Monday, September 22, 2008

Reliance Sucks!

Genre: Experiences

This is that month of the year when every Tom Dick and Bihari wanting to go to The Big A give their TOEFL tests and I am no exception to it. I took 21st September as my test date, long after most of my class buddies were done with it. I was forewarned by them that the Reliance test centre at Chembur sucks bigtime and that I should change my test centre even if that means paying an additional $50. But, I decided to go ahead with my original plan.

As I reached the Reliance World at Chembur at 8am, I was greeted by a lone sleepy employee sitting behind half-closed shutter of the shop. The reporting time was 8:30am and true to Indian standards, the process started only at 9am. Out of the 30 candidates present at the venue, 16 were accomodated in Lab 1 (which is the fancy name given to the standard cyber cafe there) and the remaining 14, myself included, were asked to wait.

This wait went on and on and on. After two hours we were told that there was a System Error and the Reliance engineers were trying to fix it. All through, the staff at the centre was busy chatting and giggling amongst themselves. Obviously this was adding salt to our wounds and by 12 noon, tempers rose and the staff came under the line of fire of the students with a healthy sardarji leading from the front. At this point, the staff decided to bail themselves out and suggested that we take a "30 minute lunch break" and return for the test.

This test centre happens to be in the most un-happening part of Mumbai and there was no food joint around. Finally, we (myself, a wannabe-rockstar type of dude, a bored-with-Indian-job guy and a pretty looking I-am-lost kind of girl - complete strangers but united by the ordeal) managed to find a Restaurant-cum-Bar that was obviously devoid of drunkards at this hour of the day who agreed to serve us some food. Returning to the centre, the situation had not improved. We once again gheraoed the Branch Manager lady who locked herself inside a Video Conferencing room to avoid further questioning. Finally, at 1pm, we were asked to register ourselves in a hurry and get ready for the test. In this chaos, the staff took a really ugly photo of mine in which I am looking darker than the darkest African and assigned me a computer terminal.

After the five hour wait, I was in no mental state to concentrate but I had no choice. I instructed the computer to start the test. At first go, it didn't. I realised that the mouse given to me was really stubborn and only if I hit it real hard, it would click. So, there I was- hitting the mouse button so hard that everyone around was staring at me. Finally the test began at 1.15pm. Thankfully, the first reading passage that appeared was titled "American Railroads". Thank God!! This interesting topic ensured that I got into the exam mood forgetting the earlier ordeal. I dont know what would have happened if the first passage would have been something on Black American History or Romanticism and Neo-classicism. (I encountered both these topics in Listening section).

The Reading, Listening and Speaking sections went off well but as soon as I began the Writing section, it was trouble again. The Space Bar on my keyboard just won't work and the idiots at Reliance World who had never bothered checking the keyboards earlier now decided to change my keyboard. The timer was running all this while and thanks to these idiots, I could start my essay writing only when 17 minutes 30 seconds were remaining out of the allotted 20. Nevertheless, I managed to complete writing my essay in time,so no damage done.

Finally, when I stepped out of the exam centre, I was barely in a position to talk or stand. I desperately looked around for a Feedback form where I could vent out all my anger, but the asses at Reliance are smart- they did not provide any Feedback form probably because they already knew whet "feedback" they would get!

Never had I expected that my TOEFL would end up being Test Of Endurance upto Frustrating Levels.


  1. Hi Karan,
    I agree and empathise with you. I have had similar experiences while appearing for a comparatively far more insignificant test - the National Cyber Olympiad - in 2006 and 2007. The staff at Reliance World are absolutely inefficient and lack coordination with the organising authority. I feel that Reliance is misusing its near-monopoly position in the organised cybercafe segment to carry on with this apathetic attitude, as they know that people have few alternatives.
    Hope you did your test well, anyhow.

  2. hey fellow "endurer". nice vivid description of the farce that reliance world has made of such a crucial exam of our careers. For all readers here, visit my blog too on MY TOEFL experiences at the same centre.. would be worth a laugh or two!

    Keep it up karan.. n all d best..for you know what :D

  3. @Manish

    So,it seems Reliance is equally unreliable all over India!

  4. @Jagged Edge

    Since we have similar tastes in everything, how can Reliance experience be any different? It had to be the same suffering for both of us :)

    And yeah, I know your All The Best is for what! :P

  5. Man, this sucks big time. If the Reliance chaps aren't so keen on the feedback bit, you might want to consider sending in that feedback to, which is the official email address for TOEFL related queries. You could also send in a CC to

    I hear others have had to face similar frustrating experiences. Kedar has to repeat the test since his performance was not logged.

  6. @Aditya

    Do you think I did not do that? I had mailed them 15 days back explaining that many students are facing problems at the centre. Reply from their side-

    Regarding your inquiry:

    We have forwarded your inquiry to the appropriate area for a response. Please allow sufficient time for a representative to respond.

    Again, after my ordeal, I sent them an email explaining everything in detail. Their reply-

    Regarding your inquiry:

    We have forwarded your inquiry to the appropriate area for a response. Please allow sufficient time for a representative to respond.

  7. Good post man.. will keep in mind when I go your way :D

  8. Hey...
    Can you please provide me a better address of the location and driving directions...?
    I'm scared to test there, now that I've read your post...

  9. @ Harshal

    Is your test center also Reliance Chembur? When are you taking the test there?

    This test centre is on the main road which goes from Priyadarshini Circle towards Navi Mumbai. If you are coming from Sion side, take right from the circle and it's the third building on the left side.

    All The Best!

  10. The whole reliance group sucks! lab, net connection, video rentals whatever!! i was just thinking about starting a forum where all reliance users wud share experiences! Im sorry abt ur xam though!

  11. @the blue indian

    My test is on 1 nov
    Could you please tell the detailed address of the test center, (may be from chembur railway station)?

    Is it the same opposite to the Bharat Petroleum's petrol pump ?

    Please. reply me as earlier as possible....


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