Friday, March 5, 2010
All this happened on the 25th February 2010!! All events took place while I was trying to reach Bangalore International Airport to catch a flight to Singapore.
I arrived to Majestic bus station, Bangalore after a three and half hour trip from Mysore. As soon as I was out of the station I took an Auto (Rickshaw) to the nearest ATM. My card; which was an BML Visa card, did not work from this ATM, I knew at once this ATM doesn't read foreign cards so I asked the Auto driver to take me to another ATM. I did tell him that since I have a Maldivian card take me to a ATM of a major Bank of India! He takes me to a HDC Bank ATM. It worked!!! I withdrew money enough for me to pay to my agent who booked my Singapore ticket, which as agreed I had to pay for when I arrive to Bangalore. I met him and paid for the ticket.
As I was done paying my agent I asked the same Auto driver whom I had hired to take me to the Airport Bus. Somehow the Auto driver managed to convince me that I should take a cab to the Airport rather than a Bus which he says would consume a lot of time and since I was already a bit off my schedule so naturally I agreed with him and asked him to take me to a Cab instead of a Bus!! As he takes me to this cab, and asks me to pay him IRS 350 for the Auto. Which I assumed was somewhat reasonable for all the troubles he took for me.
The Cab driver tells me he has to be paid IRS 500 to take me to the Airport. Which again was reasonable since it was late night and the distance ... So I agreed to this guy. But since I had not planed this cab ride earlier I told him that I will be needing to stop to an ATM to withdraw enough money to pay for the ride! I did tell him that my card works only with certain major Banks in India so take me to one of those ATM's. He agrees and tells me "Not to worry there are plenty of those ATM's on the way to Airport!".
The story begins
The first ATM he took me was in a shopping complex on the way to Airport. As I inserted the card into it the ATM tells me "INVALID TRANSACTION". I come out of there and head to the next ATM which was across street. Here again the ATM tells me "INVALID TRANSACTION". At this point I was very sure that this is definitely a problem with Indian banking system and Indian ATM's.
I go back to the cab, tells him the situation and he tells me again "Not to worry more ATM's on the way"
The cab driver takes me to a SBI ATM, here again the ATM wouldn't let me withdraw any cash!! However was relived cause this ATM recognized my card, after all SBI is the State Bank of India!! I tried several times again but no luck. At this point of time I was really very p***** off!! feeling very disappointed. I go back to the cab, where the Cab driver was quite suspicious of me, for a moment or two I had the feeling that he had the picture of me trying to run off without paying!!
He tells me there are couple of ATM's in the Airport!! "So lets get going shall we?"
At the Airport I tried the ATM's there but no luck!!! I was very embarrassed and felt very ******, I had a cab driver besides me who looked angry and I had a flight to catch in an Hour!!
I didn't know what to do!!! then it came to me I had a $10 with me. I went to the money exchange at the airport exchanged the $10 and paid the cab guy his money!! ( he did take IRS 50 more for all the trouble!!
As soon as I paid the Cab guy I waked into Departure. There was one thing in my mind!!! I cursed Indian ATM's!! Suddenly my cell rings ...
"Man, so you in the flight?"
"Asif, yea!! I am in the Airport, I hate Indian Banking and ATM's"
"why what happened?"
"My card don't work at any ATM here!!"
" ... ummm ... did you withdraw somewhat USD 400 today"
".... let me think ... yea I paid for ticket + I had withdrawn back in Mysore as well today. why?"
" Ohh ... BML, Maldives they allow only USD 400 per day!!"
"Ohhh ... I see ..."