Monday, 16 May 2011

Blowing Away NRI’s Blues

After the warm hug and a glass of cold water, when my NRI guest sits down to relax I am eager to start a conversation, I quickly finish off the chores and get ready to begin a healthy chat expecting some spicy gossip and some latest family news. But wait a minute; before even a monosyllables are uttered, there comes a pause. As soon as my NRI guest starts the conversation, it begins with “I need India SIM card”

Oh Gosh!

Yeah of course, everybody needs a chip to communicate, first things first, there will be lots of time later for casual chat but not before the basic necessities are dealt with and now with mobile and laptop,a most important hand-luggage, they need a internet toggle too, then they need to change some dollar/Euro to Indian rupees, need to rent a car to drive comfortably around the city. Oh! There are so many important things to attend to before you can really sit down to chat. Living in Mumbai, it is important to know these basics, such as what is available on which corner of the street or else lots of time is wasted in just discovering the right tone.

I know one thing for sure, that getting a SIM card in Mumbai is a big hassle. There are too many formalities to complete before you can get one. Just passport and photographs are not enough, you need pan-card, electricity bill, photographs and proper paperwork to complete. I asked my guest to try getting one from a tiny kiosk on linking road near my house. She walked up/down the street searching for the shop but each one directed her to yet another shop till she reached a ceramic corner.

Now who would think that an ordinary ceramic shop will have answers to all the NRI queries?

After making enquiries she came back disappointed and announced that she could not get SIM card without my approval. Only I, as a resident of Mumbai was entitled for such luxury and that my autograph was required to get her phone connection. So, when I got free, I accompanied her to the store at Linking road that had promised to get the required goodies.

I have seen this store hundred times, but have never stopped there. The shop owner was busy with another client who was shopping for ceramic crockery. I stood there outside the kiosk, in a small bye lane off linking road, where the auto-rickshaws with its usual unnecessary toot-toots added to the noise pollution. While I waited, I discovered that this was no ordinary shop. The side board on the kiosk offered many more services such as car rentals, air and train tickets, Holiday packages (India and abroad). There was even a computer inside the store that could do all the online services such as getting toggle for internet connection, SIM card and would even help you with money exchange.

This is what I would call efficiency.

In India, you need the right people to help you get your work done, one who knows all the tricks of the trade and is able to pull all the right strings. For a small fee, my guest was able to solve all her problems in just few hours, which would otherwise have soaked off all her time and energy, had she ventured out to do it on her own through a proper channel.

I have been through that rough patch and have often tripped over the pot-holes. Its better to pay and smile.


rakhee khiani said...


Anonymous said...

I guess getting SIM card is a toll everywhere in India these days. I got a pre paid connection after showing some papers. And Voila , my number was barred after 10 days! I bugged those guys endless number of times, I even raided their office only to hear " ho jaayega" but it never happened. I ended up taking my roommate's old SIM.

pushpee said...

yes, that is what we were told by this guy, that they will give u used sim card of somebody's else because u did not give ur proper papers to get the number, and then after 10 days, the number stops working and u cannot complain because u dont have any proper record.

The name "Bombay" was derived from 'Bom Bahia' (The Good Bay),

.... a name given by Portuguese sailor Francis Almeida, in 1508 ....“Bounce back Mumbai” it is called by the locals, it is a city that has been through a lot in the recent past – floods, bomb blasts, riots – and come out stronger each time.

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