Small Victories

We finally got broadband Internet connection at our temporary office/home today!  Hard to believe, but it’s taken us two and a half months for this small miracle.  When I first got here, we had a service called Spearhead, which worked for two days, then stopped.  John Silliphant, who got to Bombay ahead of me, had refused to pay for the service because it never worked.  Of course, I show up, and it works for me…  🙂  … for two days.  Then, nothing.  (This is the service whose cables leaked during the rains and left puddles of water under the wireless router.)

Four different groups of people have worked on getting service.  Nina and Devanshi, who set up the office, Kumar, who lives nearby and has You Telecom service at home, Rizwan, who joined the office team a month and a half ago, and John.

Riz called Reliance.  They told him they had no service here.  Then John called Reliance, and they said they would have service to us within 7 days.  They both called You Telecom, and were told there was no service.  A month later, while John and I are in Delhi, a You Telecom salesperson passed by the office offering Internet services.  John gets back to Bombay the day the salesperson is in the office to collect the check to install the service, finds out that it will take 4-5 days, and calls Reliance.  They promise him that they will have service to us the next day.  (This, after promising service in 7 days weeks before.)   The You Telecom salesperson challenges John – “Reliance will not come tomorrow”.  John prevails upon Riz and Nina to wait for Reliance.  Reliance never shows up.

“Should we go with You Telecom?” comes the question from Riz.  Hmmm… good question.  We have no idea how long we will be in Bombay.  By the time we get Internet, we could be in Delhi or Amritsar.  “Yes” I say, with no real hope of ever getting a high-speed connection.  Or any connection at all.  (This office is a dead space for Airtel signal.  I have to leave my phone by the door and window for it to receive calls, and I have to step outside to speak with people or the service cuts out.  And I cannot connect to the Internet at all using my datacard.)

Two days ago, some guys came by to connect the cable.  It comes off the roof of the building opposite the lane and down through the front window, which needs to be kept open to accommodate it.  All the neighbors want to know what the service is, because they might want it too.  (No one signs up.)  Another technician is supposed to come immediately following the cabling.  No one shows up that day.  Or the day after, despite repeated calls.  The salesperson switches off his phone.  Today, Riz went and camped out in the You Telecom office and left only after being told that the technician was headed our way directly from home.  John also places a call and is told another technician would be coming.

Rakesh showed up mid morning… and we have service!

The Bagel Shop (one of only two cafes that we know of with wifi in all of Bombay, and which happens to be about 2 blocks from our office) will miss us.  Actually, they probably won’t.  It serves as an office for too many people (this being Bollywood, mostly filmmakers) in search of wifi.

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