Bhaiyon aur behenon, those who got the shock of their lives when they read the title; and sadists, who were feeling happy; take a deep breath. I love exaggeration. No trauma in my life. At least, no major trauma. Today's minor trauma is that there's a box of Milano in the house, and I cannot find it. And believe me, when a person searches the whole house, not just the kitchen, for a record twenty-five minutes, and a box of cookies still doesn't turn up, things are bad.
Duggu makes me think of Milano. Oops. Just realised that there was a Freudian slip there (thanks, Venkat, for teaching me that term!). That sentence was supposed to be, "Milano makes me think of Duggu." Anyhow, the point is, I'm presently thinking, Duggu is the only man in India who can wear a rose pink tee and not look like he's on the wrong side of "metrosexual", dance like a dream and sell biscuits with panache. (As a reference point, you might want to think of SRK selling 'Sunfeast' biscuits). Also can make Shoumeli and me do stupid things like send each other SMSes that say "MTV. Now." whenever they're showing "Dhoom Again". Or make Peru, an entirely sane woman (er... maybe not) send me a message that says, "I have D:2 on DVD... original print! Now Mr. A is mine, all mine! *evil laugh* "
Duggu cults aside, I am presently very bored. And the extent of my boredom will be clear from 2 simple facts:
1. I log onto Orkut three times a day.
2. I have had "Who's your type?" conversations with Shoumeli and Sunny. [Have discovered that all our respective "types" are impossible to find, and that each of us is unwilling to compromise. We all want someone perfectly tailored to suit us, and that unfortunately, is rather... er... difficult. 15 years down the line, I predict a "Singles Club" happening. But what the heck, statistics show that the top 4% and bottom 10% of population are single, former being too choosy and latter having no choice. We like to persuade ourselves that we're in the top 4%, even though the statistical probability thinks otherwise. ;) ]
I have also just realised that I promised in my last post that my next post would be as short as Uday Chopra, and this one is presently not going anywhere. So I would like to now talk about my encounter with the babudom.
I grew up in an era where we were firmly made to believe, "Customer Is King." This belief has been reaffirmed with the treatment we get everywhere - from mobile service providers to home appliance sellers.
Airtel, for example, scarcely ever lets a day go by without telling me about its exciting offers... "Ghar mein samasya, kaam mein rukawat, pyaar mein mushkil. Jaaniyein apna bhavishya panditji se!! SMS karein ___" and "Free Ringtones! Salaam E Ishq, Red, blah blah. SMS ___. Chgs apply." (Free AND Charges Apply. Nice.) But irritating SMSes aside, they usually provide good customer care round the clock - take my calls, listen to problems, be nice to me even if I'm at my sarcastic worst.
So in my naivete I imagined that the government would be, if not as good, a close second. My rationale was, "The government has to move with the times, or it's going to become an obsolete relic of a red-tape-ist regime." Little did I know, that it already is.
I need an MTNL broadband connection. So in December, one dude from the government comes home and creates a new phone line. Except that when a phone is plugged in, there is no dial tone, or for that matter, any sign of life. So we spend a month chasing the babus and phone repair guys to come and fix this.
By mid-January, it's fixed. I call MTNL Broadband Services (For sake of convenience, all phone numbers will be referred to as P1, P2, P3, etc.)
So I call P1.
Me: Oh, er, hello. We've got a phone line for a broadband connection here, but no connection. Work Order No. hai...
Lady (interrupting): Idhar ka problem nahi hai. P2 pe phone karo.
Me: Ok, thanks.
I call P2.
Me: Haan, namaste. Phone line hai, broadband ka connection daalne ko koi aaya nahi hai.
Lady: Ithun kasala phone karta? P3 pe phone karo. [My Marathi skills are non-existent.]
Me: Er... Bye.
I call P3.
Me: Namaskaar. [Gave in, finally.] [I repeat the problem]
Lady: Woh hum handle nahi karta hai. P4 pe phone karo.
Me: Arre lekin mujhe aapka number diya!
Lady: (As irritated as she would be, were I a credit card seller calling her at 1 in the night) Bola na, hum handle nahi karta hai. P4 pe karo.
Me: Mutter mutter. Slam.
I call P4.
Me: (Relieved) [I repeat problem]
Lady: Madam paanch baj gaya. Office bandh hai. Kal phone karo.
Me: Kya? (Yaaron, 24x7 service ke zamaane mein, jab aisa koi bolta hai, I feel I'm dreaming.)
Lady: Arre kal gyaara aur paanch ke beech mein phone karo.
Me: (This time I'm too surprised to say anything. I just replace the receiver.)
I call P4 again, the next day.
Me: Haan. Abhi suno. [I repeat problem]
Guy: (Yawns) Kya Bhurk Aardar Number bola?
Guy: Arre Bhurk Aardar Number kya hai?
Me: Oh. Achha. [I repeat the Work Order Number]
Guy: Ek minute. Haan. Aisa koi Bhurk Aardar nahi hai.
Me: (nonplussed) Mere haath mein hain!
Guy: Aisa koi Bhurk Aardar nahi hai. [He's apparently been programmed to say just this.]
Me: Aisa kaise ho sakta hai??
Guy: (Thinks) Kab ka hai?
Guy: Toh humara koi aadmi aaya hoga, aur ghar pe koi nahi hoga.
Me: Toh aap cancel kar dete ho?!
Guy: Arre nahi, humne uss number pe phone bhi kiya hoga. Kisine liya nahi hoga. [Sounds happy, for some reason.]
Me: Lekin woh number ek mahine ke liye dead tha! Dead phone pe phone karega toh obviously aisa hi hoga na.
Guy: (A silence that says, "Fine. Now can I go back to my vada pav?")
Me: (Refusing to give in) Abhi kya karneka?
Guy: (Silence again)
Me: Kya karneka?
Guy: (Sigh) Naya form bharo.
Me: Phir kitna time lagega?
Guy: (At the end of his tether, apparently) Arre, humko kaise pata! Woh Telephone Exchange mein poochho.
Me: (Resigned) XYZ area ke Exchange ka number hai?
Conclusion: To get any work done in a Government Office, you must be:
1. Related to the CM, Commissioner, Governor, et al
2. Fluent in Marathi
3. Willing to bribe
4. Very patient, in spite of 1, 2 and 3.
Thankfully, I do eventually have a broadband connection now and it's a wonderful thing. God bless. All is forgiven.
This entry is dedicated to Peru - my "Soul Sistah" in the blogging world. Freakily coincidental blogs, freakily coincidental thoughts, freakily coincidental comments, freakily coincidental drafts, even! Add to that the fact that she's just sent me a message that says "Do you take me to be your freakish karmic soul sistah, for rich quotes and corny, poor jokes; in text messaging and in poor signal, till low battery do us part?" My reaction was a solemn, but emotional, "I do." [We stopped there, for anyone who's wondering.] Whom blogging hath joined let no Blogspot/LiveSpaces malfunctions do apart.