Thursday, March 20, 2008

Good evening Mr. Adam, may I serve you?

A recurring theme of my trip to India is this: an unnessesarily large number of people are involved in everything. At times I wondered how little these people were getting paid that it was worth it to their employers to have so many people on staff.

I can't list all of the people at the hotel who were there to serve the guests. Two people would deliver room service. One would present the bill the other would bring the food. At a restaurant there were so many people standing around waiting for an opening to serve me.

I don't like being waited on. I don't need someone to pull out my chair for me before I sit. I don't need someone to place my napkin in my lap for me. I don't need someone to open the car door for me.

Sometimes it makes me downright uncomfortable. When I approach the elevator at the hotel the security guard forces a smile onto his face, asks me if everything is ok, and presses the elevator keys for me. Or in the food court at work the way you are not supposed to throw away your own trash. There are people who are there to do it. My hosts had to repeatedly remind me to leave my dishes on the table.

Sometimes it just confuses me. In the lobby of the office where I am working there are several woman there all day long who constrantly mop the floor. Back and forth they clean an already clean floor.

My "american-ness" makes a system like this hard to understand. In a country with so many people I guess the alternative is unemployment. I've been trying to tell myself what the Indians tell me: it's their job.

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