Saturday, May 24, 2008
You Gotta Have a Cell Phone With a Bollywood Ringtone
After a good night’s sleep at the Halcyon, our comfortable residence hotel in Bangalore’s suburb called Koramangala. we arranged a car and driver and headed for the Forum Shopping Center. Our mission: to try to get a local cell phone with Sim card. The Halcyon gave John a letter of residence, which he carried with a passport sized photo and photocopies of his passport and Indian visa. (Don’t leave home without them!)
Our first stop was MacDonalds, where I never set foot in the U.S. However, when in New Delhi in February I had acquired a fondness for two tasty dishes; Paneer and Chicken Tikka wraps. We fought our way through the huge lines of folks, mostly young student types, ate our hybrid snacks, then set out to find a mobile.
Like we always do at Verizon offices in California, we waited a long time in the Vodaphone office across from the mall. After a half an hour we gave up in frustration when our name didn’t seem any closer to the top of the list than when we arrived. Our energetic driver, Amil, referred us to a shop inside the mall selling a variety of telecommunications products and services. We asked for the cheapest phone available and chose a small Nokia. The young clerk (they are ALL young!) requested signatures across John’s photos and multiple other spots on the required forms. As we crowded onto the down escalator of the upscale mall we felt like we had become one with the Indian masses in a very small way. We now had an Indian cell phone!