Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Quest 6: Bank Account and Wireless Internet

We have been on the move ever since we got here! Since my cousin and his family had already been here for a week, we did not get a chance to rest when we got here. They were all about going here and there and everywhere! [A little note about Indian culture – when there is someone older than you, you give him or her due respect. Out of respect for my dad’s older brother’s family, we did not ask to do anything for ourselves, and thus we went along with their plans for the past few days.] Today was their last day here, and they did not have any special plans except for packing, so while they were doing that my mom and I dashed out to take care of a few important errands.

We asked Kunwar Bhaiya to drive us to the bank so we could set up an Indian bank account for me. [As another note about the culture, one should keep in mind that banking is still done with paper and pencil here, which makes everything go very slowly. What that means is if I need to set up a bank account, all my numbers and pins and whatnot will be written down by the agent that we go through on paper.] This took way longer than expected, and they asked for way more stuff than we were prepared to give, like passport-sized photos and other random items. So when we left the bank only half of our work was completed. But they said they would get the process started, we just needed to provide them with passport-sized photos and proof of residence and we would be fine. I left there with a new debit card and an incomplete quest. (But I put it on hold – I will not give up!)

Our next mission was to go to the Reliance store to get me wireless internet. Reliance is a company that is very popular in India and abroad for international calling. It’s a good service that is used everywhere except America. However, Indians in America often use Reliance to call India. When we got to the store, they told us that they had what we were looking for. We had so much paperwork to go through, it’s not even funny. They asked us for proof of residence, a passport-sized photo (even for a data card?!) and some other qualifications. Stuff really does move slowly here… but I expected that. And after all, I’m having so much fun! But check this out – when we went back to the counter after filling up all the forms and stuff, we were about to buy the product, when we asked them to see it before we took it. I looked at it and lo and behold, it did not work with Mac! How devastating! So the search is now on for a wireless internet device that works with Mac. Here in India, Mac is not very popular at all, except with the advertising industry. But since some people do have it, they have to have products for Mac too… But until we find such a device, Quest 6 is totally incomplete!

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