Thursday, March 11, 2010

project broadband internet

When we moved to Goa, "broadband internet" was on our list of essentials to get at the new house. We did our research, asked around and soon found out that Airtel hasn't figured out how lucrative broadband internet could be in Goa, so we were left with Hathway or BSNL. Everyone we spoke to seemed to recommend BSNL. Since we were not left with much choice, we decided it would have to be BSNL. And soon an adventure unfolded. One that is punctuated with many "WTF" moments, and is still unfinished 3 weeks since it began…

  • You realize the need for broadband internet and you soon realize BSNL is you only option. The next logical thing to do is to try and find the local BSNL office. People point you in all possible directions. One sweaty blistering afternoon you walk around for about 2 hours, before you actually find it
  • You go to the BSNL office and on making an enquiry about their broadband services, you have a hard time understanding what the person across the counter is telling you
  • You figure out he's telling you that you need to fill 2 forms out – one for the telephone line and another for broadband internet
  • You then proceed to ask him for the forms, since it seems that your enquiry wasn't a sign enough for him to hand them to you as well
  • Then you try and fill the incoherent, roundabout forms despite the fact that there is not a single place in the office where you can put a sheet of paper down and write on it
  • Then you hand the form over to the man behind the counter
  • He then tells you that you need to go to the other BSNL office – the customer service kind of office
  • You ask him where it is and he responds to say it is "behind that building" (and he points to the building in front of him)
  • Ok. You think that makes sense, so you walk over, and luckily there is a sign indicating it
  • You stand in queue and wait endlessly till the man behind the counter lazily deals with one person after another. Sometimes taking random breaks in between to drink water, flirt with the lady at the system next to him, randomly make conversation with his colleagues – while we continue to wait in the queue thinking WTF!
  • Finally your turn comes and he takes an eon to process it, repeating the antics which you have now become quite used to, considering the amount of time you have been watching him do his thing
  • He scribbles a telephone number on a receipt. That's your telephone exchange he tells you, and he says you need to call them and demand that they come fix your telephone. You think WTF again, but then again it's Goa – maybe that's how things work here. So you agree and move on
  • The next day you call the telephone number in the morning. No answer. You try again. Still no answer. You try again and again and again. Then you think there's something wrong. So you decide to wait for your wife to come back to Panjim so she can go to the customer care centre, speak in Konkani to hopefully flatter the executive into getting your phone fixed sooner
  • In the meantime you find out from your watchman that the BSNL linesman has come to your home and gone away twice in your absence
  • Oh well. You decide you'll just have to wait for your Konkani-speaking wife to come to Panjim to work her Konkani charm on them
  • When she does finally come, it's ironic that she calls the blessed telephone number and someone answers it at the very first instant! What's even more ironic is that she speaks to the voice at the other end in English and he conveys to her that the linesman will be sent to our home that very evening. WTF indeed
  • She waits. There is no linesman
  • She calls again at 5 15 pm, and is told that the office closes at 5 30, so there is nothing they can do
  • The next day the doorbell rings. Your wife is astounded because you know nobody in Goa, who would show up at your doorstep. Unless some friend of yours decided to surprise you with a visit!
  • It turns out it's the linesman. Looking very pissed off that his job isn't getting done. So you invite him in to do the deed. But he says he will have to come back again since he hasn't carried the instrument with him. Again, WTF indeed
  • He promises to return at 4 the same day and you give him your telephone number so he can call you before he arrives
  • You're out in the evening, but you make it a point to return home by 4 so you can welcome your new telephone into your new home
  • Of course, the linesman doesn't feel the same way about having the job done. He doesn't show up
  • The next day your Konkani speaking wife calls the exchange again and furiously demands that your phone be delivered, up on which he is told that the linesman has been instructed to do so since incidentally there is another telephone to be fixed in the same apartment complex. You feel fortunate that "the" day has finally arrived
  • When the linesman does finally arrive, he behaves like its entirely YOUR fault that he wasn't able to fix the telephone
  • Through the ordeal that you've been through, you imagine that the process of fixing the telephone will take an age, so you sit yourself down on an uncovered mattress and prepare for the long wait. You're already cursing the crap out of the linesman for arrive just when you were all ready to shower and leave the house to go get your errands done
  • The linesman starts the job, carefully taking the telephone line in through the window and connecting it to my brand new handset
  • And voila! That was it. In less than 7 minutes you have a telephone
  • Excited, you pick up the receiver, only to find there is no dial tone. The linesman tells you disinterestedly, that the exchange will give me a call soon, which will activate my telephone and give me my number. WITHIN half an hour he assures me. You believe him
  • You shouldn't have. Because more than 24 hours later you still haven't received the call. So you have a BSNL telephone. Without a dial tone. And you don't know your telephone number. And you cannot apply for the broadband internet services unless you have all of the above

WTF indeed.

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