Back in the land of my forefathers and am relieved to see that some things dont change. Singapore-like efficiency has its positives but surely, that would rob us of luxuries like chai-delivery to the workplaces. It also keeps things interesting. Take for example, my conversation with ICICI bankers: while they were all ultra-efficient in asking whether I wanted any banking services (ofcourse I do, you can manage the 5$ a month I save), they all gave me three different answers to my one question. I was calling to ask my mum’s status in my NRI account and I was confidently informed that she was a joint account holder, mandate account holder and/or nominee. All three of them declined to explain what each of those means, preferring instead to make a sales pitch.
My experience with BSNL has also been interesting. You see, the internet at home conks off the day I arrive almost every trip. After several phone complaints with no action, I made a trip down to the office. I was told to go to another office since the guy apparently tries to play hide and seek with customers (I would just hide if I were him). Few minutes later, found myself in a paan-stench filled mother of all unhygenic ‘offices’ where I was told to wait for the one guy to arrive. 15 minutes later, I had his undivided attention and he grandstanded with phone calls to people asking to fix our broadband connection. Nothing has happened since but during the waiting period, I did manage to cop a lecture from the friendly customer care representative.
I’ve also been reading “Don’t ask any old bloke for directions” by P.G. Tenzing. Delightful, witty and full of expletives, there is little else one can ask from a Sikkimese IAS officer who has spent copious amounts of time in Kerala (enough time apparently to learn Malayalam).