Monday, April 20, 2009

A tale of two cities

Having been Down Under for more than 2 months now, I can say I have experienced Sydney at least to a level where I can write about it. I avoid writing first impressions of the city, because they may not be always stay that way over a period of time.

Nevertheless, my first impression of Sydney was that of a city 'complicated and laid back' at the same time. I arrived at my temporary accommodation in Sydney in a shiny black taxi, the address being fed initially by the driver in the GPS navigator. Cabbies here have to be told the exact address at the beginning of the journey, complete with the house number and name! The navigator calculates the optimum path to your destination and the cabbie follows it.

Being used to a stochastic life, back home in Mumbai; the city that never sleeps, closing down of shops by 7 pm was quite queer. Everything followed a specific system, even in places where there is no such need. My initial days were spent adjusting to the new lifestyle, the city had to offer. I had nothing to do in the initial few days, except searching for a permanent accommodation. Google maps were the only source of moving around the city, since I didn't have a GPS navigator. There's no relying on the local residents of the area for the address, because people hardly have any know-how about the area other than important places, although street names are clearly visible everywhere.

Over a period of time, one thing has struck me that Sydney (or Australia) is overly reliant on systems. It may be true with all 1st world countries, but it definitely plays down human efforts or mind. People are used to follow only a set system and being guided for smallest instruction by it. Any change to that is not easily comprehensible by the person using that system. Even in the service sector, systems are followed which leaves very little scope for a challenging thinking or decision making on the part of the person delivering the service. In the event of system failure, I believe the functioning of the city would be drastically affected. The city lives by the dictum: 'We are for the system. The system is not for us'.

Things diametrically change in Mumbai which follows: 'The system is for us. We are not for the system'. The systems in Mumbai are not a set of rigid processes, but are more or less interpretative processes, which encourages lateral thinking and snap judgments. That is why, even if systems are not state-of-the-art in Mumbai, people 'know' how to react to divergence from normal behaviour of the systems.

At the end, life is smooth, with 'risk-averse' behaviour prominently seen amongst almost all citizens. People prefer to be guided by safe systems with little appetite for risk.

More thoughts to follow...

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Blogger Returns

Yes, I know its quite some time since I have posted anything up here. "Some time" could be an understatement, but nevertheless, I am making a re-entry into this web space.

Time flies and so do distances. I have been subjected to a new life and environment here in Sydney, away from home. Blogging was lost somewhere amidst this new beginning. Friends asked what happened, and I just used to tell them.. "yes, soon I will blog".

But now, I think enough is enough; I shouldn't act that busy and get to what I love the most: write, write and write...
Expect some new stuff on this blog, new experiences in new city, new people, family away from family and some reflections!
See you guys soon.. Thanks for sticking to this space!