Where have all the DVDs gone?

March 3rd, 2012

There can hardly be anything as frustrating as going hunting for a household item you think is easily available in every fifth shop in the market and yet not being able to find any of it.

I experienced a series of events that had me exposed to a frustration of that kind. Let’s start from the beginning.

My landlord recently decided he needed to dispose of his old DVD player to buy a new and jazzier one, and, as always, mine was the first name that popped into his head as a prospective buyer. I don’t blame him; after having bought so many outdated and unwanted items from him, I easily qualify to be the proud owner of a curiosity store, if I decide to open one.

Only a few days before, I had, quite painstakingly, dragged home a bulky TV set, when he wanted to buy a swanky LCD one. And, the antique piece had given me more pain than fun. First, to watch cartoon shows — the only programmes that I can bear on television — I had to buy a 100-channel pack, even as I required just two full-time kids’ channels. Then, there were so many technical problems that, for the next few days, I had to — reluctantly — have a TV mechanic as the most frequent vistor to my place. And, when all these issues had been resolved, the power button on the remote refused to work; and the refusal was so stiff that I had to eventually give up and buy a new one.

The TV, thankfully, had sobered down now. But, the numerous troubles with gadgets had, perhaps, become such an important part of my life that I decided to bring home another nuisance — the DVD player.

The good landlord — I don’t know how he managed it — ran it in front of me and there visibly wasn’t anything wrong with it. Assured, I brought home the three-year-old as the newest part of a family of antiques — of which I, too, am a member.

The first challenge I faced with this latest apple of my eye was in connecting it to the TV set. The too many inlets and outlets baffled me, maybe because I was never known to be a tech wizard. But that was just the initial hiccup. What followed was worse.

Having connected the two great devices, when I tried to test run an old DVD on it, the most I could see was a dot on the blank screen. I kept heart, thinking there must be some problem with the poor old disk I was trying to run. I tried another one and then another one. One after the other, I tested the might of all the eight or nine disks I had in my beloved CD bag since my college days. None could saddle the unruly brute of that player.

Tired, I decided to have the good landlord’s expertise brought to use. I immediately rang him up with my SOS and he — who lives on the third floor of the same building — was kind enough to rush to my fourth-floor madhouse.

Surprisingly, he also struggled with it and concluded I had not handled it properly. He asked if I had dropped it while bringing and instructed me to handle it with some tenderness. Not that I had wrestled with it, or used the gadget to fan away flies, or as a mat to sit on, or as a dining table — but I took his instruction calmly with a nod of my head.

By this time, I had gathered there was some snag in the player that neither a gadget-unfriendly I nor an expert landlord could fix. So, wisdom now was in sending it to a mechanic and getting it repaired. That I did, only to realise that the amount I had paid for this very old DVD player + the repair charge = more than the price of a new player.

But that’s another issue. I never crib about having paid more for a thing than it’s right price because that only puts the stamp of genuineness on the ‘money-wise unwise’ tag I have walked with all my life. The good part was that the device was now working and I was sure of that after having tried a few disks on it.

Now, the difficult work had been done and all I had to do was get some good movies and enjoy those. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It surely wasn’t!

I thought I would start my hunt for disks with a neighbourhood Planet M store. Hunt it was — not for DVDs, but the store itself. I went to the place where I had last seen it. It was no longer there. Some said it had been moved to a new location… some said it had been permanently shut down. I understood their compulsions because the last time I had been there, the store had few movies and the buyers it attracted were fewer still.

I rang up a few friends who had stayed in the locality for longer than me to find out if there were more stores in the vicinity. All were good enough to not only tell me about a store but also the way to reach it. I patiently listened to all of them, only to conclude that all their pointers reached just one store — the one that I had just found to have been closed down.

By this time, I had begun to lose my patience, so I put off my hunt for another day and returned rubbing my empty hands.

The irritation had had the better of me and the whim of buying DVDs did not descend upon me for the next few days. One evening a week later, when it did, I decided I would buy some movies the same day after work, come what may!

I called one of my friends again and asked if there was any other store in the locality. She said there was, and gave me directions too. But I wanted to be doubly sure. So I called another friend and assigned him the job of finding a store in my locality. Now, I wanted to be triply sure. So I called yet another friend, who stays in Noida, and asked her to buy a DVD for me. The idea was, if I am still not able to get hold of one, I would drive down to Noida and collect it from her.

After finishing my day’s work, I set out on my mission. Following the directions given by my first friend, I drove right into an overcrowded vegetable mandi, barely keeping from hitting some stalls. After wondering for a bit why the market was unusually crowded that day, I recalled it was Monday — the day of the weekly veggie market in my locality, and also the day when the regular guys keep their shops shut.

The first friend’s idea went for a toss! Now, I switched to Plan B and called my second friend, who was to give me an address. He indeed had done his job and got the address, but, to add to my frustration, it was the same shop that I had been hunting down in the crowded veggie market. Plan B also flopped!

It was the turn of Plan C now and I rang up my third friend, who was to buy a DVD for me from Noida. I had thought this was one plan that would never fail. But, no! The store she had gone to had many movies, but not the one I had asked her to get. So she didn’t buy and now she was home.

All the three plans bombed, but not my resolve. I retreated for the night but made up my mind that the next day I would go to Connaught Place, where I surely would get a DVD.

Next afternoon, I went to three previously visited stores there, but found all of those shut — either for remodelling, reconstruction, re-stocking or because of some construction activity being undertaken by the municipal corporation. I visited a couple of more stores in that super-hit area and that entailed some more ordeal. But let’s not get into the details of those. The outcome was that the jinx continued. And, tired, I postponed my hunt till Friday, my off day.

On Friday, I decided I would go back to the market that had been occupied by vegetable sellers on Friday and look for the store that had caused the failure of my Plan A and Plan B. After some hard work, I managed to find the shop but was alarmed to see the alarm on the shopkeeper’s face when I sought to see some DVDs. Even as the store was called ‘Target CD/DVD Parlour’, it seemed to have completely missed the target of living up to its name. It dealt in railway and air ticket bookings and had no relation, even remotely, with movies or DVDs.

Quite agitated, I asked the shop guy why the name of the shop had in it ‘CD/DVD’ parlour if it didn’t sell movie disks? To this, he innocently said he used to sell CDs until as late as the previous month but now he was fully into ticket-booking business. The name, apparently, was yet to be changed.

Even my last hope stood dashed and, disheartened, I was returning home when the jinx broke — and I got reprieve in the most unlikely and unthinkable way.

On my way, I remembered I had to buy a pair of bathroom slippers and entered a very small shoe store. To my surprise, I gathered that the shoe seller sold videos too, even as his stock was quite thin. I was so happy that I bought over a dozen movies and placed an order for another few.

Since then, whenever I have had to watch a movie, I have given a call to the shoe seller. He gets it for me. Besides, some of my friends have also gifted me quite a few nice DVDs.

Today, I have a decent collection and, sitting with my antique in my madhouse, I watch a film every night!

del.icio.us:Where have all the DVDs gone? digg:Where have all the DVDs gone? newsvine:Where have all the DVDs gone? reddit:Where have all the DVDs gone? Y!:Where have all the DVDs gone?