November 14th, 2016

So this little kid had earned to dine out by agreeing to do her homework. And she was holding us on to our word. So we three, she, her mom and me promptly drove to a nearby restaurant. Since we only had around 280 Rs between us, the majority being the little kid’s pocket money, we asked the waiter if they accepted cards. He said of course.

We had a relaxing dinner; the portions were just right and the paneer chilli and tandoori chicken were delicious. We finished our food and waited for the bill. Bee kept the card in the bill book, and the guy says, ‘sorry ma’am cash only’!

‘We don’t have any money. We confirmed you accept cards before we ordered the food’

‘But card machines are not working now’

‘Well, we don’t have any money!!’

We remembered the serpentine queue outside the ATM on the way, and neither of us was going to wait there the entire night.

The table next seeing our ordeal called the waiter and asked ‘How much will our bill be?”

The waiter calculated and told them, and the guy began to count the money in his pocket. ‘OK, you can bring the order.’ And we all began to laugh…

The manager says he tried the card machines in all businesses nearby and nowhere it’s working.

‘So what do we do now?’ asks Bee.

‘Pay us in old bills. I can give you 50 Rs change in 1 rupee coins’ says the manager.

We did have a 50 in tens and paid the rest with old 500 Rs note. And that ended our feeling of ‘this seems to be not affecting us that much’.

I now have 2000Rs in hundreds I took out from my office ATM machine. The perks of being an early bird!

Posted in Diary |
November 9th, 2016

The world cannot handle another complete idiot in the white house. A US president can change the direction of the world in such a big way, as we saw with Bush. Iraq war over God knows what! And see where it left the world. The entire middle east is a mess, children dying everyday, people jumping into bungees to cross hazardous seas. While the guy leads a happy retirement.

And here’s a real possibility of Trump now! I am no Hillary fan, but if I was religious, I would call my fervent wishes for her to win a prayer.

Posted in Diary |
September 16th, 2015

I still am not sure whether the woman at baby memorial hospital insurance desk is impossibly incompetent or if the hospital is trying to fleece us.
My father was hospitalized for a few days with a small complaint. We picked BMH as it was in the network hospitals list for my insurance. Unfortunate.
1. First they insisted we had to first complete the admission process by paying Rs 10000 cash, and only later can they inform insurance TPA. When asked why, it was a partly refundable Rs5000 for non-insurance expenses. Fair enough.
2. Now came the insurance request. After submitting all the documents, the woman at the insurance desk just wouldn’t send a request to the insurance agency. I needed a ticket number to check up on it, but she kept insisting that the ticket number will be generated only after claim is approved. When in fact, ticket number is generated immediately after you upload the request and is part of the automated reply to your request. However, she just wouldn’t budge. Apparently she had sent the request and there’s nothing called a ticket number! So the next day I forwarded an e-mail to the hospital customer service from the insurance TPA confirming that no request ever came from the hospital. Then she moves her ass and uploads the documents. The reason she gave — ????? ?????????.. The email didn’t go. So that was the first hurdle. Getting the hospital to actually request for insurance.
3. Then came the pre-approval thing.The pre-auth was approved for 40000, and I got an email from insurance TPA with the pre-auth letter. The woman said pre-auth was approved for 32000. She kept insisting on the amount, and at last when confronted with the letter, it was -sorry, my mistake. By now, we don’t think it is a mistake at all.
4. When being discharged, I call up the insurance guys and confirm the approved amount and the co-pay share. After a day, again she calls. Please come back to the hospital and pay 8000 more. The insurance company is paying 8k less than what was told previously. So again I call up the insurance people and confirm the amount. We have paid up in full, and they aren’t paying any less.

So now the question is, what exactly are you upto? Is she just really really bad at her job? Or do you as a hospital doesn’t want to encourage cashless hospitalization?
That’s what I posted on FaceBook about the insurance fiasco we faced at baby memorial hospital. This was very stressful for my family and me. Through a friend who forwarded it someone he knows at the hospital, a get reply that “not our fault and you should be going after the insurance company”. So I called up the number I got through the facebook comment and my version of payments are correct. They said the letter from insurance company came 15 minutes after we called you up and demanded that you drive back 50kms to the hospital very next day to pay the money. I believe the hospital doesn’t want to encourage cashless insurance claims, and they have a really bad employee on top of that. The takeaway remains. It is not easy or straighforward and has been at times full of it. If we had paid the 8000 then what? I guess that’s what people would normally do. In my case I had access to a insurance representative being a corporate insurance and I asked for stuff. And I had contacts on fb. I wonder how my sister who has an individual insurance she herself pays for will fare if she ever has to go for an insurance claim. The comment from hospital about i should be going after the insurance company instead of BMH – the insurance company has been consistent and communicative and treated me as their client. The hospital on the other hand stonewalled every query an been considering me a fool.

Tags: , | Posted in Log |
August 17th, 2015

So I attended a meet the candidate.

The candidate’s husband and a bunch of guys came in.

The problem is they made this a reserved seat, they kept saying. reserve kar diya is baar, kya karein.

Posted in Log |
April 8th, 2015

I haven’t read many Stephen King books. I see them in the library every time, but somehow I never wanted to take one out. The Dark Tower series somehow didn’t look very inviting. I didn’t think the books would be any good, other than your typical horror fare. Yes, I know he wrote the Green Mile, but I thought Tom Hanks made the movie what it is as I never read the book.

So I was surprised at how well written the Hearts in Atlantis was. Of course it is not a single novel, though I consider it all to be a long novel, and not novellas and short stories as they say. The first part, and the one that creates the setting for everything else, is “Low Men in Yellow Coats”. It is about the brilliant little boy Bobby Garfield and his friends Carol Gerber and Sully-John. But more than that, it is about his rather self-centered mother Liz and the mysterious Ted Brautigan. As the story progressed, I had no idea whether it was supernatural or just plain crazy as Bobby says.

The second novella, Hearts in Atlantis, is more or less stand-alone and not part of Bobby’s world, except for Carol, Bobby’s childhood sweetheart. We meet Peter Riley and Skip Kirk, Ronnie Malenfant, Stoke Jones and Nate. This explains how Carol ends up as Red Carol. To me the addiction Riley his pals go though is so familiar. Just one more, and you are there till dawn. Eerie.. ;P

We hear a bit more about Willie, the kid who helped beat up Carol, the kid who’s nice when not with his pals. We see Sully-John’s funeral, though I have o idea how he ended up with the glove.

Since Vietnam and lord of the flies were a theme in all of these, I went ahead and read about the war a bit. This is what I see, and I feel oh so oh so horrible at the laughing young men as a lynch mob. Lord of the flies, indeed.

Tags: , | Posted in Log |
March 28th, 2015

I know the greatest older brother in the world,he said.

We are driving to the outskirts of Bangalore, and the kids in the CWC are ours now. My involvement is mostly operational. I do not connect with children on a personal level that easily. However, I do want them to have a tiny bit of a chance at a better life in the future and I am giving my time and money.

We have collected clothes and toys, lovingly sent by many mothers we know, and the kids are happy. In this fast world, the kids I know are never that excited about anything. We have too much money, too many clothes, too few children per household compared to my childhood. When I usually gift a kid a toy, I expect it be forgotten after an hour or so of playing with it. A two year old is trying to make a swing of B’s hand and she lets her. A slightly older little girl, later I came to know she was five, is making sure the kid doesn’t fall.

They are sisters, he said. They try to keep the siblings in the same centre. Jagan is their brother, he shows me the shy eight year old holding a shirt and shorts. Orphaned, I ask. Worse, he says. The mother died, and the father began to molest the elder girl. The five year old kid?!! Yep. And the boy took both his sisters and ran away.

I do not cry easily. He really is the greatest big brother in the world.

I wish a child didn’t have to handle such hard and cruel realities at such a young age. They are relatively safer now, yet not secure. Legally the father still is the guardian, and in this country without proper social services if an aunt gets custody they will fall through the cracks. The only way we know of fixing this, other than changing the system, is make sure they stay where they are and they get an education that will allow them to live an independent life.

Every child here has a story, and hope to transform it with your help. #sponsorme

Tags: | Posted in Diary, Log |
March 27th, 2015

This is a man’s world.

I am an individualist. And by extension I am a feminist. That wouldn’t be the first thing I call myself, because I value the individual be it man or woman or straight or gay more than any predefined box. I do not want equality for woman. I want every person to have the freedom to be what he/she wants to be. I do not ever want gender to be a factor.Yet, I am partial to women on a personal level, as in spite of my ideology I also have a sense of belonging to the Group, however unreasonable that maybe.

Yet, this is a man’s world. I am painfully aware of it every day. And somehow many the man in this world doesn’t seem to be the upright individuals I would want them to be. A woman, defined in this world by her gender alone, is forever in a state of bondage. There are the bondages of duty, societal norms and of love. But it is also shaped by fear, and that seems to be a bigger factor than any other. If I had a daughter, I will be chaining her down due to fear. I, who does not care much about society would still be cutting her wings because of the sheer fear for her safety. We see the bigotry every day. If young women walk down the road, there are wolf whistles, and harassment. Maybe not all the time, maybe just once in a lifetime, but the chance of it being there makes many a woman wary of going for a stroll if she feels like it. Women in a strange environment tries to be invisible. Women drivers are harassed on the roads because she is a woman. It is not just those uneducated security guards or drivers. We all saw the Police Inspector kicking his daughter because well, she is his property. Physical violence, and the threat of physical violence, is a great hindrance to a woman’s sense of freedom. It may not always be a direct threat, but passive aggressive behaviour, and you do not want to provoke!When it is you who are being provoked. I wonder when the women decide the provocation is sufficient enough to hit back. This land is lawless when it comes to women’s safety, and only a revolution of sorts can bring it around. There may be laws, but as long as the law keepers share the same thoughts as the culprits, and when everything is chalta hai and boys will be boys and women should know their place, women will forever be prisoners.

But for the time being this unfortunately is the bad man’s world.

Posted in Diary |
October 23rd, 2014

‘She had borne so long the cruelty of belonging to him and not being claimed by him.’

I think this is the third time I am reading Sons and Lovers. First time was when I was a wee girl, and the book was cruel. It still is, but it is difficult to put it down nonetheless. The oedipal overtones of the relationships between Gertrude Morel and her sons, the blatant partiality, the helplessness of Paul, the all around obsessions. Makes me still want to kick them all in their behinds. As a young woman, I liked Miriam; and Clara was ambiguous. The older me reads into the book differently. Yet it is as intriguing as the first time. What do we know about human minds after all! And every now and then, a writer gives a glint into it something we already knew.

Posted in Log |
October 17th, 2014

Another misanthrope millions swoon over. The highlight of my day seems to be watching House. Then reading about the episodes. And wondering at the Sherlock connections. Why is the world so obsessed about not so nice geniuses? Intelligence really is sexy. Or is it wishful thinking? To behave the way we feel but cannot in the polite drama that we call life? Maybe it’s the same fascination about Sherlock. Be rude if you feel like it and not give a damn. And be always right. I wish.

Posted in Diary |
November 7th, 2013

I read Brothers Karamazov. I wish there weren’t that many philosophical dialogues though. I do understand this is of the genre, and Dostoevsky had rather strong opinions on religion and philosophy, and I can appreciate the characters. But nowadays, an older me finds all these explanations and confusions and anguish related to one’s convictions boring. Maybe I have become shallow and materialistic. I do like the book. Even though I find it hard how realistic the great writers are. Alyosha reminds me of Prince Myshkin of The Idiot, and it frustrated me. Things never go right in these books for some people, as in real life. However, things didn’t go as bad, and Alyosha is not naive, just a really good person. It is a really good book, and a really good read, of course except when the people talk about Church and State and Orthodoxy and stuff. Stuff the Individualistic me doesn’t give a damn about. I liked Ivan the best, and didn’t like a bit how he ended up. This is of those books that will torment your soul and stuff, if you have one of those.

Posted in Log |