Monday, December 19, 2011

How I brought my TV to India !

Who says Air Travels are boring?  I did one of the craziest thing I ever imagined…. I brought 32” LED Television set from USA to India by changing 7 flights, Passing 4 Customs Checkpoints, Check-in TV as luggage for 4 times, Check-in – Checkout in 3 hotels, Passing through 4 countries, Handling Luggage without Luggage Cart and so on…

Why and How I bought a TV in USA is another story.  But before I arrived for 2011 Budget meeting to America, the TV was arrived at my friend’s residence and apparently I have no other choice but to take TV to India.  Now, till end of Budget meeting , I did not apply my brain “How to take this TV to India?”.   So on a weekend post meeting, the great planning commenced.

Travel Route –
Bowling Green, KY ---> Nashville TN ---> Houston TX --> Quertaro, Mexico ---> Mexico City ---> Houston, TX ---> Miami, FL ---> London Heathrow ---> Mumbai, India ---> Pune, India

Airlines used-
American Airlines, Continental Airlines, British Airways

So the strategy started with “What people say” on various forums about experience, strategy, usability of TV in India etc.  Many asked questions, but no one could answer and give complete story and hence here is the blog post that may help readers.
After successful failure on understanding the experiences of TV from USA to India, I decided to fight this battle on my own.  I searched baggage information pages of Continental Airlines and British Airways.
Check-in Baggage Rules:
Continental Airlines
Normal Sized Check in Bag cannot exceed 62 inches or 157cm, in linear length (Length + Width + Breadth).
British Airways
Normal Sized check in bag cannot exceed 90cm x 75cm x 43cm (or 35.5cm x29.5cm x 16cm).
Actual Size of my 32” TV Box
65.5 inches in Linear length (exceeding by 3.5 inches for Continental Airlines)
92.5cm x 23cm x 5cm (exceeding length by 2.5cm for British Airways).

Where I contacted customer care of both airlines on flexibility to allow little excess length, both arrogantly denied my request.  I then went to collection centre of FedEx Bowling Green using hotel shuttle and requested them to help me to cut size of the box. The only officer working in FedEx Bowling Green office has never done this kind of work.   So for her as well, this was a unique experience.  We did cut the box and set the box to fit baggage rules of both airlines.  Box was cut in length by 4 cm.  All TV accessories were removed from the box.

Now, all systems are go!  According to me, all was set, ready to go, but I was still to change many flights, pass customs offices, receive check –in TV box on baggage belt at many airports.
I had to travel back to India after visiting Mexico for 2 days for business purposes.  I entered Quertaro, Mexico Airport with question on face whether Mexico customs will allow TV as duty free baggage as Mexico baggage allowance is just USD 300.  But probably due to my several visa stampings and transit stay of 3 days, Customs may have ignored my luggage.  Hence, I was relieved at first junction.

I experienced American Airlines, then Continental Airlines and then British Airways.  All airlines accepted the TV box without any complaint.  Continental  Airlines at Mexico City asked me to declare in writing that “Continental Airlines is not responsible for any damage or breakage since Box contains Fragile item and not packed in properly conditions !!!”.  I was not in mood to argue with them on this clause, but assumed that they can handle the same with care.
Next time, I will bring some sure breakable item and then would screw them.  You note this down now.
I checked-in TV box at Nashville, TN, Mexico City, Houston, TX, Miami FL and checked out TV box from Check-In luggages at Quertaro, Mexico, Houston, TX, Miami FL and Mumbai, India.  Although it was pain to pass through check-in luggage Q in busiest month of airports across the world, it was nice to see baggage condition during transit.  When I reached Pune with TV in hand successfully, it was indeed a great experience to see TV Box in “Perfect” condition on 4 airports.  At Houston Airport, the box was little wet due to rain, but it was dried up till Miami.  At Houston Airport, USA customs officer was surprise to hear journey of TV, but allowed to proceed since I had confirmed flight back to India.  At Miami Airport, a passenger tried to provoke me by telling that airlines put all luggage on TV box.  Logically, it was hard to believe that baggage handlers would throw the box with fragile sticker or put other luggage.  I ignored it and simply thanked baggage service office of Continental Airlines and in turn, she gave me a long plastic bag to protect the bag.  At Miami Airport, I saw two more passengers taking 32” TV somewhere and both accepted newly started shrink wrap service at airport.  I purposefully avoided shrink wrap or bubble wrap since I wanted baggage handlers to recognize that box contains TV set and can then hope to carry box safely.  At London Airport, I met a south Indian who was hitting computer buttons since past 5 years in USA.   I rank South Indians over Punjbis since they have survived in foreign countries on “Dahi Bhat” (Curd-Rice) and without English Tea since many years !  While next question in my mind was how to start/use this TV in India, this gentleman quickly said many Chennaians (???) take TV to India and you can get a Step down power converter as well as NTSC to PAL converter.  Although I did not understand these complex words, I thought probably something is available in India.
At Mumbai Airport, the box was received in perfect condition from British Airways.   A luggage handler tried to influence me by asking for bribe to take box out of customs.  I obviously with my “Puneri” face and expression dejected him.  Since the TV was below TV baggage allowance of Rs. 25000, I passed all luggage and TV box through screening.  Although Invoice value was below Rs. 25000, market value should be between Rs. 40000 to Rs. 50000 and I was prepared with “legal story” of showing the item as “Second Hand Purchase” for argument purposes.  A custom officer did ask me about what is in the box, but with my Puneri – “Born to rule the world, Ek damdi denar nahi, Vaidya ahe mi, Punyatla etc” face, he preferred to focus on other “Bakras”.

Reaching Pune successfully with TV was indeed a great pleasure not only for me, but also to my friends in USA who were eager to hear answer for million dollar question – “How is the TV”.  To start the TV, I have to buy this step down power converter and NTSC to PAL converter and hence I hit the electric bazaar in Budhwar Peth, Pune.  Good news was the TV model I bought LG32LV2400 do not require step down power converter since it can handle voltage upto 240.  Bad news was that NTSC to PAL converter costs upto Rs. 12000 and not easily available.  Another shopkeeper tried to sell a LCD tuner with 99% success ratio. I was nervous, but not yet given up.  Due to jet lag, I woke up at 3am and commenced my research on how to use this TV in India.   On internet forums, it was nothing less than more confusion as many were asking question “How it would work”, some expressed views that NTSC to PAL converter, many confused me on VGA Port, use of computer to connect TV, purchase of Dish TV’s TrueHD STB.   I surfed many pages, but not able to get concrete answer.  When I focused my search on use of Set Top Box and TV set, I found crazy comments like “Open Set Top Box and do this”, some opined to open TV set and so on.  But there was one smart guy and incidentally from Pune who made a comment in March 2011 that he brought TV in India and Sankalp Electronics in Kothrud installed Dish TV and the STB automatically converts PAL signals to NTSC signals.  I called customer care of Dish TV who as expected unaware of NTSC or PAL at 4.00am in the morning.  But they did explain that there is no difference in any set top box as a configuration.
Finally, I decided to install TV on my own.  Wife was called for assistance at 5.30am and she being engineer and more literate than me, we could configure the TV easily.  With some try outs and permutation-combination, the TV was easily tuned to Dish TV set top box and first channel I saw was Sun TV – best south Indian channel.  I have purchased South Family Pack only to view Sun TV.

Conclusion/ Summary –
1.       Airlines carried my TV in box pack condition from USA to India safely, un-breaked and perfect condition. You may give them instruction for your satisfaction not to use baggage belt.
2.       I carried 32” TV, but box had to be cut down to avoid oversize baggage charges, although airlines did not questioned me on the same.
3.       If value is less than Rs. 25000, you may take the TV in India without any hassle.  Else, consult me on provisions of Customs Law in India.
4.       USA TV can work in India using Dish TV STB.  Per my understanding aka digestion of technical discussion on various forums, it is normal cabel network which cannot support this TVs and hence give up your Rs. 100 per month all channels Pack of “cabelwalla” and shift to Hathway or Dish TV to become a rich citizen.
5.       I am still using Gold Pack of Dish TV with some ala carte additions and seeing no issues.
6.       Finally, it is 4.00am now, I am watching “Ye Pyar Jhukta Nahi” on Zee Premier and my TV has completed first day of his (in Marathi “To TV”) life!

Disclaimer: Writer of blog post is not baggage handler at any airport, but an accountant by profession.  All south Indians and Punjabis are great people.  Objective of this blog post is to answer all those who have written thousands of pages on how to bring TV to India and use that USA TV in India.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Per Diem Frauds

Per Diem/Daily Allowance Frauds!

Ok…I am in the midst of finalizing a foreign travel policy for a company in Delhi and hence thought to write on this interest subject.

Now, most of the companies in India have Foreign Travel Policy which typically includes fixed/at actual Per Diem/Daily allowance to meet your daily living expenses in foreign country + Local Travel expenses at actual + Hotel stay bill + residual business expenses.

At Actual means expenditures will be settled against your advance on producing the actual bills. I have assessed and monitored many travel policies on Per Diem during audit and accounting engagements. Per Diem aka Daily allowance is a popular concept for regular foreign travelers due to two reasons –

1. It is a fixed amount per day given to them with no restriction of collecting original bills. They are free to use it as per their convenience and needs.

2. For medium term and long term travels, it gives good opportunity to earn. In fact, Company prefers to give such allowance as compensation in addition to salary for staying away from home.

There are few companies who went against the above rule either to avoid Fringe Benefit Tax or to avoid possible irregularity of income tax deduction at source and hence applied policy of Per Diem at actual. It means employee needs to collect all food, laundry, office-hotel travel bills to adjust it against the travel advance. Here are the three examples of how this policy was abused by employees –

1. Pakistani Restaurant in Frankfurt: Mr. N.T.T. Sai Ramachandran (name changed) SAP BASIS Administrator- was sent onsite on the basis of his Hyderabad SAP Course Certificate to Germany. Being an Indian, he preferred for Indian style food to eat. Per Diem allowance was Euro 70 per day. i.e. He can eat/laundry maximum upto Euro 70 per day. Mr. N. T. T. Sai Ramachandran with his all-time blank face & tamil accent without correct grammar English, was injected accurately for words ‘Money’ since his birth. Smart chap… he found a Pakistani restaurant in Frankfurt. He went there and ate chicken. Paki and he translated the hungry feelings about money in no time. They entered into a verbal agreement – Ramachandran should come to his hotel every day and in return the Paki will make fake bills of Euro 70 per day.

Mr. Ramachandran was successful in both deals. Ramachandran showed Code page for every question from the German as both can’t speak English. The German customer failed to understand his own work and thought Ramachandran is a scholar and certifies him as a “Superman”. Ramachandran returns back to India with Certificate, confidence, fake bills and 4 chock-lets to accountant. He gets Best Employee of the Week/Fortnight/Marathi Calendar Month/Quarter award and with better confidence he submits those fake bills. Due to inter-departmental power awareness, accountant punches the travel claim in the system with no questions and closes the account.

2. McDonalds: Mr. Virat Sharma – Sr. Consultant (name changed), resident of a Noida, relocated to Pune. He travelled to USA with a per diem policy at actual subject to ceiling of USD 80 per day. Mr. Sharma forgot till last week of his stay in USA that he needs to collect actual bills. 80USD was more than sufficient amount to manage expenses in USA, but Mr. Sharma often went to striptease/night clubs and emptied his pocket out rightly. Now, irrespective of tons of alcohol in his body, his mind was sharp. He went to McDonalds restaurant….ordered 1 Mc Chicken Burger with extra cheese. Observed the Garbage Box near Drive Through and immediately after lunch, he took out all bills and ran away. He returned to India and submitted claim for 3200 USD (40 days) and settled easily. His friend Mr. R. P. Bhide – Project Manager submitted claim of 1200 USD and told accountant above story. Poor accountant loved the story, but again remained reluctant to bring to notice of management the policy abuse. There were three strong evidences which could have got Mr. Sharma into a big trouble –

1) Some of those bills were stamped with foot mud.
2) Mr. Sharma actually furnished bills of USD 4000 even though he was given advance of USD 3200 only.
3) Mr. Sharma furnished bills which contains dates of last 7 days of his stay in USA.

3. Son of a Politician: Mr. Sandeep Jaykar (name changed)– son of a Politician in India. He for unknown reason (or may be non-sense reason) working with Marketing Group of a Software Company. His employer had a foreign travel policy of paying Per Diem at actual with no upper ceiling. Mr. Jaykar forced his company to change the policy after his return to India. He went to USA for a business trip. He stayed in a Five Star Hotel, lunched-dined-dry-cleaned in a minimum five star hotel in USA. He washed his all clothes, sox, shoes and every possible item which can wash his employer. When poor accountant questioned him, he simply answered if you cannot afford it why didn’t you inform me? I in fact spent less since this organization does not belong to my father!

So…While auditing and accounting for foreign travel expenses, I met many people. One of my friend Mr. Raje (name changed) (Konkanstha Marathi Brahmin) made interesting comments protesting the ’at actual policy’ after his return from Hungary/Europe. He said –
a) I do not travel to foreign country for long term because I can’t get well along with my wife.
b) I do not travel to foreign country because I do not get good food at Home.
c) Honestly, I sacrifice my family and personal life and I expect to get it compensated.

Generally, it may be observed that –
a. Most of the Employees although do not wish to abuse policy, do so to make money from their sacrifice. – “Ham Chor Nahi hai….par ye Jalim Duniya hame Chor bana rahi hai”
b. Few disgruntled employees abuse policy to revenge injustice made to them.
c. Some employees have habit to abuse anything and everything from school days…they just continue.

To sum up –

1. If employee wish to abuse the policy, he/she should re-verify intent, objective and culture.
2. Organization must have a reasonable, transparent and unique foreign travel policy to avoid policy abusing.
3. Eyes and mind of an “Accountant” is far intelligent than “Travel Policy Abusers”.
4. Finance MUST have active and decision-making role in Policy making.

Disclaimer: Writer of the blog intends to alert people who had/are/will be indulged into any travel frauds. Writer never supported any fraud attitude in his career. Writer strongly condemns fraudsters and the fraudulent behaviors. The purpose of this blog is only to share thoughts as to how policies are abused.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My blog post on bank passbook got referred in a newspaper.


My super-popular blog post on Bank Passbook versus Bank Statement got referred in a newspaper - Checkout the link -


Monday, July 12, 2010

Just 17 minutes.... and get your driving license renewed (PUNE)

Complaints .... no blog post since long time ! Trust me is no more fun time for me since past 4 months. My gtalk status is "Deadly Busy". But I am committed for sharing my knowledge. Here you go with some interesting stuff...

17 Minutes and get your driving license renewed.

I posted a comment on Face Book a few weeks ago and was very well appreciated by friends because I helped my father to get his driving license renewed in 17 minutes at Pune RTO Office.

Here is the summary of process-

1. Download the Renewal/Duplicate Application (Form 1, Form LLD) form from the website –
2. Fill up the form completely and carefully.
3. Carry: Before you go to RTO Pune, carry with you – Pen, White Paper, Glue Stick, a stapler with pins and change for 50, 100, 500, 1000 rupees.
4. Senior Citizen: In case you are a senior citizen, you also need to get a medical certificate of your fitness from the doctor. The recognize doctor is available at RTO Pune premises. He wears a “Rajesh Khanna” cap and any person at RTO Pune office can help you to find him. He carry no expression on his face, has an executive assistant to fill up the form. He seats under a tree or in a Maruti Van. His fees are Rs. 30 for the certificate. Else, you may also get serious certificate from your family doctor.
5. Supporting Documents: Original License, Application Form, 2 Photographs, Medical Fitness Certificate if applicable and supporting documents (if change of address) etc. and then please head up towards Block B.
6. Verification: Application needs to be verified from RTO officer before you pay fees and impressed your thumb on machine.
7. Application verification Q is difficult to find. But if you are heading Block B, then to your right hand, you will find a small window with about 5-7 people wandering around it. On the left side of window, Mr. Ganesh has pictured a "Heart Shape" for his lover Ms. Manjula..... Anyways....the RTO Lady Officer helps you to verify the form.
8. There are 9 instructions written on the wall on how to tie up an application. I believe all government offices in India are schooled in “Puneri Patya” !
9. Officer will verify the form, write fees on the form.
10. You will then move to Cash Counter. Pay fees… do not fight with the officers for the change. This instruction is applicable for any government office in India.
11. Please then go to the room adjacent to cash counter. They will take your photo and thumb impression on computer.  Thats it...done 17 minutes ... your duplicate/renewed license is done.
12. Driving License need to be collected from main building after 20 days.

I strongly believe that if you are a good citizen (not involved or wish to involve in any crime), you should get your work done peacefully. To my experience, people cry due to the perception that Government offices are meant to exploit them.  This is wrong perception - I got my new driving license, new passport, marriage certificate (only one) without help of any agent/ middlemen.

More blog posts will be published in near future.  Meanwhile, do not hesitate to take a quick tour of my another (new) blog space -


Disclaimer: Writer of the blog post is not a RTO agent.  Content of this blog post are meant for education only.  Any action or decision based on this blog post is the sole responsibility of reader. Driving licenses are issued at discrition of Government of Maharashtra - Road Transport Office and writer is in no way challange their authority nor assure any outcome from this blog post.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Discovery of 31 items in Philippines

Discovery of 31 items in Philippines

Waiting at Manila Airport (Philippines) for Boarding on Flight SQ 417 to Singapore….I was assessing last 2 weeks I spent in Republic of the Philippines and thought lets write on 31 interesting/new items observed/did/found/tried out during my stay in Philippines –
1. Forgot my Camera in the car, I realized it after final security check. I met Mumbai Airport Security chief, understood the process and got back the camera without reversing security stamp, immigration stamp and boarding pass.
2. Saw 9 Episodes of “Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya hi Kijo” on ZeeTV (Hindi) which was one of the two known channels.
3. Religiously watched “pravachan” of a Punjabi Baba every morning at 6.00am on Doordarshan while getting ready for the office and “Taara” on Doordarshan Delhi.
4. Patiently tolerated recently USA returned Ms. Imee Benjamin’s echo statement “Very Very American… I am telling you, they are Very Very American”.
5. Watched live taping of ABS-CBN (local channel) teleserye “Kung Tayo’y Magkakalayo” – super-Action daily soaps in the hotel lobby. Also tried unsuccessfully to get role as a passerby in the tape. Hero was stud like Rohan Datar. Actress was also stud like ... I dont know.
6. Any person wearing a Tie or a blazer is pre-fixed with “Sir” in Philippines.
7. Heard IPL Cricket Highlights (only) at Doordarshan National News at 9.00pm.
8. Watched Cycling, Arrow Shooting, Sky Jumping etc. sports on Euro Sports channel and also a Japanese Sumo match on NHK sports channel, then a recorded Tennis doubles match between Sampras-Fedrer vs. Agasi-Nadal on ESPN.
9. Lunched ONLY SALADS for 10 days.
10. Out of internet connection/bad internet connection during most of the stay.
11. Heard continuous bombarding of anti-America on Russian Times (RT) news channel.
12. Saw a daily soap in Filipino language for 4 days and tried to digest it.
13. Ate “Spiciest” Chinese noodles at Chow King, which was below children level compared to India.
14. Dined vegetable sandwich at Olivier’s Super Sandwich after walking for 1 hour. Worth taste.
15. Met a beautiful skin specialist doctor for my facial skin infection….she cured me 7 days (do not interpret it Indian context).
16. Watched a special report on illegal detentions by FBI in USA on RT News channel.
17. Unsuccessfully tried to boil milk in Microwave Oven Toaster!
18. Lived without breakfast for 5 days and thereafter only Cornflakes with milk. Filipinos eat meat even at breakfast :( .
19. Messed in road crossing due to reverse driving rules (American) and heavy traffic in Manila.
20. Watched a movie where the Hero dies after 20 minutes and becomes a Dog….then he observes his family and his best friend.
21. Tried out Fruit Salad at Star Megamall….but unknown fruits and hence strange taste.
22. Peacefully Observed a wild Friday party at a Disco Pub in Metro Manila.
23. Restless and begged/implored for Tea/Coffee for first 11 days, but then accepted.
24. Hated smell of Philippines made cigarettes smoked on roads by people.
25. Visited manufacturing company as a customer after 8 years. In my opinion, all manufacturing companies in the world have same style of premises, mind-set and cultures.
26. Philippines have built their economy on their own. Food and Malls (trading) appears to be major players in the economy. Filippinos are nice people, very very hard-worker.
27. Explained how cricket is played to 2 Filipino friends. Trust me... it is not easy.
28. Thought that Philippines Government never counted its population….or may be it has countless population.
29. A 6 years old girl was smoking cigarette on the street with utmost ease.
30. Shamshu Lakhdir became my friend on FaceBook!
31. Successfully claimed for damaged baggage for third time in past 2 years. But now feels that fault is with my bag quality and not with Airline’s handling/loading.

Disclaimer: The writer of the blog do not intend to assualt any person, country, religion, caste. Please read the blog post with humor flavour. The opinions expressed in the blog post are writer's personal opinions/judgments and may not constitute unbiased thoughts. Any action taken on the basis of any line of the blog post will be the sole responsibility of the reader.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

EAT PUNE 06 - Top 10 Misal Spots in Pune

EAT PUNE 06 - Top 10 Misal Spots in Pune
Hmm….this is the post I reserved since long. Although I am known for my Misal craze, let me de-secret interesting facts that existed before I started eating Misal. Till 10th Standard, I avoided Sambhar in hotels since it was too spicy for me. Although my mother makes Konkanastha Bramhni style sambhar at home, I always stayed away from it. My wife loved spicy food before marriage (she has changed now…and prefers to avoid spicy food). So to make her happy, we shared Schezwan Chinese Rice and I then topped it up with sugar. Suddenly about 5 years ago, I started trying out spicy food and then…….now I eat super spciy Misals like an alcoholic food.
Now, there you go with top 10 Misal spots in Pune –
1. Aba Pawar aka Shri Kala Snacks Centre, Rasta Peth: I won at least 7 bets of de-ranking all other Misal spots in Pune. It is an open challenge to all Misal lovers to taste and then rank this patent spot of misal… should be 1. Undoubtedly BEST taste followed with customized spice level. This hotel started about 30 years back, owned by Mr. Aba Pawar. Interesting style of facing wall while eating which ensures that you are focused. A steel make ‘Dabba’ containing ‘Thecha’ made of up of fresh green chilies. Misal made up of chiwda, pohe, beans and farsan-shev etc. You may order spicy ‘Kut’ on top.
Now, After Misal – you must enjoy – 1) Shengdana Ladu 2) Khajur Ladu 3) Butter milk – all three home made. My combination is – 2 glass of butter milk + 3 Khajur Ladu + 1 Shengdana Ladu......
Located on lane opposite to Kings Edwards Memorial (KEM) Hospital in Rasta Peth, 5 minutes drive from Pune Railway Station. Lane starts with Ganesh Temple. This hotel is also crowded with Hamals (low class labours) as it serves them food at low cost. Car parking is also possible in adjacent lanes.
2. Shree Misal: Now, this rank may be debated. But dear readers, it is Shree Misal who taught me eat spicy misal. Owner is also Konkanastha Brahmin. Made up of Poha. Tease waiter for less spicy taste….i did it once but then punished (gifted) with terror spicy misal. Butter milk is worth trying. Located at lane adjacent to Ramesh Dying in Sadashiv Peth. Branch opposite to N. D. Thakarsi Kanya Shala on Kelkar Road (next to Mandar Lodge). Parking for two wheeler is easy at both places, but for four wheelers either you can find place near Khunya Murlidhar temple/Peruget Police Chauki (3 minutes drive) OR at Vijay Cricket Club parking near Patrya Maruti Chauk (safe park, 4 minutes drive). Hotel closes generally by 4 or till the stock exists.
3. Bedekar Misal: Interesting (in American language), but Misal lover should try it out. Bedekar Misal is probably most popular misal junction in Pune. Mr. Bedekar (owner) warmly welcomes you with big smile. He personally encourage you to try various versions of Misal and sweet dishes too. Mr. Bedekar force you to top Misal with Shahi Tukda !! and then top up your bill too ;). Hotel closes generally by 4 or till the stock exists. Located near Patrya Maruti temple, off Lakshmi Road.
4. Shri Krishna Bhuvan: Another old and popular spot run by JOSHIs. This hotel was known for closing out during noon hours. But the next generation of the hotel owner have changed work hours and is now open throughout the day. Different style of make of misal. Butter Milk is must try out. NO NO NO for Spicy misal lovers. Located on Mandai end of Tulshibaug. I hate Tulshibaug though.
5. Kaata-Kirrr Misal: Typical Kolhapuri style misal. Wait….Kolhapuri does not necessarily mean spicy in taste. In Kolhapuri style Misal, the ‘rassa’ contains more amount of water. So…’Puneris’ may not like it.
Kaata-Kirrr Owner claims that he was born-brought up in Shahunagari at Kolhapur. Misal taste is perfect Kolhapur style. Option of extra spicy Misal available on request. Buttermilk is of ordinary quality... oh sorry in Kolhapur they call it as 'Mattha'. Located opposite to Garware College of Commerce, next to Airtel Gallary on Karve Road.
6. Nevale Misal: Mr. Bobby aka Shailesh Bhor – an ex-approvian challenged Aba Pawar Misal during lunch for taste and spicy level. So…immediate next day morning, me and my colleague Mr. Abhijit Joshi went to Chinchwad to eat Nevale Misal on my motorcycle. Taste was indeed good, but still cannot compete with Aba Pawar Misal. No buttermilk available !!! I hate such Misal houses where buttermilk is not available. Buttermilk helps to digest misal appropriately. Located at Moraya Chauk in Chinchwad, next to a Masjid. Car parking not feasible at least near 500 mtrs.
7. Ghorpade Misal: Located in the heart of Khadki Bajar. Good taste, but more use of Farsan and Papdi. Buttermilk is not available.
8. Ramnath Misal: Although regular misal eaters may not like getting Ramnath into Top 10 list, but since it is one of the oldest Misal house in Pune and equally popular, I have to refer this spot. Known for super-spicy taste, Ramnath Misal contains beans and fried poha. They charge you extra for Onion and Lemon. I hate this !! The ‘Kat Rassa’ contains heavy use of oil. Some people may not to be able to digest the oil. My two friends – Mr. Abhijit Joshi and Mr. Prashant Kukde can drink this danger spicy ‘Kat Rassa’. Located next to Maharashtra Mandal/Sahitya Parishad / Konkanastha Chit-pavan Sangh Office on Tilak Road.
9. Misal stall on Income Tax Office Lane: Very good Misal. This stall is located 100 meters on right in Karve Road Income Tax Office Lane (from Karve Road). These guys serve Misal only for breakfast. They fry chilly on oil and thereby make it dangerously spicy. Misal basic taste is good. No place to seat as it is a street hawker.
10. PYC Hindu Gymkhana: There were 3 contenders for 10th Place – PYC Hindu Gymkhana, Prabha Vishranti Gruha – Narayan Peth, Shri Datta Snacks – Express Highway. After careful, analysis I chose PYC Hindu Gymkhana located at Deccan. Traditional Puneri type misal. I will define it as ‘Family Misal’…not real spicy in taste. The only disadvantage for Misal lovers is – ‘Maahol nahi jamta yaahan pe’ ;).

Outside Pune Misals – I have tasted Mamledar Misal – Thane (Nice Taste), Murud Naka Misal - Dapoli (Different taste), Jamsandekar Misal – At & Post Jamsande Tal. Devgad, Dist. Sindhudurg (Good one).

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to provide reader with interesting food spots in Pune. The spots referred in the blog have only been recommended by writer and unfortunately, he does not hold any control on reader’s tongue ;). It also does not mean that writer never eats at home or writer’s wife cannot cook the food. Please talk to writer before making any perception in this regard.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Demand Passbook from ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank for your SB Account

Republic of the Philippines , one of populated country in South East Asia. While I was preparing for a Business VISA for Philippines, I observed that Philippines Visa guidelines are more stringent than US Visa guidelines! Well…they strictly demands bank statement of applicant for last 6 months and other dozens of documents.
Now, my salary account is with ICICI Bank, Aundh Branch, Pune. I used to receive quarterly statement of my savings bank account from ICICI Bank, but the flag was suddenly changed to Annual from 2009-2010. When I ringed Customer Care for statement of last 6 months, they offered two options – 1) Statement by courier – 7 days- free of charge 2) Statement by hand –immediately-at any ICICI Branch at a cost of Rs.100+taxes.
Since I am a heavy internet banking user of ICICI Bank, I really never cared for original statement. I strongly felt unethical business practice of ICICI Bank to force customer to BUY statement of account. I spoke with my brother who is a Vice President at a private bank and he hinted that Reserve Bank of India may have issued a circular which mandates all banks (private as well as nationalized) to issue a Pass book free of any charge. I googled around and found a master circular issued by Reserve Bank of India addressing to all scheduled commercial banks.
I then went to ICICI Bank, Bhandarkar Road Branch and again got offer from the officer as mentioned above. When I quoted Para 5.6.1 of master circular number -RBI / 2009-10 / 57 dated 1st July, 2009 issued by Reserve Bank of India, which reads as below –
“5.6.1 Issuance of Passbooks to Savings Bank Account holders (Individuals) A passbook is a ready reckoner of transactions and is handy and compact and as such, is far more convenient to the small customer than a statement of account. Use of statements has some inherent difficulties viz. (a) these need to be filed regularly (b) the opening balance needs to be tallied with closing balance of last statement (c) loss of statements in postal transit is not uncommon and obtaining duplicates thereof involves expense and inconvenience (d) ATM slips during the interregnum between two statements does not provide a satisfactory solution as full record of transactions is not available and (e) there are a large number of small customers who do not have access to computers / internet etc. As such, non-issuance of pass-books to such small customers would indirectly lead to their financial exclusion.
Banks are therefore advised to invariably offer pass book facility to all its savings bank account holders (individuals) and in case the bank offers the facility of sending statement of account and the customer chooses to get statement of account, the banks must issue monthly statement of accounts. The cost of providing such Pass Book or Statements should not be charged to the customer.”

The officer surprised and with no argument went to stationery room and inaugurated the Pass-Book Box. To the best of my judgment, I was the first customer to ask for Bank Pass book from ICICI Bank – Bhandarkar Road Branch.
The Pass book of ICICI Bank is indeed very stylish and very useful to maintain. Pictures are pasted here for your curiosity.

First Page contains name and adress. Cover Page...pocket size file-folder.

Do not hesitate refer above circular reference and get your bank passbook.
Advantages of Bank Pass Book -
  1. You need to maintain one document only.
  2. Your dependency on courier to receive monthly/quarterly statements reduces as you can update passbook anytime.
  3. Free of Cost under RBI regulations
  4. Easy to store and carry.
  5. Can also serve as Address Proof.
Only Limitation is that you may need to visit Bank once in a quarter (depending on volume of your transactions) to update the passbook.
Humble request to all to take opinion poll on this subject.


Disclaimer: Writer of the blog do not intend to assault ICICI Bank and/or any of its branch. In fact he is a happy customer of ICICI Bank Ltd. This blog post only intend to remind readers/bank customers for their right to receive Bank Passbook free of cost. Any wrong interpretations and inappropriate actions taken on the basis of this blog post is the sole responsibility of reader.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

EAT PUNE 05 – South Indian Food in PUNE

EAT PUNE 05 – South Indian Food in PUNE
It has been a long time since I wrote on food series on my blog. Here you go with popular south Indian food junctions in Pune. Most of the Indians love south Indian food for the simple reason that it is easy to digest and also cheaper compared to any other food. A specialty of south Indians – They travel across the globe, get settled at any temperature in the world and then serve south Indian food to everyone at cheap cost.
1. Hotel Rupali – My all time favorite restaurant for breakfast meetings. Authentic South Indian food. I bet this taste is far better than Wadeshwar-another south Indian restaurant. Try out any item of south Indian food. It has to be best. Do go for Upma, Sambar, Dosa, Idali, Medu Wada, Onion Uttappa, Coconut Kachori and in fact any food item. After a good and heavy breakfast, you should not miss out filter coffee. Specifically request them to serve filter coffee in ‘water glass’. Tradition of drinking Coffee in ‘water glass’ has been borrowed from Hotel Vaishali. Located at FC Road. Hotel Rupali is an old-time popular breakfast spot for professionals and working people.
2. Wadeshwar – Good Restaurant. Appears to be a theme based restaurant, but cannot see any theme. Idali is especially very tasty.
3. Hotel Vaishali – Everyone in Pune knows about this restaurant. Popular for tasty south Indian food and college girls ;). Do try out coconut kachori, coconut Chatani, Sambar and filter coffee. Interesting story behind drinking coffee in water glass at Vaishali. Vaishali Hotel is all time popular ‘adda’ (spot) for collegians since at least 4 colleges located near FC Road. Now the collage gang use to order one cup of coffee to be shared by at least 4 guys and enjoying coffee with girls (although those girls are not accompanying them). So, poor businessman and owner of Hotel Vaishali of course cannot afford it. Therefore, he instructed waiters to serve empty water glasses if coffee is to be shared. Smart boys then all shared coffee in water glass and it is believed that the tradition of drinking coffee in water glasses started thereafter. This tradition is popular since more than 3 decades!
4. Steamy Affair – This is a recently discovered spot by me. Located at J. M. Road, next to Electronic Parking Stand of PMC. The restaurant serve at least 13 types of Idalis. Only Idali and coffee is served here. Good place to try out authentic Idali and filter coffee (served in typical steel glass). I recommend – Kadhi-Idali.
5. Simply Idalicious – Interesting taste. Another recent discovery. Must try out for Idali. Located at Aundh.
6. Ganesh Krupa Idali-Dosa – Popular restaurant for middle-class Indians residing near Kothrud. Good taste and to eat, you may need to compromise on cleanliness around the restaurant. Do try out Dal Wada- exact taste of typical kannad dal wada. I ate at least 60 Dal Wadas during audit days in Bangalore. Sambar and chatani – I didn’t like it. Located at Paud Road, immediately before Anandanagar, diagonally opposite State Bank of India/Raj Motors.
7. Hotel Akshay: Better place to taste if you ignore the irritating rush of Tulshibaug. This restaurant is managed by a Konkanastha Brahmin – Mr. Vaze – who was Chairman of Chitpawan Mahasamelan held in 2008. Delicious taste for all South Indian stuff….made in marathi Brahmin style!
8. Hotel Agatya – Marathi style south Indian food is served here. Located in the heart of Tulashibaug. Good Punjabi food is also served here.
9. Hotel Samudra – Located at Nalstop. Another popular restaurant started in early nineties. Well crafted Dosas are served here. Try out Shaukin Pan (located next to this hotel) after the lunch/dinner

Disclaimer: Writer is not Anna/South Indian. Writer is a Maharashtrian Konkanastha Brahmin. The purpose of this blog is to provide reader with interesting food spots in Pune. The spots referred in the blog have only been recommended by writer and unfortunately, he does not hold any control on reader’s tongue ;). It also does not mean that writer never eats at home or writer’s wife cannot cook the food. Please talk to writer before making any perception in this regard.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

FRAUD – Telephone Number and Signature on the Purchase Quotations

Series FRD/02/2009
Well…this is another interesting fraud case discovered during internal audit of an engineering company.
The purchasing manager of this engineering company was well accustomed with all organizational purchasing processes as well as business processes followed in the market. Smart chap, always starts the day at 9.00am, his behavior in the office was always easy going, he always believed himself in his capabilities and a sweet talking person.
The purchasing process of the organization strongly recommends to invite at least 3 quotations for purchases above INR 100,000. Mr. Manager strictly followed this process for all purchases above INR 100,000.
During purchasing audit, we found that a Purchase Order valuing INR 980,000 for purchase of Stores cupboards was supported with 3 quotations. All three quotations were apparently invited from 3 vendors and they were read as below
1. M/s Trimurti Enterprizes quoted - INR 10,95,000
2. M/s Gururaj Bros. quoted – INR 9,80,000
3. M/s Gajaraj Enterprizes quoted – INR 9,75,000
Quotation of Gururaj Bros. was selected due to lower price and their reputation in the market.
The transaction prima-facie appeared to be straight. However, a careful analysis of the quotations revealed following 5 facts–
A. All three vendors located in the same locality.
B. All three letter heads (on which quotation were given), were made up on ‘Charminar’ brand bond paper.
C. One telephone number was common in all three quotations.
D. All other telephone numbers and fax numbers other than #C above were either fake or dead.
E. Signature on all three quotations were made in blue ink, although different, careful look suggests that it appeared to be signed by same person.

All 5 facts joining together suggest that this may be a case of fraud. When the case was reported to the management, the internal investigation was carried out. It was found that Mr. Purchasing Manager had collide with another few vendors in purchasing worth INR 76,00,000 over 8 months. He confessed that he used to dump openly invited original quotations and replace them with the fake quotations given by the winning vendor.
In above case, all three quotations were forwarded by the same vendor and a kickback arrangement was made with Mr. Purchasing Manager. Above 5 silly mistakes costed that vendor not only to loose the contract, but also future business.
The Purchasing Manager also lost his job. Someone told me that he joined Chota Shakil's Dubai based Forex Office. Another insider also told me that the Investigation Chief was found guilty of accepting bribe from his colleague, about a year after this case. If that is true, then it may be considered as an example in my study of organizational cultures.

Disclaimer – As per Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, information obtained during the course of audit is confidential and cannot be shared or published without specific approval from the management. Writer of the blog is a qualified Chartered Accountant and only intend to share the fraud cases. The fraud case referred above should in no case be construed or perceived as specific to any company/organization/legal entity/association of persons/any individual. The purpose of blog post series on fraud is only for the purpose of brainstorming. Any action/inspiration based on this blog post which lead to any fraud, will be the sole responsibility of the user. Writer of the blog is a person with highest standards of ethics and honesty.

Friday, October 23, 2009

One Doctor, One Medical Rep., One Week, but Two Microwave Ovens!

Series FRD/01/2009
One Doctor, One Medical Rep., One Week, but Two Microwave Ovens!
Last week I was down with fever and cold. I carried it on for 2 days, but then went to Doctor for the check-up. I usually avoid to meet Doctor since I think that Doctor always benefits more than patient. Anyways…it was a Thursday evening, the clinic was full of patients…probably due to sudden climate change. When my turn came, Doctor invited a Medical Representative (also known as MR) of a pharmaceutical company (who was perfectly dressed up with blazer, tie and Van Husain white shirt) to come along. Doctor requested me to sleep on Patient’s bed and he asked MR to shoot with the script. That reminded me a fraud witnessed me in first year of my article-ship (audit) services. Here I start with a special blog post series on Financial Frauds experienced by me, my audit colleagues and friends during my/their audit days.
So….I was a Junior Audit Clerk, but yes...favorite of a Senior Audit Clerk in our audit company. Being a new auditor, I was ambitious and always expected different audit segment in every new engagement. I was given task of auditing travelling expenditures. It was one of largest pharma company in Asia. Medical Reps working with Pharma Company travels heavily across the country to build market. The audit was aimed at verifying all expenditure reimbursements of those MRs. I assessed the process and internal controls followed by Accounting Department before releasing reimbursement claims. The brief process was as below-
1. MR to fill up Travel Expenditure Form and should take approval of Sales Director for his region and then submit the same to Finance for claim.
2. MR is always given cash advances for his expenses and allowances.
3. MR is given fixed daily allowance and reimbursement of expenses at actuals.
4. Allowable expenses include taxi charges, phone expenses, Gifts given to Doctors to promote products and any other legitimate business expense.
5. Gifts to doctors – Many MRs prefer to gift doctors with electronic appliances or a good Zodiac Tie. Gifts promots pharma company's brand solidly in the hospital and medicine market.
Now, I always loved to read "what expenses MR has claimed". "What has he eaten at restaurant?" "Why did he ordered 3 dishes of Chicken Hyderabadi?".... thought he must have invited his local friends for dinner, but cannot challenge such things in a capacity of the auditor. I used to read even laundry expenses…..what has he dry-cleaned – handkerchief or sox pair etc.
I was also drilling down gifts made to Doctors. After about 20 reimbursement claim vouchers, Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pande (name changed) (who dry cleaned all his inner wears everyday in a Five Star Hotel), claimed Rs. 19,200/- as reimbursement after consuming his initial advance. That suspected my mind with the questions – "how and Why one employee spent 20 K from his pocket?" "Why was he given less advance?" "Why he didn’t pay large expenses by credit card – I mean no sensible person would carry cash of 40000 while travelling.". I believe these questions must have triggered in the mind of Finance executive if he was a hardcore accountant. But then he may not be able to challange due to departmental barriers.
On further analyzing the voucher, I found that gift items were purchased on cash and that too with a rough bill. Questioning rough bills to Mr. Pradeep by Accountant, he told him that he did so often to avoid sales tax and thereby saving company’s money. Accountant thanked Pradeep.
But, while analyzing list of doctors who were gifted with electronic appliances, it was observed that Dr. H. M. Bangali (name changed) was given two microwave ovens in a single week by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pande!! Now…that was the poor mistake made by Mr. Pradeep Kumar Pande, Jr. Medical Reps. During investigation and interrogation by Accounting Department with Sales VP, Mr. Pande confessed the fraud.
We were told by one of the good friend (insider) that Mr. Pande was physically slapped by angry Sales Vice President. J I truly enjoyed those gossiping.
The audit was completed after submitting specific remarks on reimbursement policy and internal controls in the Audit Report. But that actually triggered to frame out centralized purchasing policy of gift purchasing. Gossips were also chewed that few Medical Reps (ladies especially) that they get tired with heavy weight gifts and unhappy to carry 10 gift boxes. It was also heard that few MRs made tie ups with Chaywala to keep those 10 boxes or Junior Medical Reps were exploited by expecting them to carry gift boxes with seniors.
Fraud Summary LineOne Medical Representative of a pharmaceutical company gifted Two Microwave Ovens to a single Doctor/physician in a single week!!
I will sum up the post with a famous quote from Mark Twain (1835-1910) U.S. humorist, writer, and lecturer. -
“Honesty is the best policy when there is money in it.”

Disclaimer – As per Chartered Accountants Act, 1949, information obtained during the course of audit is confidential and cannot be shared or published without specific approval from the management. Writer of the blog is a qualified Chartered Accountant and only intend to share the fraud cases. The fraud case referred above should in no case be construed or perceived as specific to any company/organization/legal entity/association of persons/any individual. The purpose of blog post series on fraud is only for the purpose of brainstorming. Any action/inspiration based on this blog post which lead to any fraud, will be the sole responsibility of the user. Writer of the blog is a person with highest standards of ethics and honesty.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

EAT PUNE 04 – Punjabi Khana

Every hotel aim to offer Punjabi khana in Pune by default. In fact, if you analyze the hotel business, Punjabi food can get more margins as compared to breakfast snacks. Another interesting business factor is – Hotels are happy if couple comes for dinner/lunch and order Punjabi food as they can earn more margins with less overheads. Anyways…. Following are some of the popular and good hotels offers quality Punjabi khana in Pune –
1. Bhagatsingh Tarachand – A Mumbai based chain hotel. Fantastic taste of any sabji. Buttermilk and Lassi is served in a beer bottle. Don’t know where he gets such a tasty buttermilk. I can drink upto 5 bottles of buttermilk after lunch/dinner. Located at Shagun Chauk, Lakshmi Road – Park your car at Vijay Cricket Club’s parking near Patrya Maruti.
2. Horn Ok Please – Theme based restaurant located at Fergusson College Road near Sagar Arcade. This restaurant has built dhaba interior where you get chance to seat on ‘Khatiya’. People love playing the truck horn placed at the door as a decoration item. Clean and perfect Punjabi khana.
3. Hotel Aloha – This place was a regular dinner spot when I worked N number of workaholic nights at T-Systems. Do try out Kadhi – Khichadi here if you dinner out here. I love the taste here. Located at Senapati Bapat Road, opp. Muttha Chambers (Old BMC Software office). T-Systems employees (now Cognizant Technologies) get 7% discount J J.
4. Shivsagar Hotel – Anna run hotel. But still good taste of Punjabi food at both Aundh as well as J.M. Road vent.
5. Hotel Banjara Hills – Chandani Chauk, Paud Road. I like this hotel although many claims that service is pathetic. But food taste is good.
6. Veer Da Dhaba - Well….in case you plan to go out for dinner with your family. You can go to any hotel other than this place. Have you seen any restaurant where all youngsters on almost every table are loudly roaring, making climate noisy for no reason? This is the place where you need to forget that there is any world outside this hotel. Trust me, if you are a non-drinker like me, you would enjoy the party like anything. My school friends had a great party here once and we still laugh with those memories. We were dining and one drunky came to my table dancing….drunk glass of water kept on my table….did not say thank you nor asked for any permission and went away. One person was hitting drums hard without any music sync for no reason. A sardarji runs this hotel, good food taste and keeps tight control only after things starts getting out of control. Located at Hinawadi Road.
7. Bhajansingh da dhaba – This is popular for non-vegetarian Punjabi food. Located on old Pune-Mumbai High way – near Dehu Road Toll Naka. Good taste. Garden restaurant for family.
8. Agatya Hotel – Tulshibaug. Nice taste. Marathi style Punjabi food. Do try out Veg Bhuna here.
9. Rahul Restaurant – Aundh – Peaceful spot. Any paneer based Punjabi sabji may be tested here.
10. Chaitanya Paratha – Paud Road and F.C. Road – Run by Punjabi Sardar. Ok taste. Try out Parathas. I love Methi Corn Paratha.
11. Nebula Restaurant – Located in Bavdhan. Good and very clean restaurant. Excellent quality Punjabi food. Try out Paneer Kadhai.
Other Hotels such as Khana Pina Jina- NDA Road, Punjabi Masta Khana at Bavdhan Road, Gandharva Hotel at J M Road, Hotel Palvi at Anandnagar, Paud Road, Savera at FC Road, Rangoli at Bhandarkar Road etc. are also worth trying.

Disclaimer: Writer is not Punjabi. Writer is a Maharashtrian Konkanastha Brahmin. The purpose of this blog is to provide reader with interesting food spots in Pune. The spots referred in the blog have only been recommended by writer and unfortunately, he does not hold any control on reader’s tongue ;). It also does not mean that writer never eats at home or writer’s wife cannot cook the food. Please talk to writer before making any perception in this regard.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Process for change in name on passport after marriage

Well… wife Anurati holds copyrights for this blog post. About few months back, she asked me that she want to change name on her Indian Passport. Hence, we googled official website of Indian Passport Department to find out process and required documents. The step by step process followed by Anurati is written below.
1. Website – Go to FAQ section which answers all your questions. They have a helpline number as well as an email address of PRO of department. PRO answers to your email in less than 24 hours.
2. Documents required for change in name after marriage as per website are 1) Photocopy of the Husband’s passport and 2) Attested copy of marriage Certificate issued by Registrar of Marriage or an affidavit from the husband and wife along with a joint photograph in Annexure D format (available on the website). In case, you want to register your marriage (irrespective of when you got married), office is located at Central Building, near Sassoon Hospital, Pune Station. Marriage Certificates are issued computerized with name & address both written in English+Marathi.
3. Day1 – She took both of the above documents and went to Passport office, Pune located at near Symbiosys college at 10.00am. Huge Q in front of the main gain. However, she saw another Q where official facility of Passport Department to fill up and verification of application form is available. It costs Rs.35 for form filling and Rs.20 for verification. Anurati paid Rs.55 and got the appointment to submit form along with the documents on the next day at 11.00am. The date and time was printed on the form. The verification officer explained her on the documents to be attached along with the form which apart from above 2 documents includes-
a) Birth Certificate
b) Bank account with new name – Account statement entry more than 1 year.
c) Degree Certificate
d) Photographs (as per specifications)
4. All a, b and c can be challenged easily in case you write email to PRO as referred above before coming to Passport Office. Please do not argue with the verification officer since he is not your son. Just show him printout of the email.
5. Now, you may be thinking why Ambarish is advising educated people to get form filled up from someone who is arrogant, less educated compared to us, doubtful if he understands English. But, hold on – process written in the blog may help you to get name changed passport in 7 days. Swarthapudhe Ahankar Khshudra ahe (Jagadguru Masta Kalandarji - – Keep your ego outside while entering any Government office.
6. Day2 (appointment day) – Anurati went to Passport office sharp at 10.15am. She stood in the Q for about 35 minutes. The officer in the application submission window verified original documents, passport application and photocopies of the documents attached. Application was accepted with no questions and Anurati got new passport in less than 7 days. Carrying all original documents in MUST.
7. Change of Name on Passport will cost you Rs.1000 as charges. No bribe, no agent charges – Anurati got her passport at a total cost of Rs.1055 only.
Executive Summary –
- Total Expenses – Rs. 1055 - Total Time spent – Less than 1 hour in 2 days
- Change of Name Passport after Marriage received in – 7 days
- Mandatory documents – 2 Photographs, Husband’s Passport, Marriage Certificate

Disclaimer – The purpose of above blog post is only to share experience with blog readers. It should in no case be construed as “Expert Advise” or “guarantee” to get name change on the passport. The writer of the blog or any of his relative do not help/factor in passport services. Issuing/re-issuing/changing contents on passport is governed by relevant regulations of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India and it is the passport department under Ministry of External Affairs, INDIA who holds complete authority to issue/reject/cancel/revoke etc. passport of any citizen of India. Reader of the blog may apply his own judgment before relying on information contained in this blog post. Writer of the blog will not be hold responsible for any outcome/result based on contents of this blog post.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

PMPML Bus Time-table from Deccan to Pune Airport

See below the photograph I took on my cellphone. I think it is better to use public transport bus (PMPML) in Pune as against taking services of arrogant, dakoit Rikshawalas for a drop to Airport. I will try to upload the return timetable on the same blog post as soon as possible.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

EAT Pune - 03: Ten Puneri/Maharashtrian Thali Spots in Pune

EAT PUNE -03: I think all my blog fans hungrily look forward for this series of post. Here you go with third part of the EAT PUNE series. We will check out typical puneri (maharashtrian) thalis here-
1. Poona Boarding House: Keep your ego outside at Peruget Police Chauki. A perfect and top class maharashtrian thali should be your objective/aim in your mind before you enter Poona Boarding. As a qualification to enter Poona Boarding, you should have ability to digest insult. Kaka (owner) keeps on squeezing customers more than his waiters. Having understood qualification and environment at Poona Boarding, forget the world around (including your lunch partner) and enjoy the best class puneri thali. Pre-paid service, follow discipline, obey orders of manager and sometimes even of waiters. Located diagonally opposite to Peruget Police Chauki in Sadashiv Peth.
2. Badshahi Boarding: Good quality puneri thali. Remember when you were in 3rd standard, your mother, father, grandma, grandpa and all others more than your age were entitled to squeeze you on your eating habits. Mr. Chatre Kaka (owner) is a strict grandpa. I suggest you to keep your mobile phone off while entering the hotel. There are at least 15 “Instruction Boards” hanged on the wall of Badshahi. Badshahi Boarding is almost 100 years old. Mr. Chatre bought it from Mr. Moghe sometime in 1929. I remember my friend got chewed out from Mr. Chatre kaka for talking on the phone while eating. You are prohibited to talk loudly while eating…in fact there is no reason why you should talk while eating such fantastic thali. Located on Tilak road opposite Shakti Sports.
3. Asha Dining Hall: Recently tasted by me with my Approva colleagues. Good taste of thali. I think this thali was a best mix of Maharashtrian + South Indian thali. Excellent quality Rassam. Rotis are also good. Do try “Sitaphal Rabdi” as desert! It is yummy. Located at Apte Road (next to old ICICI Bank, Shivajinagar Branch).
4. Janaseva Bhojanalaya: Very popular and old dining hall. Located at deccan gymkhana (now Sambhajinagar), opposite Sambhaji Statue.
5. Poona Guest House: Another popular and old dining hall located at Lakshmi Road. Same test over past 20 years since I know taste of the food.
6. Suvarnarekha Dining Hall: I remember that my brother and me partied here when he bought his bicycle. The canal road connecting Prabhat Road with Law college road was known as “Chor Rasta” (small road where Jakkal Sutar and his gang use to smoke cigars). We travelled double-seat on his bicycle on this completely dark road at 8.00pm. I didn’t get chance to taste out here since long time, but seriously planning to drop down there on some day. Located on Prabhat Road, Ghodke Chauk.
7. Krishna Dining Hall- Bhakti Marg, Law College Road. Nice taste.
8. Hotel Shreyas- Most popular spot for maharashtrian thali in pune. Owned by CHITALE. Wallet parking available. Satisfying test. Clean, neat and professional service. In pune since more than 50 years I guess…. Also known as dining hall for“Executive Class” people. Located on Apte Road. 9. Rasoi Thali- Typical shaniwar peth style thali. Located next to Vishnukripa Hall in Shaniwar Peth. 10. Durvankur Dining Hall: I don’t like this taste. They make everything spicy and oily as well. But still a popular spot since last decade. I don’t know why.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to provide reader with interesting food spots in Pune. The spots referred in the blog have only been recommended by writer and unfortunately, he does not hold any control on reader’s tongue ;). It also does not mean that writer never eats at home or writer’s wife cannot cook the food. Please talk to writer before making any perception in this regard.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Why Dont I fight on the Road!!! :) :) :)

Last two weeks were hectic – both at office as well as at social life! 4th Anniversary of Pune West Study Circle of ICAI was celebrated enthusiastically with presence of Mr. Anil Singhvi- Markets Editor, CNBC Awaaz and Mr. Rahul Arora, BloombergUTV. Arun Anandagiri addressed his final impactful words to jam packed audience before code of conduct for ICAI-Central Council Election, 2009 came into force.
Then, on 4th September, I went to Mumbai to attend meeting of committee of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in India of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. It was the same boring meeting with political agenda peeping in and N C Hegde, Chairman of the committee with Shardul Shah (whose father was former WIRC chairman) trying to disagree with each other.
Meeting finished at 1.00pm and then I started my car from ICAI – Western Headquarters, Cuffe Parade in Colaba, Mumbai. It was raining and traffic jammed due to a quarrel between a bhaiya taxiwala and MH 09 Scorpio at President Hotel chauk. The driver of MH09 Scorpio (number plate photographed with Nationalist Congress Party Chief Sharad Pawar) crossed road lane wrongly and both of them spent at least 10 minutes (of mine of course) with bollywood style Hindi. A policeman negotiated the matter in 10 seconds by his routine method. That remembered me another similar incidence where I acted (not negotiated) as an arbitrator and hence inspired me to write on “Why don’t I fight on the Road?”-
Time 8.00pm – Wednesday of May- Venue: MIT College Road. Traffic suddenly halted 2 cars ahead of mine. Since it was a small lane, traffic can’t move if the battle between a 70 years old man – Maruti 800 – MH 12 AN versus 20 years young man-Black Honda City MH 12 (second hand) does not get resolved. I got out of my car to volunteer the battle. Both were arguing with loud voice. No one was defending. Both parties attacking (verbally) each other, but the “Aai Mai” abusing was about to start. I stopped them and took position of an umpire. I asked 4 questions -
1. Are both of you safe? – Both said…safe and no injuries.
2. Are both cars safe? – Both said…no problem with car…problem is with his driving.
3. Mr. Black Honda City MH 12 (second hand)- are you father of this 70 years old man? He laughed and said NO, I am still a virgin.
4. Mr. Maruti 800 MH12 AN – are you father of this young man? He said NO, my son drive with perfect discipline.
The temperature in the air was down by 80 cel. Degrees after 4 questions. Then I knocked my thoughts – “If none of you are father of the either party, why the heck are you fighting in the middle of road? Looking at Honda city guy, I said "Why this Maruti 800 man should agree with your thoughts if he is not your son?" Turning back to Mr. Maruti 800 uncle, why do you lose your peace to educate Mr. Black Honda City on road discipline? Remember – Your personal interest is important than your ego – ‘Swarthapudhe Ahankar Kshudra Ahe’” The traffic then self moved on in few seconds, but none of the two drivers greeted me for these great thoughts.
I do remember that I used to be angry young man like Mithunda….enjoyed opening dictionary of “Marathi Shivya – Aai…mai…bahin…bhikari…all other human body parts”. But if you analyze the cost-benefits out of the transaction, you will realize that you win if you forgive pathetic drivers and lose if you start battling them. I have seen few drivers roaring their vehicle on the driver breaking traffic signal. I don’t know why they want to do this social activity of teaching. Cost-benefit analysis here is – If someone breaks the signal and I roar my car on him/her, possibility 1- the other vehicle may stop in fear (30 seconds gone) or possibility 2 - driver may fall down after losing control on the vehicle (5 minutes gone) or possibility 3 – both parties may indulge in verbal/physical abuse. Don’t you compute value of your time. Calculate how much you are paid to mentor your subordinates in your office per minute. And here you intend to spend your costly minutes worth may be 2000 bucks!!???. Allow such drivers to pass on (2 seconds only). Thus you can save upto 4 minutes and 58 seconds!!!! Of course, value of mental peace you earn is incomputable!!
My principle is simple – I am not his/her father. Why should I teach traffic lesson free of cost? Let the driver breaking traffic rule get punished from Policeman or get banged into an accident. Ultimately, “Swarthapudhe Ahankar Khudra Ahe” – Jagadguru Shri Masta Kalandarji (see his advices at -

Disclaimer- Extract of IFRS Committee meeting writer attended was referred here with no political intentions। If chartered accountants blog fans request writer to write a funny blog post on politics in Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, writer would love to do that। This blog post therefore should not be considered as presentation by authorized agent of contesting central council candidate from Pune- CA। Arun Anandagiri.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Why do you need a Bank Account in Joint Names?

I believe that this blog post may help you to understand significance of “Name” or “Account Holder” in YOUR bank account. Although this is technically a vast subject involving various laws (Acts) such as Hindu Succession Act, Indian Contract Act, Banking Regulation Act, etc., I have tried to pen down couple common cases applicable to most of us.
The objective of this blog post is to recognize benefits of having a bank account in joint names and with or without ‘Either or Survivor’ operating instruction.
Case 1 – Mr. Vinayak Deshpande (name assumed), age 30 years, Project Manager at Dattu Software Ltd. (hereinafter referred as DSL) Mr. Deshpande joined DSL 2 years ago and opened a bank account in AAICHIAAICHIAAY Bank. Bank’s representative (wearing a tie) took his signature on Account opening form, 2 photographs and copy of passport. Mr. Deshpande travel frequently outside India. He has a wife (not working/housewife) and a minor son. Mr. Deshpande is a careful person and never forget to sign 2 blank cheques before he leave his residence for foreign travel. His wife can use these cheques for household expenses during his absence.
In July, 2009, Vinayak went to Australia for a business trip. His wife made a mistake in writing the first cheque. She therefore, torn it and used the second cheque to withdraw cash. In last week of July, Vinayak was required to extend his travel and hence was unable to return till mid of August, 2009. Mrs. Deshpande who consumed all her cash during July, 2009 had no other option, but regrettably forced to borrow money from her neighbor.
Now, the question is – Do you want your spouse to face such situation? Of course NO (unless you had a dustup with her/him before travel).
Next question is – what would have avoided such scenario for Mrs. Deshpande-
Answer – A Bank Account in Joint Name with “Either or Survivor” feature. Such type of bank account is operated in joint names – Mr. and Mrs. Deshpande. Even though Mr. Deshpande goes to Australia directly from office…no worries for Mrs. Deshpande as she can also sign cheque and withdraw money.
Similarly, if Vinayak is not married, his parents can use his money and bank account without any dependence on him for signatures.
Another advantage is that – both Mr. and Mrs. Deshpande can use bank account passbook as his/her address and/or ID proof.
Case 2 – Mr. Marutrao Dagdogi Kamble (name presumed for example) , age 39 years, Purchasing Clerk at YZ International Corp. He has a bank account operated in his single name at Bank of Daroda. On 13th July, 2009 he died due to a massive heart attack, when his bank balance was INR 190,000. He has one minor daughter , wife and his elder parents. About a month after his death, his wife went to bank to withdraw money for an emergency use. Unfortunately, she returned with empty hands since bank officers asked her for few documents for compliance purposes. This includes marriage certificate, her ID proof and death certificate of Mr. Kamble. These documents help bankers to ensure authenticity of Mrs. Kamble as legal heir. As per most followed practices, every bank categorizes legal heirs in blood relation into six level categories such as First Level – Wife and Minor Son, Second Level – Son and daughters, Third Level – Parents and so on…. In case where a deceased person married to more than 2 persons (women or men and now Sec 377 also), death claim may move into the court of law.
If Mr. Marutrao Dagdogi Kamble had opened his Bank of Daroda Bank Account in Joint name with his wife, Mrs. Bakulabai Marutrao Kamble would have found it easy to comply with Bank’s Death Claim process. Note – It is mandatory for Joint Account Holder to inform bank about such death case.

To Sum up –
1. Joint Account – This is the type of bank account where more than one persons hold authority on the funds lying in the account.
2. Either or Survivor Feature – This feature/operating instruction on any joint bank account helps any of the account holder. The funds can be withdrawn by anyone of the accountholder with his/her sign only, whereas in case of death of any account holder, survivor can withdraw funds with his/her sign easily.
3. Bank Account Types – Typical deposit account types are Saving Bank Account, Current Bank Account (for businessman/traders), Fixed Deposit Account and a recurring deposit account. All such accounts are operated with account operating instructions as referred in #4 below.
4. Account Operating Instructions – a) Single: Only one person can operate the account b) Joint: More than one persons together can operate this account and c) Joint with E or S: More than one persons, where anyone or survivor can operate the account.
5. It is advisable to always open a bank account in Joint names for operational ease and may tick the box ‘Either or Survivor’ in account operation instruction section of application form provided you keep enough faith on the joint account holder.
6. Joint Bank Account does not entitle any of the holder or survivor for complete and exclusive rights on the funds. In case of dispute, the court of law may direct settlement/distribution of funds to survivor party or other party based on the facts and evidences of a court case.

Disclaimer – This blog post carries generic information on the subject. Every bank follows their own Death Claim Settlement process and anything contained in this blog post do not carry any legal meaning. Please consult your lawyer before relying on the information of the blog post. Objective of this blog post is to educate my followers on benefits of a joint bank account only. A complete technical guide on Joint Bank Account may be available in the market and/or website of country’s Reserve Bank or Central Bank.

Monday, August 17, 2009

EAT PUNE - Part 02

Welcome to “EAT PUNE” series. Part 02 of EAT PUNE will taste out another 4 items – Pav Patis, Kacchi Dabeli, Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji- Pulav and Cold Coffee. Here we go –
Pav Patis –
1. Dangi Pav Patis – This is probably the only location where a Pav-Patis is exclusively served, with a specialized taste of pav-patis. This spot offers ONLY Pav-patis. Located at Dip Bungalow Chauk Road, off Senapati Bapat Road. I guess this shop opens only in the evening.
2. Bipin Snacks – Undoubtedly a good taste of Pav-Patis at a popular snacks/breakfast stall, located next to Garware School.
3. Heaven Snacks – Nice taste. It tastes even better when served hot, most of the times it is served hot here. Located near More Vidyalaya, Paud Road.
4. SS (SP College canteen) – Well….all hardcore SPians die for Pav-Patis served in SS and I don’t know why really!! Taste is not bad, but may not be great. Try out, all except SPians may agree with my rating.
Kacchi Dabeli-
1. Dabeli stall at Hongkong Lane corner (Deccan Bus Stand side) – Good dabeli served with cheese or shev. Hot selling spot (not because of the girls roaming here). Open throughout the day.
2. Corner stall on Dnyanprabodhini Road – Tricky location to explain – If you are coming from Two Wheeler’s bridge – Poona Hospital - New English School Road – come straight 100 meters for dnyanprabodhini road. Before you take left on the T, your left a stall crowded with school children. That’s the spot. Good taste of dabeli. Exclusively instruct him to toast more - dabeli bread. I tasted dabeli here about 15 years ago, when one of my mentors- Ameya Kunte (super gem of Income Tax law) treated me.
3. Corner stall next to Bedekar Ganpati Mandir – Important – this stall is run by a Marathi man!! Of course, his stall reference comes here due to quality content in Dabeli.
4. Stall next to Gadgil Jewelers, Paud Road - Cheese…cheese dabeli. I liked it a lot. I do remember that once me and my wife started a 1 week diet program- called “GM Diet”. While my wife could finish it successfully, I ended up my challenge on the evening of Day 1 with two Kacchi Dabelis with extra cheese J J. This was the spot where I enjoyed Kacchi dabelis with cheese, otherwise I am not a big cheese fan.
Vada Pav-
Important Note – I am not a great Vada Pav fan. Hence my knowledge about Vada Pav spots may be challenged. But, still here I attempt to list down some popular spots –
1. Yenpure Wadewale – Good taste. Located near New Friends Society (opp. Union Bank) on Paud Road, chauk before Kinara Hotel, Vanaz.
2. Prabha Vishranti Gruha – Kelkar Road, near Kesariwada – Good quality batata-wada.
3. Bipin Snacks – Next to Garware school.
4. Stall near Garden Café, off Moledina Road – Always crowded with Vada Pav fans.
5. New Sweet Home – Kumthekar Road – only batata wada – excellent quality.
6. Stall next to Bank of Maharashtra, Bajirao Road branch.
7. Khatri Wadewale – Nice Vada-pav. Located on Ahilyabai Holkar Bridge.
8. Bharti Wadewale – Opposite Balgandharva Rangamandir
9. Joshi Wadewale - Opposite Balgandharva Rangamandir (tastes well if served hot only)
10. SS (SP College canteen) – Special Bun-wada with tomato ketch-up. Taste is okay but inserted here to keep respect of Mr. Kaustubh Vaze and Mr. Nikhil Ukidwe.
11. BMCC Canteen – Bun-wada with tomato ketch-up. Canteen always flooded with cigarette smoke.

Pav Bhaji and Pulav-
I believe that my father and my wife are the best Pav-bhaji cooks in the world. However, due to public demand, I will try to list down some of the popular spots for Pav-bhaji in Pune. Typically, it is observed that the Pav-bhaji spots are also appended with Pulav which you may enjoy after the Pav-bhaji.
1. Relax Pav-bhaji – Sahakar Nagar. Very popular spot. Good quality of Pav-bhaji with reasonable rates. Veg. Pulav is also good. During prime hours (7.30 to 9.30pm), at least 40 minutes waiting if you are in a group. Otherwise, place for two is easily accommodated. Peaceful place despite of being a popular spot.
2. Supreme Corner – J. M. Road – Heavily popular. You need to build a solid patience to get table and this is applicable even for week-days. I remember that once I went there at 8.00pm on Saturday and the waiting number was 79 and the current running number was 8. Looking at the crowd around the hotel, I guessed that at least 50 of the remaining 70 must have left the waiting lobby (which is actually a parking area of next shop). The average waiting period on any day may not be less than 1 hour. Typically, Marwari crowd can be seen here. Pav-bhaji tastes good, but I like Pulav more than P.B.
3. Hotel Mayur – Next to Pratignya Mangal Karyalaya, Karvenagar. Good Pav-bhaji. I haven’t tried out Pulav yet.
4. AJUBA – Karve Road, near Nalstop. The complete name is Anand Juice Bar which used to be a famous Pav-bhaji tapri, but now a class quality standard hotel. Still same pav-bhaji taste even after about 15 years.
5. Hotel Durga (Original)– Paud Road, near MIT College Road. Old Pav-bhaji spot and always surrounded with collegians (includes good looking girls of MIT MBA College many times).
6. Hotel Shivsagar – Aundh – Excellent taste maintained over past many years.
7. Kasturi Mastani – Opposite Kothrud Stand (Opp. Das Electricals, Kothrud) – Another old spot. Good spot for Kothrudians for a quick dinner in Kothrud. Pulav is also okay here.
Cold Coffee –
Although cold doesn’t suit me, I love cold coffee. I keep on hunting places for coffee flavor desert.
1. Hotel Durga (Original) - Paud Road, near MIT College Road. Highly popular spot for Cold coffee. Most of the people do not know that Hotel Durga (original) was famous for Espresso Coffee about 20 years ago. My brother and I used to enjoy Espresso Coffee here after school exams. Cold coffee topped with coco taste really good. You may ask for extra coco after 3 syrups. This spot used to serve coffee throughout the night about 10 years back, but now only till 12.00pm. After 10.30pm, this spot is surrounded only with ‘Datta’ kind of youngsters. They come in group, in a open jeep, wear gold chains and bracelets, hold high-end mobile phones, imported cigarettes, vehicle number plate with ‘DADA’, ‘NANA’, ‘RAJA’ etc., written by cheating numbers and occasionally fight between themselves. Do try out a special dish ‘Masala Pav’ with coffee. Masala Pav is a compact or a showcase version of Pav-Bhaji.
2. Hotel Durga (Duplicate) – Duplicate Durga has got two branches – MIT College and Mayur Colony. Duplicate Durga was formed by ‘Pandya’ and ‘More’ who used to work for original durga for 10+ years. I don’t like and recommend this spot since they do not wash glasses sincerely.
3. KANEPE Tapri – Opens only in the late evening. Located next to fruit stall/sunil tea stall near Kamla Nehru Park. Pav-bhaji served here also tastes good. Nice Cold Coffee too.
4. Stall on Symbiosis Distance Learning College Road – Good Coffee. But the waiters and the owner shows unnecessary arrogant stance. I have tried here cold coffee only once.
5. Relax – Sahakar Nagar – Good Hotel and undoubtedly good cold-coffee.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this blog is to provide reader with interesting food spots in Pune. The spots referred in the blog have only been recommended by writer and unfortunately, he does not hold any control on reader’s tongue ;). It also does not mean that writer never eats at home or writer’s wife cannot cook the food. Please talk to writer before making any perception in this regard.