The saga started over a month ago. Actually, the planning started over a few months ago! I was really quite keen on buying an e-reader. I really like reading and I really love gadgets. What better way to combine the two eh?
Initially I was looking at the Infibeam Pi, which seemed pretty convenient considering it was sold by an Indian company with local warranty. It is quite neat too, as it read all possible formats and had the same standard 6" E-Ink display that e-readers the world over have. Of course, this e-reader was manufactured in China along with 95% of the others. I still think it is a decent device that does the trick. However, I was still in college and had to get one of those job things first to help me pay for the device which is worth 10K. (Yup, this is quite steep)
Eventually I got myself a decent job and decided it was time to splurge a little of the not- so-hard-earned money. When the time came to order, I could not! I could not order the Pi, knowing very well that there are at least ten other devices which do the job better and are cheaper! The problem was, however, that all of the above-mentioned ten devices were in the land of the free and the home of the brave! Getting it here would be a problem. This made me do what every Indian does. Ask around to find out if anyone I remotely know is flying down from the US in the near future (this, I thought was my true 'Aha' moment). It became a totally 'Whoa Baby' moment when I got the results of my social networking-based research. I suddenly knew of the existence of 5 (separate) people who were flying down from within a week to Christmas.
What did I do? What would any self-respecting Indian do? I went for the one coming down the earliest. Yes, I had never met her, but she was one of my friend’s mom. I mean, what else are friend's moms for anyway? I went on a rampage to find out which was the best e-reader in the world for use in this part of the world. I drew up spreadsheets and elaborate comparison charts showing me comparative 'page turn rates'. After wasting more tree-burning electricity in research than the amount my ban on paperbacks can save, I finally ordered the Nook (with Express Shipping and a Canvas Cover). It was now in the capable hands of the boys at UPS to ship it within 4 days so that my friend's mom can smuggle it in. Alas! Not so capable after all. It never left their warehouse and I ended up cancelling my Nook and my dreams along with it. There went my fantasy of holding Eleanor (ahem, yes, I had given her a name) in my hand and reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I would now have to wait for two months more for yet another smuggler to leave those shores.
But I have not called this story a saga just for dramatic affect. The day after I cancelled my Nook, fate (also called as Amazon) gave the world the brand new Kindle 3! It was 'lighter, slimmer, brighter, faster, double the storage with improved battery life AND cheaper'. How could I NOT buy it? I punched the air in zest and clicked the mouse in quest. Quest for the 'All new Kindle 3 (Black)'. I obviously became un-Indian quite fast and asked it to be shipped directly to India. Yes, all of you who are shaking your heads, I decided to pay Customs on it. I just could not wait anymore. But there was another twist. I had clicked my above mentioned mouse on 2nd August and the 'All new Kindle 3 (Black)' was to launch on the 27th. By the time I clicked, mine was to be shipped by 4th September. So I had to wait anyway. Well, so I waited! An entire month and 2 days! Paid with my Credit Card, which was not charged as I they would still allow me to cancel my order. (Meanwhile, the often mentioned and thanked friend's mom decided to wait another week and leave later. Is this story right out of the theme park or what? I swear no one can just make this up.)
So I still await Eleanor. Today, on 26th, Amazon has already charged my card and has told me that my order is being prepared for shipment. It is quite surprising as there is still a week more to go. They have already started
shipping two days before the scheduled date of 27th (compared to this, Infibeam delayed the launch of its own version of the iPad – 'Phi' – by a month).
This is where my saga has reached. I shall update you further once Eleanor is shipped whether you want me to or not. And then once I have it with me. And then once I open it. And then once I start using it. Basically, you will hear a lot about Eleanor.