Sunday, 5 August 2018

Discrimination by Cafe Laguna restaurant at Raheja Exotica, Ocean City, Madh Island?



So I thought the staff of Cafe Laguna restaurant at Raheja Exotica, Ocean City, Madh Island will learn after their karta-dharta admin head honcho Mr Ajeet Shenoy sent me a bouquet and a cake (which I returned with thanks). But just in about a week or more (lol), I have realized, no lessons have been learnt. What a shame!


For the uninitiated, here's my personal experience from a week ago and another kukdookoo one from earlier. Ya, ya. I know. I know. Its seems like a story in sequels. Stories of unprofessionalism. A week ago, food delivery was refused to me by Cafe Laguna, saying that food will not be sent for home delivery, unless the minimum bill was Rs 250/-. Now Cafe Laguna (run by Mr Alfred D'Souza under the auspices of Mr Ajeet Shenoy), being a colony restaurant for the residents of Raheja Exotica: The Ocean City -- where urban living meets a resort ecosystem -- I felt this was rather small thinking.

After all, a holiday home kinda colony restaurant's main purpose should be to serve the residents, I thought. But they seemed more bothered about earning a minimum of 250 rupees from the residents. So I objected and protested after which I was sent a bouquet and cake from Mr Ajeet Shenoy and a sweet and thanking letter from the hospitality person Mr Vikas Ahluwalia. Two of the staff came to my place and apologized for the inconvenience caused. I was also told by them that the 250-rupees-rule was relaxed for me!!! But I requested the staff, not to relax the rule only for me, but for all residents to benefit. Don't much know what happened about it.

And ha ha... foolish me thought, all could be fine now. Little did I realize, I would face discrimination next. Yes, DISCRIMINATION... bole toh, bhed-bhav. Now our Indian law defines a restaurant as a 'public place' and says that citizens can't be discriminated on the basis of race, caste, religion, creed, descent or place of birth. I have to admit that everything here is my personal grievance and experience (as earlier too) and that I am not really knowledgeable about law either, but I sure know that the Indian law protects customers of restaurants from being refused service, even if the restaurants are privately owned.


But this Saturday evening (August 4, 2018), when I called my colony restaurant Cafe Laguna at Raheja Exotica -- the beautiful colony built by the esteemed Raheja Universal real estate builders, promoting great weekend homes and ocean-side luxury living in Mumbai city -- I was once again taken aback.

My friend from the B-Wing of Valencia (another building in the colony) had just praised a speciality-of-the-day biryani he'd ordered from the Cafe Laguna restaurant at his place as home delivery parcel. So I called Cafe Laguna to order the same for home delivery... and was REFUSED SERVICE. This time the staff on the line was the restaurant executive called Mr Dilip (the names change every time; service remains problematic). So I asked, if I can get a home delivery for the special biryani, and I was told it cannot be delivered at home, as its not on the menu, but as a day's speciality and sold only at the restaurant venue.

Mr Dilip told me I have to order an à la carte dish, otherwise he won't be able to send home delivery. Shocked, I protested. "But you guys sent the same thing to my friend in the colony a few minutes ago. Then why not to me? Why this discrimination?" I asked. "Sorry sir, but we can't. You have to order from à la carte or I cannot do home delivery," he curtly replied, as I sensed he was about to put down the phone.

I held a breath and said, "Wait, listen up please." I told him the name of my friend in Valencia building, to whom the restaurant had sent the same speciality biryani a few minutes ago, 'reminding' him that what he is doing was "discrimination."

I told Mr Dilip, "For some strange reason only you know about, you are refusing to send me exactly the same dish which the restaurant has sent my friend a few minutes ago." Then I went on to mention the name of my friend who had recommended the biryani to me. The moment he heard the name, Mr Dilip strangely went quiet for a few seconds and then said, "Sir, I will take your order. What is your flat number again?"

I was shocked once again. If he could have taken my order, why had he discriminated! And I am still trying to understand this! I am wondering, on what basis he discriminated! What I am less in or low in, and what my friend has, which I don't!


A few decades ago, the British ruled India. I have heard of that nasty sign board on a restaurant, which said something like "Dogs and Indians not allowed." But those days are gone, right? We are in the 21st century and we do not discriminate between class, skin colour, creed, religion, language, etc. So what is it that made the staff discriminate? Anyway, while the question still bothers me and will continue to do so, I went ahead and placed the order for the speciality biryani.

Little did I know that another sneaky surprise awaited me soon. The delivery boy who brought the biryani from Cafe Laguna seemingly lied to me. Handing me over the delivery, minus a rasgulla sweet dish which was supposed to be part of the biryani (including mirch da salan and raita), HE DID NOT HAND OVER A BILL. So I asked him for it and he said, "Sir, due to a technical glitch, I could not bring the bill. But since the food would have gotten cold, I got it first. You please eat it and I would get your bill in 10 mins."

Now, from my various experiences earlier, I am well-aware that most of the boys at Cafe Laguna handled by Mr Alfred D'Souza and Raheja Exotica affairs handled by Mr Ajeet Shenoy, are prone to goof-ups. So I readily believed the "technical glitch" story. Little did I realize, I could have been set up for a FREE MEAL, maybe in order to make me indebted with a freebie, or maybe discredit me later on (probably by stating that I am a free-fund guy) as a reply to my earlier blog post.


I finished my food and waited for the bill to come, so that I could pay up. 10 mins passed. Then 15 minutes. Then 20. Then 40. And then, it was more than an hour. Finally, I realized, the bill wasn't coming.

Now of course, I am not the type who could offer and enjoy hospitality like Mr Ajeet Shenoy and Mr Alfred D'Souza. But excuse me, I am also not a FUKATIA. I don't want anything for free. And am not at all the types to accept freebies. Because, with sad service, policies and now discrimination from this colony restaurant, accepting food for free from a place which seems greedy most of the time, would be a pain on my conscience and a blow to my self-esteem.

Saddened with all this, I headed down at night around 11pm from my flat to the colony restaurant to cordially pay the bill. The first thing I did was to request for Mr Dilip, the chap who had taken my order. I wanted to find out, why he hadn't sent me the bill with the food. I also wanted to ask him, what made him discriminate me from my friend in Valencia building. But even though I asked various waiters at the Cafe Laguna restaurant, Mr Dilip was nowhere to be found.

Then I went to the bill counter, explained the matter, and asked the guy at the counter to make me the bill for the food sent, so that I could pay. He said, "No worries, Sir. We'll send you the bill later and you can pay then." Really? Really? I could hardly believe my ears! A restaurant known to be so greedy just a week ago -- so as to not send me food, since it wasn't above 250 rupees -- couldn't have changed so drastically almost overnight, so as to not bother about earning.

I smelled a rat and refused to budge. I was wondering what to do next to pay up, when suddenly Mr Alfred D'Souza, the fantastically quiet guy who runs the restaurant, came up to the billing table. I approached him, explained that I was sent food but not given the bill, and that I had come down at the restaurant to pay. His answer shocked me even more! Mr Alfred D'Souza promptly replied. "Don't worry, we can send you the bill tomorrow." Whaaaat! I couldn't believe my ears once again! All this sounded strangely connected and coordinated, as if everyone just knew what they were doing and how they had to respond to my queries.

I persisted, "Sir, I had the food today and would like to pay for what I had today itself, and with the bill with today's date. So please do issue me a bill, so that I could pay." Mr Alfred D'Souza agreed and finally after a wait of 10 mins I got the bill, paid and left.

On scrutinizing the bill after returning home at midnight, I found that they did not charge me container charges (as they did charge my friend for the four containers of biryani, mirch da salan, raita and rasagulla) and the bill showed that I was a customer of "Table No 52" which made it seem as if I ate at the restaurant and hadn't asked for home delivery. Strange again! After this incident, I hope they do not further discriminate between residents and stop the home delivery to my friend or any other resident of the colony.


By the way, Raheja Exotica is no ordinary residential colony. Aptly titled Ocean City, it's a beautiful piece of real estate from Raheja builders, Raheja Universal. A bit noisy in the day because of loud music often playing at the resorts around, ​but still ​cool, calm and ​amazing​ at other times.

It's like a township with hundreds (or maybe thousands) of owned and rented flats and apartments. Mumbai's real estate icons Mr Suresh Raheja, Mr Ashish Raheja and Mr Rahul Raheja seem to have built this place with lots of love. Lovely buildings named Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Andalusia, Amalfi, Sicily, Capri and the towering Sorento tower from where one can dream of touching the clouds or even the airplanes descending towards the Mumbai city airports. It's another matter that I felt discriminated here in the 21st century. Sigh!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Cafe Laguna at Raheja Exotica, Ocean City, Madh Island -- Drowning in disastrous PR


I am into PR for more than two decades now. PR can either be described as public relations or PyaR. But what I have learnt from my personal experiences at a restaurant called Cafe Laguna at the Raheja Exotica's Ocean City residential colony in Madh Island, Malad, Mumbai -- are lessons no great PR could ever teach me.


Raheja Exotica's Cafe Laguna has taught me how one can be on self-destruct mode and turn into a PR disaster. Hindi mein bole toh -- apne paaon pe kulhaadi kaise maarna. Lol.

This place is almost everything a PR disaster could be all about.

Customer aaya! Customer aaya! Bhagaao, bhagaao?


You enter it and some of the times it greets you with such high AC that the customers feel like ending their trip to the restaurant soon after they sit down. Ha ha! Then it's time for placing your order. You see a lot of waiters walking around. So you sit and wait for a waiter to arrive. He doesn't. And you wait a little more. He still doesn't.


 Then you realize its India -- and you call out to the nearest waiter. He looks at you and walks away. And you are left thinking -- 'WTF just happened.' But then you again console yourself -- hota hai, be tolerant. Then finally a waiter turns up and you place your order. And in a few moments you realize, he hasn't served any water. So you call out, "Bhai, paani toh laa do." Lol.

Anyway, luckily the food is good. And you think chalo, at least there is one aspect where you can heave a sigh of relief. But then that happiness is short-lived. The waiter wouldn't just come when one wants extra rotis.

Insult to injury


Calling out... and some more calling out later, the waiter comes. Then it takes ages for the new rotis to come. By then you have nibbled on the remaining food and almost lose interest by the time the new rotis arrive. Why? Cause the food has gone completely cold and is no longer enjoyable. Now just in case you have taken your friend or guest along at this restaurant, then you may add insult to injury. What does the guest think!!! Yeah, I know... I know that feeling... I very well know that feeling. And a couple of my guests have known it too. Lol. More Lol.

Pehle mail kha


The restaurant keeps sending promotional mails to lists of people staying in the residential colony. Good practice that, to keep people informed. But sometimes, one receives two to three emails in a day... and at times, some repeats of the same ones the next day.

Damn! Frustrating service, plus new rules!


What's more! When you call the restaurant for Home Delivery, you realize their intercom extension doesn't work. So you finally search and call a telephone number of the restaurant, only to be given weird excuses for the all the piled-up unprofessionalism, further adding to the pent-up irritations. Puff.


Like I called the colony restaurant last evening for Dal Tadka. A chap called Pradeep said, "New rule, sir. You will have to order above Rs.250/- for us to deliver your food." I said, "but my dear, my building is just about 30 steps from the restaurant and it won't take your delivery boy any trouble to reach me."

"New rule, sir. It's been there from 15 days now," Pradeep quickly shoots back, as if he was well-trained with these standard lines. So I ask Pradeep, "Can you please connect me to Mr Alfred D'Souza who runs the restaurant? Can I request him to help with the matter?" Pradeep says, "He's not there. He doesn't visit the restaurant every day." I finally give up ordering and decide to make myself some sandwiches at home.

Kuk-doo-koo


While applying sauce on my sandwiches, my memory goes back to yet another frustrating experience with Cafe Laguna which even Salman Khan would have had a good laugh at. (You can click HERE to read it after this post.)

Naam bade, darshan chhote


Visiting the Cafe Laguna restaurant at Raheja Exotica Ocean City has often been a kind of pain for me.. akin to drowning in an ocean of frustrating thoughts and bad service from seemingly poorly trained staff. And now ordering food at home even has 'CONDITIONS.' That too, from a colony restaurant which seems to have been started to serve colony residents.

Cafe Laguna for me, often turns out to be one of those issue-filled problematic restaurants, which are high on promotion and price, low on service, always pushing away customers, by disappointing them with innovative ways that would even surprise nincompoops. Ofo! Naam bade, daam bhi bade, par darshan chhote.



Lol. Now if that isn't a lesson in PR, what is. (And I have not even started talking about 'the halogen light at Raheja Exotica, Madh Island, Malad, Mumbai' and chronicling my various rollercoaster escapades with the colony's admin head honcho. That's another story for another day.)

If you know restaurants in residential colonies run by other builders like Lodha Group, Godrej Properties, Runwal Realty Pvt Ltd, Indiabulls Infraestate, Rustomjee Constructions, L&T Realty, Arihant Superstructures, Kalpataru Group, TATA Housing Development, Sunteck Realty, Marathon Realty etc which have such PR crisis type issues, do write in and share your experiences. I am always game for more PR lessons. Love to learn. Write to me on dalebhagwagarmediagroup@gmail.com or WhatsApp me on +919833098334. I love feedback.

Raheja Exotica, Ocean City, Madh Island: An amazing place


By the way, Raheja Exotica is no ordinary residential colony. Aptly titled Ocean City, it's a beautiful piece of real estate from Raheja builders, Raheja Universal. A bit noisy in the day because of loud music often playing at the resorts around, ​but still ​cool, calm and ​amazing​ at other times.

Like a township with hundreds (or maybe thousands) of owned and rented flats and apartments. Mumbai's real estate icons Mr Suresh Raheja, Mr Ashish Raheja and Mr Rahul Raheja seem to have built this place with lots of love. Lovely buildings named Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, Andalusia, Amalfi, Sicily, Capri and the towering Sorento tower from where one can dream of touching the clouds or even the airplanes descending towards the Mumbai city airports. It's another matter that I couldn't get my Dal Tadka delivered just about 30 steps away. *facepalm*

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Friday, 20 October 2017

BEWARE: Chinese could use these PR tactics and some Indians may extend support


I have a feeling, the ever-greedy Chinese will soon try to sell their products in India with a 'Made in India' label.




What's more! The Indian brands who get their products made in China, may also try to scuttle the 'Made in China' / 'Made in PRC' label in an obscure corner, or in a way not easily visible on the products. Sellers may even put a sticker on it. BEWARE.



And remember, Dale told you first.


Dale Bhagwagar is a PR specialist with branding, image consultancy, strategizing, media manipulation, crisis management and mentorship for media students. He has handled the publicity for more than 150 Bollywood actors and 30 movies, apart from being a spokesperson and publicist to 20 Bigg Boss contestants.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Maharashtra Government's new law to protect mediapersons


There was a time political parties would break media offices and bash journalists. But times are a changin'. According to a new law passed by Maharashtra Government, violence against a media person or against premises of a media institution is now a cognizable and non-bailable offence. Such cases will be required to be investigated by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and will carry a prison term of 3 years and a fine of Rs 50,000. Plus, media persons and media institutions can recover compensation for any medical expenses or physical damage to their movable or immovable property.

Dale Bhagwagar is a PR specialist with branding, image consultancy, strategizing, media manipulation, crisis management and mentorship for media students. He has handled the publicity for more than 150 Bollywood actors and 30 movies, apart from being a spokesperson and publicist to 20 Bigg Boss contestants.

Arnab Goswami's Republic TV effect is affecting everyone



NDTV's Nidhi Razdan asked Bharatiya Janata Party's spokesperson Sambit Patra to "apologize" or "please leave the show." This, because Sambit accused NDTV of having an anti-BJP "agenda." Looks like Arnab Goswami's Republic TV effect is affecting everyone!

Friday, 5 May 2017

My Vodafone India network and data connectivity issues and problems

Dear Vodafone,

My issues with Vodafone network and data connectivity just dont seem to end.

Here's my experience over time. You guys are bad in service, which leads to issues and problems with mobile phone connectivity.

Whats the use of giving unlimited plans and trying to compete with Reliance Jio, when you can't even provide proper network and data connectivity? Whats the use of "Unlimited Local and STD minutes," "Incoming Calls on National Roaming," "1GB Internet Quota +2GB extra for 4G Handsets," "5GB Extra Internet Quota on Vodafone Wi-Fi Hotspots," "100 Local and National SMS" etc when in reality we customers have to keep saying, "Awaaz aa rahi hai kya" and "Awaaz nahin aa rahi hai" on our phones because you cant give satisfactory network and data connectivity?

Whats more, when one calls your Customer Care, the machine voice never ends, as you guys have made it so difficult to connect to a Vodafone Customer Care executive.

Indians frustratingly complain on Twitter and mark Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Telecom Ministry people and I&B Ministry personnel.

Only then, you respond, saying you will arrange a "call back." And your 'call backs' are another ironical joke altogether.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Why some Indians need to SHUT THE F*** UP

Wake up India. I would like to bring your attention to a subject which deals with the respect and pride of our nation.




I feel that all those sympathizing with road protesters in Kashmir are dim-witted. Before talking against the Police use of pellets, they should watch the aggressive, vicious, violent attacks by the stone-pelters on the Police.



Do these protesters deserve public, political and media support and sympathy for damaging property, instigating hate, spreading divisiveness and discontent, and propagating another partition by asking for Azadi (Independence)?



We have all even seen videos of these Kashmiri protesters catching Police officials and mercilessly beating them up. Haven't we?



Inspite of that the Police use tear gas and chilli grenades to ward of protesters and use pellet guns only as a 'last resort' when their own well-being is endangered.




Some people and even the media who still sympathize with the jaanwar-like (animal-like) behavior of the protesters need to SHUT THE F*** UP. By not letting the Police exercise firm control over such unruly mobs, you are doing a disservice to your own country.

Images courtesy: Google

About the Author:
Dale Bhagwagar is a PR specialist with branding, image consultancy, strategizing, media manipulation, crisis management and mentorship for media students. He has handled the publicity for more than 150 Bollywood actors and 30 movies, apart from being a spokesperson and publicist to 20 Bigg Boss contestants.




Monday, 16 May 2016

New India: One people, one mission, one nation


While we are inculcating ourselves with our Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' mantra, we need to understand and imbibe some other qualities too.

These are qualities about living in harmony... as one people, one mission, one nation.


India is a country with many religions, languages and cultures. We all need to respect each other more and more to grow and prosper as a people. And for that, among many other things, we also need to stop making fun of communities and have mutual respect.

We need to stop making comments about other cultures and communities in a taunting way. Because what is funny light-hearted humour to one, may be a strong emotional connect to another.


It's not cool to call a Sardar a "Sardar" with a connotation of "baarah bajj gaye," or calling a Maharashtrian a "ghaati" with a degrading meaning, or calling a Marwadi a "Marwadi" with a "kanjoos" connotation, or a Gujarati with a "baniya" mentality slant, or calling Haryanvis "stupid", or making fun of Sindhi community.


Yes, some of these may be accepted taunts. Nevertheless, they are communal taunts and may sound insulting to others. Not everyone can take such humour on the chin. And we need to remember and respect people and cultures. Because that is our glorious past and every community is proud of its heritage and traits. #JustSaying #HugsToAll :):)

About the Author:
Dale Bhagwagar is a PR specialist with branding, image consultancy, strategizing, media manipulation, crisis management and mentorship for media students. He has handled the publicity for more than 150 Bollywood actors and 30 movies, apart from being a spokesperson and publicist to 20 Bigg Boss contestants.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

WhatsApp's new desktop app review


WhatsApp has introduced a new App that can be downloaded for your desktop. It works quite similar to WhatsApp Web, which was introduced earlier. But in a way, it's a heart-breaking development for hardcore WhatsApp lovers. Reason being, it's hardly a development, or real progress from what we already have.



PROS: It offers more functionality on the desktop. Functionality that you have on the phone's WhatsApp.

Once you have downloaded the App and scanned a code, you won't need to scan the code again and again every time you reboot your computer or clear the cache.


CONS: For most people, it may be quite pointless to have this new App. Because just like WhatsApp Web, it requires your phone to always be near your desktop and connected to the internet; especially Wi-Fi, as it will use up your mobile data space if not connected to Wi-Fi.

Like WhatsApp Web, the desktop app is just an extension of your phone. It mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device and fails to function independently on your desktop. A huge downer, as this doesn't make it much different from the existing WhatsApp Web.

And now comes the biggest point. Many systems in India are still working on Windows 7. But this new WhatsApp desktop application can only function on Windows 8 and above, and Mac OS 10.9. So in case you are not upgraded with your Windows or Mac, you will waste your efforts, time and space downloading this one. #JustSaying


FINAL TAKE: Unless WhatsApp develops an app which can function independently on the desktop (say, the way Facebook on desktop functions separately from Facebook Mobile App), these baby steps of betterment are almost pointless. It may even be convenient to keep using WhatsApp Web for desktop till then.

About the Author:
Dale Bhagwagar is a PR specialist with branding, image consultancy, strategizing, media manipulation, crisis management and mentorship for media students. He has handled the publicity for more than 150 Bollywood actors and 30 movies, apart from being a spokesperson and publicist to 20 Bigg Boss contestants.