Monday, January 15, 2007

Tomorrow never comes

No! This is not the title for the next James Bond movie. It is a phrase that I have coined to explain the concept of time in India. Here, time works differently than most other parts of the world. People unfamiliar with this can suffer from dizziness and disorientation when first exposed to this. Once you get used to this system, your stress level goes down and you begin to feel the same pleasurable sensation that you feel while vacationing in a tropical island.

In order to understand this phenomenon, you have to learn to interpret the words and phrases related to time within the Indian context. This is best explained through a few scenarios:

Scenario 1:

You are planning to meet a friend for dinner in the evening.

He says “I will pick you up at 6pm

He means “I will pick you up some time between 7pm and 10pm

Scenario 2:

You call a colleague at work to discuss an important sales presentation and she is on another call.

She says “I am on another call and will call you back in 5 minutes”

She means “I am on another call and will call you back later today or tomorrow (if I remember)”

Scenario 3:

You have just ordered some furniture and are discussing the delivery schedule with the store manager.

He says “We guarantee next day delivery. This furniture will be delivered to you on Tuesday.”

He means “We guarantee next day delivery. You can expect this furniture this Tuesday or the next or the next or the …”


Simple! So how do you plan and work within this system? I will tell you tomorrow.

2 comments:

Simmone (if you can remember me!) said...

Pervez, looks like the exterior has changed but not the inner workings of a complex indian mind!

Anonymous said...

I am confuzzled...
Okay so if I will come home in 5 min I could come home nthe next day? Pure awesome!
-Danyaal :-)