Saturday, May 31, 2008

Unethical practices of ICICI money transfer

ICICI is an Indian bank that provides money transfer services that is used by many to send money to families in India. Following are the unethical practices they follow:
1. For one of the services (e-transfer) they claim to transfer the money in 4-5 business days. This never happens as they end up taking two weeks to do so.
2. Even though Money is debited in just two days but the status is kept shown as "Money likely to be debited" for another one week.
3. ICICI uses the minimum exchange rate of those two weeks to convert the money instead of the rate on the date it was debited.
4. They manipulate the exchange rate. Following are the snapshots of exchange rates taken from three services at the same time same day. One from Yahoo finances, Second from Remit2India (Another service) and the third from ICICI. When the exchange rate is around 42INR, ICICI shows it to be 40ish. The difference clearly shows unethical manipulation that they can be sued for. Following are the three snapshots (from left to right: Yahoo finance, Time Money (Remit2India) and ICICI:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rachael Ray's scarf and defeating symbolism

When I can do many better things with my time, I decided to blog about the most contentious issue - Symbolism. The story goes - RR's ad of a coffee was pulled off the media because she was seen wearing a spotted scarf similar to an Arabic pattern often used by terrorists of Hamas and PLO. The scarf could offend many as it could be seen as a support to what these terrorists stand for. Symbols, flags, stamps etc what do they do? Lets go back in history. Flags were used by ancient armies and empires to represent them, as Roman army had one. Flags are still being used by World's standing armies and battalions to impart a feeling of uniqueness, ego or a sense of belonging for a community or for psychological warfare against an enemy. Flag is part of an identity of a nation as well. Do you know of any flag-less country? Flag is my identity and it is a symbol that I belong. What if two civilized nations with independent governments decide to have an exact same flag? No it won't happen. It is also a recognition of an entity. Because we say "Nice to meet you". You who is different from me but an identity that I have decided to respect and recognize.
The first step to defeat an enemy is to derecognize their symbols. Losing an identity is the biggest set back. Have you ever thought what will happen if towns paint all its walls with the flags of an attacking nation and still continue to fight them off? Will it make any sense? No. Not at least for the attacking army as they lose their identity. Can we let a scarf, a pattern be used as a recognition of an entity that we stand against? No, because Its the Righteous who do not change their ways. We should not be this weak to let a pattern offend us. Let the enemy struggle with symbols, why should we?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Half way Vacation

Its been two weeks of my vacation so time for a quick recap so far - Hot hot hot. Its been 105+ here but thanks no humidity. After the first week of bitchiness I am okaying(?) down to comparatively dusty roads of Lucknow. The excitement of IPL has receded considerably. All the teams are more or less the same so there is no Man Utd in IPL. Nice houses around and wild fire expansion of the city. Came to realization that bigger house we now need is unaffordable for me to buy here. Original Lucknowites still talk with respect and Adab but lots of outside influx and some busy city points look more of a small village circle. I spend most of my time sitting on the couch and watching TV so not much difference there. Can't take the car out because of a different traffic scene. Parents find themselves frustrated for us still being single. Lack of originality in TV concepts, they are straight copies of western shows but are perfectly blended for local audience and are more fun to watch. Mom's comment "You looked happier before" made me realize I really am not talking much.