Tags: delhi

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Charged VAT twice

Okay so last night, the craving for a can of Guinness hit me, and best friend dark_chrysolite and I embarked on an epic mission to go drink one.

Long story short, we got lost, went to Turquise Cottage only to find it deserted and out of Guinness; our favorite hangout served it at some ridiculously overblown price; we then ended up in this crappy restro-bar in Defence Colony that served it, and ordered it there. We also ordered some Japanese prawn dish thing and it wasn't bad.

Then came the bill. Or should I say bills. They had two bills, one for the alcohol and the other for the food. Except that at that point, dark_chrysolite noticed that they were charging service charge and VAT tax, on EACH bill. So we were charged VAT twice and service charge twice.

Naturally we argued, even demanding to speak to the manager, who cooly informed us that there was nothing unusual, that it's customary to charge two bills, one for food and another for alcohol. Which sounded really, really fishy.

Anyway by the end of the night the manager ran downstairs to the parking lot and refunded us the extra cash in question, but still, now our curiosity is piqued.

According to Wikipedia, VAT is charged per customer per shop, regardless of the number of transactions, whereas sales tax is per transaction (per item). But after that it's all irrelevant because it's different in every country and every jurisdiction, etc.

Granted, this is in India, so who knows what the laws are here; but those of you who are lawyers on my flist, could you maybe throw in your perspective?
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New Delhi's first ever Critical Mass was AWEsome!

New Delhi's first ever Critical Mass was AWEsome!

More bicycles and cycling fanatics in one place than I've ever seen in real life. The turnout was massive, much more than I expected. About 300 cyclists showed up, along with the media.

For the first time traffic was stopping and paying attention to Delhi's fearless cyclists. The experience of riding in a truly massive swarm of fellow cyclists filling the entire street is amazing in ways I can't explain, you have to do it yourself to know.

Tragically getting pics was difficult to impossible, being that I was too busy negotiating with traffic and chatting with other cyclists to stop and take shots. These are what I got.

I'd say half the group were hippies / environmentalists / anti-car movement / anti-war folk, and the other half were just athletic / fitness freaks. A lot of riders rode with signs taped to their backs reading stuff ranging from "build bikes not bombs" to "we ARE traffic" and "share the road, treat us with respect" and so on.

For the first time in my life, I saw traffic paying attention to cyclists and giving us room, since there were so many of us at once. It wasn't as disruptive as I thought it would be, though at times we had to agressively block merging traffic to let the group safely pass.

The camraderie was great: 300 strangers who are instantly friends because we're all fellow cyclists battling traffic, congestion and abuse in a world filled with cars.

I realize Critical Mass is doing more harm than good in some parts of the world, where cyclists turn into giant pricks on the road, but here in Delhi it's the start of something awesome. This is a city choked with horribly congested, psychotic traffic, where I can bike to work at a slow pace and still get there faster than if I took an autorickshaw or car to work. To add to that, the assumption people have about bicycles is that it's what you own if you're too poor or low class to afford a motorbike or car, nothing else. Delhi's obesity rates are hitting American levels, and cases of diabetes and asthma are rising sharply every year thanks to pollution and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

So last night was awesome beyond words for me. I never thought I'd see a Critical Mass in Delhi.

Can't wait for the last Friday of next month :D

From 2008-09-26-Delhi's first Critical Mass


From 2008-09-26-Delhi's first Critical Mass


From 2008-09-26-Delhi's first Critical Mass


From 2008-09-26-Delhi's first Critical Mass


From 2008-09-26-Delhi's first Critical Mass


From 2008-09-26-Delhi's first Critical Mass
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(no subject)

TOMORROW IS DELHI'S FIRST EVER CRITICAL MASS RIDE!!

I am so freakin excited. I took a day off and was wondering if I did the right thing (it's leave without pay and I need the cash too) but by now I don't regret it at all. History in the making, etc. etc.

Expect pics. Although since it'll be at 6 pm, and I'll be on a bicycle, there may not be many pics.

More later.