Rounding Up

I had a shared auto-rickshaw ride from point A to point B. The driver said the fare was seven rupees. I handed him a 10 rupee note and waited to be given three rupees back. He said he did not have change.

“So, what now?” I asked.

“No change,” he repeated, then added: “take three rupees back some other time.”

That ‘some other time’ is another way of saying ‘forget the three rupees.”

I had a coin of five rupees. I told the driver to take the five rupee coin and take two rupees later, but he refused this proposition. He said he did not know me; I said I did not know him either. He wanted to take three rupees more but he was not willing to take two rupees less. There was no point in arguing with the driver as he was absolutely determined to take three rupees more (and not two rupees less). Just for three rupees I was not ready to get embroiled in a fracas which would then, as it happens most of the times, turn into a fistfight.

Quite similarly, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MAHADISCOM) shows how much of a dictator it can be when it comes to rounding up or rounding down of prices.

My final electricity bill amount for the last month came to Rs. 346.37. MAHADISCOM rounded up the amount to Rs. 350.00. Though I paid the amount online, I still had to pay Rs. 350. I have heard of an amount being rounded up or rounded down only when the transaction happens in cash. I believe rounding up or down happens in cash transaction because of the problem people face in giving out the changes of smaller denomination. But in an electronic transaction no such problem occurs. Every time I do an electronic transaction, I pay the exact amount.

I would have still been okay had MAHADISCOM rounded up from Rs. 346.37 to Rs. 347 (though I know that it should actually be made to Rs. 346, since 37 paise is lower than 50 paise). The extra amount which MAHADISCOM charged me (without deserving) is Rs. 3.63.

There are more 20 million people living in Mumbai (and there are more than 110 million people in Maharashtra, but let’s just consider the case of Mumbai for the present), if MAHADISCOM uses the same tactics with everyone (I know that MAHADISCOM is not the only electricity supplier in Maharashtra, so even if it has about 10 million customers), as it has used in my case, the amount (which can be called illegal amount since the money is taken away without people’s consent) runs to lakhs (if not crores) of rupees!

I am aware that MAHADISCOM rounds down the amount in some cases. My contention here, however, is to do away with rounding up or rounding down of an amount as long as the transaction happens online.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Advertisements

Sports In India

The only sport that most Indians keenly follow and watch is Cricket. This sport has become so popular that it overshadows other sports, often making the players of other sports discouraged, sad and financially weak.

While I have nothing against Cricket (and I do like watching Cricket from time to time) nor do I have any complaints with regard to the huge sum cricketers earn and the lavish lifestyle many of them live, but I don’t like the way Cricket is given so much attention, portrayed as if it is the only sport that matters, and people go so crazy about it – and proudly parrot and seem to believe what the promoters of Cricket say: Cricket is not just a sport but it’s a religion in India – while other sports (and the players) are totally disregarded. Cricket is a fine game to watch but there are also other games as fine as (if not finer than) Cricket. It will do us good if we can remember that Cricket is neither our national sport nor a game that had its origin in India. There is so much more than Cricket in India, which can be realised only if people start giving a little more attention to other sports also, only if the people in the media talked of other sports as enthusiastically as they do of Cricket.

It’s not Cricket’s fault that it is popular, and there is no harm in a sport being popular, but the public is at fault for their bias way of treating other sports, making the other sportsperson feel irrelevant.

The situation for other sports, however, is not as awful and lamentable today as it was a few years back. Other sports are slowly gaining popularity; other sportsperson now feel they are also important, however there is still a long way to go, there is so much more that needs to be done, and we the people of India must show our support for other sports (just as we do for Cricket) and for our players. Players need a cheering audience to boost their morale (not only during big events but also during the smaller ones), and cheering must be done not only for the known players but also for the ones who are not so popular but are trying their best to better themselves and excel in their field). Ministers so proudly offer fancy cars and some money to a few sportsperson only when they are able to bring some recognition to India. Players need finance and proper grooming to feel secure and confident, and that should be done from the beginning, from scratch (not just when they put India in the limelight). Players come not just from the known parts of the country but from remote areas, too, and if one were to gauge the talent of those unfamiliar sportsperson she would be surprised to find many hidden treasures.

Watch Cricket, people, no problem, but do pay some attention to others sports and cheer for all our sportsperson.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

The Days Are Cloudy and Dark

 

The days are cloudy and dark,

And the nights are always so.

No matter whichever way I go,

I find myself stuck in the devil’s park.

I’ve now got so used to the darkness

That I no longer miss the sun.

No longer from pillar to post do I run

To seek the tricky world’s solace.

 

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Oh Lonesome Me

Here is a song by Don Gibson, and my situation is no better than what the lyrics of the song say.

 

Everybody’s going out and having fun
I’m just a fool for staying home and having none
I can’t get over how she set me free
Oh lonesome me

A bad mistake I’m making by just hanging round
I know that I should have some fun and paint the town
A lovesick fool is blind and just can’t see
Oh lonesome me

I’ll bet she’s not like me
she’s out and fancy free
She’s flirtin’ with the boys with all her charms
But I still love her so
And brother don’t you know
I’d welcome her right back here in my arms

Well, there must be some way
I can lose these lonesome blues
Forget about the past and find somebody new
I’ve thought of everything from A to Z
Oh lonesome me

I’ll bet she’s not like me
She’s out and fancy free
She’s flirtin’ with the boys with all her charms
But I still love her so
and brother don’t you know
I’d welcome her right back here in my arms

There must be some way
I can lose these lonesome blues
Forget about the past and find somebody new
I’ve thought of everything from A to Z
Oh lonesome me
Oh lonesome me
Ohhhhh.

 

Lovebirds

Lovebirds often fight,
Make, and then break many a promises
Shed tears, wet their pillows and mattresses
But if one decides to go quiet,
The other seems unable to survive
They are, after all, each other’s delight.

Though their fights are never ending
But as a while goes
In their reasonable and unreasonable reasoning
In all gain and loss
They once again only find a new beginning
And thus their love keeps renewing

That’s how love birds are –
In love while being at war
Near, ever when afar.
Seem uncaring but they care.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

 

Cow, Dog, and Man

Dog: Hey, Cow, holy or unholy, I hate you!
Cow: Why do you hate me?
Dog: Because I am loyal, I am kind and cute, but you, oh dear god, why do you get all the attention, all the love! I hate you! Hate, hate, hate! Bow-bow, bow!
Cow: Ammbaaaaa!
Dog: Don’t call your man! All men discriminate! Their best friend – a dog! To hell with men!
Cow: Ammbaaaaa!
Man: What troubles you, darling cow!
Cow: The dog hates me!
Dog: Bow… Bow-bow!
Cow: Ammbaaaaa!
Man: We men love you, cow! Don’t cry, don’t cry!
Dog: Bow… Bow-bow… bow, bow!

The man and the cow ganged up against the dog. The man decided to ship the dog to China (to be consumed in their popular Yulin festival), but the cow had more more intelligence than the man and the cow made more sense. The cow suggested that instead of transporting the dog to China (a foreign country) which would incur heavy transportation cost, it would be better to send it to Nagaland (which, whether some of the Nagas like it or not, is within India) where dog meat is as much a delicacy as it is in China! The man agreed and the dog was never heard of again.

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS

Be Careful of Cats, Particularly Black Cats

My grandmother had no affection for my lovely feline friends. She had a particular and a serious dislike for one such friend of mine that had a dark complexion. This jolly good friend had often found a way to enter my house in search of food and, if I may say so, love. I liked it immensely and named it Darkie. For giving such a name, I could have been accused of being a racist, I could have been tried in a court of law as well, but it was a cat and I knew cats could file no law suit; all they can do is say ‘meow!’ So every time I called Darkie by its name, it meowed!

The dark complexion of the cat, said my grandmother, was a sign of pure evil. To get some attention when Darkie came to me and purred and rubbed its body against my legs, my grandmother would say that the cat was cursing me in its language, that it was spreading its nefarious power over me, and that something bad would now befall me. She used to scold me whenever I had walked past a path that the cat had crossed before me. She used to say that I must call the names of all the gods and goddesses before I dare to take a step ahead. “But, granny,” I had objected, “the cat is going its way, and I, mine.”

She did not like the way I gave my time and attention to Darkie and she made faces and said that I had no respect for her, that I was arrogant for not heeding the words of a wise old woman. I knew, like any other cat, Darkie had a heart as well, and I could vouch for the fact that Darkie had a heart of gold. But my grandma said that if Darkie had a heart at all, it would be darker than its complexion!

My grandmother was unreformable. Her beliefs and opinions, though superstitious, were strongly held and she had lived with her opinions for over 80 years, so any newfangled idea hardly mattered to her. Before my grandmother bid adieu to the world, her last piece of advice for me was: “Be careful of cats, particularly black cats.”

Copyright © 2017 RAMU DAS