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Remember 10-15 years back, when Internet meant sitting in front of a little dial-up box and mechanically re-trying because the sonofab**** just won’t get connected? All that silent cussing and praying, both equally earnestly? And then when it DID get connected, that loud crackling noise and assorted beeps and bops and oh joy, when Yahoo.com opens up nice and bright?

Today was like that. Because, thanks to the incessant rains or whatever nonsense, my WiFi died on me. Actually not just me – on the entire population in my apartment complex, but when did I ever pass up an opportunity to wallow in some self pity! And I’m thinking now or rather I’m unable to imagine now how we lived back then without Internet!
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If you’re in your 30s now, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about so don’t bother acting like I’m talking gibberish. Yes, you. You know how it was. No WhatsApp, no Facebook and above all, no Google.

No. Internet.

When I had a doubt in Field Theory (hypothetical – you need to read something on the subject to even have doubts!) I first called my friend/classmate and hoped she had the answers. And if she didn’t? Well, wait till I got to college and ask one of the brainy types (One never had a doubt that was doubt enough to take to a professor, so let’s not complicate things). There were no quick solutions. Convert Fahrenheit to Celsius? Look up the formula from a textbook, yo. What’s the capital of Sierra Leone? Check the atlas or the GK book (we had those things back then!). How to bake a pavlova? Pavlova who? Right.

Well, nothing earth shattering, no. We got by. We lived. We spoke to other human beings in person. We walked to the shops. We had books and libraries. We didn’t second guess our teachers and doctors. We didn’t let the milk boil over too often because someone was engrossed in a smartphone. We did good.

But it’s not so now, people. I think I’m going insane. Like, slowly but surely treading the path to cuckoo land.

I make breakfast but where’s Instagram to take a pic?!

I put the milk on the stove, but where’s Facebook to catch up on?!

Son wants to see Little Krishna, but where’s YouTube?!

And I have to ask the rest of the folks if THEIR WiFi is up or not BUT WHERE THE HELL IS WHATSAPP?!!!!

WHAT SORT OF AN EFFED UP SERVICE PROVIDER HAVE I SIGNED UP WITH WHO WILL LET SUCH IRRESPONSIBLE THINGS HAPPEN?!!!

I’M SHOUTING.

I’M GOING INSANE.

And then the son (who was till now yelling Amma Amma like a million times!) asks me to help him fix his building blocks. Well, alright kiddo, you’re in luck because Amma has nothing better to do right now. I chuck the phone and sit down with him. And we built an aeroplane. Stairs to climb up. A toll booth. An entire parking lot with real (toy) cars and trucks. We had little cops pull up errant bulldozer drivers and take them to jail for not following traffic rules. We hauled playdoh rocks into trucks and sent it spinning down a ramp. We sang made up songs about each other (“Amma Amma goes to kitthen…and bwings me chapati buvva” – Amma song, by V). We did good.

If you think I’m going to end this piece saying it’s a great blessing to spend time with family, yada yada yada..well..yeah, that’s there but, dude, I want me some Internet, yo. My brain cells are fried after that little play session and I NEED MY BYTE FIX RIGHT NOW.

AAARRGGHHHH!!

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Just another day at the office! #not

I’m going to rant now because it’s been an awful while since I did. And because I can.

So I get a call from some guy claiming to be from the insurance company I took a policy from and saying it was about my policy. He starts speaking in this really heavily accented Hindi and at a speed that would put a bullet train to shame. Before he could get to any specifics I told him, “sorry, can you please speak in English? I’m not comfortable with Hindi.”. The guy then says, “And I yam not comfoRtaybel in English” and hangs up. And I’m left holding the phone, wondering what the heck just happened.

Seriously, what does it take to have an English-speaking person to man the f***ing customer service lines? Or at least ASK me what language I’d prefer? Just because your service rep is sitting in some hole in Gurgaon or Noida (or Bangalore? Chennai? I don’t know! I don’t care!) doesn’t mean the rest of the country should suddenly be well-versed in spoken Hindi, that too with a heavy accent. You can’t call up a customer, say it’s about something they’ve bought from you and then hang up on said customer because he/she couldn’t understand what you were saying.

I know there are folks who will now pull the “Hindi is our national language, how come you don’t know it, blah blah blah” card. Wait, ok? Firstly, this whole national language thing is highly debatable. Let’s leave it there. Secondly, I know Hindi. I’ve taken all those Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha exams, all the way from Madhyama to Praveen and it actually qualifies me to teach Hindi in some places. It’s not a question of not knowing the language. My problem is I’m not comfortable discussing important things (like my life insurance policy!) in a language that I don’t really converse in on a daily basis. The most Hindi I speak is to my temporary house-help and the most technical words in that conversation are jhadoo, pocha and bartan.

See what my problem is? And you know what’s worse? I get this exact same type of call every bloody week. It’s the same thing all over again – I tell them I need an English speaking person and there’s this long pause while the person takes offence and then hangs up. Dude, what the eff?

I still don’t know what it is about my policy that they want to discuss so badly. Maybe I should call THEM up and ask in Telugu. Every damn week.

But it’s my insurance policy. Dammit.

A post without a photo is a bit sad, so here’s a pic of something I would love love love right about now – mocha coffee!
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