Friday, November 17, 2006

Clickety Clack went De keyboard

You must have seen those days... the ones where everything just went click...

Things fall into place better than they should yet you know there's something missing. Something wrong somewhere... a darkness around the aura of the place you're considering.

I got a call from a friend a while ago. I was sitting in a movie hall during the interval that had just begun.

"Sunil, would you be interested in a job?"
"Not really... I'm enjoying my job right now"
"but would you consider it? It's a business analyst position in my company"
"send me the profile... what sort of pay are we talking about here?"
"I'll send you the profile"
... 2 minutes later I almost fell of the seat...
Massive amounts of money. I wouldn't have to think twice about taking that house loan, but then what did the job involve?
Documentation (yuck!)?
Not exactly - the other folks'd handle that part.
Team management and mentoring of a team of Business Analysts... in a financial software product company.

Back the truck up a minute... did I just write financial software there? Don't I need a bit of experience in that domain first? I mentioned that repeatedly during the interview process... in fact, the interviews were more monologous - with me asking most of the questions. I expected to be able to get the job, but still didn't know if I wanted to leave my current job what with the release happening early next year... these guys called me to Bangalore to "meet someone who's come down from the US to meet the team".

I went there with a strange feeling. I felt bad that I didn't want the job and was landing up there for an interview, but then kept thinking that I might just take it.

click clack...

Reached Bangalore - quite coincidentally a friend (Bells) was down from the US in the Bangalore office that was in the same building as the company that'd called me. Though it made sense to stay with Bells while I was there (two days that were holidays in my company during which I was planning on being in Bombay, but didn't quite make it).

I reached the office and didn't really get a pleasant vibe. Coming from the company that I'm currently in, that doesn't surprise me much. I don't think I've ever worked in a place where the people I've got to interact with are so... nice doesn't seem strong enough a word, but it's the first one that comes to mind.

Bells told me about his plans to set up a business and I got pepped at the prospect of coming to Bangalore. At any rate, I met the guy who'd come down from the US and sat down with HR to discuss bizzniss...

I think one thing that helped me through the entire process was the I didn't really need the job. It was an option - not one that I particularly wanted, but an option never the less. I'm quite sure I'd have been great in the position and I think I made that clear with every talk I had with them.

I did manage to party a bit while I was there - hit a few of the "regular joints" on the second afternoon, picked up my offer letter in the evening, ran to the airport thinking I'd missed the flight, reached to find that it had been delayed and I was just in time. Managed a window seat despite being the last guy to check in, swapped it for an aisle seat when I got to the plane to let a guy sit next to his girlfriend (sweet aren't I?), then opened the letter.

I've never been so confused in my life. There I was thinking "no matter what happens I'm going to make the right decision anyway..." I wound up listening to about 50 different friends give completely contradictory opinions on what I should do. The most reasonable advice I got was to make a list with wieghted values on pros and cons. I got to it and had a <1% difference in the result. Dad was telling me to go... Ma was telling me to do what I thought was right...

Eventually, I decided to take it and called up Scrooge (one of my closest friends) and asked him if his flat was available - he's got a flat in the same complex as the other company office. The tenants were expected to leave at the end of the next month - clickety clack

Bangalore sans traffic? A new venture to keep me from getting bored? A new life of party opposite TGIF? Where was the block?

In my current organisation, the job's far from done. If I ever think of leaving it's going to be after my product's up and people are using it. I don't think I'd have done myself justice till people are downloading my work and putting it to good use.

With all the clicks
that have come in time
the clock still ticks
while the words still rhyme.

You pick and choose
what you have to do
and when the shoe really fits
that's when you find you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

This is De Life

There's something to learn
from everyone
that goes irrespective
of whether they're 'smart' or 'dumb'.

People have innate knowledge
whoever they are
the means and ends
are never too far.

For all the products
that have been bought or sold
the lives involved
are filled with gold.

Infinite clarity
of mind and soul.
The body rests
I'm on a roll.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Money goes from Shiti bank in De most mysterious way

When's the last time you got pickpocketed? I lost a phone (two in fact) in Namibia a little over a year ago. I remember getting back with lunch in hand not really realising that there were two phones with all my contacts somewhere on the streets of Windhoek. I realised when I wanted to make a call that I couldn't find my phones... either of them... it's not like the person who pulled them out of my pocket was kind enough to stick around and acknowledge the fact, inform me or even leave me a note to tell me that he or she had grown richer at my expense.

Things have changed in the last year it seems. Technology is much better and theft being more polite now comes with intimation - LOTS of intimation.

I'm usually pretty scared of signing stuff, so make sure I read whatever's been put before me before I think about signing it (one exception was a housing loan agreement that didn't really come through - I put two signatures per page on some 60 pages that time). I'm such a worrier that I read all correspondence that looks even remotely legal. That includes incidentally credit card terms and conditions that were sent along with my "pre-approved Gold card" that was offered to me on the basis of my "Excellent transactions in your savings account".

I'm also quite finicky about looking at bills before I pay them (ever since a slight issue with Airtel where they were charging me a monthly roaming fee every time I got out of the city - that got sorted pretty quick though). Because of all this I've never thought of setting up a direct debit from my account for anything really. If there's a mistake on your bill it's easier to withhold payment till the matter's resolved rather than get the money back right?

For this reason I was quite concerned when I noticed a transaction on my savings account one day debiting some Rs. 2000+ from my account in favour of "SI" or some other such transaction. Not sure why, but this amount looked kind of familiar. I called up the bank and they confirmed that it was a "Standing Instruction" transaction to debit the minimum due on my credit card bill.

I eventually wrote to the Head of customer care... but waitaminit... why'm I telling you this? I'll paste the "slightly modified" (removed references to the bank and account mail below - read away:

My name is Sunil De. I've been through a little bit of mental torture over the last few weeks so thought I'd share my experience in the hope that at least some action will be taken to prevent this from happening to anyone else. I have a (type removed) Gold card which was provided to me based on my "excellent transactions" on my savings account (no. xxxxxxxxxx)

It's a long mail, but please ensure that you read it - after such an experience I do expect some action to be taken and will publish the same (minus the account and card info) on as many blogs as I can put it on if I find that it's done no good.

The following resources in terms of time and mental stress have been consumed to cause the cancellation of an illegal (no request was made or acknowledged for the same) standing instruction to debit my savings account of the minimum balance irrespective of amount paid by the due date (in my case well in excess of the total DUE amount):

40 minutes of phone calls with customer care representatives who STILL maintain that the standing instruction can not be cancelled as the card was provided to me on the basis of my "excellent savings account transactions"

2 requests logged on the net banking system - the first was a polite request to cancel the standing instruction - the response to this was "this is a standing instruction" followed by a 10 line explanation of what a standing instruction is. The second request was a little more impolite - an eventuality I would prefer not to resort to. The conversation in its entirety is attached for your reference at the end of this mail.

One call back from a "Supervisor" who made the same claim as the two customer care representatives offering me the choice of "take it or I'll transfer you to the cancellation department", which he did.

28 days after the first request I get the second response confirming that the instruction has been cancelled. The threat of legal action possibly did the trick (as in the second net banking query). Why should I have to make such threats? The bank officers I spoke with all told me to "check the terms and conditions sent to you". I've been through them with a special eye out for anything that may tell me that you'll take the minimum balance from my savings account yet found nothing. In fact, the letter that was sent says "If you have given us a standing instruction for payment towards the balance on your Card, it would be valid for reissue/swap to a new Card."

Add a few minutes to type this mail complaining about the pathetic levels of service that make your old (bankname removed) service look good (was pathetic before, but is scraping the bottom of the barrel now - at least there were ill informed people who were willing to admit their ignorance rather than haughty supervisors willing to allow the bank to get into a legal wrangle)

Incidentally, I'm assuming my issues with this card have been resolved. I'd suggest you check with whoever you need to to ensure that they are.

First attempt:

Your Query

There appears to be a standing instruction to pay my credit card bill on the 14th of each month. I did not set or authorize this standing instruction. Please cancel it immediately.

Our Message

Dear Mr. Kumar, This is with reference to your query dated Augus

t 22, 2006. Your credit card # xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx is given to you

based on your (savings) account. Standing instruction is maintaine

d in your account towards payment of minimum amount due in your c

redit card. Hence, Rs. 2633.81 has been debited from your accou

nt on August 14, 2006. We wish to clarify that the Standing Instr

uction towards payment to card will be executed irrespective of w

hether the payment is done by you or not. Kindly note that it is

a automated process. The excess payments made towards the card wi

ll be adjusted towards future bills. We assure you of our best a

ttention at all times. Thank you for accessing (bankname removed) Online. W

arm Regards, Officer - Customer Care

Second Attempt:

Your Query

CANCEL THE UNAUTHORISED STANDING INSTRUCTION WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT. I have neither authorized nor accepted this. I would appreciate that such service be discontinued to avoid legal action.

Our Message

Dear Mr. De, This is with reference to your query dated September

09, 2006. As stated earlier, your card # xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx has

been issued to you in appreciation of your (savings) account held

with us. As requested, we have deregistered the Standing Instruct

ion to debit the Minimum Amount Due from your (savings) account. H

ence, October 2006 onwards your (savings) account will not get debi

ted towards Minimum Amount Due for your card # xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Thank you for accessing (bankname removed) online. Warm Regards Officer -

Customer Care

The joke was on me... I got a call 15 working days after sending that mail (the bank says they'll get back to youwithin the next 14 working days in an autoresponse) asking me if I wanted to cancel the standing instruction.

Needless to say I've blogged it...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

De vs. Nokia - what happened toDe?

The N91's a rocking gadget. It's got a 4Gig hard disk. Wi-fi enabled. aka iPod Killer...
Apple's not going down any time soon if I've got anything to say. The primary function of this device is something to do with getting and recieving calls. The last time that happened (just now as a matter of fact) was a call from a friend asking me for another friends number. Seems he couldn't get through and the number that I gave him was the one he'd been trying for the last half hour or so.
This gadget's a rocker - I told the guy to hold and made another call. Quickly asked friend number 2 if he was avoiding calls from friend number 1 - an unlikely event, but possible in any case. Then I decided to conference the two calls.

BIG mistake. At the moment those two are talking to each other and I'm sitting here wondering why my phone crashed when I tried conferencing the call. It was kind enough to freeze then blank out and show me the "Nokia" startup screen.

Let me give you a little background on this device. I read about it in the last quarter of 2003 - it was set to be launched in 2004 (the second quarter I think - could have been third). I'd read about it just after getting a Nokia 6600. Here's a bit of a comparison between the two phones:



6 MB phone memory

30MB phone memory

Upto 1GB MMC

4GB Hard disk

VGA Camera

2 Megapixel camera

Connectivity over GPRS, Bluetooth, iR, pop port

GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth, wi-fi, USB

Hang on... I'm stopping the comparison. There's no point. The 6600 was around at the end of 2003. The N91 was released in April of 2006. There should be no need to make a comparison at all. The features on this phone were enough to convince me just after I got the 6600 that this would be my next phone. I didn't quite count on dropping my phone and someone stealing it before I could pick it up off the road.

Was depressed enough to walk into a shop the next day and buy a 6230 at a criminally high price. It was a good phone - a series 40 - Nokia hasn't had too many issues with them. They've always been relatively stable. This phone came with a VGA camera again and an inbuilt MP3 player. Was decent enough till it got stolen.

I thought I'd just wait till the N91 was released after that - the site kept telling me that its release was imminent. I waited a few months borrowing phones from friends. Then got sick of borrowing so got me a 1108 (the cheapest phone I could get with an added headset). That was a phone. It's never quit on me. It's battery life was beyond anyones expectations. Features were very reasonable - there were those little things that you'd have to experience to understand. I at one point of time wanted to add a number to my phonebook. I type out the number, select save and instead of an empty text box asking me for a name, there was a name already there... the name that I'd already stored the number as. I made corrections and attempted to save. It asked if I wanted to replace the old number or make a new entry.

This hasn't happened on any other Nokia phone I've used (or the Samsung one for that matter). At any rate. The N91 was released in April of 2006. I bought it 2 days after it was released for 34K. That's in INR. In USD that'd be just below $740. I didn't care. I wanted the gadget. I wanted something to play with. I wanted something I could install software on - I'd been using a mentally challenged phone for too long by now. I figured I'd at least be able to replace my MP3 player, camera and phone with this device (I was carrying them around everywhere till then - quite a pain having three devices when one should suffice). I was sure that 2MPix should be enough and 4Gig was more than all the memory cards I had for my MP3 player.

The camera was a big disappointment. There was no scope of replacing my camera with this crap. Hell - my 6230 gave me better quality pics. The sound recorder's limited to 60 seconds. The hard disk is slow and unreliable - I've got bad sectors, but the OS doesn't seem to understand that so keeps trying to write to the bad areas. The phone crashed 2 hours after the first startup without fiddling too much.

All in all, the gadget wasn't terribly stable. There were issues with pretty much everything. I'd tried to set it so that all messages went to the hard disk rather than the phone memory and every time a message came in, I found I couldn't open it. Could see the first few characters from the inbox, but it would refuse to open. I formatted the hard disk and tried again and it seemed to work. THEN I saw a link to the Nokia UK site telling me I could flash the device with the new firmware if I wanted. It came with warning after warning to back up the device which I did. It also gave reasonable amounts of input on what could possibly go wrong. I got into it thinking "if it works and I get a phone that works well I'm okay. If it doesn't work, I give it back to the guys and they do the job right for me".

Okay, so I went back to using the 1108 for a few days after that... big deal. Got the phone back after a week (the new firmware was a major release so I'm assuming lots of bugs had been fixed). Thought I'd try the phone memory for messages again and found the same problem. There are issues with changing settings with the browser - once you change them, there's no way to change back other than resetting the phone - so now I had it all working and restored my backup... POOF! there went all posibilities of using the browser the way it was supposed to be used... reset the phone myself (a key combo I got online) and found I had all my numbers and stuff - only it'd automatically (without asking me that is) copied all numbers from the SIM card to the phone - now I get calls from numbers (names don't show) when there are 2 copies of the names registered in the phone book.

There's loads of issues that Nokia needs to fix with this device. I don't think it's right that they sell you a phone for 34K, the software of which shouldn't have passed to beta release...

I've always been anti Sony (anyone who knows me gets quite shocked now when I tell em to get Sony Ericsson rather than Nokia). I think I can safely say that any high end phone I get will NOT be a Nokia unless it's been in the market for at least a year first - by which time it's not really going to be high end any more... sad. I have respect for their UI, but it's like the difference between Windows and Linux. I'd take Linux any day if I didn't need windows (I need it for work and frankly, I've got too much stuff on Windows and got too used to the interface to consider the change).

The last gripe (don't take my word for that one - there are going to be more) I have with this phone is that it's a Symbian v3 operating system. That means I can't run any of the old apps I have on this phone unless there's a port available for them. Themes, programs, blah... there's very little I can do with this phone that I could do with my 6600.

At the end of this post let me recommend the Sony Ericsson M600i. Seems like a decent enough phone without a camera and their pricing is justified. The other ones with cameras are good enough to use for JUST that. This one's a business phone. It's got the features, the stylus, the size, the wieght... it's a neat machine and a gadget to boot. Those guys make sure there's enough software available for free - no trial versions on their site (Nokia has an "expense" program that's a 14 day trial). A friend just got one of these phones. I'll have a look at it and validate this recommendation. Till then, tata.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ghosts from De's past, information overload and social networking with an ad to boot

The amount of information you get online these days just isn't funny. It's helped me enough to catch up with old friends, but as I wrote to a long lost school friend I found recently, if I mentioned just how much information I'd got (history of work numbers, home numbers, mobile, mail addresses, home address, work address, education (places of, degrees, awards, scholarships), blah), folks'd probably think I was stalking them!

All of this was in under 5 minutes of searching.

It does reflect of course on just how well people who associate with me wind up doing :)

Hell, why not make this an ad for my school - not many people who went there gave it too much respect. There were teachers who weren't liked, concepts that no one liked, lots of snooty rich kids who actually thought they could buy other kids (and some did as well). I even remember an incident where there was a bit of a fight between two friends with one threatening the other with dire consequences of some form or the other. The next day two thugs landed up outside the gate with guns pulled out. I've got lots of great memories of the place (who doesn't have good memories of school?), but lots of these other ones that sort of make me not want to step through those gates till I've sorted out those demons. On the upshot, even folks who no one beleived would make anything out of their lives are doing amazingly well. I'm in touch with very few folks from those days (it's been 13 years since I finished from there and I didn't really get too many numbers from people - there were too many and I sort of didn't realise I wouldn't be seeing them for so long), but like I said before. There's the net and search. If you've written a paper, reviewed a book, given a musical instrument for repair, been registered on the electoral roll in India, asked for or given help on a public forum or written a blog, chances are it's not going to be too difficult to contact you.

It's been a month of "ghosts from the past". Met up with an old school friend who I haven't heard from/contacted since school finished. He's changed quite a bit, but he's just the same. Googled him, found out he's working with a US univ, that he's got his doctorate and he's doing research work. Met him after 13 years and it's pretty much like meeting a good friend after a year - with a lot more to catch up on and of course different types of drinks from those days.

Things were already starting to kick in with so many people getting on social networking sites. Orkut in particular has been growing in leaps and bounds (at least for me). I don't really get along with the concept of having 2000 friends on the list of which you'd know maybe 200 on decent enough terms to say hi to them and would have met maybe 10 of them.

Currently I've got 100 people on my friends list (it grows by one or two every week or so) of which I've never met 4. The rest are on my list because they're friends.

I always enjoy getting back in touch with old friends and it's great to know most of them are doing so well. You choose your friends - I've got proof of my impeccable taste.

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the name of the school here... I decided to cut the ad out.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Furniture and shoes... shifting Des

The time has arrived. At least that's what I've been telling myself. The end of this 2 hours plus of driving a day.

Working in Gurgaon and living in Delhi isn't really helping my social life at all.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the drive. It's a challenge a minute.

How fast do you think you could get from point A to point B (28KM away) while being constantly menaced by mad drivers eager to give you a practical "crash" course in road rage, experienced ones trying to prove that they paid for their licences to drive, brave little girls sticking like GLUE to the fast lane while speaking on their mobile phones, no doubt complaining about all the noise of "those horns blaring behind me", simultaneously skilfully tapping out an SMS and checking their lipstick in the rear-view mirror angled just so as to show them their big pout while a certain needle drops below a mark reading "30".

I make it in a little over an hour on days. It's an entaining trip there and almost as interesting on the way back, but this guaranteed 2 hours of driving a day has robbed me of what little social life I might have had in Delhi.

Solution? Shift to Gurgaon. I'd decided this soon after I reached here I think. That was in February. I've been searching for a place since. It was Bangalore all over again!

First thought I'd buy a place - Dad had already expressed his disapproval in renting a place. Discouragement would have been if the place was good and costed 70Lakhs. How about a low quality construction in a close to downmarket area costing that much? I'd rather risk Dad's temper.

ProspectiveLandLord:"Bachelors? Erm... we DID want a married couple, but you seem okay."
Ten minutes later: outside
Broker:"He's saying he's getting an offer for 60Lakhs to buy the place, so may not be renting the place"

I think that's the closest we got to getting a place till Gautham was lucky enough to be shown a floor in DLF Phase-I. It's big, airy, good quality. I've finally got my wooden floor. There's greenery and trees everywhere you look when you're on the balcony (which almost wraps around the place). A park's the next plot. It's quiet. Unbeleivably, 500 metres to the nearest mall, 7KM to the office and the closest residential area to the Delhi border by road.

You can probably tell I'm happy with the place.

Furniture? Now that's a bit of an issue. Whatever little I had in Bangalore was either given away or sold. I figure we'd need sofa/bean bags/computer table, chair, dining table and chairs. Toss in some kitchen equipment, some curtains, a bar trolley, some stuff to populate the trolley with, a mattress, bed, erm... what's the budget again?

You mean there was a budget? All of this isn't coming in for free? At any rate, saw some mattresses, a few computer tables, a coffee table (did I not mention that already?), a really neat bar trolley, some really bad dining tables, one of those cushion things that folds to make a low "sofa" type thingy or opens to be a bed. Reached Gurgaon, bought a tape measure to see about the curtains - think those're coming from home. There's lots of spares out here. Installed modem, got a download going and headed out to a mall (THS has an "upto 80%" sale on). 5 minutes later we were waiting in line to get into the mall - weekend mall goers seemed to have learned their lesson and get DROPPED to the mall rather than go through the 30 minute wait we did.

THS was a mess. They didn't have anything labeled. Price tags were under some products, not mentioned on others. The staff had no idea of what they had - asked the guy if he had Corelle dinner sets and he gives us a categorical "no". We bought two things from there. One dinner set (of the brand which they didn't have) and a bathroom shelf (could have SWORN I'd mentioned that before). The manager seemed to think that having a guy "help" people was smarter than labeling products with prices. 3 generations of women (a lady, her daughter and her daughter) brought about 5 artificial flower stems of which 2 weren't "bar coded" to the checkout. The lady behind the counter having sent 2 people to get the "codes" for the uncoded twigs went for a coffee break. As we waited, another customer trying to get the bill so that she could get out of the shop (the guard demands to see the bill before releasing any goods from there) asked how much we paid for the dinner set and congratulated us on "such a good purchase" and set off to see if she could find a similar set - we didn't have the misfortune of seeing her pulling her hair out trying to get the one lone "Reggie" to admit that he had them after all. We were quickly "manual" billed and with a smile from Reggie, the guard stood aside while we exited with a bit of paper with some numbers scribbled on it and the goodies.
Next stop was supposed to be a Reebok shop. I've been trying to buy trainers for the last 4 months or so. They haven't in the past had:
1. My size
2. A sober colour
3. A comfortable fit
all together yet. I'm not paying a massive amount of money to be told they don't have anything without that gold and silver trim on red, yellow, white, grey and brown base in my size because "that model was discontinued last month" and "this is the new one".

Anyway, was headed down to face the same thing again and Ma noticed that there was a 30% sale on Clarks. I'm a big fan of these shoes. Have been since I ruined a pair I stole from Dad while I was at school. Half an hour later I walked out of the shop with Ma, feeling quite happy at my purchase of a nice pair of black shoes.

Off to the Reebok shop. Didn't feel too bad that they didn't have the shoes I wanted because they "went out of style last month" and they've only got "old stock in sizes 3 to 7 and 9" in that style, which is why if I DID buy that pair that was a size too big for 6K, I'd get 3K worth of extra spending for FREE!!

Shall see about some more furniture tomorrow.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Life toDe

The party starts
the alcohol flows
the friends part
the difference grows.

The past is gone
the future's here
sit around with friends
and drink more beer.

The crowd moves on
upwards and away.
The friends that're left
are there to stay.

You stop and think
"is this really me"
there was no more
for folks to see!

The future's here
the future's now
The past's all gone

Couldn't be chowed to finish this 'pome'... too drunk? Maybe...
too far gone? Definitely...

too lazy? - Crap... you GOTTA know me!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Weddings Ahoy!

They're all done at last. I've had an insane amount of fun in the last few weeks. Lots of weddings to go for and one or two that I missed. Was good getting back in touch with old friends and meeting lots of new ones.

Now I need to get back to work to get a bit of rest :)

Here's what's been up.

Wedding in Hyderabad - couldn't go for that one, but landed up at the bachelorette party before she left to get married. The reception was in Bangalore, so landed up at the reception knowing Mallesh (a good friend from the office who I went with) and Radhika (the bride who didn't want all the fanfare - and I don't blame her either). Drank a bit. Tried to mingle a bit. Drank a bit more... the usual. Next scene was when Bells got married.

Bells wedding was in Mangalore. After cutting lots of sad "Wedding Bells at Bells Wedding" one liners I met up with Karen (Mrs. Bells now) for a drink at Cosmo Village - it's been done up quite nicely now - not half as bad as the last rennovation. I still prefer the way it was before though. Bells landed up from the US on the 21st I think.
Met up with him and Lacy - a friend who'd come down from the US for the wedding - on Saturday (24th Dec) morning (just about afternoon) and went to Pecos for breakfast. A few beers, good conversation with the guys whose table we piled onto and quite a bit of food later we left. Had to rest up, pack and get ready for the trip to Mangalore. Was supposed to leave at night and still hadn't decided if I was driving down or taking the "Shaadi bus". Finally decided on the Shaadi bus or I'd be driving alone - NOT my idea of a good time. The bus was supposed to leave at 9pm. Two of his friends from the US (Mat and Deep) were supposed to land up from Delhi at 1. The flight got delayed. Arrival scheduled at 5. The flight got delayed. Arrival scheduled at 9. Decided I'd take the car after all if it got any later - which it did. Bells left by bus and I went to the airport to pick them up. The description that I got was "A tall white man with a short indian woman". I have no clue how I recognised them - don't think I would have if Deep hadn't looked all confused when she came out... hardly looked indian and she wasn't all that short - hey, I'm 5'5.5" (that .5" is kind of important when you're my height). Picked em up, took em home, made myself a drink and passed out.
Left the next morning at 7ish armed with a map of Bangalore, a map of Karnataka and a navigator (Mat) who despite never having been to Bangalore at all seemed to flawlessly point out the right directions (I've tried using the map since then and it just doesn't work). We reached the highway and the drive started. Brilliant roads. Good company. No decent food on the way, but hey, we were going for a wedding - plenty of food out there right?
Found one joint on the way that we stopped at for a "lite snake". The treatment we got was beyond great. Must have been the effect of a white man who spoke hindi :)
You wanna know how great? Before we'd finished ordering, half the stuff (whatever we'd ordered till that point) had arrived.
The drive down was pretty peaceful. Reached Mangalore just in time to make it for lunch with Bells.
Would you beleive it... all the pubs I knew in Mangalore have shut down! There's no Knightrider any more :(
Landed up at Hau Hau - a good chinese joint out there and stuffed our faces a bit.