links for 2010-04-01

01 Apr
  • Located in the belly button of Hauz Khas village, towards the bottom end of its labyrinthine roads, Yodakin offers 400 sq. ft of alternative, independent and interesting titles in music, books and movies. Whether you are looking for eco-friendly activity books for tweens, CDs of alternative rock bands or esoteric art magazines, this is the place to go.
    The store is founder Arpita Das’ solution to the problem of alternative books getting lost in large bookstores. Das runs Yoda Press, an independent publishing house that focuses on urban studies, sexuality and gender, among other subjects…
    Books are arranged according to the publishers. This helps customers get an idea of each of these publishers’ lists and areas of interest. So you can browse through titles from Katha, Blaft, Ravi Dayal and Westland, among others.
  • Libraries are one of the great loves of my life. That's why a hearing last week about the Boston Public Library's proposal to close some neighborhood branches has me on edge. And several months after the opening of the new main library in Cambridge, I find myself asking an unexpected question.
    What's the purpose of libraries — really? To be a community gathering place? To promote lifelong learning? To help users navigate the information flow? To store print documents for the historical record, as Nicholson Baker argues they should (and aren't) in "Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper"?
    Libraries can serve all these functions. But what they mean to us as physical spaces is changing, and the information-science vision has now been enshrined at Cambridge Main.
  • Fascination with Maoism is beyond moral sensibility. It is a parallel universe, where recalling Gandhian hunger strikes evokes hysterical laughter; where poor treatment of women in the forests is equated with their poor treatment in the cities. This takes moral equivalency to a new low. This is amoral nihilism.
  • Mr. Brozina, a single father and an elementary school librarian who reads aloud for a living, did not want the same thing to happen with his younger daughter, Kristen. So when she hit fourth grade, he proposed The Streak: to see if they could read together for 100 straight bedtimes without missing once…
    When The Streak reached 100, they celebrated with a pancake breakfast, and Kristen whispered, “I think we should try for 1,000 nights.”
    Mr. Brozina was delighted, but what he was thinking was, a thousand nights?! “I thought, we’ll never do it,” he recalled. “And then we got to 1,000, and we said, ‘How can we stop?’ ”
    For 3,218 nights…The Streak went on…continuing on, until Kristen’s first day of college.
  • Today is a sad day for me. One of my favourite restaurants, Shiok, is shutting down—today is its last day of operation. Shiok is based in Bangalore, serves far-eastern cuisine, and is owned and run by my good buddy, Madhu Menon…Running a business in these times is hard, and the day-to-day hassles can affect your quality of life. So after much agitating, Madhu decided to close Shiok and move on to a newer, quieter phase in his life. Those of us who know him well are happy for him—but sad for Shiok.
  • Banks have been known to not honour ECS mandate withdrawal unless you also get the consent of the other party. Meaning, if Airtel service is lousy and I decide to get rid of them, I have to ask their permission to withdraw the ECS mandate. What incentive does Airtel have, if I'm exiting their service? They can stall for a few months for some free money!
    Note: The RBI has published a notification that specifically bars banks from requesting the other party's consent. If you're the bank account holder, the bank must respect your wishes if you withdraw the ECS instruction.
  • For what it’s worth, communicating effectively isn’t an art or a talent. You can learn it. And more importantly, with the passion you bring, you can teach it. More power to all of you.
  • we have the right rules and notifications in place. But do we have the enforcement? The complaint mechanism is tedious but usually effective – first, connect to the bank’s complaint cell. If not satisfied go to banking ombudsman. And then there are appeals and the court process, but usually things should get sorted out at the ombudsman level.
    I hope Ravikiran’s problem will get sorted out soon. It’s truly unfortunate that banks are being so customer-apathetic when it comes to ECS. I have never done an ECS debit registration, although it’s convenient, because I can’t trust any party to be fair to me, so I must have complete control over the payments. And because of idiotic statements they make on their mandate registration: Read
  • Look at the trouble he had to go to.
    * Call Kotak, who ask for a mail.
    * Send mail, get canned ack.
    * Kotak still uses ECS to take money.
    * Call Kotak again, they ask for signed letter.
    * Send signed letter by courier. No acknowledgement.
    * Kotak still uses ECS to take money.
    * Call Kotak YET again, they ask him to come to their office.
    * He goes and gives a letter in person.
    * He also asks ICICI to cancel but the banker asks for an NOC, which Ravi later realises is not required.
    * Kotak still uses ECS to take money.
    * Miffed, Ravi goes to Kotak’s office AGAIN, is lied to blatantly…but forces the letter through with the threat of an IRDA complaint.
    * Kotak calls and asks Ravi to fill out yet another form to move the policy to auto-cover mode, which should have been told to him on his FIRST phone call…
    * Another branch of ICICI lets Ravi cancel the ECS with a letter/form and no NOC.
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Posted by on April 1, 2010 in Links


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