Sunday, June 21, 2015
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Re-Issue your passport
Step 1 : Fill in the online Passport Application form
Step 2 : Make payment & book an Appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK)
Step 3 : Appointment at the PSK
Documents required for Passport
Step 4 : Appointment at the Passport Seva Kendra - Window A
- You give the person the documents
- He asks you to wait at the side for sometime
- He files them in a folder and then shouts out your name in about 10/15 minutes
- He will give you the folder and ask you to move on to the next section
Step 5 : PhotographOnce you complete Step 4, you will be given a token number. This number will flash on the screens that are put up along with the window number you need to go to for further processing.
Normally, this is the next room that you need to enter after going through a turnstile. In this section, all your originals entered in the folder by the previous section are verified again and then they take a photograph using a webcam.
Personally, I felt that using a WebCam gave them a very poor quality/low resolution photograph but it is what it is and you can't do much about it. Please note that this photo will be the one that will come on your passport.
Also, in case you have registered for SMS services, you will need to pay 30 Rs here for the facility. Note that they will ask for change so make sure you carry that.
Step 6 : Previous recordsThen you move to the next section where any history associated with your Passport is verified and they inform you if you will require police verification or not.
I was pretty impressed by the fact that they were able to pull up an ECNR request I had filed 8 years ago from Kolkatta - the fact that surprised and impressed me was that even at that time these records were maintained (or alternatively, these records had now been digitized).
The lady there confirmed to me that I'd require a police verification as my previous passport was issued in Gujarat and there was an address change compared to my previous passport.
Also in this section, they stamp your old passport with a stamp that says, Cancelled and give it back to you.
TIP : In case you are reissuing your passport, always use the same address you had as on the earlier passport. Saves you the trouble of having to go to the police station - the most corrupt and rude office in the whole process.
Step 7 : Exit from the Passport Seva KendraYou will need to fill in an exit form which asks for feedback on any of the steps you found to be a hassle or in case any employee was rude. This is a good exercise as it helps to provide authentic feedback - does TCS action it or not is a question I have till date.
Step 8 : Police verificationThis is the most corrupt and problematic section of the whole process. I had police verification post issuance, so I got my passport within 15 days from my request, however I still had to go for police verification as I had a change in address vis a vis my previous passport.
I got a call from the police station mentioning the time when I had to visit. I will write a separate blog on the same, however for issue free verification below are the general rates and threats the police guy will make (over and above the insulting way they talk).
- In case all documents are present : Pay 100-300 Rs as processing charges (else we will visit your home for verification at the time you are not at home and send a Police Verification Failed Report)
- In case a document is missing : Pay 3000 Rs or more (no need to submit documents - we will manage it at our end is what the police officer will tell you)
As a hint, in all probability, you will be asked to pay a bribe pretty blatantly. Always negotiate on the bribe amount asked. I saw quite a few people successfully negotiating the amount to half or more.
As always, police are the biggest crooks and thieves in India. After this experience, I understood why its best to have the police under some political control - in case they create a lot of nuisance, you can always complain to the local Corporator and the things will get sorted.
In case you subscribe to the SMS Service, you'll get some of the below messages. Some are difficult to understand so below is the interpretation.
SMS Messages and their interpretation
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Agreed, Barack Obama is the President of the Unites States of America (POTUS) and technically the most important person the earth has to offer, but purely in terms of achievements a single visit can only do as much. Democracies unlike Autocracies have a long decision making process and a single visit by the president is just a large step in million other smaller steps. In terms of timeline, a Obama visit with some definite agenda and action points tomorrow will achieve tangible benefits after 1 year!
I do not blame the media from hyping it up - there isn't any other Islamic bomber around currently blowing up things so they need to hype it up. Lost for any tangible things to speak on, the focus is on Obama's car (The Beast), his hotel (The Sheraton), his sniffer dogs, the number of security cameras and his loo timings not to mention Michelle Obama and daughters.
At this point I can be assured that both the leaders will say the meetings were very successful (at the end of the trip). They will say a lot has been achieved and we are all positive and gung ho about it, but purely from an engagement exercise, this visit will achieve more symbolically than much in terms of tangible benefits. I am more than inclined to ask Mr Obama to pitch in with Amitabh Bachhan in the 'Come to Gujarat' advertisement. Obama can definitely be a better tourist puller globally than Mr Bacchan.
So as things stand, Air Force One is ready for departure in 11 hours from now. Mr Obama has a long flight to India with a stop over in Germany landing in India at 10 AM on Sunday which I believe will be shown live on TV.
My 2 cents, Mr Obama, please pack warm clothes - its pretty cold in Delhi and the parade starts early :)
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
|Where Was I?|
So, how did the story unfold. Well it began like how most arranged marriages would - the first date over coffee initiated by our parents. We talked a lot of nonsense over the date, but somewhere deep down you connect - you know it the moment you are done with the meeting and depart. You know it because you haven't felt this feeling earlier. You know it because you think about it. There are a billion reasons why you know it, but you do. On the other side of the fence, I thought it would be very difficult to find someone like me through 'arranged marriage', but well, turned out actually it wasn't so difficult. The only thing you need to be ready for - a long tedious process of meeting a hell lot of girl (honestly, speaking when you think of it, its something that should promising for any self respecting guy).
Once Maggu found Maggie, the story began. Late night coffee and drives through the deserted streets of Pune. A drive into the mountains just for the lack of a good place to chat. Even a visit home and to the beaches and long winding roads it had to offer - it was a very fruitful courtship period at the end of it all.
And that's where Maggu (that's me), been busy. Courting Maggie. Setting up their new Nest as one of his cousins pointed out. Of course, now as the dust settles, Maggu got time to revive his art of writing. In the days to come, I plan to write of the journey it has been till now and the journey that is called The Indian Wedding.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
'What are you doing' asked Maggie over phone on a Friday afternoon.
'Just got off a call and will be dialing into the next one in a moment' said I as I scanned a management report on my desk sitting in office.
'Oh OK. Get done with your work. I am coming to meet you at your office' she said excitedly.
I just have a nervous giggle and said, 'Sure'.
I looked at my watch, it was 2:30 pm and Maggie would be coming over in 30 minutes. That meant I had very little time to finish off the report. I quickly jotted down a few To Do items, rescheduled the call, assigned a few tasks to my team and almost jogged downstairs to meet Maggie in the cafeteria.
Now as long as I have known her, Maggie has always had a cheerful smile on her face but today was different. She was sitting on a table and just staring at her fruit plate. I strode over to her and said :
'Hey, what's up'
'Hey, how are you' said she with a sad watery smile.
'What's wrong?' I asked very concerned.
'You know, I'll be going home this weekend. This is the first time I'll be leaving you' saying so a tear rolled down her cheek.
Then I understood what it was all about and was overcome with emotion. I just stood there with a smile on my face and gave her a pat on her shoulder and said, 'Don't worry it'll be fine. I'll call you regularly'
She looked at me and with a watery smile and said 'I know this looks stupid and it's just three days but I will miss you and that's making me cry. Will you miss me?'
'Heck I will. I'll be in touch every day and make sure you don't miss me'
She wiped off her tears, gave a brighter smile and said 'I guess it's best to start our snacks. But before we do that I want to tell you again Maggu, I love you too much'
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Having a great concept, great product or even a great idea is not enough if you are not able to sell it - so read on.
- Friends and Family
This has to be the first place you look for funding. This is the safest and the most reliable bet when raising funds. Dig through your relatives and close friends, try to find that rich uncle in your family and see what he can offer. In all my years of experience, I have noticed that it is the most easiest way to raise funds for any start up - not only that, it is the most safest in terms of any legal aspects if your business goes sideways. Best of all, you don't need to give guarantees and do a tonne of paperwork - your word will suffice.
- Commercial Investors
What if you can't find a family member to fund your dream project - in that case you need to reach out to the investor community at large - Mumbai Angels, Sequoia Capital, IAN, etc to name a few in India. The question is, how do you convert a potential investor into an actual one.
Persistence no doubt is the single most important factor. You need to identify the point man for any investor group and start following up with him. Investors are humans and like attention - give it to them. Contact them and develop a personal relationship. Getting the first meeting is the most important and persistence is the key to that. Get a meeting and 50% of the battle is won.
- Great User Interface
Once you have your first meeting scheduled, what next? Well, its very simple actually. Investors go through 100s of pitch presentations monthly and rarely have time to go over the details. They rarely look at the working model of the product - the first thing(and in quite a few cases the only thing) that attracts them is a great UI (User Interface). It is paramount that you get that right - a few bugs in the actual product is acceptable but a flawed UI will be reject outright. Get it right and 90% of your battle is won.
Nothing attracts an investors as much as a profitable prototype. If you have a small prototype - show it to them. It may be small in scale, all you need to show them is that it works and is profitable by itself. If you can convince them of this, your battle is won. The cheque is in hand with one last question - entry barriers.
- Know the entry barrier to your business
The biggest fear any investor has are other investors! What if another investor with deeper pockets starts a similar business - how will you beat him? You need to know the entry barriers to your business that can prevent competition from stopping you (atleast in the initial few years). If you can convince your investor on this final piece, you will have the cheque in hand.
If the above two options don't work for you another option to raise funds is to opt for Crowd Funding. Though personally I would advise against it especially if you are raising funds for projects in India because most people are not keen to crowd fund projects in India. Still if you have the time (as crowd funding can take over a few years) and are keen on trying, this is another option to consider to raise funds.
This is the last option that can help you raise funds if the ones above don't work. It is not actually an investment strategy but is more of a survival strategy (which seems to have worked for a few start ups). All you need to do is participate and win events for start ups. There is Nasscom's 10,000 start ups challenge, Microsoft Bizspark, Microsoft Code for Honour and many others which are starting to form a part of the annual calendar with handsome cash prizes. Nominate yourself in these and see if you can win the cash which can act as a great survival strategy.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
|Maggu's Color pallete|
|Snack Time - Maggu's Prep|
|Maggie's Color Pallette|
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Everyone at some point or time in their life would have had to face this predicament. The wireman comes to your door step one fine morning and announces that he is going to disconnect your electricity connection for non payment of bills.
I recently had such an experience. I was pretty alarmed by the prospect as any interaction with any government entity is fraught with touts which extract a hell lot of money from you. But I went ahead and ultimately it turned out to be fairly simple. So I just decided to jot down the steps for anyone who needs to re connect their electricity connection.
Step 1: Pay the outstanding bill at the nearest MSEB office. Note that you will not be able to pay the outstanding bill online as MSEB does not have that provision. Also keep the receipt of payment handy.
Step 2: The same office should provide you a re connection form. Go to the relevant department, show them that you have paid the outstanding bill and fill in the reconnection chalan.
Step 3: Take the chalan, go to the accounts section (that will be the same where you paid the bill) and pay the fine of 100 Rs.
Step 4: Then photo copy (Xerox) the 4 documents (i.e. bill, receipt of payment of bill, chalan, receipt of payment of chalan) and take it to the substation office where your home lies in.
Step 5: Submit photo copy to the substation office and you are done. The person will come and reconnect the connection in a few hours.
- In case the wireman disconnects the connection in front of you try coaxing him into not doing it and pay the bill
- Always take the Wireman's phone number so it's easier for follow up
- There is a possibility that you may need to visit more than one office if different departments are in different locations. Be ready to travel a bit. Ideally they would be in a 3 km radius
- In case you don't have the physical copy of your electricity bill, you can take a print out online