Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Call it whatever...

Call it polemical or whatever but this is the truth.
Relations are what help you grow in this hobby. Every single day, tens of hobbyists are born and they see all these fancy plants and fish on the internet. Most of the time they google "aquarium plants buy India" and you all know what all come on google search. So there I was.. at the same point, googling exact same words. The only difference was that I had some extra craziness in my heart and very limited money in my pocket. Also I had a desire to see my own planted aquarium with a CO2 rig.
So.. I got a few contact numbers. I started calling those numbers. Its been maybe 5 years all of this has happened but every single detail is as fresh as the grapes I'm eating right now.
I started calling people and I used to start my conversation from "Sir, I have 12000 rupees with me and I want to make a planted tank. Will it be possible for me to buy a CO2 kit, good soil and plants in this much amount of money? And can you please help me in this regard?"
So people took me as a potential buyer. They answered a few questions here and there. They will receive one call when I'd have made 25 missed calls. And by "people" here, I mean 2 people to be precise. So the second person threw a good deal in front of me. I wasn't in a condition to afford the shipping charges so I thought of travelling to Kolkata (from Bhilai) in general compartment. I did that.. in the month of May. When I reached there, the guy tells me that a few things suddenly went "out of  stock". I had a talk with him yesterday and he told me he has everything. And now when I reached here travelling 800 kms in a general compartment he is telling me that the stuff went out of the stock overnight. Well.. he then promised me that he will send all the stuff by train in a few days and asked me to pay the money. I paid all the money and went back with a hope that this guy will send me the supplies in a week. I have my tank  ready, lights ready stand ready.. I am busy drawing scapes on paper and trying to contact him. Numbers of missed calls increased.. from 25 to 50 50 to I dont know after that.. His wife will answer the call in a very bad tone saying "He's not around and dont call back on this number now. He will call you back."
My nervousness was increasing day by day.. That empty tank in my room with lights on.. I used to stare at that tank and cry. I can never ever forget that feeling. And every time I think about that, it brings tears in my eyes.
So suddenly my phone rings.. I saw his number on the screen. I took the call and heard the same thing "All my shipments are at the station since last 1 week. I am trying to send them today.."
Again I got a hope and again he stopped taking my calls. I would go to the railway station and would ask the godown people to check every single train coming from Kolkata. It went on for weeks.. And then one day he again called me and I said "Sir I will come personally to collect the items. Please dont worry about the trains and all". The next thing- I was in the train again... I reached there at 7 in the morning. I waled to his shop from the station and sat in front of his shop waiting for him to arrive. He knew that I was there.. He came at 1 in the afternoon saying "I just went to trim a customer's tank". I have my train at 6 in the evening and when I asked about my stuff, he was like "Yeah my cousin will bring the stuff at 5". I again waited till 5.. His cousin came at 5:15 with a very few things. I said rest of the stuff? He said-"I will courier you".. The extent of helplessness that I felt at that time is unexplainable. I came back again.. he kept sending stuff for next 2 months.
After getting bit once, I didn't understand.. This time I contacted the second guy..  I got to hear "We will we will rock you" as his caller tune. But at that time, I didnt know that he literally was going to rock me.. I had a few RCS that bred for me in my tank. I was super duper excited and wanted to try out a few more species. I saw Girish posting images of CRS and yellow shrimp and what not. IAH was the only place and you know how good people are at replying back there..
So I contacted this person regarding Shrimps. He says "Yes I have quite a few varieties of shrimps available with me. I am forwarding you a rate list". I kept copying ecery single name out of that list and googling it (You all must have seen "that" list I'm sure). I again contacted him saying I want these shrimps. He tells me (these are the exact words that he spoke) "I have a hatchery in Kolkata. If you want I can ask my manager to send you these shrimps." At that time the only thing that I knew about shrimps was they cannot survive in high temperatures. So I tell him that I will personally go to Kolkata (I have had enough experience till then) and bring back the shrimps. He said okay. So I again went to Kolkata.. Now I am at the railway station calling this great guy and the only thing that I got to hear was "We will we will rock you!"
My returning train was in the evening at 6 or 7 maybe.. He picked up the phone at 5ish... And I being an engineering student, still calling him "Sir, any chance of getting shrimps?" Ijust cant believe how crazy I was at that time. And he replies back "Actually my farm is quite far from the city. You will have to pay 1000 rs extra if you want them now. My guy will come from taxi and will give you the shrimps." I had maybe 2000 rs in total and I had to survive the return journey as well as the whole month ("that was ALL I had" if you understand that ALL). I agreed.. He said he will call me back again in a few minutes. And as you can easily guess, he never called back!
My train was came.. my train honked.. My train started moving and I still kept looking for the guy with shrimps..
And that was the day when I learned how bad does it feel when someone hurts you. And I promised to myself that I will never ever do that to anybody.
I came back I again saved and the I contacted the real Gautam. Mr Gautam Gupta.. He's an angel if you ask me. After experiencing such things, when a guy calls you to his home, lets you sit between all his tanks, invites you for lunch with his family, guides you, talks to you, asks your problems, gives solution to your problems, sells you everything as promised and escorts you to the railway station.. I cannot tell you how good does that feel.
And now I proudly say I am better than both of them in any way.. I'm a better person than them.. a better human being at least. They have not even heard of the things and plants that I trim and flush down my toilet. They were, they are and they will keep selling some XYZ thing in a 7x7 shop. Why you ask? Because you need blessings to grow.. which they dont have. And you know what! They still cheat.. I dont know how many newbies would have fell in their traps just like I did. Fortunately I had the courage and support to survive those low points but many dont have that! They simply quit.. Just because of these "Online sellers".

Hobby has been evolved a lot since then. So many better people and hobbyists have started selling planted stuff.
The relations I made helped me grow. I am able to take good pictures, to keep better things in a better way.. just because my fellow hobbyists helped me learn all these things. And some of these relations are far more than "just fishy" relations now. I bet it can never be the same for those cheaters.
All these things have been accumulated deep down my heart since last 5 years but I just couldn't resist today. Please pardon any grammatical or typo errors. It was difficult for me to write down these things but I'm glad I did. It's better to let such things go!


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It gives a ray of hope to newbies like me. Till now i am phasing those problems but as you said i too made some contacts [Not many just 2 of them :P] which help me to groom my self in this hobby of planted aquarium. Yet to learn a lot. Wanted to write some more of my feelings and experience but i am running out of words or you can say i am not good in writing or expressing my self. May be you can fell the excitement which i am felling now after reading your post and once again thanks for sharing your experience.

    [Note - I came to know about this post from these two articles which u have shared: (1) - A Complete Idiot's guide to understand LED && (2) - A Complete Idiot's guide to make an LED lighting unit]