India – Poverty First Impressions.

This is an impression from a Western perspective and so may not give a fair or accurate observation of Poverty here in India, so much here confronts me. I am sure my impression of the physical world here will change as I become familiar, also as my Kundalini rises over time.

Poverty and homelessness is everywhere, in the West it is a cost of Capitalism, of being unemployed and also underemployed, where at any time, one may be one pay check away from it, it comes primarily from Corporate greed, exacerbated by the “Free Trade” agreements which are not at all about free trade but where Governments provide a means for Corporations to move jobs off shore, to other sovereign jurisdictions, that have very low wages and low protection for employees, in the areas of wages, benefits and heath. This desertion of their home country leaves many tens of thousands or millions of people who had jobs, now without any means to live. Here the situation is very complex including the immensity of the population, the lack of education, politics and something that is found in all political systems, corruption.

In India, there is no safety net or any kind, social programs that one experiences, even at the low rate that is in Australia just don’t exist … the quantity in need here is vast, on a cursory examination, there seems no National Government support for the homeless, the poor, the destitute – via food kitchens, shelters, beds or the like. I don’t know as yet the extent of private provision of the same from overseas organisations, I am sure I will given time …

You cannot walk down the street here without seeing the poor, rapier thin bodies begging, one does what one can, it is the mothers and children that my heart goes out to … the mothers ( malnourished ) who are going without so their children will have food … one gives, but then what? Does it only delay an inevitability … but nevertheless we give, but what comes next for them? We cannot know this, all we can do is help in this moment and then move on. The quantity is vast, there are sadly many who may not be in poverty, they are in a business to again make money off the tourists – one can only guess and hope that the deserving get something, so for me I give to the very old, and mothers with children.

To give you an idea, I was walking along the road, when I first arrived and not far from where I am staying, right in front of me in the gutter, was a body of a young man, thin beyond comprehension … he was just lying there, not moving, I could not see him breathing, was he alive or dead, to this day I don’t know.


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.

Arrival in India and the first week ..

The journey to India was without pain … Cathay Pacific switched me from their indirect service to Air India direct service … I had not traveled Air India previously … it turned out to be an Good experience … the crew were conscious and engaged … the 13 hour direct service was long and the seat was hard and cramped … but after all I was traveling economy.

After the pre-amble I arrived in New Delhi… exhausted … had a run in with scammers as I walked out of the Airport, it took me a little while to understand what was happening – be wary they appear credible and “so nice” and accomodating but their only priority is to part you from as much of your money as possible.

In any case, I ended up where I wanted to go without further drama and arrived in Dehradun early morning, April 7th, 2016.

One thing, I remembered this quote “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” … I found it was from Noel Coward …. it doesn’t have to be midday, from about 10 am onwards its a good way to melt … always take a hat and a water bottle … not tap water … bottled water.

I will catch you up with other photos, and happenings and my initial observations of India, the culture and my engagement as soon as I fully understand them.