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Tring tring, may I help you?

I have to write about this. Spent four hours today morning running around trying to get my phone connection back on track. Since I was away, the new phone installation work order was cancelled. As a result, I had to go to three different MTNL offices to find out what to do next.

My first stop was at the office where I filed the application. “We can’t do anything here,” says the man at the gate. You have to go to the other exchange. Tomorrow.

So today, bright and early, I get to the other exchange. There’s about a dozen people all looking as clueless as me. Since there are no signs (or a help desk, which of course would be like asking for the moon) I had to figure out where I was supposed to put in my complaint.

Finally, I asked another man, who I assumed belonged to the office. “Mr Patel will help you,” he says. Of course, as luck would have it, Mr Patel had not yet come in. After waiting for about half an hour, finally the man in demand walks in. I tell him about my problem.

There is much discussion about what’s happened. Has my work order been cancelled? Or has it not? He asks me to sit outside for about 10 minutes. Which is actually about 20 minutes. Finally Mr Patel informs me that a linesman will come over today and fix my phone. Can I please keep my documents ready? I almost break into a jig over there, when he asks me to wait for another 10 minutes.

Now they call me back and tell me that my order has been cancelled. I could feel all the air going out of me, like a deflated balloon. I knew life could not be this easy. And this is a phone, for heaven’s sake!

I was then informed that I had to fill up another form (lord, what can we do without them?!). Attach a letter to the form. And then go to office number 3. Ye gads!

I rush to a cyber café, type out a polite letter, jump into a rick and make my way towards office number 3. There’s a quick customer service centre, which I realize is not so quick. I ask someone for Mrs Joshi (who I have been referred to by office number 2).

“Not his room,” says the guy at the counter, pointing out in a vague direction. I rush out of the door and go searching for room number 3 where I am going to find my saviour, Mrs Joshi. Alas, she is on leave. Another gentleman looks at my papers. Then looks up his screen (though I think he did that to show off he’s computer savvy).

Then he bundles me off to room no 4. Where there are three busy women. I take my chance and go to woman no 1. Of course, it’s not her. It’s not woman number 2 either (my luck, as I mentioned before isn’t so good today!). It is number 3. This time, I really really want to celebrate and give her a quick hug. “When can it be done?” I ask optimistically. “The work order will go out today evening,” says the lady.

After which it will take another 4-5 days for the guys at office number 2 to get into action. Wow, if you ever want to make life complicated, you can definitely learn a few lessons from organizations like the MTNL!

Now, begins the wait for my new phone connection. Meanwhile, Sify Iway, zindabad!

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13 Comments

  1. If you want to read my comments, go to my blog; search for posts with the word “phone”. Then get the permalink for the 4th post with the keyword. Now divide the archive number by 5. Add 52. Take this number to the nearest post office and find out the area to which this number is the PIN code. Now go that place and stand at the traffic signal. Ask Mr. Vijay Kumar, the constable the direction to the nearest I.Way. Get online and send me an e-mail. I’ll tell you what I think about your experience! 😀

  2. Goodness – what an experience! And Anand’s comment appears to provide satirical characterisation of the business of getting a phone line or Internet line connected or repaired.

    Perhaps you should have gone to Office number 2 and given them a big hug – maybe they would have processed your order there and then? 🙂

  3. WoW!! What a mess! I miss India dearly, but situations like this I don’t miss at all! Once I went back and cause I looked American or whatever, the dudes in customs tried to fool me into giving them some money. They were shocked to find out that I spoke Hindi and I knew exactly what they were talking about!

  4. Welcome to the club !

    By the way, to further enhance your experience, I suggest you try Indian Railways, along with Indian Airlines.

    P.S. No claims on lost baggages will be entertained. 😉

  5. I guess every one of us go through one or the other experience with the way the official machinary works in India. Here – http://arunas.blogspot.com – is my share of woes experienced a few years ago in Delhi. And few more years into this millennium, we may still be discussing this kind of topic! However I still have a bit of optimism running in my veins 🙂 – so, hoping for better days ahead,

    aruna.

  6. Anand: That’s a good one! I have half a mind to take your comment to the MTNL office and see if they can figure it out 😉

    Jag: I am planning to go over to all the offices and give everyone a hug IF they ever get around to coming home to install the phone 🙂

    Prasant: Don’t know about Indian Airlines, but Indian Railways – I’ve heard of a few nightmarish experiences! Though I was impressed when I booked a ticket via their site and it was delivered the next day.

    Aruna: I know, we’ve probably all experienced it in different degrees. But when you go through it yourself, its rather frustrating.

    Sudeep: Unfortunately, I can’t get online with my cell phone.

  7. Had a similar experience when I tried to pay my electricity bill online and the money went to the wrong department…had to chakkar kato three offices for two to three months before bill got adjusted and I know exactly what you are talking about..

    I have sworn on my comp never to pay my bills online .. haha !! LOL !!

    Had a bad accident yesterday Mamon.. luckily basi goisu. Oil ot skid korisu. have blogged about it.. feeling damn shaken… and the irony was that it happened when we were riding slowly… sheesh… just hope that the bike gets ready before ourtrip to goa…

  8. To Enrich your experience you can try

    1. Try to lodge a FIR over some simple issue like loosing your id card.

    2. Try paying phone bill online and in one month just keep on waiting to see your bill

    3. Plan to catch morning flight of IA and attend a interview same day.

    This first one I can assure you will give you a life time experience.

  9. Jil: I will definitely avoid paying bills online! Btw, your experience was scary. Usually, you hear of this stuff happening to other people. It comes to close for comfort when it happens to someone you know well. So please take care.

    Flower bud: The nightmares continue! Hubby has lost two cell phones but the reason we didn’t go the the police station is because of the very same reason. FIRs!

  10. Jil: I will definitely avoid paying bills online! Btw, your experience was scary. Usually, you hear of this stuff happening to other people. It comes to close for comfort when it happens to someone you know well. So please take care.

    Flower bud: The nightmares continue! Hubby has lost two cell phones but the reason we didn’t go the the police station is because of the very same reason. FIRs!

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