Tag Archives: efficiency

A New Broom

In the past couple of weeks, we have had all new security people here at Palm Meadows. It seems that all of the old security personnel were disposed of and a new batch brought in. The uniforms are different now as the contractor has changed. Daniela noticed that and asked our driver about it to see if anything had happened to provoke the change. He might have heard something through the grapevine from the other drivers or domestic help.

Of course Madam, a new broom sweeps better!

It seems that they practice periodically changing support personnel for its own sake on the theory that those newer to the job will perform better. I spoke with one of the community leaders of the neighborhood the other day and he confirmed this.

Nobody actually uses the mail

This seems to be my observation and after my adventures with my American presidential election ballot, I understand why. Yesterday, I received two letters; both by courier. One was our internet bill. The other was a book about the Nilgiris, published by the Nilgiris Documentation Center.

It is interesting that they felt a need to send these packets by courier instead of by India Post. .

Waiting and counter waiting

The Reliance guy came yesterday to sign me up. Despite the interesting call center, they seemed to understand that I wanted a broadband connection and lived in Bangalore. He was supposed to be here before 10AM. Naturally, I did not expect him to show up, but even so I lied to him and told him that I had to go out at 10. At 11:30, he called, said that he was on the way and would be here before 1.

I was hungry and I’ve been subsisting on ready-made food during the days; ramen noodles, spaghetti and packets and microwavable Indian dishes (I like the Paulo and Hyderabad style rice packets). My body was starting to rebel and demand real food; something that did not come with microwave instructions. I wanted something substantial. The only chance I would have to go out to lunch was before 2PM. I was really eager for this guy to come, do his thing and allow me to go.

At 1PM, with no sign of the Reliance guy, I finally grew fed up with people in India never being there at anything approximating what they said. I grew fed up with revolving my schedule around people who don’t seem to consider it rude to make others wait in an open ended loop.

So I went to lunch.

As I walked over, I sent him an SMS to come the next day. Just as I was sitting down to order, he called.

Sir, I’m at the security gate.

I was livid. I decided on the spot that I would not run back to the house for this man who has no problems wasting my time.

You said that you would be here at 1 and you never showed up. I had to step out. Shall
we do this tomorrow?

I can wait Sir.

How long?

Half an hour would be no problem Sir.

So I made the guy wait while I ate lunch. Dani later asked me if I actually enjoyed my lunch, or I was more stressed about getting back. It was the latter. I would like to say that I felt liberated in making him wait, but mostly it made me feel like a jerk. You just don’t do that to people. Making them wait while you eat lunch feels particularly churlish.

I have to figure out a way to not let a morning appointment block my whole day and to not worry when I make that guy wait either.

The Call Center

I’ve been having trouble with my ISP, BSNL. Due to a billing snafu, they cut me off on Friday and I only got my internet turned back on today. Now I could imagine Deutche Telekom doing something this stupid because they have shown me many reasons to. (For the record, I never had any complaints about Nynex when I lived in New York) What makes BSNL special is not just that they manage to screw up bills or mangle timing for turning things back on (both BSNL and T-Online are good about turning things off; it is the on switch that vexes them). At least T-Online works when it is “on”. With BSNL, actually being able to use the net is hit or miss at any given time. I usually have to click “reload” three or four times to get any page to load.

So I got fed up with BSNL and started shopping for a new ISP. Reliance seems to be popular with my neighbors and they tell me that it is more reliable than BSNL, so I’m going to give them a try. I called their call center to tell them that I want to switch to them. I was impressed by the call center woman I got.

Sir, I need to check what service availability is in your area. What city do you live in?

Bangalore

What state is that in?

This question floored me. Bangalore is one of India’s major cities. This is like telling someone that you are in New York City and having them ask you what state. Actually, I’d understand that better. If I was in New York and talking to someone in a call center, it would probably be in Bangalore and they could be forgiven for not knowing what state New York City is in.

I had an irresistible urge to say “Punjab”.

Karnataka

It was not in my best interest to allow the woman to get too confused.

Sir what is your PIN?

What in the blazes is a PIN? Is this some government issued ID number? Some special local code?

Ma’am, what is a PIN?

Your PIN Sir?

Ma’am, I don’t know what a PIN is, but I can give you my postal code

I need to know your PIN Sir.

That conversation went nowhere. She told me that they would be contacting me within a week. And for the record, a PIN is what they call a postal code in India.

Arrrrggggghhhhh!!!! – a.k.a. The Big Move Part I

Today is supposed to be our moving day. After nearly two months of glacial processing; getting a landlord to agree to the to the lease terms dictated by our employer, finding a landlord willing to produce the title, having the legal department verify that the title is in fact the title so that nobody is going to come along and kick us out, getting tons of signatures, etc., we are supposedly moving in to Palm Meadows today.

I say supposedly.

We were supposed to get the key before lunch today. We were supposed to get the key yesterday. We were supposed to get the key already last week… the middle of last week. Now I’m supposed to go get the key in twenty minutes; unless there is a last minute holdup. Naturally, there will be. I’ve discovered a strong faith in the fact that nothing ever seems to go smoothly in this country! Yes, I am grumpy at the moment!

And we’re supposed to give back the key to the service apartment this evening. Something tells me that it was an extremely bad move to make a commitment to give up the service apartment or pack before that key is in my hand.