I am finally understanding how things work here – well at least a little bit – I still have a ton of questions – but luckily I am not afraid to embarrass myself in the name of learning.
Case in point…
Yesterday I hosted a luncheon. It was a lot of fun and I have pictures so watch for that. But first things first. In order to get ready for it, I had the people who work for us come early. They worked their butts off and made everything wonderful. As you might of read, we had tables delivered so everyone could have a place to sit. The guys who delivered the tables made a mess of the driveway.
Yes, that would be the driveway my guests had to walk down to get to my front door. So it needed to be swept. Sooner than later.
Here is what I learned yesterday. There are very clear delineations as to what exactly everyone will and will not do. Kahn, our driver, drives and keeps the car clean. Laxmi, our cook, cooks and keeps the kitchen clean. Ravi, our house cleaner, cleans and keeps our house clean. The guards, well, apparently they will only guard. And the tent wallas will deliver tables and set them up, but they do not clean up any mess they make.
It really is simple. Kindergartner-level stuff, really.
Well, unless you add an ex-pat to the mix, who doesn’t understand “the way things work” and frankly doesn’t really care. Somewhere along the line I missed the memo.
Kahn, Laxmi, and Ravi have spoiled me. They work together very well as a team. Ravi has made sauce (I want him to learn to cook so his next job will be better) and even Kahn was in the kitchen yesterday cutting up vegetables. Maybe it’s not normal in India – hopefully it is more normal than I have been led to believe – I very much like that it is normal in my house. I like that they like working together and don’t hesitate to pitch in whenever needed.
Ravi was really busy and time was winding down for guests to arrive. I noticed he had not had a chance to sweep yet. So, I asked Laxmi to ask the guard to sweep the driveway. Kahn was by the gate so he could watch the gate for the 3 and a half minutes it would take him.
Did you feel that pull and jerk? Yes, that was the world – it stopped spinning for a minute – I messed with the alignment of the universe. I hope you didn’t spill your coffee – or worse – your wine. Even if it’s Gallo, there’s no need for spillage.
Laxmi tells me that he won’t do it. It is not his job.
Okay a few things…
My American friends are thinking – why didn’t you just do it yourself? The answer to that is – it is well over 100 degrees here and humid as hell and I had already showered. And there are some advantages to living here – I have people – they can do it. Two months ago, I would have agreed with you. Today, I am finally accepting that I can let them do the stuff I don’t like to do and not feel guilty about it.
The guard is not overtaxed with his workload. It’s a long day and a very boring job. He has to open a gate every now and then. From that he has perfected the arm movement he needs to know to sweep. Just longer strokes. Just closer to the ground.
Our driveway is not long. It would have taken him just a couple minutes.
I did not know this was a faux pas.
When Kahn heard the guard said no, Kahn took the broom and swept the driveway. I do know that drivers outrank guards here. How do I know that? Because whenever Kahn is outside with the guard, Kahn gets to sit in the guard booth with the fan and cooler of ice cold water.
As a result, Kahn, Laxmi, and Ravi got a bonus for the outstanding/hard work they did yesterday.
The guard lost his job.