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.