India, Travel

A day running errands in Kolkata

Dalhousie at Dusk

I spent most of the day today riding in a hire car with my parents to run a few errands in Kolkata. I caught this image at the end of the day, while waiting for our driver to come and pick us up. This was shot on an iPhone X right outside Telephone House opposite Hongkong House (which houses HSBC) towards the end of the day, while there was a very brief lull in traffic.

I’ve never really enjoyed running errands in India. To put it mildly, it’s a lot of hard work. We spent 8 hours of the day today to attempt accomplishing two tasks – one at the bank, and one at BSNL (the Government run telephone office). We got one task completed, and one partly completed.

Opening a bank account in India is a somewhat time consuming thing – especially given that I am no longer an Indian citizen. I remember opening my bank account at DBS Singapore, where I walked in and out with a new account opened, a debit card, and an activated Internet Banking token all ready to go in a matter of 20 minutes in a highly efficient process. We spent the better part of an hour getting forms filled and providing all sorts of documentation. To their credit, the bank staff were very courteous and helpful. At the end of the process, I was told that I could expect my welcome pack to be mailed out to me in 10 to 12 business days. Till such time, I’m not going to be able to operate it!

We had slightly better luck at BSNL, where the staff were very helpful taking care of a matter for my mother. Being a senior citizen, electronic payments are not her thing. India has very swiftly moved towards electronic payments, which has left senior citizens like my parents who are used to cash payments behind.

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