It had been barely a month since Raghu was learning to be cell phone friendly. His elder sister Priya who lived in city had gifted him a sleek brand new cell phone, along with a SIM card of a popular cell phone service provider.
He couldn’t help but blush with joy with his new-found gift. He wasn’t very tech savvy though. He had hardly seen electronic gadgets so closely. After all, we are talking here of the time when cell phones hadn’t even entered semi rural markets big time. Folks there were just getting to be cell phone friendly.
For one of his visit to Priya’s house in city, about two months since receiving the gift, she had instructed Raghu to carry his cell along, and so he had done as per her instructions. By then, he had begun using the cell phone, and had started getting familiar with the buttons and everything on the handset. She had also instructed him on how to recharge his cell phone, as he was a proud prepaid customer.
Now Raghu, just having entered city, stepped down from the bus and started hunting for rickshaw to take him to his sister’s house. He was about to call up Priya to let her know that he had reached the bus stand and was heading home, when he realized that there was hardly any balance left in his prepaid card. He decided to recharge the cell from a nearby grocery store. And that itself was his first blunder. The grocery fellow asked him the amount of recharge which he wanted. Our simpleton didn’t know much about available talk times. He asked him to show the “talktime chart” for reference, but the grocery fellow didn’t have one. Now this was such a simple expectation of a customer, but it was long neglected by these service providers. Places where recharges are available do not always carry these kinds of handy charts, making the whole thing complicated.
So Raghu plainly and casually replied “ Give me Rs 100/- recharge”.
Now here’s the catch. There wasn’t any talk time of Rs. 100/- recharge available!. Yet the grocery fellow went ahead and recharged the poor guy’s cell, only for him to realize that he hadn’t got any recharge successful SMS even after waiting for 45 minutes. He waited and waited; but it was getting useless. He asked the grocery guy to refund his Rs 100/-, but that chap was stubborn and argued that from his end, he had recharged the cell.
Hoping against hope, Raghu reached Priya’s place and narrated his cell phone saga. She immediately got to work, and frantically tried calling up the customer service centre number of the service provider. When despite of this correct approach of putting through customer complaint, things weren’t getting done, the bro-sis duo straight away knocked the doors of the relationship centre located nearby. The customer relationship manager there gave them a patient hearing and handed over the email id of the western zone regional customer relationship head.
Smart Priya, who had very well gelled with city life, barged into a cyber café and typed out a blunt letter to the concerned authority about the flaws in the service provider’s prepaid recharge system. She wrote that if a customer is new to the cell phone technology, and is not aware about the various recharge talk time options, shouldn’t the recharge kiosks which have mushroomed at every nook and corner of cities, own up the responsibility of passing on the right information to the customer?
Since Raghu didn’t have his own email id, all the correspondence was routed through Priya. Ten days down the line there was a reassuring mail in Priya’s inbox from the concerned authority. The flaws were duly accepted, and the fellow’s cell phone number was granted recharge of Rs. 120/. Apologies accepted, the email read.
And so, this is how our straight out from small town place guy had his initial pangs of cell phone blues, as he was stumbling and learning to get cell phone friendly.
But he and Priya were fighters; real fighters. They fought their quiet battle through right channels, and got themselves justice. It wasn’t the question of Rs. 100/. The amount was immaterial. It is the spirit with which the folks handled the situation.
Perhaps it is these small town people who teach us urbanites a lesson or two sometimes. Had we polished, educated guys been in their shoes; perhaps we might not have followed up the matter so extensively. We would say,”Oh! It’s just a matter of Rs. 100/-. Why to bother for a meager amount like this”?
But they jolly well knew that they wanted to fight for every penny; especially so because the amount had totally gone in the pockets of the undeserved, without the practical benefit of it reaching to them.
….Today Raghu is a wiser man. His cell phone blues finally seem to be over. He learnt it all a different way, but today his confidence level is more than what it was the day he got down that dusty red bus which carried him to the city………And more importantly, today he runs a Cell Phone Recharge Kiosk in the quaint small town where he hailed from. Needless to say, he not only keeps a “Talk Time Chart” handy in his kiosk, but he has the recharge talktimes perfectly by-hearted for every service provider’s that he deals with. After all, did he not have first handed experience the bouts of Non Existent TalkTime!?
Now that’s what we say “ Building on one’s past mistakes, picking up and moving ahead”. Kudos Raghu!