(This is something I hope to continue as a series – for it’s all about hope)
Most of us are guilty of being armchair experts on India. We don’t live there… probably visit once or twice in a year, come back to our cosy little homes and hearths and then wax eloquent about bad the country of our birth is; the pollution, the work culture, the people, the transport system, the traffic, the racism, the list seems endless.
I too am guilty of ranting about a lot of things. Complaining is human nature but you will find hope in abundance, in India. Agreed, India is a work in progress. It’s a tough life out there – the competition, the environment, the education but it’s still mine and no, I have not lost hope yet.
More than five years ago, I walked into the Vytilla branch of the State Bank of India not expecting much. It was a far cry from the neighbourhood I grew up in, where I knew atleast one person in every bank. This was a busy branch, in the city, and I wondered whether I had made the right choice. As I entered, the person at the ‘May I help you?’ quickly came forward and asked what I wanted. I noticed he had a slight physical disability but that did not stop his enthusiasm and he was full of energy. Within minutes, I had met the manager, opened an account, got access to a locker and many investment opportunities were explored. The little devil did whisper in the ear, “Oh! But you are an NRI!” But within the next one hour, I watched as the young bank employee attended to a number of people, old and infirm people, migrants with no grasp of the language, – all with a smile and a spring in his step. He was all over the place… for some good reason – helping people.
Yes, State Bank of India is a public sector bank. One we often deride as not being customer-centric. I still frequent the same branch; many managers have come and gone; the smiles are different but still there. The man at the ‘May I help you?’ desk has won an award for best performance and tells me all about his trip to Malaysia where he had gone to receive it. He is raring to go. And his smile still stands out. “Ma’am don’t worry,” he says, putting me at ease each time I am besieged by many doubts and I goad him with queries.
There is hope, yet!