Friday, November 23, 2007


What does your ringtone say about you?
As for me, I have no caller tune set (most of the times, the sound quality of the tune is pretty bad).  If it were good quality, I would set it to some Pink Floyd, Dire Straits or even one of my standard ringtones.
For ringtones, I still cycle amongst the default phone ringtones.

on ICICI bank again

To know where I am coming from, please read -
Another discussion with "dost janta" (friends) over many bottles of beer veered to ICICI Bank's goon activities.  A friend of mine pointed out that the legal system is very slow and cumbersome for banks to recover their money.  The banks cannot survive this way.  There are many con men who go for loans without the intention to repay or at least be regular with their payments.  Someone else pointed out that the bank has the freedom to set the loan interest rate.  I agree.  

I reiterate that

1. The bank should be more careful before lending to a customer.  The customer is no way responsible for "minority loan quota" of these banks.  In fact, we anyway pay a higher interest rate to compensate for those "minority quota" loan losses. 

2. Many a times, the bank just thrusts the loan amount or a credit card into the hands of the consumer, without considering the repayment capability of the consumer.  Of course, the bank does it because it already has paid goons on their rolls for the dirty work.  As a customer, I would not pay anything if the bank promises me a "free credit card for life" (free as in no annual fees or entry fee), and then charges me even if I never use my credit card.
I use no credit card just to avoid the hassles of keeping track of yet another device. 

3. The borrower should not be harassed for the faults, inefficiencies or shortcomings of the bank itself.  The borrower is no way responsible in case the bank misplaces some documents or is slow to complete the process.  If the bank cannot manage to control errors and inefficiencies, they should pull down the shutters and pack up.

4. Using goons is no way to recover loans.  ICICI bank is nothing more than a loan shark in a business suit.

5. Many a times, it might be a technical problem or somebody else's fault (like it happened in my case).  Still the bank will not contact you (not even an email which costs practically nothing), and straightaway send goons, even though you have a good repayment record.  Whats more - they would even threaten to reduce your credit ratings with , etc.

6. Regarding the bank can charge interest rates as per its wish. True.  Now, when the bank sells you a loan with a floating rate, it claims that "the interest rate applicable to you drops when interest rates in the market fall".  But ICICI bank continues to charge higher interest rates though the interest rates have fallen, and almost every other big competing bank has reduced its interest rates as per the market rates.  Note that this is not illegal, but surely its unethical.  ICICI bank is using legal technicalities to cheat customers, and reneging on its promise to lower interest rates for floating loan customers.
It works for ICICI bank, they continue to fleece the existing customers, even if they dont get new customers (given their malpractices).  But still the bank offers lower interest rates to new customers, while charging existing customers about 1 - 2 % higher). 
The practice of not lowering floating loan interest rates is being probed by MRTPC. Link here - - Must read (I recall ICICI Bank telling me that their floating interest rates are based on RBI PLR, but there is no such thing. Blatant cheating by the bank).

Who, do you think, sets the 'benchmark' prime lending rate that your loan floats against? The RBI? No, it is the banks themselves who fix the benchmark.

The market is left with no independently fixed home loan benchmark. Two things can happen - RBI can make it mandatory for banks to disclose transparently their benchmarks like banks in Australia. Or, the RBI can make it mandatory for banks to fix home loans to an independent benchmark, like the Mibor .
Oct 11, 2007
The country's two biggest banks, State Bank of India (SBI) and ICICI Bank, have cut interest rates on new home and other retail loans, a move that is expected to be followed by other banks.

Buying a floating loan is a farce. It just means that your interest rates will always go up, but never come down.

Also, on 21 Nov 2007, we have this news item.  More cases of ICICI bank's goondagardi keep coming to the limelight.  They get rapped yet again.  Still they dont learn.  At this rate, I think they will have to wind up their retail banking soon.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tension at swargate.. no details yet

The news is that there is tension (rioting and stone pelting) in the Swargate area of Pune city, after the municipal authorities demolished an illegal place of worship.  Guess what was the place of worship?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Guess who pays the highest taxes in Asia

Indians are the most fleeced lot by their government, in Asia. 

Indian news channels and call centers

I have mostly found Indian TV news channels reporters to be dumb.  They sound dumber than the call center guys for any Indian bank. 

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Its just that some of the victims happen to be muslims and hence the pseudo-secular-liberal media is beginning to take notice of the events of Nandigram.  Otherwise nobody would have cared if the victims were only Hindus.  Such is the discrimination against us in the name of secularism..

TV viewings and its connection with ideology

Your preferences for TV programmes determines whether you are conservative, moderate or liberal. Do read.
As per the findings, it seems I am closest to moderate.
    - Unlike conservatives, though, moderates watch all the broadcast networks (I mostly watch everything, as long as it interests me, including cartoons)
    - Over 82% of conservatives say they never watch MTV. (Well, I do watch MTV)
    - you are more likely to find them (liberals) watching comedies than moderates or conservatives. (I do watch comedies)
    - While conservatives are more likely than all other respondents to watch action adventures and business and sports programming, that’s exactly the programming that liberals are less likely to watch.(I prefer the action movies, business, science and sports channels, but the liberal favourite, music too)
    - Moderates’ favorite music is rock (58%). (I mostly listen to rock)
    - Liberals are more likely to watch documentaries and art shows (which I avoid)
Of course, if someone likes Deepa Mehta and Meera Nair movies or MF Hussain paintings, they are most likely leftist pseudo-secular pseudo-liberals. And probably dhimmis too.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Number portability

COAI Director General T V Ramachandran had said: "Mobile number portability was being introduced to benefit a select operator desirous of entering the GSM segment and thereafter poaching on the subscribers of existing GSM players .
In a major bonanza to over 37.5 million mobile customers, the Department of Telecommunications announced the introduction of 'number portability' in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai.Under this system, subscribers do not have to change their mobile phone number if they shift from one operator to another.The facility will be available to mobile customers by the fourth quarter of 2008.
Finally.... I sure hope they do it much faster than that (only metro cities and till 2008-end).  I need to change my operator who provides pathetic services.  Regarding COAI's allegations, they might be true.  But they have not really taken care of bad network quality, so they cannot complain.  Let them face the heat, they cannot continue to live off the subscribers tied down to them. 

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wrong fare calculation by

The Indian travel portal - - seems to be returning wrong fares for Indian Airlines flights.
I searched for flights from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, for November 25, 2007, economy class, one way, one passenger, direct flights only, include low cost operators, night flights included, all airlines.
A section of the search results is shown in the first image.  Note that the page states that the fares are for all passengers and includes all taxes.  Indian Airlines IC 610 costs Rs 2475.  When I click on the fare details, I get the screen as in the second picture. Grand total = Rs 2475 ( fare=895, tax=1575, service tax=5). Good enough. So I click on the select button for IC610 as shown in the picture 1. I get the booking screen as in the third picture.  The fare has now changed to Rs 2895, and tax has been added again ! The total amount now comes to Rs 4487.
I then went back to the search results, and clicked on Option 6 as shown in the first pic.  Spicejet flight SG106.  The total fare is Rs 2629 as per the screenshot.  I check the fare details/breakup, and it seems good.  I click the select button for Spicejet and proceed to the booking screen, as shown in picture 4 now.  The total fare remains unchanged! 
The prices seem to be genuine when compared to other sites, except some flights like in the example above.
I was not expecting such erronous and misguiding results from, given that it is owned by the large travel company - Cox And Kings, AFAIK.  If its a bug in their system, it is a major bug and the site is really bad quality.  I also doubt if it is really a bug, it might be a deliberate tactic to cheat (a person might get cheated even if its not the intention of the website. One may simply go ahead and submit thinking about the prices on the previous search results screen). 
People, avoid till such bugs are fixed. Be very careful while booking here, and reconfirm the prices with other sites like the excellent but slightly-unintuitive and congested and the very simple but very slow and returning less search results . 

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Finally... ICICI Bank gets it

ICICI Bank fined for hiring goons..  *Long rant ahead*
This was waiting to happen.  ICICI Bank had it coming, they were asking for it.  Though very much delayed (after many incidents of suicides by customers, routine violence and threats against customers, and consumer court cases), it is still a step in the right direction.  RBI norms are flouted with impunity by ICICI Bank (I wonder why ICICI Bank is still the darling of the stock markets, they have a very bad image in the retail market. I guess, its their corporate lending thats doing well). 
I was hoping for much stringent action against them, based on many incidents that I have come to know of, via the papers, friends, relatives and acquaintances. 
Once, due to some delay in processing by another bank where I have an account, an EMI for a loan that I had taken from ICICI failed due to a failed transaction. Yeah, I had taken a loan from ICICI *shamefacedly*, I wasnt much aware of their bad practices.  Sadly
I was unaware of the failed transaction (I did not check my account balance for a week).  One fine Sunday morning at 0730 am (yes, Sunday 0730 am! The time to sleep away the hangover) after a week from the due date, I got a call from their goons, who talked in filthy gutter language so typical of the slums of Mumbai.  They said that I have not paid my EMI, "kaykoo nahi paisa bhara", "kab derela hai tu paisa", etc.  I was half-asleep, so I told them to call after an hour.  They called after half-an-hour instead.  I told them that I will first check my account, talk to my bank and then talk to you.  I again got a call at 11am or something.  By that time, I had confirmed with my other bank (phone banking was working on Sunday), that the processing was delayed due to late salary payment and weekend on 31st and 1st.  As per the transaction print from the ATM, ICICI Bank tried to withdraw money early in the morning, while my salary was deposited later in the day. (What kind of f**king bank tries to withdraw money at 8 am morning?).  I agreed to pay by cheque.  The goon at the other end insisted that I pay by cash.  I refused.  Finally he agreed to a cheque (dunno why he needed cash).  He also asked for some Rs 250 fine for late payment.  I refused that, since the bank contacted me late regarding non-payment of EMI.
First of all, I had mentioned the withdrawal date as 4th of the month, while filling up the forms.  Still, ICICI bank is dumb (or malicious) enough to set it to 1st of the month.  I called them twice to change the date to 4th, much before this incident, but still they have not done so yet (of course, it gives them a chance to extract late fines from salaried customers, they wouldnt do that). 
After that, why the f**k did the bank wait for a week before contacting me regarding the failure of the transaction. After waiting for a week, why the goons first (that too, on early Sunday monring)?  Normally, if the bank should have contacted me first, and then send in the goons.  Just proves what ICICI bank thinks of their customers.  This also reinforces what the customers think of ICICI Bank is true.
The bank treats the retail loan customers as if they are defaulters first.  There can be any genuine issue on the customer's side, like in my case.  Its not like every customer of the bank is out to default and run away with the bank's money.  Of course, the customer has to pay.  I was willing to pay.  I would have promptly paid earlier if they had informed me earlier.  But getting goons to harass the customer is no civilized way of dealing. 
Another case I know of involves a friend of mine, who changed his job and address.  He informed the bank of the same, and also completed the formalities of instructing the bank to withdraw from another bank account instead of his current one.  Still ICICI bank tried to withdraw from the same account next month, sent goons at his old address (where they came to know of his new address) and sent him a legal notice !!
Also, ICICI Bank is the biggest cheat when it comes to EMI calculations, hidden charges, and setting interest rates.
In short, your interest rate has two components. Benchmark rate and Markup rate (the exact terms may vary).  For a customer, the markup remains constant, while benchmark rates vary, in case of floating rate loans.  When interest rates were rising, the bank increased the benchmark rates.  When interest rates were going down, the bank did not lower the benchmark rates, but offered higher negative markup rates to new customers.  So existing customers continued to pay higher interest rates. By definition, a floating rate loan means the interest rates charged from the customer must be lowered when interest rates go down (whatever the reference rate is, as decided by the Reserve Bank). But the bank used this markup rate technicality to cheat customers.  At present, ICICI bank charges the highest rate of interest from existing customers, even HDFC and SBI have <a href=" ">reduced their floating loan interest rates</a> for existing customers as per the market.
Some things I have noticed about ICICI Bank -
- They are the most prolific users of goons.  Most incidents of bank goons (euphemistically called recovery agents) involve ICICI bank.  And this, when most customers tend to avoid ICICI bank because of their very bad market image in the retail loans segment.
- Most people in the industry I know, avoid dealings with ICICI Bank.  Many colleagues have called it untrustworthy.
- The employees at the counter are mostly dumb and inefficient.  The way they talk, they hardly seem to have any degree.  Many of them seem to be the same goons who call up people and abuse them. Same goes for their phone banking service (though not goons).  Go to any HSBC, Barclays or ABN Amro branch and you will see the difference in the quality of the employees.
- Most of the times, your requests for even simple things like change of address or phone number, cancellation of cheques, change of the source bank for EMI withdrawals, etc are not understood properly by ICICI Bank. (Or they feign ignorance.  It gives them an excuse to earn money via late fines, etc).
- Their services are slow.  Once I visited a Bank of India branch (a sarkari bank) for a demand draft.  They seemed to be much faster than ICICI Bank and the much hyped another sarkari bank SBI (State bank of India).  I got it in 10 minutes flat at BoI, while you have to wait for atleast that time in an ICICI bank branch before your turn to visit the counter.
- ICICI bank branch premises are very often unclean and disorganized.  Sometimes, even ACs are not working or ineffective.  I have found malfunctioning ATMs most often with ICICI bank (even though it is not my primary account, and it is less frequently used).
- ICICI Bank ATMs are out of cash many a times. Or they are out of currency of particular denominations.
- ICICI Bank hiked my EMI twice in last two years.  In one case, they sent a letter 3 months after they did so (and after I had called up ICICI to confirm why more money was being withdrawn from my account), and in another case, there was no intimation.  Not even an email informing the change, even though they send atleast one spam email a day to me.  ICICI bank will not inform you (or inform you late) about any changes in the terms.
Please let others know about ICICI Banks unethical practices.
I am not against private players in banking, but they sure need to comply with norms.  Apart from norms, there are some things called civilized behaviour, business ethics and honesty.  ICICI bank needs to learn them, to retain whatever trust they have left in the market.
Further links -

Monday, November 05, 2007

Poor chap..

He could have eaten the pigs, instead.  Nobody would have come to know.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Focus on an image when HTML page loads

Problem - On a JSP or HTML page, you have a form which has an image as an input element. You need to set focus on image in the form when the page loads.
You cannot normally set focus on an image in a form, using document.forms[0].image.focus(); .  I dont know if it works for you, but it did not work for me.
You can use the W3C DOM to achieve this.  Among other things, the DOM model allows the HTML document to be treated as an XML. It also allows javascript or other scripting languages to parse, read or modify this XML.
The solution is below - (call this method on page body load event)

  function focusButton()
      var inputelements = document.getElementsByTagName("input");
      for (i=0; i<inputelements.length ; i++)
          if (inputelements[i].type=="image" && inputelements[i].name=="submitimg")


In India,

The communists are hardcore communists.
The secularists are hardcore secularists.
The liberals are hardcore liberals.
The fundamentalists are hardcore fundamentalists.
The libertarians are hardcore libertarians.
The capitalists are hardcore capitalists.
and so on..

Can we stop taking ideologies too seriously ?

Friday, November 02, 2007

More than 150% of your airfare is ...

Tax !!
Bloody government leeches....
They should rather be encouraging lower airfares to reduce the load on already overcrowded trains... Ok, domestic air travel is still a luxury blah blah, but 150% !! Looking at the state of our airports and Air traffic controls, where is all this money going ?
I never saw the breakup of my airfares before this.