Gates...not Bill....

December 12, 2005

Everywhere I go, in public buildings, banks, and even parks, in India, I find this very strange phenomenon…the gates or doors are NEVER wide open, but always, ALWAYS, partially closed, with a chain and padlock to secure it that way. Very often one has to squeeze through.

I have a theory about this. To me , this is representative of the Indian mindset, or,rather, the babu mindset that we have received from the British, and which we have firmly entrenched in our psyche…the feeling that having some authority or power means necessarily having to make it difficult for those with whom one deals. “You can’t do that” is the operative phrase. A person who wants to deal successfully with any government department has to squeeze through thickets of difficulties raised by the people in charge.

When I find that banks, post offices, telephone offices and parks are either closed or, if open, have their doors wide open, I will know that the Indian economy, too, is wide open. Until then…this half-open but half-closed mentality is going to cause frustration and impede progress.