Before I begin my frustrating experience with the Indian mobile phone companies,the private taxi companies,auto rickshaw drivers,and the non-existence of customer service, I want to share with all of you the fact that now in India,there are 7 million new Indian millionaires.
While I was at Baby Sarah’s home in Pondicherry, I mentioned this to Kartik,the director. I asked him why he didnt approach some of these young,weathly people and ask for support for the orphanage. He told me that he had invited several of the successful businessmen in Pondicherry to visit the orphanage and see what they were doing.The wealthy Indian entrepreneurs replied they didnt have time and were not interested in visiting retarded children.
There is a lack of empathy and caring in this country. It begins with the treatment of animals; a few weeks ago I was tuned in to BBC news and I caught part of a program discussing whether they would kill all the street dogs in Bangalore after two children had been fatally wounded by several dogs with Rabies. The point that is overlooked by the press and the people is that if dogs were neutered, there would not be such a monstrous number of street dogs. The condition of these animals is appalling. Their fur is always matted and dirty,scabs on their bodies, and always underfed so their bones are revealed through their thin skins.Their gaze is asking you to love them and take care of them. I spent the last two nights on a coffee plantation,doing a homestay. The family,upper middle class had two young sons and four dogs. When I spoke to the husband about how animals in the States were treated better than most poor people in underdeveloped countries, he assured me they took care of their dogs. But the female had just given birth to one puppy;it was her 8th litter. The father of the puppy was the mother’s brother. Interbreeding for eight litters as well as wearing out the poor animal. All of the dogs looked rangy,thin and one had a large wound on his back that still was raw. Again the dad assured me the vetinarian had treated the wound.
If we feel saddened by the poor,indifferent treatment of animals, we are frustrated by the lack of organization. Today my bus to Mysore was cancelled because of a strike in that city. I went to buy a ticket for the next day’s bus and I was told I had to buy it to Bangalore which was double the price,because they couldnt sell tickets to Mysore,even though the bus would go there the next day.
My anger level was rising in the Hutch mobile phone office,after returning for four days,consecutively and still they could not get my phone to work and they wouldnt replace it and give me credit for 300 rupees talk time. After talking to one of the employees,it was obvious that they are told not to replace equipment for free or give any refunds. Everyone is afraid to make any decision because they are afraid of being fired. There are so many people looking for work, everyone is expendable. I finally gave up at Hutch after too many yes Mames and went to their rival, AirTel and bought an new SIM card and again talk time. Unlike the States,to use a cell phone in most countries, you dont have to sign a contract or pay monthly bills. It is only necessary to buy a SIM card with one of the cell companies and then buy currency time.
Since I arrived in India three weeks ago,I had been hiring private taxis, with the hopes of stoppng along the way and shooting photos. But the drivers were usually going 80-100 km so it became a big hassle to have them jam the breaks everytime I saw a possible shot. There is also this ridiculous extra charge if you want AC in the car. The car companies are already overcharging tourists but I was ready to slap my driver the other day after I had been quoted 1500 rupees to go 130km but never told me that this price was w/o air-conditioning.The temperature in India these days has been hovering between 33C-38C or 95F-100F,so a journey through India with hot air blowing in your face,is exhausting. My last private taxi took me to another non-descript hot and dry mountain town. After deciding not to spend two long hot days looking at the remains of two small Hindu temples,I had decided to take a bus to my next destination. Unfortunately there were no deluxe or AC buses going to Madikeri,only the regular broken down city buses. I was the only English speaking Causcasian on the bus. The roads were full of potholes and the bus shook and rattled for four hours. Somewhere in the middle of a mountain range,the bus died. I was preparing for a several hours wait. Luckily the bus driver was also a mechanic and within minutes we were on our way. As I was the last person to get off the bus, I was attacked by 15 people trying to get on the bus. I started to kick and push and scream until everyone got out of my way.
Since I am on my way to most beautiful state in India, Kerala, I hope to have more postive
and happy travel experiences to report. Until then, enjoy your delicious food and comfortable life.