The Observer
Just observing the world around


If you are travelling abroad and considering taking a Matrix Global SIM, avoid it.

I almost had a bad experience last time, but Matrix managed to solve it, as it was a billing related issue. I also gave a good review in sites like MouthShut.

This time, I took a card for Thailand, as I would be spending several hours there while in transit.

When I landed in Swarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, I switched on the mobile with the Matrix to inform my family that I had arrived safely. But all I got was a recorded message from the Thai mobile company saying my SIM card was not valid. The message asked me to contact ‘customer care’ but no number was given.

As I had taken the Matrix card, I had not bothered to activate roaming in any of my mobiles. I tried to use the airport WiFi, but the connectivity was extremely poor.

I spent the entire transit time of around four hours unable to contact my family.

It was the same during the return transit. What was worse, there was no way to contact Matrix as the SIM itself was not valid.

My family was also trying desperately to contact me. They had no way of knowing whether I had landed safely.

The shocker came when I returned to India and complained to Matrix. “We could have done something had you complained from Thailand. Sorry, we can’t waive your rental.”

I immediately went on Twitter tagging Matrix. Soon, I got a call and an email asking me to wait till the generation of bill. I replied to them that apart from the bill waiver, I was also expecting some compensation from Matrix for the mental trauma of losing all contact with my family.

When there was no response even after the generation of the bill, I sent Matrix an email. I got a reply that they would “look into it”.

But there was one more shocker the next day. Matrix had debited my credit card for the bill amount. I shot off another email to Matrix. I was assured that the rental would be waived. I again reminded about the compensation part. Matrix refused.

I once again went on Twitter and Facebook against Matrix. I filed a complaint with and alerted Akosha.

Soon, there was a call from Matrix asking me what compensation I expected. I said I was expecting a reasonable sum of Rs 5,000, considering the mental trauma faced by me and my family. After some time, I got an email offering me Rs 2,500 worth Matrix voucher.

Here was a customer getting fed up of Matrix, and Matrix was offering me a Matrix voucher. That too for half of what I had sought.

I replied to them rejecting the offer. Matrix replied back saying “As suggested, we have issued a compensation of Rs.2500 worth free talk time here, valid till 30th April, 2014, which is actually the best possible resolution we can offer. We do not issue cash rewards or cash discounts as a compensation and I am sure with you being well versed with Industry standards and norms, would be aware that product compensation is not rewarded in cash in such industry practices.”

I replied back: “I have not accepted the Rs 2,500 Matrix voucher for two reasons:

1. I am not a frequent traveller, and even if I travel on reporting assignments, I don’t think I am going to spend that much. You must also understand that I will go for Matrix only if I am satisfied with the response to my complaint.

2. Rs 5,000 is not big for a corporate like Matrix. I am not dealing with an individual who can’t pay. If it had been the case, I would have readily reduced the amount. I might have not even asked for Rs 2,500.

The amount is not much, as I had already said, considering that my family made numerous ISD calls trying to track me, and you would know how much ISD calls cost. So, the amount I have sought is not unreasonable.

I am not asking for rewards and discounts as you have mentioned. I am asking for compensation. If you don’t have a policy of compensating by cash, you can offer it by talktime in other networks (which is your area of operation), or gift vouchers.

And by offering a Matrix voucher, you are forcing a dissatisfied customer to go for a Matrix product again, which is not fair.”

That was the end of the conversation.

Matrix has come out as a totally insensitive company. I am waiting for the response to my complaint to and Akosha. The next step is to go to a consumer forum.




For over a decade, I kept away from PSUs as much as I could. I had had bad experiences with both BSNL and a PSU bank, and I swore I would never ever have anything to do with PSU telecom companies and banks.

But I kept hearing about how the two PSU behemoths were changing…and adapting to the times.

My experience at Valparai, a hill station in Tamil Nadu, forced me to get a BSNL SIM card. I had to be without even basic mobile connectivity for two full days at Valparai, as only BSNL had services there.

Read more at the Business Line Blogs



Heroines in Indian movies have usually nothing to do except run around trees or provide the glamour element. When was it the last time when you saw a heroine provide a memorable performance? Parvathy Menon is a surprise package in Maryan. Bharat Bala has tried to extract the most from her and she has not disappointed him. Parvathy performs like a seasoned actress, providing a scintillating performance, leaving everyone else, except of course Dhanush, far behind.

Once you see Maryan, it is difficult to believe Dhanush debuted in what was almost a semi-porn film. Again, the credit goes to Bharat Bala. Dhanush manages to up his performance level in every film. We can rest assured that we have a brilliant actor to replace Kamal Hassan. It was not surprising that there were people in the audience who felt Dhanush could be the next Kamal Hassan after his performance in Maryan.

I had a feeling that A.R. Rahman, was losing his touch and was increasingly churning out garbage. Were the producers and directors responsible for the decline of the genius? Maryan proves it – the other way round. ARR is in full flow in the movie. ‘Innum Koncham Neram’ and ‘Nenje Ezhu’ are sure to be chartbusters.

The breathtaking cinematography by Marc Koninckx takes the film to a higher level. This is one reason why you must watch the movie in big screen.

If this is a movie review, why is there nothing much about the movie itself? It is just because Bharat Bala seems to lose his way after the interval. Dhanush’s ‘escape’ from the kidnappers is so long drawn that you desperately feel like having a fast-forward button. It doesn’t mean the movie is brilliant before the interval. You don’t know whether the guy who murmurs something to Maryan and longs for Panimalar (Parvathy) is really ‘The Villain’. He unceremoniously disappears after a blow from Panimalar’s at the end of an aborted rape attempt.

There is also the pointless death of Dhanush’s friend Appu that doesn’t help the narrative in any way. Bharat Bala also appears clueless about Dhanush’s mother, who is dead against the love affair. The director shocks everyone, including Parvathy, by a sudden inexplicable change of heart.

The director compensates Dhanush’s listless escape with the emotional reunion scene. There is nothing of the dramatic mad rush towards each other. Parvathy gradually realises Dhanush’s presence near her. There are hardly any words exchanged. This is the Bharat Bala Maryan misses through the most part of the movie.



CCTV and Delhi Metro are trending on Twitter as I write this. There was shock and surprise that the videos had managed to find their way to porn sites. I wasn’t. There is a dispute whether the clips are from CCTVs or mobiles. Whatever may be the source, the clips are available online.

I wasn’t surprised because it is not difficult to find Indian porn clips on the net. It is not confirmed who uploaded the Delhi Metro clips. May be it was the security guys or Delhi Metro employees, but what it shows is how lax we are with our data, especially…(Read more)



The week began with a bad news. I lost one of my friends – Atul Chitnis – to cancer. He is my friend, but I have never talked to him; or even met him. But I have ‘conversed’ with him.

My ‘conversations’ were in Twitter. He was an Apple fanboy. Once we had a small conversation about how he was almost abused by other Android fanboys. I felt guilty, because I am an Android guy, but I was helpless. I apologised on behalf of those who abused him, but he did not respond to my tweet. Click here to read more in my blog post in The Hindu Business Line



Do you want to connect to your office’s Exchange Server through your phone or tablet? Then TouchDown is for you.

The app can sync your office calendar, contacts and email in real time.

The app is available for Android (phones and tablets), iOS, Kindle Fire and Nook. And one for Windows is in the offing.

This is the description of TouchDown from their site:

TouchDown provides comprehensive support for all Exchange, Information Rights Management (IRM) and Data Loss Protection policies. The solution uses AES-256 encryption, which adds an extra layer of security, and offers more than 80% of Outlook functionality. A robust stand-alone solution, TouchDown also provides seamless integration to a wide array of leading Mobile Device Management solutions.

Here are just a few benefits of TouchDown:

Comprehensive support for BYOD programs
AES-256 Encryption for an added layer of security
Full support of Exchange ActiveSync Policies
Seamless integration with leading MDM solutions
Information Rights Management and DLP policy support
Email features users need and want
User friendly interface speeds adoption rates
Cost-effective, streamlined architecture provides almost immediate ROI

TouchDown lets you access your corporate Email, Contacts and Calendar right from your Android-powered phone. Works with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 SP1 and with most online Exchange hosting providers. With TouchDown, your office email, calendar and contacts are available right at your fingertips. You can choose how long to retain your email on your phone.

You can choose to download ALL your exchange contacts to TouchDown any time you want, but get all changes automatically every time you check your email. You get quick access to your day’s agenda, optimized for viewing on your phone. You can choose to dismiss past events to simplify the view. You dont just get a read-only view of your information, you can also – Compose and send Email Reply to, Reply All and Forward your email Delete Email messages Add, Delete or Edit existing contacts when you are on the move.

The changes to your contacts will be automatically updated to your Exchange account. TouchDown uses the same level of security as your other email access tools , so there is no need to worry about your confidential information being compromised. You dont have to forward your email to another service just to get them on your Android powered phone. TouchDown does not require you to run a separate program on your computer to forward your data to the phone. Simply install the product, configure it on the phone and get going in a couple of minutes.

For Android, it is available both at the Google Play Store and Amazon App Market. For Android, it is also available in a HD version for tablets.

TouchDown costs $20 (over Rs 1,000), but has a 30-day trial version. Be sure to try out the trial version before opening your wallet – because TouchDown offers NO REFUNDS.




by R. Dinakaran

Emboldened by the Tamil Nadu Government’s caving in before Islamic fundamentalists, Christian fundamental organisations have now called for a ban on Maniratnam’s Kadal.

According to reports, several Christian organisations, including the Indian Christian Democratic Party (Christhuva Jananayaga Katchi), have said the film had objectionable scenes referring to Christianity and depicted Christians in bad light. They have reportedly met the Chennai City Police Commissioner.

They have warned that the protests would be intensified if “necessary action” (translated into deleting scenes) is not taken.

It remains to be seen if the Jayalalithaa Government uses the same “not enough police” argument to ban Kadal.

But Maniratnam is likely to be happy about the controversy. The movie has been ripped apart by critics and is doing badly. A round of controversy can only do good for the film.

Update: According to The Hindu, Mr Christumurthy, the founder of the party, the references to Jesus Christ implied that Satan had won.

He also said references to the blood of Jesus Christ were unacceptable and wanted the scene in which Christ’s photo is thrown down and smashed to be deleted.

According to The New Indian Express, the group met Police Commissioner S. George and pointed out six scenes that were “offensive to Christians”.

The group said if these scenes were not removed and the film allowed to continue in theatres, they would call on Christians across the State and create a mas stir — which could threaten the law and order situation.

Prominent Church and Christian leaders, however have remained silent and have not supported this claim.

Christudoss has asked that cases be registered against Maniratnam and the Censor Board.

Twitter: @dinakaran


by R. Dinakaran

After a huge delay after the announcement, Carbon, a Twitter client for Android, has finally been launched.


The description in the Google Play page for the app says:

Carbon experience for Android Smartphones. No Tablet support yet.

Simple, Dark, and a dash of elegance for your Twitter day-to-day pleasure.

Carbon is a Twitter client, but unlike other Twitter clients. All of your Twitter content on one screen. A screen that doesn’t get you drilling down to many other screens to reach to what you want. Timelines, Lists, Favourites, Searches, Trends, Profiles, all there.

– Tilt Timeline to Refresh
– Power Scroll: Scroll/Swipe up or down using Two fingers to jump to top or bottom of Timelines
– Tap+Hold on Tweets to make everything clickable right on the Timeline
– QuickTimeline, home screen quick Timeline for Lists, Searches, Trends, etc…
– Rich Timelines with full inline images and videos
– Rich and HD style for User Profiles
– Rich and fun Conversation View
– Threaded Direct Messages
– Background updates with quick actions for Jelly Bean, per account
– Username Autocomplete
– Filters for Hashtags, Users, and Keywords

Between the time Carbon was announced and it was finally launched, another Twitter client, Falcon, has taken Android users by storm. It remains to be seen whether Carbon will be able to outdo or at least match Falcon.

Twitter: @dinakaran


by R. Dinakaran

Mr Soli Sorabjee in The New Indian Express ‘There are limits to an advocate’s licence too’, says:

“(Another) disquieting feature is the Advocate General Navaneetha Krishnan’s statement in the course of his oral arguments before the court that the “certification process is a scam”. Advocate Sankarasubbu appearing for the groups supporting the ban stated that “the board members are purchasable commodities”. These statements, unless they are based on cogent material placed before the court, are grossly defamatory and reprehensible.



"There are limits to an advocate’s licence pleading his case before the court even though the advocate may be the advocate general of the state, in which case there is a greater obligation to refrain from making unsubstantiated allegations against a statutory body headed by a distinguished chairperson. Mr Advocate General, please remember, noblesse oblige.”



Before reading this, see Battle with Flipkart and ESET


Battle with Flipkart and ESET – Day 2

I got a phone call from Flipkart apologising for the inconvenience, but the executive said Flipkart would not be able to do anything as the offer was from ESET.

Flipkart offered two options:

1. I can keep the product, and Flipkart will credit Rs 100 to my account for the inconvenience caused, or

2. I can return the product and Flipkart will credit the entire amount to my account.

I opted for the second and decided to uninstall ESET.

But there was a surprise: When I checked my email later, I found the Flipkart had sent an email saying the second year subscription would get automatically activated after 12 days.

flipkart 1

I found that the email had come one hour before the phone call.

If this was the case, (which means the problem had been solved) why was Flipkart offering to refund the amount? I sent an email about it:


Flipkart’s reply was funny. Instead of acknowledging that the problem had been solved, and that there was no need for return of the product and refund, the insisted on picking up the product and offering a refund:


I wrote back asking why they were doing this.


Now, Flipkart has sent the usual reply asking for a day’s time.


So the wait continues…

Come back tomorrow for more updates on this issue.