In a flat world, you can’t run, you can’t hide, and smaller and smaller stones are turned over. Live your life honestly, because whatever you do, whatever mistakes you make, will be searchable one day. Flatter the world becomes, the more ordinary people become transparent. So many more people can be private investigators into your life, and they can share their findings with so many people.
If you haven’t read the book and are interested in knowing the effects of technology on the world, find a copy and read it. I am willing to lend mine. .
I was reminded of this particular part of the book, since I had two fantastic experiences of honesty today.
The first experience was really unbelievable because it was related to a government office. Over the years, the government bureaucracy has earned a very bad reputation of dishonesty. I have always dreaded dealing with it.
We had applied to get certain permissions from a government department. Yesterday evening, we received a call from that office, informing us that our work was completed. We could go to the office and collect the papers. I was very apprehensive. This generally meant that some officer would be sitting on the document and would expect some kickback to release it. I always dread such confrontations.
However, today was different. We went to the office. The concerned officer was very business like. He checked our credentials and handed over the documents. That’s it. It felt so great! If only all the touch points with the government are so smooth.
Last week, I and my wife needed to do some routine blood investigations. We went to the Bandra Centre of Thyrocare.
Unlike most clinical laboratories, Thyrocare has a innovative, unique, Single laboratory model. They have large number of collection centres across Mumbai, but all of them are analysed in a single lab. With this, they can provide the service at a price point much below the market.
They took our blood samples, gave us a bill for the investigation and we paid the charges. We got our reports today. Everything is fine and both of us are in good health. Later in the evening, I received a phone call from an unknown number. It was the person from the Thyrocare Bandra centre speaking.
He first confirmed that it was me on the other line. Then he profusely apologized and informed me that the person who made the bill last week had overcharged us by Rs. 450/- and requested me to come to the centre next day and collect the money. I am impressed. He didn’t need to call us. The whole transaction from my point of view was complete.
Are we really becoming more honest? I hope so. Is internet causing it? I don’t know. I like to think that at a certain level, each of us wants to be honest. And this inherent goodness manifests itself from time to time.
A few days ago, in Corruption and Us, I had questioned if we had any right to support Anna Hazare, if we are dishonest in our own lives. The incidents today give me great hope.