Long time ago…… more than a decade back, there lived a guy called ‘Me’. It was a time Business Outsourcing from the Europian countries, and the US has become an established trend in India, especially Bangalore. Since Me was not a prince like in other “long time ago” stories, he chose to go with the flow and joined one of the Multinational Corporations (MNC). All went well and a life of his own started.
Couple of years passed and one day it was a client visit time. Floor was all set for the visit of a top client. Me and others were asked to come in formal. This would mean an additional tie for guys and a suit jacket for the head of the operations. Ladies were blessed to categorize anything they wear as formal. Confused? So, it works like this… They can either wear western formal and call it a ‘formal’ OR Indian attire and call it ‘Indian formal’. The irony of the lady’s Indian attire was that it has changed its name to ‘Ethnic wear’ during ethnic day celebrations. Considering the dual role they had to play, Me could only imagine the kind of work pressure those attires went through! Men had to normally beg, borrow, steal an Indian ethnic wear on those days. Only consolation was that they are normally good at all the said 3 actions 😊.
It was interesting to watch girls walking like queens, head held high and struggling to hold the heavy outfits in place on those special days. While struggling to walk, they looked at guys as if they haven’t seen those ugly creatures till that day and innocently wondered why the guys are staring at them.
Client was happy after the week-long reviews and meetings. It was announced that there will be a dinner with the client for the management team that evening. Venue, a 5 star hotel. Me immediately called his hostel friends and told them not to expect him for the regular Friday pity party. Also mentioned he would however will contribute for them to have some silly fun time of their own. He and a couple of others squeezed into the long vehicle the client has hired during their stay in India. Others followed in the department head’s car. Soon the 3 km journey started.
Bangalore being famous for its horrible traffic sense, and Me being someone who wanted to portray India as one of the best places on earth Infront of those internationals, he genuinely prayed to reach the hotel ASAP in official language. That moment, like lightening, the other Indian colleague in the vehicle asked one of the client “so, heard that traffic is similarly horrible in London?” The Brit lady, Me’s colleague was trying to communicate, being naturally polite responded “Yes, but is more organized”. Me passed a burning look at the colleague meaning ‘you had to ask that now, is it?’. colleague returned that innocent look on her face in her Indian formal cum ethnic wear.
Finally, after a looong 15 mins, all reached at the venue. Me, hiding the naked truth of entering a 5-star hotel for the first time, took a secret glance of the surroundings wondering how these things existed in his close vicinity without him noticing.
Dinner started. Client ordered for wine. Somebody came along with a — years old bottle and explained the royal generations the bottle lived through and poured a few drops in the wineglass. While Me was wondering why only that little is served, considering the glasses filled till the brim he is normally used to, the lady took a sip and said ‘Its good, you may serve’. Oh, so that’s how it works! Also, you get a glass of wine and that’s it. You can’t ask for more, if you do, modesty is at stake.
Soon it was time for soup. That day Me learned the bitter truth how awful a soup can taste. The fresh, uncooked lemon grass grinned at him. His mouth drooled for the thick corn flour thing that he otherwise used to call soup. Soon dishes were overcrowding the dinner table. Then it was time for that….. this…. then…… Me din’t know what!
While returning home in an autorickshaw, totally hungry, Me was more worried about explaining the mesmerizing experience with his hostel friends beyond the cry of his empty stomach and counting money to handover to them for their pity party.