Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Phantom Paper Jam and all for 2 rupees!

Our printer thinks it has a paper jam but there is no tiny scrap of paper anywhere. I have followed the advice on all the relevant help groups -HP official and otherwise, sworn at it and slapped it but to no avail.

So having bribed Adam (price - a sliced Kiwi) I borrow his pen drive and head to the nearest print shop  to print out the necessary paperwork for my up coming OWC meeting.

Our local print shop is not exactly Kinkos! It's a very small dimly lit shop in which I am led to the back where there is a very dusty looking computer and printer. The computer expels a confusion of multiple wires - like a bowl of spaghetti. After several attempts in various pen drive docking stations and into various orrifices of the computer itself, it appears my pen drive is being read. The computer and printer seem to have a mutual distaste for each other and need to be reconnected and rebooted more than once.

As I am waiting two tall sari wearing badly made up, extremely camp transgenders come waltzing in. They totally ignored me. In these small shops, not usually frequented by white foreigners that is very unusual. Maybe we will only be overlooked by the more unusual!

As I have no solution to my printer problem, I may well become a frequent visitor at the little print shop!  I could find a more westernized print shop but would it be worth an hour round trip in the car to Staples? I'm sure Staples would cost more - can't beat 2 rupees a sheet!

Talking of 2 rupees. Last week friend C and I set out to find a little (and I mean little) craft store in Whitefield, our end of Bangalore. We did have an address (but not a name) and set off with Parunder at the wheel. Sounds like a straightforward mission. Not at all!!! You cant just plug an address into your GPS/Sat Nav  - it doesn't work that way, and in any case where is the fun in that!! Finding an address somewhat off the beaten is an interesting experience. First you arrive in the general location, then it feels like you sort of circle and slowly spiral inwards until hopefully you hit the bulls eye. It's all about landmarks. Street can stop and start, be renamed....and numbering of street and houses can be a tad ad hoc. Landmarks are the name of the game. If directing anyone to Vista I now know my landmarks - from a long way out HAL, Old Airport,  as we get nearer - Basavanagar bus station and then Shell Petrol.

Anyway it transpires this craft shop is in a layout Parunder knows so we get to the general vicinity pretty easily. Then we need 'B' block. We can find C and D blocks but B seems strangely elusive.  I then call friend L who has been to the little treasure trove we are striving to find and puts her driver on the phone to speak with Parundar. Conversation is conducted in hindi, so C and I have no idea what is being said. We drive on, not really feeling we are penetrating 'B' block - sounds like a prison!! Parundar then decides to ask some locals and we turn round and head off in a different direction and soon find not only the block but also the road 3rd Main. Now should be easy, right? No exactly. While we have a building number, we don't have the name of the craft shop. At this point I think C and I are thinking craft shop as in craft shops we have known and loved in our respective home towns. So when we breeze past a whole in the wall stationers we don't blink. To the western eye there are distinct numbering irregularities in 3rd Main, AECS layout "B" block but I"m sure there is a curiously, in some dimension even logical rationale here. Such is India!!!

Anyway to cut a long story short, or less long than it would otherwise have been, we realize 'Sundarshan Stationery Mart' is what we have been looking for. If Parundar thinks it a little strange that we have been driving around in circles to find a hole in the wall pokey little shop, he is far too polite to say anything.

Inside this little shop is a myriad of crafty and stationery stuff! Piled high in tiny little boxes. The lady at the desk seems to know where everything is and C gets her little piece of thin elastic for the princely sum of 2 rupees. Realizing the total ludicrousness of the situation -we have spent an entire morning, or so it feels, driving around to spend 2 rupees (about 4 US cent), we dissolve into giggles and head off for lunch!!!

1 comment:

  1. That is hilarious. I have used Staples twice now. They charge 8 rupees for a color copy I think. I don't know how much for b&w. There is a print shop outside our compound, in a stinky underground garage that I've tried as well. But still more than 2 rupees I think. You can also email Staples the documents you want printed but you still have to go pick up...or send your driver! I cans send you the email when I get home if you want.