The roof over my head was damaged in torrential rain a few months back. After workmen put up roof trusses and sheets, the DTH dish antenna on the roof stopped receiving signals. And my family members were disconcerted by the blank screen of the idiot box. All were addicted to the subtle fights between daughters-in-law and mothers-in-law in every other soap shown on TV. I realised that peace would not prevail in the house if DTH signals were not restored immediately.
I called the local service centre to get the antenna relocated. The lady who answered my call asked me to contact the service centre’s helpline and register a request. I asked for the helpline number. The voice at the other end replied that if I pressed the yellow button on the TV remote, I would get the helpline number. I pleaded that my TV displayed only a “no signal” message. The lady then suggested I go online and register my request. I switched on my computer and found out the helpline number from the internet. But the helpline went on and on to direct me to press one for this, two for that and so on. Then I tried to log on to the DTH signal provider’s website.
The website asked me to enter my password. Unfortunately, I hadn’t logged on to the site for a year or so and couldn’t remember my password. There was a prompt called “forgot your password?”. I clicked on it.
It asked me to answer a secret question, which I did. A new password was sent to my email ID. I opened my mailbox and memorised the password by repeating it several times aloud. After I entered the password, the website asked me to click the kind of service I wanted and provide a description of the help required in words not exceeding 100. I requested that the dish antenna be relocated to a place on the roof where it would be able to get signals. After I submitted my request, I received a message on my mobile phone that my request would be attended to within 24 hours.
After a few hours, a representative from the company telephoned and spoke in chaste Hindi. I requested him to speak in English. Fortunately, the man switched on to a mixed Hindi/English dialect. He sought to know: “Do you want the dish to be relocated on the same roof or some other roof?” I pleaded that I had only one roof and the antenna was not receiving any signal at its present location.
He also conveyed to me my present package details, the balance in my account and wanted to know if I needed any other help. I assured him that I only wanted to see pictures on the idiot box. After conveying the likely cost for relocating the dish, the representative assured me that my request would be attended to within 24 hours.
After an hour, the lady from the local service centre called to ask if she could tell the mechanic to visit my house between 10 am and 12 pm next day. I agreed to the timing.
The technician turned up at 6 in the evening and reinstalled the antenna at a different place on the roof. The TV became functional to the joy of all. The service centre was hardly a kilometre and a phone call away.
But I had to waste a few hours on phone calls, websites, passwords and converse with men who spoke in unfamiliar languages from a thousand miles away to get to the service centre near my house. Indeed, communication technology has taken us a long way around the world instead of shrinking our world.