Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Cities and attitude

What is it that determines the attitude of a city? Why is a particular city, cool or welcoming, while some other cities are cold or downright hostile? Indeed what is it that makes some cities more professional than others?

Needless to say, I am referring to Bombay in comparison with many other cities in India. I have lived in a few cities in India, yet not found a single city to be as professional as Bombay. Unless you are at some shady location at an odd time, the service that you get across the city does not change because you look different or wear different clothes. As long as both the well dressed arm and the not so well dressed arm extends the same denomination of the rupee, the service they get is the same. I have found Bombay to offer value for money in most aspects. I refer to services. If I have a housemaid, she does her job for the money she is paid. The rickshaw driver or taxi driver does his job wonderfully well and rarely takes you for a city tour. The office boy of my first ever employer, had the guts to tell the vice president that his delay of a few minutes, was "making him lose precious minutes", and more importantly, the vice president understood where he was coming from. Most agencies that offer you a service, be it a car rental or a bus ticketing service or a caterer or a pundit, more often than not you are left with the feeling that you got service worth the amount you paid.

This is a feeling that I have missed ever since I left Bombay. Pune and Hyderabad to a slightly lesser extent, but Bangalore to me has been a big let down. Each time, I get someone for a task, I have been left with a feeling that I have been short changed. Start with the builder (who has cut corners at every extent possible), to the auto rickshaw drivers (need I say more), to the RTO (money talks here), to the Registrars office (well, the gold there will make your eyes water). There are very few places, agencies or service providers in Bangalore (in fact, so few, that I dont remember any of them now) that offer (or have offered) value for money.

Why is the Bombay habit of respecting the other mans time and money so difficult to replicate in other cities of India? Is it really too much to ask? What do we do as citizens? I have taken a hardline approach. I pay the money, but I am ruthless and ensure that my money goes out only if the service is done well and completely to my satisfaction. But yet, the feeling remains, why cant the city be more professional?


Manoj said...

How can you compare Pune services to Mumbai services... Pune has got one of the most laziest service providers be it the PMC , restaurants, rickshaw, bus , shops.... Could never imagine a small distance of 100 odd kms ( from bby ) can change the attitude of people to such an extend. Everyone exists to take the customer for a ride. Very a rare restaurant provides VFM .Beware of Pune ....

Anonymous said...

mostly because Mumbai does not belong a one community. All other cities one community has dominating population and if you look a bit deep each section of city is dominated by a caste e.g in Hyd the old hyd belongs to Muslims.. in pune the area near Shanivarwada belongs to Kobras..
so mostly you deal /trade inside your community own people who tolerate bad services because you are there own. and small percentage of outsiders like you and me don't really count.

In Mumbai you have to seek business on your merit and seek instant monetory rewards and hence you don't really worry about the clothes etc
Furthermore just due to size of mumbai everything has become commodity and hence you get standarized service everywhere

The Guy Next Door said...

Agree abt service in Blore. It might have something to do with the missing Entrepeneur spirit in the local people. Every day thousands of ambitious , success-hungry people come into Bombay who want to make their mark and they know it can be done only if they compete well with others. Bangalore is more chilled , more easy-going people,who want different things in life than their Bombay counterparts.

The Guy Next Door said...

And yes, Nice Blog you have got here, mate. Keep it going.

Anonymous said...

Try living in Delhi. Easily one of the hardest places to live when it comes to corruption, swindlers and corruption...yet I still love it :).

- Nishant

Anonymous said...

I have moved from Blore to Pune recently. I find a vast difference in attitude in Pune from Bangalore. My first impression in the first 2 days was that people in Pune do their job to completion. But in a period of 3 months I realized that the Pune people are short tempered, rude, greedy and selfish.

They would not call you in for a cup of tea, water. Nor will they offer sweets to a neighbour on the birth of a child. Girls, young or old will say "lelo", "side" instead of "le legiye", and "excuse me please". Rudeness is the way to go. Short temper is very very rampant. They would snap at the first instance. I had a woman from my neighbour hood call me every day to enquire about the common maid's attendance. One day I told her that I was busy and could not talk. She came home to check if I was busy.. What guts, she had the nerve to tell me that I was lieing. I snapped. I told her to "get out" of my house and haunt someone elses. A small girl 10-12 years, walked by me on a narrow corridor and said "side" instead of "excuse me". I stopped her and corrected her. I politely mentioned to her that she should say "excuse me" to a elder. Her mom got irritated at me. What attitude this city has.

Doctors, are JUST MAKING MONEY. I know.. this is common everywhere in India, but here its the heights. They FLOCK ladies for a ultrasound and get done with 20 in 15 mins. This doc has the attitude to say, "injection lele kal".. BLODDY we are not beggers, we PAY for service and DEMAND respect. Another clinic. Husband and Wife run it and get patients to meet them alternatively. Not to mention, they are both rude. A space of 100 sq ft has 30 patients, with no numbering or queque system. The receptionist is chewing some thing when she talks to paitents.. No manners.. Basically a attitude this city has...

Blore, its better then this..

Atul Thakker said...

Finally, I found one blog talking about rudeness of Puneites. I always thought that there is something wrong with me experiencing such rudeness in Pune. But now I know, I am not alone.

I have travelled across the country, based from Mumbai. Let me exclaim that Pune has been the worst city I have travelled till now, in terms of People Attitude. I still am trying to be positive towards their attitude. Hope I can do that. Few snapshots:

1. People do not understand the traffic issues but are fond of cursing government for bad roads.
2. I have tried suggesting few traffic violators with a softest tone that I can maintain. I always get rudest response back.
3. Vendors here do not understand the value of customer. For them, customers are 'Bakras'.
4. Builders are just trying to make fool of IT people's wealth and selling some stupid quality projects to them. Unfortunately, they are buying !!! Surprising. I always thought that IT People are intelligent.
5. Probably, this is the most corrupted part of India, after Bihar.
6. I have seen people openly scolding or joking on Traffic officer loudly and running away.
7. My wife had a small stomach pain. I went to tbe best hospital in the area. They horrified me with some technical details of the sickness and went ahead with a major surgery. Later, I found from my good doctor friend in Mumbai, that she did not have any problem !!! I will never forgive myself for allowing them to do the surgery.

They say, Pune is fastest developing city. I say, it can never get developed. For development of any region, two things are most important:
1. Planning
2. Attitude of residents

Both these things can not be found in this city. The worst ever.