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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Blogathon Post 12: The Gifting Theory

It was meant to be a routine interview with an expert to understand the market. Of course, there was one difference - the person was a government employee.
My colleague and I were well prepared for the interview, until our manager sent us an SMS. 
"Buy a gift for the person and make sure it is a good one."
"Like Sweets?" We texted back.
"No, like expensive stuff" He replied, giving us a budget.
Clueless, we bought some quality stationary for him and conducted the interview. 
Post that session (which went well BTW), pulling our manager's leg, we exclaimed sarcastically, "So, that was unexpected."
He said, "Don't blame me! He called up asking if you guys will be bringing a gift or not.".
To say that we were surprised is putting it mildly.

I have been raised by an idealistic couple who placed a lot of importance to ethics and morality, more so than tradition and culture. My father, though a Government servant all his life, has not taken a single bribe. Though he did get these 'gifts' - of sweet packets and stuff, it didn't stop him from doing his job, which he believed very strongly in (he was in IT, PF and Pension departments through his career span). 

So, my dad accepted gifts without doing anything in return. Without experience, I am not sure whether the asking of gifts (and not money) in return for some information (Which is supposed to be part of the public domain) should be considered as a bribe or not. But the audacity of the asking for it, like a kid asking for a return gift in a birthday party, stumps me.

Have you had similar experiences?


sana khan said...

Oh ya.. For one of the projects we were interviewing doctors.. and they were so straight forward. They would say, "My time is money". What will I get if i give you time?". They were not happy with gifts. They wanted cash. Equal to their consultation fee for the time we took of them!!

sachin dongre said...

Well, in this case, he was a government employee and that too, from education sector. When the interview was going on, other visitor came with another gift for him. It seemed that he received 1-2 gifts daily. The person is sitting at an influential position. I think he made gifts compulsory if anyone wants to meet him. I knew that such things are common in government offices. I had heard a lot but such thing in education office and from such a high designated person made me shocked.

Kunal Chandra said...

I have been asked for bribes on the face. Once in Income tax office I was trying to get some of my Dad's pending work completed (I was 18 then) and the guy said after completing the file but before giving to me that the rate for this is 1000 rs. I said yes I have paid the fees and filled the form - I repeat I was 18 then - but the guy said ya but the rate you have to pay here. This was in Gujarat by the way (referring to another heated argument I am having on facebook)and I insisted I wanted to talk to the Circle officer and he said I am welcome to - I went to him and the circle officer chided me when he heard what I am saying and said that I should talk to the clerk again and do what he says why am I getting into trouble as I look like a kid from a good house. I will tell you separately what that work actually was (which made it even more apalling). In the end the 18 year old me gave up all ehitcs and prinicples and with a crumbled soul I paid the rate.

Archana said...

Sana: Oh yes, I heard the same from our inhouse HC consultant - it is shocking isn't it - doctors asking for money?! But could they be right? Of course we are using up their consulting time?

Sachin: Yes, totally unexpected no - from an education department official! And he didnt seem embarrassed or anything!

Kunal: "looks like you are from a good home" - So that seals it - people from good homes should not object to paying bribes!

Kunal Chandra said...

Archana: I think it signaled more like 'you are from good home you have had sheltered upbringing you have no idea what we can do to you and being from good home you can never match our abysmal standards in going all the way to harm you....'

Gayathri Manikandan said...

This post is actually depressing :( I have never been exposed to government offices(where the gifting is a culture, i guess) and am embarrassed if I get into such situations!
How about gifting a copy of a book that talks about India, corruption blah blah :-D Ofcourse, at the risk of our work not getting done!

Kunal Chandra said...
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