Category Archives: Life

A Shift in Focus

The Real Need to Stop.

During the course of any journey, one needs to stop every once in a while, to look around, check that you’re actually moving in the right direction. To check the location of certain key features against those on a map, to ensure that you actually are where you think you are on the map, and then get back to moving towards your destination. This is how life must be treated too, I have found.

Stopping to look around and Find Direction

For me, this happened last December (2014). It was a time to look at the industry and understand where it was going, and look at me and my skills and understand where I was going, and where I wanted to go. The picture in my head didn’t match where the map told me I was, and where I was going. This was disconcerting. So I decided to look around and find my direction once again before restarting my journey.

These days I’m looking around more often to make sure I’m on the right course. As a result, my course corrections aren’t as big as they needed to be in the past. That is comforting.

You’ll see this course correction in the content of this blog, and my other online properties as I start adding more content. I will also be making larger, and more apparent changes.

How Often do You Make Course Corrections

How often do you look at your life and make changes that you need to? If you don’t look at the big picture often, do you find that you need to make bigger corrections? What would happen if you made more frequent evaluations and corrections on your life’s journey?

Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and I will answer immediately. I wish you well in all your endeavours.

What’s your Talisman?

Talisman Tattoos LogoTalisman Tattoos is a cool place to hang out at… New Shop, but with Chennai’s first professional tattoo artists. Amar and Nisha have been around for ages, first tattooing at Irezumi and now in their very own all-new-boutique, Talisman. Both Amar and Nisha are respected for their talent and have tattooed a number of celebrities (though they’re not at liberty to say who), and have clients who regularly visit them from far of parts of the country: even from Mumbai and Delhi.

Talisman has a promo offer happening till the 8th of October. If you book an appointment before then, you can get a sweet 20% off on your tattoo!

Talisman Tattoos Gallery
Talisman on Facebook
Talisman on Twitter
Talisman on FourSquare

Reliance Netconnect Broadband Billing issues. An open letter.

The following is a letter that I am sending to Reliance Communication’s Service Assurance Cell, Chennai Nodal Officer, and Chennai Appellate Authority. The email IDs for which are: serviceassurancecell@relianceada.com, Rcomnodalofficer.Chennai@relianceada.com, Rcomappellateauthority.Chennai@relianceada.com. You can read about how I’ve been paying for services without receiving a bill for the last 4 months, and how they have taken no action at all to resolve the issue, yet have closed the case on their side, indicating that the problem has been resolved.


Dear Sir / Madam,

So far I have had a very bad experience with your company’s billing department. I sincerly hope you are able to rectify this in the near future.

I have not received a single bill for my Reliance Netconnect Broadband connection right from the day that I first subscribed to your service (over four months). This has resulted in sudden deactivation of internet service to my datacard on two occasions, putting me through great inconvenience.

Though I first complained some time in early January about non receipt of a bill, the situation has not yet been rectified. Each month, the first indication that my bill’s due date has passed is a phone call from one of your collection agents stating that my bill date has not been paid.

Each time a complaint is taken, I am informed that I will receive a copy of my bill within 3-5 working days, but the bill does not come. On what basis then, am I to pay the amount you quote on the telephone? How am I to know the details of what I am paying for? I have, till date paid up the amount quoted to me just because I needed the internet re-connected. This time I assure you that I shall not make a payment till I receive a bill.

The operator on the phone tells me that your billing department states that the bill has been sent. They also say thatย  they called and spoke to me regarding this issue, but I have not received any phone call from any representative of your company. I urge you to look into the occurance of this mis-reporting that is happening as it is quite serious.

The latest of my complaints bears the number 121940180 which is a request for a bill to be sent to my postal address. I have also requested that you reverse ALL late payment fees that have been charged till date, and inform me of the amount; complaint number 121940279.

My next step, should I not receive an immediate response, will be to contact the Public Greviance Cell of the TRAI to inform them that your company has been negligent of standard billing and complaint-followup procedures.

My MDN Number is 0938xxxxxx0.
My Name is Susheel Samuel Chandradhas
My Address is

1xx, xxxxxxx Nagar,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
,
Chennai – 600 xxx

My Phone Number is 9962028747.

I look forward to a speedy and permanent resolution to this problem.

Sincerely,

Susheel Chandradhas.

PS: This letter is also being posted on my blog. You can find it at http://www.coloursalive.net/2010/03/18/reliance-netconnect-broadband-billing-issues-an-open-letter/

The Last Calligraphed Urdu Daily.

A couple of days ago, a friend and I finished lunch and were about to part ways when he mentioned that he was going to try and find the office of “The Musalman”, possibly the last remaining Calligraphed Urdu Daily newspaper. Being a purported fan of typography and related areas, I had to join in the quest.

Our only lead was the information that the newspaper’s headquarters were in Triplicane, a Muslim dominant area of Chennai. We were in an area where we knew there was an open wi-fi connection, so we headed over to the hot-spot, pulled out my Mac Book Pro (which I happened to be carrying) ๐Ÿ˜€ and did a search on the internet. Fortuitously, we found this photograph of their front door, which had their address on it. We now had a destination!

We found the office with no trouble, Mr. Syed Falzulla was kind enough to show us around and tell us a bit about the history of the newspaper. There’s a lot to tell, but it’s already been told. Here is a detailed article written by Wired.com about The Musalman, and here are some photographs of the place.

Now, for the hurriedly put-together ColoursAlive exclusive video shot on my phone ๐Ÿ˜‰ Don’t you just love digital technology?

A Journey Begins: 14-01-08 Pt.1

Balaji booked train tickets to Umesh‘s wedding. It was to be held in Kerala, near Umesh’s hometown, Ottapalam. He booked the tickets a month in advance. I wondered why. I found out a month later. It was 2 days before Pongal, that’s why…

We left Chennai on the evening of the 12th of January, 2008. It was a Saturday and had been a full day for me. I packed my bags early in the morning, when I was leaving for office, carried it with me, and managed not to forget anything. Toothbrush, Shirts, Underwear, Formal shoes, everything was in the bag.

That afternoon, at office, we had a studio rental scheduled. Sudhan, a photographer introduced to us through Rajasekar, was hiring the studio to update the portfolio of a musician that he’d photographed a year or so ago. Sudhan is about my age, maybe younger, is losing his hair (like me) and is very conscious about the fact (I’m not). He asks me whether I’m getting some treatment for my hair-loss and I always reply, No.

Well, today Sudhan was carrying a bag that looked familiar. It was Rajasekar’s bag that he’d taken a year or more ago, and “forgotten” to return. I called Rajasekar, as I usually do when Sudhan comes over, and put him on speaker-phone. Sudhan and I had a short funny chat with him, and then I casually invited Rajasekar over to “help” Sudhan out. Now, I’d forgotten about the bag…

A short while after the conversation, I noticed Sudhan looking a bit agitated and wondered why. He’s usually very calm about a photoshoot. Especially one with a friend… So I tried to figure it out. It was then that the “camera bag” angle struck me. I called Rajasekar, told him that Sudhan was carrying his bag, and asked him to come over ASAP, because I was due to leave for the train station in 30 minutes.

It was then that Suresh called me. Suresh, like Rajasekar, is my classmate from Loyola College during my B.Sc. Visual Communication course. We, my Dad and I, had done a photoshoot for him some days before, and he wanted to come over to pick up a colour corrected version of the images. I told him that I was leaving, but I’d have the images exported and burned on a disc, ready for him. He said, “Great, I’ll come over sometime soon.”

I promptly forgot about it. Sudhan’s model/client had come in and props, makeup staff and other unknown people started hanging around the studio/green room. Rajasekar’s little mission was also getting interesting by then. He came in, and said Hi to Sudhan, then came over to my desk, I was a but busy so I told him to chat with Sudhan and that I’d be over with them in a few moments. They went out and started arranging the model’s costumes, and props.

When I was done with my work for that evening, I went over to see what was happening in the studio. Rajasekar was looking at Sudhan’s camera and lens … ooohing and aaahing over it (he’s wanted to buy a Digital SLR for a long time, and is a great photographer, but is just too lazy to do it).

Sudhan on the other hand was sweating it out. He looked to me like he was hiding the bag … putting himself between the bag and Rajasekar’s line of view. When he saw me, he jumped at the opportunity.

He told Rajasekar, “Why don’t you go and see that website that Susheel was working on earlier… ”

I asked them not to interrupt their conversation for my sake and went running down to the supermarket… It was then that I realised that I’d forgotten my deodorant … And I cant possibly go to a wedding without my deodorant. I rushed down, picked up a bottle and rushed back up. I turned around and was greeted by two sights.

  1. Rajasekar with his bag in hand
  2. Suresh (oh damn! I’d forgotten to burn the disc.)

Rajasekar, who has no idea that Suresh is coming along, is pleasantly surprised…

Sudhan, is standing in the background, looking dejected.

3:49 PM: Me, I’m just… “Oh Damn, where’s my bag?”; “Suresh, I’m going to export the stuff onto the desktop, I forgot … you burn it, ok? It’s all colour corrected…”; “I need to get to the station! I’m fifteen minutes late… Can anyone take me there?”

Rajasekar steps forward like the Hero that he feels like. “Hey, I’ll take you to Kodambakkam station, you take the suburban train to Park station and cross the road, you’ll be there in fifteen minutes”

I say, “Great, let’s go…” wave goodbye to everyone, pick up the bag I’d packed that morning and rush off…

3:52 PM: Rajasekar is a maniac on a motorbike when you need to get somewhere quickly; scares everyone and the cop in the middle of the road half – no more than half- to death… So am I, but he knows that while I can dish it out, I just can’t take it … so he gets me to Kodambakkam station at a steady pace, his freshly oiled hair getting dusty in the process (I’m sorry da…).

3:59 PM: I got to the station’s ticket counter just as a train eased up at the platform. It has been a couple of years since I last commuted by train regularly, and I don’t have an idea of how regular the trains are, so I’m worried; I have only 50 minutes to get to Central. By bike, in traffic, its a 45 minute journey, easily…

4:00 PM (and a bit more): The train is leaving the station. I decide that getting stopped by a cop for riding the train without a ticket would be more disastrous than getting there a bit late, and stay in the queue for the ticket. A long queue. I’m worried; and the seconds seem like minutes (no, the minutes don’t seem like hours – yet!)

4:06 PM: Finally, in the train, I can breathe… The train arrives at the next station, Nungambakkam, in about 5 minutes or less (15 minutes or more by bike) and I relax. I’m going to make it. I call my Dad as I realise a couple of things. My bike key is still in my pocket, and my Dad was supposed to use it the next day. I’ve forgotten the Deo… The all important deodorant. I’d bought it, and in the confusion between Suresh, Rajasekar, Sudhan and the time, I’d left it on my desk at office. Too late now.

I get down from the train at Park station. It is 4:25 PM now. The phone rings: its my Dad… The Deo is in my bag (God be praised!) and he’s going home to get the spare key thats in the cupboard.

4:30 PM: I call Balaji, its the time that we agreed to meet at. He’s at the station. So am I! (Possibly the first time ever! ) We assemble, I’m introduced to his brother Karthick, who almost pulled out (until Umesh told him that he better come to the wedding if he ever wanted to get married himself (I think)) and find our compartment (its a seriously long train!)

4:45 PM: We find our seats invaded by a Gang Of Girls, bags piled high, they don’t know which seats are theirs, and are taking up way too much space. We put our bags in, and cram ourselves in too.

4:55 PM: I’m in the train, the Girls settle down a bit more… I go off to get a Coke. I need one.

5 PM (or somewhere there-about): We’re off… Hurrah! Karthik settles down with the India Today that he had bought. Balaji is looking out the window. He helps identify some of the places that he grew up at. I’m wondering how to get ourselves some more space and get the Girls’ bags off our seat.

5:15PM (or somewhere there-about): I get up, start moving bags around, putting them under seats, arranging them so that they’re not on “our” side.

5:20PM (or somewhere there-about): All’s well. Read about the rest of the journey and the wedding in part 2.

The day I got stranded.

That day was yesterday. I was at the end of a pretty good day of architectural photography and was headed back to pick up my motorbike from one of the buildings that I had photographed. I had a bag with me, which had some papers, but was essentially empty. The car dropped me off at the gate of the building in which I’d parked the bike, and took off, back to the architect’s offices with my Dad.

I happily went in to get my bike, anticipating the nice lunch that I was headed towards… Biryani… and I certainly was hungry… The car was headed off now. It was 3PM and I’d had my breakfast at 8AM that morning… (I usually have breakfast at 11AM and lunch at 3PM)

Well, as I walked towards my bike, I reached into the pocket of my jeans to get my bike key, they were not in the right back pocket, so I tried the left back pocket where I usually keep my office keys; they didn’t seem to be there either. I figured that I’d put them into my bag; so I dug around into the bag… No luck… Wait; my Dad had them… He’d taken the bike out earlier… Quick, run outside (I knew there was no hope of catching the car, but still….) Ok, second option, call him on the phone and get him to turn the car around…

I take my phone out… and the battery is dead! I’d been playing around with the GPRS connection that I’d recently activated and I’d drained the battery last night. It was then that I had this sinking feeling… Sinking because I was stranded. I could get to a pay phone, but deep down, I knew that I had no money with me… Not a single Rupee; and all I needed was a Rupee to make that phone call. Oh wait, I had money… 500 Rupees, but it was all in one note, and no matter where I tried, I could not get anyone to change it for me in that locality.

I could buy something of a little higher value, but the shops in the area were only tiny tea shops and a food shack that made snacks. If I ate all the snacks I could eat, the bill would still come to only about fifteen rupees… and the guy there wouldnt have enough change anyway…

I decided to con the guy at the telephone booth. I went up to him and said I needed to make a phone call “Sure, go ahead…” so I picked up the phone and called my Dad and told him the entire story. He said he’d be there in 5 minutes. I pulled out the note and showed it to the shop keeper “I have no change for that note…”, that’s what he told me. “I thought so…” . I told him that my Dad would be there in a while and I’d pay him then.

10 Minutes later and still no sign of my bike key arriving. I went up to the phone booth: There’s girl there now…

“Where’s the guy?”

“He’s sleeping”

“Well, I need to make a phone call…”

“Sorry, the phone is disconnected, he does that when he sleeps”

“What? I need to make a phone call now, it’s an emergency!”

“Sorry, I don’t know what to do!”

I took a look behind the counter, “All you have to do is plug in that socket, and it will work!”

“Sorry, he has to come!”

(Gimme a break!) Phew… Well, I did have my phone! And the charger was with me too…

“Ok, at least let me plug my charger into the power outlet!”

“I don’t know… ” she said, pointing to the wall sockets.

I took a look and found that all the sockets were full. “Ok, all you have to do is pull out that plug,” pointing to a plug that belonged to the Radio “and plug my charger in. I need it only till I’ve made my phone call.”

“Sorry, He’ll have to come. I don’t know.”

I was getting sick of her by now, this was a girl who was old enough to know how to plug a charger into a wall socket. I decided to try the food joint.

“I need to charge my phone,” I said, pointing to the free row of plug points.

The guy at the counter looked up & grinned at me. Recognising my plight, and the fact that I had no choice, he said, “Five Rupees”

I was stranded, yes, but I was not going to give in to his greed. I snarled at him in anger, like a wolf; the best I could without baring my teeth, and walked away, thoroughly disgusted! How on earth could a person take advantage of your situation like that? He called after me, asking me to go ahead and plug it in, but by then I was too enraged to know what I’d do if I turned back. So I just kept walking.

My Dad arrived a while after that, and I got my bike keys, but I didn’t really recover from the episode until I got to that restaurant and had a good Biryani.

Note:

I’d intended to post this on the day that it happened, but I didn’t finish the post. This incident happened a couple of months ago, but I can’t really shake the feeling of helplessness that it left me with. I just can’t imagine what being stranded on an island would be like. I just wish that if it did happen, that it would be with a beautiful “un-attached” woman who was around my age. Then I’d have to do something to show that I was capable. Then, and only then would I ever get off the Island. Not if I was alone…