

Probably some other time… I would want to revisit this and align my thoughts.

Update on the Airtel Incident

Before I begin, I want to thank everyone who took time to tweet, share and comment on my previous post: [Audio] The Police Officer On Behalf Of Airtel – FIR, Threats etc

Your words and support has been my energy for the past two days. I really appreciate it. Here is an update from my end.

a) Airtel has contacted me with several calls since I posted the article along with the audio clips. I do believe that they have taken the matter seriously. Airtel has confirmed that they have cancelled the contract of the agency who was responsible for the unscrupulous call.

b) Airtel (@airtel_presence) tweeted to me today and said:

@annkur Hi! We once again apologise for the unethical behaviour by our vendors. We would like to inform you that we have discontinued the services of the agency in question for violation of Airtel’s code of conduct. Regards

However I noticed that they have been tweeting a slightly different version to everyone else:

@ishita_I_am “Airtel does not condone any harassing or unethical behaviour by any of its vendors or people. We have discontinued the services of the agency in question for violation of Airtel’s code of conduct.Airtel follows the standard industry practice of using the services of collection agencies only after duly following up for settlement of dues with the customer for a period of 90 to 120 days.”

You may have noticed that I haven’t spoken much about my original dispute with Airtel in my previous post, that was for the reason that I wanted to keep the focus on their recovery tactics. However given that they are not hinting on twitter that they have duly followed up with me for a period of 120 days and only then forwarded the case to collection agencies, I feel compelled to reply.

My response: During the duly follow up, Airtel’s collection department refused to look into the billing complaint and said ‘aapne use kiya tabhi to bill aaya hai’, they were often arrogant and non co-operative. They had even agreed to close the account by collecting Rs 2500, reference compared to Rs 5000+ that they are now demanding. Someone from the collection department visited my office with a letter that had my name but a wrong address and phone number to collect the due the last time I had a correspondence with them and the only call I got after that is the ones I mentioned in my post. (Funnily even back then they emailed me from a Gmail ID and the email read this “This has reference to the above mentioned subject, A/C (“a wrong account no”) we would like you to note that the said A/C has outstanding 5,875.91/- for collection of your said account, kindly make payment of an amount of Rs.  2,500/- (Two Thousand Five Hundred Only). Please note that said amount has been arrived at after adjusting all dispute charges. “)

It is only now that they have agreed to look into the complaints and issues I raise about FUP, a lapse in upgrading my scheme (which was accepted by their call center when I was a subscriber) and mysterious Rs 199 under the head ‘gaming charges’ in many of my bills.

c) When I complained about the illegal threat from a lawyer last month on twitter, Airtel looked least bothered to look into the issue and the caller Anoop from Airtel Presence only helped by asking me to pay the bill and did nothing to investigate the call I received. It is only after I recorded another aggressive and illegal call from Airtel that they swung into action. While I do not doubt their statement that they have cancelled the contract of the agency responsible and is taking whatever action possible against them, a doubt sure can be raised as to why they failed to investigate this matter before?

There have been so many people complaining of similar calls on my post, Airtel must answer as to why it was ignored before and confirm if they have initiated any legal proceedings / police complaint against the agency concerned.

d) I am not sure on what next at the moment. I would wait for Airtel to again check my account and I would pay the right due. However as advised by Nikhil of Medianama on Twitter, I would be writing to TRAI with a copy of the call recording.

As I do that, I shall update this space. Thank you.

 

[Audio] The Police Officer On Behalf Of Airtel – FIR, Threats etc

Last month I had tweeted that a senior High Court lawyer had called me from Delhi with regards to an unpaid Airtel broadband bill and demanded that I pay up in an hour else he would go ahead with proceedings in the Delhi High Court.

The call appeared dubious. The lawyer changed the amount I will have to pay as a ‘fine’ twice, ranging between 80,000 to 150,000 INR that too for a bill amount he claimed was approx Rs 5000. I told him that I don’t like this extortion attempt. The call ended with promises of going legal against me. (Wonder why Delhi when I am based in Mumbai and my Airtel connection was in Mumbai?).

I tweeted out from my account @annkur and Airtel promised to call me. And they did call me regarding the same, only to tell me that I should pay the amount they are asking (some 5,000) and the caller wasn’t ready to co-operate on the complaint I had raised with Airtel before disconnecting my connection. Airtel was in no mood to discuss the so called lawyer who called me and ignored my complaint about harassment / legal threats.

Back then I was travelling and couldn’t do much to record the call, however I got the opportunity today. So what happened today? 

I was in office and I got a call from one Mr Samir Saxena who claimed to be ‘thana incharge’ of a police station in Delhi. I made a excuse of driving the car and offered to call back. I called back from a colleagues cell and recorded the call.

He (Samir Saxena) told me that Airtel’s lawyer was present with him and they have some magistrate order to register a FIR against me and start proceedings in 1 hour if I don’t visit an Airtel gallery and pay up the requested amount.

The supposedly police office talks about a fine of some Rs 65000 this time (funny right?) if I fail to comply. The person calling narrated my airtel account no, due amount as per them, address (shop no) and my full name. I asked to speak to my lawyer and call them back.

My friend advised me to lookup the police station and call their landline to confirm. As suspected there was no ‘thana incharge’ named Samir Saxena there. 

During the second call from the same person, I informed them that the police station denied the said officers name and that infuriated the caller such that he went on to threaten me beyond limits with police action etc.

I have both the calls recorded. And sharing it with the community. There is lot of discussion there, my words would perhaps not convey the severeness of the situation, you should listen to both the recordings below.

Airtel has failed to responsibly assist my CS complaint. Failed to settle the bill even after agreeing last year. And are now harassing and threatening me such that we won’t even want criminals to be treated in a democracy like ours.

I am a graduate by education, have taken a course at Asian School of Cyber Law, have been a journalist / technology reporter / blogger since 5 years yet I was scared on both occasions. I still am. I can only imagine what would happen to a common man with such tactics by large cos.

I am happy to share both the phone numbers (last month and today) if required. I am also contemplating legal action against this caller and Airtel. Waiting for advice on that.

25 May, 2013 12:44AM – Note: I have posted an update here.

June 6, 2014 –  For the ones asking what to do about it? Sadly – this is a widespread – industry wide practice today. I get such calls even today and I choose to ignore it. At times I take it as humour, but I ignore it for my peace of mind. 

How Do You Find The Work You Love?

When Steve Jobs passed away earlier this month, something inside me broke. I am the same person who finds it difficult adjusting to a serious environment during conferences or funerals. Yet I was affected by SJ’s departure. Yes, I had a bet that I would some day sit across the table and do business with him, Arpit motivated me to shoot for it and the man himself inspires the entrepreneur in me. That day won’t come in this lifetime and that bet didn’t even cross my mind, it was a distant dream. More like an illusion to keep me hungry.

I am not even a longtime Apple user, I bought my Mac last year and never used an iPod other than the clip shaped shuffle in recent times. Unlike many, my connection to Jobs wasn’t because of the products he sold. During the end of my retail days, I made lots of cash on iPhones and iPods as they picked pace in India. I made a iPhone site (just as a hobby) for a friend and that became serious and somehow made money as well, but my attachment to SJ isn’t for the money I made trading products or news about his inventions.

The one time when Jobs made a real impact to me (and he still continues to) was when I first came across his Stanford commencement speech. It shook me, it touched that 15 yr old kid hungry for business on the streets of Crawford market. It gave me the courage to do so much more, break out of the shell and see the world. I have a long long way to go, but the journey is so much more powerful. Every time I listen to his words, it comes out even stronger. Be it not being burdened by others thinking or doing what you love to do. In a short speech he left behind a world of wisdom. Read More

The Day I Took An Auto Driver To Police Station

Auto Drivers In Mumbai

A few weeks back, on a fine Sunday afternoon I was seen tweeting about help required around Goregaon / Malad (Mumbai) to take a fraudulent Auto-rickshaw driver to a nearby Police Station. I had promised to share more details on my blog and here we go!

Yesterday Mumbai saw a flash strike by auto rickshaw drivers which apparently wasn’t called by their union. Newspapers are reporting hundreds of rigged auto meters lying at workshops as auto-walas panic to get them ‘un-tampered’ given the recent RTO drive against them. As my friend Sandeep RTs above … Only in India you can dare to go on a strike, justifying an act of cheating.

What happened that Sunday was a simple story. I took an auto from Andheri highway to Goregaon Oberoi Mall. The auto driver wasn’t in uniform and while that was least of my concern, as we reached the destination (Oberoi Mall, Goregaon) I realised he was trying to overcharge me. The meter reading was 4.80 and the auto-driver asked me for Rs 64.

I happened to knew the formula for calculating the auto-fare after the recent change in tariffs (Thanks M4Mum/Raxit). So when the auto rickshaw driver asked mr for Rs 64, I got a little suspicious and casually hit the calculator on my mobile. For the ones who want to note, the formula is x132 (multiply the meter reading by 13 and subract 2 from the total.)

The calculation in my case came to 60.4 and not 64. A small difference. I confronted the auto wala and he showed me a fare card. It was certainly a fake one, for fares above Rs 80 his tariff card showed amounts higher by Rs 10 or more. I told him that he is cheating & he suggested me to forget the 4 rupee difference as a loan and asked me to go. Yes, WTF.

I took the fare card and told him to take me towards the mall on the opposite side, where there were quite a few police vans given it was near about independence day. The auto-wala realized that I am not going to relent and Read More

Tower Of London, History, Guns, Knights, Canons and Kohinoor Diamond

You already know that I didn’t have much to do during my London stay, but hey, I did go around the museums in town including the Tower Of London. TOL is a historic castle that houses a good number of ancient artifacts, war time stuff and some weird stuff like the ‘accounts book’ pictured below.

I also went hands-on (well almost, just a glass separating us) with the Kohinoor Diamond. Given the hype that diamond is, I spent a few mins trying to get a good view of it, walking wrong way on the moving belt that gives you a glimpse and moves you out of sight. But looking back at the Tower of London visit, the Kohinoor Diamond is not the thing that runs on my mind, it is the Lance pictured below. May be I am not a jewelry person…

Its been a few months and I am almost losing track of what is what, so here is the Tower of London in pictures:

Tower OF London - Annkur UK 1

Remember seeing these in Age of empires series, only here in real life :)

Guard at Tower Of London

Real and Serious Guard At The Tower Of London

 One of the buildings at Tower of London

I don’t even remember which building this is, but there are many there. The hot chocolate coffee at the cafeteria inside the Tower Of London is Yummy! Read More

Love Doesn’t Wait :(

If you love something, go and claim it now
If you ever wished for something, go get it now
If you every had a dream, go achieve it now

Love Doesn’t Wait, Time Flows. All it leaves behind is faded memories. Act now or repent later :(

… I write this as I realise that my most precious collection of Palm Treo 650s were thrown away in scrap because I didn’t follow up. No notification, no consideration to the value it held for me :( The cracked display, scratched body that came after repeated falls from the bike, 000s of old messages from college and a truck load of emotional value, thrown away? Why? Because I was too busy to keep inquiring about it? I can argue that I did my best to get it back, followed up for the first few months, but somewhere in between I lost track… If I loved it, I wouldn’t have lost it, perhaps I didn’t love it enough. Love doesn’t wait, it flows Read More

The Barrier That Commuting In Mumbai Is!

This strikes me when I meet a friend in Pune, whom I haven’t seen for a little over 6 months. While both of us are based in Mumbai, plans to meet or head out for a movie rarely works out. But fast forward to Pune, where I would spend a day or two in 3 months and she would spend 4 days a month visiting her home, its so much easier to catchup for us when these dates overlap and both of us are in Pune! Weird and we sure laughed at it.

<rant> But then we sure can’t ignore the fact that its the hour and half or two hours of travel to and fro that comes in our way here. And for me a little more than the time involved, its the poor conditioned auto-rickshaws (if you at all find one) or the super uncomfortable Fiat Taxis that kills the enthusiasm of going out of the suburbs.

Screenshot of a chat with a Mumbai Friend: Read More