The story does have a plot in the last two days, yet it goes back to when Woe-da-phone was not Hitch, but SR. I had promised myself at that time that I’ll never have an SR in my life again. I shifted to Water-tel. And then subsequently to Yum-Tea-Nill. And I had got into the journalism profession and had circulated my number around. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from them, except basic service.
I knew the 197 guys of the landline fame, and how sternly they talked to you, and hence I dared little to call up the Cucumber Care of Yum-Tea-Nill. Once or twice I called them up for GPRS settings – probably when I changed my handsets. And I got little or no help from them, and relied mostly on different forums online for help. And each time I’d called them, there was the Hindi school teacher on the other side trying to speak in English and in a stern voice trying to tell me: Why the hell did I waste her time, when she had better things to do in life, like finish off the sweater she was knitting for “Unke Liye” or her baby or baba. I had interrupted in between and as a result she had forgotten now which thread to take on the knitting pin.
The number was out much in public and so didn’t want to change my operator. So when the buzz about MNP (Mobile Number Portability) was out, I was one of the happy lots, and waited patiently for more than two years to fructify. And I promised myself, “I will wait. Main Nahin Pakunga.” Meanwhile, I bore with the no signal or little Yum-Tea-Nell signal in my office, and used my landline mostly.
Come December 2010, and it was the Bachchpan days of MNP and some people had started Shaking Idea-s Abhi se. But come January, I got lured by Woe-da-phone who told me that they wouldn’t force Ideas my throat and I was just ‘Welcome’, and they would be probably be Happy To Help me and they had 10 Reasons why I should port to them. They even sent the the little doggy – Thug, after me. The Thugmarks were all over – on radio, on billboards and on TV and where not… I had my tongue wagging out. So I quickly applied for it – MNP. I thought SR is a past and brand no more take you for Hitches, so Woes must be a thing of the past. Was highly elated when I got the Under Pollution Control number, which I caligraphically quoted in the Woe-da-phone form, and as they handed me the new SIMI Girebal in a small pack. The pack had the Thug perched on it.
It would take seven days – the retailer told me. I had waited for two years, so didn’t mind waiting for another seven days. So, exactly or nearly after seven days, on Monday 31 Jan, 8:09 PM, I got a SMS from Woe-da-phone: “Hello! Your Porting Request MDLI4ANM dated 31Jan11 has been approved by your currentoperator. We will communicate the porting date and time shortly.”
I never got the date and time.
Then on Tuesday 1 Feb, 2:09 AM, I again got a message from Woe-da-Phone: “Hello! Welcome to Vodafone…….This is normal welcome message that is sent to all customers after activation. This is the first msg that will go for an Vodafone customer after activation.”
Mind you, the grammatical errors or whatever in the above messages are not mine. I have just replicated the message. My Woes literally began after that. I was happily calling people – I mean, I could still make calls from Yum-Tea-Nill, until one friend told me that they were unable to get to me. The message they got, each time they called me was “The Woe-da-phone Cucumber you are trying to call is switched off.”
It had been 24 hours by now, and I had been wondering all along, why the hell has nobody called me up today and no SMSes.
My joy new no bounds. I thought I was ported. But little did I know that I was in Tri-Valley University and had only been radio tagged to be deported later. I quickly changed the SIMI Girebal. Aah! I was so pleased to see Woe-Da-Phone IN on my phone.
And in came a series of SMSes, friends had sent me, which were blocked till I was on Yum-Tea-Nill SIMI Girebal. The first thing I did was – tried to check the balance. The lady on the other end said: Blah blah blah. Your prepaid Woe-da-Phone card is not activated. Please call Woe-da-Phone Care. The same with 121, or 123 or even recharge number 140 or 141 etc etc.
So I dug out the Woe-da-Phone Care number and called them. It was a pain through IVR. I was tired hearing what she was blah-blahing and never gave me an option to talk to the Ghoda Mare Officer. After trying for about 15 minutes I got through a sub-menu which finally lead me to the Ghoda Mare Officer.
Every time… you want to fly… by my side… Pause. The Ghoda Mare Officer will be Happy to Misguide You, please stay online… Pause… Every time… you want to fly… by my side… Pause. The Ghoda Mare Officer will be Happy to Misguide You, please stay online… Pause… Every time… you want to fly… by my side… Pause. The Ghoda Mare Officer will be Happy to Misguide You, please stay online… Pause… Every time… you want to fly… by my side… Pause. The Ghoda Mare Officer will be Happy to Misguide You, please stay online… Pause…
I don’t know how long it went on. For about 7 minutes when the Ghoda Mare Officer came online. …. Kaise madad kar sakta hoon aapki… maafi chahta hoon. What the hell? My choice of language in the very first Menu was English. Anyway!!! So I told him my problem that number is not activated.
He put me on hold. A dead silence for about 45 seconds… Maafi chahta hoon. Apka number 24 ghante ke andar activate ho jayega.
I said what the hell? But wasn’t I supposed to be inactive for only two hours and that too at night, and you were supposed to inform me of the time. The Ghoda Mare Officer on the other end, said: “Maafi chahta hoo, activate karne ke liye ek sau atthunjaa ghante lagte hain. Hum to phir bhee 24 ghante mein kar rahe hain.”
What???? Ek sau atthunjaa ghante kitne din hote hain? – I asked.
Aap 24 se multiply (I think he meant – divide) kar dijiye, pata chal jayega.
Wow! How helpful you are na. And you happy about that na?
Sir, agar mujhe math ata, to main Call centre mein hota?customer
I told him, I will report this to your Marketing Head, Navin Chopra tomorrow.
Sir hum kya kar sakte hain. Maafi chahta hoon. Main aapki koi aur madad kar sakta hoon.
Really? have you helped me in first place?
Sir aap 123 number dial kar ke apne plans aur VAS activate kar sakte hain.
Yaar, pehle mera card to activate kar.
And I hung up, promising myself, Never to call up Woe-Da-Phone Care again.
So I have been waiting for them to activate my phone. I have been warned. Ek sau atthunjaa ghante lag sakte hain.
Even the Yum-Tea-Nill Hindi teachers pretending to be English ones, never threatened me like that. These two animals are world apart. While I wanted to get rid of and off the talk while talking to Yum-Tea-Nill guys; at other services, the Cucumber Mare guys seem to be in a hurry to get rid of you. But this chap, at Woe-Da-Phone, straight back from the play-field after the Lunch break, seemed to be too casual.
I got a call from my friend soon. I was delighted. So they’ve activated my number, finally. I talked to the friend, and was not interested in the talk and wanted to hang up and check the features. So quickly, I cut the talk short and hung up, and again went through the 121, 140, 141 and 123 numbers to be told… Your Woe-da-Phone prepaid card is not activated, please call Woe-da-Phone Care. The Ghoda Mare Officer will be Happy to Misguide You.
Wait, wait and wait. And then I thought that let me try their toll free number 18001234567. Same maze and after 5 minutes I gave up and kept the phone aside.
But somehow, I don’t know what possessed me, I took off the battery of my phone and but the Yum-Tea-Nill SIMI Girebal back again. Aah! There it was welcoming me. I dialled all the numbers – it showed me my balance left, the number of free SMSes I had. And then I tried calling myself from a landline number… “The Woe-da-Phone Cucumber you are trying to reach is switched off. Please leave a message by dialling….”
It’s been nearly 40 hours since I got the last message from Woe-da-Phone and I can make calls from Yum-Tea-Nill and receive calls from Woe-Da-Phone. At this moment, I only wish I had a dual-SIMI Girebal handset. So I could call from Yum-Tea-Nill and receive calls from Woe-da-Phone.
Don’t know, whom to call. Yum-Tea-Nill or Woe-Da-Phone Care? But is there a point in calling? I don’t have the time and patience to go through the maze and try and figure out where the hell is the Ghoda Mare Officer.
We Indians have a lot of patience. I will wait for another 90 days and may be get some Ideas and Shake the Bachchpan out of me, Sirji. Or may be go back to my good ol’ Yum-Tea. At least they don’t have the Pretensions of Happy to…