Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The great Indian appearing act

The welcome in to my office parking lot every morning would be very warm. As I park my car a familiar hand would wave from far “Good morning Madam”. Smiling at him and also acknowledging my good luck I would think “What a nice cleaner guy, every morning without fail greeting me inspite of me not availing his service”.

After several months I decided to employ him to clean our car. Needless to say he was elated to hear my decision. “Sure Madam, I will clean your car every day except weekends”. Happy that I finally had someone to clean it regularly unlike the previous one at home who appeared at his will, I agreed to the “no cleaning on weekend” condition. “Madam, I will start from Monday but I need advance”, was his next statement. It was like a thunderbolt for me, paying advance for something which had not even started. “Yes, people here leave jobs and go off without paying me so I have started taking full advance”. Wow! I thought this is planning, risk mitigation at it’s best. Wondered how many project managers parking their cars there analyzed so deeply even for their projects. I too agreed to give him the advance, being convinced by his rationale, but paid him only 90% of the agreed amount.

Imagine my state when the following days I never saw this guy for couple of weeks. The wiper would be in standing position announcing that the cleaning was done but not once I could spot this guy. Finally I had to send a word looking for him & asking him to clean from inside. This was also an agreed condition “Inside cleaning once in a week”. The friendly good morning was no where to be seen once his role changed from probable candidate to employee. Again after some days he started appearing again “Madam, balance”.

I have started believing that these characteristics are inherent in the Indian genre. When you see familiar promises being doled out by the politicians before elections one cannot but think “Are we really so stupid to believe all the promises”. But do we have a choice in electing some party that is intelligent? The next time around they will be back reminding me of the cleaner saying “Madam ,balance”, unless of course I take the responsibility of cleaning my car. So the big question is will we ever be ready to take responsibility for our country?