Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Package that May be Bomb

Yesterday, I started the morning off by again going to my favorite dentist, Teena. The last time that I had seen Teena was the morning when my wallet was stolen. I was on my way to see Teena when I discovered that the wallet was gone. As I paid her back the 60 rupees that I had borrowed, in order reimburse the cost of my auto rickshaw ride on that fateful day, she told me about how “bad” things happen in three’s. (I had also just told her about getting bit for the second time by a dog on the previous Saturday. Does this mean that I’ll get bit one more time by another dog?) So another filling refilled, pain, but ok at least another dental visit was complete.

When I arrived at my office I was told that a package was waiting for me at the post office and that I had to get it. But once I told the office staff that there might be chocolate, mysteriously the package soon appeared. I shared some of the peanut butter pretzels which people loved. The package was from my friend Cindy in the US and she had sent some Trader Joe’s stuff and presents for the children in my home. The cost for mailing, I think, was probably more than Cindy had spent on the package contents, but that is Cindy, a dear, dear friend.

In the evening I was committed to going to a wedding, somewhere in East Oshkosh, as we say in the US when a place is out of the way, and my office colleagues and I had to take four metros which took 1.25 hours and then we walked for some time after getting off of the metro. One of my colleagues carried the precious package the entire time. We got to the wedding around 8, and I was ready to eat. The invitation called for dinner to be served at 8 but this is India. As I waited, with the food not being served, I finally decided to leave at 9:45 PM, as the groom had just arrived. Some of my office friends took me out to the street where they said I could take a bus to my metro stop, but of course, there was no such bus. We tried to enlist the help of an auto rickshaw but again no luck. Finally I said I'll take the metro, just get me a bicycle rickshaw.

With my two work bags and Cindy’s package I set out and finally got on the first metro around 10:15 PM. Two hours and three metros later, green, red, orange and blue lines, I was at my stop. (I don’t think that there are any other metro lines at this point. The green line has the best cars!) I had sat on the package some of the way on the metro to be comfortable as there were no seats. I thought ok it's only about midnight and I'll get home and go to sleep. But before I got off of the metro, I received a text saying that my phone account had automatically been charged 30 rupees for placing some Hindi songs on my phone. I was tired, pissed about the charge and the inevitable pushing and shoving that goes on in the metro and tried to write back but the text wouldn't go through. (Of course in my own American fashion the body of my text included the fact that I would sue for this charge of 30 rupees/month, about 60 cents, which I had never confirmed). I was also already feeling a bit upset by the fact that I had no dinner and the metro ride seemed endless.

I got off of the metro at my stop and as I got downstairs I realized that I had left the package on the metro! I immediately started cussing, thinking about my lost wallet, and where this package had been to, from the US to India to a wedding. I went over to the Metro customer care and said you must get my package. I was brought upstairs to the Station Manager who called the train and fortunately, after a lot of heavy breathing on my part, they said that they had found the box three stops away. (You must also realize that everyday the English recording on the metro says, “Stay away from packages as they may be bomb”). The Station Manager said get on the train, but since it is the last train you won't be able to come back and you will have to take an auto in order to get home.

I made it to the station, Dwarka Mor, and sure enough after two officers and three staff came up to meet me they had the package. After thanking them all profusely, I offered some pretzels but there were no takers. I was so relieved, because after carrying that box everywhere I did not want to lose it.

I went downstairs to try to get an auto rickshaw at 12:30 AM or so. The first guy said sure I'll use the new meter rates. He brought me to his rickshaw and pulled out the wires of the meter and said not working. I proceeded to cuss even more and left his rickshaw. Two rickshaws passed quoting outrageous prices. I finally got into another rickshaw and after .3 kilometers, his rickshaw died. I again got out cussing the world. (Somehow my cussing has come alive here, hmm….) Another guy came by and quoted me a high price and then another. Finally I settled for 70 rupees after a great deal of haggling. Once we got to my house though the guy said 80 and I said fine. I went to bed around 1 AM.

This morning the package was still in my apartment and I had a wonderful breakfast of granola, dried blueberries, almonds and fresh fruit. What a fantastic treat.

When I got to work I asked for help in removing the 30 rupee/month Hindi song charge. One of my office mates called Air-tel and they cancelled this charge, but said that it had been authorized on June 17. What can I say?

I have such a love-hate-love relationship with this amazing country. I’m trying to decide whether or not I should stay past February. I guess that it really depends on the day or the moment. But, what would I blog about if I went back and lived in the US?


No comments: