It’s been 3 months very intense months since my move to India to work at the Nokia research center and unfortunately as a result framing narratives has just been tumbling down to the bottom of my list. As I mentioned earlier, I have moved to Bangalore to be a part the Nokia Research Centre. I completed my under-graduation in Bangalore so its not an entirely new city for me but, here is a brand new realization-There is nothing like a ‘normal’ city in this country. I am using the word ‘normal’ very causally but, what I mean is that however long you live here, things never cease to amaze you.
This is a bus stand I pass everyday to work. Its defined by a single post and a crowd of people. Mostly a crowd of people are an indication that some sort of public transport is going to stop here! Where exactly is it going to stop and what time-isn’t really information that one cant function without. People are used to living in a state of transformation in India. As a developing nation public services and infrastructure is constantly changing and we have hence become accommodating of that. Does this accommodating behavior lead to a slack in the quality of services provided? I wonder.
Of all the odd things here I want to mention the auto drivers here. Every auto has a meter but its for show. One rarely meets an auto driver that doesnt want to cheat and overcharge and you rarely have an auto ride that you enjoy. Now most people who dont own their own vehicles are pretty helpless since auto rickshaws are their only mode of transport. Hence they have very little choice but to take autorickshaws to commute. Whats interesting is that people have now started developing their own methods to take charge of the situation since there is very little done by the larger governing bodies.
Here are a couple i have heard
Various people in different parts of the city (often disconnected) have now started taking photographs of the license plates of the auto rickshaw drivers who dont charge according to meter. this often works as a pretty good scare tactic.
Another group of people have started online social groups sharing names and license details of drivers who cheat passengers- so others are forewarned. Another tactic i hear is that people are actively seeking out names of traffic police commissioners and policemen to directly call and complain!
I am interested to see how these various methods evolve over a period of time and perhaps give rise to a really good public evaluation system for the various governing bodies. Camera and mobile phones are the new war tools for this underground guerilla battle against the auto rickshawalas.