The yeller

We are very lucky, in that the people that we have working for us, our “helpers” as the lils call them, are great. They are hardworking, trustworthy, and most importantly, they do an awesome job. Prior to moving to Bangalore, I had read that these qualities might be hard to come by. We kept an open mind, and are glad to have easily found people that contradict those claims.

We have had a little bit more difficulty with getting work done with some contractors and third parties. I think part because there is a very strong need to adhere to chain of command, and the workers will not carry out a task unless it is the one that they were sent to do, even if they can and the problem is related. The flipside is that labour is VERY cheap in India, so a lot of these people are not making a great wage. It seems that there is little motivation to do some work, or work above the minimum required.

We try to be pretty easy going about the little things that need some love in the house, but we have had a few issues in the last six weeks or so that have needed attention. Our landlord has a handyman that is supposed to stop by every Wednesday, so I kept thinking “oh, I will mention this to handyman when he is here this week”, only to notice that the week would end and he hadn’t come by. Then the hot water heater in our bathroom started leaking enough to make a mess and waste a decent amount of water, so we called the landlord with a list and another complaint that the handyman was not coming by. Handyman showed up that day, ascertained that the water heater, some taps, and possibly our oven all needed replacing, and claimed to set the ball in motion on those.

Three weeks go by, and he hasn’t come back. The water heater is apparently going to be replaced by the manufacturer, but the oven is still wonky, the taps are still leaking, and we woke up this morning to a puddle on the floor in the kitchen. We make another call, and again note that the handyman is not coming by weekly.

I do a quick inspection and deduce two things, the tap is now leaking a significant amount (about three liters per hour, judging by how quickly it fills a measuring cup) and the fix that he used when the sink was leaking in early January is no longer holding. It could be because this fix was electrical tape. Now, I am not a plumber, or an electrician, but I have done my fair share of minor plumbing repairs, and installed the pump at the cottage more than a few times. I know that electrical tape is for … electrical work.

As luck would have it, when handyman looks, the sink is not leaking. I have been trying not to use the sink, and have not been using the hot water, which makes it worse… so of course it is not working. I explain this to him, and he responds that it is OK. The lils pull me away as I am telling him that it is NOT OK, and I come back to him still in the kitchen, looking ready to leave. I ask what he is going to do to fix it, and he again tells me that it is OK, it is fixed.

This is when I lose it a little, and become the crazy angry lady that yells, I am sure (even though I just hardened my voice and raised it a smidge, really). “It is NOT fixed,” I say, “You did nothing. Ask Willy, ask my maid, they both saw the puddle. Do you think that I imagined that? That I made that up? If it happens again and one of the lils slips and hurts their head* I am going to be REALLY ANGRY.“ Handyman gave me a frightened look and set to work on actually fixing the leaks under the sink. He took it all apart, retaped and glued as necessary. This fix might actually hold!

*because they ALWAYS hurt their heads*

Category: India, life, Lils | 3 comments

  • smothermother says:

    unfortunately in india you often have to play the rich mean white person to get some essential things done. i hated having to do it, but when push comes to shove and it sort of comes out. i hope you can get everything done quickly and not have to bring the yeller out too often. ;)

  • Sara says:

    Unfortunately yelling is often universally effective when used in the appropriate moment…ask my kids ;)

  • [...] week has brought more frustration than I have experienced since the early days of living in India, when everything was broken, and [...]


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