I’ve been suffering through a bout of blogger’s block—a topic deserving of it’s own discussion. Anyone whose called ACT Fibernet to file a service request is painfully aware of their questionable customer service skills and seeming desire to do just about anything to avoid filing a ticket. This time they helped cure the dreaded blogger’s block and create a long list of things I’ll miss about India.
What is this ACT Fibernet thing?
ACT Fibernet is an Internet Service Provider (ISP) in India and the primary provider for our area. They used to be called Beam Internet, but changed their name, probably to restart Google’s review and rating system under a new monicker. They are infamous for their horrible customer service. Imagine how bad US ISPs are and then drop one of them in the middle of 1.25 billion people—that is ACT.
Every time the power goes out our internet goes down. Our switch and WiFi router are both on a UPS in the home, which prevents them from losing power when there is a power outage. Power outages are fairly common in India, so ACT installed UPS at various junctions to keep their equipment running. However, when there is a faulty UPS up stream and the power goes out, the internet goes down for everyone down stream of that switch. Which is what happened this week—I’m hoping it will be fixed by the time this posts, hence the use of the past tense.
This happened several months ago, also.
What Does This Have To Do With Things You’ll Miss?
Since our internet was going down with each power outage—so, like 8 times a day—I called ACT customer service. After providing my mobile number and requesting service, the conversation was less than productive.
Initially the rep didn’t want to file a ticket. His argument was that since the internet was working when I called, there was currently not a problem. I at first calmly and later heatedly explained that the problem is a faulty UPS upstream, which is faulty even though my internet is currently working, because the internet is going to go down at least 7 more times today as the power cycles. After some discussion, which included words like “idiotic,” “ignorant,” and “stupid,” the rep decided to file a service request, and I started to think about the things I won’t miss when we leave India, ACT Fibernet and rolling power outages being near the top of the list.
Top 5 Things I’ll Miss
I grabbed a beer from the refrigerator and set it in my lap—it’s hot here, like sitting on the surface of the sun, and the cold can is refreshing. I want to drink it, but I have these stupid rules I established when we got here and I don’t drink before my wife gets home. Yes, on days like these I regret those rules.
Writing about things I won’t miss is depressing. Thinking about things I will miss feels much better. Hence, the Top 5 Things I’ll Miss When We Leave India—excerpted from a list of 27 things in the book I’m writing.
1. The weather (most of the year). The winters may be chilly in Delhi, but the southern part of the country is like a dream and Hyderabad’s weather is the best. Situated on a high desert, it is warm, dry, and teeming with vitamin D. A hot-weather, sun-loving expat quickly realizes the climate is just about the best part of being in India. The only exception is during the rainy season, when it can be cloudy for weeks at a time—but it’s still warm.
2. Rawoof, our driver. He is a godsend and if I could figure out a way to bring him home with us, I would. Not only does he get us safely from place to place, he locates missing packages, finds wood suppliers, schedules home maintenance and pest control, runs errands, shuttles us around during nights of debauchery, invites us to weddings, and generally puts up with our odd requests to find rock climbing gyms, adventure clubs, bicycles, puzzles, ice cream, and all manner of delectable oddities one craves while living in a foreign country. Rawoof rocks!
3. Eating boat loads of Mundi in the middle of a big rug in a Muslim restaurant with eight friends for a total cost of 50 US dollars. The yummy dish consisting of slow roasted goat laid atop piles of spiced rice is the finest non-veg dish in all of India. The mutton is cooked over several hours so the juicy, tender, meaty, splendidness falls from the bone like butter off a hot corn cob. The dish is also known as Mandi in some places—it’s no wonder Barry Manilow wrote a song about it.
4. Photography. India specifically and Asia in general are a photographer’s dream. Things burst with color in this land of brilliant sights and remarkable people. Dark shadows, vibrant hues, and intense dyes turn everything into a living scene. And the people—colorful clothing, accommodating attitudes, and deep, thoughtful expressions—they beckon for photographic immortalization. India is a paradise for amateur and professional photographer alike.
5. Indian Stretchable Time (IST). It sounds odd to say, but IST is actually a pretty relaxing way to approach life. Things just don’t happen at a particular time in India. The shop may or may not open at noon, the plumber may or may not arrive at 10:00 AM—most likely not—and the wedding is definitely not going to start until the time is auspicious. Westerners are used to schedules, but embracing IST means releasing yourself from bondage—unless you are awaiting life-saving surgery.
Bonus Item: Old Monk. This one you’ll have to experience for yourself.
There are a bunch more things I’ll miss, 22 more at last count. The important thing is the blogger’s block is cured—at least temporarily. I owe it all to ACT Fibernet’s horrible customer service. Thank you, ACT!
Let’s continue the conversation. What will you miss when you leave India? If you’re from India, what do you miss most when you are away? What do you miss when you’re away from where ever you call home?
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Unless otherwise noted, I drew or took the photographs in the article—as lame as they may look. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is probably planned. Copyright can be found here for my original work.