Indians and Unpredictability

A notice at a neighbourhood Postal Annex. Truly, a picture is worth a thousand words. The proprietor is, you guessed it, Desi.

The notice is a microcosm of Indianness. If you get past the English (hey, its a foreign tongue, so stop being so fussy) it really is a reflection of our relationship with predictability.

There are three kinds of Indians:

– Those that are unpredictable and don’t care.
– Those that are unpredictable, but would like you to expect, and perhaps accept, their unpredictability. The store owner who put this notice up belongs to this set.
– The predictable kind. Within India, this is a very small set.

Indians are not brought up to be predictable in their behavior. The environment (Bangalore traffic for instance) doesn’t allow us to be. But this is certainly a phenotype issue not a genotype one. Because somehow, when Indians leave India they leave their unpredictability behind.

The great achievement of the IT Services industry has been to extract predictable outcomes for clients out of this morass of unpredictability. They erect these boundary walls around the company. Within these figurative walls there are no power cuts and meetings start on time. Defects are measured and deadlines are met. Because that’s what clients in the developed world expect. It’s gotten easier and easier over time, but in the early days the pioneers did the equivalent of moulding square pegs to fit into round holes.

1 Comment

  1. Thejo says:

    I love how the time has been overwritten. That was unpredictable too 🙂


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