A foreigner coming to India on a business trip is typically either a big shot of the company or a client, so the immediate task is to send a freshly recruited MBA to receive him at the hotel he went to after his flight landed at midnight. On the way to the office, the fresh MBA, to appear globalized, asks the foreigner questions like, “How is Winston Churchill and Ronald Regan doing?”. The MBA also mentions that Godfather and Rambo are her favorite movies and gives the mandatory spiel on Dharavi slums and Dabbawalas in Mumbai. Stage 1 beautifully executed.
When the duo reaches office, the foreigner is given an emphatic welcome at the reception (sometimes with garlands). By this time, the fresh MBA has been absorbed into the cubicles by tectonic forces. The local big bosses form a soccer free-kick wall around the guest, each boss vying for his attention with smart quips. The foreigner plays his part by complaining about the immigration process which the local bosses support with more examples. After a tour of the swanky office, the guest, if American, is explained by a local boss the rules of cricket with the boss often alluding to baseball about which they know little.
At lunch time, they all take him to a posh restaurant who typically forces their waiters to memorize lines like “In
Once they return to office, it’s already 3. After a few hours, the big bosses head out for dinner which follows the pattern of lunch. By this time, the guest has become a zombie out of jet-lag and is barely listening to anything being said from all directions. Next day, he is taken around the city by another fresh MBA when he buys a carton of Alfonso mangoes before departing back to his country. Next day, the local bosses boast before the fresh MBAs that from next trip onwards, this foreigner guest will no longer be given any special treatment. Of course, things go the same way in the next trip.
This has been largely the way most Indians have adjusted to globalization by keeping their minds into a one way street. The guest is barely allowed to talk and is instead given an overload of local clichés, and when we travel abroad, we start off by first looking for an Indian restaurant (after all, our guts are the most vehement opponents of globalization), then heading to a temple or supermarket to make a few Indian acquaintances, and eventually organizing Antakshari contests when we get more settled. Globalization completed, only if Shakaal was still around.