Friday, September 18, 2009

Coffee, Tea or Me?

No, you cannot have me :) I was kidding! I can get you coffee or tea though but black. No milk or cream at home.

About a couple of years ago I had to go to the Municipal office in my home town in India for my birth certificate. As unusual as it sounds, even though my birth was registered in the hospital, somehow my parents never got the certificate. Over the years, I also let it go for I didn’t really need birth certificate as a mandatory document until I had to apply for my PR to Canada.

Then the problem began. According to the Municipal office, if we apply and pay the fees of Rs.250, they should be able to re-issue the certificate in 2 working days. Needless to say, I didn’t get the certificate even after 3 weeks. Finally I got the hint and paid Rs.5000. And guess what, I had the certificate in my hand the same evening.

This brings us to an interesting juncture. While I crib and cry that India is filled with corruption, I also encouraged this (shall we say) disease (called corruption/bribe) at one point because I was running short of time. How many of us had done this at point or another? Sometimes in train stations, sometimes at the passport offices, sometimes at the hospitals and many times at a job consultancy?

Do we then have any right to complain about corruption in India? I guess not.

If anyone who reads this says that they have never indulged/encouraged in this corruption, then my hats off to them. We need more people like you.

I made friends with one constable in Jubilee Hills Police Station, (Hyderabad, India) when I went there to complain about my stolen credit card. I learnt from the constable that he works 7 days a week and is on call even when he at home in the evening. His pay is Rs.6500. Now how is he supposed to feed his family with Rs.6500? (If he does dare to get married with that modest paycheck in a city like Hyderabad). So, he ends up taking Rs.10 here, Rs.20 there to make ends meet. Another point to note is that Jubilee Hills is like Beverly Hills. Not everyone can afford a home there. So the constable has to travel at least 1 hour each way to reach home.

You would hear the same story from hospital compounders(nurse) also. And you give them Rs.50 or more in the hope that he will care for your family member who is hospitalized in ICU….

Whose fault is it now? Is it the fault of the people who are trying to make ends meet that they ask for bribes? Now don’t give me that lecture about integrity. In hungry man’s dictionary, there is no word called, ‘integrity’.

So when we want something to be done, we ask if they want coffee (bribe), Tea (corruption), Me (our souls)? Of course, black only for I am running out of milk/cream (means and willingness to fight for a variety of reasons).

Where are we going wrong? What can we do to make India a better place? Please…I am at lost. You can give me a direction.

1 comment:

  1. Salary is never a motivation for honesty and never a justification for bribery..there will be many people in India who survive at much less.and many people who are filthy rich but still corrupt.

    Once you take up any job , you should do it with honesty and ethics whatever it is.

    yes we must try to better the conditions over all in our country....but corruption has seeped in our psyche