Tuesday, 23 December 2008

No Internet!

Yesterday evening (22nd) I found I couldn't connect to the web. I fiddled about for a bit, resetting connections, powering off and on again, but all to no avail. Finally I called Asianet, and I must have done that ten times before I eventually got to speak to someone who gave a reasonable answer. Either the phone wouldn't connect, or it would cut out, or I'd get through to a moron, or through to someone who put me through to another number which went unanswered... and so it went on. Usually, when I get someone sensible, they ask for the landline number here (IE, next door, as I only have a mobile). Or they ask for my mobile number. This time they asked for a reference number which would be on an email they sent me - which I couldn't get to because I had no connection! Then they asked for my "mac id" number which is printed on the modem but a little tricky to read when you have to be outside to get a decent phone signal! Finally, the upshot was that there were known problems in the area which would be fixed when they get fixed. I wonder if it's anything to do with BSNL digging up my road to lay fibre-optic cables. Hmmm.

Actually, BSNL's work, which is all done (impressively) by hand, shows the quality of the soil around here - it is very orange! Very sandy with mostly small stones in it which must make it a bit easier to dig and very free draining. Boring you, huh?!

I managed to get my nativity "monstrosity" to SISP yesterday, complete with the figures and spare decorations, posters and backpack, without catastrophe and without forgetting something vital. I set off very early to avoid problems with traffic. Even so, there were many folk about, chatting in the street, gossiping over fences, having a chai at a stall or walking to work. I got many strange looks, and the stable got even more. It was amusing to watch people's perplexed faces! But actually it was a very pleasant time of day indeed - quite cool and still a little bit misty from moisture in the air, but you just knew the sun would burn it off in a very short while. Quite delicious, in fact, and I'd do this more often if I wouldn't have to hang about for several hours for the teachers and kids to turn up!

So, I got the stable to school without problems, went up to the hall, and found three things:
1) Hanuman team had copied our idea of using decorated branches, only they had got something the size of a tree compared with the few twigs we put up on Saturday.
2) Tables are not allowed - only blackboards, so where do I put a model stable? No one had told me this "rule".
3) Muscleman team had outclassed us with their posters - Christmas posters from Amnesty International about child soldiers, children of wars, children for whom there would be no Christmas, children suffering, "So this is Christmas, and what have we done", i.e. the "Happy Christmas, War is Over" John Lennon song. When I saw all that, I knew we were beaten. Paul, SISP's founder, is a strong believer in these calls for social justice and the Head would like the focused message, and these guys were the judges.

And again, no one turned up to help. My main poster "A Very Merry Christmas from the Spiderman Team" had, for me, a hollow message - what team?

I take this all a bit too seriously, don't I? I should just shrug my shoulders and ask what does it really matter. I don't though. And it makes me a right miserable and grumpy old git!

As luck would have it, I found some nails and an old whiteboard which had the advantage of being strong, light, and with good fixing plates. I also found a bit of string. With this lot I managed to make a suspended shelf off the blackboard - so, like a table but without the legs! I covered it with a green towel (grass, you see!) and placed the stable and figures on it. As every figure was added the shelf sagged a little bit more. Just don't breathe on it!

Despite the effort we came last. Not original enough, not a strong enough message and not outrageously OTT! But at least we tried. And my Spiderman badges were a great success - everyone wanted one, even kids in other teams! They counted for nothing on the scoreboard - just a bit of fun.

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