Thursday, April 10, 2008

Kilobytes of Crime

I've done it again.

The first crime happened around 3 years ago. In anticipation of my 2 month long stay at home, my dad had installed a fresh broadband connection, a new venture by XYZ. The bill from XYZ arrived after a month of my stay. My buoyant father had told me - "Download what you want. Superb bandwidth. This is all for you."

With the bill in his hand, he didn't seem that buoyant at all. It turns out, the bill was over Rs17,000.

My repertoire of downloads included 3 movies, a complete collection of Tina Turner songs, a couple of documentaries and miscellaneous items. It seems you should not take instructions like 'Do what you want' literally. We thought a while about possible actions. I was obviously stupefied and of no use. There was only one way to tackle this situation.

He left for the local XYZ office the next day. There were a couple of people strewn across a sparsly furnished office. He shouted at the nearest legarthic employee, "Who issues such ridiculous bills in this office? I need to speak with him now."

The employee was startled at the accusation. He took the bill and stared at the amount. He quickly escorted my dad to the appropriate person and skipped.

The new officer was questioned curtly - "Look, I want to know whether you are measuring the bytes at router or server level. Because this is obviously flawed. Kaisa business chala rahe ho aap log?"

My father was visibly irascible. His forehead creases boasted years of IT experience. The employee meanwhile frowned with concern. He was inept and insecure. He stuttered, "I am sorry Sir. I am not sure about this..."

"If you are not sure aapko dukaan band kar dena chahiye!"

The new officer scampered with the bill to the senior manager's office. After a minute, my dad was surreptitiously called into the cabin. The manager admitted that this must be a serious error on their part. He couldn't obviously write off the bill ... But there was a way out...

He said, "Is it ok with you if we close the phone connection? That'll end all problems."
"Fine."
He added, "Aap aaram se ghar jaa kar soyiye. We will take care of this. You will cease to have this phone. Of course won't have to pay the bill."
My dad sighed, "Ok. Do what you have to do." and got up.
The manager shook hands and uttered, "Again, I am very sorry Sir."
My father smiled and said, "Its ok. Everyone makes mistakes."

Thus our XYZ phone connection died a happy death along with the 17k bill.

Today, we received our first Airtel Broadband bill. They have slapped us with a bill running in thousands, post discounts and free phone calls. Further mining of the bill revealed I'd made 50min phone calls to a certain IDEA Phone number in Pune.

In this era of mashups, web2.0 and streaming content, I can't even find the scapegoat. Each innocent youtube video must have piled up to make up this enormous stinking pile of megabytes.

I am urging my dad to do a repeat performance. But sadly, you can't fool all people all the time.

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