Saturday, May 9, 2015

Barbecue food for the first time at Barbecue nation, Indiranagar, Bangalore

I am not an "eat out" guy. But, occassion demanding, I do venture out. The usual case would be a North Indian meal or a Biryani. I have been hearing about Barbeque nation for quite a number of years. Never ventured out since I am not a fan of the buffet style of eating. You are spoilt for choice and maybe eat up the wrong dish or eat your favorite dish so much that you will never have it for a considerable amount of time. One of my  colleague took me out to Barbeque nation to celebrate his marriage. Just the two of us. He frequents the place and exactly paced his eating. Me on the other side, finished my lunch in the first half an hour itself. The secret of a buffet lunch is the pacing of your consumption of food. Dont finish with the starters. This is what I did. In fact, the first time, I was not able to taste all the starters. Totally wrong.

Let us come down to Barbeque nation in particular. I had never tasted meat cooked in the Barbeque style. And when the proceedings start with a private Barbeque grill on your table itself, things really got exciting. First and foremost, book in advance. Infact book the day before and then confirm your booking the next day(You will be asked to do it). Your table will be held for 15~20 minutes. Make sure you reach 5~10 minutes in advance. I also suggest you to book in the first round like 12.30 in the afternoon.

1. You will be shown in to your table
2. You will be given a brief regarding the starters which will be served
3. You will be given an option of complimentary drink(some mocktails, Fruit Juice Or a Beer)
4. You will be told that the meat will be cooked 80% in the kitchen and the other 10~20% cooking will happen at your private grill.
5. On the table you will have three varieties of sauce and three coatings available for enhancing the taste of your meat once it arrives on your table.
6. You will be asked for feedback multiple number of times regarding the level of spices and recommend any improvements. This is definitely a learning organization.
7. Sonny told the chicken was little on the spicier side, He was served chicken with toned down spices and again requested for feedback.
8. Service is quick and effortless.
9. I did not find any issues even with the main course. I had thought that the main course would be neglected since the core strength of the restaurant was Barbequed meat.
10. The mutton dhum Biryani was nice. It tasted exactly like Biryani mad "dhum" style. Dont forget to have it.
11. Indian breads are available and will be served at your table.
12. Somewhere at the end of the meal, We were asked if the occassion was a little special and I answered that it was our anniversary.

13. Within the next 10 minutes, we were offered a sumptious cake with wishes for our anniversary, on the house. Totally bowled over.
14. Cakes are fresh, soft, creamy and right quantity.
15. Phirni, Kheer, Neatly cut fruits, Ice creams with generous supply of chocolate toppings
16. Did I forget the Veg salads.
17. Wash the whole thing down with a varieties of kulfis.
18. Wish the staff and the valet will come out with your car.
19. Nicely done.

Kudos to the entire staff and the management for the idea and its awesome implementation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Trip to Pondicherry, Mahabalipuram, Kanchipuram and vellore

Switched on Mapmyindia navigator and put the destination to point the resort we booked at Pondicherry. Left Bangalore around 6.00 AM, just to beat the traffic on hosur road. Lot of "work under progress" along the route so reached the resort at around 1.00 PM in the afternoon. Went to the restaurant in the resort itself. Ordered butter naans and related side dishes. The butter naan was out of the world. It was soft and really buttery smooth. It just melted in the mouth. The side dishes were alright. Took a nap. Left the resort to visit a beach and headed straight towards paradise beach. Heard and read about it a lot over the public network. The beach lives up to its name. It is absolutely non-commercial. No hawkers, No vendors. Just a plain and beautiful beach. It is populated only by the fishermen going about their chores. Do carry enough eatables. You really dont get anything here. Stayed until dawn then returned back to the resort. While returning back, had food at a restaurant which claimed to offer chettinad fare. The butter naans were bad. Biryaani was one of the worst I had.

Next morning it was more beach after having complimentary breakfast from the resort. This time it was serenity beach. The temperature was soaring and we were wet with the sweat itself. Sonny played a while along the beach. We then had fish from the nearest hawker on the beach. It was horrible. We washed it down with tender coconut and cucumber. Went back to the resort. Took some rest and strolled around. There is an eerie calmness in the place made possible by the Non-Indian settlers. Everybody goes about their chores without any complaints. Went out for dinner and just 500m from the resort was this place called tanto. They make awesome Pizzas. Be sure to see the size of the pizza being served before ordering one. Go for the one with sea food toppings. It has everything from shrimps, fish and ....... I think one big pizza is enough for a family of three.

Second morning had breakfast packed the things and headed to Mahabalipuram. Checked into the hotel and it gave me one of the worst experiences on the trip. Visited the shore temple. The sun was burning down, but the visitors cared a damn. It was crowded. Nobody understood anything. They just roamed through the shore temple. No guides were in sight. Then it was time for Crocodile park, about 15 kms from Mahabalipuram towards chennai. It was a nice park. Many varieties of the reptile was on display in their natural habitat. Went back to the hotel. For dinner I searched for a barbecue restaurant and couldn't locate it. Just had a pure veg lunch instead.

Third morning had complementary breakfast and then headed to Arjuna's penance. There we did get a guide and he took us through all the rocky history and architecture. The most important thing which caught my ears was that King krishnadevaraya built a shelter for one of the carvings in Mahabalipuram. Checked out from the hotel and started towards Kanchipuram. Checked into the hotel and the experiences worsened. Plan was to visit kamakshi temple on the next day. But seeing the hotel condition decided to return that very day. Family did some shopping of cotton silk sarees. The whole town is full of silk emporiums bigh, small and all other sizes in between. Had lunch at saravana bhavan. I dont know from when Daal became south Indian. The worst south Indian food money can buy.

Left towards Bangalore around evening. The we see that vellore is on the way to Bangalore. decided to vist vellore golden temple. Proved to be a big mistake. Reached temple around 7.00 PM. Immediately joined the line and it led into one of the lock rooms which declared that the waiting time for the rendezvous with the goddess would be 3.00 hours. The whole family sprung into action and started searching for a way out of the locker. Got the guard to open the gate and we rushed back towards our vehicle. The moment we left the enclosure, it started raining in torrents. It was a good .5 km to the vehicle and we saw all the sizes of cats and dogs during this period. Drove into the rain for approximately 2.00 hrs. Then the rain calmed down. The roads were excellent. The vehicle was always on a paid toll road.

All the hotels in the itinery were booked through Their followup is nice. Once you login to their website, you will have a chat window floating to the bottom right of the screen. If you are overwhelmed by the choices and are having a specific requirement you can chat up with their rep. If the phone number is mentioned then they will give you a call and help in finalizing the hotel. At that time the prices on stayzilla were the lowest.

Purple resort at Pondicherry

1. Neatly maintained rooms
2. Fresh and clean towels
3. Soft and heavily cushioned beds and neat covers.
4. Neat toilet
5. Fabulous swimming pool
6. Tasty food(Awesome butter naan)
7. Lot of variety in the breakfast buffet
8. Parking space.
9. Lot of service staff
10 Neat cupboards
11 Complimentary Wi-fi

Mamalla inn at Mahabalipuram

1. No parking space at all. Have to park at the reception area
2. Cheap tactics(With one kid you have to buy an additional bed, though you don't require it or you have to pay for the breakfast for your kid)
3. My vehicle got damaged at the bumper owing to the wrong directions from the hotel boy.
4. Broken wooden planks in the bathroom
5. No hangers in the bathroom
6. Very less variety in the breakfast buffet
7. 1 or 2 service staff
8. Unpleasant swimming pool at the roof with plenty of chlorine for ultimate dis-satisfaction
9. Dirty cupboards
10. Wi-fi  Forget about it.

Ramco residency at Kanchipuram

1. No parking space. You are on your own. It is the heart of the buzzling shopping activity
2. Rooms have not been cleaned for years together
3. No towels given
4. The bed covers were not washed in years. You can see the white spots throughout the sheet.
5. Dirty toilets and mugs.
6. Forget about using the cupboards
7. Wi-fi  Dont speak that language

Happy holidays.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

South India is NOT Tamilnadu. It is much much much more.......

Let us get down to it. Bollywood and mass media are making a huge blunder by representing the entire southern part of India as Tamilnadu. Tamilnadu is a state of the various others in the souther part of India. Let us name the southern states which the northern part of India tries to represent as one single large piece called Tamilnadu

1. Karnataka
2. Kerala
3. Seemandhra
4. Telangana
5. Pondicherry
6. Lakshadweep and other islands

The six states listed above are as unique as The united states of America and India. Every state has its own unique identity. If we go on based on the linguistic basis(The methodology used for framing states) we can list the languages in the same order

1. Kannada
2. Malayalam
3. Telugu
4. Telugu(A little difference in pronounciation)
5. Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, French(Yes)
6. Malayalam, Mahl

Now, I dont see how all these different languages which are so different can be compressed to one single language called Tamil. A person proficient in any one language will not be able to understand an iota of any other languages. The way the languages are written dont match. They are ages different from each other in pronounciation and written words. Each language in its uniqueness speaks volumes about the differences in culture, attitude, outlook, practises, Ideals and other human properties.

In fact, in Karnataka, there are other districts which speak completely different languages and are fighting for a "state" status since they have their own original language like Tulu and konkani.

But, when it comes to Bangalore, things change. It is the one "real" cosmopolitan of India. Uh uh, Ok. What is the purpose of this post? The purpose is not Jingoism, the purpose is information, the purpose is clarity. So, anybody visiting souther india, Just remember you are visiting a world altogether. It is not visiting all the temples in south india in one go. It is understanding the uniqueness of all the groups of people. Nothern India is very careful in differentiating itself as Marathis, Gujarathis and etc. We dont believe in that. We are unique but we are a part of the family called the "World". But if you want to identify us, do so with each of our uniqueness.

I want the mass media and the film industry to please do some home work and put some work into selling the uniqueness of all the souther states with the district you are thinking of also. Give all the southerners our own identity. Dont you make a stamp and press it on us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unify the memory of Find 7 QHD using LVM(All credits to Dev, Entropy)

NOTE: I am not responsible for any physical damage or bricking your device or loss of *imporatant* data or for wasting your *precious* time. Strictly use the info provided at your very own risk.

As discussed in the previous post, the layered memory layout of oppo is arcane and absurd and of course, silly. There are now, two options to come out of this scenario.
1. Modify the physical partitions
2. Provide an intermediate software layer without changing the physical layout of the partitions scheme

Method 1 is dangerous and has to be used with great caution. You need a computer to convert your phone to unified and then to de-unify it. Method 2 is my choice. It does not play with the physical partition layout. This method has been adopted to the find 7 by Dev, Entropy. Oppo incorporated the same methodology in doling out color os 2.0.4i albeit with their own modifications and have not opened their modifications for public scrutiny. Entropy already fixed few issues in their implementation by releasing a boot image with the necessary changes. But, still, it is not up to his expectations.

Now, to really use his actual work, we have to install a custom rom supporting this methodology. We have two after market roms which have implemented this methodology. One is Omni rom and the other is nameless rom. We will go ahead with nameless rom since it uses sources from a variety of after market roms like Cyanogenmod, omni and others. Nameless has support for LVM via the efforts of dev morkx and evisceration. Let us begin

1. Un-unify(You will lose all data in phone storage, external card is safe, by the way)
2. Download the rom and place it in the external sd card
3. Download the gapps from the nameless thread and put it on the external sd card
4. Download these two files from here and place them in the external sd card
5. Place the color os 1.2.7 on the external sd card
6. step 5 is required since some sensors dont play well with the KK betas from oppo and NFC wont work if 1.2.7 is not flashed.
7. step 5 is required to avoid any blank screens while taking calls and other situations.
8. shutdown the phone
9. Put the phone into fastboot mode and connect to pc
10. fastboot twrp >
11. reboot to twrp
12. take a backup of the current rom.
13. shut down the phone
14. put the phone into fastboot mode
15. fastboot the oppo recovery
16. Reboot the phone to oppo recovery
17. Flash color os 1.2.7
18. Reboot to color os 1.2.7
19. shutdown the phone
20. fastboot twrp >
21. reboot to twrp
22. Do the usual wipes
23. Flash the nameless rom(The latest versions have LVM and coldbird's unification support rolled into one)
24. Flash gapps
25. Reboot to nameless
26. Reboot to twrp
27. Flash the setup_lvm zip from step 4.
28. Reboot to nameless
29. Go to settings and check the storage option.
30. Your phone is now unified and running the latest and greatest android.

Update: After step 28 go to fastboot mode and flash the 2.x modem from the OP of Namelss rom. This resolves majority of sensor issues. If this is not helping then there is a sensor fix also which can be flashed from the same post.

Update2: If you want to switch partition layout on stock roms be sure that you have stock recovery from 2.0.5 beta or above(Only these versions have support for switching partitions on stock rom)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lolipop (Android v5) on Oppo Find 7(S)(QHD)

NOTE: I am not responsible for any physical damage or loss of *imporatant* data or for wasting your *precious* time. Strictly use the info provided at your own risk.

Oppo caught my eye because of the developer friendliness of the forums. And it is good that it comes recommended by various devs out at XDA. If anybody visits their forums, they would be shocked to see that the custom roms are allowed to be uploaded and discussed about equivalent to their own color os. Now, there are some glaring issues with the device

1. No unified memory(Yes, this is something many of the major brand phone users dont understand. This is becuase all their phones have unified memory). search the public network for more on this.
2. The color OS from oppo is still at JB in its stable version.
3. There is not ETA regarding the upgrade of the phone to KK or lolipop

So, what do we have here?  We have a phone with excellent hardware specs(This is pretty relative since the specs area a moving target), Good build quality and QHD resulution. The display is crisp and clear.

As concerns cooking of custom roms, oppo helps the third party devs a lot and also showers them with free devices to aid them in development. Another plus is that your warranty is not void if you flash a custom rom until you dont damage a hardware component in the process

The roadblocks in development/cooking of custom roms are

1. No Kernel sources(were available, now removed)
2. No blob bundles(as provided by sony)

But, still devs have been succesful in cooking up custom roms and have succesfully built lolipop roms using jelly bean blobs and other pieces from one plus one. So the result is we have working Lolipop roms from Nameless(based on cm) and omni. Both the forums are very active and what rom is chosen is just based on personal preference. Nameless is a bit senior here.

Getting down to business let us see how to flash custom roms on the find 7. There are various roms based on KK for the find 7(CM, PA(official device status), Nameless and many more). The general procedure to be followed can be summarized as below

1. connect the phone with coloros. In windows it will prompt for installing software of the phone. Install it. This will install the necessary drivers.
2. Shut down the phone
3. Press the up volume and power button until the phone vibrates
4. The phone will display "fastboot..." exactly at the centre of the screen
5. Connect the phone to your computer
6. Wait for windows to install the necessary fastboot drivers(required only once, later phone will be recognized immediately)
7. Open terminal . Go to the folder where you have your adb and fastboot executables
8. Run "fastboot devices"
9. This should return a serial number
10. copy the twrp and coloros recovery and rename them aptly into the folder with fastboot and adb executables
11. flash the twrp recovery run "fastboot flash recovery twrp....img"
12. unmount the phone
13. shut down the phone
14. Hold the down volume button and press the power button together until the phone vibrates
15. You will boot to twrp
16. Backup the present coloros and reboot
17. Boot the phone into coloros
18. shut down the phone
19. Press the down volume button and the power button until the phone vibrates
20. if you boot into the coloros recovery it is fine. Otherwise follow the steps from 2 to 13. But use the coloros_recovery.img in the fastboot command
21. Flash coloros v1.2.5
22. This is the version with the modem which plays well with all the custom roms out there.
23. shut down the phone
24. follow the steps from 2 to 13 and flash twrp........img
25. step 14 and 15
26. From now on you know the drill of installing a custom rom(Before installing any custom rom or coming back to color os from custom rom, do a standard wipe(cache, data, dalvik cache))
27. For me paranoid android was of choice for the find 7. The major reason is it being maintained as the "official" device
28. The other major reason being that their releases are sedate and minimal.
29. As for other things on PA check out a video made available on the oppo forums regarding PA on find 7 QHD.

PS:- You can try out the cm12 from a chinese developer and he is making regular releases. It is a nice release and you can contine to use it until you like lolipop and CM starts making official nightlies. Be ready for gotchas when you install custom roms. Kernel sources are not available, all blobs are not available. There may be issues with your phone. But, then, you know the risks.

You are now finished with trying and playing with custom roms and now want to return to stock. Just restore the backup you earlier made. Flash back the color os recovery. You are now ready to recieve OTA's from oppo.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mahindra Scorpio Sle, My drive.

Well, now that I have got my vehicle let me drive it my way(A pun on sachin tendulkar's line "Now that I am captain, Let me do it my way").

1. The stance: The way the vehicle stands on the road is majestic. I don't think mahindra is going to change any of the exteriors. There are no sharp corners like the XUV(That is the major reason i dislike it and also the stance is that of a traditional SUV. We have many with similar looks on the road) All the corners are contoured and rounded. Sufficient bonnet length to make the driver feel safer. I don't know the effectiveness of the crumple zone but, here i will take mahindra's word. The way it lunges forward is awesome.

2. The indicators are clearly visible. But I thought that the rear indicators throughout the height of the vehicle are a little too much. I have seen a lot of scorpios with the tail lights painted black for the top half and I liked the way the vehicle looked at the rear after this. Would I get it done, I don't know for now.

3. The road clearance is ample but a bit lesser than the LX which does not come with the claddings all around. Trust me, the claddings are required. Climbing the vehicle can be daunting for people used to smaller cars and the steps all around the vehicle attached to the claddings are very much a requirement.

4. The extra moolah spent on the chequered flag sticker is really well spent. It provides a sense of class to the vehicle and breaks the mundane white throughout the vehicle.

5. The front grill is good but it can still be perfected and be made a bit meaner.

6. Step on the driver seat and the feel is elated and elevated both at the same time and is more so for people coming from driving small cars. All of a sudden you will be seeing the road with a different look. The vision clear and lucid. The driver height which is a major feature of any SUV is spot on. The seats are comfortable. But there is definitely lot of scope of improvement. The steering wheel is nice and with angular adjustment, that is the only degree of freedom for the driver. Seats cannot be adjusted. The height of the steering wheel cannot be adjusted. Turn back from the drive seat and have a look at the space. It will be a shocker.

7. The cabin space is as large as a standard room. If you go for the captain seats, the amount of air flow in the cabin is going to surprise you. Don't go for lighter colors for the seats you will regret it. Particularly with kids moving around the space available. It is very easy to change seats with the captain seat configuration. Believe me there will be lot of movement between     the inmates. The largess of your vehicle is clearly visible when you reverse your vehicle and you see the awesome distance between your seat and the rear end of your car.

8. The rear seats are for kids and shorter people only. With the adjustment available in the captain seat configuration, the middle seat can be adjusted for ultimate comfort or for medium comfort based on whether we have people in the rear seat.

9. Driving the vehicle requires lot more effort than the usual small cars. Especially in city traffic, you can get really tired. The hyper-vibrating gear knob does not help at all. The long travel clutch pedal is also a hindrance while driving in city conditions. Make sure you have lengthy legs to drive the scorpio for the long travel of the clutch pedal. The first half travel of the clutch pedal does not do anything. The action starts from above half the travel of the clutch pedal.

10. Long drives, huh, you have the perfect vehicle. I had a lot of trouble keeping the vehicle between 60-80 Kph. It will easily slip into 120 kph once you engage the fifth gear. I have decided to drive the vehicle within this band so as to keep the RPM below 2000 for at least 2000 Km.

11. Braking is nice and ABS works perfect. I am new to this ABS thing and I like the grace it gives to the vehicle during braking.

12. The way the spare tyre was positioned got me thinking. What was going throughout the designer's head at that time. I thought that they forgot completely about the spare tyre and then decided the position as an after-thought. The sales person was explaining the way to remove the spare tyre from under the rear and I was really amused. Much smaller and cheaper cars have awesome placing of the spare tyre. Terribly disappointed at this aspect of the scorpio.

13. Mileage, forget it. Don't ask me. It really hurts here. My monthly spending will be doubled.

14. Does this vehicle rock? It rocks like a boat. Even small humps when negotiated on one of the tyres rocks the vehicle sideways. It takes a considerable amount of time for this movemet to be dampened. People driving high end cars will definitely be put off by this aspect of the scorpio. The vehicle rocks length wise also when you negotiate a hump all of a sudden. This vehicle definitely rocks(rolls and yaws)!!!!!!!!!!!. Drive the vehicl smooth and slow over any undulations in the road.

15. Dont use the hand brake frequently. It will lose its capability and the stroke of the hand brake is very much limited. Keep it for situations which really demand it. Park the vehicle with first or the reverse gear engaged(This is recommended in the manual also).

16. Idylling generates lot of sound. After driving a little the sound reduces during movement.

17. The scropio has gone through many revisions. The way I look at it, the revisions have been in the form of retro-fits. I have never seen a vehicle with that many wirings out in the open. I just looked beneath my seat and I saw lot of wirings below the driver seat as well as the middle row. These thing happen only because of retro-fits. Hope that the next avataar of the scorpio is a really re-designed one and not a retro-fitted one.

18. Since the remote central locking does not close the windows automatically(If they are open while you alight from the vehicle), I was informed by the sales guy that a retro-fit (here we go again)  to this effect is in the works and may be available in a couple of months.

Summary :-

I love my drive. "Its the driver. Not the drive", is it?  What's the driver without his drive? Huh............

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My experiences while buying the Mahindra scorpio SLE

Since the day, Mahindra put up the advertisement of the Scorpio brand, I was hooked to the vehicle. Whenever it passed me it would definitely get a lookup. What were the factors for my fascination for this vehicle?
1. Awesome bullish looks
2. Amount of space in the cabin
3. Various seating arrangements, that too, factory fitted
4. The name of the car is spot on.
5. Horse powers at our disposal
6. Indian car
7. The longevity of the brand. It has never gone out of style
8. The cost, Simply perfect
9. No other SUV in the segment

                   Called Anant cars and was given an option of the test drive at my convenience. The car for the test drive was a fully loaded vlx with captain seats. The first and primary requirement was to check the park ability of the vehicle in the front of my house. I just requested the driver to park in the space provided. It is a space between a tree and the wall of our house. The tree is not to be disturbed. I was shocked that the car could be parked. I was parking a Maruti swift in the same place. But, I thought the driver was more elegant in parking. I did not take the risk of parking it and I don't think the driver would have allowed me to try with the test vehicle. Let us see how I will do in the parking test once I take the delivery of my car.

                 Once the parking issue has been resolved, the next thing was the amount of air/space in the vehicle. My son was absolutely elated with the amount of space in the car. He was used to sitting in one single position in my swift. Here, because of the captain seat layout, you can literally walk throughout the length of the car. The captain seats are very comfortable. It is like having 4 driver seats in the car. The hand rests on the seats add to the comfort feel. Once you feel tired of sitting it is time to have a nap on the fixed third row seat. All the baggage can be put up at the back of the third row or important ones can be accommodated in the area between the captain seats. The seating position of both the drivers and passengers are optimally high. Provides a clear view of the road. The drive was comfortable and the horse powers are just waiting to be utilized. The road presence is next only to the fortuner.

Once the test drive was over, the captain seat configuration was chosen. Now to plan for the finances

                Planning for the finances took a month. Then called the sales rep for booking the car. A shock awaited me. The scorpio SLE is not available with the captain seat configuration, bummer. I was completely bogged down with this piece of information. Immediately my mind started thinking about the second hand car market and to buy a second hand vlx version. But then, the sales rep called some people in his showroom and told that the configuration can be setup once the car arrives at the showroom and it will be done by the service team right here. I did not want to go into details about how this will be done. So, the bottom line is that you can get an SLE with captain seats if you want one. Now, People at Anant cars, on Mysore road are sitting ducks. They could not answer a simple question related to the seating arrangements. They were not clear whether the captain seats can be slid along the length of the vehicle so as to adjust the leg room on the second row.

                  It was now time for accessories. My first requirement was the roof mounted blower. Here the sales rep appraised me that my seat configuration does not require this accessory since there is a gap in the second row and the AC vents are ample enough. I saw the logic in this and removed the accessory from my list. I would suggest this accessory for anybody going for the 8 seater version. It is required. Anyhow, just for information I asked him the cost and wait............. INR 30K approx. OMG...........

                   Next came the seat covers. Genuine leather was out of budget, so out of question. I settled for fake leather which was in my swift and is still going strong after 5 years. Color of the seats will definitely be beige based and still have not decided about going for two tone or a single color. Anyhow, color department is headed by wifey, so I will not discuss more about it. Seat covers with a millimetre of foam was selected. The design had lot of diamonds in the back support portion which provided air gaps. And of course, it is gsport.

                   I have been accused of creating imbalance in my music system on my swift. I had Blaukpunkt headset and JVC speakers. They were out of sync. High end music processor, Lowest end speaker setup. This time, I told the sales rep that I want a balanced, middle of the road combo of head unit and matching its capability speakers. I am not interested in the fancy lights, touchscreens and the 2 DINs. They are too flashy and not worth the money in these days of cheap android tablets. So the HU selected was PIONEER 4690-BT. It has front aux-in, front USB, Bluetooth with profiles for music playback and Phone calls. Other options available are MTP connectivity/Ipod Iphone connectivity, which in my opinion is a joke.

                Just imagine browsing the gigantic collection one has on the iphones/androids throgh the arcane interface of the HU(Such a wastage of money for these options). Speakers are JBL CS63SI for the front and JBL GT949 for the rear. WIth scorpio we have issues regarding the placing of speakers. The front speakers are all right. They go into the front doors. Trouble start with the other two speakers. The options available are to place the two speakers individually in wooden housing in the luggage area OR place the speakers in the rear door. Since the luggage area is minimal in majority of the 7 or 8 seaters. It was decided to put the other speakers within the rear door. But if the rear is slush with luggage, I dont know what will be the speaker output.

                 The next accessory is the Rain visor. This will cover the sides of the windows allowing the occupants to open the glass a little during rainy days. The visors create a problem if it is put for the rear window also. The rear window opens "out". It is not of the sliding type. This opening out of the window is obstructed if a rain visor is put for the rear window also. So, ruled against it. It was chosen only for the front and the middle doors.

              Being a Mechanical Engineer, a NO-NO for bull bars. The bullbars nullify the impact absorption capability of the vehicle. People should know, they are more safe if the vehicle completely crumples in the front portion during any accident. This shows that the impact of the accident has been absorbed by the crumple zone structure. The bull bar does not absorb any of the shocks and are directly transferred to the inmates of the vehicle, hurting them more.

             Now comes an accessory which is going to take everybody by surprise. The decal sticker on the vlx. The race chequered flag inspired graphics. Wifey was adamant and particularly wanted that on our SLE. The cost, wait for it................. is INR 7k. Well, that was the only demand from wifeys side, so ,it had to be met.

           Now, comes the Car Loan portion. I was very clear in my mind that the loan would be from a Nationalized bank and the same was conveyed to the sales team.

1. CIBIL score. This will be used by the bank to know your creditability.
2. If your CIBIL score is bad be ready with the documents for both husband and wife.
3. Normally loan will be disbursed with the capability of the applicant only, if there is a good cibil score otherwise, husband and wife will be made joint applicants. Better to be ready with documents of both.
4. Let us see what were the documents given
a. Form 16 for the last 2 years
b. IT returns for the last 2 years
c. 6 months bank statement
d. 3 months pay slips
e. Address proof
f. ID proof
g. 7 - 10 photographs
h. ID of your present profession(Both for loan and for availing corporate discounts)
i. If u have any other loan
i1. If completed, a certificate from the bank of loan closure
i2. If loan still in force, a loan statement, which shows ur monthly loan payments with loan account number for every transaction.

                   Once the loan is sanctioned you will be hunted down by the sales people to complete the sale. The salesman visited my home in the evening of my loan disbursal and requested me to pay up the remaining amount. I was ready with the amount. The amount was counted and ........... wait for it.......... He has not bought any book or slip to acknowledge the amount. A frenzy of phone calls started. Providing me with personal guarantees, this and that and this........... The ordeal went on for 2 hours. During this time I contacted ICICI for getting a quote. In 10 minutes flat I got a quote which was 12K less. So, I showed the chat history to the sales guy and told him that I would buy insurance from him if they bettered this deal. If not I want the Engine number and the chasis number. In the mean time all the permutations and combinations were tried and then, they decided that they would get me a receipt at another showroom approx 10Kms from my house on the busy mysore road. At night 8PM I was requested to accompany the sales guy for paying the remaining amount at this showroom. The sales guy had bought a verito. In peak hour traffic we went to the showroom where there were nobody except the cashier waiting only for us. We completed the transaction and headed back. The ordeal took 1.5 hrs.

                 Next day, ICICI bombarded me with phone calls for insurance. I again called the sales guy to give me Engine and chasis number. No reply uptil 3.00PM. I had committed to the ICICI guy at 3.00 PM. Since I was not getting any response I called the senior sales guy. No reply. Continuous 5-6 rings. He shutdown his phone(And this from somebody who told that he can be contacted until the lifetime of my vehicle, Sales strategy have not changed much, have they. In production we under commit and over deliver. But I think the sales function is still traditional). Now, I was a worried man. I remembered that I had got a call from one more person making a similar claim to the senior sales person. 4 calls no reply. After 5 minutes got a call. I went all guns blazing on him. Then calmed down knowing that he is bed ridden. From his bed, this guy got the data in 5 minutes and I received an SMS. Kudos to him. In the meantime the insurance team in the showroom could not match the quote I received. That too, the insurance provider was the same in both the cases. Came home completed the insurance formalities online aided by the ICICI guy over phone and chat. Immediately the policy was sent to my mail-id. There ends my tryst with insurance.

                While studying the handout given to me during the time of booking, I saw that the insurance is a document which is to be provide to the RTO for the registration process. Immediately mailed the soft copy of the insurance to the sales person.

The discounts given out to me
1. Extended warranty for two years worth 15,169/-
2. Cash discount of INR 7,500/-
3. Corporate discount(Depending on your profession)
4. Free floor mats
5. Free Idol
6. Free perfume
7. Free mudflaps

                 All this with Mahindra and Mahindra going gaga over their website shouting on the top of their voice that there is a discount of upto INR 60,000/-. The website does not tell anything regarding the breakup of the discounts. So, it is practically impossible to argue with the showrooms. Anything is asked you will be told that it is not for this model. So, the "upto 60,000" is a myth. Whatever, take qoutes from all the dealers to find out about this.

                 Coming to buying an insurance, you have to be pretty careful here. You definitely can save money upto 13K. To check the prices of insurance for new vehicles on various insurance providers, you need the following data
1. Demographic data (Name, address, age............)
2. No claim bonus certificate. If you already own a car in your name. If in your policy document the NCB is mentioned then that itself is the NCB certificate. Otherwise mail your insurance provider for the same.
3. RTO where the vehicle is to be registered
4. Ex-showroom price
5. Engine number(full and detailed)
6. Chasis number(full and detailed)
7. Car make and model
8. Nominee demographics
9. Date of you taking the ownership of the vehicle from the showroom

               The option of captain seats is turning out to be colossal chapter. My sales rep is telling me that he is having a heck of a time convincing his GM regarding this. He asked the details of my previous car. He told it was required to convince his GM.

                   The day has come and the sales person called me and told that the car would be ready in the evening. I am not somebody who will go into the details of the vehicles. I just want them to work. Did a visual inspection. The seat covers were folded in the most un-professional way as I had expected. The arm rest on one of the captain seat hung down instead of being horizontal. It was repaired nominally. Checked out the audio system and seemed to work good. Now started the saga of signatures. The salesman don't know much about the car. He tried to explain what he knew. But, i saw that he was failing terribly. Everything was signed. I asked him when I would get the RC smart card. He told it would take 40 days and it would be dispatched to my address. I asked him a document for extended warranty. Lo and behold, there started the great Indian rope trick. When the senior salesman came to my house I just told him to spell out his offer. What he did was held a sheet of paper and put the Total price of the vehicle on the top. Below he put a minus sign across the cost for extended warranty and a cash discount. He showed me the calculation. I thought that the total offer from him is a free 2 year extended warranty and the cash discount. On the delivery day, the salesman told that the offer was given to me just subtracting the extd warranty. This he did to reduce the cash burden on me.

My question to him was
Did you make me an offer to decide whether I wanted extd warranty or not?
No. He did not make me an offer.

I had taken parker pens as gift in the increasing order of costs based on the responses from the three salesmen. After this ordeal, Nobody in the family was agreeing to give the gifts. An eye for an eye will make everyone blind. So, handed over the gifts to the junior most salesman and thanked him for everything.

So, I have been hoodwinked. So, Please be clear with every rupee you are dealing during the discussion. Ask him to write it down explicitly.

The usual formalities were completed. I drove the vehicle to a temple near my house. It was a new experience all together. The drive is majestic. The gear knob vibrates like crazy.

Anant cars front office called for taking feedback regarding the experience. Wifey responded with exactly whatever happened. The ordeal at delivery time was taken as a complaint. So, the salesmen called me up and visited my house. But, they re-iterated whatever they were telling adding this might impede the junior's growth. So, had to give a response favorable to the salesmen.