People in India, if they are in-charge of something, they want to shove their authority on you. I am not talking about VIPs. I am talking about ordinary police constables, peons in offices, security guards, and people like that.. They want to show and shove their authority on you.
This incident happened recently.
I went to an Indian Temple here in California. I parked my car. There were 60 parking spaces. There was not a single car that was parked. Therefore, I deliberately took 2 parking spaces. I turned off the ignition and got down from the car. An Indian lady (in saree) approached me. Here is our conversation:
Lady: Do you know you have parked here illegally? (I did not appreciate the tone in which she was communicating with me)
I would have said "sorry" if her modulation was civilized.
Me: What did you say?
Lady: You have parked here illegally. You have taken 2 spaces (It is not against the law in California if you take 2 spaces in a private parking lot. This parking lot was inside the temple and therefore it is a private parking lot.)
Me: What is your problem?
Lady: How will other cars can park if you take 2 spaces?
Me: I am going to pray the God and will be back in 5 minutes. There are 60 parking spaces here. Are you saying these 60 parking spaces will be filled in the next 5 minutes?
Lady: What you are doing is illegal.
Me: Are you the Police?
Lady: Yes, I am
(Now I am really angry)
Me: Show me your Police Badge.
Lady: I am not a real police. I am temple management,. You come to my office and I will show you my temple badge.
Me: I came to pray my God for 5 minutes. I did not come here to see your temple badge. If you want to show me your temple badge, run back to your office and bring your badge within 5 minutes. Now get off my face.
I walked away.
Yes, I agree by taking 2 spaces I was discourteous. I did not follow the proper etiquette. But did not break any law.
(Side Bar: While writing this blog post, I just remembered reading an article in the Wall Street Journal long time ago. They were interviewing an Under Secretary in the Finance Ministry for the Government of India in New Delhi. During the interview, he said:
"I live in RK Puram. I go by bus to my office. I don’t have any money during the last 5 days of the month. Me and my family struggle to eat. But, in my office, I can make JRD Tata wait outside my office for 15 minutes. I am proud of that."
So much for proud and power.