The husband and I were about to travel abroad in four days time. We were a bundle of nerves as we had been out of station for two weeks. I had made a checklist of tasks to be completed and that made us a wee bit more confident. Displaying remarkable verve and energy, my husband attended to the bank and house insurance tasks on the very first day, while I sorted out things at home and began some preparation in the kitchen— always the lady’s onus.
My husband suggested we surrender the landline so that we won’t be charged for the Wi-Fi. He pointed out that we missed doing this before our earlier trip, as it had slipped my mind. He turned down my plea that we could do this the next day, as I was too tired to draft the letter (the phone was registered in my name). I willed myself to type out the letter, specifying the period for which the landline would be handed over for “safe custody”. I took the printouts, and the hubby rushed with them to the telecom office. I gaped at his overflowing enthusiasm after the tiring journey the night before. He returned saying that the officer had made a note of it and assured him that the needful would be done.
The next morning the husband had his cuppa while browsing the online newspaper. But later, after my prayers, when I sat down, about to relish my steaming cuppa along with the online news, I was in for a shock. Both the Wi-Fi and the landline were not working! I wondered aloud if the connection had been already cut but the husband disagreed saying the officer had jotted down the dates. But soon it became clear that the landline had been disconnected and the husband had to make a second trip to the office to request re-connection.
Apparently, the officer had added the footnote for disconnecting alone, failing to write down the dates. His subordinate, conditioned by the workflow to see only the officer’s words, never bothered to read the four-line letter from the customer. In a demonstration of their (in)efficiency, the landline was promptly disconnected on the morning after the request, along with the Wi-Fi. With so much on our hands, the task, which we had thought was completed, was goofed up by telecom officials.
As we repeatedly called the telecom office, the escapists (read employees) passed the buck—sorry, phone this colleague, and so on. But guess what happened on the day of our departure? The husband had to make a trip to the office again to get the connection disconnected.