Saturday, April 17, 2010

Incredibly Tolerant India

No. This is not a part of the clever tourism marketing campaign from Indian Tourism department. Its actually that part of the bigger construct that is not clearly represented in those adverts.

Relocation is always a stressful event that comes in two parts - when you leave out an old place and when you settle in a new one. If it happens that the settling in also includes an India angle to it, its no longer stress. Its acute depression that is just a part of a grand journey towards a cardiac collapse. In India, tolerance is taken to intolerable extents.

Right at the airport (which looks like the 1970 rajini movie climax pazhadanja bangala) I was harassed for bringing in a used LCD tv, even though law allows me to legally bring them in without duty. My nasal drawl dint work wonders with a chechi officer who said that I need to pay the duty. Much to my discomfort and resentment I realized that it was a kickback only after another chechi took the money in a dark room where any resistance would have to led to her running out proclaiming that I harassed her. I had to tolerate because otherwise, I would be made to wait for ridiculous amount of time for trivial reasons. My bags were strewn away from the conveyor belt in what seems to be an illconceived idea of organizing the bags in a perfect matrix with unapproachable walk paths towards them, much like how most processes with public or private enterprises are conceived. No one except me complained and insisted that my bags need to be re-dumped onto the conveyor. Its a system that works. In the hindsight its a bad idea, as the contract worker literally 'dumped' it in on the conveyor belt like how maniratnam made arvind swamy to dump madhubala in a meadow in Roja. Dumb then, dumb now. No one told him meadows were not spine massagers.

The roads from an international airport, could well have been laid anyother way or at least laid. That was not to be. In places where it was of international standards, the drivers went berserk, like flies running around sweets in no identifiable pattern. People find it easy to tolerate a rash driver who doesnot understand lanes. Honking irritates people but they dont care to work it out between themselves so that they could drive noise free. Taking a turn on a road seems to be a crime. No one has time to wait for someone to finish a turn and you are expected to tolerate the world's urgency while you are stranded in an awkward angle in the road, creating an impossible traffic jam without intending to.

Searching for a house for rent is another manifestation of the tolerance rot. Houses that cannot be in the market for the want of better sanitation were put up for top rent. Houses that had soiled closets, broken windows and chipped out floorings were advertised as premium houses. The least one could have done is fix them before calling visitors. May be everyone except me finds it okay to step into a rest room of a "house to let" which has yellow stains all over. The next time someone advertises for a house with lake view, I am going to drown them in that muck pit.

The apartment complex I rented in, shoved me with a electricity card which bore the name of a person other than the owner. The car park lot is yet to be re-worked to make it worthy.No one cares. And those who care park the car outside, dogs copulating under the chassis notwithstanding.In my street which is more like an enlarged nasal passage, there are 11 stray dogs. No one cares. Heck! They dont care for the neighborhood which is turning into a nomad's rest and an open shithole in the mornings.
Buying grocery is another hair raising experience. Firstly the air curtain blows the already raised hair into irrevocable patterns when you are least prepared. Secondly they have devised a rolling gate system to get in, which is a welded pipe that can perform a tubectomy if the shopper is not good at gymnastics. The stores stink. They dont switch on the air conditioners. Each store has more sweepers and helps than the employees and they giggle at you for every thing. I am yet to reason out what that giggle meant. But they do stop it when I hand them a debit card when I have bought items worth less than Rs.200. It sends shivers of megawatts if you had them a debit card without minimum purchase. There is no "Sorry, we cannot use this blah". Its just "What the could you have done this" look, that I would not mind to convert myself into a murderer for. I protest. But no one does.
Sadly all of these could be fixed over night. No investment. No flyovers. No swanky new shopping districts. When will the society and polity stop tolerating the laisse faire attitude in every walk of life?

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