Big city calling

I never thought the day would come. The day when I would want to run away to Bangalore, of all places. Even if it to escape, just for a bit. What’s worse, I have to go to the big city that I loathe so much. But that day has come, it is here. And it riles me up to think that in the face of one big issue, I have to overlook the million wonderful things about living and working out of Goa. But the truth is some times even a walk by the sea, a week full of beautiful sunsets, an affordable farmer’s market at easy reach, the best possible work-life balance, unbelievably low rents, ridiculously cheap alcohol and everything else I have come to love and cherish about my life is, just doesn’t cut it.

That’s because gazing out at a pinky sky, sinking my feet into the sand and the like doesn’t pay my bills. The work that I do, does. And in order to keep working to keep me going, I need a working Internet connection. The stuff that is beginning to feel like the mission for the rest of my life that will begin with a 5 year plan and a commission to roll out operations. At least the folks at BSNL behave like that. Either that or they think they need to erect a monument of epic proportions, my very own Taj Mahal of wifi, if you will.

See, we don’t have too many options, when it comes to broadband, in Goa. We walked in to Airtel to find out what plans they had up on offer, only to be asked “broadband, what?” That was our cue to walk out, and walk straight back to BSNL, that we had just exited firmly resolving never to go back again. Things were fine as long as I was at work. The perks of being a business organisation is that you can afford to spend a hefty sum on a dependable, stable connection and you can employ someone to manage the headaches of ensuring that it is up and running at all times. For home users, it is pretty much like choosing between low speeds at one end of the spectrum, and terrible customer care at the other end. We tried BSNL when we first moved here, only to give it up when it died on us. Thankfully, we’d both spend most of the week at work, up to our eyeballs in screen time. So it didn’t matter on weekends. When I quit work to be home, we tried the other option — Hathway — which turned out to be even more miserable than BSNL. So when we moved to the new home, I decided to go with a mobile internet connection. A broadband stick that I could take with me. This seemed like the best bet, considering I am out a lot, have the luxury of working form anywhere and pay for what I use. But of late their network seems to be jinxed. I read a couple of news reports about bandwidth fraud — where telecom providers were cutting back bandwidth in order to frustrate users and force them to pay for extra speed packs! (I feel like a bloody guinea pig, I tell you!) Long story short, all the options have serious issues, and I am stuck without an internet connection.

The best I can do is this.



Come to the only wifi cafe in Panjim. Spend exorbitant amounts of money on cupcakes, chai, coffee, quiche, salad etc etc, so I can spend endless hours working out of here. So I can earn an honest living. Only to come back to the cafe and spend everything I earn, on cupcakes, chai, coffee, quiche, salad. So I can work. You get the drift.

Matters came to a head a few days ago, when I realised that at this rate I am never going to get done all the things I want to get done. And I took an extreme step, booked myself a ticket to Bangalore. 8 days of being cooped up at home, working, writing, with a working internet connection, and a huge added bonus — no meals to be cooked, no homes to be run, no chores to be done, no errands to look into — freedom to just sit and write. In the peace and quiet of my home. That is what I have given myself. As soon as the ticket was booked, I began to pray that it works out and that the trip is worth everything I want it to be. There are too many stories that I need to tell, and the words need to be freed from the confines of my brain. They need to be strained out from the muddle of what-to-cook-for-lunch and is-the-laundry-done-yet and I-should-get-this-done-while-the-internet-is-working so they can come out crystal clear and flow. There is far too much work to be done to sit around waiting for incompetent people to do their job, so you can do yours.

So I’m probably going to be one of the only people who is fleeing Goa, to go to an urban jungle, to get some writing done. I know only a few dozen people who did the opposite. C’est la vie.

I’m off to Bangalore later this month, and when I’m back I have to step it up and figure out plan B. Work out a system by which I can get my work done without wasting approximately 8 hours a day fretting over the internet. Because God knows I cant depend on my work to sustain this life of working out of cafes and flying to Bangalore, to get my writing done. Either that, or I have to pimp my cakes up so I don’t need the goddamn work. Or the internet.


17 thoughts on “Big city calling

  1. Pingback: Back home and back home again – haathi time

  2. I know how this feels. I’ve recently shifted to Pune from a house in Mumbai that has a broadband connection with unlimited data and a speed of light. It gets difficult in here living like this. Where I live we don’t have broadband. 3G hardly works, 4G doesnt have network, hathway and airtel have given up on us or its the otherway round maybe.
    It seems me and my husband are paying more money to get, for once, a good, uninterrupted internet connection. I’ve too quit my job to manage them home, although by choice. But I still miss the joy of earning some money, maybe not enough to make an entire living, but atleast to pay my bills and buy me tiny knick knacks on my own. What do you work as? are you a freelance writer? I’ve always wondered how to earn any money from that, because I’ve been writing for quite some time. Maybe it’d help


    1. Oh I hear ya! Except honey, where I live 3G is still not entirely a reality. And my “high-speed” home internet connection was slower than 2G on my phone :P Yes, Im a freelance writer and I work from home, so I cannot do without a stable internet connection at the very least.


      1. mansi

        True. 3G is just 2G wearing some shiny outfits :P
        I’m going to try freelance writing. Is there a website you can recommend to me? For beginners. A I will need an online portfoolio of write-ups no?


  3. Pingback: What is normal? | hAAthi

  4. Hope the short while you’ve decided to spend in Bangalore does you a whole lot of good! :)

    I SO get what you mean. After I quit work last year and started working from home, a stable internet connection has become a necessity. No internet, no work, no money. Tough situation. My dependence on a stable internet connection has increased many folds, compared to what it was when I was a full-time employee in a corporate. Sometimes, it scares me.

    Whenever I visit a place like Goa or Kottayam or Chikkamagalooru, I find the life so peaceful and serene, so therapeutic, that I want to spend my entire life there. Such places are so far, far away from urban jungles like Bangalore and Delhi. Then, I begin to wonder if I could really live there – what about the internet? Limited access to the latest plays and books. Sort of being cut off from the world. Would I really be able to live with that? I don’t know. Maybe I am too much used to an urban life to really be comfortable living a small-town life. At times, though, I feel like I need small-town life, too. The grass is always greener on the other side, I guess.


    1. Oh i could never go back to the big city life for good. I can also do wihout the internet. I only miss it for work mostly. The times there is a lull in my work and i am home i rarely turn my laptop on. Iv become quite used to disconnecting and stepping away from gadgets and wires and the world wide web. But when i have work to do its hard because it involves interacting, sharing files with and communicating with people in other parts of india.


    1. Flight prices to anywhere from goa are currently bonkers so cheaper is not really criteria :( i chose bangalore because i can go hide out at home, be looked after while i bury my nose in my work and i can safely say i wont meet anyone or do anything. In bombay i have too many distractions hahaha my sister lives there ad theres so much to do and see. Id end up gallivanting the whole time away!


      1. Not sure if you have MTNL broadband connection (wifi) in Goa, but the one we have back home is very, very good. The service is super fast. You lodge a complaint and they show up almost the same day. We Skype all the time, the image quality is crystal clear and the calls rarely drop.


  5. I know what you mean. I’ve recently moved to Gandhinagar and even though the entire place has good connectivity, I’ve somehow wound up living in the ONLY place that gets a weak signal. Exceedingly frustrating.
    Hope you get some serious work done a B’lore.


  6. aunt julia!!!! i LOVED it. well i love him. he makes it not just to my top three fiction writers list, he makes it to my top five writers list. and tia julia is a good one. i still like death in the andes best though


      1. READ HIM ALL! heh. no. not all. the war of the end of the world can be a bit of a drag, it’s his 100 years of solitude. i also love the feat of the goat and the way to paradise. and maybe all this will finally inspire me to read the dream of the celt which has been sitting in my book shelf for nearly three years!
        oh also, manuel puig, the kiss of the spiderwoman!


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