Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home delivery. Yeah right.

I have many things to get done this weekend. One of them is to buy a bookshelf. I decided to drive down to IKEA. My friend tagged along as well.

It's the weekend, so we weren't surprised to see heaps of people milling around in the store. From previous experience I knew that in IKEA if you are looking for something specific there's a good chance you are not going to find it straight away. They have the knack of making you walk through aisles of retail forest with stuff that scream out 'I am on sale! Buy me!'. You are forced to drift around with the tide of people turning left and right until the sense of direction is lost and you feel like you are in a maze. People around me (mostly ladies and ara-tickets (kids)) were just ambling along, scanning displays/stuff - they didn't appear to be looking for anything particular. Just checking out stuff, anything and everything which was labelled 'On Sale' or 'Buy me!'.

However, we were men on a mission. We are here to buy a bookshelf and we are not looking for other stuff. We reached the aisle of bookshelves. We found a display of the model that I wanted. I had a huge decision to make on the choice of colour - woody brown, charcoal, blue or white. That's a lot of colour options for a bookshelf. I was pondering a bit. My mate was shocked that I am *actually* spending a few seconds to decide on the colour. "Sriramaa, its just a freakin bookshelf!". "Alright, Alright". I took a pick. This achieved, we had to find our way to the warehouse end of the maze to find the pre-packed bookshelf. The warehouse had racks that almost touched the clouds. We somehow managed to track down the rack which had the pre-packed bookshelf. I also realised the package was big enough to carry home if we are driving a Ute or a trailer. Our Mazda6 wont do it. So, home delivery it is!

With the bookshelf model number in hand, we gouged our way to the counter with the big sign saying 'Home Delivery'. There was a Middle-Eastern looking, middle-aged guy at the counter.

"Hi. I'd like buy this bookshelf and I want it home-delivered. This is the model #". I handed out the model # chit.

He looked behind us as if searching for something. "Where is it?"


"Whatever you want to buy"

"Um..its in the back. At the warehouse."

He gave a muted laugh, waving his hand and nodding his head "No no no. It doesn't work like that. You have to bring to us"

"Err. It's your warehouse. It's in your store"

"That is right. You have to bring it from the warehouse to there". He pointed in the direction of checkout counter.

"...and what do you do?"

"We home deliver". He said with a beaming smile.

I paused. My friend chuckled.

"you see, all you gotta do is to transfer the bookshelf from the warehouse and put it on a truck. After all, that's what home delivery is for. Right?"

In a stern, matter-of-fact tone, "For delivery, you have to bring your item to the front counter. That's the company policy" he said, pointing at a poster on the wall.

I am glad my Uncle or my colleague wasn't there with me. They would've lashed out the "you can shove it..." phrase and stormed out of the door. This convo tested my usually-calm temperament as well. This is like going to a restaurant and the chef says if you bring all the raw materials, I'll cook a meal for you. It doesn't make sense to me.

I took the pragmatic approach and decided, for now, to accept the harsh truth. There's no point throwing a tantrum. Like I said before, I am on a mission. I want to get things done.

So, we re-enter the maze with a trolley making our way past hordes of people. We located the towering rack again and loaded the ~80kg package on the rickety trolley. The pack was kinda big. The wheels of the trolley made a 'queeek queeek' noise as we careered along the aisles. My friend was in the front waving people to make way. Thank God he came along. I crashed into the steel storage rack once (no damage to anything) and narrowly missed piles of merchandise.

We reached the loooooong queue. It was almost the peak-hour of the day. The line we were standing in had women in varying stages of pregnancy. With the glacial rate at which the queue was moving, at least few of them would've delivered before they had a chance to pay for their purchases.

I also observed the idea of making people walk through almost always works. Most people in the queue had trolleys loaded big, bulky, brassy stuff - most of them were 'on sale' items. Some of things in their trolley were useful, most things they probably would not need or never use. At one stage, it almost looked like a competition of who arrives at the checkout with the biggest pile of stuff.

I paid for the bookshelf. The bookshelf was delivered in the evening. Armed with a screw driver and a craft knife, I rip opened the packaging. It's the wrong colour bookshelf. I chose charcoal, they've given me the woody colour. Hmph :)

No. I don't wanna go back. It's just not worth it. I am happy at least they delivered the correct-model-wrong-colour bookshelf instead of a sparkling white wash basin or something.

Kashtam! No wonder we are called Kashtamers. IKEA - Indha Kadaiya Ezhuthu Ada ! :D

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Kondalilla falls

I went hiking at Kondalilla National Park (KNP) last week. KNP is named after Kondalilla falls (the Aboriginal meaning of Kondalilla is rushing waters). It is 100kms north of Brisbane near a beautiful little town called Montville. KNP and Montville is in the Blackall Range. It is always a few degrees cooler than Brisbane making it a popular mountain retreat.

This was my second time hiking at KNP. I met someone special in my first visit. I was hoping for another meeting. It wasn't to be - much to the relief of my mates.

It was a crisp winter morning. The sun was out in its full glory. The track wasn't wet - just damp enough to keep the sticky leaches, fat earthworms and the odd reptile interested. Overall, a great hike.

Here are some pics.

I am still in the transition from the old Powershot A95 to the new SLR. This hike was a good chance to test out all the bells and whistles.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


I watched the 3rd State of Origin rugby league match few days back between the Maroons (QLD) and Blues (NSW). It was a great match, played with real fervour and intensity. The game ended in a sour note with a fight between players from the Blues and Maroon team. Fights are common in Rugby league games. It is a brute of a game, sometimes, few blows needs to be exchanged to balance things out. I have no problems with that. The incident which shocked many was the behaviour and actions of a Blues player after he had knocked out his opponent. The player kept punching, shouting obscenities at the unconscious player lying on the ground. The Blues player is guilty of a conduct charge and will face the consequences soon.

People have reacted to this incident saying things like -

"His actions were not in the spirit of the game" (!!)

"It was passion that went a bit too far"

"Sport is being treated like a war"...

All of the above statements may be right. However, I feel the Blues player lost something a bit more fundamental in that incident. He lost his integrity as a player. People may admire these players. Kids may or may not look up to them as role models. But, when you are playing at the highest level, you owe the game a sense of respect and integrity in your actions. Adherence to moral principles and ethical values should not be forced nor should it be a noble aspiration. It should come from within. Sportsmanship and the soundness of moral character form the fabric of the game. Without it, the term 'spirit of the game' is just a joke.

Integrity is an essential component of a respectable sportsman. When it is lost, the 'sportsman' in the player ceases to exist. Tom Peters, a management guru, once said "There is no such thing as minor lapse of integrity." So goddamn right!

State of Origin is a celebration of the game of Rubgy League. The game may be alive and kicking. With incidents like this, it loses its soul.

Plugged in

Yep. It's back!

My flatmates think the above pic doesn't accurately capture our Internet addiction because we use wireless.

Dry! :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Life without Internet

I moved to a new place last week. I am flatting with four people. I like the look & feel of my room. It is spacious and there is enough free space for me to practise my cover drive with the full flourish or to bowl with a shortened run-up.

"Heyy...hows it? Oh BTW, no internet for next 3 weeks". I laughed it off thinking it was a joke. I bumped into another flatmate. He told me the same with a look of a child lost in a big trade fair. "Freakin Telstra". He was pissed off. The Internet connection was under the name of my room's previous occupant. When she moved, the Internet moved with her. When you snatch a candy of a kid, the kid cries. When you unplug a group on internet junkies, they fume. The world cease to make sense to them. They feel lost in their own homes. They feel lonely even in the arms of their loved ones. Everything is a blur. Our new ISP has advised us it'll take between 10-14 working days to get plugged in again. :

This weekend - like any other weekend - was for two days. But it was a one of looongest weekends I've had. It was pouring outside. With no Internet, I had so much time to do other stuff. I finished reading two books - RK Narayan's Horse and 2 goats & Malcolm Gladwell's Blink. Both books were fantastic read. I am planning to write a post on Blink sometime. I played Solitaire and Minesweeper after a long time. I cleared the sent items which had mails I sent during my first week at work (~2.5 years back). I defragged my HD, I have the cleanest desktop on the planet and all my music is fully backed up. My notebook feels light and is smiling at me.

Since I just moved in and I was running out of things to do, I decided to rearrange my furniture (read as: I am very bored and I'll do anything to break this state of mind). I wanted a different layout. So, I moved stuff around. Arranged. Re-arranged. Meddled. Almost broke one leg of the dining table chair. "Oh no...I'll google the fix for this... Crap, No internet". I then used a trick I applied in my 1st year engineering design project and managed fix/tighten the leg. Felt really good. Re-re-arranged. I realised I've come a full circle that I ended with a layout similar to the initial layout. There are only n amount layouts one can try in this room. Felt stupid and carried on. The power of boredom continues to amaze me.

Just like last weekend, the weekday evenings were quite slow as well. One weekday evening went like this: I come back after work, I walk into my room. I make myself a cuppa tea. Switch on my notebook to break the deafening silence. As I switch the notebook on , I realise there is no Internet. I lean back in my chair and look out of the window. For the next few minutes, I keep staring. Nothing in particular really. Just staring. I am neither happy or sad. A state where everything is perfectly neutral and blank. I keep staring. The staring is interspersed with sips of Earl grey. After a few minutes, I realise I am not doing anything . I look around and move on. This may look really weird to some of you. Perhaps this is the brain's way of adjusting to the absense of something which is a part of daily life, something it probably took for granted, something which it thought was critical to our digtalised existance. Perhaps the brain was trying to fill a void within itself while in the right-wad-do-we-do-now mode.

2 more weeks to go. Internet, I miss you. *sigh*