“My all-day driving in hot sweaty dirty self is cleaner than this bathroom!”- Rakesh.
Yes. We are checked into a shitty place.Pun intended. However, this blog is not about the poor conditions in an extremely small town. We were prepared for this. However, What i wasn’t prepared for(Thank God Rakesh is lot more saner and calmer than me) is the attitude of little people in really small positions of power.
A Receptionist at a Hotel can deny you the room because you don’t have a “Local” address in their town. So, if you plan to stay in Ananthapur on your way to Hyderabad, buy a house first or get the telephone numbers of local officials and let them know you might be passing through.
A private vehicle that has an All-India permit won’t be allowed because the toll booth officer doesn’t want to do it unless two levels above him can approve it. Is it illegal ? No. They don’t allow public auto rickshaws in certain highways. Don’t ask me why.After calling the traffic control room and getting approval from there and the toll booth officer in next toll, you would think it’s a no-brainer. You thought wrong, you stupid, common sense Indian.He still hasn’t heard from two levels above him to allow an auto rickshaw that is touring India for spreading the message of Girl’s education.
A guy who mans the gate in the forest, a clerk in the Bank, security personnel at Airport(well, that applies everywhere in the world but the number of steps in Domestic Airport in India just sucks more oxygen from your blood) and the stories continue in our journey.
Now, that doesn’t mean the folks higher up the food chain are any good. If they weren’t so egomaniacal, control freaks,these guys at the low levels of power will have some authority to make a decision.Whether it turns out good or bad is immaterial. Just make a decision that is different than default,
“I have to ask my supervisor”.
“If I allow it for you, then I might get in trouble”.
“I am not so sure.Why don’t you get someone higher up in the chain,call someone two levels above me and they will in turn call my Boss and then I can do what I am supposed to do in the first place.”
How did it come to this ? A system of utter lack of trust among their own people, bloated with unnecessary personnel to do a simple thing, efficiency and timeliness being a cultural joke and above all,apathy towards their own people. A nation of bureaucracy with umpteen number of layers with no authority,most of them to check if the layer beneath them is doing their jobs.In fact we saw five police officers sitting with one speedometer at every checkpoint. Why do need 5 ? My guess is, it is a senior officer who needs atleast couple of them to bring tea and Lunch. Another couple to chat and when Theodore strikes, pull over someone to harass.
As we entered our penthouse at Ananthapur, the default channel is Home Shopping Network from US with telegu voice-overs. Yes. We want that magical ab-melter without any work but we won’t learn about other good things from the West.
I think the generalization of business establishments and the people who work in them as being extremely unkind, uncaring and extraordinarily inefficient is pretty close to 75%. There is a 25% that is exception to the rule but living with 75% requires enormous amounts of patience and connections.
As we were going from Banglore to Hyderabad in the highway, it felt like Route 66 with empty roads and mountains on the side. I told Rakesh, this is perfect place for my latest obsession, Aquaponics with solar power. My startup vision, mission and execution flowed beautifully until we met a racist receptionist(Check the story in Rakesh’s update).He also reminded me of all the bureaucratic BS over the past two weeks in India and I decided I don’t have the skills to navigate India. I will most likely live only up to 70 based on family history(rest is bonus) and I don’t want to be spending that running between government offices to make money, bribe every little fellow in the process and hope at the end that they will do their jobs.
Buried in these depressing, apathetic stories, there is the genuine help from Hussain who helped repair our fellow riders Rickshaw from US and also take us to other lodgings. We have Rinu Joseph whom we met in the most unlikeliest of places-at moving slow traffic. Yes. You heard it right. We spoke for 5 minutes on the moving traffic and he exchanged his business card and is going to call his friend in Shillong to meet us in the hotel we will be staying. You can’t make up such bizarre stories(and we have proof of video. To be uploaded when we get wifi).We have Aido&Sophiya, Sirish at Archies and folks at Coimbatore. Let’s not forget that most of my family lives here.It’s just sad that I don’t think I have the skills to sustain a living in this system after so many years.
I will always visit and do good, but don’t think I will ever start a business or make a living at work place here.
Goodnight folks! Feel free to share your opinions.