Our American Client was visiting India. This made the Management anxious and it became worse when they realised that The Client might want to meet the new hires. Now, the Training team was anxious as well. The Trainers were now using The Client visit as an excuse to keep the trainees on their best behaviour.
They would always talk in hushed tones when referring to The Client as if they were letting us in their secret. This trick worked well when The Client finally visited us last night. I suddenly felt the tension in a palpable wave. Our Manager entered first and She played the perfect gatekeeper to The Client. She kept the door open long enough to let me wonder if she was expecting a tip from The Client. Now, She is a stunner but I had to stifle a laugh to see her bend over her back to please The Client. Soon, she realised that The Client had completely forgotten her existence and was more interested in us so, the Manager sheepishly closed the door and departed.
When I learnt that The Client was also a ‘She’, I was expecting a blonde bombshell. I was sorely disappointed upon seeing that the blonde was Old and Fat too. After her customary ‘About Me’ section, she asked us to introduce us to her.
So began a tirade of names and a corrupted repetition of them. I was pretty scared of saying my name because I guffawed pretty audibly when a certain Hasmukh became Hash-Smoke. Thankfully, She didn’t try to repeat my name, maybe it went way over her head. I was relieved nonetheless.
Soon, people bombarded her with their seemingly intelligent questions. The Client, to be fair, turned out to be pretty nice and had a sense of humour as well. Patiently, she answered all the questions ranging from Swimming pools to Beer and from her Mobile phone to a colleague’s daughter! Curiously though, She reminded me of Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series.
She then went on to explain how the Women of America are so fiercely independent and how the fact that 40% of American Mothers were unmarried and actually reflected upon their independence. How they worked for long hours and were unlike the Europeans who enjoyed more benefits and holidays. And how the Americans were better parents, had better education and she also confessed her ignorance of Hindi despite visiting India more than 15 times.
Now, it was her turn to ask us questions. We were to give reasons as to why we loved America and what attracted us to America and so we did dutifully.
“What is special about Barack Obama?” She asked. A Four year old could have answered that.
“He is the first Afro-American President of the U.S.” A Smarty answered. In the far corner, the trainer sighed in gratitude as The Smarty didn’t say ‘Black President’.
‘It is derogatory’, The Trainer would have said, pronouncing ‘derogatory’ in the most ridiculous manner I have ever heard.
Meanwhile, The Smarty nodded knowingly.
Maybe it rubbed onto the The Client in a wrong way, she blurted out almost immediately, “It’s like you Hindus use Caste background, We Americans use Ethnic backgrounds to differentiate.”
Now, It was my turn to roll my eyes. So much for being a developed nation!!