India is a big place. We all know that. Koraput is remote and relatively isolated, some of you know that. But to save our bacon we can always fall back on the internet, can’t we? Provided both the power and the communication lines are working. Which they often aren’t.
I persuaded our Head Honcho that it might be a good idea to install some sort of backup system to the computers here. No real problem as I laid it on thick and informed him larger organisations had gone to the wall because they neglected to install half decent systems. OK, I identified the best system available within our cost limits and he said let’s do it. That bit was easy. Acquiring it is turning into a circus of whirling dervish’s on local hooch laced with LSD. If I ever manage it I think I will join them.
We have all been caught up in the circle of menu driven robotic voice “help” customer service systems so I won’t elaborate. What I will say is count yourself lucky. All the local, and I really mean the whole of India, suppliers either don’t identify what they are in business for or if they do they really mean we might sell something if by some odd chance we happen to have it stashed out back somewhere after our stupid boy, visiting the local market thought it looked natty and brought one back with him. I email the USA head office. They direct me to Delhi or some other place light years away from here, no email just phone numbers and names. Delhi continues the performance by giving me a further list of numbers. I do not possess a code book of exchanges so for all I know these numbers call offices galaxies away. Undeterred I soldier on. A very nice man, a very, very nice man, helps me to indentify the numbers that are close. By close I mean within 500 miles of here. In the meantime I am googling like you have never googled. In between power and lines being down.
I think I have struck pay dirt as a supplier, recommended by the States, has an address in a city not 202 kilometers away. I phone, or should I say the Head Honcho phones. Glory be, we have a language problem between two locals. I am handed the phone to continue the discussion. Even less joy but we do manage to extract an email address where I can be more specific than over a line that is snap, crackling and popping enough to bring a smile to the face of Kellogg’s. I email my needs. I await with less than baited breath a reply. Sure enough, they do deal with my manufacturer but not the bit I want. I think about this and decide the boy didn’t bring one back from the market because it was too heavy (16kg if you are that interested) which explains why they don’t have one. But they kindly refer me back to Delhi. And the circle starts going round again.
I find another supplier who actually lists the cities they operate in. I bribe the very nice man to help me again. This time to tell me how far these places are from here. This one is close, he says pointing to a name. How close, ‘ooo’ about 500 kms. A train leaves here every night at 5 he continues helpfully. Two days there and back to collect the lump. I am currently reading Bram Stokers Dracula and attempt not to imitate Dracula on a bad night and smile indulgently. Two days. My mind is now racing, who do I know is coming here from Delhi, Kulkata or maybe the Moon in the next few days, or months, as let’s be realistic here.
You may wonder why all the fuss. In Koraput we have any number of I.T. training colleges, Institutes and other academic establishments but can you find a fuse. Yes, it is called a 2 inch nail. So what hope have I? Use the post you say. At the risk of being expelled from the country I hesitate to answer, so I won’t. Head Honcho has the bright idea of asking someone arriving here from the UK next month to bring it with them. 16kg will attract a nice bonus for the air carrier in excess baggage fees, the visitor will probably either die of a heart attack lugging the thing around or have a diplomatic illness preventing travelling anywhere or the thing will be confiscated at customs in Delhi. The saga will continue.
In the meantime I have no ideas, brilliant or otherwise. That is not lateral thinking Mr Spock. Beam me up Scotty, warp fact 20, we are on our way out of here, to anywhere.