Rules For Rules Sake...

... drive me crazy. Absolutely CRAZY! So you can only imagine with just 5 ish weeks left how "Coo Coo for Cocoa Puffs" I'm going with the Indian bureaucracy. I have never been in any place that had so many rules. Rules that are ... arcane ... outdated ... flat out ridiculous. So many backwards ways of doing things. So many people afraid to think outside of the box.

I have a healthy respect for guidelines. For the understanding that life is not black and white, but rather many different shades of gray. Over the years I have come to expect rules that I don't understand or respect to be explained. And when they're not, I challenge them. Every. Single. Time.

Selling my car has been an extremely frustrating experience. I advertised it about six weeks ago and actually sold it quite quickly (probably due to it's very low sales price). But the process by which I have to follow in order to transfer the car is bureaucracy at its finest.

Here's how I see it. I have a car. I want to sell it, so I advertise. A potential buyer calls me and expresses interest in the car. We meet. He sees it. He tells me he wants it. Then in a normal world, he gives me the money, I sign over the car to him, and it gets registered in his name. We all live happily ever after.

That's not how it works here. See, once we get to the point where the buyer wants to purchase the car, I am at the mercy of the Ministry to hopefully get everything cleared and approved prior to our departure. A process that takes anywhere from 3 - 4 months. A step-by-step system that must be thought out well in advance. Think it'll happen? Along with the five identical sets of paperwork that Matt had to sign in order to sell our car, they then need to be sent to Chennai, Delhi, and probably Timbuktu too in order for someone, somewhere, to make a decision as to whether or not the buyer is good enough to buy my 4000 pound hunk of junk.

Forgive me for thinking he was good enough because he was able to "Show Me The Money".

And if this paperwork doesn't come through before we leave ... well ... then we're stuck signing over a Power of Attorney to some other poor schmo at the Consulate to handle in our absence. Um, who do you think is standing in line, waiting to sign up for that gig?

As frustrated as I am, I'm still playing by the stupid rules (shhh.... don't tell my girls I just said the "S" word). Aside from my irreverence for the system, and the reasons for the way they do things, I'm stuck. I can't roll back time and purchase another car ... one that was only half as much of a lemon as this one. As much as I'd like to. I can just point out the obvious... that despite always doing things a certain way or because it's just the way things are done, doesn't make them right.

But it does make me a diplomat ... at a time when I really want to be undiplomatic.


Mom24 said...

Ugh! S word indeed. (That makes Jacob and Julianna crazy too. Moooommm!)

It's hard to see any sense in this one, isn't it?

Shannon said...

What a bizarre rule. What a nightmare on top of everything else that goes with leaving post That would make me crazy too. Fingers crossed that it works out.

Kirsten said...

I can't even imagine. No actually, I can.


Emily said...

That is the most ridiculous thing.
Maybe it would be more fun to drive the car off a cliff and watch it tumble into oblivion. It could be theraputic.

Sara said...

Thanks for this story! We're selling our car at the end of this tour and now I know I need to figure things out early just in case it's like this here. Although I sincerely hope not.

Ramit Grover said...

Hehe. You're still better off. This buddy of mine scrapped off a car way back in 1984 and unregistered the license plates too. In 2002 the police knocked on his door and told him his car was involved in a hit and run in Chandigarh, which is about a 5 hour drive from New Delhi.

The case is still pending in the courts.

Go figure.

Z. Marie said...

Part of the reason we didn't sell our Jeep Liberty in Port of Spain was the complicated paperwork process. (I'd left on medevac, and Kevin would have had to take two days off to deal with it. And that wasn't going to happen.)

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, you guys!

Jill - I can't even imagine. This post just is incredible to me.

Emily, I'm with you, girl!

And Zoe- you've got to be kidding me.

This whole topic is CRAZY!

kismet said...

That is so ridiculous. I can completely understand your reaction. I respond exactly the same way to stupid "rules where there are no rules" in India.

The most recent episode was at Mumbai international airport on Sunday night. They are now handing out departure cards, at the check in counters, with flight numbers already filled in. There were none there when I checked in, so I thought I could get one near immigration. However, the guy giving out forms started refusing to give me one because it had the flight number of a different flight on it...not my flight! So what? It's an empty form apart from the flight number!! I can easily cross it out and replace it with my flight number. So I demanded that he'd better give me the form or else. And finally he did! I put my correct flight number on the form and encountered no problems what so ever at the immigration counter!!

I really hope everything falls into place with you Jill. You really will breathe a sigh of relief when you're free of India I'm sure! Sharell

Sunny said...

We are dealing with this same thing in Manila. Ugh. We found buyers right away and have to settle everything before we leave, oh and you can't give someone power of attorney here. AND you can't ship a local car out unless you want to pay the value of the car in tax. Sigh. Good luck!

PS After you left your comment on my blog I found yours and it made my day. Such solace in finding another person who endures a place that lacks any common sense. The bee story had me in stitches.

Connie said...

Rules for rules sake... yuk! Gotta hate the b.s. Good luck!

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