Sunday, September 23, 2007

Root-Level Corruption

I noticed that some people were digging a ditch outside my main gate. On enquiry, I came to know that it is for putting some cables, which would be done tomorrow. I could see one worker digging deeper and I told him to leave some space untouched for our car to pass through and enter the parking area of the building. The guy had already dug up the area in front of the gate, so he initially said it is not possible to do what I asked for. I requested him to leave some space atleast since otherwise the car would have to be parked on the road itself. I then came back home.

After a few minutes, the doorbell rang and it was one of his co-workers (a lady). The lady said " Seems you have a car and have asked to fill the ditch in some areas so that your car can enter the parking area. We are three workers, we will do the job, but please pay us some money for tea" I was okay with it till I heard " Give us Rs 50 for tea, we will ensure that the work is done"

My first reaction was " What, Rs 50 for tea???" . But then i took two factors into account..
1. These are poor labourers toiling in the hot sun, what is the harm if they ask money for a small task which is for my own benefit.
2.When so many big level scams are being conducted successfully, what's wrong if these labourers ask for a small sum of money. They do not have any assets to fall back on in case of adverse times.

Finally, I agreed to pay them Rs 20 since they had to put some amount of sand back in to fill the ditches. I could have certainly afforded to pay the money she asked, but I did not want to comply with her demand since it will encourage her to ask some other thing after some time. Guess what, the lady agreed instantly. Maybe the amount is more than what she expected? She must have asked for 50 rs hoping that she would get atleast half of it..Good logic..

After some time, I noticed that the pit was still not filled up. So I went up to that lady and asked her to fill up the pit. She sent a man to do the job. He promptly did the job and guess what he asked "Madam, give me some money for tea"...

I could not help thinking about how we people look to earn money from all possible modes...A similar incident.. A temple watchman was collecting donation, I paid XX amount and got the receipt. Since I wanted to give X1 Rs and I did not have a 1 re coin, I gave a five rupee coin to get back the change. The watchman promptly said, "Madam, I shall take the remaining four rupees as my bakshish since I am the watchman here".. Is it his birthright to do this?? My dear man, Bakhsish is not asked or demanded, it is given happily by the person who wants to give it. Else, it is not a Bakhsish, its hafta (mamool). Way to go, India..


Ideasmoney said...

Dont blame people who take money... You should blame yourselves for paying them...

Little drops make a big ocean there is no distinction betweem small and big corruption.

Until we grease the palms of people, no point in cribbing about corruption.

Poppins said...

I don't know if it's only me but your template is all screwed up on my browser.. I am unable to see any posts.