Star-cross’d lines | india | Hindustan Times
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Star-cross’d lines

If the outsourcing boom to India continues, most of the calls will be answered by Indians, ready to help but quite unable to because they are trained only to deflect ire, writes Tarini Desai.

india Updated: Jun 06, 2007 04:21 IST

Over four billion people of a total global population of six billion will have mobile phones by 2009. Isn’t satcom the coolest thing to have hit the planet? The cellphone is our lifeline and it’s impossible to imagine life without it. But the numbers are mind-boggling. For starters, imagine the number of customer care cells that’ll have to be generated to cater to four billion people. If the outsourcing boom to India continues, most of these calls will be answered by Indians, ready to help but quite unable to because they are trained only to deflect ire, not solve the problem.

I outsourced my newspaper reading and the BPO guys never got back. I had to outsource my daily habit simply because I was busy with my Airtel number. They wanted my details, in forms with attached photos and a proof of residence. That, I was told via SMS, is the law. Via about five messages a day — two stern, one kind, two severe. Fill up the form, or else... Welcome to threat marketing.

I complied, pretty photo and all. They didn’t receive it. I grumbled. So I filled up another form and sent it. They didn’t get the second one either. Messages continued to thunder. “Your outgoing will be cut off.” I filled up a third form. And responded to their sms to have it collected. They said the job would get done in 48 hours. It’s been 48 days.

They cut off my outgoing calls. I could do little except rave and rant. But someone told me it’s a beautiful world, so why grumble?

So now I have a gorgeous new number, I’m back on everyone’s wavelength and life rocks. I can’t quite fathom though why the customer care woman’s voice at Orange breaks into a seductive purr when I call for my bill.

For cheap thrills, I reinserted my Airtel chip. Call it for old times’ sake and called from the landline. “The incoming call facility to this number has been discontinued.” I smile. “Darling,” I want to purr, “while you weren’t listening, the number changed.”