As you would have read, internet is the raging Ranganathan Street these days as e-commerce sites have become the go-to place for shoppers. It is an understandable development because online marts have totally revolutionized shopping by offering eye-popping discounts and deals and helping us save a lot of money that we require to pay our mounting internet bill.
I too have tried shopping online and found it convenient and hassle-free, as they saved me plenty of time, which I put to use for carrying out more important tasks, like for providing directions to the courier guys out to deliver products that I had ordered.
Courier guys, I have come to suspect now, generally travel around the city like Rajnikanth did in that Oh Priya song in the film Priya — that is, eyes blindfolded. Or they pick as courier delivery personnel guys who have been recently sent from Mars on deputation.
This is the broad gist of exchanges that I end up having with courier delivery guys these days as I try to explain to them, with the kind of detailing and depth that is otherwise required only if you are narrating the story of Interstellar, the address to my residence:
Courier delivery guy: (After introducing himself) Sir, where exactly is your apartment complex?
Me: It is where as is mentioned in the address only.
(Lesson 1: Try to avoid sounding smart-Alecky with courier guys. It is like reciting poems of Keats to crotons)
Courier delivery guy: It is mentioned as Reddy Street, sir. Where is this Reddy Street?
Me: (Bit puzzled) That is also in the address, right? Anyway, it’s in Virgumbakkam.
Courier delivery guy: Virugumbakkam? Which part of Virugambakkam, sir?
Me: (Slightly stumped): Which part means what?
Courier delivery guy: No, sir. I want to know where in Virugambakkam is this Reddy Street?
Me: Where means what? You know where Virugambakkam is, don’t you?
Courier delivery guy: Yes, sir.
Me: So come to Virugambakkam and then to Reddy Street.
Courier delivery guy: But how to come to Virugambakkam, sir?
Me: How to come means?
(Lesson 2: In your conversations with courier guys, half the time you’ll be incredulously repeating what he said. And the remaining half, you’ll be repeating yourself. Basically, you’ll be giving your residential address in different tones – mild, exasperated, angry, resigned, don’t care, barely alive)
Courier delivery guy: (Now slowing his words, as if he is speaking to a moron) Sir, I want to come to Reddy Street in Virugambakkam. It is where your residence is, right? How to come there? Which route should I take?
Me: Oh, you want to know by which route? Come via Vadapalani.
Courier delivery guy: Okay, sir. How to come to Vadapalani?
Me: (Almost losing it here) Tell me, do you know Chennai, or are you calling from Bangalore?
Courier delivery guy: Why, sir? Are you living in Bangalore?
Me: You don’t know Virgumbakkam, you don’t know Vadapalani. So I was just wondering whether you are from Chennai or not.
Courier delivery guy: I know both Virugambakkam and Vadapalani…
Me: (Cutting him short) Then why ask me, why this call?
Courier delivery guy: Why are you getting angry, sir? I just want directions to get to your residence, but you are not helping in any manner, sir?
Me: Okay, okay, what help do you want?
Courier delivery guy: Which is the nearest landmark to your building?
(Lesson 3: Courier guys will ask for an identifiable landmark near your building even if you say that your residence is Taj Mahal)
Me: The apartment complex I live in itself is pretty well-known in the area, but since you ask, there is a theatre nearby …
Courier delivery guy: Good, sir. Now, tell me the way to the theatre.
Me: (Dripping with sarcasm) You have to come to Reddy Street, go past my house and you will find the theatre in a nearby lane
Courier delivery guy: (Courier guys are sarcasm-proof) Once I reach the theatre, I will call you, sir and ask for further directions.
And, usually, call he will when I am in a meeting/loo/sleeping (scratch it, I have already mentioned meeting)/watching Kaththi (scratch it, I have already mentioned sleeping). And when I call back, he will be driving and hence be not able to pick the call. This game will also go on for a few hours and eventually, by sheer providence, stuff that I had ordered will reach me.
Early this week I ordered Sachin Tendulkar’s new book, his autobiography. And yesterday, the courier guy dutifully called and before I could say anything, he asked, ‘can I come now and deliver your parcel, sir?’
‘But do you know where this address is?’ I asked.
Yes sir, he said. ‘It is on My Way’.