Wednesday, October 19, 2005

e-commerce in India

I have long been a proponent of all things online and ecommerce. I used to do a lot of shopping online: books, music, air-tickets, train tickets. Since I moved to Mumbai, I find it very difficult to do these things. Why? Because of my address. Mumbai is a city where people and places have names with atleast 12 characters, houses have no numbers (only long names) and streets have insanely long names. For an 'international' city, they don't have international addresses. My home in Chennai has 36 characters (including spaces), my aunt's home has 32, my hostel address had 25. In Mumbai, my last three addresses have 50, 40, and 54 characters, and my office has 78! The problem is not with these very long addresses, but with the dim-witted web-designers (atleast in India) who did it in such a way that I have to leave my address hanging!! What do I do? I originally wanted to put it as Air-deccan sucks, but I don't have the power to stand against them. So, this is a general rant.

Indian Railways is one of the few websites where I can enter my complete address twice over. Anyone who have booked their train tickets over the net would have noticed one thing - IR computers never crash, but their trains frequently do!

A few days back, I got a coupon to buy a book over at an online bookshop and I tried to get one. The coupon had expired before I could utilise it. So, I cancelled the booking. After an hour or so, this one guy calls me and asks me whether I want to buy the book, and if they should hold it for me. I was confused: I never completed the transaction; doesn't that mean I don't want the book? Maybe they were just being helpful.

I also tried online share trading a few times. I registered with four online trading sites and every one of them called me within an hour to "verify my Name, address and phone number." They all told me a representative would meet me the next day. Till now, I have not received even a call from anyone! Is it just me or does this happen to others also? I see a lot of people trading online - during office hours.

At such a young age!

I got an email a few days back. Another guy from my class died in a road accident. Just a few weeks back another guy died. Two down, 60 more to go. What's my number? A couple of days after that, my former flatmate sends me an email - his marriage is off. He had three people staying with him before me and they all got married and moved out. I thought that streak was broken when he moved out to get married. If this trend has to continue, and I have to get married before he does, he will have to die a bachelor.