Saturday, January 10, 2009

Your Taxpayer Rupees

Oops! I missed posting yesterday, so there will be two today to make up for it. First, I'll share a little story about one of my errands yesterday:
A couple days ago I saw an advertisement in the newspaper for a Ravi and Anoushka Shankar concert here in Hyderabad. There were no details about ticket purchases except an email address to write to for more information. I emailed requesting tickets and got the following reply:

"Dear Sir / Madam,
Thank you very much for your interest in attending the Concert of Pt. Ravishankar and Anoushka. For your information this is not a ticketed event and entry is by invitation only. We can reserve invitations for you as per your actual requirements. Please respond to us accordingly. Meanwhile, we require more details about you particularly about your background, your organization, your employment details etc. This information is needed to update our database.
Looking forward to receive this information from you."

So, I replied with the information that I am an American management consultant working with municipalities here and that I require 3 passes for myself, my husband (boyfriend/fiance don't exactly exist here) and a friend visiting from the States. I was told they would reserve invitations for me and that I should go pick them up from the tourism office.

Yesterday, I headed to the tourism office with my confirmation email and waited in line for about 15 minutes. Then an officer shuffled through a pile of all the printed out emails he had received about the tickets until he found mine. He read it, checked it against mine, and a handwritten list he had and then gave me the tickets. A highly efficient system!

Not only was it humorous that the entire process had been moved from electronic communications to hand-written notes and print-outs, it was somewhat horrifying to realize that the government of A.P. was paying for me to go to the concert of a world-reknowned musician. In a country where almost all municipalities are bankrupt, public services are at a minimum, and corruption runs rampant, the government is spending it's money on entertaining the rich.

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