India is experiencing a drastic economic change and overall development at such a fast pace that in reality, the average Indian cannot really keep up. Well of course, our domestic workers own smart phones now, in fact, the daughter of one of my friend’s maid recently sent her a Facebook request too!
Its different how the young, educated generation that is constantly exposed to international happenings and quality of life behaves and keeps up with the race. This has drafted down to the urban lower economic classes too.
When we talk of an average Indian, we generally mean, those who make up the vast majority of the country. The youth and older generation who don’t have access to the same things the urban class citizen does, irrespective of economic class. Or maybe, those who may have the access but not the willingness to really grow with the flow and change. Much like our fiscal norms and policies, they can’t keep up.
Uber / Ola / Taxi For Sure/ Etc
All these instant app based cab hire services are pretty amazing to say the least. For travelling executives or young people who move to new cities for work, these services can make commuting all the more easier and not to mention safer. However, here’s a personal experience. Every time I book an Uber cab through my app, I patiently watch where the driver is on my Uber screen and wait for him to arrive at my destination. But here’s the folly.
The driver is supposed to look at his smart phone and see where I am and then accordingly find the best route possible to get to me. He doesn’t do that he calls. Then he asks me how to get to where I am. And when I try to give him landmarks, he plays dumb. But the point is, I’m new to the city and he is the local driver who should know, right?
So basically, while the system is in place, its safe to say that the basic norms aren’t. While this is an experience with some of the drivers of these systems, it does not extend to every one of them, rest assured. There have been a couple of occasions where a cab is booked and promptly ten minutes later, the car arrives without a call or question as to how to get there.
Big Malls, No Real Service
Step into one of those AC multi-storey malls over flowing with shops that sell the best of this and the best of that. Amazing so-called offers by international brands throng the market. Pick up a couple of items of choice and get to the billing counter. If its a weekday and there isn’t much of a rush, chances are that you’ll get by fast. If it’s a public holiday or the weekend, youre in a for a treat, pun intended. Once you get to the billing counter for instance, there will be a long queue.
In certain cases, there will be 4 billing counters but only 2 or 3 working ones. Where did the executive of the 4th counter go? No one knows. Its like they purposely keep some shut. This is especially the case at any Westside or Pantaloons retail outlet. Once you get to the counter, there will be at least one issue while making the bill. They will either not have the right pricing for one of the products you’ve chosen or the tag won’t be there. Or the executive is too new to make a proper bill so has to keep asking his superior questions while doing it.
Something or the other will crop up to waste your time even more. Needless to say, the staff in reality can’t keep up with the farce of these fancy shops. They can’t manage a crowd. Again, while this is seen in most cases, there are quite a few sales staff or stores wherein professional conduct and management is at its peak. If you go to a Croma or Reliance Digital Shop, the sales men are usually well trained and know the technical features of the products they are responsible for. And when it comes to billing issues, it’s usually a cakewalk.
Banks and Financial Institutes
Some of us of the new generation have gladly switched to internet banking and the sorts because it makes things easier, quicker, faster. Our parents probably aren’t that comfortable with the concept of allowing their computer takeover their money. But, that’s okay, I don’t like change too! Whenever I face a banking problem Iv’e realized that our monetary norms still stick to the old. Our core policies haven’t changed.
To cancel a policy for instance at Icici Prudential, you have to physically go to the bank, submit an old cancelled cheque along with the original printed policy papers after filling in a cancellation form. No, its not as easy as clicking a button online. So basically, we offer a part of these services online but still have to physically be there to undertake certain transactions. May as well not.
On the one hand, we may develop superficially. We may have domestic flights that take us anywhere within the country within a day as opposed to long overnight train journeys that are now just an option and not a monopoly anymore. We have emerging markets and big retail sales centers. The sales staff at a fancy make-up brand’s retail outlet will sport the latest hairstyle and wear the latest shade of lip colour. Ask her a question or two and you’d wished you hadn’t thanks to her tone of voice or knowledge of the brand. Again, this is for a specific few and not every representative or brand in the market today.
We have employees that may or may not be able to keep up. We have the best of everything, yet not. Our growth is spiralling out of control because not everyone is being able to keep up. Its imperative that this growth and development seep into all layers of society for it to really the benefit the country as a whole and not just a certain class of people. It’s also imperative that everyone try and keep up, not just a certain section but the country as a whole. Otherwise, what is the point?
By Paroma Sen