Friday, April 15, 2011

Thomas Jefferson and Monticello

I was seeking a favor. This favor would involve going to my apartment in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and exchanging keys for a deposit with my subletter. One sister - working; a Brooklyn friend - running a race; another Brooklyn friend - too overwhelmed with finding a new roommate and being broke. Who to turn to?  

I relayed this chain of events to a good friend here in India, and he was dismayed. How could you be too busy??  What is wrong with your culture. In India, you see, if someone needs something, they ask and they shall have. So if your cousin's cousin's cousin calls and needs you to run across town to meet X (because business here is done in person; try and call someone and see what kind of response you get: "Uh, please come in and we can discuss this further.") and then bring it to Y who will send it to Z, then, A) you can say yes B)  you can say yes, or C) you can say yes.  So you see, you have some options.

On the flipside, though, we Americans have some flexibility to say no once in a while.  But can we rely on people as much? So you take the good with the bad. US: independence; and sometimes too much independence.  India: you can depend on others; or, time management issues. 

All of this is to just point out the differences in culture. I completely understood that some of my friends and family had prior commitments and couldn't attend to my every need - my Indian friend did not get this so much. In the end, one of my sister's was able to go and thankfully spotted the deposit for me because the subletters check had not yet arrived!  


  1. Hey! As I wld totally go and do a key exchange even though I am your busy sister!!!

  2. I love your insights into Indian culture.

  3. So, you could have asked your Brooklyn friend who also happens to be Indian. No offense, but that one seems kind of obvious...