Saturday, we went to Chennai for the day. It was a small group as we are between the bigger short term groups coming and going. Some people wanted to see movies but it was all sold out so after everyone’s food fantasies did not come true, but our bellies were full, we head out with our to-do lists. I was hoping to find some gifts, but my first and main objective for the trip was to find some new/temporary speakers. On Thursday, our plug caught fire and melted through the wires, so until we can get the electrician to replace the plug, I needed something louder for class then the small plug in speaker I was borrowing. Luckily, LDT did a good job with the music situation, but I know it is hard without adequate sound to focus and hear the music. I did find some speakers, but it was the craziest experience. It was a bit like walking into the apple store except much smaller and still the same amount of staff. So many workers was intimidating but it was even funnier because everyone had a specific role and no one else could do their job. After I decided on a speaker I had to essentially give away my personal identity for the paperwork of buying electronics in India. I was joking (but not really) that next they would ask for my medical history. It skeeves me out but apparently all the ID and info is standard procedure here. Apparently on the phone expedition that was happening simultaneously, one place asked the girls for passport photocopies which they needed to have already brought with them ?! Anyways, I finally got everything sorted, but kept asking for the box and the other attachments since they claimed the display one was the only speaker they had left in that model. I was feeling extra sarcastic so when the guy told me “two minutes” I asked if he meant clock minutes or Indian minutes. They all had a chuckle (“all” because apparently 4 people were currently manning my station) and told me “Indian minutes madam, please have a seat.”
Good news for me, it didn’t take quite as long as I originally thought, and Erin was keeping me good company. The funniest part is that after all the demands of having the box and other attachments, a brand new speaker magically appeared! We are pretty sure they went to another store and bought it after they perhaps realized the display set was missing things. Maybe it was more innocent than that, but we will never know.
The icing on the cake was the end of the transaction, where someone had to pass off the box to another employee to be bagged who was standing right in front of me. Instead of handing me the bag when I reached for it, he gave me the head bobble and one minute finger gesture and turned to give the bag to someone else. I thought maybe to put a receipt in or something, but no – it was just a hand off because the other guy had to pass me the bag. It was the most inefficient efficiency conscious situation I have ever been in. Total time was about 1.5 hours even though I picked the speaker out almost immediately. Incredible.
The rest of the day we made our way around some shops. I found it to be overpriced and too westernized to find too many Christmas gifts, but maybe that was a good thing 😉 I am spending my last Saturday on campus though, so since I was already speaker hunting, I had to have a look…not to mention stock up on yogurts for my last week! When we got back, we had a family style dinner and discussed the upcoming week with the new volunteers coming in. And as you already know, Sunday was my catch up day and time to be with the kids outside of class. It was a really great day and I am happy to be back to a Monday and teaching. This week’s focus at school is courtesy, and I have also decided to work on leadership in class. So far so good…I will report back soon.