Saturday, December 3, 2016

A case of Delta airline

Delta Air Lines Customer Care Form  
Title: Mr
First Name: Gurudatha
Middle Name: xxxxx
Last Name: Pai
Reply-To Email Address: g***** 
Airline Program: DL
Frequent Flyer Number: xxxxx 
Address: xxxxxxx
Address Line 2:  
City: Kirkland
State/Province: WA
Postal Code/Zip: xxxx
Country: US
Telephone Country Code: US
Phone Number: xxx-xxx-xxxx 
Flight Date: 11/xx/2016
Flight Number: DL0035 
Origin City: CDG
Destination City: SEA
Confirmation Number: AHSKRG
Ticket Number: xxxxxxxxx
Class of Travel: basic_economy
Response Required: yes

Message: Hello,
 I have a laundry list of complaints for this flight's in airport and in flight service. I almost had it with the crew of this airplane and wanted to speak to the cabin supervisor. The only reason not to do so was so as to not loose my piece of mind on a long trans-atlantic flight.

1. We were standing in line (my wife was with me on the same route with a separate ticket). We were pulled out of the line by rude person asking us why we were in line for check in without talking to him first. Then somebody else puts himself in the middle of this rude conversation to tell us that they are Delta's security team and had questions for us before checking in. Then I get asked if this was my first air travel! First of all, there is a better way to introduce oneself and then how am I supposed to know the private security Delta is working with and to check in with.

2. We were seated in the flight and asked the flight attendant (one mr. Mark) to "could you please get me a glass of water when you come around next time?" He looks at my water bottle on the seat and asks me "why? Don't you have water with you in that bottle?" Really? Is that a question to be asked in return for a request for a glass of water? Just so that you know, the bottle was empty, visibly, clearly crushed to be trashed. He brings me a glass in a couple of minutes.

3. Meal service - The lady on the right aisle-way brings us drinks and I request some wine and glass of club soda, no ice. She doesn't hear me and gives me water instead of club soda.

4. No problem, I see the service on the left. Mark is serving drinks and I ask him for club soda, no ice. Mark proceeds to observe that I have trashed the plastic cup he had given me water with earlier and gives a lecture about reusing the cup. He is then too busy making polite conversations with a young lady on the window seat in the same row. Unfortunately for me, he give a water again, not club soda and walks away. At this time, I am furious. I press the call button. After a many many minutes, the call light above me clears but nobody answers me.

5. The lunch service. The drinks service completely misses my wife who's sitting on my left on 17D. I press the call button again and nobody answers. I make it a point to walk back and let them know they missed serving her. A lady comes back and asks her what she wants - ginger beer. The lady comes back with a can and plastic cup and walks away, My wife, who is very strict about her diet learns after taking a sip that what was served to her was beer and not ginger beer. I press the call button again but I time it. It was 16 minutes and then the light above our head just clears without anybody answering us. I walk back again to tell them that they made a mistake again and gave her beer not ginger beer. I get another rude rhetoric comment - "what is it that she wants" - Ginger beer or ginger ale. They bring her that in the next few minutes.

6. The crew collects the trash etc. But doesn't recycle. And I wonder about the earlier lecture about reusing. I wonder if it was to impress the lady in the window seat that I was made party to a lecture on reusing plastic cups, or this was a subtle neglect since Delta staff did not like our presence among white passengers with a white crew.

7. The crew brings hot towels, again they forget to give it to us. I was asleep but my wife noticed that we seemed to be invisible to the crew, yet again. There is a reason for this point by point account of our experience. My wife had a similar experience on a separate delta flight where she perceived a sense of neglect if not anything else by the crew. See Case Number 21xxxxxx. Now, explain to me what I should do if such an experience repeats on a delta flight or assure me that these are isolated incidents and by chance happened in close proximity of one another. Also, assure me that this is not a Delta policy to neglect/question/criticize customer requests for water and drinks and racially profile customers at check-in counters. And for the love your own company, jobs and basic human principles don't just send me a bunch of miles and shut me up.

Finally, I would like this complaint to be made available to the boss of customer experience and SkyMiles program. Thanks for your patience and willingness to read through this and hopefully you will bring it to the attention of the right individuals and the right levels.

Submitted: Thu Nov 03 2016 07:07:44 GMT-0700 (PDT)


Reply #1: Nearly a month later

From: Contact Delta
Date: December 1, 2016 at 12:09:38 PM EST
Subject: Re: CC-Share a Compliment-After Trip  (xxxxxxx)
Hello Gurudatha,

RE: Case Number xxxxx

Thanks for writing about your flight from Paris.        We will investigate your concerns and get back to you as quickly as possible. We ask you to be patient as it may take up to 30 days to respond. 

Michelle S. Samuel

From: Contact Delta Date: December 2, 2016 at 4:03:04 PM EST To: Subject: Re: CC-Share a Compliment-After Trip (KMM66303719V87065L0KM) Hello Gurudatha, RE: Case Number 21730070 Thanks for the email about your travel experience with us on November 2nd at the Charles de Gaulle airport and onboard DL 35. I understand your disappointment with the way the security agent questioned you while standing in line at the ticket counter. There is no excuse for rudeness, in fact we don't tolerate it. We expect all of our agents to be courteous and respectful to our passengers. I"m forwarding your feedback to the Charles de Gaulle Airport Customer Service leadership team to use for service improvement. After your experience at the ticket counter, it was discouraging to learn that the flight attendants were also rude and were not attentive during the flight. I can imagine how frustrating it must having to ask multiple times for a drink or being skipped over during beverage service. I would have been upset too. It's our goal to provide the best service possible, this includes being helpful to all of our passengers. I'm sorry you didn't get the service you expected and that we have let you down before. We take you feedback very seriously and it will be shared with our InFlight Service leadership team for internal follow-up. Bonus Miles We know that we can't replace what happened or place a value on your experience, but we can offer you a goodwill gesture to show that we do care. So, I’m adding 3,000 bonus miles to each of your SkyMiles accounts. They should be transferred into your accounts within three business days. We appreciate your business and hope that you will give us another chance to provide a more positive experience. Regards, Jennifer Wilson

Friday, November 11, 2016

Paris Trip plan for Indians

Train options:
1. Navigo pass - Monday through Sunday 27€ first time and 22€ after that.
2. Buy 10 tickets or 20 tickets from for discount

1. Eiffel Tower : go in evening so that you are on top for sunset. Walk up to second level and take lift from there.
2. Champs-Élysées (arc de Truimp):
3.  Musee de louvre (Louvre museum) : go from the shopping mall (carousel du louvre) entrance and buy tha ticket in gift shop there. Ask in info desk inside the mall). Download the app and 1€ audio guide. Can buy ticket on the app. Use museum website for trail of must see pieces in louvre.
4. Palais Garnier (Garnier opera house): at least do the tour with audio guide but highly recommend a ballet or opera show. The box office opens 1 hour before the show. Buy the 10€ ticket.
5. Chataue de Versailles (Versailles palace): go early. Take the ticket with audio guide.  Go weekday. Go very early. Weekend is expensive. Plan for a full day there. Have a water bottle.
6. Museum of Orsay
Anu went here. Small and very good museum. Famous for monet's lily painting.
7. Notre dame cathedral: free and good place.
8. Evening cruise is cool too. Typical price is 13€.
9. Luxomberg garden: if you have time to spare.

1. Crepes at small coffee shops and roadside shops good for breakfast.
2. Buy water bottles at regular stores and keep in hotel. Water near attractions is super expensive.
3. For Indian food, go to the station Gare du Nord. Recommend Talapakkatta and pepper chicken there.
4. Rue cler (Cler street) for street food

Most of all. Have fun :)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

dEpajyotihi parabrahma

दीपज्योतिः परब्रह्म दीपज्योतिर्जनार्दनः ।
दीपो हरतु मे पापं दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥

dEpajyotihi parabrahma dEpajyotirjanaardanah |
dEpo haratu me pApAn Diipa-Jyotir-Namostute ||

Namaste (salutations) to the light of the lamp, the supreme Brahman, Janardhana (Vishnu), let it remove my sins.

shubham karOti

शुभं करोति कल्याणमारोग्यं धनसंपदा ।
शत्रुबुद्धिविनाशाय दीपज्योतिर्नमोऽस्तुते ॥
shubham karOti kalyAnamarogyam dhanasampadA |
shatrubuddhivinAshAya dEpajyotirnamOstute ||

Namaste (salutations) to the light of the lamp, which brings auspiciousness, good health and prosperity, destroys Inimical feelings.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

ಮೊದಲ ಷಟ್ಪದಿ (modala ShaTpadi )

ಬಹುಶ: ನಾನು ಬರೆಯಬಹುದಾದ ಯಾವ ಕ್ರತಿಗಾದರೋ, ಈ ಷಟ್ಪದಿ ಒ೦ದು ಅಲ್ಪ ಪ್ರಾರ೦ಭ.

ನಾನೇನು ಬರೆಯಲಿ ಕವನ೦, ಹನಿಗವನ೦
ಇನ್ನೂ ಓದಿ ಮುಗಿಸಿಲ್ಲ ಬೀಚಿ೦, ಕೈಲಾಸ೦.

ಹೇಗೆ ತಾನೆ ಬೆಳೆಸಲಿ ಸಣ್ಣ ಕಥೆ, ಕಾದ೦ಬರಿ
ಬಣ್ಣಿಸಲಾರೆ ನಾ ಈ ಕವಿಗಳ, ರಾಷ್ಟ್ರಗವಿಗಳ ಶ್ರೇಷ್ಟತೆಯ ಪರಿಯಲಿ.

ಇನ್ನೂ ಓದಿಲ್ಲ ನಾನು ಕಾರ೦ತ, ಡಿವಿಜಿ
ಅಯ್ಯೊ! ಮತ್ತೆ ಮರೆತೆ ಬೊಮ್ಮನಹಳ್ಳಿಯ ಕಿನ್ನರಜೋಗಿ


This is my first published effort at writing (no technical literature doesn't count). This is perhaps the only one, but in any case, it is a disclaimer to what I might write. This is a six-liner, the title is "first six-liner". The influence perhaps is Jagjith Singh and the ghazals he has voiced. Specifically, the category of Urdu literature called "misra", a six-liner that often dejects life, love and the God.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just another day, in India

The last two days of month of July were the first reflections of the deep technology dependency of  the modern era in the lives of Indians. Or is it?

On July 30th and then on 31st, we saw the avalanche collapse of the Indian power grid. On the 30th, the northern region collapsed and on the 31st, it took down the eastern and north eastern regions with it. These days saw a total load loss of about 36000MW and 48000MW respectively (according to the report published thereafter). I have no idea about the total impact of these events, may it be in terms of the number of people impacted or the financial loss. The official report that I have had the chance to read don't even make a mention.

This event brought out many technical, political and social outcries. The Ministry of Power, Govt. of India had many press briefings and the then Minister of Power, Mr. Sushilkumar Shinde made many press appearances. He had his political cards, but failed to make any technically or even political correct statements, in my opinion. 

Having said that, I am not that pessimistic about the technology side of the whole affair. I am not suggesting that the event was a positive experience. It, most certainly, was the difficult hours for the people stuck in trains, elevators, etc. But I would bet my money that most people did not realize, at least in the beginning, that the event was not the typical one they experience every other day. Most people who have not lived in India don't realize that most Indians do not take electricity for granted like the people who live developed countries. They perhaps find it hard to believe, but its true.

For instance, my mom makes sure that she prepares everything that she needs before 8am on Tuesdays. Because,  by definition, Tuesdays my town gets its turn for "load shedding". From 8am in the morning, till perhaps 6 or 7PM, we will not have power. We just live with that, we have to. It gets worse in summer, and worst in drought years. That's when we get unscheduled "load shedding". We still live with that. 

Much of India has not seen electrification but of the many places that has, most will have some sort of backup power, like diesel (petrol, kerosene) generators (most buildings that have an elevator will have a one, I would guess), backup (battery powered, or solar or both) power sources for lighting, etc. They can survive a day or two without power and they wouldn't know. Here is the kicker, every desktop computer would be connected through an UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). Perhaps only server rooms of the developed countries have such a power supply for computers. 

But, these balckouts brought out a spectacular outrage of people, many making very strong statements on the tv, etc. (media mightier than the sword, right!! ) and bigger twitter storms. Eventually, the Govt. of India gave in and replaced the Power Minister. Yes, thats the political solution for a seemingly technical problem.

Now, it has been two months and there is still a lot of that anguish in the air. I know, I can understand how important energy is to a country which seemingly cannot tame its growth pattern. I agree with the long term strategic goals of a smarter, tech savvy grid with the "intelligent everything" features. Should we just go and invest in these technologies, that in many case don't exist. Is everything as bad as it is made out to be? Or is it simpler than that?

For example see this post 

 (I am hoping he will respond to my comments :) ).

Mr. Gopi Katragadda, ( Managing Director at GE India Technology Center) in the above blog, argues that India should get to the smart grid very quickly and that is the panacea of all the curses of the Indian grid and its vulnerabilities. Don't get me wrong, I am a big proponent of smart grid technologies, my research is on technology similar to  what many people think as being part of a smarter grid. Nonetheless, I disagree with Mr. Katragadda's proposals as both short and medium term solutions. I don't think India's current grid situation needs a smart grid approach, in the short term. There are more fundamental problems than that.

(Also, notice that many technical solutions he proposed are the fields where GE has a strong footprint, talk about marketing.)

I will give you a simple example. I was in the audience of ta discussion on nuclear power plants in the aftermath of tsunami in Japan. The panelists were many eminent experts from the power, nuclear generation industries and the faculty of the nuclear engineering dept. of MIT. One of the primary concern they all voiced is that, country like India lacks the discipline to run a large scale nuclear power plant and any incident may lead to large scale disaster given the attitude of people, emergency response infrastructure and the population density.

People, my dear friends, is the key. One of the recommendations of the TECHNICAL report on the grid failure is 

  • Penal provisions of the Electricity Act, 2003 need to be reviewed to ensure better compliance of instructions of Load Dispatch Centers and directions of Central Commission. 

Yes, that's a technical recommendation. Now, will you be surprised if I tell you that the primary cause to the blackout was anything but technical. In fact, they did not find any unexpected behavior of any component,  sub-system or protectoin mechanism but of people. What did they find?

  • High Loading on  400 kV Bina-Gwalior-Agra link: The overdrawal by some of the Northern Region (NR) utilities, utilizing Unscheduled Interchange (UI), contributed to high loading on this tie line.

  • Inadequate response by State Load dispatch Centers (SLDC) to the instructions of Regional Load dispatch Centers (RLDC) to reduce overdrawal by the NR utilities and underdrawal/excess generation by the Western Region (WR) utilities

The people simply did not respond to orders coming from their peers in other control rooms. As simple as that. I bet they were sleeping comfortably, it was 2:30AM when all this happened! OKAY, stop blaming the Govt. of India now and start blaming Govt's of northern states!

P.S: I could go on, about delays in re-energizing the plants and the rest of the grid; I will end up with the same answer, very sluggish response of people to mission critical problems. But, I am glad that there are some wide-area data acquisition (PMU and sync frequency measurements, albeit in the distribution network) and how I wish I could touch that data!
Also see: 
  1. 10 Amazing Photos from the Massive Power Outtages in India,
  2. Report on the Grid Disturbance in the Northern Region on the 30th July and in Northern, Eastern and North-Eastern Region on 31st July 2012.
  3. IIT Bombay, Wide Area Frequency Measurement Systemhttp://
  4. International Energy Outlook 2011
  5. Your favorite search engine

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Elusive 100mile mark

Last weekend was a special weekend for me. I was in Sundance, WY riding the MS Close Encounters bike ride organized by the Wyoming chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The preparations leading to the ride was fine. I had logged about 540miles on the saddle for the last 75 days; I had multiple 50+ mile rides. I started on Friday, late afternoon and reached Sundance well before 7PM. I had enough time to register, have my "foot-long" and set-up my tent. It so happened that the school's Outdoor Programs Office could not rent me a sleeping bag. So, I was there with my comforter, hoping that it would be just fine. Fine it was!

The evening was cool. I had time to chit-chat with fellow campers, all of them were members of the team Bioness Vitesse. It got dark and I found myself reading a Kannada short story book under the street light. Soon, I decided to call it a night and got back to my tent. I could not sleep for some reason, and I felt very cold. Apparently, it is very difficult to sleep just with a sleeping-pad and a comforter with the temperatures under 40deg F. Listening to podcasts did not help my case.

As the morning approached, I got very keen to get up and get going. By 6:00AM, I was at the breakfast, trying to see if I can meet up with some familiar faces. I saw KB and TB. I rode with them for Team Pokes last year, this year 4 members of our team had missed out. Anyway, we agreed to ride together as long as we can, or I should say as long as I could keep up with them.

We started at 7 with the team Megasorasses, who raised the highest amount of money and get the privilege, rightfully so, of leading the ride. Just a couple of miles out of town, we were on the century loop. Myself, KB and TB were the first 3 to enter the century loop.

Century loop is an additional 14 mile or so to complete 100 miles in the day. What makes this part of the ride specially attractive is that it's a climb all the way to the top of a mountain. 7 Miles of pure climbing. If it interests you, here is the climb profile.

I should mention that I am not much of a climber, my bike is not very well suited for climbing either. But one thing helped a lot - elevation. Laramie is at an elevation of 7300ft. Sundance is at about 4700ft. You can feel the difference in the thickness of the air, you really can. Anyway, back to the ride. Soon, KB, being an expert rider, broke away from us and somehow TB was behind me. But then a familiar face from the previous night's camp-side chat was riding next to me, Mr. C. For the next hour or so, we had one long conversation, as we tackled the mighty climb. Doing 5miles an hour on a steep long climb isn't exactly fun. But we managed it, by talking about power system, engineering as career choice, politics, federal elections and fibrosis, which is what C works on. He also happens to be a MS patient.  A lot of people passed us, but we weren't bothered about it at all. It's not a race!

At some point before we reached the peak, C broke away from me. I just tried to hang in there, and enjoy the ride, the scenery - the Black-Hills National Forest. I did reach the top of the Warren peak, took a few minutes and talked to the volunteers waiting for us. They gave me this badge for completing the century loop. But somewhere on the way, I had already achieved my goal, to make friends with an MS patient.

Coming down was a real cyclist experience! It is very difficult to put that in words. And then, to realize that you went up that very hill, just quadruples the excitement. Imagine going down a 6% slope at 40mph, on zig-zag roads. I was bloody scared to touch the breaks. I knew if I did not break going into a corner, I was gonna hit the railings. I knew if I could not break very quickly, for that will be disaster. Its such an adrenaline rush, to use both the lanes on the road and find it not wide enough for your 45mph turns! I was out of the century loop very quickly, I must have done the return trip in 10 mins or less. But by that time, most people had covered a lot of distance on the main course and there were only 2 people behind me. I was the third one to enter the loop and positioned last but three when I exited.

Anyway, I would catch up with them soon, I thought to myself. At that same time, the two people who were behind me, passed me. I was the last person on the ride and I remained so for the next 20miles. Soon, I was going through rest-stops every so-often as I could. I did catch up with people, by the time I was at lunch stop, which is about 50mile mark for me (with the century loop), there were 5 people behind me. 5 out of the 284 riders total. If you think about it, being so behind the pack can be both motivational and disastrous!

Lunch, sadly did not go well either. They had a sandwich, with some meat in it; I cant remember what it was. But I decided not to eat it. I ate an apple, a banana, a cereal bar and continued.

Rest-stops came and went, so did other riders. Some people stopped at lunch, some others stopped at various points. There are some long climbs in the post lunch ride. These climbs are not very steep, may be 3% for the most part and sharper at the peaks. But they are very long, say 3-4miles. I was going very slow, even stopped a few times to catch a breath; eat an energy-bar or two. But yet, I think I did well on these climbs. Compared to last year, I did exceptionally well.

The good part of a long climb is that you can go downhill after that. Boy! oh boy did I go! Next 30 or so miles were fast. I think I did them in a under 90minutes.

Heading back to Sundance was when I started chocking up on my own saliva. For reasons I can only guess, I started to have hick-ups. When I had about 15miles to go, I was sat down at the stop #6 and rested a bit. I had about 15miles to go, an hour or so, I thought to myself. I have done around 85 miles today and a silly hick-up isn't going to spoil my day, because I wont let it happen. I set off.

But the hick-ups got only worse. Do you ever have that feeling that your stomach is revolting against you and that your tongue seems to remember the scrambled egg you ate for breakfast? I had that exact feeling. I stopped. Got off the bike, put it down and walked around. It's all fine now.

Let's get going. And that feeling again, damn it. Lets drink some more water, may be I haven't kept up my water in-take. Some Gatorade should help, it's supposed to. I was doing 7-8 miles an hour with a light tail-wind, in my defense though, its one of those rolling-hills of Wyoming with more uphill than down.

Anyway, I stopped again, this time under a lonely tree. Leaned on the handlebar and did a quick prognosis. I think I will throw-up, any minute. Right then, a fellow rider pulled up. "Are you alright?"

"I don't know, I have this funny feeling that I am gonna throw-up, I hope not."

"You should sag! By the way, I am D".

"Hi D, thanks for stopping, I should be okay! I will have some water and get going. We are almost here, another 7 miles to go?  oh, sorry! I am Guru."

"Yeah, 7 or 8. Next rest-stop is in 4-5miles. Do you have enough water?"
I had enough water and I asked him to leave and told him I will sag if I don't feel like riding. Sag is the word we use for taking a ride on the support cars, they are called sag-wags.

I just sat down on the ground, had more water. Right then, a bit of the apple and banana was on the floor. Oh! what a relief. That does it. I can only get better from here!

I sat of the bike and started riding. Some calculations - I have about 7 miles to go, at this pace I will have to ride for an hour, if I just stand up and go for an all-or-nothing effort, I will reach in 30-40minutes. Let's go.

People so easily talk about last ditch efforts, as if there is something magical about it. There is nothing. It's the greatness of people doing it. Think of famous athletes, unknown soldiers and perhaps critically ill patients. I don't know what it is that makes them do these heroic and almost magical acts of bravery, courage and strength; I am sure of that, for I gave up.

In the next half mile or so my last ditch effort dint pan-out. I stopped. I remembered what my friend KM had told me as I left Laramie. "Guru, at any time, if you feel like you can't do it, just call it quits". At that moment, I wasn't enjoying it nor did I want to continue anymore.  I waved thumbs down to the sag-wag and asked him to take me back. There goes my 100 mile ride! I got a batch for the century loop, which I never completed!

After getting back to Sundance, I remember I lied down on the lawn at 3:30pm-ish. Only things I remember are signing up for the free massage, blabbering something to Mr. C, Mr. D and somebody else.

I think I passed out, asleep at least. I got up at 4:30 or something, the dinner was ready. I dint ask what it was, served myself. I met up with D again and his friend Mr. B. Had my dinner and retired for the day. Back at the Sundance High School, where we had camped. A quick shower later, I called KM and told him about the ride. He is the one who got me into it in the first place. Being a biologist, he said how remarkable human body is, that it can recover so quickly.

Fifteen minutes after that call and a Subway "foot-long" later, I saddled my Motobecane up. I rode from corner to corner of the town of Sundance. A total of 6+miles, my way of reaching my goal, may not count for anything, but it does mattered. I had a good night's sleep that evening.

I will not trouble you with the details of the day two of the ride. It suffices to say that myself, Mr. C and Mr. D rode as a peloton for good part of the ride. Some other guys also participated in breaking the wind. I stopped at the 50mile mark or the lunch break after 3 hours of riding. Had my lunch and was on my way back to Laramie, thinking how wonderful my weekend was and what may it bring to the lives of people affected by MS.

Next five hours, as I drove back to Laramie, I was just thinking what would it take to end all the diseases, hunger and suffering. We, humans have a very long to-do list!!! I think we can achieve all of it, if we want to.

Finally, I couldn't close this post without acknowledging the contributions of some of my closest friends and family. Thank you, your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Jill - $100.00
Bonnie Zare - $50.00
Mr. Rodney Garnett - $50.00
Madhav Prakruth Athre - $30.00
Pallavi - $25.00
Sharath Aramanekoppa - $25.00
Krithika - $25.00
Anup - $25.00
Jim & Felicia Follum - $25.00
Avani Nayak - $20.00
Goutham Kamath - $20.00