NRI Dilemma – IST or EST?By Kriti Mukherjee • Jun 11th, 2011 • Category: 24/7 Talk is Cheap - The Blog
In last week’s Chatty Divas, Sulekha Rawat talked about the dignity of labor. Now Chatty Diva Kriti Mukherjee picks up the thread –
The dignity and hurt of labor – what a story Mitr! Lucky for grandma she knocked on the door of the shining gold heart that is yours. Here is something that I would like to share on labor…
EST – Eastern Standard Time – Or I must Eat and Sleep so I am in Time for my meeting.
IST – Indian Standard Time – Or I will Sleep and take my own Time because my Time is only mine – no one else owns it…
Tales of an NRI, from America to India…
All who have read our introduction will already know that I just moved from the US to India. What you still don’t know is that I have become obsessive about comparing the two places against any given situation. Needless to mention that the comparisons are dazzling enough to blind! But I will take this slow and give it to you in bits – you should have time to recuperate before my next blog…
After Bill Gates reiterated “Time is Money”, Americans heaved a sigh of relief – they finally had the real answer to the reason of their running. Till then it was a mad run for something important, they just couldn’t put their finger on what though.
Let me add here that most of my American, or rather ‘Firang’ friends as I called them, (to their utter bewilderment because technically I was the one who was the ‘Firang’ in US) already were extremely familiar with our favorite abbreviation – IST (Indian Stretchable Time).
So even if we were bang on time for our social get-togethers we were still ridiculed for the trait that went with us. The trait of an Indian – even an Indian-American – being fashionably late became the joke that one needed to tell in order to look knowledgeable. So to keep face and elevate the status of Indians in the US, I always put down dates on my calendar by pre-poning the meeting by an hour. Thanks to my superior brain functioning I only reached 5-10 minutes late for an appointment and walked in with my chin high up in the air! Not bad I told myself…
When I moved to India, I plunged headlong into endless weeks of work that come with shaky decisions like “moving for good”. Our newly bought house demanded the attention of a newborn baby. Even though we were promised a hassle-free move by the maintenance office, among the many mishaps was one during which our air conditioning needed mending.
An electrician came home three hours later than the decided ‘mutually convenient’ time. I had painters come to paint the wall after the repair work was completed. The whole team generously waited and was even mildly curious as to why I was appalled at the audacity of this man!
IST – Indian Stretchable Time
After his much celebrated arrival, without as much as a word of apology, he folded his sleeves, got onto a ladder he brought with him and started making expert sounds with his gadgets around the bereaved machinery. After about 15 minutes of the drill he got off the ladder and announced that he needed to get equipment from his car that was required for the rest of the surgery. He left without approval.
The fresh clean walls had been scraped to expose the ugly cemented foundation on which I would hang my so cherished pictures. The ladder still leaned on the spot where he had left it. Would you believe it if I told you he didn’t come back for three days?? He wouldn’t pick up his phone nor reply to my urgent SMSs. The painters waited almost the whole working day for him too. We were like a bunch of shunned lovers.
I still have no explanations to offer dear readers – it’s a mystery even now. On the fourth day I had someone else come in, use his ladder to finish the job and then have him kindly take it away. In three days the air conditioner started leaking again!
Time is one’s own here – no money can buy it and no threats will help. But like everything else you get used to it or get better with your negotiations. It does not work to your benefit all the time.
However, I came to India for a reason and that reason is intact. There is so much here that I missed sorely in the US. I am happy to lose out on time and sacrifice in order to have this anytime – family, dreams, ambition, warmth (both literally and emotionally), compassion, food, flexibility, stability, possibilities and love – endless love of everybody around me.
A marketing consultant by profession, I like to think I am a happy person who can make a difference in people’s lives. Absolutely love to travel and am nuts about my family. I write to hear my thoughts and to see what people have to say about them. I blog at http://kriti-howaboutthis.blogspot.com/
Kriti Mukherjee is a marketing consultant by profession. She says, "I like to think I am a happy person who can make a difference in people's lives. Absolutely love to travel and am nuts about my family. I write to hear my thoughts and to see what people have to say about them." She blogs at http://kriti-howaboutthis.blogspot.com/
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