January 25, 2010

India is about 'dhakka start'!

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It's been months since I posted but been busy on the work front. Well, let me get on with it right away. For the uninitiated, 'dhakka start' is a phrase derived from those old cars which dont start unless they get a good push from behind! Over the years and my interaction with people, both professionally and personally, I have realised that many people in India work the same way. Starting right from the top, take our politicians. They don't move a muscle (except to blab, perhaps) except when they are pulled up by some high court for a crime they finally got caught in. Or when the media highlights an issue and because of public sentiment, they have to take stringent action. Things move on the fast track only when they get pushed to the forefront of newspapers - whether it is bad roads or bad justice. Why can't they realise their duties without being told to do so and so by our senior judges, whose role nowadays seems like that of a schoolteacher handling rowdy kids?

On a smaller scale, neither your plumber nor your maid nor your car cleaner will do their work diligently without a good string of abuses. And mind you, if you show the least sign of sympathy or softness, you will be taken for a loser who can be walked all over. Maids (I could write a whole book on them from my own experiences and those of my friends) seem to think that their only (real) job is to pass half-cooked stories from one house to the other. When you are not looking, they'll just 'forget' to clean your table or dust your lamp. It's only when they you constantly stare at them and pull them up once in a while that they budge into some action.

On the professional front, it's not a new thing - work only when someone's looking. I am sorry to say that this is the mentality of most Indian employees. Private company employees, that too, since government employees dont even pretend to work. Barring those in senior management who are really held accountable for the humongous salaries they draw, most people prefer to wile their time and only work when really required.

I think this is an in-built attitude problem. It is generally agreed that Indians cannot function without authority. We have no sense of self-regulation. Leave us lose and we'll mess up the whole country. There is no civic sense - no sense of ownership of the cities we live. We dont care whether our lanes are clean or if local politicians are doing their job, as long as everything is fine inside our homes. But, I am transgressing...The sense of obeying authority has led us to have no self-motivation to do anything unless pushed to do so. Look around you and I am sure you'll find lots of examples of people goofing off from their respective jobs because they have no fear of being held accountable.

I think countries like USA, Germany and Japan are what they are today because of the collective effort to each and every of their citizens. Because they care about their country...and they do what they are supposed to be doing.