It’s almost a month now since I resurrected my life in Japan on Easter Sunday. On April 1, I moved into this small apartment, a few minutes from the school where my kids are enrolled. Japan is one place which teaches you that you don’t need humongous space or thingies to be happy. All you need is … an electronic potty. So, first things first, I went and got myself the cheapest electronic potty available and installed it. Heated seat and warm water butt wash for the winter months. With that done, we moved on to other essential items - a table and few chairs, some home electronics items, a gas table, a few futons, etc. – and we were all set to start our “minimalist” life.
There were, however, couple of major items left. Mobile phones and Wi-Fi. In fact, I was on the verge of experiencing withdrawal symptoms without access to the virtual frikkin’ world 24/7. I missed the daily dose of inspirational doo-doo from bad gurus. I wanted to read fairy tales that start with I’m not a bhakth, but*. My body yearned for fake news and memes. To put it in a nutshell, I missed my Wi-Fi, something I never expected to happen to me. You see, I have this habit of taking the phone to the potty in the morning to catch up on the WhatsApp messages from the previous night. There are usually a few of the aforesaid inspirational and other such posts in the list. These messages, believe it or not, have a laxative effect because of the convulsions you undergo while reading some of the gems, all the while trying hard not to fall off the commode. It could be convulsive laughter or just plain epileptic ones, but whatever it is, it smoothens the passage of doo-doo from your body. Plop! Things, obviously, were getting difficult. The appi, as turd is called in some parts of Kerala, was creating problems without WhatsApp. Dang! I had the dreaded WhatsAppi syndrome.
So, my wifey and I went shopping for Wi-Fi and mobiles. Now, in most countries, I’m guessing, this should be a breeze. Not in Japan. We first went to one of the top two companies, where a smartly dressed young man with a tablet (computer, not pill) sat with us and explained, with the help of various charts and diagrams, the stuff they have. Then he listened to what we wanted – two phones. Well, with Google and WhatsApp, if possible. Here, in Japan, you can’t just buy a sim card and insert it in your handset. You have to buy the phone/sim as a bundle. Anyway, the guy gave us a few printouts of the quotes for the different plans he had, and then escorted us courteously to the door.
Outside, we walked straight to the competitor’s shop. Another well-dressed young man -could have been the first guy’s twin brother or even the same guy- appeared and the same routine was repeated. Deja-vu. We finally decided on this guy after he kinda impressed upon us, with some convoluted logic, that we’re getting the handset free if we use it for two years. He then passed the baton to another dude who sat behind a counter. We were expecting him to produce a paper and show us the dotted line to sign. Totally wrong. He started off by asking our address, and was almost professorial in the way he went about explaining things. He printed out certain papers, brought them to us, and explained the contents. In between he was marking some crucial places with a yellow marker, perhaps for us to study for the test he’ll conduct at the end of all this. Then he printed out some more papers. The process continued. Did he just say “the Company reserves the right to cleave off the left kidney of the user if he/she exceeds 2 gb data”? Nah. Maybe I dozed off. When I looked up, he was again printing out stuff. I was feeling guilty and personally responsible for destroying a few hundred acres of Amazonian rainforest. Anyway, after a few hours, my wife signed the various papers including the kidney one, I think, and we were owners of smartphones. But…the Wi-Fi won’t come for two more weeks. What?! After all the bureaucracy and signing and stuff!
Contrast this with India, where you can go into a mobile shopeee (the more ‘e’ s, the better), flash your Maine Pyar Kiya underwear tag (which, of course, is linked to your Aadhaar) as identification, throw 500 rupees on the counter, get a SIM card, and before you can say “I’m-not-a-bhakth-but,” you’re a man with a plan.
All thanks to the ****nis and ****jis who rule the country.
* - ”I’m not a bhakth, but” is a new genre of fairy tale similar to the “Once upon a time” stories. These tales have gained in popularity in the past three or four years, and is especially popular during election seasons. Here’s a sample.
I’m not a bhakth, but the other day I was talking to this dude who is the illegitimate son of my grandfather’s brother’s, now-deceased wife. This guy - I can’t reveal his name - so, let’s call him Jai, was employed as a senior janitor with executive powers at the Exalted One’s abode. Another thing is that, he and all his family members, legitimate as well as illegitimate, were Biju Janata Dal voters for hundreds of years, even before Biju was born. So, you can guess their dedication. That night Jai had woken up to go to the loo to pee out the gaumutra he had consumed before sleeping. It was about 3 in the morning. He saw a light coming from one of the rooms. Out of curiosity he went and peeped in, and to his surprise he saw that the light was not coming from any electrical light source, but the Exalted One was emitting an aura so powerful, the entire room was lit up. Then, the Exalted One picked up the phone and called this scavenger in Kendrapara and instructed him to clean up the sewage in two hours. Great or what?If you agree, forward this to all the people, in particular to those with WhatsAppi syndrome.