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03/24/2012

Installation in Delhi... electrical!! - Part 4

In Pune, we had up to 8 hours of power cuts per day in the summer.  
In Mumbai, I did not have a single cut in 3 years.      
In Delhi, I realized I was going to suffer ... so one of my first purchases was an inverter. The thing was plugged and seemed to be working fine. Though it looked really bad in my living room.   
It looked actually so bad that we decided to move it somewhere else. What an inspiration to do that…

The same day the electrician moved it, I started the microwave. He started to growl. Simultaneously the speakers started to make some chboum chtac chboum chtac sound. What the hell???           
Next thing, I got a shock when unplugging my ipod from the amplifier. I even got slightly burnt!
The next day I tried plugging the microwave everywhere in the flat, only to realize it was really in bad shape.

And more: while I was reading in the living room, I noticed a strange cycle: 5 minutes of good light, 3 minutes of bad light. And for more than one hour. Right.        
I decided to check if there was really something wrong and turned on the air conditioning in the bedroom (installed a month ago but never used). And CHBAM. No electricity. Nothing. Shit. And the fuses are normal. And the inverter is going chtac chtac chtac.       
Right.
I take my shower by the candlelight. I go to bed.        

My favorite Indian takes over the next day. God only knows what they (two electricians) have done during the 10 hours they spent at the apartment ...        
A good point: the electricity works.

Except that.          
The stabilizer (brand new) of the AC of the bedroom is dead.
The air conditioning does not cool the living room.   
If I plug in the AC in the study room, all the other devices (lights and fans) get half power.            
If I run the washing machine, lights start flashing everywhere.              
My toaster is sulking.        
And I have not tried the microwave.               
In short, there is still some work to be done ...           

But what the hell is happening here? It's not going to stop is it???      

You should know that spring is very pleasant in Delhi. It's 20 degrees, the birds sing. No, really, it is nice. But it only lasts for three days ... I am not joking, we went from 15 to 35 degrees in less than a week. So I got kind of a heat stroke of course. But I have no time to be sick.               
That's why when the pseudo-electrician (who showed me how we get sparkles with two electric wires) wanted to leave at 9:30 PM after having connected everything but my room I made a face. No, I don’t have another bed. And the guy goes on telling me that I don’t need electricity in my bed do I? Well, darling, I will not spend one more night without fan ok?                
And tomorrow you come back please because soon I will not spend a night without AC!*            

And finally?          
Another electrician came back the next day. Older. He looked like nothing but in three hours he fixed everything, I could not believe it. I still can not believe it.               
I waited 3 days before trying the microwave, I dunno, I could not ... I could not ... And it worked!! When I think that the first electrician told me it was dead and wanted to take it… The poor thing was just getting enough power!

 

* Here I am not entirely true as I use the AC as less as possible.

03/08/2012

Maha Shivaratri

The day before the festival of Shiva (on February 20), I came across one of his devotees with his trident (!!) while waiting for my rickshaw:

india,religion,hindusim,shiva,maha shivaratri



In the evening, during dinner, I asked my hosts: “What is Maha Shivatri?”.
Answer of the father: “no idea”.
Answer of the mother (who thought hard): “Once upon a time there was Vishnu who spent much of his time lying down on his snake itself lying on the ocean. One day the ocean was irritated and started to throw up things. The demons and the gods shared them but nobody wanted the poison. Then Shiva sacrificed himself and swallowed the poison. But his wife, refusing him to die, put her hands around his neck so that the poison would not go down. But the gods, refusing the poison to be spelled out, blocked his mouth. Thus the poison remained in Shiva’s head and that it is why he is blue. This is what we celebrate for Maha Shivaratri.”

Apparently it is the right explanation (at least one of the right explanations)!     http://hinduism.about.com/od/festivalsholidays/p/mahashivratri.htm 

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...