solutions to big problems
trip out of India, and we end up having so much material to
write about on our return. I am not referring to the wonderful
sights or technological innovations one sees abroad or the
curtsey and efficiency with which even a third world country's
immigration and customs officials function. I am referring
to the simple things which are overlooked because of lack
of planning or attention to detail or plain insensitivity.
me recount a simple incident in Mumbai airport on my return
from abroad, which was both irritating and amusing but ends
up making all us Indians look pretty foolish. Apparently only
recently a bus has been arranged by the National Airports
Authority for transporting passengers directly to the domestic
terminal. The bus takes a short cut within the airport complex,
instead of the circuitous passage through Mumbai streets earlier.
course, there was neither an announcement, nor a notice indicating
such a facility! We are supposed to discover it ourselves.
A co-passenger who traveled recently told us of this facility,
and so we went to the coach after clearing immigration and
customs. We were guided to a coach that is to transfer us
from the international to the domestic departure. We did not
realize that there were passengers who had connecting flights
with Indian Airlines as well as Jet Airways. But all baggage
was loaded together. Five minutes into the bus ride, the driver
announced that we were approaching the Jet Airways terminal.
As the Jet Airways passengers were getting ready to disembark,
the driver announced that even the Indian Airlines passengers
should disembark to make sure their own baggage is reloaded
properly. Apparently it did not occur to the officials that
they could have loaded the baggage of Indian Airlines passengers
in a separate compartment. Some of us burst out laughing but
did not get too angry because we had ample time to catch the
Indian Airlines flight, thanks to the arrival of international
flights in Mumbai at an unearthly hour. All the 'housewives'
amidst us immediately exclaimed - such a simple solution;
why all this confusion! (On some other occasion I shall talk
bout the immense common sense exhibited by housewives but
has become dormant in our so called 'experts' and 'professionals').
If only we thought through issues, paid less importance to
facades and appearances and more attention to detail, if only
we put things on paper before implementation - we wouldn't
end up with flyovers hanging in mid-air and lanes leading
so happens that many of the problems, big and small, 'plaguing'
our country are all amenable to simple and practical solutions
- we just have to show the will. A friend of mine always keeps
telling me the problem is that between the big things we cannot
do and the little things we will not do, the danger is we
end up doing nothing. Where the whole world revels in finding
solutions to any problem, we seem to relish identifying a
problem in every solution. And now having identified this
make-believe problem, we would have a perfectly legitimate
excuse for not attempting to do anything about it. Many of
the problems of our country don't require new solutions which
are yet to be discovered. The answers are all out there, having
been successfully tested and tried-out elsewhere, and all
we have to do is to replicate with suitable adaptation and
institution-building. A little attention to detail and putting
to good use our common sense can make life so much simpler
and smoother for all.