The culture of respect ?

“Ibu, aku terlambat , pesawat belum datang.” I heard a part of what my colleague was saying on phone. We were in Lombok, on an assignment and stuck at the airport. The plane taking us back to Jakarta had gotten delayed by 4 hours.  I had already called up my husband to inform and was waiting for my colleague to finish his call, before we went back to work related discussion again. “Ibu, nanti aku telepon ketika pesawat mendarat”. …

I was sort of surprised + impressed that he still calls his Ibu (Mum) first, even in his mid thirties. Indonesians are very close to their family – mostly like Indians, I had heard, but this was little out of ordinary for me.  I wouldn’t call my parents immediately under such circumstances, they need not know that I’m getting delayed and then worry about me. Maybe, he lives in a joint family. ‘The analyst’ started making her assumptions. Anyhow, after he hung up, I asked him how came he called his mother because she might worry unnecessarily. Indonesians do tend to ask even more personal questions and even to casual acquaintances or even strangers. Though I knew he wouldn’t have minded – he’s a friend.  Anyway, he did a double take – “Mother??, no, I called my wife”.  Then it was my turn to do a double take – “you  address your wife with ‘Ibu’?”. Till then, to me, Ibu meant only following things:

  1. Ibu is your own mother
  2. In formal situations, it is a title of respect – similar to ‘Madam’ – for someone senior in age / designation – mostly aged 30s and above.

So I was even more impressed with this colleague, who was addressing his wife ‘Madam’. Not jokingly, I could tell from his expressions. He added, “Of course, that’s what I always call her”.Having returned home, I mentioned this to a local friend and he set me correct. “We always call our spouses with the relevant title”. This was a shock and relief to me. After hearing the Bahasa Indonesia word for the word ‘husband’ – Suami, which has been derived from Sanskrit ‘Swami’ (master), I had been flabbergasted. So this new information was a happy shock.

 This means, husbands will call their wives – ‘Ibu’ (Madam) or Mbak (Miss) while addressing and wives will call their husbands  – Bapak/Pak (Sir), Mas (young sir I guess?) while addressing them. This to me initially seemed too formal, until I recollected that in many parts of India there still is culture of addressing significant other ‘aap’ (respect) irrespective of gender. Even kids . India always has culture of addressing husband as ‘aap’ – being the patriarchal society that it is. But in some areas even the wives are addressed in kind. In Maharashtrian culture too probably till last century I guess, the culture of calling significant other “tumhi” (respect) existed. However, I don’t think adding a title for those considered ‘junior’ was ever a part of our culture. Fortunately, today we have again gravitated to an era where genders are on equal footing when it comes to addressing each other (genders to come on equal footing in India in real sense will take probably couple of centuries more… but that is besides the point).

So, coming to the point, so far in my interactions, I haven’t come across anybody in this country, irrespective of his/her age, situation,  social status, profession etc, being addressed without title. Titles – Pak/Bapak, Mas, Mbak, Ibu, Nona (for young miss) etc are used in formal as well as casual situations. I guess, in situations with extreme familiarity, sometimes, you could be addressed only with your first name, parents calling their children etc.  I call some of my friends on first name basis, but I think their acceptance of it could be more to do with the fact that they understand differences in cultures.

To me it is amusing how the use of titles does not really impact the level of intimacy in this culture. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Indonesians are very genial? – that they always have given respect to anyone irrespective of their status / situation by addressing them with titles?  I can only make guesses.

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Shoes that don’t fit (in my drawing room)

Why do some people wear their shoes indoors?

Or let me rephrase it – why do some people continue to wear the shoes that they wore outside, indoors as well? -in  their friend’s, or even their own house?

Till recently, I never really had to think about this question and likewise, I never really thought that I would one day explore in detail about its causes etc. I have been brought up in ‘No shoes at home’ manner –  and believed that this was Indian custom. A possibility that there existed any other way to behave  – than leaving shoes at the door when entering own/another’s house, didn’t even enter my mind for a long long time. However, times have changed and brought me into contact with people who wear shoes into the house.

Our Indonesian acquaintances have never done this. So no question of this being attributable to the diverse culture. They have always removed their shoes. The people who wore shoes indoors were in fact Indians. Belonging to a particular part of India. I do not want to pinpoint it – So let me leave it at that.

There have been instances, of people from this particular part of India walking in, either alone /in a group and walking in with their shoes, noticing that the hosts (us) are barefoot and yet continuing to move about the house wearing their shoes / chappals/ sandals. When they came in as a part of a group, they still kept their shoes on while the others removed their footwear. As hosts, so far we have said nothing, but I was shocked to see this repeatedly ever since I moved here. And only by people from one specific part of India.

To me, shoes worn outside are dirty and unhygienic. They must be carrying not only dirt and dust but who knows , even bacteria/fungi and what not from various public places that they’ve been worn to. Removing them means avoiding infesting the host’s house with that dirt. I guess, this is how I was brought up. Both India and Indonesia are countries where hygiene at public places can be an issue and people staying in either of these countries should be mindful of this. Further, noticing that the hosts (As well as other guests when they remove shoes,) are barefoot, and still continuing to wear shoes despite of that, is sort of arrogant and disrespectful.

I try and request those who are friends, and they do listen. However, this doesn’t guarantee that they’d remember next time. The job of reminding is quite embarrassing then. That apart, usually as a host it is a dilemma whether requesting the guests to remove shoes will give offence, some of them being my husband’s business associates. I guess, I never really imagined that Indians would do this. Most of the non – Indians ASK you – if they need to remove the shoes. They are very mindful about differences in the culture. Desi guests however neither ask nor are they expected to be unaware. Following rules at the host’s place is not culture specific I think. It is universal.

Anyway, after one more such experience yesterday, when some of my husband’s Indian associates came over for dinner and a couple of them promptly ignored that both the hosts and some of their colleagues had removed footwear, I was forced to think about the possible reasons for this practice of wearing shoes indoors. I came up with –

  1. Weather – People from this community in India belong to a region which can get too hot or too cold. Maybe the floor heats up or gets stark cold and you need to protect the feet. In this case well – this is Jakarta. Perennially stuck at 32 degrees celsius and definitely neither too hot nor too cold.
  2. Some people have ‘house slippers’ or house footwear.  – Basically they constantly wear something in their feet till they go to sleep. Yes, many people in my family too do this. However, the house footwear is not same as outdoor footwear and if they go to someone’s place for couple of hours, they probably can survive without footwear. Some families I know keep spare house footwear for guests. I haven’t done it so far and I don’t think it is practical especially when you are hosting a number of people at the same time.
  3. Some people have health issues or some injury – in which case it is understandable. However I guess this would be exception and even the hygiene-OCD affected people will accommodate such guests.

I could not think about a ‘culture’ specific reason  – none of the above is specific to that culture. Many people live in areas in India which have extreme climates. Not just this particular part of India. Anyway, I found a thread on metafilter discussing exactly this – but in the western countries. This was new to me. I had imagined that US and UK have colder climes and hence probably they must be wearing shoes inside the house. But I had no idea that in many parts, its the same pair of shoes that is worn outside the house. I find it amusing (because its not in my own house of course 😉  ) that some even wear shoes on their beds. But this thread gave many reasons why a person might be wearing same pair of shoes inside the house, what they wore outside.

Anyhoo, my rant is done. Time to sign off. In case anyone knows any cultural reasons why some INDIANS might be wearing their outdoor shoes indoors, please let me know.

My Mum (Always) Never….

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My Mum (Always) Never....

Story of my life

It takes a lot of planning to get a manicure ….

I am writing here after several months , being provoked by finely manicured feet with nice nail paint.  Goes without saying that the feet in question don’t belong to me. Now that would have been unusual enough as well actually, to qualify for a blog post. Sadly, that unusual event is yet to occur.  Though, I hope that someday, living in such a grooming – obsessed country as Indonesia, I will begin to really try at least, the things such as hairdo/hairstyles other than bun, various styled earrings other than the studs and formal wear other than trousers and shirts.  Well, I don’t really want to write about my lack of fashion – sense in this post, though of course, that has been giving me inferiority complex in this country where all the women I come across seem to be the walking examples of runway models,  women that have been gifted with naturally lithe yet slim bodies and smaller frames (Especially, my female colleagues who are 20 years older to me, are much better groomed and stylish than I ever could be in my life and take a 15 minute loo-break daily in the afternoon to touch-up their make – up and curl their eyebrows. By the way, I saw eye-brow curler for the first time in my life here…again, I am digressing …   )

So, coming to my point – yesterday, I met a bunch of Indian women my age (though have kids in class 1/2  now! , makes me feel super old, I know,  though they got married super early and shifted here…again, I am digressing)  – we had all gathered to discuss what to showcase at the upcoming expat ‘Diwali Mela’. Last year, we had performed a group dance, complete with traditional costumes, stage property and so on.

At one point, they started discussing their schedules.  Some of them are housewives with kids and others are working women with kids. All of their lives outside of office / house work revolve around kids – their homework, school projects, their performances, activities, various hobby classes. The kind of burden that 6-7 year old kids have on themselves is unimaginable actually. My generation I guess was one of the last few generations that could play at the ‘age of playing’. Sounds funny to say –  but that’s true. These expat 6-7 year old kids seem to be just moving – out of school into some activity class, out of that class into a hobby class and so on. From what I’ve been reading about India, I guess similar things are happening back home too…

Anyhow, I noticed the shining red nail-paint on the feet of one of these 4.30 am waking – numerous lunches- packing, numerous home-made -things- making working Mum. And I took a deep breath. Slowly, I took in the feet of all the other women at the venue. Only colour changed. Light pink, maroon, magenta, brown… whatever the colour, but the feet were well manicured (or pedicured – not sure what to call it), looked smooth, soft with a shining coat of nail paint. And I sighed. For myself. I didn’t have to look down at my feet – I knew exactly how ugly, rough, hideous mine would look. Then I spent few moments wondering how on the earth they could manage all their work AND getting their manicure??? That 4.30 am club looked to me as if they were totally in control of their time… what have I been doing with MY time??

When was the last time I really applied anything to my feet? Cream even? Almost 2 years back. At my wedding.  When was the last time I did anything to my face?  – that was in January 2013, when I was in India. When was the last time I styled my hair – in India again. In January 2012!! It’s not like I HAVE to do or HAVE to confirm to this standard of expat Indian woman in Indonesia. It’s just that I WANT to improve my grooming and nobody’s really been stopping me. Just that I NEVER FOUND THE TIME to do it!  TILL NOW. More so, after I began working here. It is so weird. Actually it is not. I am tardy.  Never taking the trouble really and just wanting to change things about myself….

Planning meals, organizing house, keeping things in order etc have never been my forte, but I had never imagined before marrying, how much of the married life means only this – especially if you don’t live with in-laws and have to entertain guests from time to time. Though, even if you don’t have anyone over at your place, living with a second person, the significant other, means that several things have to be acceptable to the both – including food. I never had imagined that thinking about laundry, meals, cleaning etc will be an important part of my daily thought process and so having not been much interested in all the domestic management before marriage, I find my hands full just with the two of us, short of containers to stock groceries with, all the times, overstuffed fridge and short of place to put clothes.  I am guessing (Correctly) that life will get even more dramatic whenever we plan to start a family!!  I can imagine how our life would have been in Mumbai currently, had we not quit our jobs there and continued to work wherever we were working. We probably wouldn’t have had any time together – what’s with the super long working  hours, commuting and family obligations. Since both of us belong to extremely traditional and large families, the obligations would have taken precedence over everything. Here, while we are away from these aspects, we still are in short of time  –  we always have unfinished chores at hand. I guess, we need to learn a lot. It takes a lot of planning I suppose to have your feet manicured….

Gyaan

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A day in life of Swapnil

A day in life of Swapnil

I just made a new….

Remember that every good friend was once a str...

Remember that every good friend was once a stranger☺☻ (Photo credit: Vijay Bandari)

Friend. …yes, a new friend..

Before I delve into the details, a back story is in order:

2 nights earlier….

It was 10.0 pm and we were sitting in our drawing-room watching some TV program. There was a knock at the door. Half expecting to be the watchman and unable to guess why he would knock at such a late hour, I opened the door.  There stood a young Indian woman with a child of around 3 tagging behind her. As soon as I looked at her, she said in fluent Marathi, “मी तुमच्या वर राहते. माझ्या मुलाची pant तुमच्या gallery च्या कठड्यावर अडकली आहे. मला ती देता का?” – translated into English this means – “I live in the flat above yours. My son’s pair of pants is stuck in the railing of your balcony. Can you please retrieve it?”. I said, “Oh”, and went to check for the said item – barely registering the fact that she was speaking in Marathi, my mother tongue. It was there, the garment, nestled between the grill and the AC’s compressor. I handed it over to her. Before anything else could be said, she said thank you and turned back. I stood at the door, certain odd things about this encounter started registering:

  1. How in the world this lady knew we spoke Marathi?  – India has 26 national languages and we could have belonged to any of the other language groups.
  2. From her looks, she did not seem Maharashtrian (a Marathi speaking person). She looked more like a north Indian to me and in that case her request in Marathi would be extraordinary.
  3. She did not introduce herself at all apart from telling us that she lived on the next floor, in a flat above ours. She did not ask us our name either.
  4. So did we – we did not ask her name or tell ours. We did not invite her in.

We were perplexed for few moments but soon decided to kill the suspense. Being short of time (probably last time this fortnight), I chose to do it today. Those who know me would also know that I am not exactly an outgoing person and I don’t go out and make friends, my friendships happen gradually. So going out and knocking on a stanger’s door and introducing myself would be totally anti-me. But I decided to do exactly that today. Yes, I hesitated a bit earlier. But then I convinced myself that the maximum that can happen is the lady shutting the door on my face and that was okay because she did not know me personally or I, her and it should not matter. I wasnt exactly sure if she was staying in the flat above me or above my neighbor, because in either cases the garment could get stuck in my balcony…

With some curiosity I knocked the door. At first there was no answer. I knocked again second time, louder this time. There she was. I introduced myself. I said, I was sorry I forgot to introduce myself the other day and that is why I came. She called me in and the rest was history 🙂 We chatted. For almost two hours. Turns out, she knew we existed because of a common friend. That is how she also knew our mother tongue. She is not a Maharashtrian, as I correctly guessed, she is a Gujarati, born and brought up in Pune, a city in Maharashtra. She thanked me for having taken this chance to come, because she herself would have felt quite awkward doing such a thing and we never would have gotten to know each other. As I left, I invited her over for a smallish function that I am holding for my new friends soon.

It was fun getting out of comfort zone. It was bit awkward for sure, but definitely enjoyable, especially, because S, my new friend too responded in the manner that I wanted. All in all, happy outcome.

Anyhow, does this qualify as a creative project activity? I think it does. I got out of my comfort zone and made an attempt to make friends with a stranger. How many times do we do that regularly?

The idea behind creative challenge was to get out of my daily rut, my comfort zone and experience something new. Do some new things, create, think – different from my usual way. There was creative writing (and some more will come along), Objects..(DIY, banner) and I felt why should human relationships be left alone? What all these activities also do is create a unique experience every time. That’s what was my objective – to make my own life interesting. So today, I set out to make a new friend….and new friend, I did make!!

Gute Nacht, bis bald.

Bitch Please….

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Another one…. just giving vent to the feelings of sundry wives….

Bitch Please

The biggest cheater…

Exhausted. I am deeply exhausted. Today’s creative activity was really not easy. Creative writing again, but intended to be impactful and dialogue based, with underlying conclusion etc. Something of a short skit, a one – act play – more like a one – scene play. I racked my brains real hard. What’s come out took me probably an hour and a half of serious writing. Though the premise / deciding the premise took longest. Been thinking about ‘what’ should I write for last 24 hours I think…finally when it occurred to me, everything was a smooth ride. While it might not be oozing of talent, it certainly is interesting… I hope!

The biggest cheater….

Curtain lifts and an office is seen.

(A room with four desks, on one side a cabin door can be seen, on the other side some sort of corridor leading in / out of the room etc., typical office environment. Three individuals – two women and a man are working on their laptops. Everyone in business suits. The Man is standing and on phone)

Man: Yes Baby! …..I know my sweet muffin……I’m sorry my sugar pie…..my sweet pea…did I ever? No, no my sugar…..yes, I will always, forever my candy…

(two women look up from their own laptops at the same time. Smile conspiratorily at each other)

Woman 1: (winks at the other woman) Sugar addict….

(woman 2 nods patronizingly, both look back into their respective laptops)

Woman 2: Hey, is the Boss here yet? Some urgent email from London. (looks back at her screen)

W1: (without looking up) Is he like ever? Why do you think this parrot’s rattling off for almost an hour now?

Man (still on phone): So you’re not mad at me anymore? Promise my cupcake? My sweet….my errr….my sweet potato

W1: (looks up from the screen and at the audience, in incredulous voice) Sweet potato??

W2: (Looks up at her and smiles) He probably exhausted all his confectionery vocabulary (goes back to work….)

(man continues to talk and suddenly a third woman rushes into the room. Loud noise of her footsteps….woman is little dishevelled.)

W3: (Just as she enters, in loud voice) Finally! I am here. Oh my God! The traffic! The rush, the sweat, arrgh…

(passes by the man who gives her irritated look which she ignores).

W3: (continuing her monologue as she reaches her desk, takes her laptop out and switches it on etc) Just fought with that rickshaw driver. 50 Rs he was charging me. That tampered meter I say… (shakes her head) – oh, they are so dishonest. All of them. Cheaters…

(other two women look up, share a smile again and now turn sideways to look at her from their swivelling chairs as she sets up her desk)

Man: (looks up from his phone, addresses to W3) – Can you keep it low? Ronnie?

W3 (aka Ronnie): (glares at him, dramatically puts one palm on chest and then looks at the other two women) I am loud? am I ? (throws up hands dramatically again) As if…. I’m sure he must have been speaking for last half an hour at least, using those high calorie words that you must have heard. Well, what about that? Misuse of employer’s resources….really, that’s why he always comes early.

Man: (On phone) I will talk to you later. (Hangs up and about to walk up to Ronnie’s desk.)

Ronnie: (notices this and turns to other two women) – Did I say anything wrong? Reema?

W1 (a.k.a Reema): Good morning to you too Ronnie! Looks like you got stuck in traffic….(lowers voice, looks at W2 and says sarcastically) ….yet again!

W2: (rolls her eyes) So, what happened today?

(meanwhile, the man walks up to Ronnie, is standing just little away from her)

Man: Yes ma’am, I heard what you just said. You said I was wasting employer’s resources….didn’t you?

Ronnie: So?

Man: (visibly offended) And you said I come early to make personal calls?

Ronnie: (with emphasis) Spot the inconsistency,Gaurav.

Man (a.k.a Gaurav): I misuse resources? How so? Company allows you to make personal calls…

Ronnie: (starts with exaggerated tone) Oh yeah, hell yeah… but they didn’t expect employees to make daily hour-long personal calls abroad, now, did they? That IS misuse. Yes. It is the misuse of not only company’s telephone budget, but also of time, which is even more valuable. That’s cheating your employer…I lost the count of how many calls I had to take of your clients just because you were cootchie-cooing early morning on phone with your girl friend in Hong Kong.

Gaurav: Really? I doubt you took any of my calls at all…for that, you have to be here by 9 am isn’t it? But you never show up before 10.am…. How is that for misuse? Misusing the employer – given liberty of flexible hours to arrive late and leave early….that too is cheating on employer I say…Well, I don’t really care what you say Ronnie. Coming from you, this sounds so hypocritical, isn’t it Shubha?

W2 (a.k.a Shubha): (not wanting to be included) Hey!

Ronnie: Shubha? You agree with him? That I misuse resources? Yes, I do come late from time to time…but what do I do? I live so far..its an hour’s journey…I’m a married woman with kids…its so difficult…its not like I get late on purpose….isn’t he the one who’s more guilty Shubha?

Shubha: Umm…. Well…

Reema: There goes…. I’m out of this (turns back to her screen)

Gaurav: Shubha, Shubha, Shubha! just pause and think….how many of her calls have you taken because she was late? Yeah yeah, she stays an hour away, has kids and all that crap…but its not like the rest of us have nothing going in our life…. I stay an hour away too…. Reema has to commute for almost an hour and a half to reach office… What about that? Eh? You tell her Shubha, who’s more guilty?

Shubha: (relieved to have found her voice finally) Well Ronnie, I have taken a lot of your calls in the morning. That much is for sure…but Gaurav that doesn’t mean you are off the hook. I have taken equal amount of your calls too, though you were in office at that time…because you were otherwise occupied (gestures air-sign quote-unquote).

Ronnie: Well Gaurav, that settles it. You are more guilty, obviously, you are at office, still don’t take your calls.

Shubha: (more confidently) – In my eyes, you both are equally guilty… (both look at her with contempt).. Why should I take your calls when I have enough on my platter? I come here on time, many a times, even earlier, and all I have to start with is your calls? What am I? your PA?

Ronnie: Wow! That was nasty.

Gaurav: Miss goody two shoes…. Isn’t exactly that turns out… Makes me want to remind you how you’ve been a bad girl in your own way…

Shubha: I? Heh! I got the best new employee of the quarter across all the country offices. For my talent, commitment AND honesty, of course.

Gaurav: Sure, but nobody else knows the real truth that we do ma’am… Why you’re always in office, why you come early… Platter full my foot! You just came in like – 3 months back… You’re still being trained. You don’t have any clients of your own… So what if you attended our calls? Technically that’s your job if we are unavailable at that moment…. You know that…

Ronnie: But Gaurav, what’s her secret you mentioned? Spill it at once….you’re killing me.

Gaurav: Oh yes, the novel isn’t it? She’s been writing a novel at work! Doing all research about it, printing bundles and bundles of drafts, copies and what nots, forwarding to publishers using the office courier, misuse of stationery, misuse of couriers,and of course – misuse of time, electricity, internet…whoa whoa whoa… We have a competitor here…

Ronnie: Oh yes, it totally is… Never thought the meek Shubha can also be the mean Shubha….your own hands are soiled and you’re calling us dirty….

Shubha: (visibly shaken) Hmm… Well at least internet research for a novel is better than what you guys do in office when you are (again gestures quote unquote in air) available in office – the stalking of various females on Facebook that you do Gaurav, or the internet-dredging of recipes that Ronnie does…God knows if she ever cooks them though….never brings anything at work….

Ronnie: Hey, hey! You’re over-stepping your boundaries. You’re so new into the system, that if we don’t train you anymore, you’ll be wiped out in no time!

Shubha: (Turns to Reema, who has now and then been looking up at them and rolling her eyes or smiling to herself) Reema? …Reema (now walks up to Reema’s desk)

Reema: (Sighs with resignation) – Yes Shubha?

Shubha: Reema, help! Please help! These people are trying to eat me alive! All I’ve been doing is taking their calls and attending to their clients, but all I get in return is this! So what, if I am frustrated with doing their work? Don’t I even have the right to vent it out?

Reema: Who told you to poke into their business? You should have ignored them. More so since your own linen is dirty.

Shubha: You too think I misuse company resources? more than they do?

Reema: (patronizingly) You all do. Equally I’ll say. Its question of principle here. A misuse is a misuse is a misuse. No levels there. Who misuses more, who misuses less… After all, every one of you does something which is not intended to be done…all of you are guilty….

Ronnie and Gaurav have been listening to this and now walk up to Reema’s desk…

Ronnie: (Clapping hands) Well, well, well! Look who’s talking. All three of us are guilty eh? We misuse resources eh? Well we found the most guilty after all… We don’t take client’s contact numbers to later call them up and sell a spare – part not manufactured by the employer, but by our spouse’s own factory…. In fact our spouses don’t own a factory. We, all three of us, work here for money, to run our own houses… Not for the express purpose of time pass and implied purpose of stealing contacts….like you do…. Hows THAT an answer for your question of principles ma’am?

Gaurav: Oh yeah, and I don’t even have a spouse yet…

Shubha: and I don’t have clients yet…

Reema: (Looks stupid and apologetic) Well, I’ll say by far that principle of work – ethics is quite complicated on the face of it. Just too many sides and angles and viewpoints to it. Too many situations, scenarios…quite a delicate thing if you ask me…

Gaurav: We’re listening, go on, till you get to the point.

Ronnie: Yeah, the point explaining about how you’ve been cheating on the employer…

Reema: Er… Well…look! (takes a pause, looks here and there as if is racking her brains to come up with something. Meanwhile Ronnie, Gaurav and Shubha share a triumphant look) See, I feel we are quite junior to really cheat on the employer in such a way that it impacts them. Now someone at our Boss’s level, if he cheats, it probably would impact…. In fact, he already is and has…you know what, the raw materials that they source have been contracted out from Boss’s brother’s company and Boss’s brother gave a huge margin to the Boss.

Gaurav: (slightly skeptical)  Oh yeah?

Reema: Well, how do you think he bought that condo he bought? Is that even in his league?

Gaurav: Wow! You’re right! In fact, Ronnie, weren’t you telling me of one time when he took a cruise – vacation that a client sponsored and then gave the client a huge discount?

Ronnie: Oh, yes! He’s been cheating big time on the company…. Oh, by the way, that client called last week. I heard the discussion. Door was slightly ajar I guess. He was complaining…

Shubha: What? He was still unhappy after all the discount that he got?

Ronnie: No. Apparently, the product doesn’t match the quality that he ordered for. It looks the same, difficult to tell from appearance, but performs poorly. They suffered some losses because their clients in turn have been cancelling orders now.

Reema: Ah! The market news. That’s been discussed for some time now. Apparently, these substandard products have been produced to jack up margins…. profit by cheating customers. Really bad.

Shubha: Great! I began my career with a cheater company….

Ronnie: Really! Better that you sell of your novel and get a good publishing deal and get out of here…. Me too…I need a job now, before they brand me as an employee of a cheating company.

Gaurav: Oh Well, now time to look for a job too….in addition to a wife….

Reema: Hey, what about that girl-friend in Hong Kong you were just talking to…

Gaurav: Well, long distance relationship doesn’t really suit me. Been seeing others since a couple of months now…and if I know her well, she must be doing the same…

Shubha: Hey, but that’s cheating!!!

(Everyone shakes their head and walk back to their desks. The curtain falls)

Love Is…

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My Story

Introducing: Pradnya and Swapnil in the alternate cartoon reality

Awesome wala food

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