Category Archives: Service

Amritsar trip – ended with a joke by almighty

It was a weekday late evening in December 2011, my family was sat together after supper, just chit chatting and laughing. We, casually celebrated year 2011 as year of tourism, with many trips and vacations! I just asked if there is one more plan to celebrate the year and so quickly we decided to book tickets for Amritsar for January 2012. Me and my brother finished travel booking on the very same day after tentative planning!!

With some words of mouth, we got to know that Sarai is right and clean place to stay. With my uncle’s reference, we also managed to get booking at one of Sarai.

This started executing on 13th late night with train to Amritsar at early morning on 14th. It was general cold, as expected throughout the root. By the time we were reaching destination, we already saw glimpses of rainy weather. And it was indeed raining in Amritsar. We reached on 15th morning with 2 hours delay from schedule.

The very same day, just after dropping our bags at Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Yatri Niwas – Sarai and little relaxation, we thought to have quick visit to the Golden Temple. It was Sunday and so was pretty crowded, of course moving ahead in well discipline. We decide to visit the temple and pray very next day in early morning. We only did a circular walk in the temple campus and moved for lunch. With quickly finishing lunch, we booked a taxi and by the time driver came with his car, we made a not-so-in-hurry visit to Jaliawalla Baugh.

With light rain, we moved towards Atari, border and junction to Pakistan. It is itsa kind of experience to see flag lowering ceremony live!

By evening, we returned to Amritsar. Before going for dinner, thought to check for woolen specialities and winter wear. We checked in Oswals and almost completed shopping!!! After decent shopping experience, went for dinner and finished with sweet hot Gulab Jamun! It was bit exhaustive day since we did not spend much time for rest or sleep and so we went straight back to Sarai.
We adjusted our beds and all were just relaxing. Suddenly daddy thought to have a bottle of water (in Sarai, everything is self serviced!). And he went downstairs.

We were completely unaware, but this was beginning of gloomy side of our trip…

He did not return in half an hour. We were just bit serious and thought to start his search. Very soon, a person shouting if somebody’s on floor, came around and he was shouting an ‘unknown’ person fell down. Without thinking anything we rushed to ground floor and found him laid down on a bench. The Sarai authorities had already called up ambulance and also informed the ‘uncle’s reference’ about this man! We immediately rushed to Shri Guru Ramdas Hospital by the ambulance. Doctors did EEG and gave immediate report – what I cannot believe, hear or even listen. Dad left me, us and all wondering…..! 🙁

It is very hard to write in words, what happened further.

Uncle’s reference was none but Iqubal Singh, branch manager of Vijaya Bank, Amritsar. He reached to hospital, with almost shocked, unaware of final verdict. Knowing the situation, the gentleman and lady (aunty) gave immediate support and were the host to arrange our night stay at their warm home.

What happened next is again difficult to write in one go, shall add it to the post after gaining some energy.

Many of photos taken by dad are here.

Dubai – Sharjah visit

For last few months, got opportunity to travel to, explore and work in Dubai, for over a short period of time. The place isn’t much interesting for IT in terms of development. Of course, service and maintenance is a market there.

I captured this opportunity more in terms of travel! My uncle and auntie were major pointers for weekend visits.

I also learnt from grand-auntie that before 30 to 40 years the land was simply dry and like unexplored-undeveloped place. A few tribes settled on shores of Gulf. Post 90s, real and infrastructural development started. According to uncle, real and considerable development happened in just a span of 10 years from 2000 to 2010. Economic crisis of 2009 slowed this. But by then its been pretty much developed.

In general local people are very much calm and little lazy. However the land has accepted expats warmly. Indians, Pakistanis,Philippi, African are dominating expats in head count.

In general place is very much tourist friendly – specially. Being born and brought up in India, developing country, it was next to impossible without compare.

Had both side of experiences from Bus transport – at times drivers failed to respond properly, on the other hand drivers used to stop bus for long time on seeing passenger coming towards. Height of unexpected support and help was that once driver jumped (there is no conductor – helper in public buses) from his cabin and lifted two of my trolley bags and wished for happy weekend!

Help desks on metro / bus stations were also very much useful place to plan in a direction.

Shopping is obviously very much fun and enjoyable experience. Taste of fragrance of perfumes to body sprays, and electronics – I just loved it. Customer retention and care is very much considerable. I too had such experience – On purchase of major electronics the bill had minor error. After reaching home I called them to check and manager asked to visit them next day. He accepted error and ‘gifted’ an SD card on my visit!

I indeed enjoyed cashless shopping.

FMCG shopping has never fun to me, even at departmental store. Of course, being a hub joining east and west,Dubai and Sharjah stores are full of varieties and options from both sides of world. I was amazed to find two date counters with so many varieties!

Overall public transport is very good. Of course, routes were altered frequently – a few stations also being dropped. But this is sign of improving and reviewing transport system. Most places in Dubai were approachable with metro or metro+bus. Taxis were also easily available. However my little experience with taxi drivers was not much good.

For now, I am listing table of places I visited:

Date Place Nearest point (metro / bus) Photos
17 June 2011 Wafi Mall link
18 June 2011 Dubai Museum, Al Fahidi Fort Khalid Bin Al Waleed Metro Station link
Al Sabkha Abra Station Bur Dubai
Dubai Gold Souq Deira link
25 June 2011 Ibn Battuta Mall Ibn Batuta Metro Station link
Palm Jumeirah & Atlantis Hotel DubaiMarina Metro Station link
30 June 2011 Jumeirah Mosque Karama Metro Station link
Mercato Mall Karama Metro Station
Burj Al Arab Mall of Emirates Station, Nakheel Metro StationSeaside
Madinat Jumeirah Mall Mall of Emirates Station
Jumeirah Beach Residence – The Walk JLT Metro Station
9 July 2011 Mall of the Emirates Mall of Emirates Metro Station link
10 July 2011 Burj Khalifa 124 floor Dubai Mall station link
Internet City Internet City Metro Station

I started listing places very much late, till then I visited Sharjah Museum, Sharjah Gold Souk, Sharjah Corniche area, Dubai Mall, etc.

Here goes misc photos.

I am yet to enjoy desert safari, visit toAbu Dhabi, Al Ain, Al Fujirah!

Auto fare Calculator for Indian cities

Many people either carry copy of auto fare card with them or do remember formula. However, it becomes difficult when you are roaming in multiple cities frequently.

A lot many similar apps available, however they are either platform specific, outdated or requires GPRS or other network connection. Few others are city specific.

This is a very simple attempt to overcome a couple of situations.

The application:

  • Works on almost any mobile with basic browser (internet browsing software)
  • Does not require any GPRS or other connection to run the app
  • Has support for multiple cities of India
  • Support for night fare calculation – based on device time
  • No installation required, just copy to mobile and run
  • No advertisement, no license fee – free and open source
  • Can be very easily updated
  • Has very basic and simple interface, executes and works simply

Grab it : Download http://harit.kotharee.com/app/fareCalc.htm . (Right click to the link and select ‘Save As…’ and save to your computer / or save the copy on your mobile.)

Use it : Open the saved copy of fareCalc.htm from your mobile or equivalent device, in most cases, it should open with default available browser. That’s it. No need to explain further. 🙂

Why HTMLand JavaScript?

  • Most mobile browser supports
  • No formatting / styling required
  • Widest compatibility across mobile platforms
  • No rebuild, easy to update
  • No installation required
  • Easy to share

Royal vacation @ Rajasthan

This Diwali, I went to Rajasthan with family. Only three, very selected destinations were routed – Kumbhalgarh, Chittorgarh, Bassi

Kumbhalgarh has world’s second largest wall – of 36 kilometers length. Lighting on monuments and wall is major attraction.

Night View of fort

Night View of fort

We were fortunate enough to have a night view with beautiful lights on the place for more than 30 minutes. Usually the place is enlightened for about 15 to 20 minutes only.
The reserved accommodation was simple and clean. Food was not upto suitable taste, of course, not bad at all!

Second day and night was planned to be spent at Chittorgarh – city of forts where a bunch of monuments are surrounded in a campus on mountain peak.
There, we compromised over accommodation but got reasonably acceptable. We were dissatisfied for food, what and wherever we had!
However, an evening tour to the fort was fabulous. On entering the campus, we hired a guide, mainly to have glimpse of monuments and to get proper road directions. The fort campus is so vast that a motorized vehicle is merely needed to visit every monument!
Its history had a general element that the Rajaputs, mostly fought in defensive manner!

Carvings on ceiling of Vijay Stambh

Carvings on ceiling of Vijay Stambh

Vijay Stambh

Vijay Stambh

Almost all monuments have unique carvings. The Vijaya Stambh is really a symbol of such high and unique architectural and structural design.
The light & sound show of 52 minutes was really good to visualize history.

The last day and night was just an experiment, and at end has turned to be most memorable place we visited in this trip.
Bassi is a small town, 25 kilometers away from Chittorgarh, on the highway to Kota. Nothing special, nothing great appeared till we reached to our ‘accomodation’. But anything and everything, appeared thereafter had an essence of royal!
The home of the Chundawats – Bassi fort is a unique symbol of hospitality. Just surfing through Internet, for accommodation inquiries for Kumbhalgarh and Chittorgarh, I came across this name, and fascinated by reviews forced to add one more destination to the vacation trip.
They have their own way to welcome guests. Not just that, the uniqueness differs when number of arriving guests increases! Food – quality, quantity & taste was highly upto our expectation.
The palace has very selected number of so called rooms, decorated with choice, rich of wall paintings. The furniture with ancient style carvings is another feather of royal theme.
Candle light dinner in open space in palace campus itself was a rare experience. If I could increase my vacation by one day, I was in mood to be seated on one of the Jharokhas whole night!
The palace campus has a Kalpavriksha – wish fulfilling divine tree, which has holy values in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The tree and its fruits have unique characteristics – fruit has life of 3000 years and the tree can survive without water for 2 to 3 years, according to Randheer Singh Chundawat & others.

Ranvijay Singh a.k.a. Shaitan Singh

Ranvijay Singh a.k.a. Shaitan Singh

The prince Chundawat – fondly calling self as Shaitansingh Chundawat is a cute boy. He is naughty enough to attract anyone! He too was expressing his freedom – as is studying in a school of Udaipur. And the time of vacation allowed him to move and enjoy inside big campus of the palace!

Upto our surprise, family members of the royal Chundawats spent enough time with us, talking about activities, little bit of history etc. Not just that, family members as if divided into small batches, attended us twice!
Finally, when a time to leave the wonderful place and royal family came, I realized that we stayed in a heritage hotel, by the last bill; of course, reasonable in amount!

I salute such ‘kingdom’ where ‘king’ is down to earth and good enough to maintain respect of ‘servant’!

Pics of visit are available here.

Gondal – a model town

Last weekend, I visited Gondal, a famous town of Saurashtra, Gujarat. The town is located appx. 100 kilometers away from Rajkot.

Although, Gondal is having a status of town with few statistical parameters like population, infrastructure, etc. following are remarks about the town.

  • Town planning has been good since the time of Bhagawadsinhji. The roads have more than required – good enough margins and well maintained footh paths in almost every street.
  • The town is peaceful.
  • Town is rich with good institutes in variety of subjects
  • The very well famous, encyclopedia of Gujarati language – Bhagwadgomandal, had been developed by King Bhagwadsinhji. That was not a small project in any sense – collection, quality, authenticity. It is a de facto standard encyclopedia of present time, without any modification
  • The Gondal kings were fond of cars, the followers have also preserved cars in well manner. [See my photos of this visit]

Here are the photos of the visit. The photos include antic car collection too!

* Bhagwadgomandal digital downloadable edition has also been launched on 1st May, 2009.

Wake Up call for Indian Consumers

CERC has started consumer grievance helpline – 1800-233-0222. This helpline is toll free for BSNL Gujarat users.

This is really a welcome step by CERC in association with Consumer Affairs, Government of Gujarat. This helpline is available from 10.30 AM to 5.30 PM as per IST. (GMT +530)

CERC is very reputed non profit NGO serving and solving sonsumer complaints / grievance for its members. Its membership detail is here. You can become member by paying online instead.

To add few lines about the organisation’s prestigeous standing I can summarise few of my experiences:

  • When Vodafone Essar was Hutch, in undisclosed billed amount about Rs.500 for my postpaid mobile connection, I requested for justification and company ignored. I stopped using mobile services by paying genuine amount along with accounting statement which was genuine. Later, the company sent a legal notice that drove me to CERC. I have been member since then. CERC did some correspondance on my behalf. Company failed to respond and that proved the legal notice was no more legally valid or important!

  • HP refused to replace damaged front panel, damaged due to its design defect. Legally and as per company’s terms it is possible to replace such parts under cosmetic damaged parts category. Again, approaching CERC solved, front panel get replaced without any legal procedure.

  • In the matter of unsolicited call from ICICI Bank, I did some correspondence with bank and just by sending copy of the same to CERC taught the bank. The bank sent letter of forgiveness through courier!

Some points about CERC:

  • Complaint department listens and guides to complaint very genuinly. Consumer can feel free to express whatever his / her experience is / was.

  • Complaint department has very systemetic approach from receiving and registering complaints from its members to dealing with associated parties / business houses.

  • Genuine complaint can be registered through email to CERC as well. CERC’s method for dealing with non local complaint is really appreciative.

  • Insight, a bimonthly magazine from CERC is really worth to read. It is a leading publication in India for consumer awareness.

  • One membership serves complaint registered by his / her family members. (of course, not a joint family! :P)

  • Membership fees are normal or perhaps nominal for the kind of activities CERC does.

  • Most importantly, an Indian can be a member, get free Insight magazine and register for grievance too.

  • Different consumer product surveys carried & published by CERC are added advantage for consumers.

I highly recommend to become member of CERC, to boost its activities, to have Insight knowledge of consumer laws and if required to solve your complaints being a consumer.

Bus time table – an SMS away!

GSRTC has already started time table (schedule) search service by SMS since August, 2007.
I also had heard about this, but haven’t come across more details.

Today I found two things:
1. Time Table and other services are available online, through GSRTC website.
2. You can search buses running between <source> and destination by sending an SMS : <type> <source> to <destination> : to 09998805656.

<type> may be either of following
– ignore this field if you wish to find any kind of bus.
– luxury

e.g. ahmedabad to baroda send to 09998805656
or luxury ahmedabad to anand to 09998805656

If you know exact and more details about the SMS format, feel free to share.

The SMS service is really very useful and is very prompt. Also, being an SMS, gives most immediate 5 bus routes belonging to <source> to <destination> based on the time SMS was sent.

I highly appreciate this way to promote public transport. The idea is simply superb.

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