We are all part of a glorious Indian system which is full of eccentricities that never bother us. Here’s a snapshot of how my day started today – a measured dose of an average Indian, especially a Banglorean’s life.
I had to go to the post office to collect my Smart card turned RC book. It usually comes to your doorstep by post. So why you had to go, you ask? Here’s why! The post-woman is new to her job and hence doesn’t know how to reach my home and hence calls me up yesterday. She asks me directions which I give her as clear as a crystal since my home is easily reachable from the prominent bus stop. But, for reasons known to her, she decides she cannot follow my directions and gets stuck in one of the umpteen cross roads in the locality which she entered from the route which was nowhere close to the directions I gave her. And she calls me up and tells me that she is new to her job and hence she cannot locate my home and hence I would have to come to the post office to collect it.
Hit 1- Is it my problem that she is new to her job and hence cannot do it properly? Okay, on a humanitarian basis, I pitied her. I have had my fair share of struggles when I am new to a job. And that’s exactly why I gave her clear directions from the bus stop which she claimed she is aware of and offered my help to guide her till my home on call as she proceeds through the route I say.
Hit 2- She decides she will not follow my directions but instead get stuck up somewhere and hence she wouldn’t be able to deliver my post. Okay, even now it’s me who’s gonna get affected if I don’t collect my RC book/Smart card. So I told her I will collect it at the post office at 11 AM today.
Hit 3- She says she won’t be there at the post office at 11 AM and gives me an appointment window of 8 AM to 10 AM to come and collect it. With great patience, I accept thinking if she has to leave for delivering posts, what can she do? I knew I had to rush to the PO at 8 in the morning and then rush to office to attend my status call. This would totally ruin my plan of delivering my vehicle for service and travel by bus but then again, I need to get the job done.
Hit 4- Even though I called her up in the morning and confirmed that she will be there by 8.15 and that there will be no undue delay, when I reached the PO with a buffer at 8.30, she was not there yet. I had to wait for another half an hour. With this obvious test to my patience reaching its limits, I swooped on her once she set her feet into the PO and got my post. That’s when I noticed there were others waiting for her since she didn’t deliver their posts either due to lack of knowledge about the locality.
Had I known Kannada and if I didn’t have a status call to attend at 9.30 AM, she would have gotten an earful about why we are suffering because she cannot do her job properly.
Now comes the specific Banglorean part: While returning to office, I had to take a shortcut to avoid the (in)famous traffic of Bangalore so that I can reach office in time. And I had to be a part of the tunnel traffic near K R Puram. This tunnel traffic is a very talented bunch of two-wheelers riders who navigate their way through a tunnel which was originally built for flow of water. I had already been initiated into this cult by my hubby since there is no way to reach home soon if we refuse. The stunt performed by us, the tunnel traffic members is that we need to swarm like bees in and out of the small tunnel which is barely 5 feet height and 4 feet wide. There will be a 100 vehicles blocking the tunnel on either side and ironically trying to go through the tunnel at the same time. After a lot of bullying, circus tricks, catching your breath and your heart jumping to your mouth moments, you will come out of the tunnel and fly off as free birds. If you are in Bangalore and if you travel on the old madras road turning into Whitefield ITPL road, you must at least watch this spectacle once if you don’t have enough zeal to take part in it. I highly doubt if guts to volunteer for the stunt is the issue because I thought I lacked it but I ended up becoming part of the prestigious cult. Indian life molds you that way. There is just one rule here: Survive. There’s absolutely no regard for anything else. There is no necessity too.
You can talk about changing the system like Rahul Gandhi but that will exactly be an answer like his. It won’t solve the problem, it won’t even have relevance. It will just remain a theoretical answer that is told to keep up the hope that there is still some possibility, some faith. I still believe in miracles since I don’t want to give up totally. But I am an average Indian, I am not ready to sit around waiting for one, because if I do that I will be run over by other Indians who race by in the survival of the fittest. If it comes, it’s God’s grace. Acceptance seems to glow as a better option than change. If the transport system/traffic is worse, learn to accept it and mend your driving ways. If the government sector is bad in service, do what it takes to get the job done. If there is no safety for women, ask the women not to step out after 6 in the evening. If there is no approval for your building construction, set aside money to pay the government when in trouble and continue with your construction full of deviations. These are the solutions provided to us. Actually ‘solutions’ is a wrong word to denote them. They are just evolutionary defensive mechanisms people develop to survive. These situations which should be rooted out are given the status of a question of survival and we respond so. Everyone’s living amidst these glaring circumstances. My life is full of them and so is yours.
This might cause a raise of voices accusing me of being typical by just talking with no action. Yes, I am just talking with no action. Because I have tried action where I could and it didn’t help. I have a family and I have ties. They are more important to me, I accept! It’s the same case with 99.9% of us. You can talk but deep down you will know that you have other priorities that you cannot shake off. You know that you too want to get your job done. Hats off to the select few who do try for a change, whether their efforts go in vain or not is an open debate which can go on forever.
Until later 🙂
P.S: This post was written out of peaks of frustration after many such experiences that taught me to survive.
P.P.S: Red Handed had written an awesome post on the glory of Indian roads which goes on some similar lines. I dug her archive for you, if you have not read it already, here it is.
P.P.P.S: I scourged Google for a pic of the tunnel traffic since I was so sure there would be one. Now I am kicking myself of not clicking one for you. It’s a must see spectacle.