I had a bit of a misunderstanding with Mrs. Her husband would go there, buy the monthly provisions and pay for them and he would hand Mrs. Asha Singh these discount coupons every A few months ago, I ran into a slight problem. Asha Singh these discount coupons every time he returned with the shopping. She would save up these coupons with the hope of buying something nice for herself. So Mrs.
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I had a bit of a misunderstanding with Mrs. Her husband would go there, buy the monthly provisions and pay for them and he would hand Mrs. Asha Singh these discount coupons every A few months ago, I ran into a slight problem. Asha Singh these discount coupons every time he returned with the shopping. She would save up these coupons with the hope of buying something nice for herself.
So Mrs. Asha Singh was anxious to encash these coupons in order to get their full value. That, however, proved to be easier said than done. The Indian traffic on a hot day is nothing less than a nightmare. I wondered why she was doing this. I soon found out. Asha Singh entered the shop, produced her coupons on the counter and insisted on redeeming their value in gold jewellery items.
Not surprisingly, she was immediately dismissed. This shop was not a part of the chain store, it simply rented a premises there and was therefore not a part of its schemes. Asha Singh had thousands of rupees worth of these coupons. Moreover, as I tried to explain to her, the coupons were not money.
They were simply pieces of paper which, under certain circumstances, could be exchanged in order to benefit the user with discounts on certain items. None of these items would be anything like gold jewellery, they would be consumer goods like clothing or electrical items. I tried to explain to her that no item could be purchased completely by coupons, actual money had to pay a role in each and every purchase.
As we shopped around a bit, Asha soon got the hang of using the coupons and even purchased some bowls and dishes.
I purchased some items too, an electric kettle and some clothing items and was pleasantly surprised when Asha insisted that I use the coupons to avail of discounts. I made a saving of six hundred rupees that day, which was great. Of course, I made sure to thank Asha for her kindness and also made a point of paying her fare home in the rickshaw and the buses we travelled in. I also paid for what she ate and drank when we stopped somewhere for tea and snacks. So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when my daughter handed me a handwritten bill from Mrs.
Asha Singh a few months later. As neither my Hindi nor Mrs. Asha Singh was insisting on my paying half my discount back to her in the form of cash. Naturally, I was shocked. I had paid her back, I thought. Moreover, coupons are pieces of paper which, under certain conditions, can be redeemed for discounts. Besides, the coupons had been about to expire.
None of this reasoning cut any ice with Mrs. Asha Singh. She wanted her money back. All Rs. That did it. I dug Rs. Asha Singh is now reduced to nothing more than a cold nod by the garden gate.
BTW, my husband and mother-in-law, both Indians, had a hearty laugh about this later on. I told them about it. My husband pointed out that Mrs. Asha Singh, although the same age as myself fiftyish! Well that made sense. My doctor sahib my husband is quite a rock of wisdom.
It might have made things so much clearer for me. USA and western European approach towards business transactions is so very different from the subcontinental or Indian approach. He was a bit of a pessimist, if you ask me. Devdutt Pattanaik, is a terrific teacher and storyteller.
Using clear language, simple illustrations and apt examples, he shows us how the Indian approach to business can be interpreted from an attitude which is rooted deeply in the psyche and can be interpreted using clues from the rich treasure house of Indian mythology. He rightly points out that western approach is rooted in Biblical to some extent thinking or rather a form of it, on one hand and by classical Greek thinking on the other.
The Biblical approach glorifying, but eclipsed by Greek thought which glorifying man. Basically, Devdutt had decoded mysteries that it could have taken many a scholar a lifetime to unravel. Asha Singh was treating me as a mobile cash dispenser. Heck she was putting me at the level of a goddess.
Devdutt Pattanaik explains clearly in the book how ubcontinental people approach an investment or business transaction as they would a religious ceremony. The investor yajaman! In this case, Mrs. I had no idea that the whole situation was imbued with spiritual significance.
Asha Singh next time I see her. But no way am I taking it for granted that her approach to variou interactions should be to mine in future. The differences, of course, being rooted in our cultural backgrounds.
It would also be a terrific addition to the library of any business person of western origin who has regular business with Indians or businesses based in India. Even for readers who just enjoy studying the significance of mythology and who are particularly interested in studying the effect mythology has on the lives of people - this book has something for them too.
Asha Singh? I can live with that.
Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management
Business Sutra: By Devdutt