My regular readers know that I am a great believer in the theory of karma.

Often, there are stories that makes one wonder why somethings happen one way when similar instances end up with different outcomes.

There are many stray dogs everywhere but some get adopted and get homes and most don’t. Why should this happen?

There is no logical explanation except that the dogs that get adopted do so because they are enjoying the fruit of some good action in the past and the adopters are enjoying a fruit of their own past actions.

Here is the first story to illustrate the phenomenon.

And the second.

Customer Service.

I bought an electrically operated recliner from  a leading furniture maker of India in 2003. This is a US$1.323 billion (2015) revenue company with 12000+ employees.

The recliner is in great shape and is my favourite perch. I spend a lot of time on it. At the time of purchase it cost me Rs.28,419.00.

Some time ago, the upholstery of the chair started giving way and while it does not prevent me from using the chair, it is annoying for it looks ugly.

I approached GI with a formal complaint on their website and received this message in response,


Thank you for connecting with XX.
We are in receipt of your email and our Pune branch team will get in touch with you for further clarifications shortly.

Thanks & Regards,
Customer Care Team
Your query given below.
Name : Ramana Rajgopaul
State : Maharashtra
City : Pune
Query : Reupholstering Recliner Single Seater.
Product Enquiry :Home furniture
Organisation :
This communication (including any accompanying documents / attachments), is intended only for the use of the addressee(s) and contains information that is PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination and/or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited and you are requested to delete this e-mail immediately. Communicating through e-mail is not secure and capable of interception & delays. Any one communicating with GI by e-mail, accepts the risks involved and their consequences. The Company is neither liable for the proper and complete transmission of the information contained in this communication, nor for any delay in its receipt. While this e-mail has been checked for all known viruses, the addressee should also scan for viruses too. Thank you for your co-operation.”

Not receiving any further information, after a few days, I rang up their customer service helpline and they promptly located my complaint and confirmed that someone will contact me shortly. After a while, I received a text message on my phone giving me the telephone number and name of a representative who will visit me within 24 hours.

When nothing happened after 24 hours, I rang up the representative on his phone and his immediate response was “Shit”, I will come tomorrow morning.

He came the next afternoon which was a Saturday,  and took some photographs on his mobile phone and transmitted them to some one after speaking to the responder. He left saying that I will get a quotation on Monday as it was the week end after collecting Rs.350.00 as charges for the home visit.

Nothing happened on Monday and on Tuesday, I called the local number that the representative had given in the receipt for the charge for the home visit. I was told to wait for a few more days as the model of chair in question was an obsolete one!

I finally got a quotation from them on the 20th as follows:

Spares Seat Assembly 22570.00
Spares Back Assembly 10259.00

Total 32829.00

Below this was given various other charges for labour, tax, transportation etc totalling in all to Rs.40,151.00

On receipt of this mail, I wrote to them the following letter on 21st January, 2018.

“I refer to your confirmation email dated 5th January 2017. I finally received an estimate from XYZ Services Pune for re-upholstering my recliner chair.

You can see from the quote that I reproduce below how absurd the quotation is.

Have they understood the problem at all? Has there been some breakdown in communication somewhere or is this your way of informing me that you cannot re-upholster the chair?”

As I write this on the 30th January, 2018, I am yet to get a response from them.

Golden Jubilee Wedding Anniversary.

There are just four friends left who have been my lifelong friends dating from my pre business school days and one of them in fact went to business school with me.  Two of them are in the USA and two are in India and Sultan is one of them.  Our friendship goes back to our bachelor days of the early 60s. It flourishes still and luckily for both of us our spouses too became great friends to each other.

Sultan incidentally is the gentleman (SA) in my blog post of the same title,

Sultan and Farida got married on Januray 21, 1968. They had a quiet celebration of their fiftieth anniversary earlier this month in Mumbai for which I could not go for obvious reasons.

I rang them up early in the morning to wish them and all three of us took off reminiscing about the engagement party, the wedding party and  the reception.

I asked for some old photographs as I had not taken any at that time as I was about to leave Mumbai for further training to the South and was living an almost nomadic life out of a suitcase.  Sultan and Farida too soon left for France for an extended stay there.  It was in the early seventies that we got back together in Bombay.

I received three photographs from Farida which are reproduced below.  Readers will remember those days of Black and White photographs!

The top photo shows from left to right, me, Farida, Sultan and Farida’s brother Jaffar.
The lower photo shows, from left to right, sitting on the floor, me and Sultan’s and my late friend Vishnu.   Sitting on chairs in the middle Farida and Sultan flanked by two ladies from the family.

In the top photograph, Farida is not being shy but laughing at some joke that I must have cracked.  You can see the bemused expression on Sultan’s face and the grin on Jaffar’s.

This is a more recent photograph of Farida and Sultan. Look how gracefully they have aged. I have no doubts whatsoever that it is because of Farida who has kept Sultan on the straight and narrow for all these fifty years.  I wish that I had aged as gracefully as my friend.

What Is The Biggest Mistake You Have Made In Your Life? 2 On 1 #4

Even today, after 52 years, the scene makes me shudder and my reaction is exactly like Homer’s here.

The mistake was in getting into a relationship with a volatile lady.

The consequences were what made that the biggest mistake in my life.

I have briefly mentioned it in my post on Ambition, but let me give some details.

The relationship was rocky for many reasons but primarily because of a very possessive nature of the lady concerned. When the inevitable end to the relationship came, she got me imprisoned by her family with plans to get the two of us married the next day. Quite how I got out of that particular situation is material for another post at some future date.

The scene then shifted to where I was living then. My brother Arvind and I were staying with a couple who were very close friends of our parents. We had known them from our childhood and had spent much time with them in our childhood as they were childless and we were much liked by them.  The gentleman was a Senior Police Officer and was staying in a semi gated community of quarters for serving Police Officers. We were on the upper floor of a two storied building of two flats.

Two days after I was able to get away from the mess, the lady and her sister landed up downstairs in the open quadrangle below the flat and let off a tirade against me, my brother and our hosts. The language, to say the least, was anything but parliamentary, and something that that particular society had not expected to hear within their semi gated community. The decibels were loud enough to wake up the entire colony on that early morning.

After about ten minutes of that harangue they left threatening me with dire consequences. The damage however, was done.

Naturally, Arvind and I had to vacate those very comfortable digs and move to a hostel of sorts some distance away from the scene of action. Subsequently, I thought it prudent to leave the city for a while and you can read about it the post for which I have given the link above.

The negative consequences were:

No amount of apologies to my hosts were of use as, a highly respected officer suffered quite a bit of humiliation because of my mistake. On all my subsequent visits to him till his death a couple of decades ago, he would remember that instance and gently chide me for the trouble caused.

Arvind had to give up that nice comfortable accommodation and move to a much less desirable one.

I had to wind up a comfortable existence and move out of the city.

The positive consequence was:

I went to Business School and that made me what I am today. I doubt very much that without that qualification, I would have achieved some of the successes that I did in my life.

Shackman picked this week’s topic and so I will choose next week’s. Be sure to check Shackman’s take on this week’s topic.

Mumbai Local Train – 2.

My readers will remember my post on Mumbai Local Trains where I had written about how the regulars got together for an off train party and danced together.

My nephew Ajay who just became fifty years old also travels by the local train everyday and his fellow passengers celebrated his birthday on the train while it was in motion.

Here are two photographs of the occasion.

Only In Mumbai.

My readers will no doubt remember my post on Mumbai’s Local Trains. Here is another endearing story about how helpful the commuters can be.

“This can happen only in Mumbai. Only local train passengers in Mumbai will know how helpful commuters try to be.
Last week, a hapless victim fell prey to the over enthusiastic Mumbai’s local train commuters.
Our hero, a man from Pune, wanted to go to Matunga, but as misfortune would have it, he boarded a fast train not halting at his destination.
On seeing his plight, a sympathetic co-passenger decided to come to his rescue. It seemed that he had been commuting by that particular train (6:03 pm Kasara Fast) for the past 6 years and had noticed that the train always slowed down just before Matunga station and crawled at a snail’s pace while passing through it. He told the man to jump out of the running train as it slowed down and that with a little bit of fleet-footedness, he would make it safely on terra firma. However, knowing the man’s inexperience, he added some words of caution: “Keep running the moment you jump or you’ll fall. Just keep running.”
He stressed the word “running” lest the man not know the laws of motion.
The train did slow down just before Matunga station and at the prompting of his mentor, our hero jumped out of the train and started running as if all hell had broken loose.
Meanwhile, the train slowed down further, and the man was running faster than the train. In the process, he reached the door of the next compartment and the footboard commuters there pulled him in thinking he was trying to board the train! To his agony, train picked up speed and sped past Matunga and his new co-passengers started to congratulate him on how lucky he had been, until he told them that they had actually undone what he had done with great difficulty.
Those standing at the door of his “ex-compartment” had witnessed the whole drama and just couldn’t stop laughing at the poor man’s plight, while he grinned sheepishly!!!”

This is an all time favourite song about Mumbai which has been sung since the fifties of the last century which holds the same truths for today’s Mumbai too.