Tata Sky - causing and sincerely regretting the inconveniences

I opted for Tata Sky, the famous DTH service provider in India, when I got my first LED LG TV in 2010. Initially, there were only SD channels, and in 2010, when Star India for the first time launched HD channels with 7.1 Dolby Surround sound in India, nothing stopped me from opting those as well. Although the prices for HD channels and overall pricing of SD channels were bit more than other DTH service providers, and channels stop working (no signal) on a rainy day, I was still more than happy to watch all the flicks on Start World, Zee Cafe and English movie channels.

For 5 years, Tata Sky walked fine with me in this DTH journey until I relocated to a different place when the company said TA TA (bye bye) to me. I was in Bangalore till 2015 and shifted to the North East keeping my base in Guwahati. Although the company is providing connections in Guwahati, somehow they managed to keep me out of the customer's league.

On March 15, 2016 at 10:36 AM I called the Tata Sky Customer Care from my Guwahati premises asking them to help me set up the DTH connection (Order ref no - NFAIWEV). Also told them that due to relocation issues, I couldn't get my dish antenna and cables, although, I could manage to get the Set Top Box and the activation card. I gave them my Customer ID number. The person on the other side took my request and told me that I would get the connection by same day evening. And I'll be charged for installation and a new 'dish antenna'. I said I was fine with the costs involved. As I left for my work, I got a call from the service center in Guwahati asking me the time I'll be available so that they can send the technician. I said 4 PM.

I reached home by 3:30 PM of March 15 and waited till 4:30 PM. As no one turned up, I called the customer care again and they told that installation will be done by 6 PM. By 5:54 PM, I got a call from a technician from Tata Sky named Naba (Ph no - 9706571590). He asked whether I need a Tata Sky connection. I was little surprised. I said of course I do. He then informed me that he was on his way and will take about half an hour to reach my place. By 6:16 PM he calls again asking for the address. I gave it.

By 6:30 Naba reaches my place and asks me to show him the TV room and the terrace where he had planned to install the dish antenna. After about 15 mins of inspection he asked me to give him the cables. I said I don't have any. He was little pissed and he said that a customer has to get the cables as his senior did not ask him to provide any. I said I don't care. I have no idea about cables and customer care person didn't tell me anything about getting my own cables. He said something which I didn't hear. Then, he asked me for the dish antenna. I said I don't have one. This time he was really pissed. He said a customer has to get his own dish. I got angry with his attitude too. Hence, I told him that I had already mentioned earlier to the customer care person of the same and they said everything would be taken cared of. I just needed to make the payments. He too shouted and told me every person who relocates, gets his own dish antenna. And he was not told by his seniors about getting one for me.

After 5 mins of argument, he called up his senior and told him about the incident saying I was rude to him. He then handed over the phone to me to talk to his boss. I told him the same thing. The person on the other side told me that they were not aware of the situation and was not asked to get a new dish antenna. Now, the installation could be done on the next day. I said I was fine. When the technician was about to leave, I asked him what time is he coming for the installation next day. He sai he was not sure - probably by around 11 AM.

By 6:46 PM, I gave a call to the Tata Sky customer care again to narrate the entire story, I was told by IVR that all the lines are busy and there would be a 10 mins waiting time before someone can speak to me. Rather wasting ten more mins, I hung up the phone. I thought of writing to Tata Sky Facebook page. I messaged them stating the incident and requesting them to give my connection ASAP. I got a reply after 10 mins which said, "Dear Jim Ankan Deka, we sincerely regret the inconvenience. Thank you for sending your details. Our representative will contact you shortly."

So, on March 16, when Naba did not show up till 11 AM, I called the customer care again. And they told that someone will get in touch with me. I thought of writing to Tata Sky Facebook page again. I wrote - " I haven't received any call or message regarding the installation. If you can't do that, I am fine with leaving your services and take another DTH connection from a different service provider. However, in that case I would like to get a confirmation mail from your side. At the same time I would also like to settle the bills. If there's anything from my side please let me know. I will be writing a blog about the experience and will share it with you once it is published."

And again after 10 mins I got a reply from Tata Sky saying, "Dear Jim Ankan Deka, we sincerely regret the inconvenience. We are looking into the issue and will get in touch with you shortly."

I didn't receive any call or message from Tata Sky till 11 AM on March 17, 2016. It's been 2 days and Tata Sky's 'shortly' haven't arrived my doorsteps yet. Just in case I do receive a reply I'll definitely put the same here.

Article on Sadin, Assamese weekly on Feb 5, 2016

An article on Jim Ankan Deka published on Sadin, an Assamese weekly from Guwahati, on February 5, 2016.

Flashback - The Assam Tribune

Published in The Assam Tribune on January 21, 2016
"Jim Ankan Deka is an Assamese musician, documentary filmmaker, photographer and director of a Bengaluru-based music institute and production house. He has won multiple awards for his music."

When I was young, my parents introduced me to Borgeet and the Khol. As time passed, I picked up
other instruments, including the guitar, piano, tabla, etc. I was so inclined towards music that I was sure of becoming a musician once I grew up. But taking birth in India, where people respect art, but seldom encourage children to focus on anything but studies, it was not easy to convince my family that there can be a career in music, too.

After completing my studies (simultaneously learning music), I headed towards Bengaluru in 2006, where I took up different jobs to survive. Well, I was not happy in the corporate world. I was looking for various options in music at the same time. There weren't many though. After six months of struggle, I got into a music school as a guitar tutor. And later, with the help of certain friends, I opened my first music school - Eastern Fare Music Foundation. This was the first music institute to be established by an Assamese in Bengaluru. As the months passed, we opened a couple more branches, teaching music to over 200 students. By 2009, the institute opened five branches all over Bengaluru, a recording studio, a production house and a philanthropic initiative called 'Count Your Blessings'. The music institute now has branches in Guwahati and Shillong, apart from Bengaluru, giving music education to more than 300 students every month.

I would urge every young person to have a dream. While an aim will help in choosing the right path, a dream will help to overcome the obstacles in life and encourage one to walk everyday in that path without fear. The other thing I want to share is, please stay away from drugs or any other intoxicat-ing stuff. Life can be happy without those substances. Pick an activity like music, dance or any other art form. Life is beautiful and it is up to us how we keep it that way.

Anuron - an Assamese music video from the ChaiTunes series

Anuron - Queen Hazarika, Rupam Bhuyan, Jim Ankan Deka
Anuron - a music video from the ChaiTunes series is the fifth Assamese music video by Jim Ankan Deka. Singers from Assam Queen Hazarika and Rupam Bhuyan have rendered their voices for the song. The post production on the song in underway.

Produced by Eastern Fare Music Foundation and powered by Music Malt, Bangalore, the song is recorded at Eastern Fare Studios in Bangalore, Zero DB Studio, Guwahati, and mixed and mastered at Eastern Fare Studios, Umium.

The video is shot amidst the greens of North-East India. Director of Photography is Avataran famed Tarunabh Dutta and Screenplay and Story by Debjani Hazarika. Camera and videography are handled by Navanit Nilavh and Parth Deuri. Video editing is done at TD Studio, Guwahati and Eastern Fare Studios, Guwahati.

The video features Sangeeta Pachani, winner of miss congeniality 'Sananda Tilottama 2008'.

Anuron - Jim Ankan Deka Feat. Rupam Bhuyan, Queen Hazarika

Listen to Anuron an Assamese song of 2016 free online and download all mp3 songs through Gaana+ app at Gaana.com to listen offline.

North East India through my eyes - Meghalaya

It took me almost four years to come out of my mundane, humdrum existence and start my five months journey in the North-east of India on June 12, 2015. I always believed in a quote by English writer and philosopher Gilbert K. Chesterton - "The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." After visiting many places as a tourist, I wanted to see the world through a traveller's eyes. Yes, today I travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape me.

My journey began in Meghalaya, a state in the North eastern region of India.

Living Root Bridges in Mawlynnong, Asia's cleanest village (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
Khasi Heritage Village in Mawphlang (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
The Sacred Forest in Mawphlang (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
View of  the city of Shillong from the Shillong Peak (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
A view from the Nongsder village (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
Morning view in summer near Umium Lake (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)

Mawphlang Sacred Forest on the way to Mawsynram (photo: Jim Ankan Deka))
Khasi Heritage Village in Mawphlang (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
Cherrapunji in Meghalaya (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
Maple Pine Farm, Meghalaya (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
Thadlaskein Lake near Jowai (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
On the way to Sacred Forest in Mawphlang (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
Cafe Umbir Resort in Meghalaya (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
Me in an Alto LXi crossing the river which connects the Mawsynram road and Maple Pine Farm (photo: Debjani Hazarika)
Madan Nonglakhiat village in Meghalaya (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
On the way to Nogsder Village in Umiam (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
Lyngkien Village, Meghalaya (photo: Jim Ankan Deka)
Nongsder Village near Umiam (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
Umtring Village (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)
Umniuh Village in Meghalaya (photo: Jim Ankan Deka | camera: Samsung Galaxy S4)

The face of new age Assamese music | Eclectic Northeast

(An article by Jadeed Hussain published on Eclectic Northeast magazine on June 1, 2015)

Musician Jim Ankan Deka's love for the music of his native land has prompted him to take Assamese music to the global stage

Jim had moved to Bangalore from Guwahati to do his Masters in Psychology. After completing his studies, made his foray into the corporate world, but after a series of job changes, he realized that music was his only true calling. He joined a music school and slowly offers started to trickle from the film and television industry of Karnataka.

He started off with a Kannada TV series in 2007 where he arranged the music for four songs. He admits that the language barrier was very much there but working with a director who was free to take inputs from him helped him deliver his best. He also teamed up with Carnatic classical musician and playback singer Suchethan Rangaswamy to form a band called 'Veenar'; they released their first song in Kannada called Eesha Ninna. He recalls, 'That was the first time I actually worked on the fusion music genre. Later, we released a couple of other instrumental tracks combined with the veena and guitar, blending in jazz elements as well'. Now, he rarely finds time to work for others, although he still plays the guitar for Kannada films and albums sometimes.

It was in 2008 that Jim's life radically changed. While chatting with his student Anand Pilakkat one day, the idea of forming his own music school came up and since then there has been no looking back; with ample support from his wife Parmita Borah and Anand himself, Eastern Fare Music Foundation was formed. The school followed the syllabus of Trinity College, London which worked in its favour as the number of students started increasing day-by-day. Later, the trio met more like minded people such as Suchin Ravi, Harish Marappa and Vinod M Singh from Bangalore, Prakash Rajagopalan from Chennai, Victor Logidasan from Sri Lanka, Ashok Singha from Silchar and Girish Sood from Chandigarh who joined the school as music teachers and became part of the vibrant Eastern Fare Music Foundation team.

With time, it got bigger and better and different branches of the school were opened in Bangalore. Now, Eastern Fare has a studio, a practice room and a production house apart from other branches of the institute. In 2013, Eastern Fare collaborated with another music company Music Malt to come up with a music project called the ChaiTunes with an aim to promote the folk music of India as well as Northeast, and provide a platform to unknown but talented musicians. Also, Eastern Fare has been trying to promote Northeast India through its Facebook and Twitter pages as well as a dedicated Northeast portal.

A strong social media presence also has its share in making his music popular among the younger generation. Jim had been a social media specialist for three national and international organisations, and that has without a doubt helped him conned with netizens better. He shares, "This medium is the best possible way to showcase my work. People share almost everything about their daily lives regularly on Facebook or Twitter. I mostly share my creative work. And with almost 1,70,000 fans on my Facebook pages, I can safely say it has been a successful endeavour. When we can afford the technology, why not use it to the fullest?"

'Xaare Aasu' is the latest track by Jim featuring Queen Hazarika, and was released as a music video on Youtube on lst May 2015. On the very same day, it got close to 5000 views and in just 5 days, it had crossed the 15000 views mark. It is going strong and has got a great response; people who have watched the video have appreciated the jazz elements incorporated with Assamese lyrics. The lyrics were based on poems written by Jim's departed parents Prof Bhabananda Deka and poet Nalini Prava Deka. It is the first video under the ChaiTunes project and collaboration between actors and musicians of Assam and Karnataka. This was his second collaboration with Queen Hazarika, the earlier song he had worked with her on was 'Awaaz —Speak Up Against Sexual Violence'.

Jim is now working on a tribute album which would probably be released by the end of this year. His brother Ankur Deka and popular singer Mayukh Hazarika have joined him in this venture. Another song, Niyoror Xur, with Mayukh Hazarika which is again based on the poetry of his parents is currently in progress.

Anil CJ, a noted music producer and director of Kannada films, albums and serials says, "Jim is a very well-known musician in the Northeast and he is well-known in Kannada industry too for his versatility in playing different musical instruments and his strongest zone is when he is playing the guitar. He has collaborated with me in most of my projects and his own projects on women empowerment have been phenomenal."

Quick Q's
Hobbies other than music - photography, reading, travelling and watching movies
Favourite song - Many. Specially songs of Bhupen Hazarika, Bob Dylan and Nirvana.
Favorite song from your composition - Amvaz - speak up against sexual violence and Nixobdo Nilim
Favourite band from the Northeast - Many. I love Soulmate from Shillong, Voodoo Child from Guwahati (although I had been a part of that), The Vinyl Records from Arunachal Pradesh and Boomerang among others.

Aakaxok Subo Khojo - an Assamese music video by Jim Ankan Deka and Antara Nandy

Aakaxok Subo Khojo - Jim Ankan Deka feat. Antara Nandy
ChaiTunes, the music series powered by Music Malt, released the second Assamese music video 'Aakaxok Subo Khojo' (আকাশক চুব খোজো) featuring Jim Ankan Deka and 'Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2009' finalist 16 yr old Antara Nandy.

The song was recorded in Eastern Fare Studio and Madcat Studios in Bangalore under the guidance of Kannada music producer Anil CJ. The video is directed by Parmita Borah and was shot at Innerspace Studios, Bangalore. The lyrics of the song is penned by Assamese journalist Raj Dweep.

Produced by Eastern Fare Music Foundation, the video was released on June 5, 2015.

Antara Nandy and Jim Ankan Deka (a shot from Aakaxok Subo Khojo)
Antara Nandy and Jim Ankan Deka (a shot from Aakaxok Subo Khojo) | photo: Nishal Lama

Chador-mekhela, drums, keyboard, guitar, cultural activists, bihu and Being Assamese

Courtesy: Raul de la Nuez
Recently, in one of the Bihu functions (April, 2015), one of the leading female singers of Assam was not allowed to sing for not wearing Chador Mekhela by the committee members. (Chador-mekhela is the traditional Assamese dress worn by women.) What I feel personally in that case, even the male singers, including Papon, Zubben, should be asked to wear Dhoti-Kurta or ban them too. Why this unfairly prejudiced view? And all the committee members also should be wearing Dhoti-Kurta or Chador-Mekhela all the time. Do they? Embarrassing moment for Assam and Assamese culture. This is not culture, This is not Bihu.

I understand that cloths are integral part of any culture; but cloths alone can't defy culture. If one has to follow one of the cultural aspects with full devotion, he has to follow everything with complete honesty and sincerity. That means, if one has to wear mekhela-chador to defy bihu, she can't actually use keyboard, guitar or drums in bihu functions, because these instruments are not integral part of bihu or any Assamese culture. Infact, one should not even go to the stage to perform, as, bihu is supposed to be celebrated in the open field. Also, on the day of the first bihu, one should eat only doi-shira and pitha-pona, not burger or sandwich.

But, as we have adopted many things over the time, we have changed our style of celebrating the festivals. So, my point is, if we have brought in the things which were never part of our tradition and culture, what is the problem with cloths? That's just one of the aspects of a culture.

And lastly, if mekhela-chador is something a lady artist has to wear, even the male artists should wear their traditional attire in the bihu functions. As many of you say that 'there is a relation of our dress with our tradition', I would urge you to boycott any of Zubeen, Papon or any of the male or female artists if they are not in traditional attire. Also, make sure that their instrumentalists (musicians) should be wearing traditional dresses and play only traditional instruments. All the organisers should be in traditional dresses too. There should not be any kind of alcohol in the green rooms, behind the stage which is not traditional.

So, if you can actually take care of these small things, I don't mind people shouting about women's traditional cloths. Let's not make our tradition, culture a comic affair.

News on Assamese music video 'Xaare Aasu'

Xaare Aasu is An Assamese music video featuring singer Queen Hazarika and composer Jim Ankan Deka. It is the first of ChaiTunes series of music videos. Powered by Music Malt, a Bangalore based music house, the song is based on poems by Assamese writer duo Prof. Bhabananda Deka and Nalini Prava Deka. The video is directed by Parmita Borah and produced by Eastern Fare Foundation, Bangalore.

Read more at ReviewNE and Merinews. | Watch the video Here. | Download Xaare Aasu Here

News Clippings
Eastern Chronicle, May 12, 2015

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