Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rahul Tomar, whoever you are, you are the son of a thousand fathers

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I have an Airtel number. For the past 15 months or so, I’ve been getting calls from Airtel asking me if they could talk to Rahul Tomar.

My name, as you can see, is not Rahul Tomar. I don’t know anyone called Rahul Tomar. I know plenty of Rahuls. But I’ve never known a Tomar. The only Tomar I know is Paan Singh Tomar.

So each time they’d call, I assured them I knew no such person. And each time, I’d be assured that I won’t be called again. But every few weeks or so, they would call back.

When this started happening frequently, I decided to ask them about this Rahul person. I was told he had used my number as his alternate number. Who he is and why he did it is a mystery to me.

I asked Airtel if they could share Rahul’s number with me. They did. The number was similar to mine. I’m guessing he mentioned a made-up number on his sign-up form. Unluckily, it was mine.

I called his number. It was out of service. I Googled for his name and number. No luck there.

After some point, I got upset at Airtel’s frequent calls. It bordered on harassment. I could recognise their numbers on the caller ID now. So I began ignoring them. If I’d accidentally taken a call, I disconnected the moment the operator uttered “Can I speak to Mr. Rahul…”

Now, the frequency of their calls shot up: from once in a few weeks, to several times a week. It drove me mad. Also, I rarely had the time to step out of my office or home and bark furiously at these operators who’d decided not to believe my side of the story. So I kept ignoring the calls.

One day, I decided to be calm and talk with them. The operator, who might have become familiar with my disconnecting habits, sounded like he couldn’t believe I had taken the call.

Calmly, I explained the whole situation to him. Again. He told me I would not be bothered. Again. It felt like it was the end of the problem. But I had my doubts.

Some days later, I get another call. “Can I speak to Mr Rahul Tomar?” I sighed. And disconnected. They called back immediately. I disconnected again.

Today, I got yet another call. I was in office. It was a Sunday. The office was practically empty. I could bark at the operator without disturbing anyone. So I barked.

Right before both of us turned abusive and I hung up, the operator mentioned an outstanding bill of 16,000 bucks.

So this is what I know of Rahul Tomar: his telephone number was 9810483361, he misused my telephone number, he owes 16,000 rupees to a phone compnay, he’s a thief, and he’s on the run. Also, he’s the son of a thousand fathers. But that is conjecture.

I called Airtel today. I lodged my complaint. Again. I was assured I won’t be bothered again. Again.

Let’s see how long this peace lasts.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Richard Dawkins interviews Wendy Wright

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Richard Dawkins, that man believers hate, interviews Wendy Wright.

Apparently, Dawkins confronted her after recieving her hate mail, and she agreed to an interview.

I saw all seven parts of this interview on Youtube this evening. As a comment on one of the video says:

“…props to Dawkins, though. I would have punched her in the throat five minutes in.”

Wright argues her case poorly. Worse, she’s smug, poorly articulated, and shows her tribe in poor light.

Her views, which she repeats countless times through the talk, can be summed up as thus:

There is a creator.
Each individual is unique.
Where is the evidence for evolution?
All humans should be treated with respect.
Roll that back.
Teach the controversy at schools.
You have an agenda.
The Darwin way is disrespectful to humans.
At the start, Dawkins introduces himself and asks her where they can begin the interview. She smugly smiles and refuses to even seat him. They do the whole talk standing.

Dawkins, by the way, is 68. So much for her respect for humans.

After this interview, my respect for Dawkins grows. He remains polite through the talk, speaks in a low tone, and keeps a straight face through Wright’s ridiculous replies.

If you are the sort interested in the debate about god, Charles Darwin, evolution and creationism — and you probably are, if you’ve read this post till this point — don’t miss this video.

[Video link thanks: Anirudh]