May the trash be with me….in a German Way

October 15, 2011 1 comment

Being an expat in Germany, I was thinking to write a topic on waste management for some time now.

While in Bangalore, out of the several menaces I had in my daily routine, garbage throwing ceremony happens to be a thrilling and lofty event. Seriously the problem I had was in carrying that stinking white thin plastic bags till the end of the street; identify a suitable place in the unkempt property adjacent to my house and watch for any onlookers; some are so keen watching me from their building’s first and second floors. The throwing event happens in less than a second.  At times the missile impact causes the sloppy plastic bag to open its knot and whole stuffs come out. That instant my insight hurt me for doing such ignominious activity to the environment.

I am lucky to throw them without anyone’s notice but once luck never favoured me as I got blasting from my neighbour asking not to throw in the vacant plot. He was complaining that it has become a waste dumping land to everyone and especially me (finger pointing at me). After that incident, my conscience was so feeble that I will not be able to originate a pile of my suffs on someone’s property.  But it didn’t stop….

There used to be garbage collecting tractor vehicle passing through all the streets in our area. Its visit happens everyday morning but the vehicle is superfast that when I hear the tractor entering the street, I had to rush packing the stuffs and by the time I come out of the house, the vehicle would have vanished.

Once I tried to place the stench bag at my corridor believing someone will dispose on seeing them but immediately heard a lady voice from the window. It was my ground floor neighbour and heard her saying, “Please don’t keep it here, dogs will pull it down and make it a mess in the entrance”.

How unfortunate, isn’t?

Where in this world can I go and dump those stuffs?

From that weekend, I had to spend considerable time to fill the waste in several bulged plastic bags, wait for the vehicle and had to dump them. Weekends were spent for waste management!!

Few years back while i was in my native, the municipal corporation announced a scheme that every family would receive 2 plastic cans to segregate the garbage -one for degradable and other for non-degradable items. All house hold women were ecstatic when they got the cans –white and green. My typical Indian mom brought the cans and told me “They have issued this for garbage, it is big enough and the plastic is good…I will use it to store masala items and will be air tight”. What an idea sirji??

The next time when I went to my native, I could see that plastic cans reached a majestic position in the loft and of course the masala items preserved safely in those air tight containers. I was wondering why Government has to spend so much money to create employment, manufacture and distribute those air tight containers to store only “masala items” to these home makers??

During my next visit, the green and white plastic cans were missing in the loft and when I asked my mom she said “Nowadays the guy is not taking our garbage in our “customized” can unless he sees those 2 color cans outside, so we have use them desperately for garbage”.  She had to sacrifice her containers for this waste management initiative of the government.

This is one good example as we Indians are forced to abide the law unless it is reinforced.

Germany and waste management

Protecting the environment is a hot issue in Germany. I like the “sorting enthusiasm” which Germans have been following strictly. In offices you could see four color bins-green, blue, yellow and brown meant to segregate glass, paper, packaging and bio-waste (organic substances) respectively. We can see these cans in every German household as well. This is a national color coding scheme for the bins in Germany.

One interesting recycle strategy is the compulsory deposit-return systems meant for drinks containers. I get deposit of  0.25 for all single-use containers between 0.1 to 3 litres which I use in my day today life. How interesting isn’t?

My colleagues and neighbours here will rat me if I violate these garbage rules!


My guidelines to stay away from “uncertainty”

October 2, 2011 1 comment

Recent days I was holding several long hour discussions with my roomies on human behaviour uncertainty. Not just this time, I discuss more on this topic on human attitude and its uncertainty with my other friends as well. For me a person’s attitude is completely durable and should remain stable over large span of time. I do have seen people who fluctuate greatly over time.

Nowadays it is too hard to encounter a person with attitude certainty-one who establishes strong confidence in himself and stay focused.  In my experience, I have seen the uncertainty issue arises due to salary differences, lack of abroad opportunities, slag in career path etc.

Ambivalence is yet another conflict which revolves around such uncertain people. It is difficult to rate the degree of positive and negative aspects of such people which never remain balanced. I do not understand why they can’t get into a thought process (sit and think alone) of what they are doing and figure out the reason to diversify along their original route. I am sure they are presumably motivated to come out of it…that way can remain faithful to their friends or family members.

Mirthful experience between the languages-English and German

September 9, 2011 1 comment

Communication is very easy sometimes if our opponent is able to understand and get all our intentions. As I have to mingle with autocratic people, language barrier remains a daunting challenge.

Some funny experiences here….

1. One fine morning, I wanted to go to registration office. As in Germany, it is mandatory to register the individual’s visa after arrival. Since it is far from my hotel, I opted to take a taxi. I dialled the number of the taxi guy and conversed in English.

SR: “I want a taxi today from Wemdinger strasse 4 at 7:15 A.M”

Taxi: “Morgen, no taxi”

SR: “I need taxi now, not tomorrow morning (Morgen in German means morning)”.

Our dialogue ball bounced back and forth like a ping-pong match and at last he acknowledged saying “OK”.

German punctuality has been a typical prejudice for several people and a story ages back to a clock (first clock) constructed by a locksmith, Peter Henlein. It was called “The Nuremberg egg”. The clock worked very exactly and that’s why lot of people got into trouble because they had to be punctual especially Germans. My kudos to Indians for getting exception here since we didn’t invent a

Getting back to my taxi waiting story, he turned me down when I peeked out of the window… Yes, there was no taxi and I could see only my deserted street. Doubting German punctuality??

I dialled the same number again. The taxi guy picked the phone and I had to repeat the above statements again. This time it was clear to me that he was not ready to come and said very clearly “Morgen, No taxi”.

Bottom line: I could infer that he was ready to come the next day morning but not today morning…

2.My experience at a supermarket when I wanted to buy a SIM card for my VOIP connection went ruthless.

I approached a girl near the billing counter. (Generally in all shopping retails what I have seen in Noerdlingen, only women are employed at billing counters. I don’t know why…ofcourse in my earlier trip to Canada too!!)

SR: “I want to buy a SIM card”.

She immediately understood and gave me the pack. I had a query as what would be the least recharge amount every month if I want to use it for internet alone.

Ofcourse my doubts are always good enough but the same should be conveyed to the German shop vendor and make them understand. But how?? … This time I preferred to have a translator. She could identify her friend the so-called “Do you speak English?” in the most passable way.

The other girl came in and asked me “what do you want?”. I got freaked when she spoke in English. I asked her my lengthy 2 sentenced question in an easier and in a slow pace.

“I want to know whether this SIM need recharge every month or not. What is the minimum recharge amount? ”.

Both the girls were puzzled and came to a common understanding looking at each other and said “yeah..yeah..we have recharge”. The other girl at the billing counter was about to print a bill for 5 Euros.

Bottom line: Out of the two difficult sentences I uttered, their common understanding was I wanted to “Recharge” the mobile and can be done in their shop.

I literally ran out of the shop hitting forehead and laughed out loud…Pathos of my situation 🙂

Noerdlingen-a Bavarian town in a crater

September 4, 2011 2 comments

Alas!! It has been more than 10 days since I came to Noerdlingen and will erode if I don’t write about the city…well then my impressions about this small town will be the highlight of this post.

Noerdlingen, a town in the state of Bavaria has population of around 20,000 people. This town sits near the impact point of a meteorite,  Noerdlinger Ries, happened 15 million years ago has a visible  depression of the crate even now. As a tourist attraction, the town holds one of the 3 city walls in Germany with five gates, a covered walkway connecting 16 towers with total distance spanning around 3 kms.

I do like the Grocery stores and the big supermarkets with in numerous varieties to purchase especially non-veg items.

At times I never miss to hear a guard crying near the church bell tower at St. Gothic church in the middle of the town even during late nights.

Old buildings converted into houses, hotels and shops are few good attractions.

The attractions may pull me one side but the necessity to speak German makes me docile. In few months, I may start writing some German phrases on my own…watch this space for more 🙂

Greatness is all around us..

 I’d like to bring the famous saying here:

‘As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.’

These high flying statements of Gandhi are meant to encourage us to do great things with our lives.

In a recent post from Zen Habits, one of my favorite blogs, writes about finding greatness in oneself. He says “You learn to see greatness when you happen upon it, and that is a true gift. It’s not just in famous people, but in commoners like us. You realize that you’re always in the presence of greatness … because the greatness is within you

What a commendable message?

This is true in my life and of course in all of us….here are few instances of how I nurture for greatness…

When I shatter the routine and enjoy the time with astute people in Electronics who urge me to a do better tomorrow than today. A recent incident that took place when my clueless mind was dwelling to solve an EMI (ElectroMagnetic interference) issue for one of my product designs. I brimmed with hope when I approached an IISc professor who analyzed the failure in all angles through his technical skills and identified the root cause.

When I lost myself in few technical conferences on “Aerospace domain and its design challenges (EMI/EMC)” by eminent Engineers from HAL,ISRO and DRDO.

When my juniors help me to refresh basic electronics and debate on them.

When my managers give savvy methods to track the SPI/CPI for a project.

When I submerge myself in reading great blogs from Zen Habits,men with pens and many more

Have you felt or foster the greatness like me?

Cognitive or Ignorant?

Last week, while driving I saw a guy on a two-wheeler carrying live chickens to a broiler shop. I was closely observing the way how so many chickens were tied with its legs thy balancing the weight on either side. A simple but a cost-effective solution but a similar scenario given to an Engineer would think like that??

I imagined myself in a scenario if I have to carry those chickens-what I would do… Some of the options which I can think to convene the task.

1. Put all the chickens in one or two baskets and tie them together at the back seat of the vehicle

2. If option 1 is not possible, my wise decision would be to use a chicken carrier vehicle to move them.

But the point here is since the chickens were going to the broiler house, the guy never bothered to harm its legs in tying together. Was there a way to deliberate?

Categories: Scenario Analysis Tags: ,

Spam phone calls and heights of telemarketing

I never miss to read the “Open Page” section in Hindu every week, where variety of subjects attracts readers like me. A recent article on ‘Phonetics and Phone tricks’ (The Hindu, Open Page, March 27) published by a psychiatrist who practices for the past 25 years ventilate his frustrations on the obsessed phone calls he receives from his patients. Prank calls they make to him while he is sleeping are lousy.

Forget about that mind freaked patients making calls to the doc, as a common man who uses mobile phone through a network service provider (I use Vodafone) the kind of disturbance from the unsolicited calls has become mundane to me. Some pesky calls when I am in tremendous work pressure at office puts me in rage.

Earlier I used to get calls via “Predictive dialers” where computers at Vodafone shop dials the numbers randomly and whoever picks it should be ready to hear a pre-recorded human voice singing a song in either Hindi or Kannada. There had been days I used to save those numbers as “Do not lift” in my “contacts” so even accidentally I will not pick the call.

I receive anonymous calls from banks asking to apply for a new credit card. Though my obvious reply would be “Not interested, madam”, as it is mostly women who calls. All credit cards marketing team prefers women in telemarketing to attract customers. Nowadays I try to bluff them, say if I get a call from SBI bank, my reply is “Madam, I already have an SBI credit card” so that our discussion gets over quickly. If you already own a credit card, it doesn’t stop as calls come in the form of upgrading the existing card with added benefits. But one thing I didn’t understand is, I took a “gold” credit card with x benefits, which was later upgraded to “Titanium” card and now to a “Platinum” card; I don’t know what will be the metal name be given in next upgrade. Will banks start giving name of planets for their credit cards from Mercury to Pluto?

I get bank loan calls mostly for personal or home loans. I can felicitously say that I have not received calls for education loans or car loans till now. One of my worst experiences was when I said “yes” to process a 48 hour personal loan called “Ready Cash” from Citibank, believe it or not, I got 100 or more calls from different people working for the bank only for verification per se. That particular day I felt like staying back at home to attend the calls and not being in office as it was totally unproductive. I cannot say the several times I had banged the phone in that 48 hour nightmare with a deafening voice. Later pesky calls from Citibank came for enhancing personal loan… Oh My Gosh!

More calls comes from Insurance companies for tax saving offerings in the first quarter of every year that is when IT guys brood over tax planning. But the worst part is these people straight way recite the text in front of their PC saying “Hello sir, we are calling from XYZ insurance company” and start briefing on their policy benefits. Most notable point is they do make sure whether you are listening to their sweet speech giving pauses between and will ask “Hello sir” to verify whether we are still alive. By the time you express your disinterest they must have read more than couple of sentences from the paragraph they were supposed to read.

There was another funny moment while I was in a discussion with my manager who got an anonymous call from a woman for body massage. The lady got into the details of the massaging services they provide at a cheaper rate….what a crap!

For me or anyone who applauds this post who are based in Indiawill sure be an aggregator in tolerating such spam calls.

How can a mobile service provider share our numbers to others without our consent? Can’t Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) do something?

There do exist “Do not disturb” options with Vodafone and the banks where I hold the account, still I don’t think we can forefend such calls.