Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snippets from Our Indian Sojourn

This blog post is for my American friends who have never lived in India. If you have lived/living in India you may have experienced/seen all of these, several times. But for those who have never been to India, this might sound really interesting. These are some of the instances where I have felt “Things work/are different in US”.
My wife and a colleague of her were going together to a temple. Initially this was the conversation between them.
My Wife (D): Madam, How often do you go to temple?
Colleague (A): Every Friday
D: That is great
A: There is a special pooja (worship) every Friday and you need to pay Rs 500 every week to attend that pooja.
D: That is costly
A: It is a powerful pooja. So giving that money is worth it.
Now their conversation turned into other things on the way to the temple.
A: You now have a servant in the house, right?
D: Yes
A: How much do you pay her?
D: XXXX per month
A: That is Rs 100 more than we all pay to our servant. Why are you paying her more?
D: She is from a very poor family and is badly in need of money. Also she does a really good work.
A: If my servant comes to know about it, she may also demand more money. Please don’t do it.
D: This is our way of serving GOD, mam.
That lady was not happy but did not reply back… We talk a lot of helping poor people by rarely do anything, right?
My wife had to go out of town for few days to attend a conference leaving the baby at home with me and my mother. Typically we take out our baby to the garden in front of our apartment to give her food as she won’t eat that much if she is inside the apartment. Now the day my wife was away I took my daughter outside to give her food. Every one walking past me was looking at me as if they are seeing some strange happening. The ladies who saw me where showering sympathy on me through their expressions. A lady who knows my wife was out of town came and talked to me.
Lady (L): Poor Chap; It is a mother’s duty to give food to the child. How irresponsible your wife is leaving the kid with you and making you give food to the baby.
Me: Our daughter does not make that distinction and likes both of us giving her food
That lady utters the following and leaves…
L: Still a father giving food to a 1 year old taking her around is bad
India is a democratic country and everyone has the right to have their own opinion, right?
To get a landline or a gas connection or to open a bank account or a matter of fact anything – the amount of paperwork you have to do and the numbers of times you have to visit that place before things set right are beyond words to explain. The other day we went to State Bank of India (SBI) to transfer the bank account of my wife from H to K branch of SBI. Here is the conversation that happened between the manager of the bank and my wife on the first day of our visit.
Manager (M): Good Morning
My Wife (D): Good Morning
M: What do you want, madam?
D: Sir, I want to transfer my SBI bank account from H to K branch
M: Have you brought your existing passbook?
D: Yes Sir, here it is.
Manager enters the account number and gets all the details including the balance in the account in his screen. Now the conversation continues
M: Do one thing; write a letter addressed to Bank Manager of H branch of SBI requesting for transfer of account. I will sign that letter and send it by mail to the H office.
D: So you need to send an email to H branch requesting transfer of account?
M: No, The application you are writing will be send in ordinary post and other manager from H has to process the request and send us back a letter with that permission.
D: How long will it take?
M: Maximum of 10 days.
D: You can’t email H branch or call them?
M: Sorry madam, this is the procedure and we have to follow it.
I must tell you that the manager was a really nice guy. He was just following the normal procedure.
Now after about 15 days my wife goes to the bank again
D: Sir, I came here few days back to transfer the account from H to K
M: Yes, I remember… In fact I got the reply from the bank manager from H that your account has been transferred.
D: So are there any more formalities?
M: Yes… Now you need to fill in an application form here and also you should bring the address proof and two photos
D: We have both with us
M: Now fill this application... It has around 10 pages
My wife takes that application and fills the form. Now she goes back to the manager. Manager enters all the details she wrote into the system and took two prints out of the completed application forms.
M: Here is your copy and one copy is for our records. Please sign in both
D: When you have electronic records why you need to keep paper copy as records?
M: Even though we have every record online, whatever we do we need to keep a paper record also. That is our bank policy.
D: So everything you do, you need to have a record in the software and also on paper. Isn’t that duplication of work?
M: Madam, that is the procedure and we have to follow it!
Now you know why more and more people are not going to nationalized bank any more.
I plan to update this page with more such instances as and when I come across them.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Makes me wonder why you went back to India?
Or why you wanted your baby to born in America? Because effectively you are bringing up your baby in a place that's going to be totally different from where she will be 18 yrs down the line. Don't give us that patriotic BS - trust me, none buys it.

December 20, 2010 3:42 AM  
Blogger Brijesh Nair said...

Makes me wonder why you went back to India?
Do you find the tone of this blog as “complaining”? Never… there are few readers of my blog who are really interested in small stuff like this and I know the time we decided to come back I will have to face such things.

Or why you wanted your baby to born in America? Because effectively you are bringing up your baby in a place that's going to be totally different from where she will be 18 yrs down the line.
Dude – You are making a big assumption here that US will still be a super power and “land of opportunity” even after 17 long years.

Don't give us that patriotic BS - trust me, none buys it.
I have written in my blog itself the reasons I came back to India.
Read this here. Can you “buy” it now?

December 20, 2010 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

taking care of kids ie feeding and bathing even in the US if a father is doing all this its frowned upon by indian families.. trust me we are going thru that now.. My wife drives 2hrs one way to work, so I pick and drop of the my daughter and take care of her in the absence of my wife and sometimes I have to do it taking care of office stuff at home. But its part of parenting and I love doing it mainly because its giving me time to bond with my kid. But there are some friends who do pass comments and stuff..

AND you gave a great response to the person who has a stick up his ass..


December 21, 2010 4:51 PM  

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