Monday, August 18, 2008

Shoddy building practices

Above, the empty socket. Below, a socket with the wires that one expects to see!

We are moving into a townhouse in a development considered to be one of the fancier and better constructed areas, but we are finding that many of the little things that should help it stand out as top-notch seem to be a sham. For example, most of the rooms appear to have at least one plug for a phone connection. Great for connection with the outside world, right? Well, if they were functional they would be. Instead, we find empty holes in the wall.

Another not so great practice we have encountered: critical parts "borrowed" from one unit to another. That's not so clear, so let me explain. We are living in a complex with approximately 100 units. However, only about half to two thirds of them are actually occupied full time. The rest are held as investment properties, or to house relatives that visit, or by NRIs (Non resident Indians who live and work abroad) as places to stay when they return to India. Our unit wasn't occupied full time, and it is about three years old, but somehow a key power switch was burnt out. Now, with only occasional use, even with all the power outages in Bangalore, it is unlikely that this unit should have a burnt out switch. More likely, someone else who has been living in one of the other units had a burnt out switch that the maintenance types "switched" with ours. When we asked for a receipt, as well as the old burnt out switch, the maintenance man looked like he was going to have a heart attack. Clearly, this was not a normal request, and his reaction as well as under the breath comments overheard by our driver, let us know that the "normal" procedure is merely to switch out a burnt out switch with a good one from one of the units where no one is living.

I'll write more about these kinds of experiences in days to come, as we have had many so far, and I expect to have more. The more I have these experiences, the more I'm reminded of my time in Mexico.

I should offset these complaints with some things that are great: I really like waking up in the early a.m. to the call to prayer that comes from the mosques. An aside that I will address more later, there are new mosques around, and many of the older ones look like they've had lots of attention lately -- paint, facilities, etc.


gb said...

questions: 1) what is your and Amartya's first impact with local day-by-day "normal" working atmosphere as opposed to what you perceived when you where in India on a break or for a limited time.
2) Emotions?: you are the white American wife of an expatriate who has now chosen to come back..

Jana Nelson said...

Empty wholes in the wall??? Of all the shams! It would have never occurred to me, if looking at a house, to try out an internet socket! Now I know better...