Tag Archives: India

An open letter to all the Indians

Disclaimer: This letter is not written by me. I got this in email from a retired Army veteran. Since I agree to everything written in this letter, I thought of sharing it with all of you.

The whole nation is proud that the cricket team has won the world cup after a gap of 28 years since 1983. There were jubilations/celebrations all around hailing Dhoni and his men in blue. Even the Chairperson of UPA Mrs Sonia Gandhi did not lag behind and was seen mixing with the crowd to be part of the frenzy. Starting from the ICC, States, corporate’s, railways everyone has come forward to shower praise and money/wealth on to the players to endorsing brands making them richer by a couple of crores. No hard feelings. The team has done a good job and deserves a pat.

Now that the euphoria of the cup is waning it is time to do some introspection as to how the country views its war heroes and what the Govt / State offers them to sacrifice their lives at the alter of duty.

Each player would get Rupees One crore from the BCCI in addition to its share from the ICC, 2cr for Dhoni and one cr each for the four Delhi boys; land/house to Dhoni & Sachin by the Uttarakhand Govt; one cr to Sachin and Zaheer by Maharashtra Govt; one cr to Yuvraj and Harbhajan by Punjab Govt; land to Dhoni for cricket academy in Jharkhand; Housing plots to team members by karanatka Govt; Audi to Yuvraj and lifetime railway pass to travel by first AC to all .

The team partied at the same Taj Hotel which was the battle ground on 26/11 & witness to many a soldier giving up his life. Major Unnikrishnan who died while fighting the terrorists is yet to receive his complete NOK entitlements. He gave his today for the tomorrow of others so that they can party all night without any threat.

The world Cup finals at Mumbai was held under safe environments with the army, navy, coast guard, NSG and what not to ensure the conduct of the match without a hitch. Remove the men in uniform and see if the events pass smoothly, be it CWG games or cricket match.

The Kargil War has still its shadows on the number of officers/jawans who laid their lives to protect the nation and its territorial integrity. What the recipients of Param Vir Chakras/Mahavir & Vir Chakras got in comparison to the cricket boys is known to all (peanuts). What the families of the dead go through can only be experienced by them. Having a decent living is hard to come by. It’s passé as far as the nation is concerned. There is no crib here, but for the value of blood, shed for others to have a peaceful life. The railways is not prepared to honour the percentage concession given to the war heroes in stark comparison to a lifetime FIRST AC FREE PASS throughout the country along with a aide to the cricket stars. Let us not forget the Kabul blast in which a Brig was also blown up with a bureaucrat.  The Babu got all the cake and the icing, the Brig was treated as a casualty. The PM went and paid homage to the babu and his family, the Brig got the traditional ‘Shok Shashtra’. The naked truth is known to all but yet our tolerance levels are very high and we continue to be downgraded/kicked around and accept with a smile.

Many have written to the PM on lot of issues without success. The PM himself is a seasoned bureaucrat. Perhaps it would be wise to remind him that one day he too would go away. When the PM passes away, the Generals will stand guard on his coffin and carry it to the pyre and sound the last post; it is for the PM to think whether he has done his bit towards those who guard the nation and would be part of his last entourage till he melts away.

Where do we go from here? Should we be a silent spectator to the happening around us or should we form part of the Anna Hazare team and mobilize people on the lines of Egypt or pass away into oblivion. I leave this thought with you.

Free Group SMS and Google SMS Search


I am going to talk about 2 interesting but India specific Google offerings here. Although Indians don’t SMS/text as much as they used to in good old days, there are reasons to chear courtesy Google. These 2 SMS services are called:

1. Google SMS Channels – Here you can create a Channel or SMS Group and all the subscribers will be getting the channel content by SMS for free. Now this Channel can pull content from Google News and Google groups so once you point your channel to any group or news, you will be getting new content automatically by SMS. Cool isn’t it? But it does not end there – You can even pull content from your or any blogger powered blog or any RSS source, but the best part is that you can use the channel to send same SMS message to all your friends and contacts. You can just create a personal channel and invite all your contacts to it and when you post message to channel via web or by SMS it will reach everybody. So practically you can now send multiple SMSes at the cost of one sms or even for free if you use web option. Try now
2. Google SMS Search – Google SMS search is plain, simple and straight-forward like all things Google. You just need to send you search query as sms to Google India No.  9-77-33-00000 and they send you search results by sms immediately. I have tried it and it really works and here is one more Google advantage for you – since this is a normal 10 digit no and not a special no, probably you will be charged for sending only a normal sms, which is as low as 10 paise with some SMS plans. So probably Google is not looking to rip you off by having a special 4 or 5 digit no. 
BTW you can use Google search for many useful things beside search like – cricket scores, Indian Railways train schedules & ticket status, PNR, horoscopes, movie showtimes, restaurant information and more. For more info you can go here.
Oh I forgot to tell you, you can subscribe to my blog by SMS from here 🙂

Nagpur among Best cities for IT-BPO growth

Rediff today carries a story about India’s 15 best cities for IT-BPO growth. It mentions major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai beside emerging cities like Nagpur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Bhuvneshwar etc.

Rediff has this to say about Nagpur:
“Strategically located, Nagpur is the largest city in central India with excellent educational institutions that churn out a fine talent pool. The city’s impressive infrastructure, new supporting governmental policies, an enabling and peaceful business environment, availability of a huge knowledge pool, etc have seen a number of IT firms setting up base here.
A proposed special economic zone that will house a major international cargo hub and also information technology companies will further boost the city’s allure for IT firms.
At Rs 298,000, Nagpur is the 10th most prosperous city in terms of average annual household income in India.”
I love my Nagpur.

Book iPhone in India

Update on 8th August: Airtel starts selling iPhone from 22nd August 08.

iPhone’s official launch is getting near and to fuel the excitement both Vodafone and Airtel have started booking for iPhone.

To book iPhone on Vodafone click here or sms IPHONE to 56789.

To book iPhone on Airtel click here.

For those who still don’t know much about iPhone, click here to have a 360 view of it.

Vodafone bringing iPhone to India

28th June – Book iPhone

Update on 12th May: Airtel going to launch the iPhone as well.

Its official now. Vodafone India announced that its going to launch the much awaited iPhone in India later this year. Media speculates that it will be launched sometime in September this year. I am already on Vodafone so that’s good I will not need to unlock iPhone to use on other carriers if I buy one.

This news is everywhere but I am taking CIOL’s word on it being an official announcement by Vodafone. Unfortunately Vodafone has no press release on its website. Infact their latest press releases are dated February 2008. Considering that I have never received a response after leaving feedback on their website and that their website was hacked last year, it seems Vodafone does not take its website seriously.

Anyway coming back to iPhone, media is of the view that its going to be priced around Rs. 27,000 to Rs. 30,000 range so its not going to be easy on your pockets however die-hard fans will buy it anyway for any price I guess. 8GB version will be launched initially followed by 16 GB version in a few months.

Related post: iPhone is here…

Centro – Affordable Palm Smartphone for India


Palm India recently launched Centro its newest, cheapest and probably also the best smartphone offering in India. I am calling it cheapest because its retail price as listed on the website is Rs. 13,990. When Treo 680 was first launched in India, its listed price was more than Rs. 25000, however I just checked and its now being sold for Rs. 14,400. However I would quickly like to point out that in US Centro is available for just $99 with service contract and rebates which makes it almost free.

I also call it best palm smartphone because its undoubtedly the smallest and sleekest smartphone from Palm and does everything a Treo 680 does. It also has a camera better than Treo 680.

However I have 2 complaints from Palm.

1. They don’t advertise much and their distribution/dealership network does not exist on non-metro Indian cities. I am so tired of people looking at my Treo 680 and asking me what kind of phone it is? Is it a Chinese phone? Is it good and such things. People recognize an O2, Imate or even HTC quite well here and everybody recognises Nokia.

2. Second problem I have is that there are simply no color choices available for Centro in India, but I guess that’s because they only have a single color available for GSM Centro. They have option of 3 very attractive colors for CDMA versions in US though.

Virgin rings in India, pays you to recieve call

Virgin Mobile was launched a few days back in India in traditional Virgin (read Path-breaking) style. Timing couldn’t have been better for me as I just finished reading his autobiograpy.

Richard Branson came flying down a Hotel to launch the Virgin Mobile logo. Virgin Mobile is a youth targetted mobile service and is available on CDMA networks of Tata Teleservices which operates its Mobile services called Tata Indiacom.
Mr. Branson talked about briging 10 firsts to Indian telecom market, the most interesting in my opinion is their offer to give 10 paise per minute to their users for every incoming call.

The launch was followed by daringly different TV commercials. I am personally very excited by Virgin’s entry in Indian telecom space even if they don’t own a network here. I hope they will bring in lot of excitement and set benchmarks in customer services as they have done everywhere they have gone. However I am not sure if they can achieve this with Tata Indicom running support operations for Virgin. Tata Indicom’s customer service has generally been very poor like most other telecom operators in India.

Tata and Virgin are not in complete sync was also evident from statements from both the sides during the launch. Richard Branson said “At Virgin Mobile we believe that the existing operators are all pursuing the same strategy: to get as many subscribers as quickly as possible. We want to deliver a more tailored, more relevant offering for a single, distinct segment,”

and in the save event Anil Sardana, managing director, Tata Teleservices, said, “This association would support our efforts to be the fastest growing mobile network in India.”

I guess that means while Branson wants to not pursue strategy of just getting a lot of subscribers quickly, Tata’s are just concentrating on a lot of subscribers as their primary mission.

Well good luck to Virgin and I hope some of Virgin culture and craziness will rub off to Tata Indicom as well in due course. I am too sad that I won’t be able to have a first hand experience of Virgin service myself as I don’t want to change my number and I am on GSM as of now. May be Richard Branson should put his wait behind in ushering in the Number Portability regime in India so that users from other networks can choose Virgin if they want to.

A personal note to Richard if he ever reads it: I always admired you and after reading your Autobiography I am in awe of you and will probably even risk a balloon flight to meet you 🙂