Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Just Another Week in India

This is what happens when you get too complacent.

8:30 - Get dropped off for work.
8:45 - Phone call from driver. Car crapped out on the way home. Burning smell from engine. Driver calls repair shop and they're sending out a tow truck.
10:00 - Phone call with estimate for repairs and part that's busted. "Fuel pump moto relay" Cost for repair Rs4000.
11:00 - Driver arrives at Consulate to pick up Rs4000 and shows an estimate/receipt breaking down the Rs4000. Car gets repaired.
12:10 - Car is seen driving on road by neighbor, and returns to house. We consider it a miracle. Indian efficiency exists?
12:30 - I get picked up by a friend, scheduled in case the car wasn't ready. Had lunch, went directly to school for a meeting. Called driver to get picked up at school with kids at 4 p.m.
4:00 - Got picked up from school. No receipt from car work, always previously given immediately. No broken car part present, always previously available.
6:00 - Driver leaves for the day saying he's sick and probably won't be in on Saturday.
No driver.
I texted the driver to see if he would be at work Monday morning. Received text "I wont come tomorrow because. still i am not well" A first, because the driver in the past year has NEVER texted me. In fact, early on he told me his phone didn't text. Improbable, of course, but suffice to say I've never received a text from him before.
Didn't hear anything from the driver all day. Went to work with the neighbor. In the evening texted again to find out if he would be at work Tuesday morning. No reply. Ian called him. No answer.
Texted first thing in the morning to see if driver was going to be at work. 20 minutes later, received a text saying "I.Wontcome today" A few minutes later Ian tried calling the driver, no answer. I texted him "Please call me." No call.
Informed the housekeeper of our suspicions that perhaps we'd been swindled. Went to work with neighbor.
The neighbor's driver called the driver again in the morning. Learned he was working for someone else at the school.
We've been swindled.
I'll pull out the information I still have on our former driver and put it up at the school, with a warning that no one should hire him. The same info will go to the Consulate list. He stole, he lied, he quit. I'm so ashamed I trusted him. It all felt wrong from the moment he called with the "car problem" but I haven't liked having a driver from the moment I arrived here and felt like I had no choice but to trust, otherwise I'd be classified as paranoid.
Well, just goes to prove paranoia has its place.

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