Roughly two years ago, to the day, I bought a very nice-looking couch set from a reputed outlet in Bangalore. It was fantastically comfortable. Its awesome coziness drastically reduced the net metabolic activity of the household because you just couldn't help being a sloth when you came in contact with it. It made me so lazy that even my cat, who only woke up for his two daily meals, was ashamed of me. The couch served us wonderfully for a full year. Which is when the warranty ran out. Which is when my story begins.
It was almost like the sofa came with an embedded smart-obsolescence module. Almost on cue, at the beginning of the new calendar year, the upholstery started to peel off. I duly called the customer support and they duly ignored me the first dozen times. Persistence paid, eventually, and their executive came over, surveyed the situation, almost apologized, and claimed he could replace the upholstery in less than a week. Before I could thank him, he broke the good news. He expected me to pay - Rs. 13,000 no less- for the new upholstery, because, well, the warranty had expired. But rest assured, said he, for the new upholstery came with a one year warranty. I hadn't seen that coming! I gave him sufficient time to catch the irony himself before I asked him if the new couch will moult too, at the end of the year. He gave me a dismissive smirk, like he had never heard anything more ridiculous, and left.
That's when I enlisted the long arm of the law. With the help of my awfully smart lawyer, I sent a legal notice with generous invocation of section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act. Life changed almost the very minute the courier delivered the letter to the sofa company. My skepticism about the legal processes in India were laid to rest when the representatives started calling me more frequently than my girlfriend ever did. They wanted to know when they could come over and take the sofa away and give it its new skin that it so richly deserves. As I write this, my sofa is getting new upholstery at the company's expense, and it's admittedly too early to celebrate. Yet, I feel all-powerful, as if I just discovered that I had super-powers. This morning, a regular Bangalore driver cut me off on the inner ring road, and I swear, my first impulse was to send him a legal notice.