Monday, January 14, 2008

India has Changed - Everything is available here

Well, after 20 years of living overseas and in the process also getting a non-indian citizenship (makes life easier to travel) we decided to head back home to the 'New India' and try living there. So in 2005, we put out the feelers to say, we are looking to come back, and The IT consultant husband, got a job in one of the Indian IT giants and the move to bangalore happened. This is the story of the now world travelled and wiser Nomad trying to get gas connection to her bangalore apartment. Nomad knew the drama her sisters went through when they first set up home, and thought 'I need to get the gas conection done soon, so I can start cooking'. She is a good researcher.She has done her research, in the true Indian way (talk to other NRI's on how do you go about getting your gas connection, need that to start living in India) and has been told go to the Indane gas agency, and make sure you take some ID (passport will do) and proof of residence, and some cash. If you buy the stove in that agency, the chances are you will get the connection sooner. She had also heard, the mantra yet again 'India has changed, there is nothing you cant get here, and there is no waiting period etc anymore' So she is all set, with her passport, a letter from the employer as proof of residence ,is money, and her ever persent charm. She rocks up to the agency shop , a small little office in the shopping strip, and asks for gas connection at the reception. Nomad: I have moved into St Johns Apartments, and need gas connection. Can you pelase do the needful? Recp: Have you got your pervious connection chit? Nomad: I am new here and have not been in india for 20 yrs, so I need a new connection. Recp: Ohhh You have to wait for the man in that room. This is a guy who looks about 60, and has all the hall marks of a government Babu ( VT knows these as her dad was one...) . Finally she manages to get his attention (after about half an hour)Nomad: (with her brightest possible smile) Good mrning, we have been living overseas for 20 yrs (apealing to his fatherly feelings...) since I got married, and have now come back to live here. I need gas connection, can you help me please? Babu: Have you got your ration card? Nomad: Sorry, I do not have one, I am an Australian Citizen now, and have the PIO card for India. Babu: You cant get domestic connection without ration card, ask your parents, they possibly still have your name in theirs. Nomad: I dont think so... Babu: I will give you address of the place you can get a ration card, get a ration card and then come back... (by now he has gone off to some other conversation with his staff) Nomad, immediately calls her parents, and asks her now 90 yr old dad, 'have you got any proof of my name, being/being removed etc from ration card?' The answer as expected , from the very correct dad is, 'we removed your name, within the first year of your marraige, There is nothing of that with me now.' Nomad strats thinking, this is not working. This means we wont have gas conncetion for at least 6 months... Time to call our 'contacts' and try the Indian way... After spending half an hour on the phone, not much luck in that direction either. So its back to square one... one thing she has been told (in her phone calls) is hang in there and don't leave, eventually they will know you are serious about getting a connection and work out something. Nomad finally (after about an hour and when its almost lunch time, she arrived here at 10 AM) gets the attention of the babu again.... Nomad: Our friend came here last year, and said you helped her, let me know if there is some other means (apparently this is the way, you start negotiations......) . Babu: It was different then, If you had come last July (this is February 2006) I would have given you a connection. Now there is shortage, and we cant do anything without ration card... You get one Nomad: I dont think I am eligible for one, as I am no longer a Indian Citizen. Babu: No you get one, as ID... Nomad: I really wanted to live in india, but if I can't get gas connection I can't live her... (with a hint of tears... ) Babu: I think India is best, I dont know why all young people go to Amrrica and all. I keep telling my boy, you stay here, this is best country.. Lots of Culture..... Nomad: Exactly, (now making the tears a bit more obvious) I agree with you, But I have to cook at home to live here, and I can't do that if I don't get gas connection... Are you sure you can't help me? Babu: Well... I can give you a commercial connection, but that costs more... Nomad: Ho That should be OK, tell me how much? Babu: Well the home one is Rs 300, but the commercial cylinder is Rs1000 (it about 1.5 times the size). Also the deposit is more. It will be good if you buy the stove here, we can give you a package deal. Nomad: Sure, tell me all up what will it cost me? Also can I get it today ? (with a big smile) Babu: OK, I will check... (talks to his guys, and truns back and says) St John Apartments, it wont fit under the bench... Nomad: Well thats OK, in our apartment, the gas cyclinder will sit outside, the landlords have changed it so that it is not under the bench. Babu: OK then let me see.. (again some kannada with his workers), fine you go there and that man will help you with paper work. Nomad with a sigh of relief spends another hour and Rs5000/- but has her gas connection. Sure enough later that afternoon, the cyclinder stove and everything arrives, and for a further tip of about Rs100, the bloke does all the connection! Todays India is all changed, you get everything... Guess its true in a fashion, If you have enough money, and patience, and the weapons (Nomad used tears, feminity, and the national pride of the babu) you do get everything.