Different cultures can perceive time in different ways. In the west we see time as sequential, a straight line, whereas India sees time as synchronic, they see the past, present and future as interrelated.
Why do we need to know this? Knowledge of the culture of others is not about making judgments of others – rather, it helps us adapt to differences.
In a nutshell, this western approach to time explains why we are always rushing about, completing one meeting and rushing on to the next, while your Indian host seems relaxed, not in a rush, dealing with many other things while meeting with you and so on.
The Indian view of time partly explains the seeming “chaos” of Indian conferences – people constantly leaving or entering the room, private meetings can distract your attention and of course mobiles will ring and will be answered. All of this can be confusing for westerners, yet for the Indians, this is just a normal situation.
In a business meeting, the Indian you are talking to might also be signing letters, taking messages from staff, handling calls and seemingly not paying attention – but in fact knows exactly what you are saying despite what westerners would see as interruptions.
It is important for the visitor to adapt to this difference – especially on business visits. For example, filling your day with meetings could mean you miss the real opportunity, such as towards the end of a long meeting, your Indian host might want to introduce you to a superior or a friend in another company – this is a sign of your acceptance, the meeting has gone well, and they are honoring you. Without understanding this difference, you rush off and miss the opportunity.
One Less God
One Less God is the “inside the people inside the hotel” movie of the terrorist attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai, where 166 died in November 2008.
This is equally tough to watch and impossible to stop watching, as it deftly moves from the outside world of news to the inside of the hotel and we lose any sense of time or media as we focus on both ends of the gun – the terrorists and their victims.
The film by first-time writer/director Lliam Worthington is unashamedly teaching us about the importance of humanity and compassion, and that people of all kinds can and should find a way to live together.
Kabir Singh as one of the two key terrorists delivers a human performance in an inhuman role – and we see his inner conflict as he tries to stop killing but cannot find another way. Only top direction and acting can make us feel almost that he, like his victims, is stuck and cannot escape.
It is one of over 60 films to screen at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, from 10-22 August 2018.
The diversity of the cast in this Australian independent film industry movie underlines the central message of the film – humanity above race, religion or other belief.
It is hard to forget the voices of the terrorists as they go from room to room in the hotel, knocking on doors and in chillingly gentle tones saying: “Come out – we help you”.
This film is gritty, dirty, bloody and smoky, and is also an important reminder of how much terrorism India has experienced, with much of it unknown in the west.
Modern Indians are becoming global tourists and Australia should strive to be in the top four destinations. There was a 10 per cent increase in visa applications from India in 2017 at 4.7 million compared to 4.3 million applications in 2016, according to data compiled by VFS Global.
The top five destinations for which visa applications were processed (in 2016 and 2017) were – the US, Malaysia, the UK, Canada and China, according to the data. The report said visa applications for Thailand witnessed the sharpest increase in 2017 compared to 2016.
Australia has a lot to attract Indian tourists – time to get the message into the Indian market.
Why not start by creating a global Indian diaspora event in Australia? Innovative thinking works, and the Indian diaspora here could be part of the active marketing program.