Thursday, 17 April 2008


Last week, following the orders of the High Court, all the unlicensed hoardings that blocked out the Chennai skyline were torn down by workmen using special gas cutters.

Victims of this were, apart from the advertisers and men associated with the creation of the hoarding and fixing them (no more jobs for them), people like me. Yes, me, as in Tata VSNL user. On Sunday morning I wanted to go online to check mail and found that I wasn’t connecting. A quick call to the regular number (this is one of the few numbers that I know by heart), and the person assured me that the problem would be resolved at the earliest in 48 hours. I was confused – 48 hours is earliest? He explained to me patiently that the technical side did not work on Sundays, and hence 48 hours, otherwise it would be solved in 24 hours.

I was amazed that a 24x7 service of a major brand company does not have a back up emergency team, to deal with just such an eventuality.

I waited out Sunday, not bothering to complain again. The next day late in the afternoon, till when connection had not been restored, I called again, and they assured me that it was being attended to. Not satisfied with this vague soother, I had a brainwave and called the person who renews my account with prepaid packs. She told me that the problem was a major one, caused by the gas cutter-happy workers who had indiscriminately brought down everything above eye level, and that included their optic fibre cables, and it would take some time for the connection to be restored – two days at least. Though I was impressed with her honesty, I was disgusted too. Why could not this major company lay its cables underground, instead of leaving them dangling from poles or whatever they use to suspend them from?

By Tuesday, I had developed withdrawal symptoms, which included checking the connection every now and then, calling the complaint numbers and finding out the status of progress, if any. I have now got used to looking for everything on the net - news, trivia, meanings and spellings of unknown words, even checking out the credits of a movie, not to mention mail and chatting. So I did feel pretty lost not being connected.

Wednesday morning, and I still could not connect. After the usual grumbling and fuming and ranting, I called the renewal person again, and she assured me that it would definitely be restored “today”. By the time my net was connected, she and I had become fairly good friends, what with my calls to her.

And Wednesday night, it finally was – after four days. And I had protested so vehemently only last week when cut off for a few hours!

I caught up with the mails and was amazed to find one from Tata VSNL Broadband – it said they had noticed I wasn’t using their connection for sometime, and would I be interested in a scheme that would keep my account active for six months, even if I wasn’t using it.

P. S.
And just as I was about to post this, the connection went off - this time Tata VSNL 'preemptively avenged', as my brother phrased it.


Gowri Mohanakrishnan said...

...the irony of it - they cleared your skyline and cut you off from the world!
Clearing cobwebs - cutting off world wide web?

Kat said...

Can understand the frustration...!!!

Had a similar experience with Reliance... My son was needing the net connection badly at home to apply to various universities for MS... and the net just wasn't working..!!!

All complaints made were promptly closed within 4 hours (I later found out that they internally closed it happily, without solving the problem and without checking with me - cool..!!)

We sat in the browsing centres and finished the job.

I stopped the monthly payments. Reminders and legal notices arrived. Didn't budge. Finally the much awaited tie-wearing-executive appeared.

Asked him to place a call to Mr Ambani then and there, in my presence. Since he didn't know the number asked him to call his Manager... by then amnesia had set in and the Exec had forgotten his own name.

If the Exec had read about Narasimha avatharam only in Chitra comics, he got a live experience then.

In broad twilight, at my home vaasal, with a feline face and human body - tore him to pieces. All due payments were waived and no one even dared to come and collect their modem :-)))))

Am with BSNL broadband now and I love the dirty collared Munusamy, who represents bsnl... net is a thenral at home now..!!!

Maiji said...

I have been watching Raji for the last three or four days, looking at the modem(PC), craning her neck like an angry and hungry vulture. Angry, because of the delay in getting the connection, and hungry for news. Thank God she did not get a catch in her neck. Just by watching her,it was I who got the catch in the neck!

Indrani said...

Yes BSNL service has been good so far, touch wood. Very prompt. Try that Raji you can save Maiji ammama of neck sprain. ;)

Swarna said...

Speaking philosophically, it's time we started counting the Net-off periods, as blessings in disguise. Where I live, the Trichy Road is being four-laned - the contractors' labourers do not think (even once) before diggin' deep. Entire families learn to enjoy candle-lit dinners and dialtone-less phone connections. And also to cool the heels waiting till the next weekday for BSNL to wake up.

Anonymous said...

Take it easy folks. It is a blessing. Take this opportunity to
visit friends, go to a few temples
or even read some great novels of yore like Kalki's Ponniyin Selvan' or Devan's 'Thuppariyum Sambu' or 'Lakshmi Kataksham' or works of Ki.vaa.Ja and get some solace from reading the book of discources given by the late Kanchi Periyavar in 1930s which Ki.Vaa.Ja took down with reverence.

I would do any or all of it if I were in India and in Mysore today, and my broadband connection was packed up for whatever reason. As some one who has been an IT practitioner, and have used messaging in ARPA net days, I strongly believe in using e-mail messages sparingly.

Anonymous said...

Alas, not all of us can rise to such exalted levels of philosophical acceptance. Er, I thought it was the Indians who live in in India who were fatalistic. Personally, I think Ms. Raji has done the right thing by putting up a fight! Bravo!


Thanks for the kind words, Kat, Gardenia and Indrani. Maiji was of course exaggerating. :))
Kat, I appreciate your stand, and enjoyed reading the narration, too.

I have a million things to do whether I have the internet connection or not. But my point is, Sandhya, that I should be able to use it when I want to, since it is a service I am paying for/ have paid for. Just like I would protest long and hard if the electricity or telephone lines went off, till they were restored -irrespective of whether I am calling anyone, or switching on the lights in the day time.

Sophie, thanks for the support

Indrani said...

I fully agree with you Raji and understand your concerns and appreciate the protest you have lodged.
It is not that we are not able to survive without these means, but there arises several circumstances in life when we have to get in touch with our near and dear ones.
It may be to comfort them in their moments of despair, or wish them in their celebrations. And when we are paying for such services there is nothing wrong in expressing the disappointment when we don't get it at the moments of need.

Gowri Mohanakrishnan said...

'It is not that we are not able to survive without these means, but there arises several circumstances in life when we have to get in touch with our near and dear ones.'
You said it, Indrani!

hantan said...

thank god they didnt do so in my area.. i have been encountering frequent disruptions(same pinch here, me too Tata VSNL customer) but none that major.. i just cant imagine what i'd do witout the internet as i've been virtually living my life here.. musta been a nightmare for u..

harimohan said...

dear ms raji
that was a good post indeed ,the previous one on music in a temple at mandaveli i cud relate to as my young days were spent around there

Anonymous said...

Aaargh was too mild a reaction!
But it's sad, isn't it, this dependence on and addiction to the internet?


Thank you, Harimohan.

Hantan, I hope your internet connection never gets cut off.

Kamini, sadly yes, I do need my daily 'fix', cos the facility is now a utility, and therefore a necessity. :)