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yak.a.co

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Dear friends,
just wanted to share my disappointment with Ayub and warn you from ordering instruments from him. I will leave aside all the quality problems and re-badged crap from Lucknow we now all know about, Lars would be the right person to tell more. The main point of this post is: advance money :!: Okay, so after a sad year without almost any instrument to play my wife spared something and told me it is for me to use on my sitar. So, we went forward to order one - a teak kharaj. Ayub asked for advance payment of 500 USD, which we sent him and he picked it from Western Union a day later, as they informed me. Till we gave him those money, everything was looking quite OK. But from this point on, he just five times promised he will send photos and remaining cost of the instrument and shipping. Some months ago he stoped to respond completely. The sitar was ordered in august 2011. Till today I do not have it, nor any reply, nor any money back. I tried everything, wrote at least 30 emails, tried like 20 times to call him ... nothing. He does not respond, he knows my number and (thus?) does not take the phone ... So, in my naivity I was thinking it might have happened something to him. To find out I asked my friend to pretend he is wanting to purchase some instrument - after a day he received a reply with price ... Ha So now I know and am wondering how to get our really really hard earned and spared money back, the more as we have a baby now and cannot let it be Maybe just an illusion, the situation seems he is sure there is no way for me to get them back ...
So beware ! He stole us 500 USD In past he was fair person making good stuff, I do not understand why such things happen :|
J.
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nicneufeld

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Reply with quote  #2 
I'm very sorry to hear of your misfortune!

I have an RA Sitarmaker instrument, but it is an older one that came through Lars (and Tony K seemed to indicate it was one of the "good ones" from before their quality took a nosedive). From everything I've heard and moreso in light of your troubles, I certainly won't be doing giving Ayub any custom in the future. Too much risk involved, and almost no recourse available if someone is dishonest...about the only recourse is what you have done, to share your problem with others which certainly can't be good for his business. Hopefully he makes right with you, either with a refund or an instrument. Congrats on your baby, our second child is 4 months old.
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Lars

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "yak.a.co"
Dear friends,
just wanted to share my disappointment with Ayub and warn you from ordering instruments from him. I will leave aside all the quality problems and re-badged crap from Lucknow we now all know about, Lars would be the right person to tell more. The main point of this post is: advance money :!: Okay, so after a sad year without almost any instrument to play my wife spared something and told me it is for me to use on my sitar. So, we went forward to order one - a teak kharaj. Ayub asked for advance payment of 500 USD, which we sent him and he picked it from Western Union a day later, as they informed me. Till we gave him those money, everything was looking quite OK. But from this point on, he just five times promised he will send photos and remaining cost of the instrument and shipping. Some months ago he stoped to respond completely. The sitar was ordered in august 2011. Till today I do not have it, nor any reply, nor any money back. I tried everything, wrote at least 30 emails, tried like 20 times to call him ... nothing. He does not respond, he knows my number and (thus?) does not take the phone ... So, in my naivity I was thinking it might have happened something to him. To find out I asked my friend to pretend he is wanting to purchase some instrument - after a day he received a reply with price ... Ha So now I know and am wondering how to get our really really hard earned and spared money back, the more as we have a baby now and cannot let it be Maybe just an illusion, the situation seems he is sure there is no way for me to get them back ...
So beware ! He stole us 500 USD In past he was fair person making good stuff, I do not understand why such things happen :|
J.
Sorry to hear about this Jan, I remember you telling me about it when you ordered a long time back. Get a hold of me via email through the RCM site, I'm going there in September (to visit 2 other makers) and will see if I can do anything for you although I wasn't planning on visiting them at all if I can help it. It's sad but getting ripped off is part of it for what I do also only often at a higher and most painful level, I just lost $1800 myself from someone (not in Miraj) who I've known for years and trusted.
There's a lot to the Miraj story which I might be persuaded to tell at another time maybe but it's sad. Bad karma....

Lars

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Sitarfixer

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q
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coyootie

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'the norm in India'
that says it all. out of all the countries I've traded in over the years, Hindoostan takes the prize for the most weaselly, lying con artists anywhere.it seems to be so hardwired into the culture, to screw and take advantage of anyone, ESPECIALLY outsiders, that even if you bang them in the head with the fact that it actually LOSES MONEY for them , they can't change......................
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Lars

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Quote:
Originally Posted by "Sitarfixer"
Oh WOW ! ! ! It just gets worse and worse. So sorry to hear about all this. I have to admit though that I'm not surprized. I had sub-contracted them to build sitars for me to my design specs and material selection for five years. As it all developed, the quality started to drop. The last batch were rejected outright for flaws usually seen on a $300 firewood display piece. I told Ayub then that he broke my heart as I left for the last time. This was January 2009. Since then I've heard from sources that sell / distribute instruments from RA Sitarmaker that the quality has dropped to the point that the supply contract was also dropped. It makes no sense at all to go for the quick buck, take the money and run. Bad and stupid business practice yet pretty much the norm in India. I just don't understand it. Shahid Ali is now, it seems, the only maker in Miraj who can be trusted, at least from my experience. There must be others but I haven't met them there. I've been to Shahidbhai's shop on many occasions and would have dealt with them had I not hooked up with RA first. So it goes. I hope Lars gets over to RA's shop and gets the fur flying. " HEY Lars. Get some pics of the RA operation when you get there, please. I'm curious to see how the kids have grown" ! ! ! Jan. I feel very bad about your situation. Perhaps Shahidbjai will read this posting and walk across the street to Ayub and "get serious". Let's see what develops. Wishing you all the best despite this terrible turn of events. " Přeji ti všechno nejlepší k " Tony Karasek
Well, wasn't on my agenda to visit but I suppose I can. It's too late for RA as the negatives are all over, I'll do what I can if asked....The jist of my last email from them (after telling them I was done doing jawari and fret fitting on their sitars) was as follows from Wasim.
"Hello Mr. Lars. Sir. How are you sir? Please send me one laptop and digital camera sir." That was it, I responded with a rated R version of Tony's heartbreak. It is quite funny in a way but there are other makers in India who are doing great work and understand certain things and so it continues. All of the makers in Miraj to my knowledge are now fitting Kolkata or other bodies but some still make their own as well. This makes sense for a Kolkata maker who has access and control over who's doing what but the selling point of the MIraj sitars was how beautiful they were and while the boominess of the sound wasn't my thing I could certainly appreciate the craftsmanship. Hopefully the Miraj Lucknow plywood body ebay craze will fade one day, lets see. Still some solid sitars coming out of there now and then. Besides the points that Alan touched on the main problem is the perception of the West by some of these guys that are sheltered because of location and exposure, the streets are paved with gold here you know filled with fawning throngs of people willing to shower praises upon the most mediocre poly sprayed instruments because of lack of knowledge or just wanting to buy the latest in kitsch musical curios.

Oh no, here comes the outpouring of a rant

While I'm at it: And then there's the cheap factor, besides the demand for them what follows is price. "Lars, I really appreciate the service you do with (insert instrument name) top quality, fiberglass case, air shipping but I can't pay XXX for it but it's good for those who aren't savvy shoppers". Savvy meaning he hasn't been ripped off yet but it will....I just heard this the other day anyway. So in this case what would ebay guy or store xyz do? They tell their agent in India that the prices are too high and they need to come down, however the agent has already been ripping off Mr/Mrs. Maker for years by not paying them saying their quality was lower and I can only pay you this... and so the response is to import crap from Bihar or wherever where these poor people make enough just to eat for a day plus THEIR agents, and on and on it goes. If even 2 cents can be saved it will be, count on it. A cycle of viciousness which maybe is endemic to the region but shame on me I'm an optimist all hyperbole aside. :wink: Read this paragraph again, it's important and the truth.

And so forum friends, there is something you can do about this to some degree. For one, support your local dealer and get what you pay for. Myself, AACM, Keshav, India Instruments in Europe, and so on go through a lot of trouble, have to throw away instruments even at times, take big chances, get ripped off, etc. Yes we charge for it but nobody is getting rich, trust me. We all have weeded out the BS as best as possible and actually care about this little corner of reality we're all in and don't worry the point of this rant is coming shortly....The original posters situation is understandable, he had ordered directly before with satisfactory results so is an innocent victim so this isn't directed at him. I would consider it myself if I weren't involved in what I do so if you must order from India accept the fact that it's a gamble, the most likely scenario is you won't get exactly what you paid for. And they are gambling on the fact you won't return it due to cost. The best way is to go directly with a maker do your homework, research any feedback and develop a dialog with them. Go to India yourself and get it, don't pay upfront until you play it and be clear about that and don't support the ebay tourist shops and sites who are part of the problem. The whole going to India thing has great value to it and you'll spend more this way sure but think of the experience and you'll make some friends along the way hopefully unless you get sick but that's another story. Otherwise if you can't be bothered then you have people that have done the work for you and we have a solution for lack of quality and that is we stop importing them.....or another great option is to commission Tony, Alan, or others to build you one.

Oh sh*t did I just go off on a tangent? Editing soon to follow I'm sure....

Lars

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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #7 
" JHBFC .5 " Well, Lars pretty well wrapped up how things are in the ugly world of business in India. It continualy amazes me how the people of a country that produces the most incredible music, dance and art, tastiest food, most gorgeous females, glorious history, etc. can be such ruthless cut throat back stabbing rat basta mofo's when it comes to anything business related. I can only suppose the ingrained class structure that dictates you must raise your image by doing down anyone near you to the point of it being a matter of boastable pride in how it was accomplished will continue long after the New World Order is in the drivers seat. Having lived there in that "Mistishi" for six years, I saw, first hand, countless examples of this caste/class sytem hard at work. My personal hits are too irritating to recount here but I was targeted every time I went out. Had to get outta there ! Really hoping this sitar hijack gets resolved . Kinda takes the luster out of this whole sitar whirlwind we're spinning in .
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yak.a.co

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you very much for your kind replies!
It realy gave me the feeling I am not alone in this and there is some hope. Besides money the other point is accurately as Tony said: broken heart. As I have written this was not my first order from Ayub. Despite some problems in past it always went out good and the instruments were, if one had the patiency to wait, great - after some minor adjustments. All my friends here in Czech who asked me in past for help in ordering them etc are playing them to this day very happily. Therefore even if many warned me about the prefab bodies I again gave the order for my own only instrument to him. Lars: if it will not solve any other way I will be very thankful if you could try anything there in place. Actualy Tonys point with Shahid Ali was also on my mind. I have seen some of his work and also heard nice words about sound quality, so surely if I will somehow be able to get the money from Ayub I will immediately give it to Shahid and have the sitar made by him, the more surely as Tony also recommends him. Lets see.
Thank you all one more time
Jan
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Bakersbites786

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi sorry about your misfortune.
I had my sitar delivered yesterday made by Shahid Ali. I'm really please with it. I'll post a sound sample in a couple of weeks. I went with Shahid Ali because of this forum. The only thing i changed on the sitar was baj string. I prefer roslau strings .30. Theres some great guys on this forum giving quality advise. Stick with them they'll put you right. I've got an active black beauty on order by Shahid Ali. I'll post some pictures shortly. No sorry I'll be a porn presentation.
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yussef ali k

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi.
I feel sorry about the matter. Don't want to make this worse, but the essence of these matters (+ enlightening read) is to be found with the inheritance stuff legal procedures. Peek at it: a bottom less pit.

There is also text by Tirtankar Roy ('Master Artisans ans Economic Change in Colonial India':The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 66, No.4:Nov. 2007):go direct to p974 for ICM.
Tried to post a link to it here but either I'm not savvy enough or the scholarly organisation doesn't allow me to, so if any1 can do it, please do: This example of the availability of texts in the West also shows us that although we're endlessly told the
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sitar_shahidaliss

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Reply with quote  #11 
dear fraind i feel bad bcz i also live in miraj ....tonyji know i kant do anything for jan
bcz my not good relation with ayyub bhai.....but when lars come to miraj sure he will do something in septhember
shahid
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #12 
" Adaab, Shahidbhai ". I understand. No need to make things even worse. Why is Ayuub going on like this ? ? ? Any ideas ? ? ? He is a marked man here in the US now. Very sad for many people.
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sitar_shahidaliss

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please try to understand ....
no coments
shahid
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #14 
" mai samajhataa "
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fossesitar

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Reply with quote  #15 
As they say in the old country: you cannot get a leopard to change his spots.
Lack of ethics, lack of a long term view, lack of deep reverence and respect
for what one does and for the customer (who after all ENABLES us to do
what we do): all of these things make it IMPOSSIBLE to carry on business.

It becomes too time consuming to even deal with. And as others have
indicated here, this seems to be hard-wired into the Indian Genetic Code.
I have always said, when you shake hands with an Indian businessman, count
your fingers after. Sad, counter productive, embarrassing, pathetic, and dumb.

In extremis. I pray for a better day.
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