Not an Indian

Yes, I haven’t been updating for a while. Problem is, I’ve been doing too much and writing too little. Let’s see if I can fix some of that now.

First of all, people can’t seem to tell where I’m from. This is despite the fact that I’m the only one with a moustache in the whole batch, and am therefore the one person whose name no one forgets. I mean, I lost my name card after the very first class. Yet all the Professors talk to me like long-lost friends. Anyway…

One of my first such experiences at London was when I got out of the station and was looking for a cab. A man came over and said “Salam aleikum”.

I said “Huh?”

He thought I hadn’t heard him. “Salam aleikum,” a little louder.

Even normally, I’m not very sharp. This was at 11PM UK time, and that’s 3:30AM India Standard Time. So I said, quite eloquently, “Huh?”

“Salam aleikum”

“Huh? What?”

At this point, that fellow lost his patience and said “Aap Pakistani hein?” (Are you from Pakistan?) After having learnt that I’m from India, he said he’d mistaken me for a Pakistani, and if I wanted to call somebody or something, I could use his mobile and all that. Very nice.

Today, a red Ferrari (I think) was zooming down the road as I was walking to the station. All of a sudden, it braked near me, and stopped quite close. The window rolls down, and a moustached man sticks his head out and asks, “Yoo speek eetahliyen?”


“doo yoo speek eetahliyen?”

“No, I’m afraid not, sorry.”

“Oh-kay.” And drives off.

That afternoon, I mean this girl from Western Ontario, who’s also on an exchange programme at the LBS. We talk for a while. Then, she asks, “So, are you American?”

“No I’m Indian.” (She could’ve thought me an American Indian, so I clarified) “From India.”

“Oh. But you accent is so American.”

Make your own conclusions.

The more I think about it, the more I feel IIM’s obsessed with grades. That includes me, of course. Today we got back our first assignment: Koito Manufacturing, from the Mergers & MBOs class. We got a 10/10. Britta and Atsushi, my team-mates, were thrilled. But then I had to ask: “What did the others get?”

Britta’s instant response was: “Who cares?”

Good point. You see, at LBS, everybody knows their own grades, but not the others’. The don’t get to know their ranks either. They are forbidden from mentioning grades in their resumes, and LBS certainly doesn’t tell any of the recruiters their students’ grades. Naturally, the competition is quite low. In fact, I think the only reason people are studying is the fact that they’re paying 20,000 pounds or something to study here. Sounds like a good system, if you ask me. But for a hard-core IIM-B product like me, it’s all too easy to drift into an easy life. In fact, I think I already have!

In case I hear any murmers of dissent, here’s proof. I’m going to “The Phantom of the Opera” tonight. Madame Tussaud’s tomorrow. The Lord’s Cricket Ground and a party (the Sundowners) day-after. ‘The London Eye’ on Friday. Oxford and Cambridge on Saturday. Westminster Abbey and the Big Ben on Sunday. On to Europe next week. See?