Thursday, December 27, 2007

getting a letter

I picked up a letter from the Mumbai Central Post Office containing my new ATM card. Imagine with me:

Remember your last trip to the DMV. Take away the computers and replace them with reams of paper that overflow into the hallways, kept in stacks that will drown someone when they finally give way. Replace the incompetent workers with employees that received their job through bribes or political favors (unconfirmed reports but rings true to me). Take away any western sense of urgency and replace it with frequent chai breaks.

Luckily, I entered the post office well fed and happy. A hungry Lex would have emerged enraged and possibly dragged out by the numerous security guards (this country must have the highest guard to people ratio in the world). Instead, I could barely contain my laughter at the three ring circus. I would painstakingly lay out the details of my case to someone until they called over reinforcements. I would repeat everything while several people argued in rapid Hindi around me. In the course of two hours, I talked to 19 different people in 7 locations spread across a large city block. I truly have never seen anything like it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great, true to life description. You should try going to pick up something at the airport that has been 'shipped.' At least at the Delhi International Airport there is a list steps that cover a whole wall in the waiting room--and there were not only chai breaks but a lunch break over an hour long. I'll expand at another time.