After a month and a half of harangues, a man was sent to fix my broadband connection. Mr.Mishra arrived at noon, and the conversation with him went so:
Girish clicks on the Firefox icon, gets a page saying no connection could be established.
Girish: As you can see, the connection isn't working. It comes on for five or ten minutes at a time at most.
Mishra seats himself at the machine and switches the mouse pad to the right side (I am not a lefty, but changed mouse position after suffering carpal tunnel pain a couple of years ago from too much online Scrabble). He removes a brand new router from its pack. It is Huawei's MT882 model.
Girish: Actually I have bought myself a new wireless router, I want to to fix that so I can connect from a laptop in another room.
Mishra: Let me first try with this modem to check if the problem is with the line or the router.
Girish: It is definitely with the line, since my mother, who also has an MTNL broadband connection, has been suffering the same problem for exactly the same duration.
Mishra pays no attention. He connects the MT882 and starts checking things like settings and pings. After ten minutes of this he gets up and seems ready to leave. I open the browser window; it still will not connect.
Girish: It isn't working.
Mishra: My job is only to set up the connection, this must be a line problem, I can't check it from here.
Girish: Earlier, when this green tick mark was on, I could browse the Net. Now it isn't opening any sites even though Skype's green tick is showing. Obviously you've messed something up.
Mishra: How could I mess anything up? I did nothing, didn't change any settings.
Girish: You changed the router.
Mishra: this is a new router. Your problem is with your line.
Girish: So who can fix the line?
Mishra: Talk to Kore or Rangale.
Girish: I've been talking to them for over a month. Why have they not checked the line so far?
Mishra: I don't know. Ask them.
Girish: I'll ask them right now... (dials) can I speak to Kore saheb?
Kore comes on the line: Shahane saheb, what is the problem?
Girish: Mishra is here, he changed the router, but that fixed nothing. In fact, earlier my connection worked in spurts, now it isn't working at all. Why did he change the router when it clearly is not a router problem?
Kore: You have a D-Link router, right? D-Link routers are getting corrupted.
Girish: Corrupted? Mine's worked fine for two years. Why should it get corrupted suddenly? Also, did my mother's modem happen to get corrupted at the same time?
Kore (exasperated): I have received an order from above saying all D-Link routers are to be changed, they are corrupt. I'm just following orders.
Girish (to himself): Is it D-Link's routers that are corrupt or MTNL officers? I wonder how much they can skim with these MT882 thingies?
Girish (to Kore): Anyway, this new router clearly doesn't work, I'd like my wireless modem to be connected instead of the MT882.
Kore: Mishra can do that, but then we will not take responsibility for your connection working.
Girish: So will you take responsibility if I keep the MT882?
Kore: How can I give any guarantee?
Girish slams the phone down in disgust.
Girish (to Mishra): OK, I want you to undo what you have done.
Mishra: But I didn't do anything.
Girish: Put my old router back. At least I know it worked off and on.
Mishra reluctantly does as told. Girish connects the ADSL wire. His home page opens properly. Mishra looks mystified.
Girish: I think what you did was to replace a perfectly good router with a broken one. Thanks a bunch. Please take your MT882 and leave.
(To himself) Back to square one. But square one is better than square zero.