Friday, May 21, 2010

PAN card update

So I've been waiting seven to ten days, right?
Repeatedly. Seven to ten days go by, and then another seven to 10, and another...
How long ago was it that I submitted my original documents? Well over two months ago.
This morning I was told that I need to submit a new photo because they can't scan the one I gave them.
I asked if I could just send them a digital file.
No, this is not possible.
They will not let me help them to make their job a little easier so that they can help me.
And I continue to wait...

Unwanted services

My mobile phone receives several advertisements every day.
Properties available for sale.
Job offers.
How to save electricity costs.
And matrimonial alerts.
I don't know how I got on the list for this last one. I don't know how to cancel it either.

So every once in a while I get a message which tells me about
a Hindu girl from Rajasthan, 28 years, dial ** for more information
a Muslim Sunni girl Bihar, Patan girl, dial ** for more information
a Christian girl from South, 157cm, dial ** for more information

Perhaps there is someone interested in this information, but I am not.
How do I get off this mailing list!?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Free smoothie

I've spent a lot of time in the mall this week.
It's air conditioned and a good place for an active one year old to run around and be adored by strangers.
There is an outlet of Jus Booster Juice (a Canadian smoothie chain) at the mall. The Very Berry smoothie would keep the active little boy still in his stroller for a good amount of time as we walked around.
Our last evening in the mall, we were walking toward the exit and noticed that a new Jus Booster Juice had opened in another part of the mall. We knew it had just opened because of all the time spent in the mall: we hadn't seen it the day before.
One of the employees approached us and said we were welcome to come and choose anything we liked from the menu for free.
Oh, we told him, we'd already had our smoothie for the day.
"Tomorrow we will be open, ma'am," he replied, "And you will have to pay for it. Today it is free."
Free? Okay, why not? It's a free smoothie.
So we had our Berry Twister and Go Mango blended up and continued our walk to the exit at the other end of the mall.
What a nice gift.
So this is my Kudos to Canada: way to export good business, good service, and excellent fruit smoothies around the world. Go Canada.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Serendipitious orchestration

I just lived through a day orchestrated to bring us to Mexican food--good Mexican food.
Our plan today, my friend and I, was to go to a certain market where there was supposed to be a nice bookstore and a really good (dare-we-hope: authentic) Mexican restaurant. Good Mexican food is a rarity on this side of the world.
We found the bookstore. It was as expected. Not fantastic, but had books.
Now it was time to eat.
We found all the signage for the restaurant we wanted to go to, but where was the entrance?
"Oh that place is finished," said the guard we asked.
Sad, sad news. No Mexican for lunch.
We found a coffee shop to eat at before we melted and returned to my house.

Meanwhile, my friend's husband was supposed to be leaving on a plane. But the plane's airconditioning was broken and they were sitting out on the tarmac in 104 degrees unable to leave. Several hours later they deplaned all the passengers and moved them to a 5 star hotel in the north of the city.
A 5 star hotel? Hmm. This might be our only opportunity to go see what it's like inside...
Our "only choice", then, was to head there as soon as nap time for her one year old was over.

Riding in autos is hard, tiring work. But that's what we ended up in.
The call to the taxi to take us to the fancy hotel was at 4:20pm. The dispatcher said: "There is no taxi available for half an hour. 5 o'clock it will come for you."
That was very bad math and not half an hour. But I agreed.
At 5:15 I called the driver and went through extensive directions on how to get to my house. Twenty minutes later I called and asked the driver where he was. The name of the location he gave me was about half an hour away.
Okay, cancel that taxi service.

Now what do we do? It would be fun to go see the 5 star hotel that we wouldn't normally have opportunity to go see. But it was getting late. We would have to have time to come back for the kid's bedtime.
Our new plan? Walk out of the neighborhood and find our own taxi. If we can't get one, we walk a little further and end up at the Chinese restaurant nearby.
As we walked along, an auto passed us asking where we wanted to go? An auto wasn't in the plan. Because it was hot and we were tired and we didn't want to over-tire the kid before we'd even gotten anywhere. But there was the auto...
With a reasonable price.
We looked at each other.
We took it.
So we didn't exactly arrive at the five star hotel looking as if we belonged there, but they let us in anyway.
We walked through the lobby (unimpressive) and put our feet in the pool (slightly impressive). Then we headed out again to find dinner.
We thought we would go to a nearby pizza place and we got an auto to go there. I told him which block to take us to and when he pulled up, what did I see? A sign for Sancho's, the Mexican restaurant we'd been trying to find at lunch time.
"There's Sancho's," I said.
My friend misheard me to say, "There's a sandpit." Which was also true. Because all in front of the restaurant was construction and sand and a great big hole--no way for us to walk through.
The driver, though, showed us the path where people were walking through the construction site.
So my friend and I stood outside the Mexican restaurant and had this short conversation:
"We came here for pizza, but there's Sancho's. Which one do you want to go to?"
"Well, we know what pizza tastes like, we haven't tried Sancho's."
"Right. Let's go."
When we stepped inside and were told they had a baby chair, we knew we had arrived. A marvelous baby chair. Even though I had to eat with one hand while I held my fingers on the latch to keep the tray down and the kid from escaping.
That, and the excellent food with real cheese and real sour cream made all we had been through throughout the day totally worth it to end up here.
Disappointment at lunch time.
Waiting and waiting for a taxi that never showed up.
A plane with air conditioning that didn't work.
A visit to a 5 star hotel.
A search for pizza because we hadn't been successful at lunch.
It had all brought us here.
"That's what you call 'serendipity'," I said.
"No," replied my friend, "That's what you call the orchestration of a good God who knew exactly what we needed."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Stolen and replaced...somewhat

My phone was stolen.
At least that's the best I can figure, because I can't imagine how it could have fallen out of my bag when nothing else had without my noticing.
In that same pocket were my business cards--also missing. So whoever has the phone, knows whom they should call to return it.

Bad thief person.

I called the mobile phone customer service to report the missing sim card. The experience was so unexpectedly positive that I almost didn't mind that my phone was missing.

Last time my phone was stolen, I needed to go through a lengthy process of obtaining an affidavit.
This time?

My conversation with customer service went something like this:
Customer service guy: really-fast-Hindi-words-I-couldn't-follow
Me: I'm sorry, do you speak English?
Customer service guy: Of course, ma'am, how may I help you?
Me: I need to report that my phone was stolen.
Customer service guy: Oh, I am sorry to hear that. This is what we will do: We will immediately deactivate your current account number so no unauthorized calls can go through. Then we will courier to your billing address a new sim card. When you receive that, call the customer service center to activate it. This service will cost you 25 rupees, I am sorry for that. BUT, ma'am, I am most sorry to tell you that your data is lost and there is nothing we can do about that. I'm so sorry for the loss.
I was so taken aback by this immediate "fixing" of my problem, that I made him repeat it all, right down to the "your data is lost and I'm so sorry for this".
Yes, it was true: he said a new sim card would show up on it's own at my door by the end of the following day. No affidavit or police report needed. Wow.

And he was right! My new sim card was brought to my house this afternoon and the guy who delivered it offered to make the call to request that it be activated.
I love good service.

Now to go about replacing all those phone numbers.
And, well, I guess I need a new phone, too.