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Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar" journal:

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July 18th, 2017
06:08 pm

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A Motivating Speech
"We have a number of exciting projects lined up for the coming year. We will ensure that you will have minimal sleep for the next one year at least. Please make sure that you don't make any personal commitments for this period! But we will make sure that we will do the whole thing as a fun exercise as much as possible...", so on goes speech by a manager at my workplace. This speech was intended to motivate the employees to work towards the bright future ahead of them, and the projected workload and potential demands for unpaid service I guess was supposed to be a light hearted exaggeration (though it is a sort of reality for most of the Worker Class IT employees these days).

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July 13th, 2017
06:31 pm

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A Death in the Gunj
Watched A Death in the Gunj, a brilliant directorial debut by actress Konkona Sen Sharma.

Set in 1979 at the village of McCluskieganj, the film narrates the events associated with a family/friends visit and get-together at the village home. Shutu, the key character, is in his early 20s - a shy, introvert, sensitive and somewhat timid youngster who seems to be suffering from depression as well. The film shows how the behavior of people around him affects Shutu's life during that short visit to the village.

Konkona's characterizations are brilliant, and the performances (especially by Vikrant Massey in the main role) are excellent.

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July 9th, 2017
05:28 pm

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Catch Me If You Can
I got a chance to watch the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can directed by Steven Spielberg today. The film is based on the real life story of Frank Abagnale (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who had done various forgeries related to bank checks when he was a youngster. After getting caught, Abagnale spent some time in jail, and later became a consultant for FBI.

The film was a very engaging watch.

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July 4th, 2017
09:53 am

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Tax Reforms
I read the news that the Government is going to revisit the implementation of Direct Tax Code, and the news looked scary to me.

If we have to go by prior experience, any attempts at "revision" or "restructuring" of Income Tax laws in India, would eventually end up squeezing the the salaried class, extracting some percentage from their various investments and savings, irrespective of the political party holding power in the center.

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July 2nd, 2017
06:23 pm

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GST
Though the GST is supposed to simply the taxes and probably reduce the tax burden on consumers for majority of their purchases, the general impression created by the merchants has been somewhat opposite. Multiple weeks of pre-GST sale melas preceding July 1st made all feel as if the GST is going to bring doom on the consumers. And during this weekend, whichever shop I visited, the people in the cash counters were explaining me that the bill amount would be more because of increased GST, etc.

It appears like there is no direction on passing the benefits of "input tax credit" that the merchants receive to end consumers. So, wherever the tax rate has gone up, the consumers have to take up the burden for the extra tax, and if I understand it correctly, the merchants can now effectively pocket a part of that tax, equivalent to the input tax credit they receive, mapping to the item sold.

I wish there was a mechanism for the end consumers also to receive some sort of "tax credit" for the GST amount which the merchant has levied from them, so that they can adjust it against their regular income tax, and avoid double taxation? Perhaps this can be easily done for non-cash transactions, since the credit cards, debit cards etc. are linked to the PAN of the consumer? This would be a good encouragement for all consumers to go "cashless". Without such a mechanism, I am not too sure if GST will bring much changes in the lives of ordinary people.

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July 1st, 2017
08:16 pm

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BSNL
I have been using BSNL wired broadband service for last 2 years, and last 6+ months it has been becoming worse day by day. The connection is completely unreliable and the service has been pathetic. Technical complaints raised via their web interface are repeatedly closed promptly after 3 days, with absolutely no action taken on them and no update given to me. When I call their customer service center by phone, they direct to various officers and AGMs, and each of them in turn keep on redirecting to other people. Eventually, I need to follow their escalation chain all the way to the top to get a simple problem like cross-connection resolved.

As the technical complaints became more and more frequent, I decided to terminate the broadband connection altogether and raised a request for the same on their web interface last week. They closed the request within 3 days, but I was not sure if this is a genuine indication of any action taken or just the usual automated "case closing mechanism" used by the technicians. So, I called up BSNL once again and a very sleepy customer care person informed me that I need to personally visit the local BSNL office for closing the connection. When I visited the local BSNL office at HSR layout, I was redirected to their "Customer Service Center" at Koramangala, where I was asked to give an application on plain paper. I felt thankful that I was not redirected any further, and I hope that the request will be processed this time. It is funny that in today's Digital Era, an Internet service provider would insist its customers to go and meet the babus and give a paper application for a request. It is also puzzling why they are providing an option to initiate service closure on their website, when it is clear that they are not going to do anything on that request.

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June 27th, 2017
05:53 pm

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Hostage
Hostage, a brilliant graphic novel by Guy Delisle, is based on the real life story of Christophe Andre, who was kidnapped by a Chechnyan gang in 1997, when he was working at an NGO located in Nazran, Ingushetia. He was kept in captivity in Chechnya for close to four months.

Most of the panels in this 432 page book include simple portrayals of the various places where Christie was kept - in a small room without furniture, handcuffed and attached to a radiator box most of the time, in a store room, in a closet, etc. The events shown are mostly repetitive in nature - like serving food (with the same menu of vegetable soup, tea and bread all the time), going to the toilet, etc. and the text mostly consists of monologues by Christophe. Through these pictures and text, we get a feeling of being with Christophe as a hostage through these 100+ days.

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June 24th, 2017
12:12 pm

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Smart City!! Really?
Bangalore is now in the list of "Smart Cities" marked for development in India, and is going to get several hundreds of crores of rupees as funding from the Center as part of the project in coming years.

It sounds like a joke to me. An urban slum where the corrupt, clueless and inefficient Government officials, politicians, greedy landlords, builders and Water Mafia, etc. are busy inventing various schemes to extract the last bit of natural resources and converting to cash, and where an average citizen has pretty much nothing to hope for and feel optimistic about, is now going to be called as a Smart City!

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June 23rd, 2017
10:12 am

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Caste based Discriminations
It is a shame to see such an open debate on caste even for identifying a candidate for the post of President of the country. The "opposition parties" are now trying to find a suitable "Dalit" for contesting against the candidate of NDA, and many of the constituent parties have declared that they will not support anyone other than a "Dalit". The caste of a person would be his foremost qualification which would play a key role in various political game plans.

The hypocritical nature of the Left Front (who claim to me the most progressive) is most evident in these kind of discussions, and they keep on proving again and again that they are one of the most communal and fascist political elements in the country.

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June 20th, 2017
09:32 am

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Alamara
The Malayalam film Sasneham (1990), directed by Sathyan Anthikkad during his vintage days in his typical family-sentiments-humor format, showed how the relatives of a married couple (played by Balachandra Menon and Shobhana) interfere in their lives and create a mess. Alamara, directed by Midhun Manuel Thomas, picks up the same subject set in the present times. It shows how a simple thing like a Cupboard can play a pivotal role in married life.

It was a pleasure to watch this light-hearted comedy with likable characters (or rather caricatures), interesting dialogues and some gentle humor and satire.

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