The Internet,Senior Citizens and Relationships.

On the 24th inst. I had posted that I intend sharing three stories with my readers about Senior Citizens. As chance would have it, I have had to post two posts on the same story about SCB and Anand, and the way events are unfolding, it is likely that I may have to post more.

The third story that I had to share was this. I belong to a yahoo group consisting of ex employees of one of my employers. Most members in the group are retired from the same company and some like me left prior to retirement but, we were all known to each other for many years and enjoyed our being colleagues during the time of our employment with the company. A few such persons now residing in Bangalore decided to arrange a get together of as many ex employees as possible and thanks to the Internet, the number of persons thus located and contacted became quite large. The first meeting took place last year and the second one is to take place by the end of September.

Since the list of members has been compiled by the moderator quite exhaustively, our email addresses telephone numbers etc have all become available to all of us. On my responding to one mail from the moderator, two old colleagues who I had lost touch with since twenty odd years ago, sent me emails wanting to reestablish contact. One of them also is the younger brother of a classmate close friend of mine, with who too, I had lost touch for over forty years.

Thanks to the Internet and the initiative taken by some well meaning ex colleagues, I have been able now to reestablish contact with three persons and I am extremely happy to have been able to do so, as the three others are too.

The point of this post is to emphasize, that the Internet when properly put to use is capable of bringing people together like this. In these days of isolation and alienation, such relationships are priceless and I wish to express my gratitude to technology that makes this possible.

What about you? Have such things happened to you too?

Senior Citizen Story II

My friend Anand and I had to change our bench from the usual one where we sit every evening at the joggers’ park due to a sudden downpour. We shifted to a bench under some trees. This bench was already occupied by an infrequent visitor, who we had seen at the park but had not met and made friends with.

The rain gave us an opportunity to make friends with this stranger and it turned out to be an illuminating meeting.

Our new friend is now 81. He is a Sindhi who came to Jaipur from Hyderabad, Sindh, in 1947 after India and Pakistan became two countries. His father started a small business in 1948 and our friend made it grow and flourish. A typical story of many such refugees who had to leave their homes in what is now Pakistan and move to India.

He is blessed with two sons neither of who stays with him at Jaipur. He is a widower and lives all alone in a palatial home in Jaipur and having sold off his business to retire, spends his time shuttling between Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Pune. His two sons live in these two cities.

The illuminating story that we heard was the sad change in his life style. Neither of his daughters in law is able to provide the kind of food that he was used to getting when his wife was alive. Moreover, his attempts at training the servants in both households have not been taken well by the daughters in law who fear that the help may leave if he does not handle them properly!

Our new friend’s loneliness and sense of rejection by his family came out loud and clear and broke our heart. There was little that we could do other than to invite him to join us whenever we were at the park and if he would like to visit us at our homes.

Such stories are very common among widows. This is the first time that either Anand or I had come across the same story from a man. Just goes to show that one has to be very lucky to be a Senior Citizen and be happy among friends and family.

Standard Chartered Bank’s treatment of a Senior Citizen.

I have had an amazing start to this week. There have been three stories that I wish to post on my blog about Senior Citizens, Service and relationships. I shall do so in the next three posts unless something more urgent or interesting comes up.
The first of the stories is about a very good friend of mine who is a Senior Citizen. He is 75 and one of the gentlest people that I have ever known. I help him with his email and some other formal correspondence as he is completely lost with computers and requests me for help, which I am very happy to extend.
My friend, let us call him Anand, opened a bank account when he was 15 years old as a Minor’s Savings Bank account with his father as a joint account holder and guardian with the Lloyds Bank in Mumbai then known as Bombay. In the sixty years hence, that bank has undergone many changes, merging with, being taken over etc and went through new names such as Grind lays, ANZ, and finally, now it is Standard Chartered Bank. For sixty years, Anand has remained a steadfast loyal customer of the bank despite the many metamorphoses that it has gone through. Most of the employees there today were not perhaps born when he opened his account!
His Savings Bank today, is carrying a credit balance of over INR 300,000. He also has a couple of other long term deposits with the bank.
A few years ago, when Anand wished to go overseas, he had applied for and obtained a credit card from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which allowed him to use it for foreign exchange use over seas. Being a very careful spender, Anand has always been sparing in the use of the credit card and in settling the bills whenever they came, well before the due dates.
Early this year, SCB advised Anand that his Silver Card was due for renewal and considering his record, SCB was very happy to offer him a Gold Card with additional facilities. Anand accepted the offer and completed the formalities. Unfortunately when the card came through a courier service Anand was not at home and the card was returned. Since then, there have been phone calls and reminders between Anand and some Customer Service Call Center about this card and suddenly, last week, Anand received a call from the Call Center advising him that the card will be issued to him only if he gave SCB a letter authorizing SCB to debit his Savings Bank Account with any charges on the card.
Naturally, Anand was very upset and regretted his inability to issue such a letter. He requested the caller to send him a letter with reasons as to why this requirement has suddenly come about. The Caller advised Anand that this was BECAUSE ANAND IS A SENIOR CITIZEN! This was more shocking and Anand insisted, that a letter convey this to him. The caller, no doubt just a Customer Service Representative, expressed her inability to arrange for one. She advised Anand that since he was unwilling to give the desired letter, THE CREDIT CARD WAS BEING DE-ACTIVATED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!
Anand had had enough and came to me with a request to type out a letter confirming this development and placing on record the fact the card had been de-activated. He desired to do this, as he did not want to suddenly discover that someone else had been using his deactivated card. I did as he requested and Anand promptly took the letter to the local branch of SCB and requested acknowledgment of receipt in a duplicate copy. The local branch REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE LETTER. They advised him to write a letter to their Card Center in Bangalore with a copy to some Customer Service Executive in Mumbai and also send an email to the Credit Card division.
Anand came back to me for these letters and email and all that was done last night. He has sent off the letters and copies by Registered Post and now is hoping that he will receive some response.
Is this how a Multinational Bank of repute should treat its loyal and long-standing customer? Should not the Call Center be taught to treat customers in a better way? Should the local office of the bank not handle a customer’s problem without being bureaucratic about it? What do you think Anand should do with his Savings Bank Account with SCB?

Standard Chartered Bank’s treatment of a Senior Citizen.

I have had an amazing start to this week. There have been three stories that I wish to post on my blog about Senior Citizens, Service and relationships. I shall do so in the next three posts unless something more urgent or interesting comes up.
The first of the stories is about a very good friend of mine who is a Senior Citizen. He is 75 and one of the gentlest people that I have ever known. I help him with his email and some other formal correspondence as he is completely lost with computers and requests me for help, which I am very happy to extend.
My friend, let us call him Anand, opened a bank account when he was 15 years old as a Minor’s Savings Bank account with his father as a joint account holder and guardian with the Lloyds Bank in Mumbai then known as Bombay. In the sixty years hence, that bank has undergone many changes, merging with, being taken over etc and went through new names such as Grind lays, ANZ, and finally, now it is Standard Chartered Bank. For sixty years, Anand has remained a steadfast loyal customer of the bank despite the many metamorphoses that it has gone through. Most of the employees there today were not perhaps born when he opened his account!
His Savings Bank today, is carrying a credit balance of over INR 300,000. He also has a couple of other long term deposits with the bank.
A few years ago, when Anand wished to go overseas, he had applied for and obtained a credit card from Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), which allowed him to use it for foreign exchange use over seas. Being a very careful spender, Anand has always been sparing in the use of the credit card and in settling the bills whenever they came, well before the due dates.
Early this year, SCB advised Anand that his Silver Card was due for renewal and considering his record, SCB was very happy to offer him a Gold Card with additional facilities. Anand accepted the offer and completed the formalities. Unfortunately when the card came through a courier service Anand was not at home and the card was returned. Since then, there have been phone calls and reminders between Anand and some Customer Service Call Center about this card and suddenly, last week, Anand received a call from the Call Center advising him that the card will be issued to him only if he gave SCB a letter authorizing SCB to debit his Savings Bank Account with any charges on the card.
Naturally, Anand was very upset and regretted his inability to issue such a letter. He requested the caller to send him a letter with reasons as to why this requirement has suddenly come about. The Caller advised Anand that this was BECAUSE ANAND IS A SENIOR CITIZEN! This was more shocking and Anand insisted, that a letter convey this to him. The caller, no doubt just a Customer Service Representative, expressed her inability to arrange for one. She advised Anand that since he was unwilling to give the desired letter, THE CREDIT CARD WAS BEING DE-ACTIVATED WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT!
Anand had had enough and came to me with a request to type out a letter confirming this development and placing on record the fact the card had been de-activated. He desired to do this, as he did not want to suddenly discover that someone else had been using his deactivated card. I did as he requested and Anand promptly took the letter to the local branch of SCB and requested acknowledgment of receipt in a duplicate copy. The local branch REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE LETTER. They advised him to write a letter to their Card Center in Bangalore with a copy to some Customer Service Executive in Mumbai and also send an email to the Credit Card division.
Anand came back to me for these letters and email and all that was done last night. He has sent off the letters and copies by Registered Post and now is hoping that he will receive some response.
Is this how a Multinational Bank of repute should treat its loyal and long-standing customer? Should not the Call Center be taught to treat customers in a better way? Should the local office of the bank not handle a customer’s problem without being bureaucratic about it? What do you think Anand should do with his Savings Bank Account with SCB?

Returned NRI’s observations.

My young friend Anil has returned to India from the USA after having had a successful career as a Professional as well as an entrepreneur.

Since his return however, he has been having problems adjusting to the Indian way of living and has decided to use his blog to let off some steam. I have offered to debate him on the list of woes that he has posted on.

There are a couple of very nice posts there and I recommend them to my regular visitors with a request to leave your comments on them as well. Anil needs some TLC from us veterans!!

Do you agree with him?

Returned NRI’s observations.

My young friend Anil has returned to India from the USA after having had a successful career as a Professional as well as an entrepreneur.

Since his return however, he has been having problems adjusting to the Indian way of living and has decided to use his blog to let off some steam. I have offered to debate him on the list of woes that he has posted on.

There are a couple of very nice posts there and I recommend them to my regular visitors with a request to leave your comments on them as well. Anil needs some TLC from us veterans!!

Do you agree with him?