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Feb 24

Air India

I had the opportunity to fly Air India after around 5 years. 5 years ago I was a flying returns member, however I stopped flying them after they would always not track my journeys for frequent flyer miles and then subsequently would make me go around in circles to get the mileage claim. This time on my India visit, I had to visit Bhopal and only 2 airlines give DEL-BHO flights, Air India and Jet Airways. Air India was a bit cheaper on the date I was looking for.

Anyway, the opportunity slowly turned to misfortune. So sit back, relax and enjoy the flight as I narrate my experience with India’s national airline.

Continue reading »


Feb 20

I am on vacation in India and have nothing better to do than to browse facebook all day long while mom dear pampers me. While browsing Facebook I am seeing a disturbing/new trend, most of the videos are pure shock and awe. For example a girl denouncing rape throws out a few expletives to everyone and that spreads like wildfire. Another girl sends a ‘rap’ to Honey Singh in another shock and awe style video. Then celebs join the bandwagon with Twinkle Khanna of all people coming tot he defense of AIB roast with random crap which didnt deserve any attention.

However the social media of India which I believe runs with money to promoted videos and nothing else still made that viral. All this saddens me as many people take these videos at face value without understanding the buzzfeed kind of sites promoting these videos for profit and the so called social message is not genuine in these.

Anway before I go into depression, I am going to be sharing my views about some of the recent videos I have seen on social media, ofcourse I am not that big that I will go viral, but I still want to pen down these thoughts about one of these actors :

Varun Pruthi – I have mixed feelings about this guy, on one hand he has in the past blatantly copied videos from other US youtube stars (10 minutes of walking in Delhi streets, domestic violence etc.) (Which I should warn him if he ever moves to the US, he would be sued for everything he is worth) , but on the other hand atleast on camera he seems to be a really compassionate person.

One of his videos about emergency vehicles in India was a really nice one but in some of his other videos while he blatantly showcases the poverty of certain people he always helps them out with money.

So I feel happy that atleast he is using his fame to really help people in the case of the ambulance video.

But he should do it in a better way for poverty  instead of exploiting a small kid. And you have 20 somethings going awww and aaah over his antics. If you see the video below Vrun Pruthi starts by bringing the kid into the McDonalds and then proceeds to buy him food. The kid may feel its a selfless act but its not because his stooge has a hidden camera and is recording his every move.

So he tells him things like buy anything you want, eat everything etc. which seems so stupid for the poor kid. And then he proceeds to buy all his pens. Had he done it anonymously it would have been a much better thing to do rather than making poverty porn.

In other news, the girl shouting expletives apparently against the fictitious rapist (at a standup comedy event?) doesn’t deserve your views.


Mar 05

So Indian Mutual funds are now required by law to have their customers Know your Customer or KYC for short verified for any amount of investment. Even a Rs. 500 SIP will need you to be KYC verified no matter what. So in December I decided to get KYC verified. To get your KYC verified, you have to fill up the online KYC form along-with PAN card and address proof and submit it to a center for processing these applications

Since then its been a long wait to get KYC certified. Its been around 3.5 months since I had applied for KYC but presently I have been able to hit the status ‘Present in verification’ only. Before this my status was stuck at ‘Present in Process’ for a very very long time. Approximately 2.5 months went by and the status remained ‘Present in Process’.

In the meantime my orders on Mutual Fund sites are being rejected as KYC is failed and its caused some loss to me as I wasn’t able to purchase units while the market was so down. The Indian Govt. is famous for such half baked ideas without any focus on actual implementations for the same.

Know Your Customer Status

The disclaimer on the site reads :

This KYC status shall be used exclusively for investment in mutual funds which have appointed CDSL Ventures Limited for centralized KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) process, & shall not be used or relied upon for any other purposes, including commercial transactions, or more particularly for authenticating the identity of the investor .CVL shall not be liable to any person using this information for any purpose, other than investments in mutual funds.

But the reality is that all Mutual Funds are using this data to check your KYC eligibility and you are doomed if this doesn’t reflect correctly. To check your KYC verified status for investing in mutual funds, access :

http://www.cvlindia.com/inquiry_kyc01.asp


Jan 28

I recently made a trip to the passport office again to get a passport under the tatkaal scheme and it was as smooth as butter. No bribes, no harassment and no problems. I have decided to share my experience here so others can benefit from it. I have tried to cover all points and made it very comprehensive in nature. Ask in comments if you want a clarification on anything.

First things first, to get a passport under Tatkaal or even the General scheme, you need to have all your papers in order. People in the passport office had such gross errors on their documents and still expected the passport office to issue them a passport under the tatkaal scheme. I will given an example here :

This lady had a proof of residence which was made 30 days ago (Voter ID Card) , she claimed to have been born and brought up at the same place in Delhi but her 10th class certificate was from a Lucknow based school. If you do stuff like that , you will never get your passport. Do not conceal facts at the passport office. People like the above will then try to bribe officers and curse corrupt India. Its infact people like the one I have mentioned above who irritate the employees at the office. This lady had a fake Birth Certificate made which is a crime.

Here are the documents you will need :

1. Using a Verification Certificate : This is usually the option if you have parents in the Govt. who might be knowing people of the rank of under-secretary and above or if you know someone in the Army who is an officer above the rank of Major. If you have a VC, half your work is done. Dont forget to take the I-Card photocopy of the person issuing the VC.

The list of officers who can make the verification certificate is :

(i)       An Under Secretary/Deputy Secretary/Director/Joint Secretary/Add. Secretary/Special Secretary/Secretary/Cabinet Secretary to Government of India.

(ii)      A Director/Joint Secretary/Additional Secretary/Special Secretary/Chief Secretary to a State Govt.

(iii)    A Sub-Divisional Magistrate/First class Judicial Magistrate/Additional DM/District Magistrate of the district of residence of applicant.

(iv)     A District Superintendent of Police, DIG/IG/DGP of district of residence of applicant.

(v)      A Major and above in the army, Lt. Commander and above in the Navy and Sq. Leader and            in the Air Force.

(vi)     The General Manager of a Public Sector Undertaking

(vii)    All members of any All India Service or Central Service who are equivalent to or above the rank of   an  Under Secretary to the Government i.e. in the pay scale of Rupees 10,000-15,200 or above.

(viii)     Resident Commissioners/Additional Resident Commissioners of all State Governments based in Delhi.

(ix)      Concerned Tehsildars or Concerned SHO’s  for an applicant staying in the area under his/her jurisdiction. 

(x)        The Chairmen of the Apex Business Organizations i.e.FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM in respect of owners, partners or directors of the companies that are members of the concerned Chamber in prescribed performa as at Annexure “J”.

No one will make you a VC if they don’t know you well as its sort of a recommendation for a passport. Do not pester people you hardly know for a verification certificate.

Its recommended that the person issuing the VC be in the same city as you are (it wasnt true earlier, but recent experiences suggest this) and they can be in relation to you except your father/mother.

You will also need  a:

a. Residence proof : This is where Tatkaal gets tricky, your address proof should be more than 1 year old for the Tatkaal passport issue. This is not mentioned anywhere on the website or in the offices but is very much the policy. If you haven’t been at your current place of residence for greater than 1 year or don’t have  a proof of it, you will need to go via the General passport issue scheme.

For residence proof , private bank statements such as those of HDFC Bank and ICICI bank are unacceptable. It must be a government bank like SBI/UCO/Canara etc.

Also phone bills of Airtel/Reliance/Tata are not accepted. Must be MTNL or BSNL.

b. Proof of date of birth – The class 10th pass certificate is the de facto standard here. Wont go wrong with that. Illiterate people might be able to give a birth certificate as proof.

2. Using 3 ID proofs method : The information on the site is self-explanatory

The applicant also has the option to obtain a passport under Tatkal Scheme on submission of three documents from the Fourteen documents as mentioned below, provided one of the three documents is a photo identity document and atleast one of the three is amongst the documents indicated at (a) to (i) and a standard affidavit (Annexure “I”)  on non-judicial stamp paper duly attested by a Notary:

(a) Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC);

(b) Service Identity Card issued by State/Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, local bodies or Public Limited Companies;

(c) SC/ST/ OBC Certificates;

(d) Freedom Fighter Identity Cards;

(e) Arms Licenses;

(f) Property Documents such as Pattas, Registered Deeds etc.;

(g) Rations Cards;

(h) Pension Documents such as ex-servicemen’s Pension Book/Pension Payment order, ex-servicemen’s Widow/Dependent Certificates, Old Age Pension Order, Widow Pension Order;

(i) Railway Identity Cards;

(j) Income Tax Identity (PAN) Cards;

(k) Bank/ Kisan/Post Office Passbooks;

(l) Student Identity Cards issued by Recognized Educational Institutions;

(m) Driving Licenses; and

(n) Birth Certificates issued under the RBD Act.

In the 3 ID proofs method, the scrutiny is much more, and much smaller mistakes will get your passport rejected outright.

(All above documents to be produced in original along with self-attested copies)

You also need a standard affidavit in which you pledge your allegiance to the republic of India. Annexure I .

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After all your documents are ready :

Fill your passport form completely, printouts from the website are valid as well. Fill the police verification form as well as all other forms. The photos must be on a white background.  Get it checked by your friends or relatives, cross out all info that isnt applicable. While filling the form do read the instructions very carefully.

Next step if to take the filled up form,an application for passport under tatkaal, all documents, 2 self attested photocopies of all documents to the RPO. Take care that for Tatkaal you must yourself be present , someone else cant apply for the Tatkaal passport on your behalf.

Go to the passport office (Bhikaji Cama Place, RK Puram, its 200 meters from the ring road) in the morning (around 10 am), move onto the backside of the office and get your form stamped , the stamp has your token number and date. This token number is your queue number.

Now you can enter the office with your form. Move inside and towards the right to get to another room, here is where the Tatkaal counters are, currently counter number 3 and 4 work for this. Wait for your token number and move to the counter that displays your token. Some people will be breaking the line, push them towards the back and politely tell them that its your turn by the token number and they can go after you. For people who don’t understand , tell them the concept of token number. Some people mistakenly believe its a queue system.

Incase your form is rejected at counters 3 or 4, don’t be rude or shout, just ask politely how you can rectify the errors.  They are very helpful and unlike the Sheikh Sarai RTO (which is pure unadulterated bull excreta and the officials are unhelpful), they will try and help you get your passport. If you lose your temper, no one will help you. If its something that cant be helped, like documentation incomplete, no amount of shouting or argument will get you accepted, better to leave at this point.

After you are done here , join the line at counter number 2.Here your documents will be checked again, always offer to show them the originals. If your documents and form are in order, you will be asked to make the payment, move onto the cashier who sits in counter 1 and pay him Rs. 2500 , he will issue you a receipt. Check father’s name , your name and DOB on the receipt. The receipt also has your file number.

If you are at this step, congratulations, your passport will reach you in 3-4 working days via India Post if everything is in order. The postman may ask for a bakshish. In my case he asked for Rs.50 which we gave to him. This bakshish business is very flourishing BTW. Even the private courier company which delivers Driving Licenses in Delhi asks for bakshish. While it makes sense to give some to the postman, you should generally scram the courier boys if they ask for any.

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Conclusion and Important points :

Getting a passport is easy, I got done in 3 hours flat. Do not hire agents and do not pay bribes.

The main reasons for passport application rejection are :

1. Errors in spelling of name on different certificates, ensure a uniform spelling everywhere.

2. Photograph not having a white background, the passport office will only accept photos which have a white background.

3. Form not fully filled or incorrectly filled, everything has to be fully filled including names of references on the Personal Particulars form. Put NA or ‘– ‘where the info is irrelevant to you.

4. Withholding information, if they detect a mismatch in information provided and the certificates, passport is rejected straightway and depending upon seriousness, other action might be taken. Issuance of passport under Tatkaal is no joke, be prepared for consequences of forging info.

5. Bank Statements must be from a public sector bank.

6. Phone bills must be from MTNL/BSNL.

7. Residence proof must be more than 1 year old.

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For queries that are not answered here, you can contact your regional passport office though email. The one for Delhi can be reached at rpo.delhi@mea.gov.in

If you have anything to add, feel free to comment. Also all this info was true for me, I am not responsible for any actions taken after reading the above.