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  • Writer's pictureSujata Banerjee

My Indianism Stories

When we relocated to Pune over a decade ago, it was difficult to decide on which area would be the most suitable for us, as we had arrived with an impressively unrealistic wish list. After a while, my Mother began to display symptoms of resistance. When I asked her to visit a society called “Mon Repos”, she pointed out that it was neither quiet, nor solitary. When we looked at “Riviera”, she explained the water - frontless location in this part of Pune to the exhausted broker. After a while, I called for a much-needed break and began to read the advertisements of up-and-coming projects.

I found this:

Nestled in verdant, sylvan and tranquil seclusion and commune with your inner Self at … Whilst removed from the hubbub of a bustling, boisterous metropolis, your eyes will never cease to feast on luscious, landscaped gardens enfolding a clubhouse with meditation area, jogging track and swimming pool. Treasured amenities such as schools, renowned hospitals, specialty grocery stores and fine dining are at your beck and call. You will be just a whisper away from the city centre that beckons to invigorate you, should you venturesomely leave your exquisite retreat for a daily commute. For the select few. For further queries and site visit, contact …

Rationally, I knew that selling the dream is a broker´s daily bread and that the blurb actually contained a Lot of factual information that made the property rather unappealing, but I went ahead and booked a site visit.

Many words and phrases are quite commonly used. But where a UK broker may embellish a property description with a few choice adjectives, this description hits you with such a high quantity of adjective chocolate truffles that it leaves you weakened and susceptible to “What´s the harm in checking it out anyway?” thought processes.

Myself and I

When members of an international team introduce themselves, I often hear “My name is… /my function is/you can call me…”

An Indian colleague may well start with, “Myself, Suresh K … “

Some colleagues later try to patronize or ridicule their Indian colleague.

But there are these surprising reactions, such as “he didn´t sound as if he had an inferiority complex, he sounded really humble and I would like to get to know him as a person”, “I just read an article on the Indian Sense of Self, so I was sort of expecting this”, or “Really? I didn´t notice it. I was focusing on the What, not the How, and I clearly understood what he meant”.

Another “Only” Story:

Some time ago, I was the strategic consultant to an Indo-Swiss contract negotiation project. Everything worked beautifully until the future Indian Joint Venture partner declared that “with an investment of 10 million Swiss francs only” a future site could be developed. The Swiss delegation head choked on his tea and proceeded to hit the roof.

“Only? You call this only?? Do you realize how much hard work went into making our company what it is today?! Do you know how difficult it was to justify this kind of expenditure in the first place?!!”, followed by a bout of coughing.

The reaction on the Indian side was “?”.

I called for a tea break and explained that “only” didn´t necessarily mean that the volume of expenditure was being belittled, which went a long way to pacify the Swiss corporate while his Indian counterpart was thumping his back. After a while, the coughing stopped and the meeting was resumed.

I am loving the way we use -ings

My nephew´s WhatsApp text informs me that he is currently “doing Paris” (with a hint of Been there, Done that)

My friend tells me that “I am liking the plants” on my windowsill (we both know that they won´t last a week under my care)

I explain to my colleague that “I am in the process of arriving” (caught up in yet another traffic bottleneck on my way across town)

It can mean a bit of what I have put in brackets, or it can be said meaning none of this.

And I am thinking to myself : Life can´t be being more accurate than this!


Sujata is a 3rd generation Cross-Cultural Management Consultant, Keynoter, Facilitator, Trainer, Coach, Lecturer and Mentor since 1992. Current workshops include Negotiation Skills, Communication in a culturally diverse environment, Successful Indo-European Collaborations, Virtual Closeness and Agility in distributed teams, Effective global and local Leadership.

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