India – Water, Hygiene and other things

Its not until you get here that it hits you …. everything at once.

Continuous awareness is absolutely necessary, the other day I was walking on a footpath, a car joined me, scrapping my thigh with his mirror, all to get ahead in the traffic … without a backward look they sped off, another occasion, the car I was traveling in was hit because the car behind was travelling too close … the driver again sped off … It is the same with absolutely every action out in the world in India …. be aware of where you are and most of all don’t assume … don’t assume that people will drive on the legal left side of the road, they will in fact drive on any side of the road to get where they want to be …. one wonders if they have a license, perhaps they do, have they even done driver education (defensive driving … no … careless driving Yes) have they sat for the license probably not …

Health … clean your hands at every opportunity …. never drink unfiltered water … but drink a lot of it and often) be careful about fruit in stalls … at least wash it thoroughly, rub the skin with salt then wash again. We are taking a bit of pot luck with the farmer … many of the bad agri-chemicals are legal here and I have been told that many small farmers follow the policy if that much is enough then more must be better.

I am just recovering ( hopefully) after 2 weeks feeling very poorly, it got so bad I went to a local Private hospital (Max Health in Dehradun) it was a good experience, new, clean building and almost everyone spoke English … I was seen by a specialist (US Trained) in Gastro, had blood and other tests performed by their in house pathology (available on line that same day for me to view) .. and I had my prescription filled – the total cost for all of this was 1,500 Rupees … about A$28 (USD$23 approx) and the prescription and treatments seems to be working. Don’t take a chance.

I am still and will always be on the outside looking in, although I have meet a few wonderful people.

As usual we look at the past to determine the future – the West is by and large already in the abyss, following a path set by Globalism and the flawed and failed Regan Financial Policies in the 80’s … in the West there is little true thought except by Pikety, Joseph Stiglitz and others as to the direction and destination the world is taking, it seems to wander along putting our bush fires here and there, the trouble with this policy things don’t change … India’s headlong rush into their version of Capitalism will fail and in my view that’s a good thing, for the India Government severe controls, over burdening unaccountable, micromanaging bureaucracy which defines the word patience and incompetence along with Sovereign instability which for now are an issue. I cannot comment on Politicians.

Many laws exist to protect the consumer – are they enforced, maybe, are they circumvented .. often … for not only is corruption here, it is rampant and an accepted normal part of the culture.

There are spiritually aware and just good people everywhere, as of yet I am not aware as yet of any revelations concerning Indian culture other than its primary focus of the external world and a seeming hurry to get out of it, their external focus is on achievement and all the illusions in the world, in many ways no different to the West perhaps 50-70 years ago or even today, except here there is no pretence in caring for your fellow man, all are seen as irrelevant to their life, unless they can be of use – mind you are we any different?

Maybe my perspective will change over time.

Any thoughts are welcome, if there is something I haven’t covered yet, let me know and I will add it to the list.

One last thing …. always and I mean always take toilet paper with you every where you go … it’s often not provided. Enjoy the journey.

India – First Impressions

Wow … everything I thought represented normal …

Everything that I thought was normal, was turned on its head, and the the values of some of the people I have meet are … well let me say they are not mine …. the opportunity to get little victories over you (for as little as 5 rupees, about 10 cents) … they even smile when they do, once, when it happens, it tends to leave a bad impression … when it happens more than once, it leaves a bad taste … and a yearning to find someone who has some honour – my feedback from others here, is if you find someone who does what they say they will, then you have found a gem, stay with them.

I am sure the shops and companies I have visited do not train people in customer service ( World brand names ) … they do not value the customer at all … they deal only in cash and when you ask for a receipt … it never comes. A perfect example was when I was hunting for a Phone provider … I ended up using an Inidan brand, Airtel .. which although they have their problems at least I have a relationship with them that allows me to get things done.

I am on a sabbatical … which may turn out to be a permanent one. I had thought would be able to leave the “civilised” worlds ego centric. money focus behind, but here it is even worse … status is everything …. the car you drive, the degree you have, your sex, and how you dress determines engagement and productivity …. and hence all these things determine if you will be successful in your enquiry or not. To become credible in the eye of commerce here, I have had to drag out my academic titles .. which have made a dramatic difference.

For instance, as I am staying here in India for so long, I thought it might be a good idea to open a bank account, in fact I had investigated this before I arrived … it is allowed for tourists who stay for the maximum of 6 months … I went to four banks here, all of the provided staff members say no, I even asked them to check up with their head office, they reported back … No … Yesterday I found someone in a company that must have actually asked someone in the organisation, who knew what they are doing and hence I am setting up an account here.

We must remember that I am new here, as well I came from a foreign culture, Perhaps I have had bad experiences, and of course I am viewing this from my former normal of business engagements in Australia … which has no relevance here in India.

To me in these engagements, the single biggest thing that is needed is empathy, for staff to have explicit training in customer service and to have some interest and understanding of the customer / clients needs – however the culture of organisations that do not care about the customer, comes down from the Ownership and upper management … perhaps they should remember a quote from Henry Ford …. the customer pays the bills, the company only handles the money.