Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I am finding there is an element of bureaucracy in India that doesn't form any rational basis.

Case in point today when the fit hit the shan with the course choices for many of the exchange students. Scott and I were gearing up to leave to register with the Police station since some kind person in the India embassy gave us VISA for 180+1 days mandating that we must (180 is the limit to NOT need to register). Anyways we were dealing with that, but we both has frustrations with adding courses. Scott got blocked from adding a course through a process so ridicilous I can hardly bear to repeat, but essentially he was tolk 4 hours was an 'Ecessively' long time to respond to an email during which he was asleep.

This whole issues started when the school went against its rules for course allocations to ask exchange students to identify which course they were interested in and to reserve them spots. The spots that weren't protected were given away to ISB students on the waitlist (and some that weren't). The really frustrating this is that we totally folowed ALL ofthe crazy 15 steps (no joke) involved in the bidding process completely properly. The is the same Phase 1, the Is Post Sample Dopr Phase, there is 2nd Sample Drop Phase and Section Switch etc., with requiring expertise in Chess and Game Theory to get the most out of.

What we missed was a tiny email that changed the rules in the middle of all these rules to screw us over (no where is this transfer of classes to ISB students mentioned). Now I get 300 emails here at ISB (no exageration) and I missed this. This may also had something to do with the fact that I only my mail finally set up two days AFTER the deadline that had asked for in the mal. Long story short Scott and I both found ourselves in the postion of not being able to add classes that we both wanted to.

Anyways Rant over. Scott got the course he wanted and I ended up the class wanted but not after having to miss the Police Station visit that will now instead eat up a future Friday, which sucks.

We were chatting about it later tonight when our courses all disappeared from the blackboard online intranet thing they got. This passage was classic (check the times):

[10:38:37 PM] jeffrankine says: I guess we are waiting for post sample drop phase section switch final clearing price IV
[10:38:37 PM] Scott Parker says: probably resetting it after the add/drop/add/drop/switch/drop/add/add/multiply phases

Update: updated the blog entry because I realized it was a little inflamatory, I was a frustrated when I wrote it.


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  2. Dear Jeff,

    I can understand your frustration regarding the way things work in some places in India. I thought that many of us at Queen's talked about some of these issues including bureaucracy in depth during our discussions. I guess may be facing it first hand now is more disturbing for you than listening about it from somebody else. My suggestion to you would be to concentrate on good things and neglect the worst experiences else it might ruin your trip. I would like to share my experience here about my trip to China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), Shanghai, China which is pretty much similar.

    All foreign nationals have to report to Local police station in China within 48 hrs of their arrival. In China if you don’t know English it is tough... tough to an extent that you can only realize if you encounter it. Fortunately I had Linsen Bai to help me out but man even to go to Police station isn't easy if you dont know the location. Nevertheless, we figured out the way and Linsen was very helpful at the police station... not that we couldn't have managed it without him .... just that it would have been really tough.

    The bidding system is there at CEIBS too and my mailbox was flooded too like yours at ISB. Ofcourse not 300 mails but surely not less than 100 all just about bidding system.. some system goof up... some body unhappy with it……As exchange student we need to decide about the courses upfront. Although Linsen took them rightaway I decided to take them later. Not to mention I had to go through the hassle too but I managed to get the courses. But you see fault was mine ... had I planned in time before leaving, CEIBS would have arranged it for me... so then why blame it later on somebody.

    In China, I had the chance to see both sides - the glitz, the glamour of Karaoke centres, the high rises and ……..the flipside the poor, the destitute, the filth ... people sleeping on pavement, beggars all type.... In one incident -while coming out of the metro station in Shanghai we encountered a poor girl who after figuring out us as foreigners ran towards us and just jumped . She just grabbed one of friends leg with as much force as she could and wasn't ready to leave until we gave her alm. What should one do in this case. Use force ? Rant about the poor? I mean you cant describe this on a blog. You have to understand this when you see it ... when you feel it first hand... when you see people leaving at the margins of the life... you get the real perspective.

    My friends at CEIBS and other exchange students have had the chance to see the real China. People are working in really bad situation... with no way to express it.. no real freedom... but rather than criticizing it we empathized with them... we debated and even found some solutions... of course nobody would care to listen about them. We have exchange students here at Queen’s most of whom have come from Europe. They have got lot of good things to tell us and some not so good too…

    I would suggest you to take the things in good stride. I am sure during your stay in India you will see lot of good things and for sure bad things too... You will have to forget the bad things else it will ruin your experience. You can use your blog to provide a constructive criticism … that way it will help others who are planning to go to see the real India… because not everyone knows about slumdogs in India

    Goodluck and wish you a good trip…


  3. Hi there,
    I can understand how the sight of poverty, the bureaucracy in India might shock you, and even frustrate you. While this might take sometime to get used to, I would say, embrace it.

    Here we believe in embracing that we face. Good, Bad and downright ugly. And my friends who visited India for the first time, ended up loving the place for all that it has to offer you. I am sure, so will you.

    Since you are in Hyderabad, try going to Charminar and have the Hyderabadi biryani there. You'll love it.

    Hope you have a good trip here! And, please embrace whatever you experience. You'll love the place, the people and the experience.


  4. All,

    I realize this post was inflammatory and it is not indicative of my overall experience. I am headed into the city tomorrow and I am sure I will have many tales to tell.