Sunday, August 11, 2013

I'M SEEING a really good way

I've recently swapped providers for my home phone and broadband connections. I saw a promotion from a service provider which seemed too attractive to give it a miss. So I phoned them up, found out exactly what was on offer, asked the pertinent questions about the extra features I wanted on my phone and got a quote. They were patient, answered my questions and what I loved was that there was no forceful sales mumbo jumbo being shoved in my direction. They did not ask me for my phone number to follow up which was good because it meant that I had time to mull over the offer in peace without being pestered by persistent calls from them. I then proceeded to call up my existing provider and told them what I was being offered. I can tell you that they were not very helpful. I had to push for them to agree to come up with an offer worth staying with them. They were reluctant to give me mates rates to mobiles that were not part of their network and wanted me to wait for a couple of days to let me know if they were going to give me a free wireless modem. They wanted me to pay $50 for a new modem. A couple of days later they called and agreed to give me the modem for free but only if I signed a contract to stay with them for a year. I had been customer of this company for a almost 7 years and a few years prior before I moved overseas for a period. The idea of them suddenly asking me to sign a contract and their sheer lack of interest in customer-retention was simply not palatable. At the end of the day when I worked out the math, my current provider was giving me 10 GB of data, standard phone and broadband connection, additional features like voicemail, call waiting, line maintenance and one free mate line (they later agreed reluctantly to free calls to all national landlines) for a certain sum a month. For a few cents cheaper than the above and a one year contract, the competitor was giving me 50GB of data, 5 Best mates (any national landlines and mobiles, irrespective of which provider they belonged to), a free new wireless router, standard phone and broadband connection with the additional features like voicemail, call waiting, line maintenance, free my-sky Hi-Di for a year, $85 off my first phone bill. The decision to swap was an easy one and done over the phone. Two days and two emails notified me of the progress of my connection and on the third day a new modem was delivered to me. The whole customer service experience and assistance with the wireless set up was brilliant. And best of all I've made a grand saving of $265/year to my household budget.....So thank you Vodafone. Thus far, seeing RED has been a pleasurable experience. Long may it stay that way.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The slow road back to blog world

It's taken me a whole year to return back to my blog. I wish I had a plausible excuse for not keeping regular posts. The unholy union of procrastination and a sheer lack of enthusiasm are to blame. So what has changed then to cause me to revisit this page? I recently participated in a writing workshop called New Kiwi Women Write their stories. A group of very talented women sat around a table over 4 Sundays putting pen to paper. We were encouraged by some well known Kiwi writers - Renee Liang, Paula Morris, Siobhan Harvey, Sarah Liang, Miriam Barr and Riemke Ensing and supported by our local city council. The fruits of our labour are visible in a smartly published chapbook. The quality of the writing and the stories contained in them are absolutely amazing. I feel so honoured to have been part of the group and the stories that needed to be told. For me personally, it has sparked the rediscovery of the joys of creative writing. It's also a slow evolution on a journey of self discovery.....some of which will hopefully manifest itself on this blog.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Oh Danny Boy....we love you so

The only thing better than watching the opening ceremony of the London Olympic games was perhaps being a participant or viewing it in all it's glory in the stadium. What an amazingly spectacle of the Isles of Wonder and a salute to all the iconic things that put the great in Great Britain. Truly creative genius at its very best. And to Her Majesty, might we say Ma'am what a good sport one is.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye and Hello

To quote Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” and as the curtain draws on 2011, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief that a not so pleasant year is finally coming to an end.

It’s been difficult for a variety of reasons. It has been a tough year for us all. But I know that despite it all, I’ve been one of the lucky ones. What I perceive of as being tough personally, pales in comparison to what some others have had to endure.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the luxury of not having a home destroyed, or constantly living in fear of the next “big one” or cleaning up yet another burst of liquefaction. I may not always enjoy work, but I still have a job, a roof above my head and thankfully the ability to put food on the table.

I’ve also had the good fortune to celebrate both New Zealand’s victory at the Rugby World Cup and India’s victory at the Cricket World Cup, two supremely spectacular events that brought a lot of rejoicing.

So really I ought to be celebrating. And I have celebrated, when the time was right.

But for some strange reason, tonight I don’t particularly feel like I can sustain the celebratory mood when so many around me are still enduring moments of uncertainty about their immediate future. It does force one to look within and endure moments of poignant reflection. Either that, or my “Catholic Guilt” is manifesting itself in a very persuasive manner tonight.

But whatever the deterrent, as the tide turns on 2011, I’m not going to celebrate with as much gusto as I usually do. I’m just going to be quietly thankful that I was among the lucky ones. And I’m going to wish and pray that those who have not been as fortunate get a much needed surge of strength to help them move forward into a year that brings with it much needed hope for a better and brighter future.

Good bye 2011. Welcome 2012!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Garden Surprise

When I got home from work on Thursday, it was really dark. It's not unusual given that we are somewhere between a delayed Autumn and Winter.

With only a dim street light to guide my movements, I headed towards my front door. As I walked along my driveway, I noticed a very large and abnormally shaped acorn on the grass.

Curious, I bent down to inspect, when to my surprise the acorn moved.

Thankfully I did not touch it, for the rather large abnormal acorn turned out to be a hedgehog.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Great Britannia

I'm not really a royalist, but I have the utmost respect for Her Majesty. I think the Queen is a lovely lady who has spent her entire life in service to her country in a quite, dignified and scandal free manner. I'm not quite sure that my affection for her extends to the rest of the royal family. I find myself large unaffected and unexcited by them (though I am warming to cheeky Prince Harry).

However, yesterday, like millions of viewers worldwide I could not help but get caught up in the whole royal wedding fever. It was inescapable, even on the other side of the world. So I found myself watching the blessed event. And it did not disappoint. The pomp, splendor and precision in the timing and organisation of the whole event is to be admired. You've got to admit that no one puts the 'Great' in Britian quite like the British and in particular the House of Windsor.

I suspect for most Britons, it must have been a day to remember, celebrate and be proud of being British. And I must confess that for a few moments, even my cynical heart was warmed and enchanted. And I wished the newlyweds every happiness in the world.

Saturday, April 02, 2011


I’m an overseas citizen of Indian origin. And as most Indians will admit there is just one unique obsession that that unites Indians all over the globe

It defines the essence of the Indian national pride. It’s bigger than religion. It is a grand affair of the heart; something that ignites more passion that any other good love story ever has. It is quite simply, the game of cricket.

India is a cricket mad nation and no wonder because, we, are really good at it.

So when the World cup was being played on home turf, supporting the national squad was a given. And for the last month and a half, I have joined the 1 billion plus Indians and waved the flag, sang the National Anthem, stayed up late to watch and cheer the team on. (The games are played through the night in the city that I live in)

And today, in a tough final against Sri Lanka, even as thing were going bad, I bit my nails, I prayed (I stormed heaven), I believed and I willed them on. And they did not disappoint. India won the Cricket World Cup after a gap of 28 years. An amazing achievement, particularly, given that it was against a very competitive Sri Lankan side.

And in the end when the Indian Captain M.S. Dhoni hit those six runs that sealed our victory, I shouted “Jaya Hai”. After all, there is that old saying “Passport Hein Pardesi, Magar Dil Hein Hindustani”. Well done boys.

Once a Fool, Always A Prankster

April Fool's day is always a legitimate excuse for the inner mischievous child in me to shine without an ounce of guilt.

Over the years I've played so many pranks and I think I may have even bragged about some of these in previous posts on this blog.

This year, I went a little low key, playing only two pranks which is an unusual thing for me. Maturity must be catching up.

The first victim was a friend Adel, who is a really good photographer. With the help of two other partners in crime we sent her an invitation to be the official photographer at the Royal Wedding. We took the trouble to pinch a picture of the official invite and tweak it a bit (it's amazing what Photoshop can help you achieve). We coupled this with a Royal letter from her Majesty's supposed communications secretary - a Mrs Deborah Bottomworth. It was printed on really good quality thick paper and we took the trouble of making it look like it had been posted from the UK. We slipped in into her mailbox at 8:30pm the previous evening. The end product was so good that we could almost go professional with these pranks.

The second victim was my Manager, whom I love to prank even on days that are not dedicated to Fools. I amended the "ASDFG HJKL" keys in the middle row of his computer keyboard with the letters "APRIL FOOL". My Manager has a wicked sense of humour so thankfully this prank did go down well….and yes, he also made sure that I got pranked in equal measure.

After all it’s only fair that if you are going to dish it out, you ought to be good spirited enough to able to take it as well.