After living and working in India for 6 months now, I can tell you that much of the time I feel like everything is just a big hassle here. Getting things accomplished in India requires a lot of patience, and those that know me best, know that is not one of my best traits. Nothing, even the simplest things, are ever easy! Here are some of many examples.
Buying data for for corporate use
We opened a corporate account with a local telecom carrier so that we could more easily make changes to our plans. This would give us the option for “post paid”, versus pre paid, meaning they would bill us for our data usage instead of having to pay up front. Initially they asked for about 10 documents, such as articles of incorporation, a letter of explanation on company letterhead, copy of the directors passport, etc. Each page of every document had to be stamped and signed. After jumping through all these hoops we finally successfully opened an account. A few days later I went into the store to make some changes to our data plans only to find out that I have to provide originals of all those documents EVERY time we want to make any changes.
Delivery of packages
We are in the middle of “shifting” offices (moving). As a result I have been ordering a bunch of furnishings, office supplies, etc. For each and every delivery the carrier calls to ask questions, even though they clearly have the new office address. Most of these people don’t speak English and my Hindi sucks. As soon as they sense the communication difficulty they just hang up on me! When it all started I had no idea who these people were or why they were calling. But after having several shipment returned as “undeliverable” I’ve learned that I need to immediately have my assistant (who speaks Hindi) call the number back and answer their questions.
No one has voicemail
Voicemail is not even an option. So it doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of an important meeting, or even a job interview, Indians will pick up the call if it’s from someone important. If you miss the call it’s too damn bad. You have to keep playing phone tag until you connect.
We have a really nice pool in my apartment complex. I went down to swim on Sunday and as I was climbing in the “Pool Nazis” came and told me that first I had to shower. So I showered, only to be stopped again to be told I had to sign the registrar, show them some ID card that I didn’t have, and wear a swimming cap! Seriously?
I could keep going all day, but this is starting to sound like a rant about India. I apologize to my Indian friends that might be reading this. But the fact is, even our attorney over here has told me several times, “If you can do business in India you can do business anywhere.”