Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Moving in

I haven't had time to write because we moved into our house and started Amartya at school, both challenging endeavors. First, on the school. Amartya went off on the bus in his little uniform, very cute (pix to come later). Interestingly, all the other kids getting on the bus were the foreigners, although there are many Indians also attending the school. They, however, get driven by parents or drivers. I can't tell if its part of the individualistic nature of things, a desire to show off, nervousness about the bus, or just folks running late, but it was very noticeable. Amartya seemed to like it, "but it's not as nice as Murch, and the recesses are too short." There is a little Indian boy across the street in his class, as well as a Hungarian who lives five houses down but who speaks very little English. The Germans kitty-corner from us are also attending the same school, with a teenager who is furious that she has to wear a uniform. At least I don't have that fight with Amartya. We'll see how it goes, his nice Australian teacher seems to have engaged him, and yesterday he had Hindi as well as a computer class. He has already told me that he has no intention of attending the Divali dance the school will have. I think it will work out fine, once he makes friends with a couple of the jock-types, but he needs to find them.

Moving in, on the other hand, has been much harder. Sub-par building practices (mentioned in an earlier post, but certainly deserving of much more) and a lackadasical approach to service continue to present new problems. Empty sockets, connections that don't work, fans that seem to swing in the air, glue from construction that was never cleaned, incompatible connections (those pesky standards, once again), servicemen who fail to appear or are unable to perform the service needed (connections, etc.), constant power outages with uneven connections to the backup system, and the list goes on and on. I would, however, like to note that AirTel has been a source of happiness and good service. While the state-owned former monopoly (but still acts like one) BSNL seemed to have a hard time connecting our phone, and told us that broadband internet service could take a week, a month, a few months ("there are many people waiting"), we snagged the AirTel guy who was visiting the Germans across the street on Friday, and there were technicians working all Saturday afternoon, evening, and Sunday afternoon! Very impressive. Finally, a glimpse of a service economy helping consumers in India, not just on the phone to the US! So, we now have internet service that works well when there is power. More on that later, along with some comments on US politics as seen from India.

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