The View

We moved to a new house recently. The main reason for moving was to get some peace in the house. Our earlier house, though small and sweet, had serious problems of neighbors. They used to be up the entire night watching TV and talking loudly over the phone. Request and arguments did not make any difference. That is when we decided to move to the adjacent block and this time our requirement was simple. Forest facing, corner flat. If you are wondering what this forest is, it is a 'mini-forest' as it is famously called. You can get a glimpse of it on Google Earth. Finally we did find a flat that met our requirements and additionally, it also has a beautiful view of the forest from the hall and the balcony. Though the rent is on the higher side than we wished for, we took the plunge.

Since it is a corner flat, there is abundant light and air. It has three balconies, so I can increase my stock of plants. We have reserved one balcony as the hobby balcony. This is where I do most of my knitting these days. The view of the forest from this balcony is lovely. There is total peace here, except for the crows, sparrows, cuckoos and squirrels. No, squirrels don't make noise, but they visit us often to see if I have kept some nuts for them, you know, just in case. I had put out some dates in the sun to dry and after a few days, there was not even one left! I keep a diya for the tulasi and one squirrel promptly comes every day and sucks out the oil in it. It has a schedule - every single day it comes at the same time. I wonder how these animals keep track of time. Advanced biological clock?

Thanks to the light and air, my plants are doing very well here. We bought this plant 3 years back hoping to see lovely flowers on it. No such luck until we moved to this house. It has a beautiful pink flower now and the plant looks much healthier.

And this is the beautiful view from our hall balcony. It is all green as far as you can see. With yesterday's rain and today's cloudy weather, the view is breath taking.

I know, this post is too personal for my taste. I have been staying at home since a week now (that is fodder for another post) and have been enjoying every single moment and I wanted to gloat! This bliss is partly because of the isolation and the peace that this house provides. And did I mention the view?

Citibank and its so called customer service

We all have heard enough about how banks come up with creative ways to cheat customers. Be it hiding the annual fee clause from the customer or sending an unasked for, unwanted credit card to a customer AND charge an annual fee over it! Yeah, these banks put any artist to shame. I am just adding two more things to the never ending list of Citibank’s tricks.

1. Suvidha account points redemption

I had accrued quite a few Suvidha usage points in the last year. Before I could redeem those, they lapsed in March. When I called the customer service, I was given a prompt answer that points lapse in March. Why wasn’t I informed about it before hand? No answer. I pledged to take revenge by redeeming the points next year. So, this year, promptly in March, I redeemed those points and was left with a few ‘chillar’ of 20 points. I was expecting these to lapse by the end of the month, but guess what, they didn’t lapse. Another phone to their customer service and I am informed that the leftover points after redemption are carried forward. This is insane! Unredeemed points lapse but left over points are carried forward? Who made this rule? What is the logic behind this?

2. Debit card renewal fee

We have all heard about lifetime free credit cards, but did you know that Citibank will charge an annual fee of Rs. 99 on your debit card from July 2008 onwards? I was given this wonderful news when I called to order a debit card. I asked the customer care executive what is the logic behind offering free credit cards and not free debit cards? He obviously did not have an answer so I answered for him. Customers can survive without a credit card, but they cannot access their account or use the ATM without a debit card. Citibank knows this well and hence can take advantage of this by charging an annual fee on debit cards. The customer care executive was really shaken by this and asked me to complain “if I am not satisfied with this situation” by sending a mail to

My mail may not result in the wakening of the Citibank executive’s conscience and the eventual cancellation of the debit card annual fee, but I surely will send a mail. If you care about your 99 bucks which Citibank is snatching right under your nose, then you too send a mail. Remember, it is not about the money.