Monday, January 11, 2010

Incredible India

After 4 weeks of holiday – visiting family and friends, here is my update.
I have so much to write and share. Here is my first cut, things that have changed..significantly in the last 2 years. Things that i thought was unique just to India..esp Chennai !!!!!!

Resource Allocation:
When I worked as a HR consultant, involved in restructure daddy would always say India is a country with a huge population. Automation may increase the efficiency in production but for a country like ours, It is important to provide jobs for every one and feed families. I saw this everywhere.
Example: Supermarket. You have someone responsible for each aisle -usually a young girl lets say chick 1. If she spots you standing in a place and thinking or searching, she comes to your rescue. I try to walk continuously to avoid the encounter (nothing wrong with them, but I find it extremely hard if I ask them to find something for me and then I decide not to buy it)
There is a cashier/checkout chick to bill, let’s call her chick 2. There is chick 3 standing next to the counter to take the things out of the basket and give to chick 2, as it can be a challenging task for me to clear my own basket. There is dude standing on the other side of counter to put the items into a plastic bag. This dude needs to be smart enough to put frozen items together and make sure food and laundry does not mix in the bag. Then there big dude 2 standing near the door to open and close for you!!!!

Customer Service / Shoes:
Obviously I visited more shoe shops than relatives in this trip too..hehe. I am always uncomfortable when someone tries to help me wear a shoe. There is always a Hindi speaking dude who will provide feedback on what colour would suit you, bring the right size, make you sit down and help you wear it. I run away from them so I can try them myself. After deciding what you want to buy, dude carries the shoe to the counter for you. Then while the cashier handles the bill/payment, the dude would chuck the shoes into this really thick plastic bag.
When I said I did not want a plastic bag, dude gave me the vadivelu – appadiye shock aagiten look “ How on earth can you carry shoes in the shoe box” , insisted I should take a carry bag. I had to explain to him, I am trying to avoid plastic he offered to bring the shoe box to the car. I said my car is right in front of the shop and I can carry it myself, he then ran inside and came back with a cardboard carry bag reserved for expensive men’s shoes. ' Un kadamai unarchiku oru alave illaiya'

Affection :
Indian folks are very loving people. Anywhere I took baby, she was showered with love. Not by just family and friends but by strangers. There were atleast 2 random customer service guys/gals who would pat her and speak to her in super markets. We got extra toys in McDonalds ( hehe we did get happy meals in Chennai). Cotton World was even better, twice I went there. Once they gave her a balloon and played with her until I had finished shopping. Second time she recognised them and asked for balloon and they gave her lollies instead. Again entertained her until i finished my shopping. Where else would you see this !!!

McDonalds :
On a beautiful long drive in the new tollway, I told hubi this is just like driving in Melbourne. All we are missing is Mc and that’s when bubby started.the next 20 minutes drive all we heard was “lets go to McD..grrr. So I took her to Mc. It is interesting to see they have ‘Aloo Tikki Burgers’, ‘Panneer Wraps’etc. No beef and very indianised menu. It was awesome. I ordered for the kids meal for like 100 bucks, all you get is McChicken burger and a soft drink. No fries and no other option with drinks. If you want water you pay extra. Apparently all kids drink coke from the massive cup with ice. The only option I had was hot chocolate, which you can imagine was super hot. Obviously when I ordered for the hot chocolate I got the next ‘appadiye shock aagiten’ look again. Btw there is a chick to take the order and key in, and dude peeping over her shoulders and serve you. Whats more interesting is, you can order and take a seat. Someone walks to your table to serve you. You are not expected to clear your table after you eat. There are 2 ladies standing in the middle of the small room staring at every table with “are you done yet” look ( made me very uncomfortable). The second you get up, they clean after you. Just when you think there are enough people in the room, there is a supervisor standing there and watching everyone. If the ladies delay the table cleaning by 2 seconds, he comes to rescue and give them the required instruction. The serviettes’ are just serv…….1/4 the normal size and they give u 1 for every meal.

Catering to needs:
I was winging about how expensive everything was. A pack of 10 nappies was 300 rupees, cone ice cream – 25 rupees, 2 litre coke – 54 rupees etc, Bhel poori – 85 rupees. Everyone at home were cool about it and I wondered how a middle class family could cope with this cost of living, until I visited the beach and the snake park. The entry fee to the snake park is 1 rupee. Everyone who came there had bought food from home. So they just sat in the park and ate. Beach, offcourse has free entry and the snacks are 10 rupees. Chennai does cater to the needs of all the people.

Living in Anna nagar, I visited all the awesome artefacts shops around the area. They all had sooper cool names, locations and sales people. Then I heard daddy and in laws mention poombuhar. I wondered where it was and what would be available there and how modern it would be…until I visited the awesmoest place ever.
They are located in the mount road, next to Higginbotham’s. 2 floors of nothing but artefacts. They had everything from brass to wood. Tanjore painting, glass painting, canvas painting, framed, rolled, dresses, terracotta…ok there is everything you can name, including items I bought in anna nagar without the markup by the English speaking sales 'bhaiya'. I spent 2 hours there and the staffs were friendly as well. Chennai rocks..

My only concern is that customer service has a different meaning, although i agree customer is the king, the customers do really walk around like they are the king/queen, scream out when the 'service' is not up to their expectation !!! i never heard a thank you to the chicks in supermarket, the door man, none..what so ever.


superlazy said...

oyeeeeeee raji.. arambichutangayya arambichutanga.. blog eluduradhai.. hey nice man.. pakkura small matters kuda oru story a potute.. gud.. after reading ur blog, am much much tempted to eat immediately i called my hub to get one for me when he comes bk from work.. adipaaavi en diet yai sodhapitta.....

superlazy said...

yaaru idhu pudhusa superlazy nu romba think pannadhey..its me nana dhan..devi

Alvii said...

i never realised how similiar our places of birth actually are... we were stalked whilst eating KFC in the main city by cleaners who wanted nothing more than to keep the tables assigned to them clean, the public toilets were definitely not a place to visit so you had no other choice than to visit the upper class shopping centre and PAY for the use of their public toilets and the cost of living had increased so much that all that was on the menu for breakfast most mornings was a cup of chai and a slice of bread... its crazy!

busyblogger said...

hehe devi..i knew the minute i got a comment, it was from are one of the 3 members who read my