The Indian auto rickshaw is made for at max carrying 3 reasonably weighing people. But often I see families haggling with the driver to let one or two more people crowd in the small backseat. The fact is that just the shopping of an average Indian family will require an auto rickshaw, let alone the big fussy family. They don’t want to go separately. Its not that they can’t afford to get 2 autos. But they would not even want to travel apart. Family that shops together, eats together, laughs together also travels together. A vehicle is an enabler. It could have identity connotation, but its not as personal as .. say a cell phone is. (A recent research we did found out that for people, cell phone is the most personal thing. The man shared everything with his wife, but not his cell phone.)
As against say US, where a car that can carry 4 people, is used by an individual. It’s perhaps the strongest personal identity statement there. (correct me if I am wrong.)
So while for Indians, a tool of connectivity and communication is a personal identity statement, western world has more things that would need to be personal.perhaps its a function of opulence.(In rural heartland perhaps the concept of personal space does not even exist and along with urbanity, the ‘need’ for personal space is born and increases thereby.)
Anyway, i am digressing here..
I was wondering if you could see such an happening (where family is haggling with Taxi driver to take more people in) in developed world. Would they trade the convenience of lesser people and driving in convoys with the uncomfortable experience of sharing a cab ride with so many people and so much inconvenience, just so that the family can travel together? This has many implications.. safety, comfort, efficacy, time..
Would you want to be uncomfortably stuffed in a vehicle which will be unsafe and probable entail slow travel to reduce risk?
I guess an Indian family assumes that they must travel together and later variables are adjusted accordingly. So they will drive slower, someone will be on the lookout and assistance. there would be some ‘accommodations’.
Would it be right to assume that perhaps out of this subcontinent, convenience and safety would get higher weightage in consideration? perhaps, they are not as fatalistic and would want to show concern for the family and break it up in multiple vehicles. Perhaps, Time is of consequence.. and the systems are built with convenience and efficacy in mind, people are bound to take up those assumptions.
The efficiency assumption and safety paranoia defines the first world’s considerations. (Among Indians, a paranoiac want of bottled water is a sign of upward mobility; an attempt at first world citizenry.) However, Indians don’t have ‘faster, higher, stronger’ in their ethos really. So while an Indian would say ‘adjust kar lo’.. the first world counterpart, in his bewilderment, would perhaps not know what is happening 😛
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