Sunday, May 02, 2010

From the desk of Pink Lady….in the very pink saree…..

Well, we moved yesterday. Yes, we loved the old apartment, it was gorgeous. But some little things were finally just too much for me. The worst thing was the electricity: Bangalore has a huge problem with electricity, i.e. there simply isn’t enough for everybody in the city so they need to cut the power of each neighborhood for something like one to four hours every day. Of course places like big office buildings, big malls and good hotels will have their own back-up generators so there is no real problem. But many people are without electricity during those times and they just have to live with it. They use candles, wash clothes by hand, cook with gas or just on a fire, iron with one of those old-fashioned irons where you put hot coals inside, etc.

Now we paid absolutely an arm-and-a-leg for our previous serviced apartment. Well, my company did. In any case, it was simply a ridiculous amount of money and for that amount of money, one would expect there to not be any problems with e.g. the electricity. In fact, before moving in, I asked several times: “Can you guarantee that there will not be any problems with water or electricity?” and they assured me that there would not be any problems. Well, we had nothing but problems with the electricity.

Until I first threatened to move (after about one month), the situation was such that there would be no electricity at all for a couple of hours each day. They had a diesel power generator, sure, but they simply did not use it! I suppose to save money. This did not bother me during weekdays since I was at the office, but it was not fun for the hubby: he had no air-conditioning, no TV and – what’s really bad – no internet either! There was a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) box that the internet was hooked up to but it seems that in the beginning it was configured wrong and did not actually work. Well, I gave the landlord a major piece of my mind and they did two things: started using the power generator and fixed the UPS so that the internet did not go down when the electricity did. So some improvement….sort of.

The power kept going off and coming back on and going off and coming back on. Sami counted that on the last day we were there this happened around 40 times. And every time it did, the UPS box would beep very loudly. Really, really annoying – and embarrassing on those days that I tried to work from home! I would be in a phone conference with customers and would have to explain what all that terrible beeping was in the background. :-( And of course sometimes the internet would simply stop working and then I would have trouble doing any work at all.

The other thing was the water: hot water was unreliable, especially in the mornings. Maybe it was one of those solar-heated water tanks, I don’t really know. But I took many a cold shower in the mornings. But that’s not even so bad, but what I really did not care for was the water pressure – or rather lack thereof. Some mornings I would just wash my hair under the tap because it was faster than waiting for the slow trickle-trickle-trickle of the shower to rinse out the shampoo.

Well, what happened was that I was in Chennai on a business trip on the 23rd of April…and of course stayed at a nice hotel. The shower was so heavenly that I told the hubby: “I want to live here!”. It started out as a joke but then it just sort of snow-balled from there. We figured, well, we might as well look around a little bit to see what else is available out there for the same money and, long story short, we moved a week later on May 1st. The current place is very hotel-like in every possible way, i.e. in the good and the bad. But at least we don’t have any more issues with the basic infrastructure….apart from the internet, which is fast but seems to sort of come and go. Here’s hoping that won’t turn out to be a major issue….

I don’t normally like to dwell on the negative, so this posting is a bit atypical for me. But I just wanted to give a realistic picture of what life is like here: even the so-called “luxury” lifestyle is not always all that luxurious. But, those are just small things, we still love India!! Especially now that we can have nice, long, hot showers in the morning, perhaps a nice dip in the pool and then go downstairs to the breakfast buffet… :-)