Sunday, March 16, 2008

The deal is done

Well sort of...
OK I'm having cash flow difficulties. You see I've been in India for a fortnight and I'm here for another couple of days. Internet access is flakey to say the least, the offices are all locked down and I can only access a few sites. The browsers won't allow scripts, hotmail and eBay are blocked (as are a few more obvious "recreational" type sites I'm told). So the long and the short of it is I've managed to buy the car remotely from India, pay a deposit on my business expenses and hopefully I'll be able to shuffle some money to that account to balance the books before the biriani hits the punka wala.

So I'm not yet the proper owner but it's nearly completed - so near and yet so far.

On the subject of finances in India, today I have learned that Tesco Finance will lock your card if you're abroad and you get the pin wrong (or the Indian machine loses a connection as I think happened). Helpfully you can unlock this at an ATM - in the UK! So, in order to use my card I need to nip back home and reset it. Otherwise you're screwed - thanks Tesco, every little helps - my arse!

Whereas Morgan Stanley will happily lock your card for it seems similar reasons BUT they will unlock it after going through their comprehensive security questions.

Yes I spent a happy half hour trying to pay for some tat in the Jaipur Gem Emporium which, as seems to be compulsory in India, is no where near the city ion it's title. Tomorrow I will pop into the Bangalore Sairi Store, which is in Noida, a 3 hour flight away from Banagalore where I was a couple of weeks ago.

Whilst jabbering on about money, here's some perspective for you - I got hassled by a cheeky little street urchin called Babu on the weekend, he was desperate to shine my shoes. We had quite a chat as he followed me about a quarter of a mile down the road - I gave in eventually and started price negotiations - 2 rupees "includes all polishes and you don't have to pay if you don't like the first shoe I do" says Babu.
Now 2 rupees is actually 2.5p - the tight little kid wouldn't negotiate so I had to pay up - OK I'm a softy and I gave him a 5 rupee tip - he was made up. I would have given him more but t he transaction attracted an older, scabbier kid who looked like he would just take it off Babu.
This was my first real encounter with these kids, I usually do what the Indians do and ignore them but it's hard. Babu was, I'd guess about 6 years old.
Makes me miss my kids. My driver said something to me today that has stuck in my head - we were talking about flying, he was keen to understand what it was like, he'd never been inside an aeroplane, he said he would not get to do it in this life but in the next he would. He asked me how times I have flown, I honestly couldn't count them all, he was impressed. He said he wished his God would be as kind to him in the next life as my God had been to me in this.

इंडिया - दिर्टी, स्मेल्ली, क्रोव्देद चोस, इ लोवे आईटी
India - dirty, smelly, crowded chaos, I love it

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