Sunday, January 30, 2011

Insanity Over Sanity

Tears of glory;

Tears of pain.

Contrasting people:

Some agonized, some insane.

Hatred, cruelty, destruction –

In the path of humanity, an obstruction.

Cries of anguish;

Cries of joy.

Playing with terror

As though a child’s toy.

Shattered, tortured, hurt hearts –

Terrorizing people, part by part.

Shouts of horror;

Shouts of cheer.

Horrifying the innocent,

Attacking peace with a spear.

Anger, retaliation, revenge –

The only sane way to avenge?

Smoke from blasts;

Smoke from fire;

With everyone in it together,

Peace had to retire.

Pain, horror, tears: the common trend.

Insanity, hereon, shall lead to the end…

*note: this is a poem I wrote a day after 9/11.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My email to Al Futtaim / Volvo in UAE

For those of you who don't know, I bought a brand new Volvo C30 on August 10, 2010. It is January 27, 2011 and my car has been in the service station for almost a month and a half since I bought it. This is due to a recurring error ("Transmission Performance Low") that kept popping up, making my car go into limp mode.

I have been in touch with Al Futtaim representative at different stages. I will be writing another blog post detailing the kind of experience (not pleasnat!) I've had, but this is an email that I just wrote to them after a very disappointing call with their National After Sales Services Manager.

I just wanted to share it with you all.

Also, if you have any contacts within Al Futtaim UAE or Volvo, do please share with me.

A detailed post with the exact timeline of what has happened with me and my car will be up shortly.


Dear Mr. X,

I have reviewed the letter you have attached herewith for my reference. I refuse to accept this letter from your side.

The meeting I had with you and Mr. Y yesterday has clearly been a complete waste of time. Whilst my request to you was to state that you give me a guarantee that the recurring error ("Transmission Performance Low") would not come back again, all I see in this letter is that you are "quite assured" that the error will not occur.

Every single time I have reported the very same error to you or someone at Al Futtaim, I have walked away with the car with an utmost 'assurance' from your side that the car is fixed 'this time'. And yet, the error came up each and every single time.

I made myself very clear yesterday that I needed a guarantee from your end that this would not happen again. Instead, I get Mr. Y's "opinion" that all the issues in my car are resolved.

I had given you two options during our meeting yesterday: give me a letter guaranteeing my safety on the road in that car (wrt 'Transmission Performance Low' error) - that is to say, guarantee that the error will not come back again, or kindly take the car back. You have now reverted back to me with a letter that merely states what you have done with the car since I started reporting the error to you, along with 'assurances' and 'opinions' on the current and potential future state of its performance. It does not give me any guarantees, whatsoever.

Not only am I disappointed in the letter that you have sent, but I am also disappointed in the way I have been spoken to by Mr. Y. He made no attempts to hold back his utter frustration while speaking to me on the phone. If dealing with a harassed customer that has reported the same issue to you repeatedly is such a hassle for you, then you should make that clear to us at the very beginning. If he has to heave a sigh of frustration when I tell him why I am agitated, rest assured it will do anything
but bring my temper down! In no way am I assured of my safety on the road, and on top of all that, I am spoken to in a way that is most offensive!

I no longer wish to receive any kind of an assurance or guarantee letter from Volvo / Al Futtaim. I have sat back and been extremely civil thus far. Whilst I will remain to be civil in the future as well, I won't sit back anymore.

In addition, I no longer wish to deal with you both. Clearly these attempts have failed drastically and I am now being treated like a child that is throwing a silly tantrum. Instead of being reassured, my intelligence is being insulted by the way I have been spoken to. If you sat back for one minute and put yourself in my shoes, I am sure you would appreciate my plight and agitation. Alas!

I wish to reiterate that despite the fact I reported the same error to you over and over again, it has not been rectified. Yes, you may say that it has
now been rectified, but I cannot believe you because this is exactly what you have said to me each time in the past that I communicated this error with you.

I would like you to kindly send me yours and Mr. Y's superior's contact number and email address so I can take this matter up with them.

Again, I no longer want a letter of guarantee from your end.

After the way I have been spoken to just about an hour ago, I do not want to interact with anyone, except for your superiors.

Kindly revert back to me at the earliest with these email addresses. Under the circumstances, I'm sure you will appreciate and agree that this is the least you could do.


Swati Randev-Verma
One of your most upset, agitated and disappointed clients


Copy of the letter from Volvo to which numerous references have been made in this email / blog post:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Beyond The Black Restriction

Behind the veils of injustice,

Do you feel, as do I?

Do you feel the passions, aches and needs;

Do you then feel humiliated, ashamed, shy…?

Do you see the blurry world outside

And sometimes, silently cry?

Do you look beyond yours,

Wish, hope, pray; then just heave a heavy sigh?

Do you feel the need to break free;

Do you want to sometimes fly…?

Do you sometimes look at you

And simply wonder: why…?

Do you sometimes wish that you,

Yourself could go real high?

Do you feel the lack of privacy,

The presence of someone always there to pry…?

Does life seem very unfair to you,

Does it appear awfully sly?

Do you feel you can help yourself;

At least give it a try?

Do you let it all get to you;

Let the tear escape your eye?

Hidden behind the veils of coyness,

Do you sometimes feel, as do I…?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shhh…can you smell it?

As a child, I always associated particular smells with the city I was in. We moved a lot, thankfully. Every new place I went to, I associated a smell with it. Seasons too. Every season has a smell…Delhi’s winters, Mumbai’s summers, Bangalore’s all-year evenings, Kuwait’s bone chilling cold, Budapest’s flowery June…

Every time I revisited that city in that season, I smiled. I related ‘where and when’ with the smells around me. As an adult, I thank childhood me’s curiosity for this gift I carry now.

The best part about winters in UAE is that I can finally associate smells to this country.

As I roll down the windows in my car, I take in what this city is made of. As I go through the last underpass on Sheikh Zayed Road towards Garhoud Bridge, I can hear the city buzzing and echoing – literally. The blaring music in my car is shushed by the zipping cars, screeching ahead, hazards flashing. I hear the slightest brakes being applied by trucks around me, as I cringe my nose trying not to inhale the ugly smoke they let out as they halt in the traffic. What does Sheikh Zayed Road smell like? Smoke. Metal. And finally, character.

I zip past the airport towards Khawaneej and hear the gentle roar of a flight about to land. A subtle gush of dust flies around me and I take I can smell the versitility of nature. I glance up, smile, and take it all in.

As I enter Sharjah, the smells around me become far more profound. As my C30 crawls ahead on Al Khan, I glance to my left. I smell grass, sometimes freshly cut, on the mini-hill asking me to smile because I’m in Sharjah. And involuntarily, my lips curve into a lopsided grin.

Rolla, smelling like tandoori chicken, shows me what it’s made of. My elbow on the ‘window sill’, if I may, and eyes all around, I see the transition that Sharjah makes from tandoori chicken to…well, manure. As I drive towards my house, the four lane road divided by a broad stretch of concrete screams to me in agony. And why not, when it is being overloaded with manure, forcing a man made chunk of land to suddenly turn fertile?

In a few months this smell will become more pleasant. The stench of manure will be taken over by a pleasant, flowery one.

Unfortunately, in a few months when I drive past the same road, all I’ll smell is my car.

With windows rolled up, the air conditioner on high, I’ll drive past everything around me, and miss out on all of UAE’s summer smells.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 4.0

As is the law of nature, everything evolves. We evolved from monkeys – although some would contest that a few of us haven’t quite evolved all the way.

Regardless, as everything around us evolves, so must #AwesomeHandles.

Not so much in the handles themselves, but in the way I blog them.

It’s interesting. I was going through titles of my archived MS word copies of #AwesomeHandles editions (OCD? Yes.), and saw that I didn’t quite foresee this becoming a regular feature at the time. At least not in terms of the blog titles. The first one should’ve had some kinda “first” or “numero uno” kinda annotation or something of the sort. But it doesn’t. It’s very simply called: Twits and their #AwesomeHandles.

I did become a tad more, umm, shall we say perceptive? Yeah, I like that. It’s a 50 dollar word, at least.

So yeah, the next couple of rounds saw me being a bit more perceptive (*grin*) and titling them ‘Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Second Edition’ and ‘Twits and their #AwesomeHandles – Third Edition’.

When I was formatting and reformatting my excel document with the fourth and fifth editions (yep, 14 handles down, 36 more to go for the next blog!) while I simultaneously updated the ‘Master List’ (one that has all #AwesomeHandles so far, arranged alphabetically), I said to myself, nah…this isn’t working.

What sounds more…what’s the word I’m looking for – futuristic! – what sounds more futuristic than just numbering out the editions? And that’s when I came up with this point-oh system.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present you with Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 4.0!

  1. @69fubar
  2. @acp_pradyuMAN
  3. @almostbutnotyet
  4. @arauser
  5. @asli_alsi
  7. @BitchPlease
  8. @BwahahaO_o
  9. @chulbul_pandi
  10. @churumuri
  11. @ConfuseusSay
  12. @Crotchingtiger
  13. @CrudeInterlude
  14. @hallucinations
  15. @HamraBihar
  16. @HotnessGodness
  17. @HotTottie
  18. @ijusthadsex
  19. @imfucked
  20. @imspidermonkey
  21. @JadoPado
  22. @jesus
  23. @jun6lee
  24. @little_chuckle
  25. @lovethewayulie
  26. @McDarkTwisty
  27. @NameFieldEmpty
  28. @offstumped
  29. @omg
  30. @pAaTsHaLa
  32. @powerpointgirl
  33. @probablytrippy
  34. @reincarnated_er
  35. @SantaComes2Town
  36. @Stark_Mad
  37. @tallikya
  38. @TheAngrezJailer
  39. @theevilp
  40. @TheVoiceOfNeo
  41. @TimbaLiyah
  42. @UberDoucher
  43. @unfairandlovely
  44. @unnamedentity
  45. @urbanturbanguy
  46. @UsmileIsmile
  47. @veryvitriolic
  48. @WhatTheFuck
  49. @yeayeaiknow
  50. @ZingXongVong

There it is - the first point-oh edition of #AwesomeHandles.

Like I said, 36 more to go for Twits and their #AwesomeHandles 5.0 to be blogged!

Think you have an #AwesomHandle or know of someone else who does? Drop in a comment below of send me a tweet (@silv3rglee) and I’ll put your recommendations on the next blog!