This is a blog about the experiences of a Kenyan doctor who is on a 1 year Hands on Training in AIIMS within South Delhi. I am with my family. It will try to describe the experiences at the hospital - AIIMS and other social experiences of settling down with my wife and 2 young children, finding a house and dealing with official bureaucracy. Enjoy and I hope it will entertain and inform.
You get the feeling of being caught in the middle of two worlds. The longer we stay here, the more we adjust to the situations around us. One gets used to not understanding what people are saying and if I don't understand, I just walk away especially if I did not initiate the conversation. You get used to being overcharged just because you look 'new'. There is so much middle class in South Delhi but occasionally, you will see the signs of opulence with out of this world (at least my world) car makes. The usual Mercedes C class and Baby Landcruisers we like to floss with are not here. When these guys floss, they pull out the stops. It will be a Mercedes E class, S class, Audi 4wd, Porshe. However, these are few while the overwhelming majority are in tiny fuel efficient bugs if not on a two wheeler. However, the signs of poverty are still there. As you pass near a brigde, you may spot families that have pitched makeshift tents and call that home. If you want to put up a building, be ready to have whole families come live at your site until its done. Its like the families must save the little money from the construction work by living on site. Mornings are bath time so you will be walking on the road and a whole group of guys will be bathing right next.... not in the full birthday suit though. In some places, you will find the women doing the hard job of carrying ballast and sand on their heads, while the men do the actual building. On the other hand, I can sit at a computer, shop, order and receive the product within 3 to 5 days. If the product has a defect, I call a number, it is picked up or I receive instructions on how to undo the defect (for electronic goods). Our water filter suddenly stopped working and after alot of fiddling with it, I gave up and decide to call the number on the warranty card. I actually got someone on the other side who took down my details and told me a technician will come in 48hrs. Just like that. I was in a bit of shock. Didn't think I had heard right. So, in a nut shell there is evidence of extreme poverty in Delhi but at the same time, systems seem to work..... somehow. However, as is want to happen, the local person on the street feels there is grand corruption and impunity at the high levels of governance. They feel the corruption is unlikely to end as all the players are thick in the milieu and have dirtied their fingers in one way or another..... Listening to them, one may be forgiven for thinking that our politicians have been teleported to India.