Friday, December 24, 2004

Beginning to get settled in

A couple of weeks ago I managed to finally sign the lease for an apartment. It's a pretty huge apartment, some 2200 sqft, is in a pretty decent apartment complex and is pretty centrally located to most things that matter. Having been away for the past two weeks from Bangalore, I am now beginning to get into setting the place up. In contrast Pooja and Hemant seem to have made much more progress. I now have a maid who cleans the house and washes the clothes.

It still amazes me how much you can do by just sitting at home and making phone calls. In the morning, all we need to do is make a phone call to get someone to deliver some small groceries. I've managed to make all my travel reservations, open my bank account, get a phone service all without leaving my office or home. It is a different matter that sometimes you need to make 5 phone calls when things could have been taken care of in one.

It is difficult to not compare the Indian standards of customer service and cordiality to others', escpecially when you fly an Indian airlines. I recently flew Air India from Chicago to Bangalore. I flew business class for a change, and I must admit I felt pretty good with the service and food. Once I landed in Bangalore, my bags were missing and it has taken them some 2 days to locate the bags. If you ever fly international flights into Bangalore, you should know that besides one small baggage terminal and a foreign exchange counter, there is little else. Of course there are the customs folks ready to pry open your bags, but there are no airline counters or offices that you can approach readily. I had to file the complaint about the missing bags with an Air India person in the area -- everything was on paper, and I had little confidence in things actually being taken care of. Nevertheless, that was the best I could do, and it turns out things weren't that bad. The buggers are delivering the bags today. In hindsight, I would recommend Air India, if you can readily ignore their haphazard but decent service and poor video content on flight.

I used the long flight to Bangalore to catch up on some reading. Neelkanth -- whom I ran into in Singapore -- had recommended an author calle Dalrypmle, and his interesting insights into British times in India. I am reading White Mughals. I'm only one fourth the way through, and I like it a lot. The guy writes quite brilliantly. The octagenarian English lady next to me saw the book and asked me if it was the Maharanis. As it turns out she had read other books by this author. On one hand it impressed me that the old lady is keeping up with the times, and on the other I felt good that this book is getting a wider audience. It deserves to.

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