today’s been a fun day….
I received a package from China, a replacement for the window switch for my car, it’s a Ford Fusion which was rare while it was still around and now that it’s been discontinued for over 5 years it’s parts are rarer and costlier still…. so anyway my fusion buddies (fellow enthusiasts) discovered that Aliexpress stocks parts for our cars and I being the fool (who rushes in where devils fear to tread) went ahead and placed an order for the switch… so yeah that arrived and within 5 minutes of signing off the couriers manifest I was in the parking lot replacing the switch…. worked well just that the window lock toggle button wasn’t as crisp as the old original one…. I can live with that I figured and left it at that… a little later brilliant idea… I’ll take the window lock button out of the old switch and install it in the new switch…. rrrrriiiigghhhtt…. today was one of those days…. after toiling over a workbench for over 3 hours I have two half switches…. the one that works reasonably well is installed on the car. It can operate all three windows except for the drivers side window….. so yeah my ideas don’t always work!!! Placing an order for another of those switches from China…. in India it costs 6500 bucks a pop…. in China $7.23 or roughly 500 bucks…. including shipping. So yeah marking it up to education costs…. now I know how a window switch works… I mean I know exactly how it works down to the smallest details…. 500 bucks was worth the education….
Cut to evening… the DTE (distance to empty) indicator on the car showed 7km…. Ria was at school for annual concert practice and we had to pick her up at 9…. the area around school was swarming with cars…. like as if all of Mumbai, not just navi mumbai, was here with their cars…. so I dropped off Sonali and Ira at the gate after doing the crawl for close to 10 minutes and then went around…. came back in around 10 minutes and luckily someone was pulling out just as I was coming up in front of the gate… parked got the girls and we started crawling back home…. 15 minutes later exactly 1.2km from home (I know because every morning that’s the point Ria and I walk/run to and back from) car stops accelerating…. I put on the hazard lights and slowly coast over to an empty spot by the side of the road…. loads of honking going on behind me…. three boys on a bike went past saying “uncal ko car drive karna nahin aata lagta hai”…. I’m like “yes you are right”…. normally the car has a reserve of around 15km even after the DTE shows 0. The school is 3.5km from home…. 7 on the DTE was decently enough for a round trip as there’s a Reliance fuel bunk about 200 meters from home…. of course I had not factored in the insane amount of idling and crawling in retarded traffic…. so yeah out of fuel… no issues we had a bottle of water in the car and the girls love to walk…. we got out and started walking to the fuel bunk… we drank and emptied the bottle on the way… the boys happily filled it up with diesel and we walked back after paying 30 bucks, CASH!… back at the car realised car wont start with 500m of diesel (this is not exactly something we’ve experienced before…. well once but that was like 2000 years ago…. that time was nothing like today)….. so now we realised we needed a bigger bottle. Bought a litre of pepsi and emptied it into the kids ka water bottle finished leftover 250 ml while walking back to the petrol pump….. this time Ria chose to stay back with Sonali as they were tired…. Ira bounced along with me and the two bottles.
In about 15 minutes back with 1.5L of diesel we started the car and drove back to the petrol pump. Asked the guy to give us a thousand bucks worth in the tank this time 😀 He takes the card and starts processing…. my low value ICICI card transaction fails twice, then I give him my unlimited Citibank (something we try to avoid using) transaction failedhowever got the message from bank saying payment successful, tried one more time as attendant refused to agree, same result again….. called up Citibank and spent close to 5 minutes explaining the issue…. the agent on the phone says “sir take a picture of the transaction slip and mail it to us…. looked around for transaction slip…. attendant actually dived into the dustpin and fished it out….. now how do I pay the poor guy at the petrol pump? I never carry any cash as a habit well just about enough to buy a smoke maybe so yeah 15-20 bucks….. anyway I told him ATM se aata hoon and drove away, poor chap didn’t know what else to do so let me go….. first ATM SBI@2310hrs a line 15 deep…. drove on…. ICICI shutter down, HDFC shutter half down… AXIS bank jackpot empty and open….. I sat in the car with the kids wife went to pick the money… security guard told the wife that bank 3 din bandd hai do card se uthaa lijiye madam (wonder how he knew she was carrying two debit cards)…. picked up 2K each from both accounts because you know limits and all….. 2320 back at the petrol bunk gave the guy a 2000 rupee note….. he scratches his head for a few minutes then goes into the office comes back with change which is short by 50 bucks…. I point it out…. he starts looking for tenners…. finally finds 50 bucks…. done!!!! This is a Reliance petrol pump, 6km from DAKC (that’s the nerve center of the Reliance Jio empire)….. card processing servers are so choked that even though I tried VISA as well as Mastercard the transaction failed (or is in limbo), they did not have the option for paying via some digital wallet….. Since demonetization this is the 5th online transaction that has failed for me and I rarely carry cash (as previously mentioned) which is to say that I conduct over 90% of my expenses on plastic and have faced a failed transaction only once in 2006 when I cancelled an Air Deccan flight and the buggers did not refund for 2.5 months…… this is in Mumbai….. imagine Omaxe city Jaipur….. cashless is going to take a lot of work…. the card processing networks are way overloaded today because of the traffic that demonetization has caused. So effectively in our push for a digital economy we’ve also broken something that used to work seamlessly so far and at the end of the day I have another 2000 rupees stuck somewhere in limbo along with the 18K odd which got stuck similarly earlier last month, failed card transactions…. of course not to forget that cash is what came to the rescue eventually…. the focus needs to be on ramping up the digital infrastructure first, giving incentives for digital transactions… cashless will automatically happen once people realise it costs less to pay by card than by cash….
anyway now wondering what to do with the 1 litre of Pepsi sitting in a kids yellow water bottle…. maybe I’ll try the baba Ramdev waala idea… use to to wash the loo….