Monday, April 8, 2013

Happy to help…yeah right!

Picture Vodafone and you picture the animated, cute, fluffy things called zoozoos; you hear ‘you and I, in this beautiful world…’ playing inside your head. But reality is far removed from the utopian picture that tv commercials paint.

If you’re using Vodafone, you realise that neither is the customer care service cute like the zoozoo, nor is the ‘You (the customer) and I (Vodafone) waala world beautiful. There is no green grass, no blue sky. There’s only frustration. Lots and lots of it.

My facebook posts testify how much Vodafone has harassed me. Many of my friends pinged and commented saying my boundless love for Vodafone has been spamming their walls for a long time. I agree. I might have been going overboard with my posts. But listen to my story and you’d probably try and put yourselves in my shoes.

It’s filmy. Or maybe soap-y. Like the K-soaps. There’s a Parvathy, and there is the Vodafone Vamp. Parvathy is virtuous, but vamp…vamp tries all she can to escalate Parvathy to her tipping point. That’s just a gist of the story. Here’s how it happened.

I have a blackberry and I subscribed (read: fell prey) to Vodafone’s unlimited BBM services pack that burnt a hole worth 450 bucks in my pocket, every month. Now, for me and for the world and its wife, unlimited means unlimited. But looks like Vodafone’s library stocks a dictionary complied by some cheap, illiterate cousin of the Wren and Martin duo. I was shocked to see Vodafone chopping off money from my main balance. Next step, call the customer care executives. That step was, but of course, fail, EPICFAIL!
They could neither speak English, nor could understand what I was saying.

After explaining my problem non-stop for more than 10 minutes, I could hear a beep, beep, beep on the other side. I tried calling again, and some Aunty kept on repeating: Your time is valuable. Our customer care executives will assist you as soon as possible. Bull shit! The call never got answered. I kept on trying like a fool and after almost 45 minutes, my phone protested and went on a hunger strike. The warning on the screen kept flashing in red: LOW BATTERY! Several attempts later, I started yelling at the guy who received my call. I said I wanted to speak to someone senior. I was put on hold, with the same “you and I’ crooning loudly on the other side.

Another spooky thing that was happening was, my network switched from EDGE to GPRS all the time!

My next fortnight was spent dialing 198 more often than my hubby’s number and explaining my problem to asses in the guise of customer care executives. They were rude! When I asked one of them, “Is this the way you’ve been trained to talk to customers?” pat came the reply. “Yes,” she said and banged the phone on my face!
I decided I’d taken enough of shit and I marched my way to the customer care centre. “Madam, pliss take token, then wait. We will read token number and hear to you. Ok?” Ok!

After having endured the trauma of recollecting and ‘explaining the situation’ all over again, I was reassured that my problems would be ‘taken care of’. They registered a complaint (1489809812) and the ‘happy to help’ people packed me off saying I’d receive a call within the next 48 hours. Looks like Vodafone either lives in a different time zone or has no idea of time. Two days later, I received a message from Vodafone, saying, “Your request could not be processed.” Beat that!

Almost a month and a half passed, but there was no way I could stop Monster Vodafone from eating into my balance unnecessarily. I posted complaints on various forums including one that claimed to the ‘consumer forum’, but no action has been taken so far. Vodafone also managed to block me from accessing 198, funniest part being, I could reach the customer care executives from other numbers, not mine!

Two-and-a-half months later, I deactivated the Vodafone BBM pack and received an acknowledgment of the request on 28.3.2013. Now, I have no internet access on my phone, I don’t fiddle with anything, except making calls and receiving them, but still, Vodafone happily continues deducting money from my balance, amounts including 10p, 50p, Re 1, Rs 2.60, Rs. 5. It’s gone from bad to worse today (8.4.2013), with amounts of 10p getting deducted every 5 minutes! I cant give missed calls or send messages, because apparently, my ‘network is out of order’!

I’m terrified of even touching my phone, for Vodafone could very well come with the excuse of ‘you touched your phone, so we deducted money.’

I’m really clueless as to how to deal with this issue and make Vodafone pay through its nose! Over Rs 300 have already been deducted from my account and there seems to be no one to explain why! Any feedback or suggestion is welcome! Is someone ‘happy to help’?


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Oh Womaniya! Part I

Hormones gone haywire, ‘that time of the month’, pot-bellied pregnancies, dreadful deliveries – the one thing that’s thick as thieves with a woman’s life is pain. But wait, does pain stop there? No, certainly not!

We like to flaunt our curves, strut our stuff and tease the ‘not-so-fair’ sex. And for those of us who aren’t blessed with the hourglass 36-24-36 frame, ‘sundar’ face, lambe, ghane hair, or ‘fair and lovely’ skin, worry not, for the savior has mushroomed in almost every nook and corner.

Aaj kal ke womaniya not just do the ghar ka kaam, and mint money for their families, they also walk (sprint, in extreme cases!) the extra mile to make sure they are well-groomed from top to toe. Let’s not forget our most loyal companion – pain. Yes, she raises her ugly head most often during our parlour visits too.

Beauty not just comes with pocket-burning and jaw-dropping bills, it also comes with another price tag dangling on its neck. Pain. Extreme and severe pain. The pain of getting eyebrows plucked and shaped; the pain of ripping off ‘unwanted’ hair; the pain of having to lie down for hours while the parlour people have fun at our expense; the pain of having to endure uncalled for comments like, ‘ohhhhh your skin is soo rough!’; pain of having to pay through our noses!

The pain of anticipating pain would top the charts in the worst pain category. Just as the wax gets applied to the skin in a gentle fashion, the strip of paper very reassuringly patted on to the skin, one, two, and three! Wham, it rips off the life out of us!

That. Is. Pain.

Parlour visits are just the tip of the iceberg. The life of the womaniya is difficult. Almost always, our wardrobes seem to wear a sad, barren look. Enough is never enough. The first big task before going out is – what to wear. What follows next is the ‘mix-n-match’ mission, after which we do our hair, our eyes, our lips. We spray a dash of perfume, check the mirror, plucker our lips, re-check the mirror, bat our eyelids, check the mirror again. We swirl around to get a glimpse of how we’d look from the other side, try our footwear, and yes, check the mirror again. By that time, hubby/daddy/boyfriend/ brother (yes, men, they’re all the same!) dearest would begin showing symptoms of restlessness, levels of intensity increasing with each tick-tock of the clock. (levels of intensity for the benefit of those reading this: restlessness- anxiousness-irritation-anger-outburst)

And then, we wear heels. We wear them to gain a few extra inches, for the perfect posture, and most often than not, to flaunt a newly bought pair. Whatever the reason may be, we wear it, and we fancy it. But most importantly, we wear it, and paddle along like ducks. Snails would win a race with us, and sneer at us from the finishing line; penguins would seem more graceful, and those tagging along with us would be annoyed. Very annoyed. We end up sitting and making faces like we’re just about to die from the pain, and the outing, well, let’s just forget about it!

Our bags, like my father says, look like sacks. Someone could just kidnap us by stuffing us inside our own bags, and we would be surprised to discover ‘treasure island’ hidden inside! From hair brushes, to variants in lipsticks, kajals, powder, mirror, wet tissues, and other make up items, one could even dress a bride up with all the ‘equipments’ found inside. And then, our petite shoulders start aching carrying around all the weight, but as they say, ‘control nahi hota’!

Jokes aside, we are not just smart(hehehe), we are also strong. Just imagine a man with hormonal imbalances, or one who’s just about to pop out a baby. Not a pretty sight inside the head, isn’t it? Did I hear some guy crooning, ‘Oh womaniya!’ after reading this? ;)

Monday, April 1, 2013


*There was darkness all around. As soon as her eyes adjusted themselves to the dim-lit surrounding, the unfamiliarity of the room hit her senses. Her nimble fingers, nervously searching for her bottle of water, brushed against something unwelcome; there was someone snoozing on her bed! She could hear her heart thumping aggressively against her chest. There was a stranger snoring away on her bed, but as she tried to scream, her voice ditched her. As she tip-toed to the door, she felt someone stop her. There it was…that sick feeling in her gut, that feeling, when you trip; when you know you’re going to fall flat on your face.*

“Hey, it’s ok. It’s me,” he cooed into her ears, patting her gently. It was all yet to sink in; she was married, the house was new and so was the city. Everything seemed unfamiliar, except for the man who was looking at her lovingly. A quick glance at the clock buzzed sirens in their ears. It was her first day at office – the kitchen.

It looked like a demon ready to devour her. The dishes seemed alien; the knife stared at her threateningly. Vindictive veggies, fire-spitting stove and powders of various colours greeted her into a world where she’d end up spending most of her time. She remembered how, with an air of confidence, she’d asked him the other night, “So, Sir, what would you like to have for lunch tomorrow?” The reply was instantaneous and smooth, as if rehearsed a gazillion times. “Rasam and aaloo fry.” Uh oh.

But then, convenience managed to elbow out the request, and the menu was tweaked. With a little help from her husband, the task was done and she heaved a mammoth sigh of relief. But then, she had to do this everyday. Twice. Correction, at least twice. She was terrified; she wanted to shoot her letter of resignation. Oh wait, this wasn’t a job; there was no option of resigning. “Oh good Lord, what the hell am I going to do,” she asked the lean woman with puffy, petrified eyes staring at her from the mirror. She shrugged her shoulders, snynchronised with the ‘other woman’ from that side of the shiny mirror. They agreed. Neither of them knew how the plot would unfold.

She cooked perfect recipes for disaster. She didn’t stop at ‘just’ burning dishes. She was different. She was ‘oh-so-creative’. Trying her hand at cooking something different, she ended up doing something VERY different indeed – she painted her kitchen green! Mixie’s lid let all hell ‘loose’ and with a loud and extremely aromatic splash, all the cooked palak (now in paste form) flew towards the wall, to give it an extremely eco-friendly colour! And with butter fingers to boot, her husband anticipated some kind of trouble, every time there was some untoward noise in the kitchen.

But failures (disasters in this case) they say, are the pillars of success. Pretty strong ones, she’d testify. Not just did she rise above her own expectations, she started enjoying the whole process too! She looked forward to the routine she had set: wake up-freshen up- walk into the kitchen- sort veggies-chop away- cook- taste- pack. She learnt slowly yet surely, how to take the ‘cooking’ bull by its horns.

His smile, his burp, his ‘Oh, I’ve overeaten’ remark – those were her perks, her certificates of appreciation. Clean floors, dazzling washrooms, crisp curtains, fluffed-up pillows and cushions, wrinkle-less and neatly spread out bedsheets – those were the things she wanted to tick off her task list every night.

Yes, she was a housewife. Not a perfect one, but a proud, happy one.