Errors of Relocation! -Nisha

chennai
story

#1

Post-Mortem. If you are like me, you would definitely love to do a post mortem, especially when the corpse is as alive in your memory as your recent relocation – everything in your new environment reminds you about it – it is so strong and stuffy that you often find yourself claustrophobic with the mere memory of it! This is one such Horror story I would like to share – it started when I got this new job offer in Chennai – I had always looked forward to work in Chennai – which in my opinion, but for the slightly stiffly weather, was heaven, compared to Bangalore with its traffic-chocked roads and air laden with pollutants that would choke anybody’s lungs, let alone an asthmatic’s like mine. But the candy stopped there – then came the reality of relocation – as real as the stuffy smell of the gutter that forces itself into your nostrils on a road you cannot avoid taking, as much you would want to! I had to vacate my place in Bangalore as the notice period had come to an end and I still hadn’t finalized a home in Chennai I could move into. The trip I had undertaken to Chennai a week earlier for the same purpose had proven fruitless. The real estate agents had only a fair idea of what I wanted and in spite of repeatedly telling them that the houses they took me around to, did not suit my preferences, I was taken on a solemn tour of similar territory – finally, feeling miserable, irritated, and poorer by a few thousand rupees for taxi & hotel accommodation, I had to return to Bangalore with nothing finalized. So, now, where was I to house the furniture (meagre, no doubt, considering I had been constantly relocating over the last year and didn’t own too many things) when I had to move out of Bangalore? I called this famous Ace Packers & Movers Company and of course, they speak a language I was not comfortable with – Hindi. Trying hard to communicate in broken bits and pieces, I got it across that the things would need to be housed in their Godown for a week (within which time, God willing, I would land up a decent place). And then got to Chennai and hurriedly decided on a place – hurriedly is an understatement – it took me a whole fortnight before I could get a decent place – again hotel accommodation working a real hole in my pocket. And in the meanwhile, answering the calls from the packers & movers on shifting my things from the Godown, proved to be a nightmare with the huge communication gap due to the inability to understand each other through a common tongue. In the meanwhile, my sister, relocating to Dubai from Mumbai, wanted to donate a few pieces of her valuable furniture to me and this relocation happened through the same service provider and was housed in the same Godown. So, finally, it was understood that both these loads from two different places were supposed to reach a common destination and I was informed a ‘team’ would come down with the stuff and help me set it up. The ‘team’ did arrive – in the form of a thin, scrawny man – who was the only staff sent to help set up the furniture – so it ended up that I had to be his ‘team-mate’ and apprentice as he instructed me on what to lift and bring to him as he tapped away at the different clamps, nuts & bolts – a few more hours, and I guess, with the expertise I gained, I could then provide the same service to a whole lot of others! Then came the Electronic durables – the Refrigerator was the best! This service representative from the popular Korean Company came, again, ironically, alone, with an iron stand to place under the 320-litre capacity refrigerator – and pray, how on earth were we to lift the stuff for him to place it under? When I questioned him on it, his answer ‘Ma’am, I assumed Sir would be at home to help me do it’ has still left me wondering which ‘Sir’ he was referring to!! And then came the issues of plumbing, AC-servicing, electrical fittings that weren’t in working condition, and minor carpentry works – I had to run helter-skelter finding the right and trustworthy people for each of these – not to mention, that almost on a daily basis since then, one or the other of these tradesmen are over at my place to fix some leak, or break or failure – things that could have been fixed and done even before I moved in. And the most embarrassing part was that I couldn’t find people to supply drinking water cans to my place – I still hadn’t gotten that friendly with the neighbours as to source information from them. And every time some worker requested some drinking water, all I had to offer was a painful smile with a glance at my empty 2-litre water bottle. And then, finally, when I thought I had fixed up all the necessary issues and supplies – came the Floods. I had perched my expensive, new washing machine out on the balcony and with the rain falling in sheets through the railings I watched helplessly as the machine was attacked by water – again & again – there was no way I could lift the heavy thing alone and shift it indoors nor was there any labour I could hire for such small services, nor was there any service provider giving us emergency protection for electronics and the home from these natural disasters. And soon, water seeping walls, musty cupboards, rusty grills was something I had to deal with – there wasn’t an emergency cleaning service that would provide just these petty services; so, finally, before I could ‘settle down’ in my new home, it took me 3 whole months, a lot of money for repeated service and a whole lot of effort I could have, otherwise, put into my new job … Story of my life… .