Friday, March 26, 2010

Amazon Prime To The Rescue

Got some last minute shopping ( literally its not last minute yet, but let’s say last weekend before I leave) to do.  Some digital cameras, a portable DVD Player and a Digital Photo Frame are the once left. In stead of running to Best Buy or Frys, I looked up on Amazon and got great prices. But one issue, how soon I can get them from Amazon, without hitting the wallet hard.

Amazon Prime trial membership came to the rescue. If you sign up for Amazon Prime, a $79 per year service, Amazon will ship most products to you door with a 2 day shipping or 1 day shipping for an additional $3.99 per piece. Amazon is running a trial offer, where we can try Amazon Prime for a month for free. Yahoooo !

Signed up for the Trial membership and ordered all I needed. Wonderful.

Update: Happy with the service, I ordered some more in the next two days, all expected to be delivered in time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Advance OOO Auto Response Surprised All

Whenever people go on vacation, they leave an Auto Responder Email that starts the day vacation begins.  So on one fine day, you want some important information from a colleague and send an email. Boom. You get an auto responder that reveals the vacation plan. Then you have to scramble for an alternative, dig for yourself or follow the escalation route.

So, I thought, I will act little sensible and help my team plan better. At my work, on a daily basis I work with colleagues from multiple global locations; India, China and France (no more teams in Russia now). I thought it would be lot more helpful to inform about my Vacation at least a week ahead so that we all can plan work around me.

So I set my Auto Responder, exactly one week ahead, informing I will be out of office from next week and contact so and so in my absence.

I have no clue that my advance notice, with intent to plan better, would create such a stir. Got swamped with a bunch of emails quickly asking for ‘kind’ of an explanation, why did you do that? I am totally surprised. So did the rest of the team and some even got confused as they didn’t look at the date in the notice. And it led to multiple discussions; in the aisle, over lunch and little everywhere (:-)).

It took some more explaining and few more emails to settle the dust. Whew!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Searching for news between ads

Its no longer a news that News Papers worldwide are struggling for survival. Though Internet is still a luxury for most in India, Indian news papers are struggling, thanks to the onslaught of budding news channels, to stay relevant and make money while doing so.

No wonder, they are selling more ad space than ever.

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Inspired by web?
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Glimpses of Kailasgiri (Vizag) @ sunset

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Kailasgiri offers quite a view point to get a hint about the scenic Vizag and its surroundings. The beach, pictureseque city and decor by hills.
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dehydration : How an Indian Doctor Treat, if you can Pay

This is a real story of a horrific experience with an Indian Doctor that just got creative. Declared an Emergency to be admitted as in-Patient at once, a real emergency condition that was not even worth delaying his lunch break, if not admitted in their hospital.  And got too concerned about your health and took every extra precaution he has ever known, in your best interest, when he knew that you could pay up. 

Thanks to Sujatha Hospitals, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

One of my family members got dehydrated (we didn’t know initially it was dehydration).  As the Family doctor wasn’t available at that moment to answer our questions, based on symptoms, we went to see a doctor at a near by hospital. After basic vital checks and learning that patient recently travelled to USA, the doctor told us that the condition was serious and patient must be admitted immediately and to be given fluids by IV at once, and also prescribed 4 more injections (3 of which were to be administered through IV rather than a normal injection).

Doctor @ Sujatha Hospital’s Treatment

Treatment by a Family Doctor

sujatha_hospital_prescription
prolyte

Rs. 970/ worth Medicine +

Hospitalization

Prolyte, Rs.13/- per pack

At your home

 

We bit the bullet, got scared and started preparing to admit in a room and one  of us went to the Store right inside the Hospital itself and bought all prescribed. It was about Rs.970/- for all those prescriptions alone.

IV Saline Fluids,  3 IV Injections, One Normal Injection, Hospitalization and two sets of tablets that costs Rs.970 excluding Doctor fee + Hospitalization. 

At that time, the building was still under construction and workers are making huge thumping noises. As that noise was quite irritating, we have requested the Doctor that a room without all that noise could be better. He recommended a room one floor above, but we rejected that too as that was right next to construction work and it was much worse in that room. So requested that patient be taken home (within a KM and takes about 5 minutes) for treatment and we would pick him up and drop back in a car.

But Doctor refused to do so, citing he was about to leave on a lunch break and this would delay his lunch break.

When he refused, we got little suspicious. We wondered what happened to that “this is emergency we must admit at once” situation that doesn’t deserve any better importance than a delayed lunch break. We have decided to just leave the hospital with suspicion that something was not right. Then he recommended at least the patient be given all those injections before we leave.

Even with those suspicions, some how, we agreed and it took about 10 minutes before the nurse appeared for injections. She took the patient to a room full of other patients on beds and pulled off a privacy curtain on an empty bed. After a couple of minutes, the patient came running, as she got more suspicious looking at the needles they were about to use. They were huge, we have never seen in our life time such huge needles, except used on cattle. When questioned, Nurse was just babbling and failed to offer any explanation why such needles be used and telling us to buy a few more safety accessories to properly and safely use those needles.

Got scared and furious, we slowly came into terms with what happened. What a crap?  We just got scammed in broad day light. We went out running and returned all those prescriptions there itself.

Now we know that there is nothing serious to worry about, once we reach home I looked up those prescriptions on the internet to see what are they used for. Based on those prescriptions, we understood that it was just dehydration. And just needed some electrolytic solution to treat.  And we did have some Prolyte packets readily available at home. And all symptoms have gone away within a couple of hours after using Prolyte.

A few minutes later, the family doctor called and prescribed the same. Electrolyte and more fluids. Nothing more.

One heck of an experience. Don’t know what to say. When it comes medical treatment, everything is based on Trust. If there is no trust, I don’t know how it could all work. I am still baffled on how to address this.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Its Diwali in the spring

Its Diwali now..., in fact whenever you want if you are in India. No restrictions. No need for special permissions. No proof of special occasions. Enjoy whenever you want.

Pictures taken from the first generation iPhone.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Day In the Life of A Second Grader in India

No Fun. No Physical activity. No extra-curricular activities. About a 17 hour busy schedule. Every day. For a second Grader? Its ridiculous, to say the least, that a typical day in the life of a “Second Grader” lasts 17 hours and is no different than a busy professional. Why in the world, a second grader has to work so hard ?

My brother’s son is a second grader, so I looked at his typical day but I suspect every other kid out there in India has a similar hectic schedule (may save a little on commute on residential schools, but compensated by 3 additional additional extra hours for better grades).

  • Wake up at 6 AM
  • Daily Chores + Breakfast + Get ready for school by 7.00AM
  • Take School Bus at 7.00AM and reach by 9AM to school
  • 9AM – 12AM School
  • 12 to 1PM  Lunch Hour
  • 1PM to 4PM School
  • 4PM to 5.30PM Extra Study Hours for advancing (???????) Grades 
  • 5.30PM to 7.30PM In the bus back home
  • Chores and Dinner by 8.30PM
  • Finish Home Work by 9.30PM
  • May Go to bed at 9.30 PM ONLY if there is NO TV + Video Games. As you can guess, that’s simply not possible. So add at least another hour or so. Normally go to bed around 11PM.

Huh? Why in the world, a second grader has to study so hard ?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

17 hour Power Cuts And Power Holidays Begin in Andhra

Thanks to ‘the way’ everything works in India and grandeur vision and strategies of us, the people and our leaders, this is that time of the year to reap some special benefits. Yes, I am talking about so called ‘scheduled’ power outages. Technically they are scheduled as we all know there must be outages, though the schedules change everyday and will be revealed only on the following day.

On 1st of March, we had a 14 hour power cut, first day of this year to mark the record. We thought we were quite well prepared this time, with installing an inverter and batteries enough to supply essentials for about 6 hours in a stretch. But, we were wrong. Power cuts are happening in such a haphazard frequency that these systems could barely charge and bailing out with crying beeps within a couple of hours.

We thought 14 hours will be our worst day and things would improve. But defying our naive optimism, we had a 17 hour power cut on 2nd of March. Now, we officially lost all hope that inverters could offer any help, if this continues. For today, our last minute preparations included firing a small diesel run generator. Hope, it will work out.

For those of you reading this blog from a place, where a power ‘outage’ is really news, note that my parents and all neighbors here are asking me to clarify that this is anything but normal at this time of the year and not at all a reason to be surprised or shocked.

This is the state of ‘power’ affairs in my place in Andhra, India, officially marked as a rural area. Though, most of us proudly say Agriculture as the backbone of India’s economy and praise farmers as their demi ‘food’ angels, they are the least tended to when it comes to distributing power, (most things for that matter).  They are not a sizeable market for most and considered next best to the poorest in terms purchasing power. Of course, no powerful politician or official lives in rural places anymore, so there is no reason to consider for a ‘fair’ distribution of anything if its not the time of elections.

And also its now official, that Industries in Andhra will be forced to take a one-day-a-week vacation as State run electricity boards will not be able to supply power for a full week. That also means, workers will be forced out of jobs for one day a week, obviously without pay.

NDTV.com : Fact or Allegation ? Just another twisted title for sensationalism

This is yet another example of NDTV.com’s sensationalism twisted titles. The title says, as if this was a fact, woman made to urinate in pub...