Melissa wrote a few weeks ago about the most important personality trait of an entrepreneur. In her words is “flexibility”.I am not sure I agree with her 100% since if I was asked one, I would go with determination to succeed.
Either ways, I wanted to give some insight into the flexibility of the people Bangalore. This may apply to most India, but I have no way to verify so I am going to stick to what I have observed.
You’ll hear a common phrase in Bangalore “Adjust madkoli sir” – which roughly translates to “Please adjust accordingly” and means “It is what it is, now its up to you to make lemonade from lemons”. This is quite possibly the most frequent utterance I have heard in the last few days.
1. Having lived in the US for over 15 years, I naturally drive on the “right side” of the road. India on the other hand (like most of the world) drives on the left of the road. (If you know where this is going read on). I attempted to show my supreme sense of “California driving” skills to both my kids and driver. I got in the car, did the usual routine (adjusted my rear view mirrors, ensured my seat belt was secure, etc.) and started to proceed. About 2 miles and 5 minutes into the drive along a very crowded two way street which could possibly have one large truck drive on any direction, I noticed my driver (sitting next to me) was a little nervous. He seemed pretty okay for about the first 3 min and then got a little antsy.
Turns out I was driving on the “wrong” side of the road for all of the time, but EVERY person driving in the opposite direction, (13 cars, about 20+ motorcycles, dozes of cyclists) took my cue and drove on the other side (i.e. – they also drove on the wrong side) to accommodate me. I did not hear a single curse, nor did I see a flipped bird, and no curious onlookers. Just another day in the life of a clueless driver, was possibly what they imagined.
Finally my driver suggested that when I got to the intersection that I move to the other side – “Just so you can go faster”. He mentioned to me that “You can still go on the right side of the road onto oncoming traffic, and no one’s going to complain, but its going to take you a long time to get to where we want to go!”.
2. Making my way to the bank the other day to withdraw money I noticed that my credit card transaction was rejected. Mumbling for a few minutes I made it inside to ask someone for help. Turns out my credit card company monitors my credit access and by default denies all requests outside my “normal” usage zip codes. So even if I dont tell Mom where I’m headed for the weekend, I have to tell my credit card company (go figure), so they can approve any “out of state transactions”.
I approached a teller to ask for assistance and requested an advance. She seemed genuinely eager to help and requested a photo id. I had my California drivers license, which I promptly placed in front of her. She really needed a “local address proof” – a perfectly reasonable request, but I did not have that.
So she asks for someone that can vouch for me. I look around, see no one I know.
“No problem, here’s my cell phone. Call your mom or dad and ask them to confirm” she said. That was the nicest thing she did, and I got mom on the call to verify I really was her son.
Problem solved, very flexible and really happy to “adjust to any circumstance”.