I have a mental list of jobs that are unique to India. Since I just discovered a new one this past weekend, I decided to share.
1. Cheque Stamper. There is a woman who has a blue stamp thingie. She adjusts the numbers on it to reflect your account number and then stamps every one of the leaves in your book with it. Sometimes, your book cannot be stamped, because she is out fetching tea. So you wait patiently.
2. Bathroom Flooder. This person presumably is allotted the task of cleaning bathrooms in public situations. Instead, she pours copious amounts of water there and waltzes out. You are never sure though if it is water or pee or the pot overflowed or whatever. But at least her allotted job seems to make sense.
3. Window Cleaner. Again, original intention is acceptable. He carries a cloth and a bottle of blue 'Colin' He rubs and rubs the windows, but he has forgotten to ever wash the cloth, and thus imparts more dirt than he removes.
4. Toll Booth Value Adder. This is my recent find. We passed five toll booths on our drive. At each of them, there is a guy, in uniform, standing at each stall. As you approach, screeching tires and so forth, the guy moves a small vertical stick that is placed right in your path. Then once your biz is done and you drive away, he places the things back. In his spare time, he bends over for the cool dude inside the booth who actually issues your ticket and takes your money.
5. Physical File Mover. This one is a major favourite of mine. Sometimes, its called dispatch. 'We will put it in dispatch madam' they said. Oh cool, I said, imagining a conveyor belt or something that would take my letter from OfficeX to OfficeY. Three days later I went to ask about it. 'Sorry madam, he took sick leave' they said. I discovered that it was an olllldddd guy who was assigned this task. He moved at the rate of 0.05 meters per day. So it would literally take him the whole week to go next door for a signature.
6. Sundry SideKicks. There are people that ride in cycles while the master (like, for e.g. a plumber) rides a bike. The bike dude will conduct all transactions through the bicycle person. Including conversations with me, despite all three of us overlapping in time and space. Bike dude will be chewing paan and will mutter something. SideKick will then repeat the same to me in a squeaky voice. I will address bike dude in response. SideKick will repeat what I say, in his voice. After a point I gave up and SideKick and I had a great conversation, ignoring the other fellow entirely. We are meeting for coffee tomorrow.
7. Assistant to Assistant. Self-explanatory. Recently, they are demanding that I 'put in an email' so they can 'take necessary action' - these are very smart people, I would be wary of them in general.
8. Tick Mark Specialist. There is some guy (or gal) who takes a red pen and marks ticks all over my official documents (such as pay-stubs and so on). The first time I saw it I was appalled. Why is someone poring over my pay-stub? I asked. The assistant to assistant nodded his head towards a sidekick-cum-spokesperson who said that he is checking that the math is right. Nowadays I feel scared if I don't see the ticks. What if my pay is all wrong? Why is he not checking it anymore? I wail. 'His daughter's marriage madam' they say.
9. Generic Computer Terminal Starers. This is less a person and more a movement. In every bank, government office, library, canteen, chickenhouse, henhouse, pighouse, etc. there are computer terminals. There is a person in front of every one of these. What does s/he do? Why does s/he direct me to the next terminal every time I ask anything? What does s/he mean come at 4 pm? Oh, the sign on the wall says 'All Transactions 4-5 pm' Why is s/he here at 10 am then? What is that? Minesweeper? Okay, must be beta-testing Minesweeper version 97.0 in a 1980 time-warp. I better come back in 2009 at 4 pm.
10. Toilet Tissue Agents. I am perfectly capable of tearing out my square of toilet paper. My daughter has trained me, in recent times, so that I actually tear on the indentation and not in a jagged end. She is also equally capable of the task, incidentally. Then, why, do you, in your beige shirt worn directly over your pink sari, think it incumbent upon you to hand me squares of TP? And, also, what use is it on my way OUT after finishing my business inside? Is it for the next time? And why do you grin maniacally when I refuse it? And WAIT! Are you going to pour that water on the floor? I flushed after I peed, I promise, PLEASE don't pour water...