I went to the Darakhshan PTCL exchange, bill in hand, to get the
"Installation charges" (Rs. 523/-) adjusted. I met with the billing
guy there who told me that all of this will be taken care of, by the
Maxcom staff ("Asif Baig sahab hotay hain wahan").
So I headed to the Maxcom office and was informed that there is
no Asif "Baig" here. There is a Asif "Mughal" there. ("Pata nahi
kyoun wou Asif "Baig" bata rahay hain sub kou PTCL walay").
Of course, Asif Mughal was on a "prayer break" so, I met with his
apprentice, a Mr. Moeen, who smelled like PTCL. There were 4
uncle-types sitting in a queue before me, so I waited my turn and
watched the continuing horrors unfolding in Karachi, on a LCD TV.
Moeen was very busy, filling out forms and ignoring the constant
ringing telephone on his desk. He took my PTCL bill and made
various edits on PTCL billing forms online. After that he made me
get the PTCL bill stamped/signed from the Technical department
and then get it photo-stated from the Billing department. Both of
these had thankfully, old Maxcom staff and thus getting out of there
was a breeze.
With the "adjusted" PTCL bill in hand I was about to go when I met
an old Maxcom acquaintance. He said that they were hanging on
till Eid, getting the migration and billing of Maxcom customers
sorted out, after which these offices would be packed-up and they
would be gone. He advised me to use the migratory PTCL bill to
exchange my old Alcatel modem right away.
So I drove home, got my old modem and headed back to PTCL
exchange. There, the beleaguered, badgered and harassed recep-
tionist (who was dealing with bad tempers, attitudes and question-
able hygiene with amazing grace, while also taking calls on the side)
told me that I would have to go to PTCL's Broadband office which
was around the block. So with the piercing rays of the afternoon
sun raining down on me, I marched up to their Broadband office.
There, a toothless bearded guy lounging on a tattered chair, looked
at me and demanded that i hand over my CNIC card, before mutter-
ing a series of incomprehensible directions to the broadband office.
There were no signs, markers, anywhere to guide potential PTCL
customers. There was a stench coming from inside the building
and I decided to follow it.
After stumbling in the dark passages of a crumbling building, which
smelled like a Govt hospital, and resembled more an abandoned
mental asylum from the 60s, than a state-of-the-art fiber-optic tech-
nology epicenter, I finally stumbled into their broadband hideout.
There, I met a Mr. Asif (and a Mr. Saad) who was standing next to
a gray metallic cabinet containing the ZTE modems in brown boxes.
They must have come out of the giant white wooden crates that were
piled-up high in front of the courtyard.
Mr. Asif took away my old modem/adapter and asked for my telephone
number and then with the speed and alacrity of a drugged beetle, he
took out a battered and dusty POS modem from his cabinet and
decided that I deserved that.
He plugged it in and thankfully, that thing was extremely... dead. So,
with the enthusiasm of a condemned man, he opened a brown box
and took out a shiny white modem and adapter and handed it to a
guy sitting on a chair who configured it for me: ("Abay, in Maxcom
waloun kou tum loag naey modem kyoun Dey rahay ho ?. Puranay
dou, in kou!") and I was standing four feet away from this, very tanned,
individual, who was wearing large, gaudy, semi-precious stone
rings on his fingers. The epitome of the much derided PTCL wala.
While the modem was being "configured", a housewife walked in and
began to wail on the three idiots sitting against a white wall with paint
half peeled away from it.: ("Aap logoun sey apnay customer tou handle
hotay nahin, tou aap logoun nay Maxcom kou kyoun add kar lya !?. I
want my DSL to be fixed, right now! I don't know who you sent. It's
not my job to keep track of all the rang barangey workers you send
over. I don't know anything, I want it fixed in one hour, or else!").
When she left, the Broadband manager, who looked like he might
have gone to school, was goaded into action and actually made some
calls and tried to determine what could be done to get this "auntie's"
problem rectified. So, I guess getting mad and banging fists on the
table is one language that even the PTCL staff, understand.
I came home. Plugged in the modem and of course... it didn't work.
I had to configure the TCP/IP settings on my PC, from Maxcom to PTCL,
which of course they didn't provide in the office: ("Haan haan, ghar ja
kar bilkul chalay ga. Plug-n-play janaab"). So I tried to call 1218 and
of course, all the CSR were busy... ignoring their telephones and after
10 minutes of listening to their shi**y ads, I opened up our WP forums
and got the proper setting information from here. Lo and behold, the
white modem started working. Hallelujah!
So, in short, if you want to get your installation charges sorted out, get
your migration on record, exchange modems and have them configured
and everything else, you shall have to walk in my shoes.
Sheikh 'Dusty Chappals' Chilli