Learning to be Indian
Updated: Jan 30
Step one, learn and live by the head shake. Three weeks in I have learned the ways of the head shake and have used it to say yes, no, and ehhh maybe. Right now for the future GCIL students this will make no sense but trust me, after a couple weeks your head will be shaking like a real life bobble head. Also, I want to clarify that this is a side to side head shake action, not a rock concert head bang. Honestly I think it is your facial expression that comes along with the head shake that distinguishes your response. For example, you might smile or be content in response to a question and accent it with a head shake.
My next lesson comes with a story. I was meeting my family friend, Rashi, for dinner at a bakery/restaurant and before I continue, I should clarify what “family friend” means in the context. She is the daughter of my Dad’s coworker’s friend who lives in Bangalore currently. I mean I literally did not know what she even really looked like before meeting her. So when I first walked in to the restaurant, I had a bit of an awkward encounter synonymous to a blind date where I looked at this one woman thinking it was Rashi and received uncomfortable wide eyes and the “what are you looking at” head shake. I responded with the “I’m so sorry” head shake and scurried outside where I finally found Rashi or she found me. I think about 5 minutes into the conversation, Rashi showed me this overwhelming and heartwarming hospitality saying she would love to show me around Bangalore, take me out to dinners, introduce me to her boyfriend, and say I could stay in her house for however long I needed if I ever wanted to. I have felt this hospitality before with interactions with various SJC students, but I really learned that sometimes this hospitality is unrelenting.
When the check came for our dinner, Rashi was having no fight over the check or even splitting the check. She distracted me asking me a question while slyly and quickly handing her card to the waiter while completely ignoring any opposition. The waiter knew I wasn’t going to win. Once she paid, we went to the bakery section to look at deserts. She didn’t want anything but I asked her what her favorite sweet was for suggestions because I was going to buy one for myself. Immediately once she told me her favorite, she knew I had tricked her when I said I will have two of the blueberry muffins and hear none of her opposition. Her response when she got the muffin was: you are learning to be Indian. I thought the battle of hospitality was over after that and she ordered an uber auto for me and said I would pay him in cash. Once I was dropped off, I attempted to pay the auto and the driver said that it had already been paid for. I texted Rashi to find out that she had tricked me one last time defeating my hospitality and saying I could pay for her next time we get tea.
Rashi’s hospitality one, Kevin’s zero.