Monday, June 02, 2008

Not the best way to spend a Sunday night in Mumbai

Context: I'm in Mumbai. It's a little after 10pm on a Sunday night, and I have at 5:45 am flight back to Delhi, and work. I just called up a cab company a friend recommended to arrange for a cab the next morning.

Here, in gory detail, is what transpired.

Flashback: A little over an hour ago.


I dial the number and, in less than one ring, I'm connected.

21:00
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) forty (pause) six. One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

WTF, forty six?! Well, I don't have too many affordable options, so let's see this through.


21:02
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) forty (pause) two. One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

This is going to take some time, and my ear is beginning to burn. Time to switch to loudspeaker mode.


21:05
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) forty (pause). One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

For some reason, the connectivity in the hotel room is rather poor. I take two steps to the right. No difference. I take four steps to the left. Ah, slightly better, though still a little fuzzy.


21:08
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) thirty (pause) five. One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

It's bad enough that I have to listen to this crap distorted on the speaker. The fuzziness is just plain irritating. A little investigative activity reveals that the clearest reception is in the bathroom. Well, if that's what it takes to get this all-important cab...


21:11
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) thirty (pause) one. One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

Hmmm... Their executives will 'service' me. Sounds rather naughty. Dirty, even.


21:13
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) twenty (pause) seven. One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

It's been almost fifteen minutes, and I'm getting a little pissed about wasting my time sitting in the bathroom (lovely though it is). The only consolation is the fact that my call is still important to them, as the lady with the sexy recorded voice assures me.


21:17
You also also book an XYZ cab on the net at www.XYZ.com or through SMS by sending XYZ to (pause) 5 (pause) 7 (pause) 5 (pause) 7 (pause) 5 (pause). Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) twenty (pause) three...

Random music.

Uh huh. Well, breathy-voice-lady, you're website doesn't seem to be working. And if you think I'm going to spend five rupees per SMS on a series of back and forth messages, think again. I'm quite comfortable on this here commode, and I'm sticking it out.


21:20
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) twenty (pause). One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

This music isn't too bad, really. A little tuneless, but with a definite element of classicality to it. Far more bearable than the Air Deccan and Amex IVRS tunes. This tune will spook in me in my sleep, but it's not as bad as it could be.


21:23
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) fifteen (pause). One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

All this walking about in nervous irritation can be rather hard on one's bladder. Thankfully, I'm conveniently placed.


21:26
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) twelve (pause). One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

This bathroom has two bottles of body cleanser and one each of body moisturizer, hair cleanser and conditioner. It also has two bars of soap, two shower caps, one pack of cotton buds and two loofahs. Ooh, loofahs. Gotta have those. Into my pocket they go.


21:29
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) seven (pause). One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

Yippee! I'm into single digits! A celebratory dance - boom shika shika boom shika shika. (Bet you're thanking your lucky stars this isn't a video blog.)


21:31
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) three (pause). One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

I'm nearly there. Just two people ahead of me in the queue. I can almost taste it. I sing along with the music that I have now, almost subconsciously and involuntarily, adopted as my personal anthem. Which, now that I think of it, is very weird given that it had no words.


21:32
Good evening, welcome to XYZ Cabs. This is Amrita. How can I help you?
Me: Good evening. You know, they say the fruit of patience is sweet.
Sir?
Me: Never mind; I'd like to book a cab for 4am in the morning.
Sir?
Me: I'd like to book a cab please.
Hello?
Me: Hello?
Sir?
Me (mild panic in my voice): Hello? Can you hear me?
Hello?
Me: Hello!
Click.

Dial tone.


Me (an anguished wail): Noooooooooooooo!

I try again.

21:35
Thank you for calling XYZ Cabs. You are caller number (pause) fifty (pause) eight. One of our customer care executives will service you shortly. Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line.

Random music.

F%&*.

16 comments:

NIRMAL said...

hey AC,
I think Amrita dint understand ur humor...
"Good evening. You know, they say the fruit of patience is sweet."

she must have thought u tried to flirt with her ;)
lolz

btw were u in roaming when u called her?

Machan 20 mins on roaming is lot of money :)

Srividya Jayaraman said...

Good evening, welcome to XYZ Cabs. This is Amrita. How can I help you?
Me: Good evening. You know, they say the fruit of patience is sweet.


You didn't really say that!:O
ROFL,really!

AC said...

Oh heck... I didn't realise until this point that it might have sounded like I was flirting!

I was kind of just caught up in the moment and, as usual, said something silly and inappropriate!

Damn... it really didn't strike me that it was a cheesy thing to say... anyways, that's not why she hung up on me, the connection was unclear. Seriously :)

Vivek said...

Nonsense... I don't put it past you at all :)

Anonymous said...

LOL! You couldn't stop yourself from pinching the loofahs could you!!! :)) - Lizzy

AC said...

@Vivek: What bull :) There's absolutely no way you can justify that remark!

@Lizzy: Loofahs are the most flickable things in a hotel room, followed closely by bath products and laundry bags. The very word itself - loooofaaaah - sounds so weird and promises so much fun :) (OK, that was random)

Nandini Vishwanath said...

@AC: I'm proud of you for having kept in line with the traditions and values instilled in us by our mothers. Really. Make your mom happy by telling her this (P.S. Leave the purpose of taking the loofahs out, will you?)

@Lizzy: I think we should become counsellors for AC who needs therapy everyday, coz we think alike about him. I'm sure he'd like it. Well, his mom will ;) You will be the hidden face of this organization :D

shrik said...

Hey, even shoe-bags are eminently flickable.You know, those cloth baggie thingies you leave your shoes in outside the door when you want an expensive, yet complimentary bootpolish :D
They're excellent quality, and are awesome for carrying shoes along while travelling..

AC said...

@Nandu: Uh huh. This from a person who heartily recommends lying to one's employer! (Ref: http://arvindc.blogspot.com/2008/05/pitter-patter.html)

@Shrik: You're absolutely right! I picked up one of those as well :)

Megha said...

Hahahahaha.....Amrita sounds like a princess!! I love what she did to you.

AC said...

What she 'did' to me? Hello! It had nothing to do with her or the fact that she might have thought I was hitting on her.

The mixup was due entirely to the faulty services of MTNL and/or Airtel. :)

Designing the sails o' life said...

ROFL...you're a genius!
I've had similar experiences earlier, when my fon bills that i had paid online didn't get registered or something....i had kinda swept it off my mind, till i read this.
Sure only U have the ....well...dunno what... to turn this into a block-buster entertainment thing :)
Cheers!

AC said...

Wow... 'block buster entertainment'! Thanks a lot... I'm glad you liked it :)

Vikram said...

Whattay praise! Another admirer, huh? :)

squarecut.atul said...

Hahaha.
I can find humou in many situations, but I would be too upset and fuming at my nostrils if I had an experience like this.

Anonymous said...

the ever reliable meru cabs....has happened to me too!