Tuesday, July 15, 2008

communications breakdown

Here in India, it seems perfectly acceptable to hang up on a person if you can't understand them. For instance, I've been hung up on or otherwise ignored twice today. But it's OK, see, because it works both ways. I get a lot of wrong numbers on my mobile, and I just have to say "Hello, hello? Do you speak English?" pause "If you don't speak English, then you have the wrong number!" pause "OK, bye, nice to talk to you!" What gets annoying is that I can have this conversation four times in a row with the same person, for instance, at 6am. And they just keep calling back. I wonder what they're saying to me. "I know you can't understand me, but I have a dire warning about the future!" Yikes! That's all I can think of that would make them dial the same non-Hindi-speaking number four times in a row at 7am.

Another thing about the phone here is no one says goodbye. I keep saying "Bye!" and feeling like a total tool! And yet one more thing about phones is it's OK pretty much at any time to answer them. You can be in a meeting with the president, and if your phone rings, she will understand that you have to answer it right then and there. Maybe this is because voicemail is a commodity here? I don't know. But these things that would be rude elsewhere are not here.

That little update about phone etiquette in India should be a clue that I've been on the phone most of today. I have, and finally, in the last hour, I accomplished a few things. So I'm going to get back to it to hopefully accomplish a few more things.

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