Posted by: Neeraj | August 16, 2008

We – Contemporary!!!???

A lot is said about how India is a transformed country after the economy opened in early nineties. Suddenly the nation began to progress, and people began to expect. As always happens when you start expecting the object of expectation reacts and tries to live up to the burden of those expectations by hyping its achievements. So too happened in the case of our country. Caught in the confusion of an expecting nation and some great achievements in limited spheres and some very limited achievements in most others we began to scream from the top of the roof. We were in great hurry to not be called the country of snake charmers and elephants and wanted ourselves to be compared to the best. Paradoxically, China began to progress as well. Who best to compete with than with your neighbor, supposedly equal in size and power. In this race to be better we have ended up a nation in utter chaos, very confused whether we are a superpower waiting to turn the corner or a nation still trying to find its way. 
         Today when I sat in my office I was proud to be an Indian. I was proud because I saw people around me delivering world class products, striving to better the already good existing processes, brainstorming to bring more value to our customers as well as ourselves by achieving greater quality at a lower cost. I was so very proud to show my foreign customers around my office telling them how we have infrastructure to support 24×7 delivery inspite of day long power cuts, a network that does not go down 99.9% of the time and a communication system which almost always work. I was not afraid from taking them to any part of the office they wanted to go to. They left the office very satisfied with what I had to show and I left it with fear. Fear, because I know tomorrow they will ask me to show them my country. I know then that I will fail to live up to the words that I told them in the office – We are the best. 
         My office is in Gurgaon. I pray that it does not rain tomorrow because if it rains it will take me (along with my foreign customers) two hours to reach NH8 though it is only 3 kilometers away. I would need to delve into my experience where to take my customers around from to the highway; through the road on the left which is potholed and where the traffic jam is a direct indicator of the weather in Gurgaon or the one on the right which will result in a bottleneck in front of a famous software company as all the bus drivers, cabbies and motorcyclists fight for space to be the first ones to reach the highway. It is not their fault. Someone somewhere forgot that more than 20, 000 people will need to move out from that single exit point and he never ever in his wildest dreams would have imagined that Gurgaon would be such a huge success story. So not that someone’s fault as well.  After reaching the state of the art highway I would still need to negotiate the Toll Plaza (which was meant to debottleneck but sadly has become a painful bottleneck itself) where again all of us Indians will be in a hurry to cross first. Everyone who is such a good Manager or a well behaved employee in the office will drop all pretense of being nice and jump into whatever lane that would help him cross the toll plaza first. Many of them will forget in the hurly burly that they were not supposed to be in the cashless lane in the first place.
        I will also have to plan well. I will need to see that I have enough fuel and my cell phone is charged all four boxes as I may be on the road for the next 5 hours to travel 20 odd kms to the first point in the sight seeing tour. I will also need to make sure that I bring them back to the airport well in time for their 0100 hours flight. I pray for a few policemen to be on the road to help regulate the traffic. But they are human too. They fear for their own health standing without protection in the heavy rains, so I fear they will counsel themselves to stay inside till the traffic has sorted itself out. I will thank God for one thing though. Since my foreign customers have an early morning flight they will not be able to read the next day’s newspaper where they would have seen some of the civic agencies blaming each other for the previous day’s chaos and others pretending as if nothing was wrong knowing very well that we Indians are forgiving and forgetful and will forgive and forget this episode too. 
       I will also pray to God that my customers don’t return in a hurry as Gurgaon which is already a few thousand rooms short would have even lesser space for them the next time they come. The Hotels by then would have added a hundred more dollars to the existing 200 dollars per night room charge while giving services for far less. But I know they will return to do business, to take pride in my success while I sit in my office because they are the direct beneficiaries of that success. And before I go to sleep I also pray to God to help me, by a miracle (because nothing else seems to work) to make me feel proud on the road too so that I can take them around to any part of my country from any part of the country and not have to think twice before doing that.



  1. I feel your pain. And I share your fears. It has been maddening. And all of us driving on the wrong side of the road (just to get ahead of a few cars who are waiting for the cars in front of them to move) make it all the worse.

    Someone has got to teach everyone the meaning of the word ‘Deadlock’. Because, however bad your roads get, and however slow the traffic moves, it can never get as bad as it has been getting without deadlocks being created because of the sheer stupidity of drivers.

    This guy calls it the Nightmare Capital Region

    And here’s another account:

  2. Neeraj ji nothing comes without a price and this is
    part of Cosmopolitan life but dont lose hope bcoz
    your torture would come to an end by 2010 but see the silver lining that the distance has been shortened by FLYOVERS.Now you understand why we all what just a little more than what we get.Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.

  3. Not even 5 posts, and you already have been awarded. I award you the Brilliant Weblog award. Find details here:

  4. […] Bay Area, Seattle and Vancouver Author: Laksh 24 Things Indians Love-22-Bargaining Author: Dev We Contemporary Author: […]

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