Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Delhi vs Hyderabad- my professional impressions

I have been in Andhra cadre and have worked in Andhra Pradesh since 1993. I decided to come on deputation to Delhi primarily because my parents stay in Delhi and i wanted to spend time with them.
Having worked now for eight months in Delhi as Director, I find lots of differences,professionally, between working in a State and in Government of India.
On the negative side, life in Delhi is tough. One doesnt get a driver in Delhi at the Director level and one also doesnt get an official car, unless you are in one of the Ministries with better internal infrastructure. It also dawns quickly that we are only one of the middle level bureaucrats in hierarchy and one doesnt get the sort of administrative freedom as one would have in the State. It is also surprising how one's expected to the glued to his seat, literally. We are also not the masters of our time or work most of the times. I miss my gym and swimming in Hyderabad. I miss going out to Qmart on weekends and I miss my time when I used to paint or read. There seems to be just no time for these activities in Delhi. These are self-indulgences I miss. Its been a 12-13 hours schedule daily including travel time.
However, there are few positives. Being in Delhi at the Director's level is a great leveller. One becomes humble! On a serious note, its an excellent training in how to draft the important agenda notes such as the ones for Cabinet. One gets a feel of policy structure at the national level and I suppose, a stint of 1-2 years as a Director is a must if one intends to be a Joint Secretary in Government of India and an effective one.
I would say that my feelings are mixed as of now.....

Monday, March 1, 2010

Why driving is incomplete without Honking?!

Honking while driving seems to be the favorite timepass for drivers in Delhi, be it mobikes, cars, buses or any other mode of transportation. The impatience while driving is amazing and the driver behind you will invariably honk even as you are driving in your lane, safely, in accordance with rules and within the speed limits. His sole aim is to overtake you.
What could be the reason for this overobsession with honking?
Is Freud listening? Its like he has something to press on, makes a noise and in some remote way shows him his power and his existence and makes his presence felt!
I also feel that in most of these cases, its also a manifestation of his accumulated frustations in life, at home and in general that he is subconsciously venting it out.
It requires lots of patience, determination and courage not to loose one's sanity and continue driving without honking. I dont honk ...lets see for how long!

ordinary citizens are worms for administration

I drive from Faridabad to reach my office in Krishi Bhawan and on any given day and morning traffic, it normally takes about an hour to reach. I started for my office on February 15 and was coming via Surajkund road when noticed that the ridge road (from Claridges Hotel till it meets the Tughlakabaad Fort) is blocked for traffic and this was at 8.15 in the morning. There were policemen standing at the circle and diverting traffic to prahaladpur road. Its a narrow road and has been dug up in places. And there was total chaos. It was one of the worst traffic jams I have ever encountered in my life and the stretch of 1.5 Kms took 2 hours. It was not all. The staggering effect of slow moving traffic continued and it took me 3 and a half hours to reach my workplace.
There was no announcement from the police as to why the ridge road was blocked. It was only the next day that I saw in Times of India that the road was blocked as an international shooting event is taking place from February 15 till 28 and that the road is blocked so that the players and VIPs ( whatever that means) could have an easy uninterrupted access to Shooting Range!
It meant that for the sake of convenience of few 100 players, the entire population of Faridabad who goes to Delhi via Ridge Road is made to crawl on roads! What kind of preperations is this for the Commenwealth Games? Does the convenience of local citizens means anything to the authorities? Why are ordinary citizens who have no voice treated like worms who could be trampled anytime by the authorities ( read politicians)? It was thanks to TOI article that Police after 3 days gave some sort of explanation but the ridge road blockade continued!