America Vs India
Pravin Vaghani(Photo by Unusha Vaghani)
America vs India Honesty
Summer In India
It is neither common nor recommended to a person who for many years has been leaving in cold comfortable climate of Melbourne to visit India during the hot summer months.
Heat and Dust
But business can’t wait for a comfortable season and so I was in India during the hot summer month of May. My visits to India are usually combined with family visits so my first port of call was Junagadh where my cousin sister and brother lived. From there I would go on to Delhi for business, where my sister lived.
Delicious Kesar Mangoes
The all popular mangoes-season had just started and the region around Junagadh is welknown as a home of the famous delicious saffron colored Kesar mangoes. So I decided to take some fresh mangoes to Delhi for my sister. In the evening before the day of my departure we went to the mangoes market. The whole street was lined up with mangoes vendors selling verities of mangoes of different types, quality and prices. After some selection and haggling we bought 10kg mangoes at a price of Rs.40.00 per kg. The total cost was Rs.400.00. I gave the seller, what I thought that time, four ‘one hundred rupees’ notes and we turned away to go.
Gave Rs2000.00 instead of Rs400.00
Suddenly the seller called us aloud. His call sounded to be urgent. Now, every time I go to India I convert some Australian dollars in Rupees at the airport and fill up the wallet with some one hundred and five hundred rupees notes and some smaller notes for change. It takes some time to get used to handling another currency. So, judging from the urgency of his call, I thought I may have given him less money than was due. As we turned back he said, holding out the four notes I had just given him, “look, what you have given me ?” I was really shocked ! He was holding four ‘five hundred rupees’ notes which I thought were to be ‘one hundred rupees’ notes. I had actually given him two thousand rupees instead of four hundred ! “you have to be careful’, he added, “mangoes are not that expensive !”
He smiled, took one five hundred rupees note out of that, put one ‘one hundred rupees’ note and returned sixteen hundred rupees to me.
I was dumfounded. I didn’t know what to say. I thanked him a lot and offered him extra one hundred rupees as a token of my appreciation. But he profoundly refused to take it. ‘Many customers come every day,’ he explained, ‘ some even do not know how to calculate or count. But I never take even one rupee more from anybody.”
The Richest Country
I couldn’t help telling my brother my experience with a taxi driver during my first visit to USA. I had cashed A$200.00 at the airport and had some one dollar and ten dollar notes. I did notice that there was no difference in color or size of the notes except for the denomination of 1 and 10.
Don’t Want Tip ?
Letter in the day I had returned to the hotel from a meeting. The fare came to be US$14.50. First I gave the taxi driver, which I thought at that time, one ten dollar and four one dollar bill. Then I was getting out 50c from pocket when the taxi driver just closed the door and drove off. I was puzzled that he did not wait for 50c as I was told that usually they expect to get some tip on top of the fare.
The Balance Did Not Add Up
Late at night, before going to bed, I wrote the account and checked the money in the wallet. The balance did not add up. There was shortage of US$40.00. Then it dawned to me why the taxi driver drove off without that 50c and a tip. I had actually given him $50.00 instead of $14.00.
Do not judge a person by the country he belongs to: nor judge a whole country based on a single experience.