Amazing Amazon.

After my writing Flipkart Has Flipped I started dealing exclusively with Amazon India except for anything I wanted to be bought and delivered in the USA in which case I used

Among the many transactions with Amazon India, only one has caused some problem for me and this post is all about that. I ordered for a DVD of a Hindi film and it was promptly delivered. On playing it the disc would not move after about half way through and after verifying that the player is not responsible by playing another disc, I complained to Amazon who promptly asked me to use a label that they emailed me to affix to a parcel to be mailed to a supplier in Calcutta. I did as instructed and wrote to Amazon that I have done as instructed by them but in the meanwhile had been advised by the supplier that he will arrange for it to be collected. Amazon promptly wrote back and offered to reimburse the cost of mailing the disc if I could send them a scanned copy of the receipt which I did.

The fun and games started.

They wrote that a cheque had been prepared and sent to me and asked me to acknowledge receipt. I waited till a few days ago and wrote to them that I have not received the cheque.

I got this reply:

Message From Customer Service


Here is the tracking information of your refund cheque in amount of Rs.80.00:

Courier: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Waybill No:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Status: Delivered on 15 May 2014 to Alka

Please check with your family members/neighbors. If still you can’t locate you
cheque let us know.

You can contact us directly by clicking on reply button of this email.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Warmest regards,
Ajeet M.

I responded with this mail:

I regret to advise you that I have not received the cheque. There is no one in my household called Alka. I am house bound and I rarely let the help sign for anything couriered to me. You can check with all the other parcels that come to me from / via you to verify that.

I suspect that either the address has been given wrongly to the courier or that they have delivered it to someone else by mistake. I suggest that you check if the cheque has been encashed, if not, stop payment on it and issue a fresh cheque.

The amount is unimportant to me but I am keen that the system works so that this does not recur for some larger sum in the future.


I got this reply yesterday.


I’m so sorry to hear that you didn’t receive your refund cheque yet in amount of Rs.80.00.

I’d love to help you but before I reissue another cheque kindly confirm your below address and update if required:

Koushik Sekhar
#x, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxx
PUNE, Maharashtra xxxxxx

You may contact us directly by clicking on reply button of this email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warmest regards,
Ajeet M.

I responded:

Hello to you too, Mr. Ajeet M.

This is amazing!

Doesn’t anyone read mails properly in your organisation? Has anyone bothered to check who has been complaining? My name is Ramana Rajgopaul and I am your customer from the time you started business in India. I have been complaining to you and you send a cheque to a friend of mine to who I had gifted a book. You have simply taken the name from an order which has nothing to do with the DVD that was returned and arranged for a cheque to be issued in the name of a man who claims he has never done business with you, and who has been wondering why he has suddenly been gifted with Rs.80.00.

This is to confirm that the cheque in the name of my friend Koushik Sekhar has been received by him and you may stop payment on that cheque. I shall ask him to detroy the cheque on hearing from you to avoid returning the cheque to you incurring further costs on an already paltry sum.

I have been buying thousands of rupees worth of books, Kindle books and DVDs from you and from and now you want me to update my name and address with you.

I am simply stumped. I cannot imagine that Amazon does something as inane as this!

There is only one address on your record with my name on it. Since you insist I shall reproduce it here so that you can update your records.

My full address.

Thank you for your warmest regards, which I heartily reciprocate.


I am still waiting for a response from Mr. Ajeet M.

In the meanwhile, Koushik is having the biggest laugh of his life time.

Let It Be.

“Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty.” Brene Brown in The Gifts Of Imperfection.

All the religions of the world have a closing word or phrase or invocation after a prayer or a hymn or a discourse.  Amen, Ameen, Aymeen in the Abrahamic religions and Thathaasthu and Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu, or Shanti, Shanti, Shanti in the case of Buddhists and Hindus respectively.

Those endings are what I had in mind when I suggested this topic for this week’s Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us currently write a post with the same topic every Friday.

The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order;  Ashok,  gaelikaa,  Maxi,  and Shackman.  Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.

I use Thathaasthu often.  Thathaasthu directly means “Let it be.”  This is to agree with someone, usually after a blessing or a statement of import. Just this morning I sent a mail to some friends, some of who are among the readers here, reading as follows.

The Taliban in Karachi

There has already been a lot of turf wars between the Mohajirs and the Pashtuns in Karachi and this news item gives me more cause for alarm due to the sheer numbers involved. 

And a much earlier piece.

Sind is already a volatile place and the Mohajirs who do not speak Sindhi are not exactly popular.  Westward, the Balochis do not like either the Mohajirs or the Pashtuns.  And all of them dislike the army which is predominantly Punjabi.

Things are getting from bad to worse in Pakistan with the government / army constantly under attack from the Taliban and local nitwits like the LeT and its offshoots besides the very large presence of Al Quida there.  The drug cartels are all jockeying for position and that too will be a problem on this side of the border with Punjab already a major drug problem state. The Mohajirs have roots on this side of the border.  I have been predicting that we will have a massive refugee problem sooner or later and the climate in India will simply be devastating to the refugees and their relatives on this side of the border. American withdrawal will speed up the process.   What a world we live in!

I got a cryptic response from a friend within five minutes of sending that mail. “Thathaasthu”.

In this case, he agrees that the nightmarish scenario presented by me is inevitable and so says, don’t fret, let it be.  It will all work out!  He has faith and wants me to keep faith too!

What do you think about that cryptic message?  Do you agree?  Will you let it be?

A Tribute To Manna Dey.

My friend Anil and I share a passion for Indian music and two great singers particularly. They are Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Manna Dey. Whenever some particular piece by either takes his fancy, Anil will promptly send me a link so that I can also capture the moment.

His latest epistles have been no less with some magnificent bhajans by Panditji and today he stumped me with a story and links to three songs and I wish to share my joy with my readers who like Indian music.

Way back in 1960, when Anil was all of 17 he found himself traveling in the same first class coach with the great Manna Dey and overcoming his trepidation, spoke to the great singer and told him how Anil and his mother who was also a gifted singer, were very fond of a song that Dey had recorded for Akashvani. Manna Dey was very pleased if somewhat bemused and offered to sing it for him while traveling. Anil, to quote him, was literally levitating and says that till today, he keeps remembering the encounter with great admiration for the singer and his humility and generosity of spirit indulging a young lad on his way to college.

The first youtube version is the original recorded with Akashvani

The next one is the same recorded much later with more modern recording equipment and instruments.

A little later, Dey asked Anil if he would like to hear a new song that he had just recorded for a film yet to be released and on Anil’s urging sang this one.

The last one is a favourite song of mine from a film with an amazing cast and the one vocalising this song is Mehmood a favourite comedian of those days who used to enthrall all of us Hyderabadis beside other Indians. Just look at the effect in Black and White and the talent of the actor besides the song itself.

Alas both Manna Dey and Mehmood are no more but what personalities!

Thank you Anil.

My Odd Habit.

self with vibhuti

Some of my readers who have not met me but have spoken to me on Skype would have seen this avatar of me on the screen and perhaps would have also asked me about the talcum powder kind of application on my forehead and got replied with the same information that I will give below.

Irrespective of how many times I take a shower in a day, and now in the summer it could be as high as four or five times, I will come out of my bathroom into my bed room with an altar where I will apply vibhuti on my forehead and say my set of prayers before I dress up.  This is something that I have been doing for decades and most of the time, I simply am not even aware later that I have got vibhuti on my forehead.  I will simply go off outside on chores or visits to the theaters or parties or whatever.

That application is Vibhuti. Quite what it is and why people apply it on their foreheads can be found out in the Wikipedia post that I have linked here. This post is to explain why it is an odd habit.

Let me explain a peculiar Indian urban phenomenon called Westernisation before I proceed further.  This is something that English speaking pseudo intellectuals admire and practice. Apart from wearing jeans and t-shirts or their equivalents, their idea of secularism, another pseudo idea is, for the majority Indians, read Hindus, to overtly display anything related to their religious affiliation is being communal, whereas it is perfectly alright for the minorities to display those symbols like ankle length trousers, skull caps, beards, burkhas, hijabs etc for Muslims and the symbol of the cross worn around the neck and / or stickers on vehicles reading “Jesus Saves” for the Christians.

Recently, these elites have acquired a sobriquet which is The Intellectual Mafia. The problem with this gang is their inability to accept that someone as modern as I am, mark my choice of the word modern rather than Westernised, who is perhaps more fluent than they are in English can be seen in public with vibhuti on his forehead.  Till they hear me speak they simply ignore me thinking that I am a bumpkin,  because I am usually found wearing the native dress of Kurta and Pajama or lungi.  The minute I speak they go into paroxysms of indignity.  It is so unexpected that if they have the courage, they will ask me why I have got that mark or if they do not, they will snicker and go away to criticise me behind my back.

Truth be told,  I don’t think that it is My Odd  Habit. I am who I am.  It is what is perceived by the intellectual mafia to be My Odd Habit.

I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on this subject which was chosen by Delirious who no longer posts for the LBC but keeps in touch with our blogs through comments for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order;  Ashok,  gaelikaa,  Maxi,  and Shackman.  Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.