Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why you shouldn't take the elevator in a developing country

Here's a funny thing about Bangalore. It's modernizing rapidly, but there are still so many old customs that you see amusing things like a horse-drawn cart cutting off a luxury car, or a Buddhist monk in saffron robes walking down the sidewalk talking on his cell phone. (I have to do a better job of carrying my camera around...sorry.) Or, you can find some convenient modern devices and technologies but then the infrastructure isn't reliable enough to keep them working so you end up with things like daily power outages, or horrible traffic jams because a lot of people can afford cars now but the government hasn't caught up with good roads or parking. OR your apartment building conveniently installs an elevator and then it breaks down and you get stuck in it. That is what happened today.

I never take the elevator, right? I live on the fourth floor and I like the bit of extra exercise. Today, however, I had heavy bags and the stairs were all slick because it rained so I did. Anyway, I'm not sure if the power went out or the elevator just up and died, but all of a sudden it stopped between the second and third floors. It wasn't that far; I knew I could safely jump provided I could get the door open, but the door wasn't budging. So I knocked and banged and yelled for a while, but no one came. Then I tried kicking the door down and that didn't work either. So then I called the 1-800 number posted in case of "elevator breakages", but it turned out to be more like a 1-900 number if you catch my drift. So then I sat there quietly and tried to think of a new plan and in the meantime called my parents just to say hello and laugh at the absurdity of the situation. I accidentally called too late, though, and woke my dad up, and we had the following conversation.

Anna: Hi Dad.
Dad: (groggy) Hi sweetie.
Anna: Oh oops, I called you too late, huh? Sorry about that.
Dad: It's okay.
Anna: I'm stuck in an elevator.
Dad: That's nice. I'm going to go back to bed now.


So then I sat there quietly some more and then FINALLY noticed this little lever jammed between the elevator and the door way up high. Praying that it was the "open the door" lever, not the "release the elevator and send it plummeting down to the basement" lever, I gingerly pulled it and was in luck. The door opened and I and my bags jumped down to the second floor and took the stairs the rest of the way up.

Moral of the story: Next time you're stuck in an elevator, don't call my dad. Just pull the lever.


Janelle said...

All of your stories crack me up. It must be like another world over there! I love reading about all of your interesting experiences!

Ila R. Asplund said...

Hello Anna! I've been meaning to write you since Thanksgiving, when I was hanging out in Redmond WA with your family and mine! This is Ila-- Curtis's sister, living in Portland, OR. I think the work you're doing is just awesome. I am also working for an org that does some related work, connecting women world wide and introducing them to microfinance and more...our project is PulseWire.net. Keep in touch. When can I visit you in Bangalore? Ooh, I have a blogger blog too: ilabali.blogspot.com if you are interested-- Be Well!! --Love, Ila Asplund

Sophonsiba said...

We love your blog Anna!