Government Regulations, or “No Problem”

Government Regulations — in the States we all know what this means, but in India it is as foreign as an extra-terrestrial. Okay, maybe not that bad.

A few days ago we moved into our permanent house. The  movers moved the gas canister to the new home but did not hook it up to the stove. We found out later they do not do that. In the States, this makes sense; gas is not something to be fooled with by a mover — I would need to get a gas contractor out to the home. But here, we were told they don’t do that because we could do it ourselves. It’s “no problem,” just like nothing is here — so the school tailor came out to the house to show me how to hook the gas up so that next time I can do it.

Yeah, right.

Yesterday Ketaki and I went shopping for some house supplies and bought too much to walk home with, so we asked the store manager if they could deliver the goods. Yes was the answer, but it was the small print that I was a little unsure of: the deliveryman was going to deliver them on his motorcycle, with me riding behind him. And so it was. In India people drive on the wrong side of the road, but this does not necessarily mean “the side we Americans do not drive on.” While they drive on the left side instead of the right as a rule, the rule is meant to be flexible — they drive in any which way they can to get where they are going. I knew this of course, but that wasn’t the scary part — I rode without a helmet while holding a plastic bag in each hand, which meant nothing to hold onto.

A traffic cop would have had a field day in the States…

Yes, electrical wires hang open, electrical appliances come in close contact to water, I could go on. The lesson here may not be that we should get crazy and neurotic by this, but that perhaps we’re already excessively crazy and neurotic. We just need to be extra careful around electrical and gas concerns; sure, some things really are not okay and are too serious to let go of. But all in all, perhaps things are really less of a problem than we Americans make them out to be.

There’s got to be a poem in there somewhere…

Joshua Gray

Washington DC native poet that now lives in Kentucky.

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