May I HELP you?

 

 

After walking for about 10 mins from my home, a brightly colored board attracted me. The color and the big logo along, which were visible from a distance, helped me to know that I was at the right place, I was looking for. As I reach closer and enter the plush center, I am greeted by the brightly colored ambiance and the matching desks and chairs across the room. The air-conditioners atop all the walls ensured that the temperature was kept much cooler than outside and it was quite a relief from the heat outside as well as all the sweat due to perspiration from my walk up there.

smiley exec
Image courtesy Shutterstock

(Image link:https://www.google.co.in/search?q=customer+executive+holding+smiley+heads&client=ms-android-motorola&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjR5I23vPjNAhUmS48KHTVOBAIQ_AUIBw#imgrc=5xSz6tUkrZwtRM%3A)

A quick glance around saw many youthful faces dressed in crisply ironed uniforms. The women had white shirts and black trousers while the men wore white shirts and trousers with a tie complimenting it. The ladies had their hair tied in a bun and most of them adorned their lips with a bright coloured lipstick to match with the background they sat amidst. Each one had his name pinned on to his shirt with a tag on it “May I Help You”.

 

 

may_i_help_you__by_privetdan

As I was admiring all this, a voice greeted me “May I help you?” I turned back to find a youth, in his twenties perhaps, smiling at me as he greeted. By now my mind was sure and certain that my query would be solved in a while. His name ‘HARSH’ shone brightly on his chest ‘pin’ and I put forth my query. It had been long since I was having trouble with the network in my area and also there had been issues in my mobile billing. Mr. Harsh assured me that I would be attended shortly and asked me to be seated comfortably on the sofas that were placed in the middle of all the counters that attended to customer queries. He gave me a token number and asked me to await my turn. I sat down and looked around all those who had come before me. Some of them were filling out details on forms given to them while others were in conversation over there mobiles or playing with the gadget to pass their time. Few of them were engrossed thinking and some chatting away with their partners along with them, as they awaited their turn.

Listening to the bell as it rang and viewing the token number being displayed each time, I was watching the clock tick. It was now almost more than half an hour and I was getting restless. But one needs to have patience at such centers is what I was told, so I was calm observing others to ease myself of the restlessness. Someone at one of the counters was irritated with the executive and was shouting on top of his voice creating a noise. The executive who sat across showed no signs of remorse and was blank in his expression. A girl at the next counter was smiling as she was explaining the mobile plans at the next counter uttering minutest details with quite ease. A man in his fifties, who seemed like a vendor or a helper, was getting his mobile Sim card for the first time and was eagerly watching the executive, across the desk, as he placed the Sim into his phone. He was delighted to have it and asked when it would be active for use. The executive told him that he would have to wait for 24 hours when he could start dialing from his mobile. He had a sign of great delight as he left the store.

The bell rang and the number ‘250’ popped and I was up on my toes, with a sense of having won half a battle, as eyes of those awaiting their number stared patiently. The executive who was to attend my query was a girl named ‘GANDHARI’’. We exchanged smiles as I explained my problem. She said that the network query would be attended by engineers in the next 48 hours. She then typed my mobile number on the keypad in front of her and her eyes rolled up and down the monitor giving me a glance in between. She saw the details and said that I was getting the bill as per my plan. I asked her why there was an extra charge that was shown in the bill. She told me that was as per my plan. I said my plan mentioned it was of Rs. 299 and why was I getting extra when the bill details showed that my call details were less than the amount. She made all the efforts to convince me that I had to pay the bill as this was what was on their ‘record database’. Not convinced with her explanation, I asked her to speak to her senior for a detailed discussion. She answered that it would not be possible to meet them as they were in a meeting. I asked her to give me his number, so I could speak to him later, but she said she could not do so and I would have to call the call centre to register any complain. By now, all my fancies and hopes of solution had burst and I was dejected by the entire episode. The cool atmosphere around felt no longer soothing and I was feeling hot within me even more(I now know another reason for keeping the temperatures cool… perhaps to cool all those customers as their temperatures rise after one such visit). I left the store staring once again at the board and logo that had welcomed me.

On my way back, while my mind was analyzing the entire episode and unhappy about the service, I got thinking, as to who is to blame for the service (rather disservice) that was meted out to many customers at such centers. I think it would be wrong to blame only the people who sit across and face the customers. They are just punch bags which are in front of us. They take the blow, that’s all… nothing more. There lies a lacuna in the system when catering to customer numbers as high as in India or Asia for that matter. Also most of the ‘Executives’ truly just execute as they are trained, making the least effort to use the big analytical and logical compartment that lies in their head on their necks… their brain!

call centre

The same holds true with the customer service executives at the call centers. They start ‘parroting’ out whatever information they are given right from our ‘Hello’, starting with suitable greetings to begin with and ending with all the details that are there with them along with a ‘Good day’ to end the call, irrespective of the fact that they were called at night!

And so as I reach home I put on the fan and relax to the tune of music and get back to my chores. The next 48 hours have passed and I have no sign of my network problem solved or any call to relieve me of my woes. May be I need to ‘Help’ myself and my phone with the circumstances that surround us!

 

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Change

change

The Gulmohar tree, right across the window pane in front of my small corner writing desk, had been blooming with red orange flowers all through summer. It’s quite rightly called ‘Flame tree’ as it blooms brightly like flame in the hot summer. The leaves which show their prominence the entire year are given a backstage when the flowers have their share of showcase in four months of summer.

The Gulmohar has a special place in my childhood memories. I recollect, as children, my friends and I used to take the leaves and make soft cushioned beds, enclosed by bricks, for stray dog puppies in our neighborhood. The leaves, which are compound, were easy to separate from their twigs and also a real fun activity for us as kids. Our efforts would be rewarded when the puppies, whom we would,at first ,really have to run after to stay on these cushion beds, would sleep atop each other in a bundle. (Yes, if we had the smart gadgets (mobile phones) or cameras back then this would be a picture worth setting as a backdrop on the smart gadget and sharing across with friends.)And we would all be smiling for efforts had paid off fruitfully. But the next day all would be a mess as the puppies would dig out all the leaves and would be running and playing everywhere. Once again, our ritual of collecting twigs and removing the leaves and making beds would begin with the same love and passion as before. It was a game which never got us tired or bored!

The other memory is of tasting the slightly sour flowers. I don’t know if I would allow my kids to do the same now but we enjoyed eating and tasting those flowers when one of our older friend would get a bunch from the tree and we ate it under the trees own shade in summer vacations. The other activity was to take the about–to-bloom buds and open them, with our little hands, into a flower. The pleasure we derived with this art or may be craft cannot be attributed to any of the modern day games that are available now. Many games were played under the vast canopy of this warm and loving tree which housed many birds in its arms.

As I am writing, it’s raining outside and the droplets of rain are drenching the tree from top to toe. The leaves are soaking in as much water as they can to quench their thirst after the hot summer. The floral display is over and they now take over the scene to display as many shades of green as they can until the next summer. It’s a changed scenario, both for me and my surrounding, with a feeling of nostalgia!!!

 

 

Forbidden

 

folded hands

Forbidden

 

Forbidden by all he sat there in a corner

Shying from his shadow that stared at him

Not sure what was it that kept him away,

Alone and lost to beg at the temple.

Forbidden by circumstances,

he had to keep happiness away

Was it a curse that had made him suffer?

Oh, all those patches on skin that differ

God!! Was he there for him? he wondered,

A bit too busy in all worldly deeds…he pondered

Filled with gratitude as he passed the test of life with flying colors

Forbidden for once but winner forever…

 

 

 

(Image :https://www.pinterest.com/pin/208010076510953775/)

 

 

The Door

The Story Behind a Door

door

I have seen it all as I stand here all by myself. Yes, it was me who has been the witness to the rise and fall of the kings that once adorned the thrones of this beautiful mansion.

I recollect the great time when there was gold and silver adorning all over my heavy framework with beautiful floral motifs carved. I stood there shining bright. I welcomed each guest with open arms. It was a prestige for me to be the first one to welcome the royal majesties from different parts of India.

The beautiful queens and the royal princess were always enthralled by my beauty and couldn’t help admiring it. I felt elated whenever I heard words of praise. I was not only a piece of art and admiration but I was proud caretaker of the huge grandeur inside.

It was within my boundary that several important decisions of the state were taken by the majesties. I still recollect the beautiful melodies that were sung by the singers from different parts of the country, the dances by beautiful ladies and the music by various artists that came to perform right amidst my enclosure. Oh! How much I miss the sound of it all!!

There were times when secret missions of battle were planned and I had the responsibility to ensure that they never leaked out. There was always some activity that was going on within my premises making me a part of it, whether good or bad. I would be happy or sad along with them.

The most memorable event would be the coronation of the new king. The whole palace would be an arena of various events and would be hustling with laughter, music, decorations and guests from all over.This would commence from over weeks ahead of the coronation and continue for few days beyond. Just a sort of majestic festival!!

All this has passed now and over the years the palace not only lost its princely status but also its charismatic glamour.Yes, change is inevitable with time and so I stand here as a symbol of the times gone by, only to remind the generation to come of their rich, beautiful and eventful past!!!

‘Move on. It’s just a chapter in the past. But don’t close the book. Just turn the page’

My writing ‘Aha!’ moment

toddler-scrib

I am just a toddler in this new found passion of ‘Writing’. I have just crossed the 20 mark as far as the numbers of blog posts are concerned. I do not know how far this passion will stand the test of time and how many more may be added to the number. It is beyond my visualization as of now. I have often read that every writer has a special ‘Wow’ or ‘Aha’ moment during his creative writing. Even though as I just mentioned I am a toddler at writing, with a pen in hand and penning down thoughts flowing at random as a toddler would do on a blank piece of paper, I thought of taking a peep into my blog posts and finding my ‘Aha’ moment.

As a mother of two, I know that for every mother all her babies are special but the first one holds a special place in heart as it is the ‘First’. So likewise, I feel my first ‘Aha’ moment was when I wrote my very first blog post on ‘Idealogue’, my blog webpage. This was special for two reasons; firstly, I was writing something creative after a long gap since school, when we wrote essays, and secondly, I was just happy doing it.

With every blog, thereafter, I continued to challenge myself at writing different genres and it was while writing one of these that I experienced my second ‘Aha’ moment. It was while writing one of the posts- ‘Left behind’ in which I penned down my thoughts in the form of a small poem. It was truly “‘Aha!’ did I do it?”, after I read what I had written. Not because it was an extraordinary piece of poetry but just because I had managed to do write my thoughts in a different genre I had never ever thought before.

I like reading poems and find that they are one of the most difficult genre in creative writing. I know I have a long way to go in this journey of writing and hope that there will be many more, even more ‘Aha’ moments ahead waiting to mesmerize me.

As a parting note to conclude this post I am reminded of a few lines from a truly wonderful poem by Robert Frost- ‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep,And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.’ 

My writing journey just begins…. :-)!!!

 

BREAKING NEWS

IDEALOGUE

downloadDear Breaking News,

Hope this letter finds you in good health and spirit!I know as I write you this letter , you will be busy as usual . Nowadays you hardly have time to acknowledge anyone leave alone yourself. Pace of life has been fast and so have you been too.

I don’t know if you recollect the sweet old times when I would look forward to you. I remember the first time when you flashed across our News channel. It was a time when we were the only one to broadcast you. So it was a moment of reckoning for each and every member who had been a part of bringing you on our channel. Oh, what a day it was! It still flashes before me, moment by moment, those images that formed a part of the news. It was a launch of a new satellite! Yes it…

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If we were having coffee right now…

coffee

Today my post is about a date over coffee.

If we were having coffee right now …I am sure it would be the most beautiful moment with you and me and ‘our time’. The rains have created a perfect backdrop for a cup of coffee and just the two of us.

 If we were having coffee right now …it would be in our own backyard garden with the aroma of ground coffee made with your special touch. The strong coffee, with just a tinge of sugar as we sip it, would make a perfect threesome!!!

 If we were having coffee right now … I am sure that there would be many things we said just by looking into each other’s eyes instead of words. The soothing instrumental music, playing in the backdrop, as we sit across the coffee table of this small cafe shop compliments the silence and this is bliss!!!

 If we were having coffee right now …I am taken by surprise as you present me with a book! It is a compilation of short stories by my favorite author Jeffery Archer. I am speechless and smile away as I thank you. You have bowled me over once again!

 If we were having coffee right now …and I can’t wait to tell you about the things that I rarely mentioned during our conversations at home. The small little gestures of love and care you showed from time to time. No thanks, but would definitely love to mention that they have meant a lot and have increased my love and respect for you.

 If we were having coffee right now, after celebrating our married life of 50 years, and with our children and grandchildren making the picture complete, I wish you went on your knees and proposed me once again!!!