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03/16/2012

Settling down in Delhi - Part 2

Another test. To get curtains. The first store I located was closed, the second market did not have curtain stores. I ended up in a giant FabIndia in my neighbourhood. I selected the fabric. The tailor came home and gave me an exorbitant quotation for stitching. So I put that on hold. One week later I went back to buy the fabric – I had changed my mine on what I wanted. And then I looked for a tailor. Not easy. In my neighbourhood, they make only saris, no curtains. By chance I found a curtain tailor. Who asked me for the double of the price of the initial tailor. I thus called that guy…

I had to get the grid of the large window in the living room removed in order to have a superb sight on the trees and not feel anymore in prison.
I had to get the glass of the bathroom fixed and to clean the guano (the shit of pigeon in a language less elegant).
I had to repair the water-heater of the kitchen which causeed me a water damage the 3rd day after my moving in.
I had to buy and install the ACs and the inverter (for the power cuts during the summer), and the home theater (and to find out the correct prices, what a task!).
I had to get my landlord’s big fridge get picked up and to spend hours to remove the fungus.
I had to get some pieces of furniture done in Delhi.
I had to order some other pieces of furniture which are being done in Rajasthan (why doing simple things when one can do difficult ones??).
I had to threaten of a lawsuit the importer of futons of Mumbai who has still not sent the sofa bed after three weeks.
I had to get lamps and bulbs fixed, to get the washing machine plugged.
I had to explain to the servants’ kids that one does not play cricket on my ceiling/the roof terrasse. And especially not on Sundays morning at 7:30. They saw me storming in like a fury, hair all over the place, dressed with whatever I could find, wearing Shiv’s shoes. They got the message.
Where I have more difficulties is with the stray dogs. God knows why they start barking at midnight. I observed them bastards well and they call each other from one end of the street to the other. Now I throw stones from the balcony at them. Let’s see if they ever understand… Apparently pigeons got it that cooing at wee hours of the morning on my balcony what no option (is there some kind of conspiration to prevent me from sleeping?? The Delhiite torture…!).
I also had to locate where to buy food (even though I can not cook yet), my Kerastase shampoo etc.
I almost cried of joy when the guy of the electronic shop told me he could get me an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter. My saviour!

03/14/2012

Settling down in Delhi - Part 1

No new good news…
Settling down here is no easy thing.
I found my flat rather quickly. Not furnished.
My stuff arrived rather quickly of Mumbai. So well packed… I almost missed my cat’s tiny mouse toy because it was wrapped in so much paper!

My mobile line was one hell of a hardship and still, I can not activate the option of international calls before one month. I went to insult them in the shop (or more exactly the call center (as this is they only thing they would ever tell you “visit our Vodafone store”) sent to me to the shop to give a cheque of guarantee which they did not even want to consider before the first bill so I got really pissed off). Internet happened surprisingly quickly: 36 hours with Airtel. With regard to Reliance, I am still expecting their call – they committed to do it within 7 working days and it has been 20 …

The gas… I did not rush since I believed I had a building connection. Well no. I need a cylinder. Off course all the numbers which I found online were dead ends. So I went to a shop in a small closed market. A squalid place. Two guys in a mini-office. A man with a kind of grin took my papers, asked fifty questions. With his funky grin I could see it coming, that would not work out. And thus :
- “One month”
- “One month what?”
- “One month of waiting”
- “Not”
- “Not??”
- “Bah no hein”
I did not let this get to me and went straight away to another shop. Immediately more engaging: a dozen of delivery vans and hundreds of cylinders. But let us not rejoice too quickly.
An old woman takes my documents, enters some data in the system, gives me a form to fill and make notarised. Fate does things well: with my struggle to get a sim card, I got to know where the notary is!! I thus get it done. Kafkaesque.
I go back to the gas agency and this is where that the problems start. They will send me a registered letter and I must come back with this letter. But how could I receive since I am never at home during the day time? It is a problem indeed… The poor fellow thinks hard but there seems to be no option. They need to check that I live at home. Finally he asks me to come back next Saturday. Let’s see what will happen…

02/15/2012

This post is dedicated to the Indian Telecom companies

"I hate you."   

Nothing new here.   
Vodafone has been my scapegoat for the past 3 years. Whenever I feel the anger rising (for anything), I know I can call them and they will say something to make me lose my cool! I'm exaggerating, but not much. Where I am not exaggerating is that they do have a knack for upsetting me. What's the point of having teleoperators if their only answer is "you have to go to a Vodafone store Madam"?
I managed to get a postpaid connection (after long and painful hours of fights) but failed miserably with the prepaid one. I did try hard ... I started by buying the sim card and giving the papers. After 2 days incoming calls stopped working. I provided other papers at the Vodafone store. After 3 days outgoing calls no longer worked. I went to the Vodafone store again. After 2 days nothing worked. I gave up.   

And here I am, in Delhi!   
You can imagine that there is no number migration between Delhi and Mumbai (for those who don’t know, when you leave a State in India, you go "roaming", and it costs more money)...   
So I decided to try Airtel. Ah well, I was not disappointed. I was already in a horrible mood – so I knew I should avoid telecoms then but... I gave the papers. Including my lease agreement. My lease agreement was not proper: it was not notarized. Nice, that’s a first. But good news: there is a notary in Nehru place! So we made photocopies, we certified the papers, we made new photocopies, we gave the papers. And then I asked the killer question: "And do you do "home verification”"? I saw the face of the guy (whom I already disliked) and I realized it was dead...
That is because, in India, the telecom companies come to you to verify that you live at your place. Useless. Any terrorist can rent a room, sit for three days and then go right? In India, this “home verification” is hardly an issue: they live at fifty in one room. But a girl staying alone, and without a full-time employee, she can sit on her connection. I have asked them to come in the evening. But no, it must be a "surprise", during office hours, and any time over a period of three days.   

I left super angry.   
I called Vodafone. Who offered me a pseudo-solution involving my office address. And above all, an employee would come and see me at the warehouse the next day ...   
And the next day, the guy was no different. He asked me for my company’s bank statement. (???) I explained that it was for me. Then he had to do the "home verification". And there, listen carfelly! I told him that there was nobody at home, if he wanted he could go and talk to my cat. Then he turned to my colleague and asked him, with the utmost seriousness, if my cat could give him a photocopy of my passport. Of course my cat will open the door, serve you a cup coffee and certify that I live here ... It's a grrrreat cat.   

Result: my colleague came to my rescue, gave his address (they will go and check) and I'll know on Friday if my connection is activated.   

Since we are here, I'd like to go back to Reliance, for the Internet connection. It's been two times now that I stopped the line (the first one when I moved in Mumbai, second when I moved to Delhi). Ah well hang on! The guys they never give up. They tell you ok and then they call you every single day to ask you why you want to cut the line?? Ah you are moving? But we can move your line!! You are moving to France?? (Sometimes you have to lie.) Okay then we will stop it. And the next they call you again “why do you want to stop your connection??” I'm not kidding. And everything in Hindi because it's more fun. You end up screaming in the phone to go to hell!

All is well...