The last time I visited India, I was working for an American owned company. Back then, every 18 months or so, some fresh-faced VP from our Atlanta HQ would appear amongst us in a great puff of email, wielding his mighty spreadsheet and informing those gathered that we were “entering a period of exciting change”. Now “Change” is what Americans like to call redundancy. Other expressions include (but are not limited to) “rightsized”, “dehired”, “skills mix adjustment” and my own personal favourite – “an involuntary career event”. At some point during his presentation, the MBA enhanced idiot could pretty much be relied upon to inform his less than adoring audience that “there are no sacred cows”.
Well, in India there are, and I was reminded of this today whilst stuck behind one on the way to my first appointment in Pune. My usually excitable driver Mustapha, seemed to slip into some kind of sublime yogic trance as we crawled along behind the constantly defecating beast (either that or he had just developed dangerously low blood pressure). I on the other hand was getting properly hot under the collar in a way that only British people visiting former colonies can do.
Arriving 20 minutes late for my appointment, Arjun, the man I had come to see just nodded sagely when I delivered my “I was stuck behind a cow” excuse. “It happens all the time Mr Jonathan – not to worry” he beamed. Now that’s one excuse that would not work in the City of London or even the more liberal parts of the West End for that matter. Although there is a certain area where east London meets Essex where it might be worth a try.