Monthly Archives: July 2009

Anger Management

Disclaimer: I am not the author of the article below, and you follow his advise at your own risk! 🙂

When you occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don’t take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don’t know.

I was sitting at my desk when I remembered a phone call I’d forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it.

A man answered, saying “Hello.” I politely said, “This is Chris. Could I please speak with Robyn Carter?”

Suddenly a manic voice yelled out in my ear “Get the right f**in number!” and the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn’t believe that anyone could be so rude.

When I tracked down Robyn’s correct number to call her, I found that I had accidentally transposed the last two digits.

After hanging up with her, I decided to call the ‘wrong’ number again.

When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled ” You’re an arsehole!” and hung up. I wrote his number down with the word ‘arsehole’ next to it, and put it in my desk drawer.

Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I’d call him up and yell, ” You’re an arsehole!” It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID was introduced, I thought my therapeutic ‘arsehole’ calling would have to stop.

So, I called his number and said, “Hi, this is John Smith from the Telstra. I’m calling to see if you’re familiar with our Caller ID Program?”

He yelled “NO!” and slammed down the phone.

I quickly called him back and said, “That’s because you’re an arsehole!”

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I’d been waiting for that spot, but the idiot ignored me. I noticed a “For Sale” sign in his back window, so I wrote down his number.

A couple of days later, right after calling the first arsehole ( I had his number on speed dial,) I thought that I’d better call the BMW arsehole, too. I said, “Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?”

“Yes, it is”, he said. “Can you tell me where I can see it?” I asked.

“Yes, I live at 34 Mowbray Blvd, in Vaucluse. It’s a yellow house, and the car’s parked right out in front.”

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“My name is Don Hansen,” he said.

“When’s a good time to catch you, Don?”

“I’m home every evening after five.”

“Listen, Don, can I tell you something?”


“Don, you’re an arsehole!” Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.

Now, when I had a problem, I had two arseholes to call. Then I came up with an idea. I called Arsehole #1.


“You’re an arsehole!” (But I didn’t hang up.)

“Are you still there?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Stop calling me,” he screamed.

“Make me,” I said.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“My name is Don Hansen.”

“Yeah? Where do you live?”

“Arsehole, I live at 34 Mowbray Blvd, Vaucluse, a yellow house, with my black Beamer parked in front.”

He said, “I’m coming over right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers.”

I said, “Yeah, like I’m really scared, arsehole,” and hung up.

Then I called Arsehole #2. “Hello?” he said.

“Hello, arsehole,” I said.

He yelled, “If I ever find out who you are…”

“You’ll what?” I said.

“I’ll kick your arse,” he exclaimed.

I answered, “Well, arsehole, here’s your chance. I’m coming over right now.”

Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 34 Mowbray Blvd, Vaucluse, and that I was on my way over there to kill my gay lover. Then I called Channel 9 News about the gang war going down in Mowbray Blvd, Vaucluse. I quickly got into my car and headed over to Mowbray. I got there just in time to watch two arseholes beating the crap out of each other in front of six cop cars, an overhead police helicopter and a news crew.

NOW I feel much better. Anger management really works.

Pay It Forward

You may have read about a concept called Pay It Forward.  Or might have seeen the movie.  Well, I have seen someone practicing it.  My colleague RameshB.

Imagine that you are driving your motorcycle to work one morning.  The weather is hot and you are sweating.  You look forward to getting to the cool and comfortable environs of your office.  The very thought makes you accelerate your bike.  Instead of the increased speed that you expect, all you get to hear is a spluttering engine, and your mind goes … Oh Oh… forgot to fill the petrol!

The next petrol bunk is only 2 km away.  As bikes and their riders zoom past, you wonder whether your boss will believe you when you tell him the reason for missing the 10 AM meeting.  Taking off your helmet, you decide to take steady steps towards the petrol bunk.  Sweat pores out from wherever it can, and you stop to wipe it away.  And then push again.

“Hello!  Out of petrol?” comes the friendly query from a stranger, who in this case happens to be RameshB.

“Yes”, if your irritated response.  Or a tired one.  Or a hopeful one once you realise that he has stopped his vehicle next to yours.

RameshB opens his motorcycle’s side box, and out comes a 1 l water bottle, only it does not have water, but petrol!  “Use this, so that you can get to the nearest petrol bunk riding, not pushing your bike”, he says.

“OK.  Come on.  Ask for money now.  Take advantage of my situation.”, your mind goes on an overdrive.  It never comes.  The request for money, that is.  The petrol is for free.  Really.

Now, you start feeling guilty about those negative emotions.  “Thanks a lot.  So, how much should I pay you?”, you ask of RameshB.

“Nothing”, says RameshB.  “If possible, I wan’t you to do one thing.  Keep a bottle of petrol like I do and help someone else who you find in a similar situation.”

Pay It Forward.  Being kind to a stranger when they need your kindness the most.  Does RameshB expect anything in return?  Yes.  He hopes that if he is in trouble, someone will stop by and offer to help.

One of the recepients of RameshB’s kindness, was so moved by it, that the next day he made it a point to come all the way from Yelahanka to Marathahalli and gift him a T-shirt, and another 1 l bottle with petrol.

How does one define Customer Friendly Service?

I had a wonderful experience of what I believe is good customer service from Landmark – the store that you can find at many malls all over India.

Last Saturday, went to the Forum Mall in Koramangala, Bangalore and shopped at Landmark. Purchased a few books, and then went and picked up some erasers. One set had 10 numbers, each priced at Rs. 3/- for a total pack price of Rs. 30/-. Another set had 5 numbers, each priced at Rs. 5/-, for a total pack price of Rs. 25/-. While billing, the cashier, billed me for 10 numbers of the costlier set. I discovered the overbilling at around 9 PM the same night while checking out the bill for how much the books cost me.

On the bill were two email IDs. So, I wrote an email giving all details of the bill and the mistake that I saw as a human error. I asked them to call me or write to me as to how they planned to rectify the mistake.

Sunday afternoon, I got a call from the store, from Harish I think, who said that he was sorry about this, and that could he send Rs. 25/- over to my house. I asked him to send another set of erasers instead. I have provided them my home address. I am hoping to get this sometime soon.

Is this a good example of Customer Friendly Service from Landmark?

I thought so. At least till my colleague Ajay corrected me. As he pointed out, this incident tells us that there is one staff from Landmark who has provided
customer friendly service once. To me. Because they made a mistake. The true test of whether this person and others in the store, are customer friendly is how they behave with the customers in the store. One example would be that a customer could approach any of the staff in the store and that person should be able to resolve their issue. Is there any store in Bangalore which has staff with this capability? Ajay believes that staff at M K Retail (part of the M K Ahmed group) seems to possess this quality. They know the store in and out, and can step in and help out if any section seems to be overloaded. Another observation was that there are staff who are on the lookout for customers carrying multiple items in their hands, and they approach them with an empty basket.  Till such time as most, if not all staff at Landmark can demonstrate customer friendly service in the store, they should not be credited for the act of one of their employees alone.

Ajay has set the bar higher. As you can see, I am easy to please. By responding to my email, Landmark (now a part of the TATA group), has created a positive impression.

So what do you, dear reader, have to say?  Please do share your good/bad experiences of customer friendly services.

National Bench by Anonymous

Disclaimer: I am not the author of the article below, and since I do not who is, I have credited to “Anonymous”.

From an INFOSCION to a POLITICION – Nandan’s Chronicles – 2

Continuing my tryst with capturing the life and times of Nandan Nilekani in his new avatar as a Cabinet Minister, here is what he had penned after his first day in the Parliament. The last entry stopped when the House was just about to begin. Let’s see what happened thereafter….

The House was in pin drop silence. I was brimming with anticipation and excitement!! !! Manmohan had informed me that my introduction was one of the important points of the agenda. I hoped that I will be able to make my speech properly. After so many interviews and conferences, I was nervous today!!!! After the Speaker indicated that the proceedings of the House could begin, Manmohan formally introduced me to the entire House. He mentioned that as the head of the Unique Identification Authority of India, I was responsible to ensure that each and every Indian had a digital smart card as a proof of his existence.

Manmohan spoke about why I was selected and also some references to the various projects executed by me in Infosys were mentioned. The House listened with rapt attention. I was asked to say a few words and I did exactly the same!!! I thanked the Government of India for having given me this opportunity and I assured the House that I would strive to successfully deliver this project. The Speaker then formally inducted me into the House and before the proceedings could move any forward, there was a small commotion on the other side of the hall.

It was Minister of Textiles who had a comment to make before the next point on the agenda. He made a request that I should be attired in a more austere way instead of a flashy suit. It did not go well with the image of a minister who should live to serve the common man and should be less ostentatious in his habits. I stood up to reply. I offered my apologies to the Honourable Minister and assured that I shall be in a more acceptable dress next time. I felt that he was right. We also used to have corporate dress code in Infosys. So it’s here as well!!!!

I sat down and felt somebody nudging me. I turned around and to my surprise; it was the former Indian skipper and one of my favourite batsman Mohd. Azharuddin. I remembered that he had recently won the elections. I smiled at him and mentioned to him that I used to like his game very much, shaking his hand. No Rolex, I noticed. Azhar told me that he would “fix” me an appointment with an Italian designer who had designed his dapper Kurta suit. An Italian designer in Milan doing Kurtas!!!!! I made a note of this and reminded myself to give this example to Friedman for his next book,” The World Markets are flattened”.

Since there was no doubt about the “Fixational” capacities of Azhar, I told him to give me the details and I would consider. The proceedings of the House went on with numerous bills being debated and passed as I sat as a passive audience waiting for my project’s turn to come up. After the lunch break, it was the moment for me!!!!


I was at sea. My laptop did not have any reserve power. I went to Manmohan and apprised him of the situation. I was sweating. He calmly replied that this would not be a cause of concern. I was flummoxed!!! ! The Speaker asked me to explain to the House on what were my plans for the Unique Identity Project. I replied that I have a plan prepared for 30-60-90-120 days’ milestones and I have presentation to make for which I need a power socket, a projector and a screen. I had no idea what was going to happen after this.

The next couple of minutes were a complete jolt for me. I was completely in a tizzy. Let me just summarize what happened. A Joint Cabinet Secretary Committee was set up to judge the feasibility of my request. The Under Secretaries for the Ministries of Power, IT and Broadcasting will prepare a Viability Report after scrutinizing National Security threats to my request. This was because the power socket comes under Power, laptop comes under IT and projector comes under Broadcasting. I have also been told to reconsider my timelines of 30-60-90 days and start thinking in terms of years. Probably, they are right. I did not have the foresight in this matter.

The summary of the issue is that I need to come up with a more inclusive, democratic, comprehensive long term plan for this project to be executed over the next five years. I have also been given a presentation slot 3 months from now (by which the issues related to the power cord etc will also be resolved). I am filled with mixed reactions. I was planning for a quick resolution; the management wants a strategic solution. I come out of the House and text Murthy.

“You won’t believe it but these guys work just like us. I am on a NATIONAL BENCH for the next three months!!!!!! !!”