Sunday, May 3, 2009

No Clocks please! we are Chinese

When the Americans invaded Iraq, they were losing the heart of the Iraqis even as they were winning territories. The simple reason that they failed to study their culture. The army entered their mosques with their shoes on. That was blasphemy!

I have lived long enough in USA to say with conviction that the Americans are very tolerant and respectful of other religions. I was once pleasantly surprised to see the picture of lord Krishna on one of the American’s table. He very charmingly said , “well if it is your god, its mine too!”

Even Oprah keeps an idol of Lord Ganesha on her table.

One bright side of traveling is that you come across delightful customs and traditions from various nationalities. It makes your life that much colorful.

While working in London, once I was surprised to see the Chinese stiffen when we gifted them clocks. These were extremely beautiful tiny miniatures of Big Ben. I was later to learn that the Chinese never gift a clock because it connotes death. Like someone clocking the time left to die!

The Africans are one of the friendliest and the liveliest people I have ever seen. When in Togo, a tiny country in West Africa, I was shocked to see my host taking a sip from my whiskey before offering it to me. They show it as a mark of respect.

Speaking of respect, never enter a Buddhist temple in Thailand in shorts and t- shirt. You must be fully clothed.I was indeed lucky since we were meeting some businessmen after visiting the temple.

We, maharashtrians , have a very charming custom. Whenever we leave the house , we say , “ Yeto me” I will return. we never take leave by saying that I am leaving. The closest in English would be , “ So long.”

Never show the sole of your feet to an arab. You will never get business from them. Its like you are treating them as dirt. The best way is to sit cross legged.

Miami is home for most of the south Americans. So, Spanish language is the common language spoken here. Even the traditions of south America are followed here. So , you shake hand with a man and hug and kiss the ladies lightly on their cheeks.

We had a very warm and friendly client who unfortunately was on the heavier side. Perhaps twenty stones more than a normal woman. Our Indian consultant was a tiny and reed like character who was very shy but had a great sense of humor.
When confronted for the third time, he complained that he almost felt molested when she hugged and kissed him. Talk about reverse sexual harassment.

Well, lots of my respected readers complain that my posts are too long. But its hard to narrate so many experiences in so few words.
So reluctantly I bow to them and say , “ Yeto me.”


  1. It was a delight to read about so many customs. I must say experience counts and when it does, a bit of length is not an issue.

  2. Thanks Arjun for your kind comments. very grateful.