India Debunked #8: At Your Service

Service is excellent here.

There is someone different to do different things here, everyone has their bit of a job to do. Bringing drinks, serving food, sweeping floors, opening car doors, receiving parcels, sending parcels, picking up cheques, dropping off cash, altering clothes the list goes on. Everything also gets delivered to the home here – fruit, vegetables, groceries, laundry, wine, shopping etc.

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India Debunked #7: What’s in a Name?

I was teased about my name as a child. My name is Tania. In the Malay language, ‘tania’ means ‘to ask’. Cruel joke or just coincidence? The story goes that my sisters got to choose between Rachel or Tania for my name. I was too precocious to care about the teasing but it did happen a lot. When I moved to Australia as a teenager, I finally made peace with my name and now I love it. I can’t imagine myself as a Rachel.

In India, name matters a lot.

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India Debunked #6: Stretching Time

Years ago in Australia, I remember the frustration I felt when Indian colleagues would dial in late for meetings. Lateness happens everywhere in the world and isn’t exclusive to India. Couriers in the UK show up after the advised 4-hour window, or sometimes not at all. Workmen run late from earlier clients and turn up later than promised. I myself am always a little bit late rather than a little bit early to meet friends. But that isn’t all the time and generally the corporate world turned up on time, save for some transport-related lateness that affected everyone at the same time and only happened occasionally.

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India Debunked #5: I Get Around

In 2015, 17 lives were lost on the road every hour in India. That’s almost 150,000 lives, but again, with any Indian statistic, the number is probably higher as not all road deaths may be reported or even known. The WHO estimated 231,000 road deaths in 2013 so I can’t see any reason for this sharp decline in two years given that more highways are being built and there are more cars on the road than ever.

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India Debunked #4: Indianisms

I can now speak enough Hindi well enough to conduct several everyday transactions in it. But most of the time I don’t really need it, as I am now able to adapt my accent when speaking English to sound Indian. I’m a pedant when it comes to accents and pronunciation so this helps. I learned to speak three languages fluently as a child so that might have something to do with it. It is not uncommon to hear me lapsing from one accent to another whilst conversing in English, much to the amusement of my friends.

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India Debunked #3: A Family Affair

When I was growing up, my grandmother lived with us. This was very different to the nuclear arrangements that many of my friends grew up in. My grandmother was the only grandparent I’ve ever known. When I was little she would wake me up for school and cook for me. She taught me manners and life lessons and she carried herself with grace and elegance. She had had a hard life as a young woman and this made her extremely kind and generous to others. She passed away from cancer fifteen years ago and I still miss her today.

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India Debunked #2: Domestic Bliss

There is an unofficial and observable class system (not to be confused with caste) here in India. This isn’t always talked about and can be quite baffling for new arrivals. There is the elite class, the middle class and then there is everyone else. Living elsewhere in the world, I have always thought of us as ‘middle class’ but when we got here, I realised we were ‘expat class’. More on what that means in a later post. Maybe.

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