Sunday, June 7, 2015

Carpenter you?

As you know I moved to Delhi a few months back. Ok, its been eight months. So the whole process of setting up home is happening all over again. You know, all the painful, irritating stuff of finding the right place, negotiating with the landlord, grovelling to reduce rent or deposit. grovelling some more, invoking the disastrous future of unborn children if the rent is not reduced by 500, accepting the rent that the landlord started with...because, who are we kidding, this is still a sellers market.

Now I did all this fairly promptly (4-5 weekends). Pretty good really, but considering I've moved houses seven times in the last eight years, I'm a pro at this.

So house rented, I slipped into the mellow lethargy or a job well done...until I was rudely awakened by AV.

"Our house in Bangalore was so much nicer, all the paintings were on the walls. That interesting clock was mounted just right. It was so inviting and cheerful. I liked having friends come over. Here, all our stuff is still in the almirahs. It looks like we're staying in prison."

I realised the wistfulness in her voice. The urge to have a beautiful house is so deeply ingrained in the female DNA that I noted the tone of melancholy in her voice. So I did what any well-attuned husband who understands his wife would've done - snort, mumble incoherently, and hope she forgets

But alas, it was not to be. The barrage of wistful did not let up, and in three months the tone was moving from wistfulness to borderline aggression. I had heard this tone earlier and I knew exactly what I needed to do.

"We'll go out for dinner tonight!"

Three months passed.

But now things got really urgent (things started getting thrown, simple words were met with eyes staring mournfully at resplendent, empty walls). So I trudged down to the guard of our building to ask for the phone number for a carpenter. He took his own sweet time in giving a couple of numbers. And then the regular nightmare began. The very reason that I was hoping things would not come to pass.

Chasing carpenters as they wade through their extremely busy schedules on weekends. Of promises made, fun plans cancelled to wait for the  carpenter, frantic phone calls met with - 'Bas aadhe ghante mein pahunch raha hun (reaching in half-hour)', the aadha ghanta stretching to hours and eventually no-shows.

Handyman services, reliable, prompt ones, are so very difficult to get, even if you're willing to pay for them. I've seen this across cities and its one cause for rising hypertension in most urban areas. Getting someone to do minor stuff around the house is such a pain.

So anyway, this story does have a happy ending.

I logged on to and placed a request for a carpenter after carefully counting how many nails had to be drilled into the walls to ensure that the house becomes 'inviting' enough.

It was a breeze after that. Couple of minutes later I got a call from to get details of the work to be done, and my location. Five minutes later a couple of handyman companies called. One of them had a pretty darn reasonable price for my needs. Agreed to the price and then sat back to wait for the guy. He had said that he'd be there in half-hour. So going by my experience, AV and I sat back, made some popcorn, put a movie in and started watching. "We'll call after four hours, and then every two hours to remind them" was the plan discussed.

So it was quite a shock that the door bell rang 20 minutes later. And for a change it was not a

  1. Maid
  2. Driver/car cleaner
  3. Random stranger 
  4. Salesman
  5. Old lady who got off on the wrong floor from the lift
  6. Old lady who got off at the right floor, but the wrong building
It was actually a couple of guys from the company I connected to via

And how professionally was the job done. Forty minutes and they were gone. All paintings mounted cleanly, perfectly aligned, floors cleaned up after them. It was like the elves did it.

Great stuff. Six-seven months of painful procrastination, and it was done in 2 hours once I logged in to

So AV, you were saying you needed some shelves fixed. Should I get them done right away...