Thursday, July 29, 2004

The 7 Habits of Highly Indian People

India-Are You Experienced?

As many of you know, I am in the process of applying for an Indian Residential Permit. In the good old days, it was just a matter of the right baksheesh to the right peon at the right time, but when I arrived at the Embassy I was asked to take the following multiple choice quiz:
I. Sensitivity Training
1. Someone wanders into your place of business asking directions to the nearest internet facility. After staring at them a suitable period of time, just to show them who’s in charge here, you respond:
a-"Just across the street, three doors down, can't miss it."
b-"Opposite, eenternet you will get it."
c-"You-Are-From!” (no question mark)

2. The correct plural of "footwear" is
a-Trick question; "footwear" is already plural

3. You answer the telephone by exclaiming:
b-“May I help you?”
c-“TELL me!”
d-all of the above in rapid succession

4. The phrase “No problem” means:
a-"There’s a problem"
b-"I don’t speak English"
c-"I do speak English, but I’m not listening to a word you say"
d-"You are going to be overcharged"
e-Quite possibly, all of the above

5. Match the communication with the vocalization.
a."You disgust and/or exasperate me".................................
b."I am listening and I understand" (North India)..................
c."I'm just clearing my throat"........................
d. "I am listening and I understand" (South India).................
e. "I really enjoyed my meal"..............................
-----Match with:
1. "chere, chere"..............................
2. Impatient clucking sound..............................
3. Excoriating round of throat-clearing, hacking, and nose-blowing,
which in Western countries would solicit the Heimlich maneuver from bystanders..............................
4. "Accha, accha"..............................
5. A wide-open resounding belch...................

II. Cultural Diversity
6. As a foreigner, you know not to drink local water. However, you attend a puja at a temple and are offered holy water. The correct response is to:
a-ask with a straight face, “Is this mineral water, or filtered?”
b-Pretend to sip it, then smear it on top of your hair while mumbling a mantra
c-Slurp it down with gusto – how can holy water possibly hurt you?

7. In India, it is traditional to sit with legs folded, concealing one’s feet.
The little-known reason behind this custom is:
a-It awakens your Kundalini
b-It is considered disrespectful to sit with feet pointed towards others
c-Otherwise, the mosquitoes will bite the hell out of them

8. One advantage of Pondicherry's hot, tropical climate is:
a-It's spiritually purifying
b-It opens your pores
c-It forces even the French to shower daily

III. Way To
9. You are "residing in" a third-floor flat.How many flights of stairs must you walk up to reach your flat?
c-You use the lift even to go down one flight; only servants take the stairs.

10. Your third-floor flat (above) is located at Second Main, Third Cross, "Old Number 52." This means it must be "New Number":

a- #17
c-#149OldNo522ndMainRd3rdCrSt5thExt1stRightTurnAskthePCO onthecornerwhereisBrindavanNagar2ndStage...... is the "KARREKTA" address

11. You are strolling the city streets and feel the call of nature. You instinctively:
a-Wait till you get home
b-Find a shady corner
c-Head for the nearest hotel with "Park" in the name

IV. Home & Garden – One and the Same?
12. You switch on the bathroom light, step inside and are greeted by a scurrying grey-green lizard. Your response is to:
a-Scream and run for high ground
b-Call the “boy” to get rid of it
c-Greet it by name, thank it for eating the mosquitoes and ask it politely not to doo-doo on your toothbrush (like it did last week)

13. The ideal material for window drapery is:
a-Pure cotton with an ethnic block-print pattern, made by a village women’s co-operative
b-Whatever shade matches your grey-green lizard
c- Poly-plastic with lurid floral design, also suitable for use as a picnic tablecloth

14. The primary ingredient in a “green salad” is:
a-Romaine lettuce
b-Dehydrated carrot slices resembling poker chips
c-Sliced red onions the size of drink coasters

15. The ingredients for a cup of masala chai, in order of predominance, are:
a-Water, milk, tea, spices, sugar
b-Milk, water, sugar, tea, spices
c-Sugar, sugar, sugar, milk, sugar, water, spices, tea, and sugar

V. History and Current Affairs
16. Ratan Tata, Salman Khan and MGR are, respectively:
a-The sound made by a backfiring autorickshaw, a Moghul emperor, and an Indian news network
b-A small wicker ottoman, a seafood entrйe and a British sportscar
c-A steel tycoon, a Bollywood hero and a film star who rules Tamil Nadu from beyond the grave

17. While campaigning for election as Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi was often greeted with cries of:
a- "Gandhi-ji Ki Jai!"
b- "Sonia Rocks!"
c-"Auslander Raus!!"

18. When vacationing in the Bandipur National Forest, it’s most essential to bring along:
a-Mosquito repellent
b-A letter from Delhi stating that you are not Veerappan
c-A ransom note thoughtfully written in Tamil

19. Railways minister Laloo Prasad recently created a stir with his radical proposal that:
a-Fares be lowered
b-All Railways tea be served in earthenware cups, rather than the current plastic ones
c-Perhaps the tracks could, conceivably, smell of something other than sun-baked urine.

section I:Question 1: A = 0 points, B = 3 pts, C = 4 pts - add 1 if you manage to ask “Your-Good-Name??”Question 2: A = 0 pts - what are you, an English teacher?, B = 2 pts, C = 3 pts and leave them at the door!!Question 3: A= 2 pts, B =1 pt - far too polite; C=3 ptsQuestion 4: A = 2 pts B = 3 pts C = 4 pts D = 5 pts

Section II, Cultural: Question 5: A = 0 pts, B = 1 pt C = 3 pts plus 1 extra point for not hesitating, 2 extra if you use only your right handQuestion 6: A = 0 pts, get your head out of Yoga Journal; B = 2 pts, C = 3 ptsQuestion 7: A=1; B=2; C=5; D=1; E=4; 2 pts for each “karrekta”

Section III: Way To: Question 8: A = 0, B = 2 pts, add one extra point for walking as slowly as possible, in the dead center of the stairs so no one can pass you; C = 4 pts and please adjust your pallu properly!Question 9: A = 3 pts, B = 3 pts, C = 3 pts; all have an equal chance at being “karrekta”

Section IV: Home & Garden: Question 10: A = 0 pts, B=1 pt, veddy good Memsahib; C=3 ptsQuestion 11: A=0 pts; B=2 pts, but you must live in Auroville; C=3 ptsQuestion 12: A=0 pts; everyone knows lettuce is only a garnish; B=2 pts; C=3 pts and add 1 extra point for serving it with a bottle of ketchup

Section V: Current Affairs
Question 13: A=0 pts, B=0 pts, C=3 pts; add 1 point if you can tell Salman Khan from Shahrukh KhanQuestion 14: A=0 pt; wrong Gandhi; B=0 pts; C=3 pts, but only if you also, in broken English, criticize her ability to speak Hindi Question 15: A=1 pt B=2 pts C=3 pts; include a ransom note written in Tamil

SCORING: 15 pts or less: Go to America. Go directly back to America. Do not pass "Go," do not collect 200 Rupees!
16-35 points: Where have you been living, in the cantonment? Your knowledge of India comes primarily from Merchant-Ivory films. Get out of the five-star resorts and take a local bus instead of a taxi once in a while.
35 points and above: Felicitations! We now pronounce you “Foreigner for life!” Well, you didn’t actually think…? I mean, you can live here for 25 years, marry the Prime Minister, raise two Indian children and speak fluent Hindi, but you’ll always be… a “foreigner.”

All the best!