10 April 2013

Indian Standard Time

 Note: This post of mine was published in a Japanese Magazine in India . I was asked to write an article that might help the Japanese understand Indians better.

Japanese: I am coming down in 5 minutes please keep the car ready

Driver: Sir, ok. I will be ready

[Reaches Down]

Japanese: are you not ready yet?

Driver: 2 minutes sir

Driver (thinks to himself): I do not understand why this man says he will come in 5 minutes and comes down by 4 minutes 30 seconds

Japanese (thinks to himself): I do not well understand the context of 2 minutes what he usually gives me

Truly speaking many we Indians, ourselves do not know the context of 2 minutes that our fellow Indians give us. And I do not possibly think that our foreigner friends here in India would possibly understand the same. But I am sure I can give you an equivalent of what 2 minutes means to us. It could possibly mean that we are getting on it/ it means we are trying to do/ come ASAP. The 2 minute rule not only applies to foreigners but to Indians too.

Getting to talk about the 2 minutes context, it would be a shame if I forget to mention that Indians or at least most of the Indians never fail to follow the Indian Standard Time (IST) – pun intended.

A famous quote by an anonymous Indian goes like this “Indians are never late, they just run by Indian time” and so it is true.

And therefore we could classify Indians into
1. Type Un Indian
2. Type unsure
3. Type very Indian

[Classifications are purely fictional and based upon my imagination.]

Let me describe you each type which could be an eye opener  to all my Japanese colleagues out there

1. Type Un Indian

This is a very rare species that can be found in India and we cannot pick these people from a particular group. This class of people I would say are growing rather slowly but in a steady pace. They can range from the working class to the white collar group. You say that you will meet them at 9:00am and these chaps will definitely turn up at the latest by 9:01Am. And they are quite Japanese in a way being sincere or polite enough to call you and send a word of apology in case they are going to be late.
Consider yourself lucky if your driver or working partner is one of that people.

2. Type Unsure but happily sure

I would say this set of people could be highly dangerous ones to predict [feelings mutual from my side]. You can’t predict where do these people emerge from, but I would call as a common Indian trait. You fix up the appointment with him at 9:00Am one day and he shows up at your door anywhere between 9:15 to 10:30Am. You thought this time you learnt a lesson, no be careful and don’t let your appointment for the next time to be at 8:30Am hoping that he would show up at 9:00/9:15AM only to see him on your door steps at 8:15AM.

3.  Type Very Indian

This class of people are the ones whom you can find next door and easily point a random person he can be one among them. This culture of being very Indian and following Indian time has been imbibed in most of us. He might be the one who says he would call you back in 5 minutes and would never call you back for eternity until your names flashes on his mobile screen or you show up at his door. Make sure while you are trying to make an appointment with him give him a lead time of 30 ~45 minutes or says 5 minutes or I am on the way and shows up only after a good 45 minutes.
And this types can even go up to the extent of calling you as being affected with  Obsessive-compulsive disorder if you are being too hard on them be it right on your face or behind your back.

Tips to survive IST: Nothing, You will experience IST  at least a minimum of  two times before getting used to it and start complaining about it instead of screaming to the person who is late. You will get used to it once you start saying “Coming in Two minutes ….”