Monday, January 03, 2005

Hindustan Leave(r) UnLimited

Been reading Gurcharan Das' India Unbound for quite some time now, may be speed at which i am going it might take another week to finish this piece of story-we-all-know.
I think i go terribly slow while reading non fiction (not to talk of textbooks) and this book is no exception.

It is full of nuances which we all have felt while growing up in this country and emotions which all have experienced but just could not articulate well enough to write a best seller :)
Nevertheless Das has been successful enough in wrapping sagas of frustration felt by a Harvard educated guy in middle class punjabi immigrant family in post independence decades with almost an esoteric and empirical thesis of rebuffing Nehruvian and later Mrs G's policies.

Although i havent reached the end of this book, I am sure he is going to find merits of post 91 developments and shall foretell a great future of this country, but what is still missing is perhaps a structural change in lives we lead in this country, and I am afraid i believe this is not going to change in near future as well.

Most of our old relatives recount stories of how difficult was it to get a Bajaj Scooter in 60's (due to ridiculous law which prohibited large companies to increase production). Well market forces have ensured this doesnt happen now, situation is far from rosy.
Take electricity for example, its been 2 years since Ambanis and Tatas have been operating distribution in NCR. We all hoped that this would bring efficiency in the system with their technical expertise and better management skills these two respected business houses shall be the best bet for electricity starved NCR. But what has actually changed is merely the interface. You can call the BSES Customer Care Center at any point of time but please dont take "customer care" and "center" for their literal sense.

Script goes like this

CC: BSES Rajdhani mein aapka swagat hain main CC aapki kya madad kar sakta hoon?
(my suggestion drop the accent!!)
Me:Ji yeh mere yahan pichle 5 ghanto se light (sic) nahin hain, kab tak aayegi?
CC: yeh kahan pe padhta hain?
(He is right, is actually a nondescript locality that u shall never find on delhi map more like those unknown islands which disappeared last sunday)
Me:Ji yeh vikas puri ke pass hain
CC:Okie, aapke yahan se koi complaint nahin hain
Me:(puzzled, looks like no other moron bothered enuf to call em up) To aap information to de dijiye ki kab aayegi light?
CC:Hamare pass koi info nahin hain, aap complaint likhwa dijiye
Me: Ji likhiye
CC: Apka complaint number 666 hain
Me: (Got the message)

Its a dead end, no CC has ever got back to me and I have never been able to extract any information about the power failure.

And all this despite we pay taxes and bills on time.

May be moving to countryside in Alabama is not a bad proposition :)

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