Led primary today, and I didn’t have to practice in the toilet. It was fun. I did the whole thing, but I only held uth plithi for 5 breaths before coming down and smiling at Sharath like the pregnant brat that I am.
While at the hotel, we have been blessed with a generator and unlimited wireless. Our new apartment doesn’t have wireless, and we learned from our last trip that the connection takes two weeks to install. It hardly seems worth it when we are leaving in 5 weeks. So, we decided to get a data card.
The date card is (supposedly) a handy little device that plugs into your USB and you can get wireless where ever you can get a cell phone signal. Fantastic.
We went to an internet place. The young man told us that in order to obtain a data card, we would need to bring in a photocopy of our passports, a photocopy of our visas, a passport-sized photo, and a letter – signed and sealed – from a landlord saying that we were living in Mysore. I asked, half-jokingly, if we needed to bring in anything else.
“Yes, ma’am. A letter from the Commissioner in Bangalore.”
OK. So he didn’t want to sell us a data card.
Don Shiva, with the excellent pugs, sighed and gave us a flyer for a store near the shala that sold data cards to people who don’t have time to drive 6 hours to Bangalore and back in order to meet and obtain letters from the mysterious “Commissioner”.
The man at the store didn’t even need our names, but asked us to wait in his stall while he made a phone call. A few moments later, another man on a motorcycle showed up with our data card in his backpack.
He made a worried face when we told him we were using an old Mac, but the store owner assured us it was a very easy installation.
No such luck.
The next morning, we brought the computer and the data card back to the store. The store owner tried to get it installed, failed and then gave the laptop to his hapless assistant who drove off with it in a scooter to the ‘main office”.
David was worried.
That evening, we walked over big hills of dirt and rocks to get to the entrance of the store. Waiting for the computer, we watched the canal outside get slowly dug out by small, wiry Indians. Women with huge shallow bowls filled with mud and dirt, carefully balanced on their heads walked back and forth in front of us.
The “main office” couldn’t help. The laptop battery had run out before they fixed the problem. Manju, a man we had never met, would come by the hotel the next day to solve the issue, “in two minutes”.
Manju had a VERY IMPORTANT meeting that day for 30 minutes with people from Bangalore (maybe the Commissioner!). But 30 minutes became all day, and so he showed up the next morning after breakfast. After trying for 15 minutes, he put the computer in his backpack and went for support at the “main office”.
David was irritated and worried.
Later, Manju came back with a new data card. Excited and flushed, he explained that this one would work on the computer. And it did. But we couldn’t have that exact one. It was the office’s data card. Ours would be coming tonight.
“It is a promise,” said Manju.
“Really?” asked David.
“No, it isn’t like that.” pleaded Manju, hand over his heart. “I promise.”
And so we wait and the world keeps beeping, hollering, digging along with us.
In the meantime, I figured out how to text with our Indian cell. When you type in your desired letter, another letter pops up. Type in the second letter and the first letter changes, sometimes to the letter you wanted, but more often not to a completely different letter.
I figured out if I kept typing the same letter over and over again – a little sign comes up: SPELL? Weird that it assumes you aren’t spelling before that point. Just typing in random letters hoping for some sort of coherency.
Two days ago, our new landlord, Raghunandan, was typing his number into our phone. He shook his head slightly and smiled.
“These things,” he said. “They make us stupider.”