Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Labour intensive or what?

Labour here is cheap and there is what we in the US/UK would consider mass inefficiency of labour. However, it keeps India turning. Look at these pictures of the Adarsh Vista gardening team:
There are approximately (hard to tell if some of them are gardeners or just stopping to shoot the breeze) maybe 12 of them. They have very few tools, they pull weeds with their fingers and have one mechanical mower which doesn't come out very often, otherwise the grass is cut with shears. They move slowly from garden to garden (only do the small front lawns), chat, smile and seem to be enjoying life and are all fully employed, albeit on a pittance but it buys rice and some sort of roof over their heads.

Do I need a maid, despite the fact I have no vacuum cleaner (Sweetie uses a broom and a mop), no kettle (she boils water to make tea), no dryer (she hangs out the washing from my baby washing machine  - one days washing fills it), no dish washer (she does the washing up)? Maybe not and definately not full time - but this way she is employed and has a 4 year old daughter to support who she wants the best for.

Do we need a driver?  To get around in Bangalore, that is a resounding yes!!  More on driving here another time!!

Oh, and there's also the ironing guy (I have no iron) who picks up our ironing twice a week and brings it back beautifully ironed and folded later that day - for 3 rupees an item. He has a room at the back of the clubhouse where he employs 3 or so ladies to do the ironing while he picks up and drops off great bundles of clothes balanced high on his push-bike along with his 2 year old daughter. Again, if we all had irons we wouldn't need him - but he and his staff would be out of a job!

The indian economy keeps turning - how this will adapt, in the future as technology moves in - only time will tell!

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