Date: 08 May 2012


We owe them a lot 7 May 2012 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ NOW & AGAIN ~ jagmohan chopra \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ WHATEVER Ratan Tata may say against Western work culture, I think we owe those guys a lot. Had it not been for the influx of foreign companies into India in retail, fast food, entertainment, banking, insurance, construction, etc, we would still be doing things the way we did in the ’60s. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ There are three things foreign companies have taught us — punctuality, cleanliness and, to some extent, accountability. Gone are the days when you could reach office late and quietly slip into your seat. If caught, you could always blame the traffic jam or the arrival of an unexpected guest or the sudden indisposition of someone in the family. Most offices now have attendance machines that keep track of the time you enter or leave and the number of times you leave. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from our car cleaner that because of his newfound job in a mall that required him to be there at 8.30 am, he would be coming to clean the car earlier than usual.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Cleanliness in public places is another area where Western culture has left its mark. Be it restaurants or cinemas, you can see uniformed youngsters serving people wearing polythene gloves or another set of youngsters sweeping and swabbing the floor at regular intervals under the watchful eye of their supervisor. Washrooms, too, are swankier and cleaner than they used to be, making peeing a pleasure. Compare these to the urinals in our markets and cinema halls in earlier days and you will know what I am talking about. Recently constructed pay-and-use washrooms in selected municipal areas and gardens in Delhi are too few for comfort.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Foreign work culture is most prevalent in banks and private offices where the concept of watermen, peons and clerks has been done away with. What you see now are junior officers, most of them postgraduates or MBAs, all too willing to help you. The days of tellers and cashiers hiding behind iron grilles are over. So are days of offices packed with peons and helpers — one for opening the door, one for sweeping the floor, one for serving water and, of course, one for moving the files from one room to another. While public sector offices seem to be falling in line with Western practices, those in government are still in the sleep mode. Try calling a government office and, nine out of 10, the reply will be, “Babu seat par nahin hain.” \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\The foreign influence is also visible in the area of building and infrastructure, the nine-kilometre, eight-lane DND flyover between Delhi and Noida and the tall, fancy office buildings in Gurgaon and Bangalore being examples. Were it not for the influx of foreign construction companies into India, we would still be building overbridges over railway lines instead of the smooth and efficient flyways and expressways we move on today. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The same is true of airports. Interestingly, buildings that we envy today are those designed by the Brits prior to Independence or those being built now. I don’t know who to blame, but two things Westerners failed or forgot to teach us was to mind our own business and be patient. Be it office, factory or teaching institution, be it summer, monsoon or winter, most of us in India start our day with a cup of tea and the words “Kya khabar hai?” or “Tumne suna?” — referring to politics within the office. Then there are those who spend most of their time doing “ji huzoori”, euphemism for pleasing the boss. We may not be in a hurry to complete our office work, but we are always in a hurry when it comes to buying a ticket, paying a bill, getting into a bus or getting out of a cinema, using every possible sleight and slant to move ahead in the queue.While in Amsterdam recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see a young girl, probably a student, managing breakfast for guests staying at the hotel. She was not doing the cooking per se, but the responsibility of laying the crockery, cutlery and food was hers. She was also responsible for removing and cleaning the dishes, taking care of the guests’ special requirements, like heating milk, and even sweeping and swabbing. If this restaurant was in India, I am sure, it would have at least four if not more people working in it. The Dutch girl may not be staying back after work hours, but that she was giving her 100 per cent to the job, there was no doubt.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ ============================================ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Remarks: We also must consider that the employees have no holidays, no job security, no Provident Fund, no leisure ~ all the benefits achieved due to 'May Day' as fixed hours of work have gone to oblivion. So under the glitter Chopra describes ~ there is lot of filth pushed under carpet. Also below showy packages we get short-weight and excessively priced articles ~ and who is fooled by such slogans as "buy 2 and get 1 free"? ================================================ 000000000