#4 The Meaning of Jugaad

You only need to exit a plane at Indira Gandhi International Airport to begin noticing the ingenius solutions Dilli-walas have come up with to solve problems such as leaky faucets or broken down vehicles.

These ingenius solutions are referred to as "Jugaad" by most Dilli-wallas. It sometimes feels as if these 'duct tape' solutions keep this country moving forward. Here are a few funny & inspired "jugaad" solutions I have spotted in my year.

1) This is an extremely common sight. An autorickshaw being towed by an even more run down autorickshaw with only a rusty chain connecting the two.

2) In Gurgaon I frequently see potholes being re-filled with only stones & sand - sometimes leading to disaster.

3) Every handyman we have called seems to have no plug on their power drill. However it is never a Problem. They just cram the two cord ends into an outlet.

4) I found this chap who was eager to transport a car & keep it looking clean and new. He simply wrappepd it in tape & burlap.

5) Although sometimes, the solutions are truly inspired. Like the famous Soulabh Toilet which can be built for an extremely low cost using locally sourced materials, and no running water source.

6) For another inspired solution, look at this retail stores answer to the plastic poly bag ban in Delhi (which only lasted 10 days from what I can tell...).

Unfortunately, sometimes there is no Jugaad solution for your problem, and eventually you must give up. Check out this beauty of a vehicle that is parked outside the Foreign Regional Registration Office as if to welcome you to your extended stay in India.


Anonymous said...

I take it then that you have not seen the more commonly used method of 'towing' a broken-down riksha to the mechanic's shop.

Riksha-driver A will help 'tow' his buddy riksha-driver B's riksha, by driving his own OK riksha, while pushing driver B's broken-down riksha ahead of his own riksha, using his foot as the pushing-ram. Driver-B continues to steer his broken-down riksha. They do this over good distances, and in regular traffic, till they both arrive at the mechanic's.

Anonymous said...

The car that you saw covered in sacking (burlap) is more likely just a prototype-car, still under development at some car-maker, undergoing some on-road testing,
with the car being disguised to keep under-wraps the looks of the yet-to-be-released car.

Anonymous said...

Oh, what about the 'human' Jugaad?

Like, getting someone to do your job when that person is actually not available. Delhi specialises in this.
Need a DJ for an impromptu party?
and via a frnd who knows someone who can help you, you get a DJ to make it.

Jugaad is the answer to all favors, and literally means 'sourcing'

Anonymous said...

It is common to find a similar jugaad in Mumbai and Thane - autorickshaws which are running short of gas (CNG) are "pushed" alongside by another rickshaw-walla by his feet, giving friendly kicks once in a while. Sure beats calling up a number and waiting 1 hour for the tow truck (my experience in NY)

Plus of course, this "jugaad" is far more carbon friendly!