Recently I have been thinking a lot about how we do things in India. As my working interaction with the outside world grows, i am realising a major mindset difference when we think of work and the way most of the world thinks of the work. I am also very aware of the fact that we are a poor country with poor resources, poor infrastructure and almost very low maturity of longterm planning and thinking. We have been a colony of the britishers and we havent really come out of an occupied mindset. We havent had much to celebrate on our own and not much to prove ourselves worthy of existence. We seem to make noise for ourselves and keep busy with our own claims to fame. As a culture we havent been very outgoing or very open to outsiders who would have wanted to look in.
In most recent times we have started singing our own praise and have mistaken a few steps to development as leaps into developed civilisation. These are my illusions and i see them break every time i am with people from different cultures.
I have seen myself, I have seen my parents, my family, my friends, my co workers, employees, industrialists, professionals, rich people..poor people, very educated and very uneducated, people in cities, people in villages and people young old, spiritual, material, boring funny..many many kinds of people..
I also saw the wave against corruption coming up and everyone getting gung-ho about change..about a corruption free India, against small corruptions and big corruption in society and politics…and i saw it fizzle out the moment the realisation comes that its ME who has to change…the movement goes phut….
I saw the great anger against the crime against women, media, people, politicians, ngos everyone becoming one to make noise and demand change. last few days i feel the movement is losing steam on the same point…”The Change has to include ME”…that seems unacceptable. I want everyone to change…i possibly can not be a part of it. But if you want me to change… i rejec the very same change that i asked for.
Seen the traffic on the road..any road… u see a tendency of people circumventing the obstacles..but never stopping for the obstacle to clear. Never ever helping in obstacle to clear anyway. Is it a surprise that no one ever picks up a person who falls from a bike, every accident has a million onlookers, not one will sign on a paper to say they were there.
You have people moving at great speeds…in life you have people busy with their own growth…very focussed…so focussed that people have become cold and rude to each other. To get what they want they would do anything (short of the the thing they need to do). look at any transaction to buy a house..or a car or booking tkts to a match, getting a table in a restaurant…people are ready to pay under the tables, give bribes, tips and get ahead…check the situation at railway stations for a birth, or even a cab que..no one is happy with waiting for their turn. Same goes for doctor appointments and scheduling of surgeries, admissions to schools…almost everywhere.
We have become a culture of shortcuts. and when u look deeper, it goes beyond our social culture…it is our business culture, it is our industrial culture…this is our innovation culture and of course design and art culture as well. I have written earlier how i dont see students creating original work from scratch any more…so much so.. i believe they can not conceive things from scratch.
We felt proud when a few Americans were awed by our skill of shortcuts in our daily life. We promptly thought Jugaad is our innovation philosophy for the world. Many very well known designers started brandishing Jugaad specliaity on their CVs. Recycling is all very well, but just because someone took a gunnyback on their head to protect against the rain or wore chappels made out of pet bottles, since there is no other choice..this becomes our innovation DNA.
I am so glad automobiles and aircrafts were not created in India, besides the fact that we couldnt have…can u imagine the shortcuts that we would do. You have to see the vehicles that we proudly call indian..low cost not because of some innovation..lowcost because we use substandard material and dont put in 1/5 of the mechanisms that vehicle needs to get on the road any where (except here). Look at how easy it is for your doctor to do a test on you of a drug not yet released and u not even knowing it…
It was always wonder for me that British and American firms would charge fee in Millions of dollars where the largest of Indian firm would actually struggle to charge in thousands. Like others i also shrugged that as expensive high economy prices…but i am wiser now.
We all do shortcuts…everywhere, infrastructure, traffic, Police, justice, medicine, education, manufacturing, art.. design….so how come we are not reaching anywhere. Do we see anything changing with the way we are going…ever… it won’t. it will only get worse.
We are proud of our heritage, our craft and so many other things…come to think of it..we just can not keep any of that alive any more…we dont have that patience and we have lost that knowledge.
I need to put brakes on myself and stop doing shortcuts, if i want a change. I will do that. I am not the kind who will light a candle or shout on the road. Nor will i fight with the police. But i know i am the one who has to change. And i am not changing because something happened.
I am changing because i have seen others living a life of no shortcuts..of no Jugaad. I want that life for you and myself.