Friday, August 10, 2012

Jai Maharashtra?

I have been dealing with a lot of disappointment and anger. Expectations not being met seems to have become the done thing. Whether it is family or friends or retailers. Same story everywhere. I simmer in the rains.
Walked into a local exhibition of handmade goods at a small wedding hall. Bought some local pickles from a vendor and some unpolished poha from another guy. Came home very excited that my next day's breakfast was taken care of. When I washed the poha  before cooking, all chocolate brown colour started coming out. I saw this was not dust but colour. That evening I was passing by the exhibition, I decided to go and tell the vendor about the colour in the poha. As soon as I said that and in a calm manner I may add, all hell broke loose. This vendor , a man of  50 started screaming at me. He said I have never eaten village poha and I do not know what it is all about. I told him that I can make out the difference between colour and dust but he started getting very aggressive. The women shoppers started moving away. One lady came up to me and started arguing. The shopkeepers and this women started bitching about me loudly in marathi. She took poha added water and said this is not colour. You dont anything about food. She showed it to a few old ladies, who just nodded and exited. I said,I know what is poha. Its not something so exotic that I have not seen it. I also told him that I have not come for refund or anything. I have just come to tell the shopkeeper. By then this women who said she is the organizer of the exhibition got very vocal and abusive. She said I have no clue and how dare I say anything. The fellow stall holders were also supporting her. The man who sold the poha was the worse of the lot. Someone pointing out the truth about the quality of the poha was something he could not handle. I had raised my voice too as these people all surrounded me with the woman gang leader. From the corner of my eye , I could see a woman who I meet in yoga class. She avoided me and left the place. By this altercation, all their customers left the exhibition. One man of 55 years tried to talk to me in a very condescending manner. I walked off after telling them about the bad quality. The women realised that she lost a whole lot of customers so she tried telling the stall holders whom she had gathered in the first place, to go back to their stalls.
Did they apologize for my poor experience about the product? No. Did they listen to my complaint? No. The shopkeeper and the organizer tried their best to prove me wrong. They got loud because they were at a fault. So their trick was to not let me voice out my concerns. This happened in the heart of the city, in a very simple area,not a posh or a rowdy area. The people were all supposed to be villagers selling their wares. They were arrogant and rude to the core. This is a very strong trait in Maharashtrians which I have observed. They have zero customer service. They do not ever want to learn from their mistakes. That's why they are not good businessmen. That's why new industries are not coming up in Maharshtra. They still think others usurp their jobs. The reason other shopkeepers do better is coz they believe that Customer is the king. This innane arrogance is very obvious in all kinds of Maharashtrians or Marathis. The politicians are corrupt to the core all over but in Maharashtra they are so stuck in the "Me Marathi" conversation.That it does not allow for any growth in the state. This fight at the exhibition was also because I do not look like a Maharashtrian and I did not bother to fight in Marathi. Speaking Hindi was their trigger. I don't know about other states in India. I know in Bihar and Jharkhand, the women shoppers were never ever treated like this. This is also the reason, we do not have any great luxury resorts in Maharshtra inspite of great resort locations. This is the community which has a problem offering food to their guests. Expecting them to offer hospitality to strangers would be a bit too much.

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