Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The story of my interent karma, iTroubled because of iPad!

My first internet service provider was an old established one.  Their rating was not flattering, but chose them out of old loyalties! Younger ones will not understand the thrill they gave us by just giving us a phone connection. Grateful, some of us would go to the temple and break a coconut. May be even perform pooja!

The service engineer came home all smiles to install. He was not too pleased that I had my own modem, gamely tried and made it work with another guy's help over the cell phone. I was also taught some rituals to follow in case of problems. It was made apparent that if  any problem occurred, it would be due to my modem. While he took credit for saving me a thousand plus rupees, surprisingly did not accept the small baksheesh I offered! A rare breed and may they grow in numbers.

But my internet karma was not good, there were many breakdowns in the continuity and the rituals he had taught me did not work most of the times.  I walked into their office one Friday afternoon to complain and the whole office was busy with a pooja and I was invited to join. I believe it is a weekly ritual. After the pooja, the service engineer suggested that I should try their modem suspecting that mine was the culprit. Convinced by his sincerity, what with  the pooja and also the prasad, I bought  a new modem.  Soon realised that the problem persisted and actually it got worse.

I  suspect that the real problem is that they give more connections than they can handle and then  ration internet time like KEB does with the power and have planned shut downs. Obviously they do not tell us. I think there is a reason for this mafia style of code of silence.

 People affected argue with the lower tier people who have no say in the policies, skewed as they are, generally make themselves a nuisance. Some get loud and abusive.  The older smoother types, will try to bribe them. They also go higher up to seek special privileges.  We all hear the boasts of people who are neighbours of the bigwigs. No shut down or nor lack of continuity and so on!  No wonder the people in the firing line get tired of these irritants and threats, give vague reasons, talk too fast or go very technical or  blatantly lie.

Anyway, on a friend's advice  I chose a gadget which we just stick to an USB port. This worked well  and peace prevailed and I was blogging and surfing to my hearts content. Happy, I went back to my old service provider, returned the modem and cancelled the internet connection. Predictably, I kept the land line. A throw back from the old times. We old timers don't give up a phone connection!

Then it had to happen and trouble started all over again. Tara was given a iPad by her school which worked only on a wireless connection. The USB modem was useless. When I tried to talk to the service provider about it, my audio abilities were severely tested, I felt more tone deaf than I actually am. I just cannot figure out the accent of the new breed of english speakers.

 The labyrinths in the system also overwhelmed me. Most lost interest as soon as they knew that I had an old USB modem. They were only keen to sell me a very expensive new 3G system and passed me on to another 'executive' and I had to start all over again.  Frankly no one was interested in trying to know my needs, they just went berserk proposing this or that at their usual high speed local accented English! To top it all, trained go on a first person basis, called me 'Dore', thus invoking my late father into the conversation.

I gave up on my USB modem and a young computer friend came to my rescue.  He sent an overeager salesman, who met Tara and promised us an internet service in a days time! But he called the next day and gave us the bad news that the company was not willing to dig the road to lay a new cable and the money we had paid was refunded after some serious follow up by my friend and Tara. The fun part  was that the company had used our building to install a junction box but it did not have free slot!

Meantime another new entrant came to know about our need for an internet service and offered to test the site for connectivity. A techie came, climbed to the highest level of our building and conducted  some tests and at first declared a failure, then for some reason gave it a clearance. A receiver was installed on top of the water tank.  And as I feared it failed to work the next day! I wrote a letter to the HO to look into my problem in a nice way and there was action. Lots of it! An engineer  came the next day and worked the whole day and got it working. It did work well and more or less was satisfactory. As I still held on to my USB modem, I had two internet connections!

A day later the company which had regretted called and said that they had solved the problem and as a special case offered to connect  free of charge. I did not know that my computer friend had threatened  the company that I would pull out the junction box as an illegal intrusion! He called and advised me to get it done as he had put a lot of pressure on the company.  I agreed, not willing to displease my friend,  thus I had three connections! I continued with all the three for a month! And ultimately chose to keep the one my friend had arranged. Speak of Anavristti  of the old days and the present Athivrishti!

 I thought that it is just a phone call to get them disconnected. Not so easy. I tried calling the company and  failed to navigate thru the labyrinths. Walked into one of the offices nearby and asked them to cancel my connection. He said yes and asked me to give a cancellation letter in writing. He tried to key in the details and the server was down. He promised to take care and there would be call by one of the executives before they disconnect. When no one called for a week  I went to the office and found out that no action was taken and there was no record of my request. The shocking reason was that the staff who spoke to me had forgotten to do it. I insisted that he do it in my presence. He kept me waiting, while he attended on the callers who came to pay.  His priority was the paying customer. I just waited there and got the information keyed in and also gave him a lecture of his attitude. I guess that was a waste of time. He did not seem to care!

Anyway there was an inquisition from one of the executives who called. I just told her that I was going to be away for six months. She offered to keep it in custody for six months without charge. I did not have the heart to say no. So I have a internet connection in custody waiting for me. It is no more the customer who waits.

Then it was the turn of the service provider whose  engineer had climbed heights to install the receiver to be told. After a  couple of calls, I managed to get the supervisor, who wanted to know what was the problem. I said no problem, I just don't want it for some personal reasons. He was not convinced and said one more executive would call. I said I was not interested in talking to more people and I just wanted the service to be discontinued.

But sure enough there was a call a few days later by one of the senior guys.  I was apprehensive that he would call me 'Dore', but he sounded peeved and wanted to know why I did not want the connection and what was the problem, and if personal what kind of personal problem. I said:  'I am sorry, I have spoken to your other executive and he will explain to you. I have  no intention of talking about it any longer, I just want it to be discontinued' and did not wait for his reaction and disconnected.  I am not sure when they will take action. I am also worried as the service engineer has to again climb to the top of the building, unprotected.

Anyway, I learnt a lesson! Getting into new technology is like the abimanyu's chakravyuha, not easy to get out!