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Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Yes, I've been asked a lot of that in the past couple of days.

For those of you who have escaped the brunt of my phone calls, here's the story so far. The last month has been a crazy whirl between getting our new apartment fixed, solving contractual woes. Given that there was so little to be done, I am still stunned by the fact that the guys who were at it could get it so wrong.

Let me give you a simple example for starters. We needed the fans changed in the living room and in one of the bedrooms. We go to a shop, select the stuff we want. We rest easy that all will work with clockwork precision. Right? WRONG!

On Day Two, I stepped into the apartment which I had left in the hands of the not so able contractors to realise that I had wrong fans in both rooms. Speak of getting twice lucky!

To get things started, I get going with a call to the contractor, who conveniently passes me on to the fan lady, who conveniently keeps getting it wrong. After 45 minutes of deliberating (read shouting) I am hoarse and tell her that if she doesn't understand, then I need to get back to her shop. That has her alarm bells ringing. So a Mr Fix It heads to the apartment, only to realise that lights can't be fixed on one fan, which was supposed to be without them in the first place. We toggle through various fans for about a week, before things seems right. That's till I switch on the fan in the room and realise that if I stayed long enough, it would be enough to crush me. So its another round of calls to the contractor, which ran along these lines:

Me : "Do you know the fan in the bedroom is moving violently."
Contractor (henceforth to be called C) : "Oh, there's a little balancing problem."
Me : "A little balancing problem? Have you seen it?"
C : "No, but my guys told me about it."
Me : "Ahhh! so you knew about it all along."
C : "Yes."
Me : "And when exactly were you planning to tell me! After we moved into the house and it all fell flat on our head.
Me : "Ok, we've gone through all of this long enough, what are you going to do about it."
C : "My men are going to take a look at it."
Me : "Can you tell them to fix it, not take a look at it, I've just done and can tell you something is so not right about it."
C : Ok

So we follow up with a bunch of calls here and there, so the men come down, so they take a look, so they fix stuff or so they tell me. That's till I make a nightly visit only to discover that while the fan is working the lights attached to it aren't. What's even better is that the string that is supposed to control the lights doesn't even exist. Which in turn means that the only way to switch on and switch off the lights is to be perpetually mounted on a step ladder. So begins another round of calls.

Me : "When are you guys ever going to get it right. Now I have a fan, but lights that don't work. Better still, if I switch them on, chances of me being to switch them off are dim indeed."
C : " No problem, its a minor issue."

This may sound like a minor issue, but when you've spent 10 days toggling over a damn fan, its enough to make you ballistic. Or even put your hands and give up.

That's if you take the other disasters into consideration as well. In one room, one study table needed to be hacked. Instead, the break it all guys, knocked the table, the lovely book shelves and the adjoining cabinet in the process and I was to pay a 100 bucks for a problem that wasn't even mine. Then in another one of the rooms that needed a mild touch up, blue wall was painted with a box of white. Another wall that was to be painted a dramatic red, the strokes gave my three year old a run for his money. In fact, if I'd had Aneesha the paint and the brush, I'm darn sure she would have done a much better job.

In the end, I not only needed to get the house re-painted, but I had to find a proper painter who would be upto the job. Needless, to say, the re-painter got it right and the effect by the time the apartment went through the five coats of paint seemed perfectly alright, and it cost me half the amount I'd shelled out the first time round.

All's well that end's well, they say. Not quite in our case. Once we moved in, we discovered some stuff that had to be done, that called for another visit from our not so reliable contractor. Then when all was said and done, there were the furniture woes to contend with - but that's another post.

We are now firmly set in our new pad and are absolutely loving it. Each one of us have put in our bit (and I don't mean the contractors) and turned it into what a home should be - a lovely, warm place where we love to put our feet up when Dhruv is not rocking to Lage Raho Munnabhai.

Drop by to check it out. Right now, we are in the untiring show the apartment phase.
Yes, the pictures will be up soon as I've had a moment to go a clicking.

P.S.: In the process, I did discover some wonderful people. The first being the curtain lady, who understood every tiny stitch of my saree curtain vision. So if you are looking for the perfect window dressing, the lady to call is:
Margaret Koh at +65 9666 1543

And if you are looking for that perfect coat of paint on your walls, then look no further than this competent husband-wife team who can be reached at +65 9754 2029. The lady to speak to is the lovely Jenny.

Happy Renovating, if you happen to be writing down these numbers.