Saturday, November 01, 2008

Hell-o, I'm Home Again

Being back in the homeland has its perks. What's more fun is getting a chance to say all those things that you hated other phoren-returns saying before: "It's really hot here in India!" or "tsk tsk, all these potholes!" or "Wow, is that Himesh Reshamiya in that movie?". But i'm not that pretentious, really - i haven't found India too hot, the roads in Pune are actually better than they were a year ago and the lesser i (or anyone else, for that matter) speak about Himesh, the better. So, all-in-all, coming back home has been rosy and charming that way. Of course, the odd incident must occur to remind one that life, like everything else, is not perfect. Said incident is one involving TJ, me, a phone and a call-centre.
Objective: To obtain incoming calls on a cellphone with a connection from Coimbatore, which is on roaming in Pune and is able to make only outgoing calls for some reason.
Location: Mumbai-Pune expressway
Resources: A cell-phone, toll-free(?) number for Chennai call-centre
The Protagonists: TJ and i (the Allied forces) and a lot (a LOT) of hope.
The Antagonists: Call-centre operatives for the telecom operator in question - henceforth known as the Phone Nazis or Phonazi for short.
The Story -
TJ: Let us call the helpdesk to get this issue (ref. Objective) resolved.
(Number is dialed. Hope brims, unaware of what is to follow)
Helpdesk IVRS: (Endless introduction on facilities like "automatic activation of roaming" and "wonderful nationwide coverage". The irony of it all!)
TJ: Damn, let me call from another phone.
The helpdesk is slightly merciful this time and we manage to bypass the IVRS intro this time
Phonazi 1: (Welcome message in Tamil)
TJ: Sorry, I do not understand your language. Can you speak in English please?
Phonazi 1: (In chaste English, albeit with strong Tam accent) Hello, how may I help you?
TJ: (explains Objective)
Phonazi 1: (Attempts to understand. Fails. Offers own explanation which turns out to be in no relation to the actual problem)
TJ: (Patiently explains Objective)
(10 minutes later...)
TJ: (Still explaining Objective. Patience strained)
Phonazi 1: (appearing to have suddenly cracked the code) Sir, we will have this resolved in an hour. You will be able to receive incoming calls then.

(An hour later, of course, the Objective remains unfulfilled. We call again.. and again... and again...)
(This time, i, the US-return out to set the world right, dare to venture)
Helpdesk IVRS: (Same long introduction)
me: (Unparliamentary language with unpleasant references to the telecom operator's near and dear ones)
(Disconnect. Redial. It's ringing... Bheja already fried)
Phonazi 2: Hello! (Puts the 'Hell' in Hello to good effect)
me: Hi! This is about a problem we had an hour ago and ... (explains Objective)
Phonazi 2: (Long monologue in Tamil)
me: Sorry, i don't understand Tamil. Can we converse in English please?
Phonazi 2: How can I help you?
me: (explains Objective... AGAIN... for the next ten minutes!)
Phonazi 2: (suddenly, after showing no comprehension for ten minutes) OK, this will be resolved in two hours.
me: Can i call you up and check with you two hours later?
Phonazi 2: No. This will be resolved in two hours.
me: Just in case it doesn't, can you give me a tracking number of some sort to refer to this issue when i call you back?
Phonazi 2: (like a stuck LP record) No. This will be resolved in two hours.
me: But just in case, something goes wrong, how do i refer to the same issue when i call you folks back? Surely you have some tracking number or a ticket reference number of some sort which you can give me.
Phonazi 2: No. This will be resolved in two hours.
me: (exasperation nearing peak) But WHAT IF ...?
Phonazi 2: No. Two hours.
me: (white flag, white flag) OK. I shall wait two hours then (aka "You win. i fall to my knees, i grovel, but YOU.. you win")

(Two hours later, of course, the problem was as fresh as ever. In a fit of bravery, we put one more call through)
me: Hi, i'm calling for ... (what else? Objective follows)
(Phonazi 3 insists on speaking Tamil, i almost plead with her to choose English instead)
Phonazi 3: How may i help you today?
(i have my left hand on my hair, ready to yank at it out of frustration)
me: (Objective again. Sigh!)
Phonazi 3: OK
me: I called two hours ago and .. (sad story from previous call is told)
Phonazi 3: OK
me: But the incoming call service has not started yet, although two hours have long passed.
Phonazi 3: OK
me: (puzzled with the 'OK' bombardment) So can you please help put this incoming call service right?
Phonazi 3: OK
(Left fist grips bunch of hair)
me: (after short silence wherein each waited for other to speak) Umm.. so can you please do something to resolve this?
Phonazi 3: (FINALLY departing from the OKs) I will (mumble mumble) and then I will do a (more mumbling) so that (more mumbling) to you
me: (at the end of my tether) You'll do WHAT to me now??
(TJ breaks into laughter that does not end for remainder of the journey)
Phonazi 3: (after short silence) Sir, this will be resolved in two hours.
(A yank on the left hand renders a slight bald patch on my head as the phone call is disconnected. I am left too stunned to even cry out of helplessness)

Needless to say, incoming calls never got through to said cellphone all through its Pune sojourn. Now, all those people who spoke of rapid progress and development, please stand up and verify your health insurance policies - i am coming after y'all.


Gauri said...

And so u r back.....write on...but i fail to understand as to why u were using a Coimbtore phone when ur home is Mumbai and office in Pune!!

The Neverknown said...

@gauri: well caught, sherlock. that is another story which probably TJ can blog about, if he cares to venture

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