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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…


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...


The French seen by the Indians

The other day I was asked a rather… surprising question: How do the Indians see the French??


It surprised me, because firstly it is really egocentric, and quite typical of a French! (But well I guess every people genuinely feel that the world evolves around it…).


I thus answered that, for the large majority of Indians, there is India and the U.K. And maybe America. No France! Question of perspective…

Cf my Indian physician who tells me “ah France! It is next to Vietnam isn’t it?”

I also found myself once in a situation which I perhaps already told:

-          Vèrrre from?

-          France.

-          Vèrrre?

-          Mmhhh Europe?

-          Vèrrre??

-          The U.K.?

-          Ahhhhhhh! (with a look like why didn’t you say it immediately??)


Those who have been to France will (in general) remember 2 things: we do not speak English and our food is bland; besides it is very difficult to find vegetarian food.

Some also know the world-famous clichés: most guys are gay, we eat cheese, we are arrogant, revolutionist.


In Bollywood style, they know of our political community only Carla Bruni.


And in the news recently, they are outraged enough by prohibition to wear the burka.


In short a French, before being a French, is a (white) foreigner. And if you want to know how Indians see foreigners than there is lot more to say!!