Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Loan shopping lessons

Loan shopping can teach you a lot! -- (apart from the obvious rate comparisons) -- about yourself and human nature in general.

Competitive challenges have elicited many responses from nationalized banks of India.
Here you see strange initiatives under the rubric of customer service.
Things like service with a smile. Ah well, those posters on the notice board goading staff to smile cos, hey, it ain't gonna cost ya!

I walk into the zonal office of one such, and sure enough, one lady sitting right in front of the main entrance gave me a smile.
She seemed friendly too once I returned her smile -- a far cry from the iron gate and foreboding double-door I'd just passed through, reminding me of the US consulate (if you've been there for a visa) - shudder!

She guides me to the loan officer who teaches an important lesson:
A smile is just an externally visible behaviour change that is recommended in the hope that it changes your internal dispensation -
from treating the customer as a thug,
to genuinely caring for and tending to his needs.


Friendliness - a mindset and an attitude. Two people at this bank demonstrated it.
As for the loan officer, his attitude seemed to be that he was doing me a favor -- entertaining me by answering my queries! He might as well have said,
'look here son, we do you a favor so get on your knees and cry!'
(It's a good thing he didn't smile too. That would've been so insulting).



Contrast this with another bank where the loan officer was helpful and caring.
She didn't offer me a chair, nor did she smile as I recall. But her attitude was to help serve my needs as a customer.
What a pleasant and more importantly, useful interaction.

As a result the latter bank is a frontrunner for my custom,
whereas the former, well, I wouldn't patronise them to save my life!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Emptiness

The days roll on bye,
and I feel within me,
a deep, emptiness.

Life's canvas, stark and dull,
whenceforth the colours did run,
and leave my dreams aloof in ether.

Some dreams that held me dear, I hurt,
and some in my heart were broken.

Chained in purgatory, I bleed,
tears unheeded, unheard.
Child heart, flaying wildly,
for a hand to hold, a soul to love.

And yet all about, and within,
there is this stifling, emptiness.
How can I find without,
what lies not within.


The joy, the love, that infant heart
was blessed with, seem far gone.
A foreign land, distant shores,
no more my own.

For here lie I, marooned,
on my isle of emptiness.

I bend my head in toil, and it
takes away that dreary pain.
But when I face myself in the mirror,
there I find it lying still, emptiness.

Must I wipe clean, the slate
of recriminations past,
or free myself
from enslaving future.

I know not yet. But
for now, I stand
alone, in emptiness.