Last evening, I had an interesting meeting with a 'friend' who is also a local entrepreneur where I live. We had met after some months, and we chatted about many things - and he shared his travails with various govt agencies to make his venture grow... Some excerpts from our conversations (not verbatim, but as I remember them... and do convey the gist):
He: "It is very difficult to grow and expand... There is so much corruption here in these states in the East. One has to pay for anything to move."
Me: "What about your expansions elsewhere? In the western and southern states? I understand things are much better there. No?"
He: "Oh yes, much better there! I have been able to move much faster... which actually is a pity! This is my state - I was born and brought-up here - and I am not able to do much here - at least not as much as I would like to do."
Me: "You mean that this part of the country is more corrupt than those states..."
He: "Oh, no!!... They are as much corrupt and need bribes - in fact, more! - sometime they ask for more than what they ask for here..."
Me: "Then...? - this puzzled me.
He: "oh, there! - there at least, if you give them the "Speed Money", your work gets done. Over here, even that does not work."
He: "Arre bhai!.. Over there, if you pay bribe, there is certain amount of honesty; they deliver what they promise... At least, there is no corruption in corruption there..."
We had a nice evening together, but I came back with a couple of queries in my mind:
What kind of society we have become (or were always), where:
Don’t know, really!... Good night!
[NOTE: Over last 30yrs or so, since I started working, I have had the benefit of knowing, befriending and getting acquainted with very wide bandwidth of people - ranging from students, factory artisans, grassroot activists, entrepreneurs... to some who are CEOs. They have been nice to have remembered me over decades, and when we meet we meet as friends... With some I have differed on issues, but have always found them well-meaning, honest people with their own issues in life - as all of us have.
Some of those interactions have created dissonance in me, but I have also learned from those differences... And in any case, I have emerged wiser through those... So, in some ways, they have been my teachers to help me understand life (within and around me) - because they raised questions for me...
...this interaction was one of the many of those!]