My school that never was…

even remotely close to Malory Towers: the dream school, one of Enid Blyton’s best creations. And, how I’ve longed to be there!

I came across Malory Towers first when I was a 4th of 5th Std student, standing patiently by my cousin as she rummaged in her mom’s trunk at home, looking for “some Enid Blyton books you might like”. I saw a neat stack on books on one side, the topmost one titled “First term at Malory Towers”. Hardbound, with a most inviting cover picture. Yet, I took only the two books my cousin lent me—The Faraway Tree and The Enchanted Wood—and went my way. “Finish these and I’ll lend you the next set”, said she.

Well, in all probability, 2-3 days later, I went back for the next set. I was a fast, voracious reader (I still am). If I start on a book, I hate to stop in between. There was a time when my cousin used to take me to the lending library every 14 days during my summer holidays, because the minimum lending period without fine was 14 days. And, I would always take away 13 books every once in 14 days, much to the librarian’s initial wonder and later chagrin 😀 But, I digress.

So, yes, I must have been all of 10 when I got my hands on the Malory Towers series…and I was thoroughly lost in that world. The dormitories, the common room, the classrooms, the swimming pool, the games courts, the stable, the dining room. The pantomimes, the plays, the lessons, the tricks, the midnight feasts. The friends, the foes, the jealousies, the pity, the scorn, the sarcasm, the fun, the friendships, the evolving characters. Darrel, Alicia, Sally, Irene, Belinda, Gwen, Mavis, Betty, Daphane, Mary-Lou, Bill and Clarissa. And the other girls who came in one term and left later for various reasons. The headmistress, the mistresses, the support staff. The parents.

The book went through Darrel Rivers’ six years at boarding school, before she went off to University. So, at the end of the series, I counted back and realised that The First Term would be her Std 7 😀 And, in two years from then, I myself would be in Std 7 🙂 What joy if we could have half that fun!

Cut to my school.

My own school life was totally different. I was in a mixed school, a day-school, which had classes from Lower KG right up till Std 12. A most horrible man for Principal and a horde of teachers who believed that teaching was all about terrorising kids. Well, at Stds 5 and 6, we were considered too little for the teachers to take notice of us. I don’t remember bad times during then. So, these things didn’t quite affect us either. But when I look back now at Stds 8 and above, I have no good memories of that school. No good memories of amazing teachers. No good memories that ever made me want to go back there as an alumni.

Over 90% of our teachers, teaching in a co-ed school as they did, were completely loathe to seeing boys and girls interacting. And especially so for Stds 9 and above. There was to be no gender mixes in friendships, girls were not to be seen with boys and vice-versa, and had no hold over their (often in bad taste) runaway tongues. And, it did not help one bit that I was every bit a tomboy and had more male friends than females.

There was favouritism of the highest order. I was a good singer, but there were already other tenured singers who went their way up from Lower KG. I was a fresh face from Std 5. In a singing competition, they initially announced the 1st prize for me, saw one of the tenured singers burst into tears…and promptly shifted the award in her name. I was taken aside and told “You know you are a better singer, we all think so. But see, we can’t make her miserable because she’s always won it till now. As long as you know you are better, what does an award matter?” And the second, third and consolation prizes all went the usual ones who would receive them before I joined the school. I was a mere 10-year-old, who felt extremely hurt and insulted, and vowed to never sing in that school again 😀

Through Stds 6, 7, 8 and 9, I remember the extreme animosity between boys and girls in our classes…mainly because our teachers hated to see any unity and always made remarks to the likes of “Girls of this class are…” and “Boys of this class are…”, generalising every single incident, even if it only included one or two individuals. And, students were always at fault. Anyone who weren’t 1st, 2nd or 3rd rank holders in each class were too “useless and dumb” in their eyes. On hindsight, those days, I used to hate the boys in my class because their animosity (egged on by our teachers) were quite visible and continuous. And vice-versa. And, at the same time, most of my closest friends were my brother’s friends—boys who were 2 years elder to me—and other boys who were neighbours! Yet, not a single male friend did I have in my own class. Years of this had tuned us to hate classmates of the opposite gender.

It was while I was in Std 10 that we had a most lovely and able man for a Principal, one who looked at things from the students’ point of view as well. And, it was in that year that I, breaking out of my girls-only-cocoon, made friends with some boys in the class. And, instantly, became a sore spot in the eyes of my teachers. A series of horrible things happened, but we as a group went through them like they didn’t matter. But one day, all hell broke loose when our History teacher, who was known as the terror of the school, injustly accused my friend for something I did. She marched into class, and started abusing both of them, in front of 35 other startled boys and girls. I was seething, but my friend told me to let it go, that she was happy to take the blame. But when that horrible woman then started being downright vulgar in her “character assessment”, I flew into an absolute rage. In front of that same startled classroom, I put her violently in her place. I told her she was a disgrace to the entire teaching community, to the women community and to human community, the way her mind works. I no longer remember what exactly I told her, but my tirade was so loud and strong, she was speechless. When I was done, still trembling with rage, she said “I’ll report you to the principal and have you expelled”, to which I said “Not if I get to him before you do”. I marched into the Principal’s office, narrated the entire incident, and owned up to having yelled at a teacher. He heard me out patiently and as she barged in a while later with a group of her close allies (equally horrible disgraces to all those aforementioned communities), he made her apologise to me. Oh, how she hated me, for the entire school heard about this and she was no longer a terror. Earlier, boys and girls in conversation would flee in separate directions if someone so much as whispered that the History teacher was coming their way—because she could not stand the sight of a boy and a girl talking outside class. After this incident, the minute someone spotted her, they would grab the nearest person from the opposite gender and start a loud happy conversation. Well, I did not wish for any of this to happen, I only stood up for what I thought was right that day. But, she hated me for ruining her ‘aura’. She cursed me in front of my classmates before we went for our Std 10 board Exams, telling me I’d fail pathetically in my exams and be a disgrace to my family and myself, and that I’d never reach anywhere. She said “The curse of a teacher is the worst and will always come true. You just wait!” She also carved into one of the school walls the absolutely miserable marks I would score. It was with immense pleasure that I went to meet her when the results were announced, taking her to that very wall and showing her that her stupid predictions didn’t come true, for I’d passed with flying colours. The last thing I said to her was “You’ve to be a ‘genuine teacher’ for a ‘teacher’s curse’ to come true.” And, strangely, I felt no guilt, for that woman genuinely deserved no respect! That Principal didn’t last their long, of course. The post was taken over by one we could call a rubber-stamp, and the aforementioned teachers ruled the roost.

In Stds 11 and 12, school turned out to be a nightmare for most of us, especially for me, no thanks to my “history” with the History teacher. And anyone who dared to be my friend was treated with the same contempt 🙂 Which only brought out the worst in us. The Math teacher HATED us enough to screw up her face in disgust if she saw us: because some of us weren’t so good in Math. My best friend was a genius in Math – she couldn’t lose even a single mark, even if she tried. She was always, every single day, scorned for being friends with the rest of us ‘brainless idiots’. I mean, if teachers scorn the kids who are weak in their subject of expertise and keep focusing on kids who excel in it, what’s the use of being a “teacher”? I was the English teacher’s delight, but she had more allegiance to her colleagues (especially the Math and Biology teachers) and did her best to appear disinterested and disappointed in me for being no good in Math! Except for two of us, the majority of the gang were in the Biology teacher’s class…and owing to her allegiance to the Math and English teachers, she made life hell for those friends of ours.

Everyday, there was some punishment or the other. There was one insult or the other. There was one cutting remark (of mental prowess, lack of parental guidance, of all the kids in the world, why you) or the other. And, all of these made us more and more rebellious. We cared more about pissing these women off and ruining their days than about studying and scoring high marks in school. (On hindsight, I’m sooo not proud of this!) And thankfully, none of us ever failed in any exams. Subjects that we were weak in, we would still scrape by but never fail. Much to the chagrin of those teachers. And since we wouldn’t fail and they couldn’t demand that we bring in our parents, they finally came up with stories about how all of us were in relationships and those relationships were the sole reason we were turning up in school every day and how despicably wayward we were. We were 3 girls and 5 guys in the group. I’m surprised they didn’t say we were in multiple relationships! 😛 The Math teacher, my class teacher, called my parents to school once and blasted the living daylights out of them for bringing up a girl so badly, for being irresponsible parents and for letting their horrible daughter take their trust for granted. She told my parents I was in a relationship with my friend, who was an orphan and had no good means of living. This same woman who had hated my brother while he was in school, now praised him skyhigh and said “Why can’t your daughter be a bit like her brother at least? He was such a nice student, such a nice boy.” Hurt as they were, after a meltdown at home later that evening, my parents saw sense when I explained it all clearly. I even offered to call up the boy’s house and have my parents talk to his, for he was no orphan! And, the absolute surprise (followed by scorn and bellowing laughter) on my brother’s face at the praise he seemingly received seemed to explain more about the true colours of that teacher to my parents. And in stark contrast, my professors in the University absolutely loved me, and once called my parents to college during my final year. The previous time my teachers called my parents, it was a horrible day for them, so my Mom was sure she was in for another earful of abuse about her daughter. When the Head of my Department said “Your daughter is our true hope of a rank for our college”, my mother actually had a BP rise out of sheer surprise and sort of fainted! ROFL. 

In all this, within and outside of school I did have a lot of fun with my friends, but I’ll only remember those days for the fun I had with them and never for the school life that’s supposed to be some of the best times in a child’s life. It was fun we had DESPITE the school being so horrible. When I look back today, I’m not thoroughly pleased at how we rebelled, but at that point, that seemed the only sensible thing to do. I recently spoke to some of the more mellow, “good students” (esp in the eyes of these very horrible teachers), and none of them seem to look back at that school life fondly. I was only too glad to get out of there, never to go back. I’ve received a few Alumni meet invitations, but I turned down everyone of them. And, I will continue to do that. Sometimes, I do wish my parents had admitted me into some other school, but I guess I turned out the way I am because of all that the school threw at me. I may have scored higher marks in another school with less of this bullshit, but I may have been a completely different person today.

So, why did I go down memory lane with a long post about a school life I hated? Because the past week, as a 33-year-old, I went back to reading Malory Towers 😀 And nothing seems to have changed in the past 20+ years, for how I longed to be there! How I wished my school life had been simpler, more fun and more meaningful. How I wished I ha fabulous memories to share today. How I wished I had not been a student in my beastly school (and still see it as a place that did me no good and one I’d never return to) and had been to one that was at least half as fun as Malory Towers! How I wish my school-time memories were far more beautiful than they ever will be. And, how I wish the beastly women who taught in that school had taken up alternate careers that were faaaaaaar removed from teaching and schools and kids. Sigh.

Day 26: Please stop the trolling!

Just because there are smartphones and there is Internet and there are apps that allow to us to spread just about anything, I don’t think there is any NEED to troll people whose actions have ABSOLUTELY NO bearing on you..

I am stunned at the uproar the wedding of two film stars in Kerala created yesterday. And I’m even more stunned at how educated friends of mine have been bombarding me with these “jokes” and memes. Stop it.

So what if they both are divorced? So what if they maintained that there was nothing going on between them? So what if the daughter of the man chose to support her father’s second marriage? So what if his first wife ‘sacrificed’ her career for him and the child? So what if there was always talk of these two ending up together someday?

Who are we to judge anybody? Who are we to say she suffered for the past how-many-ever years with him and yet he is now with another woman? Who are we to say the daughter was heartless in supporting her father and cared nothing for the mother who went through labour to bring her into this world? Who are we to claim she never had any faults? Who are we to claim he never had any faults? Who are we to decide which parent the child should support in such a case? In any case, how it it your right to get involved in their lives to the extent of being vile, crude and downright crassy?

For God’s sake. This is about the lives of a family that fell apart…and a new one that formed. No one knows what went on in those lives in the past years. No one knows if he was a devil, if she was a devil, if the child was not brought up well. No one knows what prompted the discord and what created the distances. No one knows what split two people apart and what brought two people together.

Everything we’ve known came from the grapevine. It’s all pure speculation. How can we just change sides when it suits us? You all, supporting the ex-wife and mourning over her huge sacrifice of career and being a mother — did you so quickly forget how you all blamed her for being a horrible mother and terrible wife when the divorce happened? 😮

Stop the trolling. This is not affecting your life by any measure. This is not going to make you wait outside theatres in mile-long queues. This is not going to make IFFI stop making good movies that humanity needs and turn their lenses on what’s happenings in outer space. This is not going to take away any jobs you/your family have in various parts of the world.

Stop the trolling. And for God’s sake, leave them alone. How people choose to live their lives, within their rights and life premises, is none of anybody else’s business.

Stop the trolling. Your troll jokes and forwards are NOT FUNNY. If you think they are, and if you can’t help spreading that shit, spare me. I exited some WhatsApp groups yesterday to which you all promptly added me back. Trust me: if you can’t stop, I will not think twice about blocking you and never remembering to unblock you after that. And I don’t mean just this instance.

Have some class, and have some principles.

Day 19: Reflections…

…when ugly, are never the mirror’s fault. It is the fault of the “object” and the “light” that reflects off it at a bad angle. But you do need the mirror to show that to you. Unless you choose to never look in the mirror. Is that wise, though?

Looking back at the past and drawing lines to the present…is that a good thing to do? Does reflecting on the past and regretting not acting on a certain intuition then…make it sensible to consider that decision now?

Are intuitions any good, or is it just a fancy term for a comparison at different levels? Are they just bad feelings to brush off with Hope and Faith, or are they things needing serious thought?

How much, what kind and when is it OK to forgive? If you cannot forget, what’s the point in forgiving, when memory serves to rekindle the same feelings many times over? How genuine, then, is that forgiveness…and how fruitful?

How can you weigh the unknown repercussions of your decisions against your future happiness? What if your intuition fails you and you don’t take what could have been the best decision of your life?

How trustworthy can promises be, when tomorrow is a whole new day?

Does anyone know how the scalded cat, that feared even cold water, finally got over its fear? Is fear a good reason to not believe?

In an attempt to stay positive, is it wise to brush the unknown, unexpected and unhappy under the carpet?

How late is too late?

Meet Khloe :)

Our 6-year old beagle, a sweetheart we adopted a week ago.

The whole idea was formed when my ex-manager and dear friend, Neeta, forwarded a mail that took me to a blog that said “20 beagles from a lab need homes”. Of course, having a Labrador at home made me first think the mail meant these were pups of a lab-beagle parents. And then, I noticed a comment that said something about beagles being extremely gentle beings, which is why they are “used” in labs. Which is what made me research more on beagles in labs. That took me to the Beagle Freedom Project. I read about the horrors these lovely creatures are put through in animal “testing” laboratories. I was aghast. I came across this video, and was reminded of having seen it a couple of years ago.

Well, I did not need any more persuasion or convincing to take a decision. We wrote to CUPA who was organising this adoption drive, and was told we would get to adopt one on 19 Feb. I really really wanted to get two — so that they’d have each other for company always. But plans don’t always work.

On 19 Feb, we went to the CUPA centre at Ulsoor, to find that there were 40,a nd not 20 beagles up for adoption! We registered, and had to wait for our turn to make the selection. There was one I had almost decided on; till then Khloe was not in my line of sight. It was when a car had to be reversed out from amidst the cages that the guy moved Khloe’s cage to another side. That’s when I saw her. And when it was my turn to choose, I opened the cage of the one i had almost set my mind on, and called her out. She was responsive, but did not budge. I opened Khloe’s cage, and she came out, slowly but with much affection. I gently pushed her back in and tried two others. Well, in the end, Khloe it was!

I guess it suffices to say that Khloe chose us 😉 She came to us happily, stood patiently while we put on her a new collar and clipped it to her new leash. She was curious, but anxious. She was friendly, but extremely docile. Every time we bent down to pet her, she would cower and almost set herself flat on the ground 😦 It ached to see her do that.

That was 5 days ago, and at the adoption center. The moment we reached home, she surveyed all of the first floor. She was hesitant to climb the stairs to the second. Since CUPA had to sterilise her, they operated her and there was a cut on her belly which was stitched and bandaged. We did not want to force her to climb, for fear of her wound causing her pain. She settled down extremely quickly.

Am I beautiful or not?

Am I beautiful or not? Pic courtesy: Neeta

The first day at home is the ONLY time she slept on the floor. I guess she was not sure what the sofas were for; plus, I was sitting on the floor, so she must’ve assumed that’s where we all sit/sleep.

I'm at home here.

I’m at home here.

That evening, Neeta and the Queen of Subtlety came home to visit Khloe. They spent quite a while cuddling her, taking pictures, and generally giving her love therapy 🙂 Close to 8, they were hungry, and decided to leave. I decided to join them for dinner. While I was gone, Khloe watched TV.

Wow. There are many dimensions to this world! Interesting, I say.

Wow. There are many dimensions to this world! Interesting, I say. 

Khloe is now a happy girl. Because she has figured out the comforts of the various soft sofas, beds and settees in this house. Needless to say, she now owns them. The moment one of us sits down, she considers it her right to climb up right up near me, shifts about till she gets into a position that lets her be squished between me and the backrest, and promptly dozes off. Ina day or two, she has come to the conclusion that she can doze off even without waiting for me to sit. As long as one of us is in the room, all is well.

The wonders of a certain thing called 'sponge'.

The wonders of a certain thing called ‘sponge’.

Khloe is a happy girl 🙂 We took her to the vet today, and he said she’s healthy, and seems happy and quite well adjusted in comparison to how normally other adopted dogs seem in a week of getting a home. She refuses to eat anything at all, but that is just because it’s a new environment. We took her on her first ever walkie-walkie today evening, and she was a good, co-operative girl! I’m proud of her.

Khloe Nayar, welcome home 🙂 Here’s to a delightful new life, baby! 🙂

I look forward to sunshine, happiness, love and much joy in life.

I look forward to sunshine, happiness, love and much joy in life.

icici: customer scare

I know I’ve bored you all with too much icici tales — but ALAS. I’ve closed the darned account. I can never crib about them again. Yay! Freedom, and peace of mind! So just this once more 🙂

Gee! I’m on a roll! 🙂  ICICI seems to be bent up on giving me fodder to rant on. After this and this, here’s some more 🙂 Wow, ICICI sure knows how to make fools out of themselves!

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FODDER 1:

After all that drama, since we were in need to take out at least some of my money from my account (I have no cheque leave, and no ATM card, and they have no withdrawal slip, and I refuse to pay them even a single penny for their precious “instant” cheque leaves/cards), Suraj calls up ICICI Customer Care. He explains the situation and asks if its possible to transfer money from my account to his. He also says neither of us have Internet banking. “Of course Sir, it’s possible. You have to go to your home branch, and she also has to come there and give a written statement to the  Manager, saying fund has to be transferred.” Suraj is overjoyed, but clarifies “My home branch or hers? And is there a limit, or can any amount be transferred?” “YOUR home branch, Sir. And you can transfer any amount, Sir. No limits.”

Suraj’s joy knew no bounds. He took an hour’s off from work, so did I. I knew some screw up would happen, but I kept quiet. At the Jayanagar 9th block branch (his home branch), of course, the first polite, all-smiles response to the query, in typical ICICI-style is “No, Sir…that’s not possible.” We had to tell her about 5 times that the Customer Care employee had confirmed it was possible.

“Ma’am, you can use your cheque leaf no?” I had sworn to myself I would be polite, so I said “I don’t have it; if I did, we wouldn’t be asking for this, right? (sweet smile)”

“How about your ATM card?” Before I lose my cool, Suraj says “I already told you she lost it, and we’ve blocked it.”

She: “Ma’am, in that case, you can buy loose cheque leaves from us.”
Suraj: “But that’ll be charged, right?”
She: “Yes, Sir. It’s Rs 28 a leaf, but we’ll give you 5 leaves together.”
Me: “Hmmm…so Rs 140 for 5 cheque leaves. It’s a lot cheaper here, Suraj. It was Rs 220 at Koramangala, remember?” (sweeter smile)

She gives us both a weird look before continuing, “Or if you go to the Jayanagar 3rd Block branch, you’ll get an instant card. Instantly, they’ll give it.”
Suraj: “But that’ll be charged, right?”
She: “Yes, Sir. It’s 221 a card.”
Me: “Wow. That’s so uncool. Koramangala was cheaper for this one…they had said Rs 150.” (much more sweeter smile)

The lady now is so bewildered, Suraj politely asks her to talk to the Manager. She’s gone a while and returns to tell us “You can transfer a maximum of Rs 5000. For more, you’ll have to go to her home branch.””I clarified and the Customer Care person said I’ve to come to MY home branch, and there was NO LIMIT.” “No Sir, sorry. We can’t do anything. We don’t have the authority. Go to her home branch. Or you can even request her home branch to be transferred to this branch, so it’ll be easier for you both.”

Before indescribable expletives come out of my mouth, Suraj ushers me out, looks at me, sighs and says, “Yes, pannnna stupid horrible ICICI.”

But in this case, I must admit, the lady was DAMN POLITE, and was quite apologetic when she said she can’t do anything to help. And I held on to my temper, since she had no clue what I’d gone through a couple of days back. But well, there’s NO COORDINATION BETWEEN WHAT THE EMPLOYEES AND THE CUSTOMER CARE SAYS!

Where ICICI is concerned, the customer is forever on a merry-go-round, which isn’t quite all that merry!

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FODDER 2:

For a change, this happened to Suraj, and not me! So, I think his “good spell” is waning too. I’m  — not secretly at all — THRILLED!

He, after hearing all my stories and rants, decided that Internet banking HAS to be activated. So he goes to the bank and enquires how he must go about it. The officer there said that though they do have a form he can fill up there, it’ll be a quicker process if he can go about it via Customer Care. (When I tried for this once through Customer Care, they’d explicitly told me I HAVE to go to the bank and fill the form up, there was no other go 🙂 🙂 🙂 Different people get different options. Nice!) He also said that the mobile number needs to be registered first in their server.

So Suraj registers the mobile number, and also gives a request to update his address to our current one. The officer said it’ll take a day for the mobile number to be registered, and that Suraj’d get a letter via post confirming the new address.

As promised, the next day dawns with an SMS from the bank stating that his mobile number has been registered. Suraj waits further, and on Day 4, a letter comes via post, stating the address has been changed to the current one, and registered in their server as well.

Suraj then calls Customer Care and requests to activate Internet Banking. So they say they’ll send him a new id and password through post. Recalling how, in my case, without even confirming the address they SENT an id and password to an old address, Suraj says he had changed his address two days back, and asks the Customer Care person to confirm it. But voila! After 6 days — and even AFTER getting a letter by post to the new address — the “server” still hangs on to the old address. “How’s that!? I changed it, and I even got a letter confirming it. If it’s still showing the old one, how did the letter reach me?” “I don’t know, Sir. It’s still showing the old one. We can send the password and id to that address only, unless you change it. If you change it, it’ll take 4 days, and you’ll get a letter. You can then call again and activate Internet banking.”

Dende kedakkunnu! There! So, singing “here we go round the mulberry bush”, Suraj starts all over again, requesting an address change. The guy says Suraj’d get a letter via post confirming the new address. On Day 4, the exact same letter arrives all over again, stating in the exact same words the exact same “new” address” has been  registered in their server as well.

EDITED TO ADD (after the latest address change letter):
     Letter 1 said:    Old address: ABC…     New address: DEF…  (which is exactly what Suraj wanted)
     Letter 2 says:   Old address: DEF…     New address: XYZ…   (ROFL is all i can do!!)
The funniest part is, Suraj DID NOT give XYZ as his address at all! So, I wonder where they go it from. I wouldn’t be surpised if tomorrow they change his dad’s name, or even his very own name — and then shift all his funds to another account saying “That’s your real account number, SIR”! 😀

From the looks of it, the next time he calls, a third Customer Care employee will again say it’s still the old address they have, Suraj will again give the new address, they’ll again send the letter. I wonder how many Customer Care employees they have — just so I know how many calls Suraj will make 😀  And I wonder if there’ll be enough trees left in the world — considering how many letters they send via post for the same ****ing thing.

So much for getting his Internet baking activated “much more quickly” 🙂

I think they need a new server that’s willing to accept new addresses and make sense of existing names and stuff. Especially after reading this experience of another customer unfortunate enough to have an ICICI account, I don’t just think, I’m SURE they need one.

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What I just can’t accept is the fact that they’re never inclide to “help”. No matter what the situation is, on whose side the fault lies and how simple it may be solve it, they JUST DONT SEEM INCLINED TO HELP. The first response I always get is a “No”, before they give options, that too, ONLY if we ask! THAT is what pisses me out. I seriously hope they fall out of business. Soooooon!

Customer ser-VICE: the ICICI way

LONG-POST-AHEAD alert!

Ok…I’m honestly ashamed at myself for even letting the nasty “ICICI” be allowed any space in my blog, but well…I have to! For their own UNwell-being!

Their initial tagline was “hum hai na“, translating to “We’re there (for you)“. Probably they realized they’re never there, or maybe they thought just “being there” wasn’t enough. So they changed it to “khayaal aapka“. Well, they have zero knowledge of Hindi. They’ve absolutely no clue what “hum hi na” and “khayaal aapka” means. I think they actually mean “kya haal appka (tch tch)“.

Yes, that HAS to be it. They’re actually mocking, sneering and smirking at their customers, saying “kya haal aapa…poor you!” and then rolling around laughing teir *&%^*& asses out!

For the stupid ICICI Bank, Customer Service just means giving customers a tough time — especially when they’re really in need! I may be prejudiced here, but I must say: I’ve banked with State Bank of Travancore, Axis Bank (which was UTI Bank), Standard Chartered Bank and the horrible ICICI. I’ve never been hesitant to walk into any of the other banks ever — but with ICICI, every single — e.v.e.r.y. s.i.n.g.l.e — time there has been traumatic for me. I’m sure if someone checked my blood pressure before I decide to go to ICICI, and after it, there would be a huge difference, the latter bordering on dangerous!!

Here’s one such incident I wrote about. This is ICICI Customer SerVICE.

Of course, that incident happened over 2 years ago, and I forgot about their “policies”.

Recently, about 6 months back, I needed some money very urgently. I, in fact, had to borrow 30k from a friend. I took her ATM card (in the hopes of withdrawing in 2 days if the limit was 15k) and went to the ICICI Koramangala Branch to withdraw the maximum I could with the card. They have 5 ATM machines in that office — but none worked! So, along with a few other annoyed customers who were there, I walked into the branch, and asked the “very eager to HELP” officer that I needed money, and that their machines were out-of-order. We began on a polite conversation.

“Do you have a cheque leaf ma’am?”  “No, I don’t.”  “Then I’m sorry. You can’t withdraw cash.”  “What? Give me a withdrawal slip, please. This is an emergency.”  “We don’t have withdrawal slips, ma’am. It’s not per our policies.”  “Then what do I do?  “You can go home and get your cheque leaf, ma’am.”  “I told you, I don’t HAVE a cheque leaf. And I need cash immediately. I need about 30k. There’s no other way I can get it?”  “No, ma’am. You can place an order for fresh cheque leaves, and you’ll get it in a week’s time.”  “Do you know what an “emergency” is?”

And I walk out of the bank in a huff, all patience lost, back to my friend’s home. She writes me a cheque for 30k, stating pay “Cash”. Duly signed, filled in well. Ensuring there’ll be no further problems. I go all the way back to the bank and present the cheque. I begin on a polite conversation with the teller lady.

“I need Rs 30,000 in cash. Here’s a cheque.”  “Ma’am, we can’t process this cheque.” (no further explanations, just a blank look. Of course, per their policy, the customer needs to entertain them with the questions!)  “And, why, may I please ask?” I’m beginning to lose it.  “It’s written “Cash”. You’ve to write pay “Self…”  “Listen, lady. This is NOT my cheque. It’s a friend’s.”  “Whatever ma’am. We can’t accept cheque written “Cash”.  “So, my friend must write pay “Self”…and I must bring it to you?”  “Yes, ma’am.”  “So, then you can say “This is someone else’s cheque and it’s written “self”, so that person will have to come”, right?”  No response. That’s when I lose it. I scream at the top of my voice, ensuring all customers hear me: “This is a medical emergency. Your fucking bank has already delayed me by 30 minutes. Because of you, someone could lose his life. If that happens, have no doubt that I’ll sue you as a person, and as a company. I need the money right now. Do something about it.” The lady is irritated now, and tells me:  “Then go upstairs and get an emergency cheque if you want.”  “I’ll sit right here and give YOU 5 minutes to go get a cheque by yourself, and get me 30k in cash. Else, I’ll definitely make sure all you people get in trouble.” And I sit down, fuming, shaking with anger.  There’s a flurry of movement. People running up and down — and I have the cash in hand in 5 minutes.

This is ICICI Customer SerVICE.

Fed up of going to the bank for any more such “services”, I decided to enable internet banking. Once again, after a month or so, I go to the same darned ICICI Koramangala Branch, to enable internet banking. They direct me to the 1st floor, to get it done. I take a token ticket, fill up a form for enabling internet banking and wait for over half an hour, for my token number to be called. Finally, a girl comes around asking people “What’s your query?” I tell her, and she says “Wait, you’ll be called.” After another 15 minutes, she comes, takes the form from me and tells me, “You can leave ma’am. All the employees are busy. We’ll send you your username and password to your mobile in 4 working days.”   I’m surprised. “To my mobile? Is that a safe thing to do?”   “Yes, of course. that’s how we do it.”  “Are you very sure?” “With extreme confidence, she says “Of course, ma’am.”

Eight working days later, I’ve still not heard from them. So, I call Customer Care. “See, I’d requested for my internet banking to be enabled, and I was told I’d get the username and password to my mobile in 4 working…” I barely finish when he interrupts me with a smirk “To your mobile? We don’t do it. We send it to your communication address via post. And from your account details, I can see that it has been sent already.”  “Do you know my communication address?   “It’s…” and he reads out an address I stayed at 3 years ago. I’ve shifted house twice after that.  “But that’s not my address anymore.”   “Then I can’t help you ma’am. You need to block the password immediately.”   I was seething, and I told him “It was a person at the bank who told me it’d come to my mobile — and if she wasnt sure, she should at least have asked me to confirm my address — even the form didn’t have a section asking for the current address!”  “I’m sorry ma’am. Maybe she was new. I’ve blocked your password. You can re-apply at the bank.”

This is ICICI Customer SerVICE.

I swore never to go to ICICI for any damn thing — and I was adamant I wanted to close the bloody account. But Suraj said we’d already given that account number for the housing loan purpose, to show bank balance and statements — and he didn’t want anything delaying the loan.  So I didn’t close it.

A few days back, I lost my ATM card, and I’d to block it. Well, it wasn’t really lost: it was hidden in my bro’s jeans, and after hunting for it over 3 hours, we presumed it was gone, and blocked it. So, now, no ATM card, no cheque leaves. I knew my money was stuck in the bank — of course, they have no withdrawal slip!

I went to the ICICI Koramangala Branch and asked yet another “eager to HELP” official what my options for a withdrawal were. “You can pay Rs 220 and get a cheque book right now, or you can pay Rs 150 and get an instant ATM card.”   I was adamant I wouldn’t part with even 5 paise for this ****ing bank. So, I tell him “So, to withdraw MY money from MY account, I need to PAY your bank. Interesting. Ok. I have another question. I’d like to close my account. How much do I pay for that?” He gives me a weird look and directs me to 1st floor. Oh no, not the first floor again. Aaaarghhh! I tread up the stairs.

I go up to see about 10 people already waiting to be “taken care of”. I take a token ticket, and sit down at exactly 1.05 pm. As soon as a guy comes around asking “What’s your query?”, I tell him my need and ask him how long it will take.   “I can’t tell you ma’am. They’ll call your token number.”  Flabbergasted, I ask “Listen, can;t you just ask them how long an account closing will take?”   “No, ma’am. Sorry.” And he moves on to the next person sitting.  Time slowly ticks away. It’s 1.35 pm and not one person has been called. All the counters have employees, but they’re all “training” new recruits learn the work. How nice. Finally, one of those guys come around asking again “What’s your query ma’am?” I say, very patiently still, that I need to close my account, and when asked why, I say “This is why. I’ve been here multiple times, and your bank and your people have ALWAYS given me a tough time.”  “Ummm…shush ma’am. They’ll all hear you. Ummm…you’ll be called soon.” At 1.50 pm, the guy looks at me, and quickly turns away. So I get up, and call him loudly, asking if someone even plans to call the token numbers. He says “Ma’am, there are people waiting who came before you.”   “Really? So, is that a good thing? I’ve been here for 45 minutes!” “They’ll call you. Please wait.”   “Listen, do you need an account closing form to be filled, or a letter written? Then let me know, so I can do that now instead of wasting time for that later. And how long will this whole thing take?”  “No madam, I can;t tell you till they verify your account.”

At 2.10, I’m called. After repeating for the 4th time WHY EXACTLY I need to close the darned account, she tells me “This is your salary account. We can’t close it without getting a letter from your employer. Otherwise where will your salary go next month?”  Rather pissed, I tell her “There are other banks, in case you don’t know. And, to close MY account, you need MY permission, not my employers. I’ll deal with my company. You just deal with your company policies.” And then she comes up with “We need 10 days to close your account, since from your account number it is evident that your home branch is Chennai”.  I’m quite loud by now. And, I have to tell her it’s not Chennai, but “Kumara Park, BANGALORE”.  “Oh, whatever. It’s not this branch, so we need 10 days.”  “You made me wait for over an hour to tell me this!? Have you NO REGARD for a person’s time!?”  “Well, you never asked.”  “WHAT!? Ask your over-eager-to-help people how many times I asked!”  “Well, they’re all new. They don’t know these things.”  “If they don’t know, they should’ve asked someone who knows, and then told me, right?”   “Whatever. That’s not my fault.’

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is ICICI Customer SerVICE.”

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I really, truly, honestly wish I could ask all you readers, with ICICI accounts to go close them, saying “A friend had too many bad experiences with your bank. So, to support her, I’m closing my account.” or something. I wish I could start a movement like this. Such closures — stating this as a reason — around the country will probably make them re-consider the meaning of “customer service”. But well, I know there might be those of you who’ve had no issues with this bank, and love it. Why say more: my own husband refuses to close his ***ing ICICI account since he’s had no issues so far. So much for “support” 😦  When he said he wouldn’t, I was near tears: but I know it’s not fair to pressurise him into doing that. I’m NOT kidding when I tell you that the very sight of an ICICI ATM / board / ad gets me seething. I’ve had too many bad experiences with them.

I’m closing the ICICI one on Monday. I feel on top of the world now! I usually stay away from profanities, but….

ICICI — FUCK YOU! I’ll make sure however and whenever possible, I’ll do ALL I CAN, to ensure I can stop someone from being a bloody ICICI scapegoat. I swear.

I opened a new SBI account yesterday (THEY HAVE WITHDRAWAL SLIPS!), and I explicitly told them I want to shift my salary account from there to here because they’re the MOST HORRIBLE BANK I’VE EVER BANKED WITH.

Injustice means “adding insult to injury”

Disclaimer: Foul language used in more than one instance. Written while in a completely disturbed state of mind: engulfed in fury and disbelief at the injustice meted out.

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News we hear very often, sending our blood to a boil and our minds to degrees of exasperation. But well, the ways of “justice” (or the lack of it) is something we’ll have to live with, I suppose. In spite of the amount of depth of the evidence we have against a ‘wrong’.

A girl gets raped on her way home from work. It’s the girl’s fault because she was wearing ‘provocative’ clothes.

A man sentenced to life imprisonment for suspected partaking in a terrorist act is let off after 14 years, on being found innocent. He’s lost his family, job, life. It’s his fault because he chose to be in the wrong spot at the wrong moment.

A woman is forced to get an abortion done. It’s her fault, because she carried a girl child.

[And in my own life:] Our cars were damaged, plants killed and us emotionally harassed and tortured. It’s our fault, because we are ‘outsiders’ who chose to live in ‘their land’, their Karnataka.

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Yes, when the Association people went to his place and handed over the bill, he refused to pay up.  Just like he refused to admit the f***er in the video is him.

The Association people tried to talk some sense into him saying we hadn’t even approached the law for this, while we could have, considering the proof and all. That we were being amicable…and expect the same from him. And the as***le unflinchingly says (not verbatim), “I’m not paying. If they go to the law with this, I’ll also file a case against this boy (Suraj), that he tried to kill me and my wife”.

And the Association people (fed up, knowing there was no use talking to this freak) came to this conclusion: they’ll get both our cars painted, at their expense (recovering only about 1/6th of the total amount from the old piece of misery). And again, it will be done only at a local workshop where the Association President has connections, and not at the showroom—in spite of the Punto being a new car and within warranty period.

PLUS.

They’ll get it in writing from us that we will not probe this matter further, or cause any trouble to the bast**d, or his family. And from him, that he will not cause any further trouble to us, or to any of the other residents in the neighbourhood.

AND THERE ENDED THE MATTER.

What gets me boiling with rage is the complacence with which everyone viewed the situation. “What happened, happened. Don’t lose your sleep over it now.” No one seems to think that it should NOT have happened at all.

No one seems to realize the agony he put us in, the mental torture we went through, the sleepless nights we had, the lack of concentration we suffered at work… NONE of those are considered.

  • the mental harassment is intangible (so, get over it!);
  • the plants will grow back (so, stop whining);
  • the anger and rage must be suppressed (it’s your young blood).

AND IN UNSPOKEN WORDS (though in good intent): You’re not a native Kannadiga and you don’t quite belong here; so stop complaining and move away, if you want a peaceful life.

“There is no calamity which a great nation can invite
which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice”.
Grover Cleveland (22nd and 24th President of the United States)

What no one seems to address is the fact that a bloody f**king b****rd is being allowed to get away with his bloody b***ardly criminal act! At no punishment, at no loss, at not even the slightest sense of guilt! In spite of him threatening to file cases with false allegation of attempted murder on the husband!! And why!? Just because he has the unfair advantage of being a ‘localite’, while we’re from ‘outside’. “Outside, as in, Jupiter!?” asked a friend.

No one seems to realise or even think that he’s the criminal and NOT the victim! It’s the typical “forget the whole issue unless you want to get into deeper trouble” responses and reaction. Unless the son of a b***h himself pays for the loss he created, he’ll NEVER learn, will he!? But well, no one seems to think he must learn, in the first place.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice,
you have chosen the side of the oppressor.
If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral,
the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Bishop Desmond Tutu (African Spiritual leader and Novelist)

But I’m the only one who seems to be unable to stand this injustice. Everyone else seems to be tired of the drama. “Let it go”, they all said, including the family. In fact, I literally could NOT BELIEVE MY EARS when I heard the ‘verdict’.

So much for trying to solve this “amicably” through the Association. When they got involved, I thought they’d fight for justice and make the old miserable piece of sh*t pay for his act. But, like the husband rightly said, “everyone involved in this (apart from us) is getting fed up and wants only to put it all to an end and get out of it.”

Put it all to an end, leaving the ones who suffered to continue suffering.

“The Police here are very corrupt; and they’ll always choose to support a localite over an outsider; which means in spite of your evidence and everything, they’ll either try to trouble you or keep postponing this affair for years. Is this worth all that mess?”
Does that mean any localite can do any harm to ‘outsiders’ and get away with it too? And to top that all, try and silence the victim with false attempted murder allegations!?

And what the hell does ‘outsider’ mean!? This is all ONE country, right? Or has Karnataka been declared a free country since last evening!? Aren’t we all citizens of the same country? Don’t we have the right to live in any part of India? Or is the “right” only given to the “localites” to vandalize the property of people who’ve come from a part of the country slightly further down south!? What’s all this crap about ‘outsider’? No I don’t live in a utopia, but I also refuse to live a life of the oppressed! I’ve done no wrong and I DO NOT INTEND TO suffer in silence the wrong done to me.

If this is the attitude and acceptance, I wonder why we complain and create a hue and cry about racism and biased behavior meted out to “us Indians” when we go to a foreign country. It’s their land, isn’t it; and the law will support them, shouldn’t it; and they’re localites and we’re ‘outsiders’. Right!?

“Yes, right, Priya. But this isn’t something that happens only in Karnataka. It happens everywhere.”
Oh thanks, what a solace that is!

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice,
but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
Elie Wiesel (Romanian born American Writer, Nobel Prize for Peace in 1986)

Right from the start, everyone wanted us to “forgive and forget”. Everyone’s initial reaction was first wonder and then amused laughter. As long as the falling roof isn’t in your house, it isn’t a problem for you, is it!? When we told them it was mental torture and we couldn’t even concentrate on work at office, they all dismissed it with a shake of their heads and a laugh, saying “Don’t let such silly things bother you”. Silly!?? For whom!? It was only when they realized we were very adamant about making the freak pay, that they agreed to step in and ‘talk’ to him. But I suppose all throughout, this had been their mindset: get it over with.

What right did they, then, have to tell us NOT go to the law? It was their selfish need to keep away any chances of the Police coming into this particular residential area: 5th Cross, S.T. Bed, Koramangala 4th block, Karnataka, INDIA. It was their selfish need to make sure other residents in the locality were not disturbed by this event. It was their selfish need to prevent a member of their Association from getting entangled in the arms of the law. Our loss was purely ours, and no one else’s. And that’s the ultimate truth…the ultimate fact.

They kept saying S.T. Bed Layout is the best layout in Koramangala, Bangalore. Honestly, I beg to differ.

For everyone who were involved (apart from our house owner), it was perhaps just a matter of amusement and wonder initially (they were all astounded at the idea of the web-cam and ‘evidence’) and then a pure pain in the ass—and all they wished was to get out of the mess. And the easiest way was not to punish the rasc*l, not try to make him pay, but to pay up on behalf of the Residents’ Welfare Association!??

I appreciate their willingness to pay: I appreciate it completely. BUT. Is the lost paint on the car the ONLY issue!? What about moral values and principles? I think I’ll pass. I’m not walking around trying to live on charity. If that fu***r can’t pay, then I might as well pay from MY pocket. Why should I let the Association pay!? When did they scratch my car and cause me pain!?

I have a good mind to teach the old swine a lesson. But the father, mother and husband (and the brother too!?) has completely given up.

“Enough, Priya. This is all there is to be done. Let’s not talk about it anymore”, says the angry father.

“He has a lot of those low-class contacts. What if he arranges for someone to hurt us on the road? What if it costs one of our lives?” asks a worried mother.

“There’re just too many curses on him already: ours, our families’, our friends’, your blog friends’; he won’t be let off that easily. He’ll suffer somehow. We have as a forever and recent example, what happened to our previous house owner. Can’t we leave this here?” asks a worried husband.

The brother just shakes his head in contempt, and offers no words.

I understand the concern they all expressed. I completely understand and agree. But I think differently.

I seethe in anger, in pent up fury. I’m unable to sleep. I can feel no sorrow, only rage. And they flow out as tears. While the husband holds me close and comforts me as I shed angry tears, all I can think is “Unbelievable. Unjust. Unacceptable.” And I’m afraid at my own degrees of anger. I have multiple thoughts of revenge flowing through me. But at the end, I wonder if I can be that bad a person.

But I know for sure that he’s NOT getting out of this as easily as he thinks he has. Not especially after he’s threatened to file a false case against the husband.

In a mad man’s world

Scratches and dents, pain and loss;
Anger, shock and revenge after a pause.
Irritation, frustration and pent up rage;
Hatred, disbelief, plans of a war to wage.
Some of life’s surprises leave us appalled
When we live in a mad man’s world!

P.S.: Loooong post ahead.

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July 3, 2010: The Grande Punto came home.

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July 10, 2010: Punto gets its first deep scratch across the bonnet and on the side, near the left rear view mirror.

*we send swears at the ever-irritating passers-by who can’t bear to see a spotless car in town*

.

October 1, 2010: Punto gets a new scratch on the front left door.

*devil be on you, you horrid passer-by*

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October 2, 2010: Punto gets a new scratch on the bonnet again.

*why us, why why why?*

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October 3, 2010: Two of our plants are broken off and thrown into our compound.

*now, one needs no rocket science to figure out this is no passer-by; it’s someone with a malicious intent*

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October 4, 2010: We install a web-cam to video record our cars and who/what’s damaging it. We see the following footage the next day morning…and we are shocked!

.

This was at approximately 5.18 a.m.

This was at approximately 5.18 a.m. That’s him bending the antenna of dad’s car, the Alto. And he scratches on the bonnet…but since there’s nothing sharp with him, there’s minimal damage. So he goes back to his house and returns 10 minutes later.

.

And then, again, at 5.26 a.m, he returns with his car key, scratches our car, and returns to his car.

.

Since the web-cam was installed on the second floor, the face is not clear, though we can clearly make out who it is. But, as ‘evidence’, this will not pass. So, we decide to wait it out another day and install it again that night.We buy one more cam and install them both at two different spots.

We see this the next morning…again, done at approximately 5.20 a.m. He comes out of his house, throws waste into our compound and goes back. On the way back, he changes his decision and comes back to dad’s Alto and bends the antenna again and makes it an ‘Z’. You can see him only through the car window here since our kitchen window blocked view.

.

One more plant attacked.

We call in our house owner and detail the incident, showing  him the footage. We have a couple of hours’ discussions, along with a friend of his who stays close by. They take a look at our cars — the Punto and the Alto — all the while, talking loudly on the road. The house owner tells us to approach the Residents’ Association before going to the law. The Association President is out of town for 3 days…so we wait again. But the web-cam runs everyday. And gives us more and more evidence everyday.

.

We see this the next day, done again at approx. 5.30 a.m. Here again, he is on his way after damagin another plant, and scratches the back door of the Punto.

.

And the next day…at approx. 4.50 a.m., on his way back after parking his car at a safe spot, putting his hand in through our gate and breaking off two of my Christmas trees!

.

And the next…at approx. 5.45 a.m. Here he scratches the back door of the Alto and moves to the boot. We found two deep scratches on the boot in the morning.

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It’s October 13, 2010 that day. That’s all we are willing to wait. There are now 7 scratches on the Punto; the Alto has suffered multiple scratches all around, plus one bent antenna now resembling an ‘Z’. I’ve lost 7 of my plants.

We have to nail the a*s*o*e asap, before he annihilates all our plants…and the cars! We know who it is…and we decided to make sure the entire locality know who it is. It’s our neighbour, Mr Govindaraju, who lives at #196, 5th cross, S.T. Bed, Koramangala 4th Block. Bloody &^#@%*)(^%#@%&*)(&&$$#@%^&( !!!

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Flash back to Feb, March, April, May, June…

We rented this house out in February 2010. We had a Pulsar and a Matiz, then. The neighbour [who lives on the other side of the road, and has ample parking space for the bike inside his compound, and for the car on his side of the road] always insisted on parking his car and bike on our side of the road, or even on the footpath adjoining our compound wall. We never complained (though we should have).

Ours is a corner house, so we get two sides of the house to park our vehicles against. We decided to let him park there, while we parked on the other side. In April 2010, dad and mom shifted to Bangalore. Which added an Alto to the family. Only one car can be parked on the other side of the house…and that’s where the Matiz rested. So, the Alto took the other side, always cringing for space after the neighbour’s Maruti 800. We never complained (though we should have).

We could see how possessive he was of his vehicles. Even if dad parks his Alto a bit further towards where he parks, the minute dad drives off to some place, he’ll rush out and re-claim his spot!And when the Alto and Maruti were parked bumper to bumper, with barely enough space for one person to fit in between, he’d park his bike in that weeny bit of a space, mostly kissing the Alto’s bumper. We never complained (though we should have).

When the Punto came home, we decided to talk to him and claim the space…but we didn’t; till July 9th, about a week after the Punto came.

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Flash back to July 9, 2010.

The husband had gone ot office in the new car that day, the next day being a second Saturday, a holiday. When he reaches home, we see our neighbour’s car parked in front of our house, and his bika also parked behind it, lengthwise, leaving no space for our Punto or for Dad’s Alto. Owing to lack of space, Dad had parked his Alto where we used to park the Punto. When the husband came back, he saw the bike parked lengthwise behind the Maruti, leaving no space anywhere for his car.

He parked it in front of our gate, walked over to the neighbour’s house and requested him to “please remove your car from there, I need to park mine.” The man came out and took away the bike. To put an end to this drama, the husband again told him “we have two cars now, and we need to park them here…so please park your car on your side of the house”. The man said he’ll do it later, to which the husband insisted he do it “now”. So he said he misplaced the keys and couldn’t do it then. The husband then got a bit irritated and said “No Sir, you’ll have to do it right away. I need to park my car.” And that’s when the man began yelling at the husband, saying “I’ll do what I want…let me see what you’ll do. Who are you to come here and talk to me like this…” and tried to slam the door on his face. The husband put a foot between the door and said “Now. I want your car removed from that spot now, because I have to park my car.” The man screamed the daylights out of the husband and refused to do it. The husband came back seething.

I reached home late that day, and when the husband narrated this to me, I scolded him, saying you needn’t have made this an issue…I’d have approached them differently and all that. I guess he was really hurt that I didn’t support him. [Today, I regret having scolded him!] We decided not to spend a single moment talking to such low people and forgot the issue there. My dad took the Alto back to kiss the Maruti, and the Punto was parked on the other side, beneath the tree.

The next day, we saw a deep scratch on te bonnet of our Punto. We thought it was a passer-by and cursed him/her.

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Fast-forward to September 29, 2010.

On my way to office, another neighbour of mine called me in and told me that the spot we parked the Punto at wasn’t very safe. Apparently, the tenants who lived here earlier had bought a new car, and used to park it there. One day, a dry branch broke off the tree and crashed on to the windshield. She suggested we park both our cars on the other side itself. And then I told her that this man parks his car there, and he’ll fight for the spot. To which she rightly said ‘that isn’t his private property, so h can’t say anything”.

And then onwards, we began parking our car there. The Maruti automatically moved to his side of the road…and we were happy for the absence of any more quarrels. Until the scratches began appearing.

So, that was it. All for the loss of a parking spot, he began damaging our cars!!! he wakes up at 5 everyday, plucks flowers from all over the place, and then washes the front of her house…the footpath and in front of the gate. And recently, he’s added two more items to his daily routine: damaging our plants on the way back from flower plucking…and then parking his car near the Park (his idea of a safe spot, away from the busy road) and on his way back, damaging our cars before he begins the sweeping and mopping.

We accompanied the President, Vice-President and Secretary of the Residents’ Association and went to his place to interrogate. Only his wife was there then. She said since the husband shouted at him three months back, they bot had no affection for us. That a youngster being rude to a senior citizen is wrong, not acceptable, etc. That’s when we showed her the clippings…asking her if these were acceptable. She was shocked: she couldn’t believe her “senior citizen’ husband was capable of such cheap, underhand tactics. She apologised profusely and looked shattered!

Then he came in. He saw us sitting in his house, with the hot shots of the residents’ Association committee. And he gave us all a weird smile. The President asked him what was the issue between him and us. And his reply shocked us all: “What problem Sir? I have no problem. He is like my son…i like him a lot. I’m like his father. What problem sir!?” Am sure we all felt pity and scorn for him. I am unsure what the wife went through at that poor show show of fake emotions and affection! That’s when they told him about the ‘evidence’ and showed him the first clipping. He was looking at himself walking across the road and damaging the Alto’s antenna. I wonder what he went through at that moment. Well, we were all waiting with bated breath…when he said “no Sir, this is not me. Why would I do it? Why? I’m not that kind of a person at all”.

And for the next 3 hours, he kept repeating that “this horrid boy, like a Hitler, stood at my door and yelled at me”… He kept on saying that for at least 25 times (I’m NOT exaggerating here). He refused all logic and sense, and blatantly refused to accept blame. In spite of showing him these videos, he confidently said it’s not him. We were all surprised. We put in our demand then: he had to compensate for the damage he caused. He agreed…and how!? By taking out two Rs 500 notes and offering it to the husband, and when refused, to everyone else assembled there. We rephrased our demand then: get our cars repainted. If he thought he could cover it up with Rs 1000, he could think again. We said we’ll take both cars to the service station and get an estimate of the repairs to be done…and give the bill to him.

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He’ll pay for his sins!

We took the Punto to the service station and took an estimate: two doors, the bonnet and the area between the doors and bonnet. Repainting costs Rs 17,000 + taxes. About Rs 20,000.
We took the Alto to a local workshop and took an estimate: all around the car + one antenna.
Repainting + repair costs Rs 12,350. [If it were at a service station, easily ass about 3-5k]

The friendly neighbour’s total expense: MINIMUM Rs 30,000.

If he wanted it cheaper, he should’ve bought himself a blackboard and some chalk to practice drawing lessons! A*s*o*e!

Today is when he’ll get the bills from he Association President (we’ll hand it over to him to do the honours). Even if this freak gets a heart attack on seeing the ‘fruits’ of what he sowed, I wouldn’t care. I’ll make sure he pays up every single penny!

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The mental torture he put us through for about 10 days can’t be explained! We lost sleep, concentration at work, peace, appetite… Every time I see my plants, I can feel the hatred rising…and all I wanna do is make his life miserable forever. I keep thinking I should just forget and forgive, but I guess for once, I WONT do that. I DESPISE people who hurt others without any provocation.

If it had been done in a moment of anger, we would’ve understood: that’s human nature. But for a tiff that happened 3 months back, if he decided to plan and execute a cheap revenge 3 months later, he better pay for it. Others can ‘plan’ too.

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I’ve always hated Bangalore; and this event just adds one more to the list of “Why”s. But if the freak thinks we’re going to run away from here, he can think again. I’m going to invest in a CCTV, no matter how much it’ll cost me. We’ll live here and monitor him constantly. I’ll make sure he doesn’t trouble us (or anyone else, for that matter) ever again. If this is a psychological problem of his, like a neighbour mentioned, he should either be locked up…or beaten up till his senses come back! I have no sympathy for such miserable people!

Feels good to have vented this out; but it hasn’t taken away all my anger. I’m saving some for him!

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P.S.: I had been completely caught up in this…and was sooooo not able to blog. The only solace and comfort were reading all your blogs and forgetting this mad man for a few minutes every time one of you posted something. Thanks a ton for that, folks!

(On a lighter note.) In the midst of all this torture is when Vimmuuu calls a dozen times a day to ask his silly questions 😀 So, I HAD to put up that post on his questions (yes, Vimmuuu, I found time for that. I had to! :D)