For Whom the Bell Tolls!

Living in Mumbai has its fair share of irritations, one being that there is always someone or the other who rings the door bell.  It has been a year and a half, and I have yet to get used to people ringing the bell for some reason or the other. This phenomena, I have never faced in San Francisco; I always felt that I would have peace of mind whenever I came home, not being bothered or disturbed by anyone once I shut my front door and shut out the world behind me, except for the occasional mail person who would deliver heavier mail items.

Here is a list of all the kinds of people I have encountered at my front door, on more than one occasion: the mail man (who sometimes rings the bell, even though he puts the mail in the mail box right in front of the flat), the rep from the gas company (who comes to read the gas meter in the flat every few months), the cable guy, random sales people (selling things right from Gillette blades to brooms to religious items), the watchman, the lady who collects the garbage, the neighbor (who wants to get some curry leaves from the tree that is only accessible from my balcony), and more! Recently, I had someone from the Mumbai Municipality ring my door bell and ask me if anyone in my house was pregnant!! And this morning, I had the bank representative (of the bank my husband applied his credit card from) just show up at my front door to “verify” information from me about my husband, in order to process his cc application.

And the bell rings in the most inopportune time: either I will be cooking, or taking a nap, or in the loo or chatting on the phone; the bell rings and I have to drop everything and attend to the door. For the love of God, does this madness ever end?

The funny thing is, even when I turn my door bell off (and thank god I have that option), they will be banging on the front door, which makes me feel, there’s always some form of noise pollution in Mumbai.

I think one of the main differences between operational styles in communicating and receiving information between San Francisco and Mumbai is that, while in San Francisco everything is automated and most things are done online, Mumbai still relies on a rather archaic system of achieving the same goal. I suppose, with a good chunk of the population not having access to the internet, not knowing how to even use it, or not being fluent or even conversant in English, it does make it very challenging for most things to be systematized and steam-lined. I suppose then, it only makes sense to continue with the current systems that are put in place, no matter how frustrating they are.

Thus, I have arrived at the sad, but true conclusion that, if I plan on living here for a long period, I have to turn my attitude around and become more accepting of this bell-ringing phenomena, for the bells will always toll and that’s just how it is!







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