|A New Home: Oct. 30th
|Theres an old saying that goes something like "In heaven you
would have a German mechanic, a French cook, a Japanese wife, and an American salary; in
hell you would a Japanese salary, an English cook, an Italian mechanic, and an American
wife". In heaven you would have an Indian driver like our Jude. In the Raj days, I
read that a British soldier knew when to wake up in the morning because he realized that
his face had been just freshly shaved. All this optimism comes from having moved into our
house in Indiranagar. We have music glorious music, Mozart, Gershwin, the Grateful
Dead, Ella F. We have power praised be the potentates of Indiranagar, whose
administrative power keeps electricity flowing to this neighborhood for at least 8 hours a
day. We have frangipani blossoms, that wonderful perfume so unique to India. We have a
gecko lizard that lives in our living room and eats mosquitoes and the occasional
cockroach. We have named our new friend Cucharacha we hope Cucharacha grows from
4" to 10" and lives a long and healthy life. Sue and I are happy; happy for
clean water available from the water purifier, because we have power; happy for clean air
, because we are no longer in a mildewy place; happy for the beautiful garden and peaceful
surroundings, because we are no longer in an apartment building in downtown. In short, we
are happy to have some of the psychological comforts of home. Tomorrow we start living
Sue will buy basic necessities (toilet paper at a buck a roll, and Pepsi). The day
after I hope to get some cheap cane chairs and the maid comes to wash down the entire
|We were supposed to meet our landlord Ravis carpenter today at 12.
In typical Indian fashion, he didnt show up at 12:00. We waited till 1:00, and then
I went back to work. It turned out he was there at 11:00, and then at 2:00. The number of
hours I have wasted 10 daylight hours just trying to meet a carpenter to get
my desk built. Of course, I cant buy a desk off the shelf, because they dont
exist. Graham has a gorgeous desk, built of Indian mahogany, which looks like a good
Georgian reproduction. It cost him $900, and was built by a carpenter in New Delhi. The
disadvantage is it took 9 months to make and get delivered to Bangalore.
|It is an article of faith, true religious faith, that your destiny is
unchangeable in India. If you are born a lower caste, you will be a lower caste your
entire life why fight it. If you have enough for the next meal, why earn more, why
work harder? Ravi told me an apocryphal story about Indian productivity today. He knew
this efficiency expert from the UN who was sent to India to do a study about increasing
productivity in the Indian work force. The efficiency consultant is interviewing a
government clerk, who has a large stack of forms on his desk awaiting processing. Instead
of working, the clerk is enjoying a long, leisurely three-hour lunch break.
|"So why not make your work break shorter, and finish
the paperwork?" asks the consultant.
would that do for me sir?" .
"Well you might get more done!".
"And how would that help me?" asks the puzzled clerk.
"Well you would get a promotion because you would become more
"And what would a promotion give me bhai "? (bhai means
brother, in the same sense that Russians use comrade)
The consultant is now puzzled. "Well with a promotion, youd
get more money!"
" But what would I do with the money?"
"You could save it, and retire earlier, and relax.".
"Ah...", says the clerk, "but bhai, I am relaxing