ఈ రోజు నా కథానిలయం పనికి గండి కొట్టారు ముగ్గురు. ఒకరు budding writer .. అనొచ్చా.. తెలీదు.. ఆయన
The wait …

I ordered a Timex Marathon GPS watch a month back … The wait was converting me from a die hard optimist to a hardened pessimist …
The 99$ watch was bought on eBay US and was sent on a 17$ US parcel post…
Only after I paid up did I realize the kind of journey it was going to make.

Things started in grand style as I was able to track it until it left US shores and then the world fell silent.
After a 10-day wait, I decided to find out what happens in such cases and asked my Angel (a.k.a google) as to what happens in such cases.
Apparently, it comes via the silk route … after swimming through oceans and running through deserts and climbing mountains it arrives at Mumbai Foreign Post and falls into the hands of … yes … customs … I

Ignorance is bliss …

I had seen a Garmin GPS watch for 10K but felt it was too expensive and thought 99$ is a good deal. And Ignorant I was that somehow in my mind I was still counting 1$=40Rs. So, I was trilled to realize that I will be getting my GPS watch for around 5000Rs (approx 120$x40). Again, I asked my Angel what would be the customs duty … the answer was multiple choice 14%, 20%, 28% …. and with all the inefficiency of our system I was only doubtful If and when the watch arrives and in such a case if the customs officer would really take interest in assessing it … lots of ifs and buts …

But, I could not contain myself and asked my Angel again what to do … the answer was a multiple choice … the chosen answer …. call the foreign post

The google paradox
Multiple choice questions have unique answers and unique questions have multiple choice answers

After a gut wrenching wait asking me to be patient, some kind lady who was recently transferred from Telegrams department to handle weirdos like us picked it up and started off in Marathi, Gujarathi, Jewish, … I dont know what! …..

I got mad and tried to pull out the only few strands of hair on my crown and realized that it was better to keep what you have ….

Another try and another long wait, the same lady picks up … I suddenly become the most polite guy you would ever hear and started in Hindi … The kind lady took pity on me and then gave me the information I did not want to hear …. “We cant track your parcel … You can only hope to God that It will come by, customs will clear it and if everything happens right, it will come to your local post office and then you will receive an intimation and beware! … you will have to pay a fat custom fee … in case you fail, it goes back and stays there until the last of the GPS satellites escape the earths atmosphere or nose dive into the challenger deep of pacific … ” … and before I could thank her I heard ringing … in my ear … she had hung up on me hard

The wait continued … I could not abstain …

One rainy day, on the pretext of buying a new Geometry box for Prajna, I sneaked into the local post office via the back door (opposite the campus book store) with the best possible monsoon smile …

I looked like a retired football player from the Netherlands …. Orange T-shirt and Green Bermuda … As soon as I entered, there was curfew … they were gaping at me … amazing! … I would have got more looks than the best campus beauty would have ever got…. I felt the earth beneath me gave away and asked If there was any parcel in my name … One of the post man ushered me towards a lady and she asked me where I stayed … staff hostel … … ok … a look of pity came on her face … with the “poor insane creatures, we should be kind to them … the leopards across the hills enjoy better habitat” look she told me … i have hardly delivered any parcels this millenium… I left disheartened ….

I heard some sobs, then wails and finally and the skies broke down into a tearing rain … the monsoon rains were fierce …. and then a tiny knock, knock …

we shouted ‘bhaiyya baad me (brother … later ………….. this is what we say everyday to the guy who comes to collect garbage bags) … The guy at the door knocked again ….

Prajna went to the door to repeat what we had said but came back with a chit … “Amma … Uncle gave some paper” … We thought that a neighbor wanted to politely complain about the way we teach our kids … and went out to see … and lo and behold, it was a sponge soaked post man … he asked us to come and collect a parcel ….

The joy had descended … what he said sounded like the next best thing I had heard after the all important three letter word blurted out by my would be wife, a decade and half back after a fierce struggle to get those words hidden deep inside her bowels …

Looked at the note. I was thrilled and scared at the same time. I started cursing why I did all this… I should have just paid the 10K for the Garmin GPS and saved all the trouble … But, we are a mad lot (a.k.a researchers) and cant do anything straight … Otherwise, I would have just posted on FB a single line with a pic and caption … “proud owner of a GPS watch” and check every other minute if there was a “like” … the perils of social networking …. lets wait for another story some other time …

Just to cut the story short, I literally ran in my car and collected the weather beaten parcel after coughing up an extra 1200Rs (customs and 14%) and found that in total I had spent about 8000Rs. Should I feel happy, wise, what not … ?

The first doubt that I had was …. Is something still in there or compromised…

I had to impatiently wait till we ordered some Paratas (sounds very cheesy!) at Galleria… and with all the patience that comes with days of waiting un-knotted the knots, pulled out the parcel …

The dial was staring at me … I was trans-FIX-ed !

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