A road with potholes, wires from an electric pole hanging loose, cows crossing busy roads, lack of sidewalks, lack of civic sense, spitting on the roads, open defecation, manual scavenging, regularly making roads unusable while accessing bore well water, people jay walking, the pathetic maintenance and unsystematic procedures followed in government offices — these are some of the common issues that have been faced by me.
I write this post as a personal opinion because many people believe that if you are complaining and cribbing about lack of better facilities, then you are not fit to live in this country; and you need to move to another one. “This is India, that’s all you’re gonna get, adjust or else move out” is a typical response from people if you find yourself expressing even the slightest bit of discomfort. Then there are other responses from different kinds of people such as “India has already given you so much, why are you not happy”?
After the identification of many such problems comes the rectification of it. Nudged in between these two steps is a thought that runs through my mind- well, what if this is how much we deserve? What if our people can’t handle perfection? Are we equipped enough both in our minds and behaviour to sustain a clean environment? More than providing the latest facilities to make the lives of the people more comfortable and easier, the correct education for using those facilities should be taken seriously.
In a government run office like the RTO (Regional Transport Office), there are pan stains all over the walls, precisely where it reads –‘do not spit here’. The corners of particular walls that are prone to spitting are painted with the colour of dark maroon so as to minimise the effect of looking unsanitary. On top of the maroon paint lie more stains. There is garbage strewn over in every nook and corner on all the floors of the office. The smell of urine drifts past every visitor of the place. I was repulsed, but I was also under the notion that even if steps were taken to tidy up the place, are the people going to oblige? Are they capable of consciously making a decision to keep their surroundings clean in the long term? Even if the state government orders a city-wide clean-up of all its RTO offices, how long is it going to last?
Walking around malls in the city, I saw that people are still in awe of the fact that India has malls to provide to its citizens. Any huge public display/a center piece in the mall will invite huge crowds of people, posing in front of the display and getting their selfies clicked. A little taste of anything resembling the western world, leaves the Indians dumbfounded. It is one thing to open India’s doors to the western retail stores and food joints, but a totally different thing to the smooth running of the establishment.
I walked into a Dunkin’ Donuts the other day. The person behind the counter failed to give the right order. He seemed unskilled and incompetent. Then I go to the restroom which was possibly the dirtiest restroom I have seen- on par with the ones on the highways. The faucet was broken, the flush always never works and along with that, the foul smell composes of the common sights found in international cafes and fast food joints. This again got me thinking — are the people who visit the place at fault or is the fault of the establishment? Maybe both are at fault. There are loopholes to this phenomenon of foreign direct investment. The buck doesn’t stop at opening up shops, the focus needs to be paid for its upkeep as well.
First EDUCATE your target audience, then rigorously TRAIN your personnel, then DELIVER quality services, not just in your goods but also in sanitation.
Having said that, commercial establishments have made up their minds regarding a certain thing. They think Indians are vast in number and therefore supplying top quality goods to them is a futile and impossible task. So why not dump the less than perfect, below average quality products on us?
I am disappointed to say that Indian products tasted better in the USA than it does in our own country. It makes me infuriating to find out that there exists a whole ‘export quality’ classification of products among our domestic goods itself. How about supplying your fine ‘export quality’ goods to Indians themselves? How about impressing Indian citizens with Indian efforts first? Is the government not doing so because we do not know how to appreciate good quality and consequently maintain the goodness of it? Did I just answer to my rant in the first four paragraphs?
I give up my rant. It is too exasperating and there is just no winning.
P.S. I am pretty things are as they are because of a business/ profit element which lacks human element.