Wednesday, 17 June 2015

My ordeal with Uber India



First of all, this is not a grudge that I hold against any service. However, mere dissatisfaction with the services and hoping that they will read this and do something about it. If they don't, not my loss. I will find another service and losing one customer among millions would not hurt them. Nonetheless, the post will remain and will go ahead in future as a review and the service will be termed bad.

Somewhere in May, 2015, I installed the Uber app on my mobile as I needed a trusted fleet taxi service to travel from my office to the domestic airport in Mumbai at 3 AM in the night, or early morning. Due to some PayTM issue, I was unable to use the service and took alternative services.

I traveled to another city and used their services. Upon my return to Mumbai, I suggested the service to my cousin and referred my code to her. However, what I did not notice was that Uber was giving me credits in Yen. I was careless. Fault accepted.

Next morning, my cousin booked for an Uber service from Santacruz West and final destination was Vashi. However, we did not know that Uber did not believe in traveling from Santacruz West to Vashi by taking a detour. Rather than taking two separate taxis, we had planned to use the same taxi to Lower Parel and then from there I would take the car to Vashi.

The driver informed us that it was not possible because those are two different routes, which means two different trips. So what we did is we traveled to Lower Parel, where I dropped her and booked the same taxi to Vashi. Two trips in the same taxi, which could have been one.

I was ready to adjust. But, the problem of Yen was yet to be  figured out by me. Obviously, it would have taken some time, as I am not staring at my Uber app 24x7. When I notified the Uber, they told me this.

Hi Sudatta,
Thanks for reaching out! You can update your account information both in the app and by signing in at uber.com
To update through the app:
  1. Open the account menu by clicking the icon of a person in the top left corner of the app
  2. Select Profile
  3. Here you can change the email, phone number, name, or password associated with your account
Profile


To update through the Uber website:
  1. Navigate to our website and sign in
  2. Click on the Profile tab
  3. Here you can change the name, email, password, country, zip code, language, or phone number associated with your account.
Let me know if you have any questions or check out the FAQ.
I told them that my profile was up-to-date. I have this problem, OCD, you can say. I tend to update and fill up details before using the service. 
To which they replied.
Hi Sudatta,
Thanks for your response. Sorry to hear about what happened. Happy to make this right for you.
Kindly use a desktop pc or reinstall Uber App on your mobile phone.
Please let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with.
I replied.
My profile is very much updated and filled with details which in very simple portrays that I am from Mumbai, India.
This is a problem from your end.
They wrote back, after I ranted on Twitter. 
Hi Sudatta,
This is ______, from the Uber Mumbai Team.
Thanks for writing in and apologies for all the inconvenience.
This anomaly generally occurs, if by chance a rider's location changes on the registration page. However, no need to worry, I have gone ahead and made the necessary changes. Moreover, I will not be able to change the credits that you earned in Yen to INR, because currency regulation laws disallow it.
However, since you have shared your referral code, I have gone ahead and added a promo code to your account. This will entitle you to a free ride worth Rs 300 and will automatically apply to your next ride.
I hope this addresses your concern. Please feel free to reach out if you have any other questions or concerns. I'll be happy to address them.
My problem - This is really frustrating. Neither have I changed the location in settings. Due to a mistake in Uber's system, I have to face this problem. The problem is not in getting a promo or free rides but such a fault in Uber's system. Moreover, the regulations do not allow one to change currencies. 
I am not the only one to face such problems. I know someone who was handed over credits in US dollars and was expected to fly to USA, to use those. Uber expects me to travel to Japan to use 2,000 Yen. 
It is high time that Uber takes their multiple problems, seriously. They are facing lot of issues in the capital and there was some problem in the commercial capital also, recently. I love using their services. However, these problems have really frustrated me. 
1. Uber needs to change their trip-related issues. They are supposed to be my 'Private Driver'. If I want to travel from X to Y via Z route, they should accept it. Either it is Uber's problem or the driver was making a fool out of me.
2. The problem of crediting money in different currencies is a very old issue. Either Uber does it intentionally or there is something wrong with their mobile app. Fix the bug. Please.
However, Uber has done something really nice. There is a transport strike called by auto rickshaws and kali-peeli taxi services in Mumbai. Uber, in return, did this. Here you go —
        UBER
#keepmumbaimoving
Getting around Mumbai tomorrow will be tough, but we at Uber are committed to a reliable ride.

We've worked with our partner drivers to ensure that Mumbai's citizens can get around the city seamlessly when choices are limited, especially with the onset of the monsoons. 


 So, on Wednesday, June 17th, from 00:00 hours until midnight, dynamic pricing will be disabled to ensure that you can get to where you need to be. However, no dynamic pricing means that the availability of cars will be affected, due to the increased demand. You may have to try a few times to get a ride successfully. 


We know it is going to be tough out there. Our partner  drivers are enthusiastic in their  support of our efforts to make sure that Mumbaikars keep moving.

 Uber On.



Also, there have been an issue on their part of not being able to charge me for a ride. They are yet to get in touch with me to solve the issue. I am reaching out, publicly.


We were unable to charge Paytm •••• payt
Please correct the billing for your trip on Request time unknown
Charge -₹ 502 to

However, this won't stop me from using their services as these are minor issues. Yet, I want these small problems to be solved along with the big ones. Will they?

Hopefully, Uber will solve these issues. *Peace*.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Open Letter: Dear western media, we need to talk



Somewhere in August 2014, Huffington Post and Times Internet announced their tie up to launch the Indian version of the website. Earlier that year, Atlantic Media launched their Quartz India. In February 2015, Mashable made headlines when they revealed their intentions to launch Mashable India. Everyone was happy as western media made their intentions clear about entering the growing news business in India. Buzzfeed was not far behind as they also launched their India version.

What happened next? All of them barring Mashable launched their Indian versions. Everyone was happy with the Indianised versions of opinion pieces, lists and news. While Huffington Post hired some well-known faces from the online world to run their business, Quartz did all that without much media attention. Buzzfeed, on the other hand, got one of their New York office to run their website.

So far, so good. But then, why I am writing this letter?

While I, and many young journalists like me, appreciate the move to open the Indian versions of your award-winning and notable websites, I really wonder how much you will earn. Journalism in the West is significantly different to the journalism in this country. It is more a business here, unlike in the West, where it is about reporting and being the first to break and inform the public about what is happening in the world.

I understand your intention to make your presence felt, to earn those extra bucks, to become global brands in the true sense of the word. However, I have a request and suggestion, which may brighten the future of journalism.

There was a time when publications exchanged employees from one city to another to teach and enlighten them on how the different city bureaus worked differently. Remember the international student exchange programme? Why did that start, in the first place?

When multinational deals are made, the chief management usually travel around the world to see how different newsrooms work. This is something I could never fathom. More than the management, should it not be the employees who need to travel to different bureaus to see how journalism is different across the world?

Why? While the editors take final calls on editorial decisions, it is finally the writers and reporters that help complete the final product. Understanding how different newsrooms work teaches employees more, and in return, helps editors also in making the work more comprehensible.

It is not only that. Sending employees on foreign trips that include fun and work will also make them feel more wanted. Am I making sense?

So it is time that the sub-editor, reporter and even the designer get the flight ticket to other branches and get to learn how journalism works in USA. The management can, of course, keep making those business trips. One less would not hurt them.

Friday, 13 March 2015

You are not alone! This is how you can handle depression!

I must confess, I have a big problem out of many problems that fill up my small clustered cupboard. I get upset when I am not able to achieve a goal that I have set for myself. I try to get my mind off the failure by watching a movie and usually it turns out to be a sad selection. The upset further increases and turns to frustration.

Guide - How to handle depression?

Understanding You: Depression

Five years back falling asleep was as easy as reading a book to me. If I wanted I could sleep over any worry and any sadness. Sleeping was my one and only medicine to all problems. However, now even that seems to be a big problem.



This is what depression does to you. You try to sleep but you can't. Your mind crowded with thoughts of you unable to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself. You twist and turn in your bed till tears start rolling down yours cheeks. You remember everything from your childhood. All that you miss, all the people you spent the major time of your childhood with, the things you told them, the way you separated from them. It all comes back to you. Your mind starts stimulating the thoughts and increases the uncomfortableness. It is uneasy. By the time you fall asleep it is time to get up and waking up can be really painful.

Guide - How to handle depression?

Understanding You: Depression

You wake with a drowsy feeling. Your head aches. You get ready, have too much of caffeine and the time and adversities at the office increase your disgust for life.

You try to motivate yourself by going through random self-motivating posts. You share them with the whole world. You send out affirmations because that is what 'The Secret' tells you. However, life is still the same.

You have failed and you are failing and there is nothing you can do to stop it. Death seems to the only way or succumbing to the suffering.

You are not alone. Look around you. You are reading this. You alone do not suffer this unpleasant disease that you refuse to accept is a part of your life now. Forget what the society feels and says. Think about yourself. You need to get over it.

Dear friend, if you need help, or anyone you know needs help, we are just a call away.

Here is how you can change your life. Here are the remedies. Embrace it. Share it. Do not shy away.

Guide - How to handle depression?

Understanding You: Depression

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Feedback form story

It was 11 PM. She was transfixed in her laptop. It was time to shut the shop. He walked towards her. "Ma'am, it is time to shut the shop." She did not hear. She had her earphones on, and he heard her listening to Jason Derulo. "Real intense," he thought. He said once again, "Ma'am?"

She was trying to write something, at least she had managed to write two sentences compared to yesterday's two words. As she was listening to the song and trying to write at the same time, she saw a shadow hover around her. She finally looked up, the man in the green apron and black shirt and she saw his lips move. She read, "M-A-A-M. Ma'am." She quickly removed her earphones, "Oui?" She corrected and said, "Yes?"


"Ma'am, it is time to shut the shop. It is past 11 o'clock." He tapped his wrist watch. She got a little unsettled. She flustered. "What am I supposed to do," she wondered. "Cheque please," she requested. The man stared back at her. "Has she been drinking?" She looked back, he saw her staring at her. She got a little irritated. "What?" She asked. "You have already paid," he said.

She snapped at herself. "Damn!" She looked at the man, she noted his black shirt and green apron, once again. She tried to read the name but gave up. She needed an eye check-up, it has been long pending. "Sorry, my bad. I forgot." He replied, "No worries." He turned to walk back, but he stopped. He turned back. She saw him put his hand inside his pocket and took out a paper. And she thought, for once it is going to be a gun.

"Will you please fill up this form?" He asked. She took the paper from his hand and started reading it. "Feedback," it read. She sighed. She wondered, "They still exist?" She said, "Yes I will." She sat to fill it up." He waited. He saw her put her hand inside her bag. He thought, "She spends so much time in her laptop. Am so sure, she does not have a pen." But, at that time, she took a fountain pen and started scribbling. "They still exist?" He wondered.

He waited, as she finished filling up the form. While she was filling up the form, from the corner of her eyes, she saw him, staring at her, watching her hand and fingers move. "Disagree. Agree." She finished. "There," she handed over the paper and kept the pen inside. He took it, disappointed at the pace it got over; said, "Thank you." And started walking towards the counter.

As she was packing her stuff, the man returned. The others in the shop by now had shut the front doors. The side door of the shop was open. She was the only customer. One of them had shut the fire alarm by now and lighted a cigarette, near the window, with a small opening, making sure the seniors did not notice. But they did. One of them joined him, followed by five others. Another four cigarette came out. One of them refused the offer of the cigarettes. She thought, "He does not smoke." However, at that moment, he took out a rolling paper and started rolling a joint. She sighed.

He was still standing, as she saw all that happen in front her and pack her stuff. "Oui?" She said, once again. "Are you french?" He asked. She smiled and said, "No." He stopped and wondered. She waited for him to talk. He did not. She looked at him, now, straight into his eyes. Two coloured, she said to herself, "Heterochromia iridum." She ignored, as she started to notice him properly now. Six feet, may six feet two inches. Blonde, wavy hair. Pink lips. Stubble. Brown eyebrows. "Might have coloured his hair," she told herself.

She finally asked, "Yes, how can I help you?" "Should have not said that," she told herself. He saw her. He noted, he noted that she was checking him out, subtlety.

"You said in your feedback that you wanted the staff here to be a little more friendly." He waited for her to say something. She was not listening. She was watching his lips move. He continued, "So, here I am. Hello. Sorry, if you think we are not friendly." And he extended his right hand.

Her gaze broke. She saw his hand coming towards her hand. She waited, she waited for the words to reach her mouth. "Hey, I did not mean that." She did not extend her hand back.

"It is okay," he said. "You come here every day." He wanted to say more, but he stopped and took his hand back, inside his pocket. She saw him wanting to say more.

"Yes, I come after work." She replied. She wanted to now run. The conversation was leading somewhere, she did not want.

"Yes, I know. I am sorry if I am stopping you. But, just wanted to make sure that we are not unfriendly. You come here every day, you are an important person in... life," he stopped and ended the sentence.

She was not looking at him anymore. She had finished packing her stuff. After four cups of coffee and two double-meat sandwich, she was not expecting this conversation. She picked up her bags and looked at him now.

He saw her dump all her belongings inside the bags. He understood that she was not comfortable with this conversation. And now she was looking at him. He wanted. "Another step towards her," he thought. But, instead he said, "The door behind is open. The staff leaves from that side." He did not want to complete the sentence. However, he did, "You can too."

Before he could say anything else, she turned around and started walking. He saw her walking away. But, wait. She stopped and she walked back. "Can I have the feedback form, that one" She pointed at the paper in his hand.

He stretched his hand and gave it to her. She took his pen from his breast pocket. He did not see that coming, but in slow motion saw her hand reach for it and her hand return, near the paper. She handed scribbled something back on the paper and handed it over to him, once again. She said, "See you tomorrow." And she disappeared.

He wanted to reply but could not. He looked at the paper. It read "Strongly Disagree. Except one guy. He was friendly. Even though he forgot to mention his name."

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Turning 25: My Birthday Wishlist

I have never felt excited about my birthdays. The month February itself makes me feel depressed. It is my birthday month, but either I fall sick or something annoying happens. And, my birthday gets wasted.

During school days, my birthdays used always to clash with final exams. I could not enjoy much. And more so because the next day exam always turned out to be Science exam and later on, Physics exam.

I clearly remember my birthday in 2003. The World Cup was taking place in South Africa. India was to play England on my birthday. Next day was Physics exam, and I knew I would do horribly horrible. However, I did not care. Inside my physics book, I hid the Harry Potter book. I always used to get a Harry Potter book as my birthday gift from my parents. I started reading the book around 7 PM and by 11PM, it was over. Yes, I was a fast reader back then. Plus, a mad Harry Potter fan. I also remember Ashish Nehra's match-winning six-wicket haul against England and my father narrating the story next morning on how Nehra got dehydrated and was seen struggling due to the heat. I remember it all; including the fear and anxiety when I was handed the Physics question paper next morning.

During school days, the only exciting thing about my birthday used to be the Harry Potter books and sometimes Tintin.

I cannot remember my first birthday after I joined college. My second birthday was a wonderful one. We hang out at my friend's place, who recently got married. I remember my friend's mom surprising me with a cake, another friend bringing a rose for me and all of us somehow ended up wearing black-coloured attires. I remember planning out how we will buy a bungalow and name it Gothic Village and stay together. Then the lunch at the small Chinese restaurant. I remember all that happened after that.

The next year, we were too busy with the upcoming final year exam, plus, we had the big fall-out.

I cannot remember how I spent my birthday during my university days. All I remember is giving treat and clicking pictures. It was nice.

But, my most favourite birthday has been spent with my sister. The way I was pampered, I guess I will never be :)

Anyways, the point of writing all these was, my birthday is coming. I am going to be 25. I am already on the mission of writing letters and sending it all the people who had asked for one. If you didn't ask for one, you probably missed a very big opportunity!

However, along with that I have also been asked by many people on what I want on my birthday. Well, I have decided to write out 15 things that I want. Some of them are really funny. But, please feel free to gift. Don't be ashamed in asking whether you can gift anyone of them. You can, by all means, YOU SHOULD. I am not shy about asking for one, why should you be? :P

Plus, if you do decide to gift anyone of the gifts from the following list, please ask and let me know before you do so. As, I don't want multiple people giving me the same gift. You have 23 more days to decide and ask and buy. So go ahead. Feel generous.

And the lists —

1. Xiaomi 10400 mAh power bank: I have for a long time wanting to buy this. However, something always stopped me from buying it. But, my birthday is coming and you can gift me this. Here is it, the best in the lot, reviewed by Phone Radar. - Booked!

2. Kindle WiFi Ereader: Again, another thing I have been wanting to buy but didn't. I buy a lot of books. However, you know how much books take away space and all that comes with it. Even though am a purist when it comes to book, I have decided to move on, and you can help me do it! Buy and gift from here!

3. Parker Vector Fountain Pen: I love fountain pens. They are classic. I need one. No more reasons. And I want this colour one - Link to buy. - Booked.

4. Star Wars T-shirts or merchandise and  Batman T-shirts or merchandise: I am big Star Wars fan. I have padawan braid. What is it? Check here. And, WHO DOESN'T LOVE BATMAN?

5. Perfume: Well, a lady need to smell good.

6. Wrist watch: At one point of time, I had seven wrist watches. Now I have only two working. One for casual wear, one sports wear. You can always gift me the party wear :P :D

Here you go, an example


7. Rasta Beanie cap: I want one. I cannot handle my hair. Black coloured rasta beanie will do. Don't fret.

8. Coffee Mug: I was thinking of buying one for the office, but now that my birthday is here, you can gift. Link. - Booked.

9. AN EARPHONE. MY TWO YEAR OLD JUST DIED. Links - One, Two, and Three.

10. Gym Membership: Don't you want me to stay in good health and look good? What are you thinking? Go ahead! Ask and gift one!

11. Beauty package deal: Yes, you would want me to look my best on my birthday! That too 25th!

12. Dinner or Lunch deal: I am planning to go for lunch or dinner at some awesome place. Your gift would be a great relief!

13. Heavier Than Heaven: I want this Kurt Cobain book! I WANT I WANT I WANT. GIFT ME.

14. ED SHEERAN IS COMING TO MUMBAI. YOU CAN BUY ME A TICKET :D

15. Meet Dalai Lama: If you can help me in whatsoever possible way to meet His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, I will be ever grateful. And that, will be, always my greatest gift in life.

Other stuff that you can gift me - My Amazon Wishlist Link :P

HAPPY GIFTING. I AM WAITING FOR ALL OF YOUR REPLIES, ESPECIALLY YOU KNOW WHO ALL!

P.S. Stop gifting tiffin boxes. Please.

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