ISSN 2330-717X

Introspicere – India By An Expatriate Professor: The Smile That ‘Kills’ – Essay

By

The problems that the people of India lives within normally are something completely unacceptable to us from Europe and USA and, above all, scandalous and meaningless. Intertwined with arrogance, ignorance and superstition, but also hope. However, as I wrote a long time ago, people are social animals that easiest adapt to life situations. Well, so do I. Examples? With pleasure:

Advertisement

Little restaurant near University

Since arriving in India I have really found a beautiful small restaurant (some 20 m2 on two floors – total) plus a decent terrace, which serves 2 dcl of pineapple for 0.66 $ US dollars (squeezed juice) and pizza for lunch at a price of 1.07 $ US Dollars which is really acceptable, but … After a dozen arrivals and really helpful staff (of course I didn’t go every day – I didn’t intend to have the pizza “start coming out of my ears”) who had already started to recognize me, there was “material fatigue”. Namely, about 15 days ago I came and ordered my meal, and I waited, waited … Other guests came and went. 15 minutes passed, half an hour, and there were people who came after me. I got pineapple juice, but no pizza. I got up and explained, what we would say to me, using “hands and feet” since their English language in service industries is very bad (if it’s not about “five stars” restaurants) that I am leaving because they served guests who came after me, and to me “johnson”, as I said, angry. And until couple a days ago, when I saw a young boss standing in front of a restaurant, and he was on my way, so I couldn’t avoid him. He smiled and took a step towards me, and I said to him, dead cold, “Do you know why I’m not coming to your restaurant anymore?” He smiled slightly again and said. “I know. Excuse me and accept my apologize, please.” I replied,“ Good to know. ”And I passed. And, now, look slike, I should keep coming to his restaurant, because it was through him that I ordered that last meal at the restaurant. The (in)responsibility of Indians is an exceptional flaw, unless they are true professionals in the work they do, and the (in)responsibility that accompanies (dis)respect is really (un)tolerable.

Remark: There are so many small restaurants near my workplace that one more or less, doesn’t matter at all. And what about the food? If it’s not too spicy it’s great. I recommend “Onion pacode” which are, in fact, like our donuts, but reduced, while inside them are pieces of onion. Extensive meal. Price, really small – 0.66 $ US Dollars.

A bank that works as a mail carriage from the Wild West

… And late in the realization directly in the face promised, for days. Given that everything out off the campus of my DYPIU University in Pune, and at least this is what I’ve seen and felt so far, like from another galaxy, and banks are no better. My bank, where I am obliged to have an open account (I do not want to give the name of the bank, for my own, financial security, of course) works very politely when it comes to communicating with clients, upon arrival at their place. Everything is professional and realized, from security of accounts, payments, withdrawals, internet banking, which makes the job much easier for anyone who has an account with them. However, mobile banking, ie paying bills or transferring money from phone to phone (yes, my dear readers, there are more such opportunities here than in Silicon Valley, California, the headquarters of Google – a colleague who is currently in the US, told me that people are more using Google pay in India than in the US, and he is located just a few kilometers from the headquarters of Google, at the moment) here, in India, very much “coughs”. At least for me.

From day one, I’ve been trying to open up that possibility as well, and lo and behold, I’ve been trying here for almost three months. I’m still waiting. And when I hoped, after the submitted applications, requests, completed forms, direct contact with bank employees, a cold shower! On the spot, 4 days ago, I asked a very kindly bank clerk to show me how to use Google pay, because it shows me non-stop that my mobile phone number is not registered at her bank, she takes matters into her own hands. Before explaining, let me emphasize that I could not open an account without a mobile phone, because when I pay bills from a laptop via Internet banking, I get an OTP temporary password (which once again increases the security of payment) to my registered bank number. Local. Indian. Eo ipso, taking the cell phone, she tried not once, but ten times the same thing as I did. And nothing. She coldly told me to keep trying for 2-3 days on Google pay and my request will be accepted by Google pay. O tempora, o mores! It’s like I don’t have another work than to type on my mobile phone every day and “beg” Google pay to find my account in my bank, via my mobile number. And as a solution, she said: “Please fill out this, another form, and within 24 hours you will be able, when you reinstall and reinstall another application on your mobile device – Phone pay, to pay online until your Google pay start working.“ Eo ipso, I did everything as he said. It’s been 96 hours passed (4 days) not just 24 hours (1 day) and neither Google pay nor Phone pay is available. No way. And I’m thinking of something, to go again the next day on Monday, bring a bar of chocolate for her (a sign of care, not a bribe) and wait until it’s all over. And be patient. Anyway. Like Bosnian. And Herzegovinian. Until the bank clerk finally allows my phone number to be combined with the above applications, so that I can pay the rent for the refrigerator and washing machine in my apartment, in the amount of 10.70 $ US Dollars, per month.

Remark: At least I hope they will not take them back from me because I’m a few days late with the payment (and they only ask for Phone pay or Google pay) precisely because of the inability to pay by mobile phone. “Others are fucking, and you, Muzafer, are bathing:”, as the great Pavle Vujisić said in the film “Father on a Business Trip” (Winner of the Palm D’or in Cannes back in 1985, by Emir Kusturica, at the time. They “fuck” digitally, and I “bathe” analogically. Here.

Advertisement

Tip gold worth

Be careful, please, when you are in India and you are paying someone in cash to give money in such a way that the thumb is on one side of the banknotes and all four fingers on the other side of the banknote. Why? I say by example: In my neighborhood, near the apartment, there are a number of small shops that are, in fact, like a little “deeper” newstands but open from the front. And I have my own, where I am already used to the host(s) when they see me that they radiant know that they have at least 100 IR (1.33 $ US Dollars) from me that day. And so, yesterday I went for bread  (here you can find it only as a toasted package and not as “normal” as we are used to – if you want, you should walk to specialty stores, such as for beer and / or wine, – who menitoned Saudi Arabia?) and some trifles of salad purpose.

I took out 1.33 $ US Dollars and giving them to the owner’s daughter (a girl in her 20s) I saw disgust on her face. By the way, she is the only one who knows English (very well) and I rejoice every time when I see her (she is there every other day) because I don’t  have to explain to her father “using my hands and feet” what I want, although we are both used to it and recognize nonverbal communication, very good today. What disgust? Because I gave her a bill holding it between my thumb and forefinger only. She gave it back to me, and I thought confused that I might not have given the right banknote, but I know I heard her say, “95 IR. (1.25 & US Dollars)” And giving it back to me, she said, “Please give me the money appropriately. Not like this. If you do it this way, it is an insult in India. ” Confused, I asked how to do it. Explaining it to me, I did it, and she smiled contentedly. I left angry. On myself. Wondering how many people I have offended so far, and they didn’t have the courage, like this little girl, to tell me.. 

Remark:  Life long learning process. Even in India.

Mobile phone shop as a light at the end of the tunnel

I don’t know if anywhere in Europe or in the world I have seen a service as professional and dedicated to work as in a mobile and other accessories store, some 300 meters from my university. Somewhere upon arrival, I had a problem with my Bosnian cell phone (only when you leave BiH, you can boast of two cell phones – one “foreign” and one “domestic”, because in BiH only bachelors and politicians can have two cell phones, the rest no! – at least I didn’t dare) and looking for one store of that kind I ran into one of the stores where the guy behind the counter immediately figured me out as a stranger and charged 2,000 IR (26.75 $ US Dollars) for repairing of the screen. I turned around and kept looking further, finding a new offer near the university, from 800 IR (about 10.70 $ US Dollars), which I accepted. That afternoon, the cell phone was like new, and I kept coming to them. I’ve been because of my both cell phones twice before and some minor application issues and he didn’t want to charge me, that guy, behind the counter. Always a smile and the word “Wait, please.” Within 5 minutes the problem is solved and I decide to buy something every time. They have a small cupboard, glass with chocolates and I buy chocolate bar. Satisfied, I eat it, and I thank them through the money spent. I wonder if all of the above can be like this polite guy from the mobile device store, or he himself is the light at the end of the tunnel, and the tunnel never ends.

Remark: We’ll see. Prof. Sabi will see more. It is a long time before returning home.

Prof. Dr. Sabahudin Hadzialic

Prof. Dr. Sabahudin Hadzialic was born in 1960, in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 1964 he lives in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a professor (two doctoral degrees), scientist, writer & poet (distinguished artist by state), journalist, and editor. He wrote 26 books (textbooks for the Universities in BiH and abroad, books of poetry, prose, essays as well as) and his art and scientific work is translated in 25 world languages. He published books in BiH, Serbia, France, Switzerland, USA and Italy. He wrote more than 100 scientific papers. He is peer-reviewer (his citations appear in books and papers of scientists from all continents) for several European scientific journals. He participates within EU project funds and he is a member of scientific boards of Journals in Poland, India and the USA. Also, he is a regular columnists & essayist and member of the Editorial board, since 2014, of Eurasia Review, think tank and journal of news & analysis from USA. Since 2009 he is co-owner and Editor in chief of DIOGEN pro culture - magazine for, culture, art, education and science from USA. He is a member of major associations of writers in BiH, Serbia and Montenegro as well as Foundations (scientific and non-governmental) Associations worldwide. As professor he is teaching at School of Media and Journalism, DYPIU, Akurdi/Pune, since September 2021, and was teaching at the Universities in BiH, Italy, Lithuania and Poland. Detailed info: http://sabihadzi.weebly.com.</a?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.