Tuesday 3 January 2012

Incredible India: No task like a job

How many men do it take …?
I think I have to conclude, it is an Indian thing, passing through customs was a breeze of handlers. In fact, my passport was first touched at the entrance to the terminal and that was two checkers just 3 metres apart to ascertain the first had not been derelict in his duty of observance.
Then I am approached at ask was flight I would be on, that was by a lady, she gave me a form to fill in – yes, we have to fill in a departure form that includes the address of where we stayed in India amongst other unnecessary bureaucratic information.
Then I checked in my baggage with the privilege accorded a frequent flyer to add one more, airline loyalty and airmiles accumulation does pay. I paid for my return trip to India with my airmiles and got to travel in style too. Two men at check-in, though in this case, one did help with my baggage.
Form filling is form
After filling in the form and cabin luggage tags, one was issued for my cane but there was no way of attaching it to my cane, I did not bother; I gave my passport, boarding pass and departure form to the immigration officer who squinted and bent my passport every which way, took advice off his colleague then passed it through the electronic verification system before stamping it and handing it back.
Then I was at security where everything was put in trays and I was handed identifiers for the trays going through the X-ray system, at the point my boarding pass was checked and stamped, and that was a lady at work. When my goods eventually emerged from the X-ray system, eventually, because they chose to change positions after I stepped through the metal detector, the identifiers were matched and once again my boarding pass was stamped – another lady at work.
I had to smile as I watched the lady try to attach a hand baggage tag to my cane, a really stupid exercise that someone by law had to do – Shaking my head, vigorously.
All busy very slowly
I am surprised at my somewhat apt observation from when I arrived in India that there was indeed a man per task rather than a person doing a job that consists of tasks – this supposed division of labour keeps everyone busy and props up a bureaucratic system that is unwieldy at best.
Just when I thought I have seen the last of checks before the boarding gate was another man checking if my hand luggage had the correct tagging as well as ensuring I had a boarding pass – as if everyone else was sleeping on duty.
I suppose everyone is busy doing something in India, to what end escapes me apart from it keeping unemployment figures low, not helping people assume responsibility or take initiative and worst of all, it means very few will know how to multitask because it takes that to do a job and do it well.


Codliveroil said...

Akin, on my visits to Nigeria I observed many instances of people doing jobs that could be done by a smaller number of people.

The thing is, those employees probably have families depending on them. Is it better to have them languishing at home doing nothing but becoming frustrated, or to have them in a job?

Maybe you only glimpsed only one aspect of their job, they may have other duties you may not have observed. They may be rotated to some other aspect, who knows.

I know that being unemployed is no fun, I have been there and may soon be returning there. I think the addage "something is better than nothing" comes to mind.

Thanks for posting.

Akin Akintayo said...

Hello CodLiverOil,

I observed this situation in at least 4 different settings each of which I wrote about though at the same time I appreciate the views your express too.

Where do I start about what I did in 2011? That is a long story.

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