Events, Memories, Random Thoughts, Views

Are we there yet?

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For a long time, I’ve intrigued that what is the status of India, are we a developing nation or a developed one. I wrote this post Can India be superpower? almost a year and half back. I can not say if this is a logical extension to same, may be you could suggest me where this fits. This brings us to a major question, will we ever be a Developed Nation?

Development to me appears to be a relative term. I’ve never been to places which are called un-developed (outside India) but I’ve been to place which they call Developed (United Kingdom). I won’t mind if someone calls me I’m comparing the two worlds, I guess that’s why they are called developed. There are varying degrees on which this discussion could be based. I would love to start from the problems which we face the most.

You are not stuck in traffic, you are traffic.

For me the above is a great summary but what does this mean? There is no problem in India but we Indians are the major problem – and that what it means to me. There is a proposition that we’ve a huge population, lets put that aside for later.

Traffic & Queue

To start with, we have major aversion with following rules. This is more evident on roads and wherever there’s a queue.

  • You are driving and see a gap, you push your car in squeezing, scratching, abusing others. But was that the proper lane. I’m sure, most will jump and scream, “F*ck, there are lanes in India”. Well, yes there are but you choose to ignore it and so does the civic authorities
  • You are in a queue, and see a person querying something at the counter. What do you do? मेरा सिर्फ एक ही सामान है, मेरा पेहले कर दो, मुझे जल्दी जाना है। (I’ve got only 1 item. Please bill me first, I’m in a bit of hurry). We are shameless about it too, isn’t it the person in front of you queued up, wasted his time & effort or s/he is more important than you?

This incident is from 2012, the day I landed in UK. I was asked for some documents and were asked to follow a different queue. When my turn came, I was interacting with the officer. A lady had some doubts and she jumped the queue to clarify it. The officer calmly said, “Do they know something about queues, wherever you come from?” It immediately branded her and her country. She went back and waited for her turn. I did wait to see what happen next. The officer gave her full attention when her time came and there was no discrepancy.

  • We take up all of the road and do not even allow emergency services to pass through. Driving in India is horrible, scary & dangerous. More people die on road in India that anywhere else.

During my stay in UK, we used to hit the road many too often. On one such instance, we had 2 cars but only one GPS Navigation device. It was decided, the second car will follow the first car which will have the GPS and me being in second car will use internet enabled Nokia N8. The first car missed a turn and stopped at hard shoulder – which is a hardened strip which has SOS hardline telephone at every few meters and is kept free for emergency services. When the second car stopped, we were intercepted by Police immediately (within 30 seconds of stopping of first car) enquiring if there is emergency and asked to move away if there is no emergency.

  • Driving in driving direction & putting life in danger of co-passengers and others on road
  • Service lane is for services only but concept is totally different in India. Service Lane are unidirectional lanes which run parallel to main road and used to divert from main road to access local areas\cities and Services (which has Restrooms, Restaurants, Gas Stations etc). In India, Service Lane is bidirectional and it is considered extension of main road and even opposite lane driving


The most dangerous terms that are pulling back India are, “Adjust kar lo” & “Sab chalta hai”\”Jugaad”.

I’m a regular Delhi Metro commuter (used to take Buses too earlier) and the most irritating term I hear ever is “Adjust kar lo”. In a seat where only 7 can accommodate in Delhi Metro, some guy or girl will come up (they will not ask you to leave the seat unless it’s a girl/lady & you are on seat marked for ladies), थोड़ा साईड दे दो (Give me side) or ऐडजस्ट कर लो (Please adjust). That 1 person causes inconvenience to atleast 3 people and themselves. If one of the person leaves, then the person seeking adjustment is always willing to cover the full space.

“Sab chalta hai” or “Jugaad” is the way to go for India for living up with substandard quality. Yes, it is true that we do not get the best of the world. There are enough examples we see or do which shows how content we are using substandard products. Talking about it will take forever.


One particular thing we crib about (at least I do) is dirt, garbage & stink. It all comes from us by not throwing our garbage in designated bins, letting stray animals spread it around, spit Pan/Gutkha on road & walls. Of above, at least throwing garbage & not to spit is under our control yet we avoid that and then put the blame over to authorities for not acting up.

It is not that authorities are not part of it. They are the other face of the coin. Imagine this, a new bin is set up. Few days all goes well, it is clean and people thew their garbage in the bin. One day it started stinking. Someone threw the garbage outside the bin to avoid getting closer. Others followed. Authorities ignored maintaining the bin, ignored garbage outside the bin simply because they are human too and would not like to touch garbage. Slowly more threw garbage outside the bin. Authorities followed routine. Now everyone made it an open bin and authorities are helpless as too much of garbage. This the case everywhere and more visible in Indian Railways as well.

In UK, every household is given trash can. You put your trash in the can tied in bin bags. Every week the trash cans are emptied by the authorities. Solves all 3 issues above as no one likes to keep their own house dirty.


Even if we are considered hardworking, we are equally lazy.

  • Waiting for last day to file Income Tax
  • Wait for last day to pay bills
  • Reaching late by saying “Indian Stretchable Time”
  • and list could go on…

Well all above mentioned problems are because, we are lazy.

  • We are lazy so we started late from home and require to cut lanes and queues causing traffic jams & chaos
  • We are lazy so did not put effort to do the best
  • We are lazy so threw garbage outside bins, spit on walls
  • And yet we hardly reach on time!

Lets start solving the problems by just being little proactive, being little early on schedule, keeping in handy 20% of your total time handy.

What if we leave home 10 minutes early (for a 50 minute journey)? No need to break traffic laws.

No need to take that shortcut though busy market.

No need to throw garbage outside bins & run off.

No need to spit on walls coz you didn’t hold on to reach the bins.

Follow lanes: No one cutting in between, so no delays. Jams will be there but will be peaceful one. No honking.

No pushing or rushing in Bus or Metro. No paying extra to Auto.

What if we put more effort in fixing the problem?

(Also for studies & job)

Less time bitching & less time fixing (coz, you’ll fix once with quality product, which will go on for years!)

More effective solution. In case of any issue, time in hand to redo.

What if paid bills on time/submitted forms/even studied? No need to pay anyone… No fines, no donations, no bribes .

 To all problems, there’s always a solution. For big ones, solution are always simple ones. If there ain’t a solution, it ain’t a problem.

If you think there are other pressing issues (this is focussed on us) missed or if you feel this can solve many problems, do comment. Do mention your solutions so others can benefit too!

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