Thursday, November 14, 2013

Indians and the Finishing Touch

If Frenchman Jacques Bigot had dark skin, he would look like an Indian old man. He was a short man with sharp pointed mustache. He was heading a special project of building the factory for the organization where I worked. As the infrastructure was nearing completion, he called me in to carry out branding at the factory.

Jacques Bigot had an eye for detail. He was also very particular of sticking to schedules. And while communicating, he was straight and blunt. Despite that it was fun working with him. Despite pushing everyone to commit to a plan and ensuring they stick to it, no one could ever hate him. He was jovial and fun loving.

After the completion of branding at the factory, I went a little late into the factory next day. I was feeling proud that I had done a good job and was sure Jacques will be impressed. As I entered I found Jacques outside and as soon as he was me, he welcomed me by giving a warm handshake and thanked me. I felt good. Then, he said "come with me". I knew there was something else.

He took me to one part of the factory and said "I don't blame and you have done a good job. But I have always noticed that Indians are not good at finishing things properly". Then, he showed me the mounds of mud that had accumulated on the skirting under each of the poster. He said though the posters were properly placed, the vendor had left without clearing the dust. Then he went on the point out to the pencil marks on the wall that had been etched around the poster. This is usually done to ensure that the posters are aligned properly but now they were part of the wall too.

At first, I was upset. Then after some thought I felt Jacques Bigot wasn't wrong. I have myself had such experiences after a visit from a service provider - electrician, AC mechanic, plumber, carpenter. Am sure you must have experienced this as well. Bits of wires strewn around? Pieces of wood, plastic, copper wire, dust that we clean up.

This can be experienced almost everywhere in India. Have you experienced the sudden bump on the road throwing you off balance and giving your back a big surprise. Or the other kind which emerges half feet above the road surface. Not sure if Corporation staff were planning a gutter closing or a speed breaker. The height of the pavements differ or are laid without a thought. Sometime, you wonder why the pavement was laid at all. Or take the Kathipara Grade Separator in Chennai for that matter. In one particular part, the rain water stagnates. And worse the surface is very uneven in other parts. Such a massive project handled by a professional organization with huge amounts of money invested!

Why does this happen? Lack of interest to complete our tasks fully or are we insensitive to the "finishing". 

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