Thursday, May 7, 2009

Reasons to be cheerful

Sometimes life in India can be very frustrating particularly when it comes to shopping. I've written down the word in Oriya for what I want but I just get a blank look when I ask for it; although most groceries are priced, as a "foreign-madam", I'm seen as fair game and some shopkeepers think nothing of inspecting the price and then adding 10-15% - sometimes I point out their "mistake" but sometimes I'm just too hot and bothered to care; Omfed, the milk store, only sells milk, butter and cream but on asking for each individually and pointing to the helpful pictures you just get "Na'in" ("Not have") leaving you wondering why they bothered opening in the first place. However, sometimes things take you completely by surprise. I decided last week that I wanted to buy a charpoy bed – basically a wooden frame with webbing wound round it – so I would have something other than my bed to lounge on. First you have to buy the frame and these are only available at the Weekly Market - which in fact occurs twice a week. The frames are made by the local tribal communities and are carried (sometimes miles) down the mountain to be sold – each stall has about three or four on offer. They all looked the same to me so I pointed randomly at the first one I saw and we agreed on a price – hand signals were used in the negotiation – you can always find a common language when it comes to money! However, having found a cycle-rickshaw to take it home, I was called back to the stall. The one I had chosen had a crack on the underside and that clearly wouldn't do. Personally I wouldn't have noticed or though to look but I was grateful, if surprised, by her concern that I didn't get the faulty one - not sure who she planned to sell it to though. Was I ripped off – well the hand-made frame cost me less than £5 (US$7.50) so, if I was, it didn't feel like it.

Yesterday my air-cooler packed up – no, I don't think it had anything to do with my assembly skills – so I went heavy-hearted back to the shop. From my UK experience I imagined I would have to wait days or even weeks until someone was able to come and fix it. But no – someone would accompany me home there and then and have a look at it. Unfortunately, on arrival there was a power cut – some things never change – so he wandered off and I assumed I would have to spend another hot and sweaty night without it. Wrong again - I'm not sure where he went in the intervening two hours but within minutes of the power returning he was back, had found the problem, replaced the faulty part and it was blowing out cold air again. Service or what!

1 comment:

viksdes said...

liked ur blig..service in india is not that easy to get but sometimes you are up for a surprise surely!keep blogging , I enjoy reading your posts,