I am a typical middle class fellow, who’s first sojourn outside India was on a company sponsored trip to Thailand; a place that I visited again – for its unrivaled beaches and people.
But that first time also made me wonder! Why is that none of our cities even resemble Bangkok in cleanliness. To the western eye the Bangkok traffic is chaos personified. But my Indian sensibilities of traffic struggled to hear horns being blown unnecessarily, find people cutting into wrong lanes and missed seeing a whole lot of road rage.
Moving on to Krabi, we met some of the most hospitable people, spic and span turquoise beaches and people with a genuine pride for their native land. A country that started why behind us, after us has become better off than us. This thought dissipated from my head over the next few weeks.
With lady luck supporting me – I recently got back from Europe, with a whole week in Germany, another in Switzerland and a couple of days in Salzburg. This thought burned again in my head.
I understand that the population of Germany is 80 odd million and ours is 1.24 Billion! but the system works for another reason – Civic pride.
For Example, in Switzerland, some tourist had thrown a cigarette packet over the railing on the descent from Trummelbach falls. It hung perilously on a few blades of grass over a 70-80 feet drop.
The lift operator came out, said a warm hello; threw a leg over the railing, hanging from it he scooped the litter and threw it in the garbage can before taking us down – all the while politely talking to us. That is civic pride!
On the other hand some colleagues of my wife in Germany who have been delegated from India, met her in the city bus. Now my wife had a ticket – its 2 Euros for 2 hours – unlimited journeys in the city. The amount might seem high to an Indian on an Indian salary – but when you are paid in Euros its on par!
Her colleague tells her that you are wasting your money – no one checks for tickets here so I never buy one! A system that works on honor is shamelessly exploited by us.
When ever there will be a surprise check (which are common) it will be India’s name that will be pulled down!
To that gentleman I say – India is lucky that you have spared her for a couple of years; Germany not so much.