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Tech Support/Customer Service
(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Diary on August 28, 2004)

Do you use computers? Did you ever get into a sticky situaton and had to call tech support? If you live in USA and use an IBM computer (an American company), when you call IBM's tech support telephone number (an American phone number), don't you expect that your call will be answered from somewhere in USA? Well, the truth is, these days many of these calls are actually answered from India, China or Russia. The reason? Cheap labor, of course. I have no problem with that as long as the quality of service is good (and usually the quality is excellent). What I do not like is the fact that giant American companies (like IBM, Dell, Hewlett Packard, and Delta Airlines to name a few) doing business all over the world, utilizes the services of these foreign based tech support personnel at a fraction of the cost, and they go all out to suppress that fact from its customers. These tech support/customer service personnel are under strict order not to disclose the location from where they are answering the customer's call. They are coached thoroughly to imitate the American accent, use American idioms and phrases, even imitate American culture. What is most painful is the fact that these people have to give up their real names and use pseudonames when answering calls from the customers. Thus Sweta becomes Julia, Hyuang becomes Eric, and Igor becomes Jon. It is not only pathetic, it is outrageous. These people have to give up their real names and cultures and pretend to be Americans to answer calls for American companies from half a world away. And they have to work odd hours because when it is daytime in USA it is usually night in those countries. They do it happily though, because they earn more doing this than working a similar job for a company of their own countries. And the American companies save a lot because they would have paid much more if they had to employ an American to do the same job in America. So it is really a win-win situation. What I do not like about it is the fact that the American companies are doing it clandestinely. Why can't the Dell tech support person tell in reply to the customer's question, "I am answering your call from Dell's Indian office", for example. Afterall, these are all multinational companies! Instead, they say, "Sorry, sir. It is company policy. I cannot disclose my location". When you dial that 1-800 number, your call in many cases gets re-routed, and in many cases, the Indian tech support person answers your call via satellite telephone! In big cities like Mumbai and Delhi in India, training centers are emerging rapidly to train people to do this kind of job. Thousands apply and only about 5% are selected for the intense training, especially for American accent and pronunciation. These are considered as lucrative and prestigeous jobs and many young, talented people in India these days have the objective of finding such a job!

Compared to America, India is a poor country. The country is poor because Indian leaders are too engaged in party politics and securing their own future. They do not try seriously to reduce the country's population and elevate the country's economic status. But there is no shortage of talents in India. The country does not give them opportunity to utilize their talents. So to make ends meet, Indians do various strange jobs these days for America. Thanks to modern technology like computers, satellite TV, video phones and so forth, distance and geography are no longer a barrier.

Do you know sitting in India, Indian accountants and tax professionls often electronically file your Form 1040 tax return to IRS? You submit your receipts and tax documents to your tax professionals here in USA and request him to prepare your return for you. What you perhaps do not know is the fact that in many cases these are re-routed to India, and an Indian professional actually does the work for your tax professional here!

You live in Boston area. You have a neurological problem. You go to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. MGH takes an MRI scan of your brain. In many cases, your scan is sent to a radiologist in Kolkata (Calcutta) or Mumbai (Bombay), who looks at it, prepares a report, and sends the report back to MGH. The MGH neurologist then discusses the report with you and suggests a treatment for your ailment! Strange, but true.

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Deformities/Physical Abnormalities in
Hindu Gods and Goddesses

(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Diary on March 26, 2008)

I am an Indian, and I am a Hindu. I have been thinking for sometime why so many of our Gods and Goddesses have such horrific physical deformities/abnormalities. One has ten arms, many have four arms, one has four arms and an elephant's head, one has three heads, one has four heads, one has her tongue always sticking out while having four arms (some images show her as having ten arms). The skin color of many are blue or deep blue. The Goddess whose tongue always sticks out, is sometimes blue sometimes black. The skin color of some is gold or yellow. One has pink skin ... the list goes on. One God is actually a monkey, and he is called Monkey God.

Can anybody of any religion tell me why our Gods and Goddesses are so deformed? Is the God you worship deformed in any way? Minor things like a sixth toe or harelip?

Another related question. How many Gods do you have in your religion? We have 330 million! (No kidding.)

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I have been blessed by the
God/Goddess of Friendship

(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Diary on MAY 12, 2008)

Let me first explain "God/Goddess of Friendship". In our religion (Hinduism) we have a God or Goddess for everything. I am not sure, but I am assuming there must be one for friendship too. After all, we have 330 million Gods and Goddesses. So, one of them must have been assigned to handle Friendship. It is a very important department - somebody has to be in charge of it!

Now, coming to my topic of the day. You know how people play lottery. They buy lottery tickets day in and day out with the hope of winning the jackpot some day. One or two lucky guys (or gals) eventually win big money some day. Most, of course, never win.

My ability to make new friends was losing steam (probably because I am getting old), and I did not make any new friend for quite some time. But like the lottery players, I did not give up. I kept on trying.

Recently my perseverance paid off. Suddenly I received the blessing of the God/Goddess in charge of this friendship business and I have been showered with not one, not two, but many friends as the following pictures will show. Mind you, these are IN ADDITION to the special friendship I made with this face unseen person I talked about in my posting of May 10. Am I lucky or what? May be I should go ahead and buy that lottery ticket now. (But who is the God in charge of lottery winnings?)

Shoban's India Page
The jackpot

Shoban's India Page
Second prize

Shoban's India Page
Third prize

I have made a few more new friends recently. But they don't want their photos made public. Since I must respect their request for privacy, you cannot see their pictures. But I think I have made my point. The God/Goddess of Friendship has at last blessed me!

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For the skeptics ...
(Originally published in Shoban Sen's Diary on MAY 13, 2008)

... who did not believe me when I wrote yesterday, that we (Hindus) have a God/Goddess for everything. Well, given below is a partial list of things for which we have a God/Goddess who is in charge. You can find more if you take the time to research a little bit.

Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth
Saraswati - Goddess of learning
Ganesha - God of success and prosperity (That is why he is worshipped the most, especially by businessmen!)
Sheetala or Shitala - Goddess of small pox (yes, small pox - chicken pox as well!)
Manasha - Goddess of snakes (more precisely snake bites!)
Oladevi - Goddess of cholera (yes, cholera - the tropical disease!)

Want to know more? Do your own research.

PS: Please remember that I expect people to visit my site to read about interesting, amusing, and thought provoking things only. Because, as I have stated several times before, I cannot blog.

My copyrighted definition of blog is:

"A blog is an online personal journal of an individual who, since he/she has nothing better to do, writes virtually about anything and everything but more often nothing, with or without making any sense, usually paying little or no attention to grammar, language, and spelling, generally using profanity and word abbreviations such as 'ur' for 'your' rather freely, and characteristically filling the journal with unnecessary pictures, music, and hyperlinks, causing a total wastage of his/her own and also the reader's time and energy, as well as wastage of the cyberspace where better and more useful information/data could have been stored."

Copyright © 2004 Shoban Sen
All Rights Reserved

Footnote: Leading blog critic, Maria Jones, agrees with my definition. That is why she thinks I am a "writer", not a "blogger". Thanks Ms. Jones. I hope you read this.

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