Calling up the AC service person? Welcome home the man in PPE suit!
AC service persons, armed with safety gear, are visiting houses, offices and gyms across Delhi-NCR. The sudden spike in demand for AC servicing is due to the sultry weather, and the fact that the city was earlier in lockdown, to follow Covid-19 protocol.
If your doorbell rings and you spot someone all covered in full PPE kit, disposable shoe cover, hand gloves and double masks - on a usual occasion you would be taken aback! But the minute this person at the door identifies himself as a service guy to check/fix the air conditioner, denizens are jumping with joy. The reason being the high demand of AC service providers who have been running from pillar to post in Delhi’s sultry weather to attend the sudden spike in booking post lockdown.
“My phone just doesn’t stop ringing. Every day I’m getting 150-200 calls,” says Sunil Kumar Soni, an electrician from Gurugram, adding, “Koi na koi call waiting chal rahi hoti hai; itne busy hai hum. We’re doing about 25 home visits since the lockdown opened. Humara staff ab dheere dheere aa raha hai kaam karne, jo ladke gaon chale gaye they toh usse thoda sahara hai. Par phir bhi, ek din me ek ladka 3-4 ghar visit kar raha hai. Itni demand hai!”
Those denizens who had been surviving somehow in absence of AC at home, during the lockdown, didn’t waste a nano second to dial up the service men as soon as the city unlocked. And many say that it hasn’t been easy to get through since they are in huge demand. Chandana Das, a resident of Dwarka shares how her husband has been trying to get hold of an AC servicing guy since quite a few days now! “Initially we were all caught up with the trauma that the second wave of Covid-19 brought. We lost a few family members and emotionally were so shaken. Slowly when we started to bring ourselves back to normal, we realised that both the air conditioners in the house had conked off! And we were jolted back to reality to get them repaired soon since the kids are feeling restless in this sweaty summer. But each time my husband calls up the service centre, the line is engaged.”
“Garmi kaafi bad gayi hain kuch din se toh sabko servicing karwani hi hai ACs ki. Pehle lockdown tha aur sab ghar ke andar the, kisi ko aane nahin de rahe the, is liye ab demand bad gayi hai,” says Asif, an AC service provider in Delhi-NCR, adding: “We’re getting four to five confirmed leads among 10-15 calls every day. Still we have not increased the rates, jo pehle lete the wohi le rahe hain. Do paise kam ki kama kar rahe hai.”
Gulam, who provides AC servicing for home and at gyms across Delhi-NCR, shares how his team is ensuring to follow the Covid-19 safety protocols. “We have provided our team PPE Kits, masks, sanitisers, and disposable shoe covers. Aise toh hum kahin jaate hi nahin. Log ghusne bhi nahin dete jab tak unko santushti nahi ho ki humne sare precautions liye hai. Jinke ghar medical condition wale patients hote hain, woh khud hi keh dete hain ki PPE kit pehen ke aana, and we don’t charge them extra for it. Ab ye bimari toh aisi hai ki sabke sath hai, aur garmi bhi bahut hai toh per day 12-15 service calls bhi lene padein to hum le rahe hain.”
Some AC service providers say that denizens have been so paranoid that if the mask slips, they send them back! “They are very careful and don’t want to take any risk. Ek baar mera mask gir gaya gaya toh jinke ghar me tha unhone wapis bhej diya hain kyunki mere pas extra mask nahin tha,” shares Gulam, and Raj Singh Pana, but another AC servicing provider, opines that people have suddenly become less careful. “100 se zyada phone aa rahe hain because of the hot weather. Ab toh aisa lag raha hain ki Covid hain hi nahin. But we are very careful on our own, hume apna dhyan khud rakhna chahiye.”
Author tweets @Nainaarora8