2013 in review of my blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

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In the Line of Fire; A Memoir and A Prophecy by Pervez Musharraf

In the Line of FirePervez Musharraf, the former President, former Chief Executive and former Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan, has been in news for many days recently due to an intriguing chain of events which refuses to die down.

In the Line of Fire; A Prophecy

From his decision to come back to Pakistan to his nominations (4 in number) for the upcoming elections getting rejected (he had come back to fight elections) to Courts first deciding he should be arrested (he avoided arrest by fleeing the court, but was arrested eventually) to Courts then ordering him to appear at Islamabad’s anti-terror court; as the drama was unfolding like a Hollywood thriller, I was reminded of his memoir I had read some years ago. And I was wondering, the title that he had given to his autobiography (In the Line of Fire) would be more apt perhaps now.  He really is “In the Line of Fire” and his memoir may have become his prophecy too.

Well, as the story gets complicated, I am sure many would be picking up his book and would like to know more about him. For me, as the memories of the book were refreshed, I thought I’d share what my opinion of his memoir was.

In the Line of Fire; A Memoir

I in general enjoy reading autobiographies and biographies and his memoir was enjoyable too especially because this one is by and about the man who at one point of time was at the center stage of Indo-Pak relations, another one of my favorite topics.

Musharraf shares a lot of things here, is candid about many, goes over board at times and becomes philosophical as well and all this is alright considering the fact that he is trying to impress some, influence a few and confuse others.

Overall, to really enjoy this book especially if you are looking for information and trying to get some facts right, I’d say make sure you are well informed about Pakistan’s history, their relationship with India over the years and the order of the world the way it was when Musharraf was the man having considerable influence in the South Asia and its western neighborhood.

Review at Goodreads…

In the Line of Fire by Pervez Musharraf

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

I love to read about?

I am very particular about what I read, it’s learning after all. But I also agree with Kushwant Singh when he says one must read good books and bad books so that one can know the difference.

When you go to twitter, pick up the newspaper, grab a book, or just while away time, what is it that you like to read about? Is it random or you are very particular? Why don’t you let me know too..

Banks and Mobile Service Providers – Please Do Not Disturb Them

The Happy Beginning

One of the most satisfying, or so I thought then, I have improvised my thinking now, happenings of the year 2012 was the Do Not Disturb, or DND as we fondly refer to it as, facility which was started and offered to the mobile phone users in India. The innocent me thought that this would be the end of few of my troubles, little did I know then that this might one day also lead to the beginning of even bigger troubles for me as well. My mobile service provider, I won’t name it here but since there are Very Few service providers in our country it won’t be difficult to guess the name, offered me this service and I grabbed it with lots of hopes for happier times to come.

A few years ago as online banking was gaining prominence, opening account in the bank claiming to offer best of services was a natural choice and an instant decision for me, like for many others. They had many interesting offerings on the plate and things looked set for a happy relationship. However, Howsoever Damn good Financial Company, here again I would refrain from naming the bank, they claim they are, they have been a real disappointment to me for over 2 weeks now.

And I have my reasons for not naming either this mobile service provider or this bank because the issue at hand I think is not limited to either but should be a generic problem spread across both verticals.

The Complicated Today

Coming to my problem; for some online transaction I was using my bank account and my bank needed to send me an SMS with some vital information, but I never got that SMS though I tried many times (like more than 20 times spread over a week). For everyone’s convenience I’ll cut the chase here and would share the highlights, I used the phone banking facility to check what the issue was and in next 7- 8 days I called them at least 8 times (minimum once daily), logged 3 tickets for the same issue, without resolution in sight, all of their executives tried to sell me other financial instruments, none resolved my query, got call from their IT department too, requested for call-backs thrice, never got any call-backs though was promised every time, and even after all these days my problem stands exactly where it was.

On their advice, they put the onus on someone else, the oldest trick in the book, I called my mobile service provider. I called them thrice, first 2 executives put the blame squarely on the bank without resolving the issue – same treatment my bank gave me, the third one had more knowledge perhaps and told me that the problem is the DND facility I had requested last year – the one thing which had promised to give me relief last year had started to haunt me now.

On asking that the messages I was requesting are not promotional messages and are messages I myself have raised a request for, he said that as per them all of them are promotional messages and I’ll not receive them. If it’s coming from your bank, it’s part of DND, period. I conveyed this to my bank and even got their phone banker to clearly mention this in the ticket (3rd ticket in a week) she was logging so that whosoever was taking care of my request would know the exact scenario and not keep me going in circles.

This all happened more than a couple of days ago and even after all this, my bank is yet to offer me a solution. I think either the geniuses at the bank are still figuring out the problem, or they don’t care about the inconvenience their customers face.

The Unspoken Reality

What I can figure out is, they failed to foresee this problem that their essential messages will become part of DND and they either needed to work this out with the mobile service providers in advance, or should have told their customers to be careful while opting for DND and should have advised them to use the flexibility provided there to get banking related SMS (option 1) [I did that now, a solution I figured out on my own and I hope will solve my problem hopefully, though it will take more than a week’s time, another issue]. But like I said, it looks like they had not anticipated this problem. Anyhow, even today, they are not forthcoming, they
are not responding, they are not coming up with a solution, they are not doing anything, they are not bothered at all.

If you ask me, all the people who have DND and are using online banking may be facing this issue, irrespective of their mobile service providers and banks (that’s why I have not named either). In case you are one such individual, I suggest you check this out right away or else you’ll be struck like I am, and with no/restricted access to your bank account, you may be up for some really troublesome days ahead.

Thank you guys!

Manali, Nainital, Jaipur, Agra, Pushkar, Sariska, Ajmer, Jodhur; 2012 ended up as a year where my focus (re)shifted (rather, readjusted perhaps) from watching Formula 1 and football to travelling (used to go to Bharat Yatra every other year from 1991 to 2001 and less frequently post that and covererd over 12 states and 20 cities, some of them twice and more) and writing about it. We visited lots of places and had lots of fun.

Year 2013 will add more places and I am looking forward to sharing more experiences with everyone. But for now, wishing all a great, happy and properous new year! Cheers to all as we made it beyond December 21, 2012. Though the Mayans proved to be wrong, my dream destination remains to be in their neighbourhood, Machu Picchu in Peru and hope to be there soon!

Here’s snap shot of my blog statistics for the year 2012 and a Big Thank You to YOU all.

The Bazaar at Pushkar

The Bazaar at Pushkar

1 Puran Singh Ka Mashoor Vishal Dhaba in Ambala is epitome of greed, discourteousness and is not recommended at all

Not a happy memory. However, need to get this information to everyone out there.

6 comments November 2012

2 Bhangarh Fort – haunted, simply awesome or something else

This fort is worth a visit. You should see the pics we clicked there, its spooky.

0 comments October 2012

3 A budding singer – Pawan Sharma

Dear Pawan, Wishing you luck in 2013, as always.

2 comments May 2012

4 Why Hollywood shows them speaking in Hindi??

I never got the answer, if you get it then do share.

5 comments May 2010

5 Thanks a lot, one and all!

Well, looking forward to your support in 2013 as well.

0 comments January 2012

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A budding singer – Pawan Sharma

There are some singers who are popular, others who are waiting to break the entry barrier and become a part of that august group. Pawan Sharma, a great friend and a even greater singer falls very comfortably and as a matter of right into the second category.

I know most haven’t heard him yet and once you hear him you’ll vouch for him too.

My dear Pawan, you have worked hard, you have made a lot of sacrifices and I am sure you’ll get what you deserve and I hope you get it sooner than later.. Here’s wishing you all the very best.

Pawan Sharma sings Tumse Hi from the movie Jab We Met, originally sung by the amazing Mohit Chauhan..