Tag Archives: tv

Throw Away Society…………….

One of the biggest challenges I have faced with moving back to the land o’ plenty is just how much trash we (continue to) generate. Everything seems to be disposable.

In Twisted Sister, I wrote that an old bra strap might become a shoelace in India. Many, many people asked me if that was really true. It kind of is. The poor people in India don’t waste much.

So when I consistently win the trash award for having the most trash on our street, I often think “shame on me”.

This week has been no exception. We want, we waste. Augh. Well, there has been a big exception. We have a tv that would only sporadically turn on. It is in the room I exercise in, so I would really like it to work. It wasn’t working so I wasn’t working out. Augh again.

The easiest thing to do would have been to trash the tv and just buy a new one. I am sure that would have been to the tune of about $1,000. Yikes.

So, number one hubby googled our tv’s make/model and actually figured out what the problem seemed to be. And then the solution. It required some soldering and a new part. We don’t exactly know how to do that or where to buy a tv part.

After some more googling, Hubby found an electrical repair shop. We drove there with component in hand. And, yes, I am impressed he was able to take the tv apart, find the component, and eventually put it all back – and even in the right place.

The repair shop was closed. Not just for lunch. But forever. Dang. I guess we aren’t the only ones who have been throwing things away instead of getting them fixed.

But there was a second repair “shop” listed. In a residential neighborhood. Hmmm.

We called to hear what sounded like an Indian accent. Small world. He seemed to know what we were talking about. He seemed to know what he was talking about. He was close by. We decided it was probably worth a shot.

Hubby knocked on the door. The electrician (who was actually from Pakistan) fixed the component. For only $40. Hubby reinstalled it. For Free. And wahlah. Our oldish tv once again works.

Now I have no real excuse not to exercise and our bank account does not need a band-aid.

The saddest part of this post is that for a brief moment I was so proud of us for choosing repair over replace. But now I think I will make that my motto. It is as it should be – fix when you can – or at least give it a shot. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And if you live in NoVa and need a tv repaired (or other malfunctioning electric device) Farooq just might be your guy. 703.407.2702. Or email service@fhtvservice.com. Let’s start a repair revolution!

Outsourced……….blech…..

I was so excited for the premiere of the new tv show Outsourced and was absolutely bummed when my son’s back to school night was scheduled for the same night. Honestly, you would think the school administration would be a little more sensitive to my tv viewing preferences and be a little more careful to not create conflicts between my parenting and entertainment priorities. But no – they weren’tย  – Outsourced aired right in the middle of my session of 8th grade math. Hpmf.

But the techno gods have been generous and blessed us with tivo capabilities. So, all is in sync in the parenting and hollywood worlds.

Last night, I finally got to see Outsourced – the new NBC comedy about an American manager running a call center in India. Frankly, they should have outsourced the production, writing, and editing. Blech. Let’s remember that I did offer my assistance. They should have taken me up on it. Who knows, maybe they still will. ๐Ÿ˜‰ The Executive Producers are Robert Borden, Ken Kwapis, Victor Nelli, Jr., Tom Gorai, and David Skinner – just in case you are reading along fellows, you can contact me at AReasonToWrite (at) gmail (dot) com.

There wasn’t much about it that was realistic – even worse, there wasn’t much that was funny. And yes, I understand you are supposed to suspend reality and just laugh. But I just spent the past year and a half of my life living it and there is a lot that has laugh potential without being insulting. A lot. There is the line at the post office and the puja and oh, so much more.

I am not always great with chronology so I might not get my complaints in exact order but it doesn’t really matter.

The first big misstep was that the American manager went to work in a rickshaw. Beyond the fact that the rickshaw scene was very poorly done, an outsourced manager in India would very likely be driven to work by a driver. They just ruled out about 3 hilarious episodes by leaving out the driver and his very real side (splitting) story. Having a driver in India is part of the experience and it adds a whole new dimension to life abroad. It is so foreign to the way most Americans navigate through their day in the U.S. Maybe the manager should have tried to drive himself somewhere – now that would be funny. Very funny. Or try to communicate with a driver whose English is not exactly up to snuff – like here. Or try to find the zoo – like here.

However, my biggest criticism is the Outsourced character of the big Sikh guy who just looks intimidating and totally ticked off. Too easy. It’s (horrible) stereotyping. It’s ridiculous. And based on the Sikhs I met, it’s largely inaccurate. Many are actually gentle giants in many respects. Their temples all have kitchens and they feed absolutely anyone in need for free. I wrote about the Golden Temple here, where they feed over 100,000 people a day.

And then a cow appeared in the front office window. Really? A cow? That’s all you’ve got? Sure, cows roam the streets – but really? Again, way too easy. They should have at least made it a monkey (more realistic in front of an office window) or a camel or an elephant. At least that would have been unexpected. And not to be nit-picky but the cow in the window was way too fat.

On to the minor inaccuracies. All the desks are lovely, spread out, and nicely decorated with picture frames. Yeah. Not gonna happen. Call centers operate on shifts. And for obvious reasons, they try to get as many people in a room as they can (just like in U.S. offices). In the real world, two to three workers would rotate sitting at a desk during a 24-hour period. So there would be no personalizing your workspace. And it is highly unlikely that the boss would be sitting in the same room as the call center employees.

The Indian manager was wearing suspenders. I don’t think I ever saw an Indian man in India in a set of suspenders – I am not saying it didn’t happen – but I call malarkey. Or at least bad editing.

The company in the tv show sells novelty items – some of which are a bit risque. My experience with Indians is that they are very modest people. At one point in the show, the American manager is explaining the “value” of a mistletoe belt to the staff at the call center. How it works – why you would put mistletoe on a belt. Yeah, that would be totally inappropriate and awkward. Later in the episode, he shows the staff a plaque with a replica of a woman’s chest (read boobs) on it that jingles when a song is played. Maybe it was called Jingle Boobs – I had mostly tuned out at that point, so I probably didn’t get the name right. But please. A female employee at the call center laughs at the novelty item. I just really have a hard time believing that would be a typical response. Even most American women would not exactly be amused.

If it was Al and Peggy Bundy get Outsourced, it might have been chuckle-worthy. But it wasn’t about Married with Children hits India and it wasn’t funny.

The one thing that was funny was the food in the cafeteria but only because they made another (way too) easy joke about what we used to call Delhi Belly. When you are not used to spicy foods, you do have to be careful what you eat – and of course that is true of anywhere – not just in India. And some Indian food is super spicy and it can upset your belly. And it can be funny – when it happens to someone else – and someone else who knows better and laughs when they put it in his/her mouth and jokes “what’s the worst that can happen?”. That is what I call “famous last words”. Which are often followed by Montezuma’s Revenge and a quick re-enactment of the fabled Murphy’s Law.

So, for what it’s worth (and I realize that is nothing), I was left very unimpressed. I do, however, remain very willing to offer ideas and suggestions. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lived there, done that…………..

Since we have been home, we have been catching up on some great t.v. Yesterday I saw an ad for this new NBC Show – Outsourced. The new comedy will be on Thursday nights starting in the fall. It looks like it has the real potential to be very funny. Of course, they will have to maintain a very careful balance so that the show is also not insulting. What I hope they don’t miss is the “life outside of the office” experience. Frankly, I think they need a writer who has actually lived it, perhaps a blogger with a bunch of material (already) in the queue, maybe a blogger who has over 100k hits on her beloved blog, perhaps someone with a sense of humor about how different life can be ……. hmmmmmmmmmmmm ……. maybe they will be calling me soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyone have any contacts at NBC? If so, please feel free to pass them along.

The Hatfields and McCoys……….

There are so many things about our neighborhood here in India that are different from what we are used to. The houses are (much) closer together. Staff live behind the houses and are not exactly always quiet. I often wake up in the middle of the night to the tune of someone blowing his nose. (Nope, not kidding.) Firecrackers frequently go off in the middle of the night. Cars honk their horns. Dogs bark all. the. flippin. time. Every house has a gate. Guards stand at nearly every gate. Electricity comes and goes. And many (of the luckier) houses have generators.

According to our neighbor, our generator is extremely loud when the “garage” door is open. According to the company who maintains our generator, we must leave the “garage” door open so that the generator does not overheat (and then break). You might remember a couple sentences ago when I said that electricity comes and goes. It goes out pretty much at least once a day. The generator kicks in and we hardly miss a beat.

this is the "garage" - it took me a while to even know what he was talking about

Well, Mr. Hatfield next door is not happy about the noise pollution we are creating.

Okay.

A. Reread paragraph number 1 – dogs bark, cars honk, firecrakers crack, noses blow, and blah blah blah. It is already v.e.r.y. noisy here.

B. I never realized you could hear our generator until Mr. Hatfield pointed that out to me. And yes, it is louder with the door open than closed but that is how it continues to work. And it is really a steady hum – after about 5 minutes it really just becomes white noise. It has never bothered us. I did not wake up yesterday with a sinister plot to noise him out of the neighborhood.

C. Mr. Hatfield plays his tv v.e.r.y. l.o.u.d.l.y. every. night. I go to bed around 10ish. Guess what time he decides to start watching tv. yep- that would be 10:01ish.

Yes, I did feel it was my McCoyly neighborly duty to point that out to him. Because he delays my bedtime by at least 45 minutes every night.

Neighbor: Oh, I didn’t know.
Me: No, you wouldn’t – you couldn’t hear me complaining because your tv is loud enough for the astronauts to hear. Besides, I haven’t said anything because it’s a noisy neighborhood anyway and our houses are not even 10 feet from each other. You have to expect to hear some noises when our houses are this close.
Neighbor: Well we will change that, we just didn’t knowย  – but you have to understand that no one has lived in your house for two years and it’s been very quiet until now.
Me: (completely dumbfounded and starring at him with my best WTH look) and are you suggesting that we not use electricity?
Neighbor: to himself – as a matter of fact that is not what I am suggesting – I am actually suggesting you all move out so the house can be empty and quiet again – But what I am willing to say out loud is: Yes, when we want to sit outside, you should not have the generator on – it’s too noisy
Me: Hmmmmmmmmmmmm – yeah – what????????

So Mr. Hatfield and his wife decide to sit outside in the driveway because yesterday was quite a lovely day. They have a beautiful terrace in the front of their house (away from the “garage”) but they did not want to sit there. He decides we should turn off our generator because it is too loud. Actually, to be fair, he decided we should shut the door. But when the guard explained that was not possible, he decided the only other solution was to turn off the generator (aka our electricity). Well, also to be fair, he did go on to offer another solution – we could simply replace our current generator with a quieter one. Yes, that was very kind of him to offer solutions not just complaints.

However.

He came over to ask the guard to ring my doorbell. This is new to me too. The guard must have sensed that this was not going to be pleasant and told him I was asleep. Excuse me? Okay then. Now I am not even deciding who comes in my gate and who doesn’t. I don’t fault the guard on this one – he was right on. It was not pleasant.

Mr. Hatfield then proceeds to yell at the top of his lungs (what was that about noise pollution Mr. Hatfield?) for about 10 minutes. Hubby was not home – my gate is wide open – there are about 5 men standing in front of the gate – someone is screaming in Hindi – and I don’t know what the heck is going on. I called hubby, he called the security company, they called his office, they called him back, he called me back. Holy indirect communication batman. It is insane. And yes, I could have simply walked outside and asked “what is going on” but really it did not feel safe and I had my three kids at home. So I put my head in the sand and peeked out the curtain.

He wants me to turn off the generator because he and his bride want to sit outside. Again, me turning off the generator means turning off the electricity in the whole house. That means no blog writing – see how this affects you. Ahhhhh. Now you get it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ This is further complicated by the fact that his power had actually already come back on. So now he thinks I am just being obnoxious. Possibly. But not this time. Just because his power is on does not mean squat for our power. It doesn’t work like that here – we have lost power in half the house before.

Long story short. Mr. Hatfield informs me that 75% of the time he and his wife are not even home. So it is a simple request really. I should be able to anticipate when he and his wife will actually be home and then take it a step further to know when they will want to go outside. If I am really concerned about his well being, I will just ensure that the electricity is always working and we never have to use the generator. But if I choose to only use my powers for evil, then the least I can do is be ready to sacrifice our electrical needs for his quiet time outside – because apparently our generator is more annoying then the dogs barking and horns honking and him yelling at the top of his lungs with his tv blaring in the background.

He also informed me that the Indian Government has greatly improved its noise pollution regulations and if I do not comply by getting a new generator, he will have to take further action. Let the games begin. I am sure I am not done with this issue and that I will bore you to tears with an update in the very near future.

the irony in all of this is that we are apparently the very loud owners of a "silent generator"

Is it May yet? ๐Ÿ˜Ž