Thoughts – Atul Karmarkar.Com http://www.atulkarmarkar.com Around Pune, Technology, Startups, Investing, Food Mon, 23 Jul 2018 02:48:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 3411319 3 delayed orders in 5 days – Amazon is slipping http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/amazon-order-delayed/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/amazon-order-delayed/#respond Tue, 18 Oct 2016 04:14:11 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3946 “Amazon order delayed” – never thought I’d see this, or feel they’re slipping up. Been a very satisfied customer of […]

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“Amazon order delayed” – never thought I’d see this, or feel they’re slipping up. Been a very satisfied customer of Amazon for a VERY long time now, and have never faced any major issues. However, 3 delayed orders in 5 days and the subsequent experience with their customer care on chat has taken some of the shine off all that previous good experience.

Amazon Order Delayed

Order # 1: Placed on 04-Oct, was to be delivered on Wednesday, 12-Oct, in spite of being in Pune since 09-Oct. Status in the tracker showed as “Out for delivery” and “Getting closer” the entire day.

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However, no delivery till evening, and then at 8pm there is a message saying delivery will happen between 13th and 16th Oct. No reason given. Contacted them on chat and the customer care executive was apologetic, said it wouldn’t happen again. Item is delivered the next day, on Thursday. Sign of things to come? You bet.

Order # 2: Delivery date was on Saturday, 15-Oct . Exactly like the above, status in the tracker showed as “Out for delivery” and “Getting closer” the entire day. No delivery till 10pm, so I initiated a chat with the Amazon Customer Care. I also mentioned that I hoped delivery would not be attempted after 10pm. I was assured it would happen the next day, with the usual apologies. When I wake up on 16-Oct, I find that delivery was attempted at 11.41pm the previous night – which courier company in their right mind goes about delivering packages at midnight?!

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In all, I’ve chatted with almost SIX of these representatives, each of them apologising for the inconvenience and assuring the item would definitely be delivered the next day. One guy from the “Escalation team” actually had the gall to suggest the delays were due to the “holiday season” and they would ensure the delivery person called me before the delivery to ensure the time was convenient (nobody ever called). Even as I was chatting with this person, he goes and updates the status as below, saying “Rescheduled by customer” which was crazy, and he said it was system generated when I questioned him about it.

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Current status: Still haven’t received this item.

Order # 3: Delivery date was Monday, 17-Oct. Yet again, the tracker showed “Out for delivery” in the morning. By afternoon, there’s even a mobile number of the delivery person mentioned. Awesome, right? Oh wait. When there’s no delivery till 7pm, I finally called the number – only to be told “Wrong Number” after which he cut the call. An hour later, around 8pm, I get a notification saying the delivery is rescheduled as “customer wasn’t available” – which was incredulous because half an hour ago, at 7.30pm, TWO other items from Amazon itself were delivered. Much later, the tracker is updated to say “Delivery attempted at 9.41pm” – obviously, another lie since I was very much at home. Chatting with the customer care rep again wasn’t of any use.

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Current status: Still haven’t received this item.

The customer service responses are standard and not helpful at all, each agent parroting out the same lines, and blaming the courier company for the mess up. There is no sync between the so called tracker and what the ground reality is. “Out for delivery” used to be a guarantee that delivery would happen that day – sadly, it no longer is.

While I completely understand delays can and will happen and nobody is infallible, I am losing my patience at the way Amazon is managing these logistics issues and the sheer lack of clarity, communication and coordination on display here. If the order is delayed, tell me so upfront. Don’t say it’s “Out for delivery” and “Getting closer” and then not deliver on time. It’s like one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing.

Ironically, I recently signed up for Amazon Prime. Maybe I should cancel that with all the other pending orders and just take my business elsewhere.

 

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The Best of 2015 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-best-of-2015/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/the-best-of-2015/#respond Mon, 04 Jan 2016 16:16:39 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3860 Wow, 2015 seemed to go by so fast – but then each day, week, month, year seems to be whizzing […]

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Wow, 2015 seemed to go by so fast – but then each day, week, month, year seems to be whizzing by so quickly now. I’ve never been a fan of listicles and a ‘Best of’ kind of post, so this one is rather surprising – and even more so in a year when there weren’t too many opportunities / experiences to really merit a ‘Best of’ but here goes.

Best of 2015

This was actually more of an effort than I realised – not because there was a problem of plenty, but because there was a problem of too less, which means some many popular choices could be missing simply because I haven’t experienced them yet 😉

Best Book

The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story – Hyeonseo Lee

The Girl With Seven Names

In a year where I read less than half a dozen books, and just three that were published this year, I thought “The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story” was one heck of a read. This is the story of Hyeonseo Lee and her escape the dictatorial regime in North Korea as a 17 year old, and finally returning 12 years later to reunite with her family and help get them to South Korea, overcoming incredible odds.

Best Movie (English)

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max - Fury Road

Yes, there were some very good movies that were released in 2015, but for sheer overall entertainment value, nothing tops this wild, adrenaline pumping, chest thumping roller coaster of a movie. The fourth in the Max Max series, it has fantastic stunts and action scenes, and Charlize Theron in probably one of her best roles ever.

Best Movie (Hindi)

Masaan

Masaan

A far cry from the staple Bollywood films, I first heard of this movie when it won a couple of awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in Varanasi, it tells the story of two separate couples from different strata of society. Poignant and helpless in parts, offering hope in others, it is a brilliant directorial debut by Neeraj Ghaywan.

Best Music Album (English)

The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour

The Universe Has A Strange Sense of Humour

Admittedly, I’ve not listened to many English albums this year, barring a stray song or two here and there. I’ve been a fan of Warren Mendonsa’s Blackstratblues since 2009, when I heard ‘The New Album‘, and at the NH7 Weekenders from 2010-2012, and though I felt this one lacks the same punch as their previous albums, it is still a damn good listen. Besides the link above, you can also get from iTunes.

Best Music Album (Hindi)

Roy

Roy

Again, as above, I’ve not listened to many Bollywood albums this year, and I’m aware there are several other contenders for this. There have been several good songs from other movies as well, but as an album, the songs from Roy have probably stayed with me that bit longer, whether randomly humming them or listening more often while driving.

Best TV Show

Narcos

Narcos

In a year that saw some brilliant new shows as well as the continuation/end of some all time popular shows, I’d pick Narcos as my favourite show of the year. The story of Pablo Escobar and the Medellin drug cartel has been told before, but the way it was presented here was fantastic. A riveting watch, and I’m looking forward to Season 2. You may need to use a VPN to watch it on Netflix or use “alternate methods” to watch it Netflix is now available in India 😉 Incidentally, the theme music (below) is also my current ringtone.

Best Meal

Guppy by Aoi pop-up

Guppy Pop-up

Yeah, I know – this is a strange addition in this list, but I couldn’t resist. For me, 2015 didn’t see any travel out of Pune for various reasons, and although there were some good lunches and dinners in the year, the Guppy pop-up in late August and then again towards September-end was the highlight – particularly because when it comes to Japanese cuisine, Pune really doesn’t have much to offer.

So that’s it. Which were your favourites of 2015? Drop a line in the comments and share 🙂

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Donations for Nepal Earthquake relief http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/donations-nepal-earthquake-relief/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/donations-nepal-earthquake-relief/#respond Mon, 27 Apr 2015 03:55:09 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3709 A devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 struck Kathmandu, Nepal on Saturday, 25-Apr-15, followed by a series of aftershocks and another comparatively […]

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Nepal Earthquake Donations

A devastating earthquake measuring 7.9 struck Kathmandu, Nepal on Saturday, 25-Apr-15, followed by a series of aftershocks and another comparatively milder earthquake yesterday. The loss of life and structural damage it has caused is mind-numbing, to say the least, not just in Nepal, but across several parts of Northern India as well.

Even as rescue and relief operations are on, offer to help is pouring in from across the world. Donations can be made to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for help within India, but for Nepal, I’ve been noticing several friends on social media keen to help, but not exactly sure how/where. Given below are some ways in which you can contribute to these efforts;

American Red Cross

Apple iTunes (Red Cross)

CARE

Facebook (International Medical Corps)

Global Giving (Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund)

Goonj

Handicap International

Humane Society International (Animal Welfare)

Indian Express Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund (cheque)

Indiegogo (America Nepal Medical Foundation – ANMF)

Embassy of Nepal

Oxfam International

PayPal (donate to 11 organisations)

Paytm (to be announced Govt of India Nepal Relief Fund)

Save the Children (Nepal Earthquake Children’s Relief Fund)

Seva Foundation

UNICEF – Help Children in Nepal

UNICEF USA

World Food Programme

Will be updating this information as and when more data is available. For other ways you can help or volunteer, visit the InCrisisRelief website.

* All names have been included in good faith on the assumption that they will use the funds for the stated purpose; I am not affiliated with any of these organisations.

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A Facebook page for the blog? Well, okay… http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/facebook-page-blog-well-okay/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/facebook-page-blog-well-okay/#respond Sun, 22 Feb 2015 18:24:17 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=3212 Strange, right? Well, over the past few months, one feedback I got from some readers was that like other blogs […]

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FacebookPag

Strange, right? Well, over the past few months, one feedback I got from some readers was that like other blogs / sites, they would prefer reading / sharing posts from here on Facebook rather than add the feed to a feed reader or subscribe via email.

Personally, I’ve always been a bit sceptical about a personal blog having a Facebook page (unless one is wildly famous/popular). It seems mildly narcissistic, and besides, I’m not doing a very good job of updating it regularly as well, so email / feed should be more than adequate to catch up with posts. One thing in its favour is that I get to keep individual profile and blog page separate, so no need to keep pimping my blog posts on my personal profile page.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want to ignore your opinions either, so okay, here goes – the page is up (have added some older posts as well, so it doesn’t look too lonely) and  you’ll see a link on the right hand side to “Like” the page. I’m not promoting this page on Twitter or Facebook either. Lets see how this works out. If the number of fans / traction on the page is decent enough after a month or two, I’ll keep it, else knock it off, and back to the feed/email you’ll go 😉

As always, thanks for reading, giving feedback, and keeping the faith 😀

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An orthopaedician’s delight http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/an-orthopaedicians-delight/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/an-orthopaedicians-delight/#comments Mon, 17 Jun 2013 00:54:09 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=2867 Been away from the blog the past couple of months, and no, this time it wasn’t due to lethargy. Was […]

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Been away from the blog the past couple of months, and no, this time it wasn’t due to lethargy. Was pleasantly surprised by a couple of folks writing in via the contact form to ask why I wasn’t blogging. First time that’s ever happened, so thanks for asking 😉

The reason for the break – happened to fracture my wrist in April.

Was playing football in the balcony with my 5yr old nephew. It was a bit dusty and I lost my footing, slipped and fell backwards.

I put out my right hand to break the fall, and ended up breaking and dislocating the wrist pretty badly. The bones around the wrist were shattered to pieces like a jigsaw and the doctor had to use a steel plate and a wire to put them together.

The plaster and wire came off earlier this month. The steel plate stays, however, and the arm is in a brace. Now follows physiotherapy to get the strength back in the hand besides all movements as before.

Wondering about the title of the post?

That’s because there’s a history to all this. In 1997, I skidded off a two-wheeler trying to avoid an auto, breaking the same right forearm and had a steel plate inserted as well. In 2003, I broke the right thumb just as I was boarding a train at Chennai. In 2008, I tore a ligament in the right arm. And now this. Hopefully, this is where it ends!

Hope to be blogging more regularly by this month end. Thanks for your patience 🙂

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Pot calling the kettle black, Kapil paaji? http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/pot-calling-the-kettle-black-kapil-paaji/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/pot-calling-the-kettle-black-kapil-paaji/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2012 13:32:03 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=2357 Was surprised to read about Kapil Dev’s outburst against Sachin Tendulkar recently. Kapil was quite scathing in his remarks and […]

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Was surprised to read about Kapil Dev’s outburst against Sachin Tendulkar recently. Kapil was quite scathing in his remarks and said Tendulkar should have ideally retired from ODIs immediately after the World Cup win.

Sachin Tendulkar Kapil Dev

Now Sachin’s performance in Australia has been nothing like what we know he’s capable of, and I’m sure Kapil’s theory will have plenty of backers especially after the recent two ODIs at Brisbane.

What gets my goat is, Kapil of all people commenting on Sachin’s retirement. Retiring from a sport is never easy and only a few sportsmen worldwide have really gone out on a high. Some faded away on account of injuries and poor form, others well beyond their prime had to be shown the door by the selectors. It is also a personal decision and deep down, each sportsman yearns for that final hurrah before hanging up his boots, bat, racquet, whatever.

It seems not too long ago when Kapil, struggling to get his stock outswinger working and even to take a wicket per match, was allowed to play on well past his usefulness just so he could capture the world record for most wickets. He was a shadow of his old self and was being routinely thrashed by even debutants from Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe. Nothing highlighted his decline more than the fact that Anil Kumble, then on a rampage as India’s best bowler, actually had to bowl wide of the stumps to avoid taking a wicket, just so Kapil could take one.

It is therefore, quite ironic that Kapil should be calling for Sachin to retire. Not done, Kaps!

He’s also said that some players didn’t get a chance to play as Sachin’s presence in the team kept them out. Hell yeah, this is not a new phenomenon in Indian cricket. In the past, when India had their famed quartet of spinners, they (especially Bishen Bedi) kept out bowlers of the calibre of Paddy Shivalkar and Rajinder Goel.

He’s forgotten that he himself played at a time when the zonal rivalry was quite fierce, and it was no secret that players from the North weren’t too happy with the number of Bombay players in the national team. In his time, Kapil did everything to include Madan Lal in the team or promote the likes of Chetan Sharma, while keeping others like Raju Kulkarni and later Salil Ankola, out. Many other promising fast medium bowlers also fell by the wayside while he was around.

In India, cricketers are like demigods and every action of theirs is analysed under a microscope, viewed by millions. For the same reason, our selectors are shit scared of pulling the plug when they need to. They can learn from the Australian cricket board, which recently dropped Ponting, pulling down the curtain on his ODI career. There was no browbeating, outrage or raging debate on prime time television, the likes of which we see here.

At the end of it, Sachin is experienced enough to know when it’s time to call it a day and repeated failures while chasing an elusive record isn’t making things easy for him. He would do well to remember the words of Sunil Gavaskar, someone he idolises. Gavaskar quit Test cricket on a high, scoring a masterful and almost match winning 96 against arch rivals Pakistan, on a minefield of a pitch where all other batsmen floundered.

When asked why he’d retired when he was still playing so well, he said, – One should retire when people ask ‘why’, and not ‘why not!’

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Carla’s tryst with “Keratoconus” http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/carlas-tryst-with-keratoconus/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/carlas-tryst-with-keratoconus/#comments Sun, 16 Aug 2009 00:18:28 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1119 A friend’s wife recently had a harrowing tryst with “Keratoconus” Here’s her experience, or rather “eyesperience…  😀 Shri Ganapati Netralaya……… […]

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A friend’s wife recently had a harrowing tryst with “Keratoconus

Here’s her experience, or rather “eyesperience…  😀

Shri Ganapati Netralaya………
http://www.netralaya.org/
An experience to remember!!

Like any newly wed happy bride, I was settling down to a new life in Pune – one that would be interspersed with activities that I was passionate about.  Finally an opportunity to follow my passion – I was excited about all the novel things I had enrolled for – be it vocal training, piano lessons or painting classes – my break from the corporate humdrum was indeed worthwhile.

And in the whirlwind of all these activities, I failed to see this seemingly dark cloud that was gradually blocking out my sunshine.  I ignored the many times when I tripped over stairs that strangely merged together.  I did not question the shadows that appeared under the musical notes or words in my books.  I ignored the fact that objects at a distance always appeared blurred.  All was well, until one day it dawned on me that my vision was gradually diminishing….

Thus began my myriad trips to eye specialists!  Anxious moments were spent in many a clinic.  Innumerable optical tests followed with as many prognosis and diagnosis, until it became clear that I had Keratoconus – a condition wherein the cornea bulges into a conical shape.  An operation was inevitable – although where, when & how were questions to which answers weren’t easy to find.  During this turbulent crossroad in life I saw light at the end of my tunnel – in the form of the benevolent Dr. Bhushan Khare or as I now say ‘the doctor who examines eyes with his heart’.  Thus, commenced my journey to recovery……

Dr. Khare eased most of my fears and anxieties and prepared me for what was to come.  He directed me to Shri Ganapati Netralaya [SGN] in Jalna.  SGN is to optical patients what an oasis is to weary travelers.  An ideal place to recoup!  Its impeccably sanitized interiors housed state-of-the-art equipment manned by ever attentive staff.  Doctors and staff buzzed feverishly to accommodate the steady flow of patients who make their way to SGN.  Kindness and hospitality radiates in every nook and corner of this hospital which becomes second home to many a long distance patient like me.

Under the watchful “eye” of Dr. Sejal Maheshwari I found my “sight” again.  She walked with me all through this experience – tests, surgery and post operative care.  She empathized when I was anxious, cajoled when hesitant, comforted when in pain and applauded my progress.  In spite of her hectic schedule, just knowing that she was available made a big difference for me.

And by writing this article I hope to reach out and make a difference to others with optic ailments.   Fellow travelers do not be deterred by the distance – Jalna is just 7 hours away from Pune.  Make the trip if you have to.  Not only will your ailing vision be restored but your heart will be filled with the love and warmth of Shri Ganapati Netralaya.

Jai Ho!!

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No time for blogging http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/no-time-for-blogging/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/no-time-for-blogging/#respond Thu, 30 Jul 2009 23:39:07 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1086 Have not been finding enough time to blog lately, and the frequency of posts looks all set to dwindle to […]

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Have not been finding enough time to blog lately, and the frequency of posts looks all set to dwindle to some extent. As if lack of time wasn’t a problem enough, my internet connection has been acting up big time.

The service provider (BSNL) has been giving me a lot of grief and yes, numerous complaint numbers too, all to no avail. The worst part is that I a) either cannot connect, or b) get disconnected every few minutes, which is so bloody irritating. A call to the BSNL help desk elicited a lovely response – “Please disconnect and call again… We can only accept one complaint at a time !!” 😀

Wake up, sarkaari saands… with competition already here, how long can you afford this kind of complacency?

I’ve been blogging randomly the past few weeks, but due to this connection problem, some posts are queued up, and each time I hit publish, the connection dies on me… and the cycle continues. Will probably publish if they remain relevant to context, else they will remain confined to my drafts folder…

Do keep your comments coming in though… Am definitely looking out for them and will certainly reply ! 🙂

 

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500 cops and 50 hrs – All this to kill one dacoit http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/500-cops-and-50-hrs-to-kill-one-dacoit/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/500-cops-and-50-hrs-to-kill-one-dacoit/#respond Fri, 19 Jun 2009 16:44:36 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=1053 One of the biggest WTF kinda news I’ve come across…  Ghanshyam Kevat, a dreaded dacoit, was gunned down by UP cops […]

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One of the biggest WTF kinda news I’ve come across…  Ghanshyam Kevat, a dreaded dacoit, was gunned down by UP cops in a village in Chitrakoot yesterday.

Nothing particularly amazing about this piece of news, but then look at the stats. A single dacoit against almost 500 heavily armed cops and commandos, and what’s more, it took them close to 50 hours to nail the bugger! As if this wasn’t enough, he even killed 4 cops and injured 11 others – all this with a .315 rifle and some bullets. Amazing!

If he had been carrying the kind of ammo carried by the terrorists who attacked Mumbai, it is anybody’s guess as to how many more cops would’ve been killed.

Doesn’t say much about our security forces, huh…

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LK Advani and Google AdSense – The Second Coming http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/lk-advani-google-adsense-the-second-coming/ http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/lk-advani-google-adsense-the-second-coming/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2009 01:27:58 +0000 http://www.atulkarmarkar.com/?p=965 Aaaaaaaaargh! Some time ago, I had disabled LK Advani’s Google ads on this site, but lo and behold, new ads are popping up […]

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Aaaaaaaaargh!

Some time ago, I had disabled LK Advani’s Google ads on this site, but lo and behold, new ads are popping up all over the place, and that too in all available sizes 🙂

 LK Advani Google Ads

Though initially surprised, the reason wasn’t hard to figure out. The url has changed from lkadvani.in to bjp.org, which also now goes into my AdSense filter list. These guys seem to be hell bent on splashing his mug in every single webpage that can be seen by anyone! In fact, I recall somebody even commenting that allowing these ads to remain on one’s site could be interpreted by visitors as a stamp of approval for the man and his party.

By the way, if the BJP can do it, so can the Congress, right ? Sure enough, here’s this Congress ad popping up on some other page…

 Congress Ad

Will these online gimmicks actually translate into votes? Difficult to say, but a big change in India’s political landscape for sure. 😀

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