Thursday, August 30, 2007

Kung Fu Fighting

This is a very old song which I really like. The singer's name is Carl Douglas and this song was released in 1974. This song hit number 1 at that time. This song has appeared in a lot of movies for example Shaolin Soccer, Epic Movie, Beverly Hills Ninja and the most recent being Rush Hour 3. The song 'Kung Fu Fighting' had been inspired when Carl Douglas had seen a Kung Fu movie, and had attended a Jazz concert and also was having side-effects of pain killers as he had a foot injury. Another interesting fact about this song is that it was produced by Biddu Appaiah.

Biddu Appaiah is associated with lot of songs and artists. Artists like Carl Douglas and Tina Charles started off their career with him. Biddu gained lot of fame in India with the release of the movie Qurbani in 1979. He had produced a song with a new singer, Nazia Hassan who was only 15 and had sung the hit song 'Aap Jaisa Koi' and 'Laila o Laila' for the movie Qurbani. Even after these accomplishments, he brought forth Alisha Chinoy in 1995 with the hit song 'Made in India'.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Airline taxes

Nowadays everyone uses airlines either to cut on their travel time or due to the prices closeness of second/third class air-conditioned compartments of the Indian railways. This is why the domestic air sector in India is booming. Now due to the large varieties of airlines available the price competition has also become fierce. Due to these, tickets are coming cheap. Ofcourse that is what the advertisements show. Tickets for Zero, 99, 199, 299 etc.. The catch part is the taxes that are paid at the time of purchase of the ticket. Now these prices have risen a lot in the past few years. Just starting this month the tax was increased by Rs 150. Anyways, let me show you how the break-up of the taxes take place. For each ticket one purchases for a journey, the tax collected are divided as follow:

  • Passenger Service fee: Rs 225.
  • Fuel Surcharge: Rs 1100 (This got increased from 950 since August 2007).
  • Transaction surcharge: Rs 100.
  • Congestion fee: Rs 150.

Now donot get misled by the word 'Taxes'. People in general will consider that taxes are collected by the government. But in this case, except for the Rs 225 for the passenger service fee which is taken by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), the rest is taken by the airlines. The government still charges 0.62% on the base fare of the ticket. That is if the base fare is Rs 100 then the government gets 62 Paise. Anyways, the one of the reason what the airlines give for the so called taxes are that the Jet Fuel prices are high so Fuel Surcharge is increased. The above break up when added will come to Rs 1575.

When we take the same tax's price list to the International sector, we get the amounts roughly Rs 3600+. Here we have to consider that the charges put by different countries, both the source and destination and also the airports at both places. That is why I have to be mentally prepared before purchasing any ticket after looking at all the awesome dirt cheap prices different airlines offer. So this is what flying is all about.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Directional Signboard!

We see signboards everyday at every corner when we are moving around. Traffic signs, address signs, construction signs and many others are put up all around us. We come across it on a daily basis and some catch our eyes. Here is one which I saw on my way to a friend's house. This is an address sign which let's people know that the particular place is in that direction. This sign belongs to a Gym called Talwalkars. I am not a gym member but looking at the sign really gives me a good laugh. This idea was really innovatively taken from the road construction symbol - Road Construction Ahead. Just for information sake, the sign here says AHEAD while the arrow shows the right hand direction.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blazing Red Bike

This post will be more of a show than write. The pictures that are displayed here was taken by me when I was visiting a restaurant. Ofcourse, the pictures are of a bike outside in a service station next to the restaurant. This bike was getting serviced, but looking at it just made me click a picture of it. It is a really good looking bike. It's red colour is an eye catcher, but even the design of skulls along with the red colour give it a beautiful look. Just take a moment to look at it and take a deep breath. I have seriously no idea what are the features of the bike like what CC is the engine and how much Horse Power it produces. So I cannot provide any technical information.

Airport TV Service

When returning from Delhi, I had to check into the domestic departure terminal. My check-in counter was supposed to open in sometime, so I has some time to kill. I wanted to check for the updates on the flight status, so went to one of these TVs. Now since it is Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport, the TV installed is a Samsung Plasma screen TV (I think it is a 32 inch). There was no information available due to some access problems. But I know that for the 1 hour and above I spent there, I never saw it once functioning properly like displaying flight status. If that was not enough, the TV was being accompanied by 2 pigeons sitting over it. At one point, the pigeons flew above me and their droppings missed me by a small distance while I was seated waiting for my counter to be open. I am pretty sure that AAI (Airport Authority of India) has been working very hard in expanding the IGI airport for the 2010 Commonwealth Games that they miss these small things.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Rush Hour 3

It is really nice to see a movie in the opening weekend in a theatre (PVR Cinemas - Forum, Bangalore). This is a usual comedy that Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker bring to us. The story line is not that strong but the comedy by the duo is enough to keep the people glued to the seat until the end credits. There is not much to write about it. I would consider this as a proper sequel to Rush Hour 1 and Rush Hour 2. This movie doesnot give much highlight to the other cast members but they all do contribute to the action and comedy in the movie. Even the sequences in and around the Eiffel tower in Paris are really well portrayed. It is really worth watching for the comedy as it keeps you laughing throughout.

Indigo Air

My latest journey took me to NCR (National Capital Region : Delhi) from Bangalore and back. For this trip I chose Indigo Airlines as it suited both - time of travel and my pocket. The prices are reasonable when compared with other low cost airlines. I was able to book the ticket 2 days before my flight. So I guess everything was pretty much convenient. As usual one should check into the airport with their luggage atleast an hour before their flight. But in my case I needed 2 hours before my flight as two things are important for Bangalore's public. One, you cannot trust the traffic and second, the amount of people that show up at Bangalore's HAL airport.

Anyways, the luggage limit that Indigo permit for travel is 8kgs hand luggage and 20kg check-in luggage. The only thing was that my flight was delayed by 25 minutes from Bangalore as the incoming flight was late. The funny thing is that the same kind of delay happened from Delhi but the a delay time was 45 minutes. Now the fun part, as usual the flight provides water on the house while the other eatables come for a cost. Example, Vegetarian and Non-veg sandwich are Rs 100, Soft drink cans for Rs 25, Freshly Baked cookies (2 pieces) for Rs 20 (by the way this is the cheapest thing available). All the fleet of Indigo Air are new Airbus 320 planes. There are total of 6 crew members on each flight: 2 Pilots and 4 Air Hostesses.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Attestation of academic docs.

Foreign countries do not recognise any of the degrees of India. So the degrees need to be attested by the government of India. Of course the departments responsible for these are as follows.

STEP 1: The academic degree needs to be attested by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry (In other words, this is also the ministry of education). This particular ministry has all the information needed to know whether a college or university is authentic or not. Therefore their attestation is needed on the academic degree (of course on the back - if the degree is laminated then the lamination on the back should be removed. Get professional help). HRD attestation centres are available in most of the state capitals. The list of centres can be downloaded from the HRD link below. Also an application form is needed to be submitted with the academic degree, this also can be downloaded from the link below. Time required for attestation: roughly an hour or more depending on the centres load. Also the charge for this is only Rs 50 as one needs to make an Indian Postal Order for Rs 50 and submit with the document.
Click HERE for downloading attestation related documents from HRD website (One needs PDF reader).

STEP 2: After getting the HRD attestation, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) needs to attest the academic degree. This is because any foreign related Embassy in India recognises any document attested by the MEA as they are in direct contact with each other. Of course the Embassies verify the attested document with the MEA office. This attestation is done only in Delhi at Patiala House near India Gate. Time period for attestation: One can collect it in one hour after submission. No charges for this as it is a compulsory step after HRD attestation.

STEP 3: After the MEA attestation, one can submit the documents with the respective Embassy depending upon their submission time and collection time. Some Embassies collect in morning hours and return in the afternoons or even take a couple of days to return the academic document. Charges for the attestation varies from Embassy to Embassy. All the embassies are situated at Delhi in Chanakyapuri area.

The whole attestation process is not a lengthy one but then again we are talking about Indian government officials. Anyway, the documents that need to be carried with one to the HRD ministry attestation centre is the Academic Degree, Cumulative Marksheet (or Individual marksheet if cumulative is not there) and the Passport. Xerox/Photocopies of the above three documents should be submitted with the application form. The passport will be instantly returned after verifying with the copy. So no submission of the passport. The academic degree and cumulative marsheet will be returned within the hour. For MEA, the academic degree needs to be only submitted for attestation, but one can carry the cumulative marksheet and passport just in case for showing. For submission in the Embassy, only the academic degree is needed. In this case also Passport should be carried just in case for showing. In general all these attestation work is done by the person itself or his/her relative. There are official attestation agencies which go through all the above process on behalf of a person, of course they charge money which starts generally above Rs. 5000 onwards.