Brain-dead thinking is not just the prerogative of the people in power in the government. Consider the admissions process for Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. Cathedral is, arguably, one of the best schools in Mumbai. So, to get admission for a five-year-old, one has to apply when the child is a one-year-old. There is a small window after the child turns one during when the parents are expected to submit the application. Think about it again: the application needs to be made four years before admission.
I realised this a couple of months late. I went to the school last year (I think it was in September) when I should have gone in May or so for admission for Abhishek (who had just turned one in April) in 2010 or thereabouts give or take a year. I was denied entry by the watchman saying the time for collecting the form had passed. I asked to speak to someone appropriate so I could explain that I had not realised that forms needed to be submitted so many years in advance. But there was no way they would let me in.
Thats not all. The watchman also told me of a workaround. All I had to do was to submit a letter stating that I was not in Mumbai during that period (with some documentary evidence, presumably) and I would then be able to get the form. Presumably, I was not the first person they were giving this unsolicited advice to.
As I walked away from the school that morning, I could not but be disappointed by the experience school which has given some of the citys finest alumni. How could I look Abhishek in the eye and tell him that I lied to try and get him into a school? And why should one have to get to that? Because of a brain-dead admissions process created presumably when one had to wait a decade to get a telephone connection.
The India that we want to build is being corroded by ourselves. We can bask in the glory of the 9% growth rate, the rising Sensex, the $200 billion forex reserves, the glitzy malls coming up all around. Or we can, as a society, start and fix whats wrong at the grassroots in our neighbourhood which is really the core for a Sustainable and Livable India of tomorrow. For now, most of us arent even thinking of the second option.