Masters in the Art of ‘Bullsh–ting’

After a while, you learn to take an Indian promise with a huge pinch of salt…  The  sin of lateness is expunged by the elasticity of Indian Standard Time; birthday party invitations arrive without venue or address attached; debilitating bugs strike conveniently at the eleventh hour incapacitating hapless victims;  the desks and chairs for my classroom which were supposed to make an appearance by the end of June, then by the end of July, then end August were actually never ordered;  ‘here’s my  phone number.  Let’s meet for coffee….’ ‘WITH caffeine???’  ‘I’ll phone you on Sunday, (but only if it is to my benefit….)’;  ‘It will happen when it happens’, to use Indian Man In The Know’s expression, although should we perhaps add ‘if it happens at all’??  In India words are just meaningless utterances fluttering  fecklessly in a capricious wind… It is only Westerners who are diistracted by their possible significance.

Tea workers on strike in Munnar

Tea workers on strike in Munnar

And yes, on a personal level, I have (ALMOST) learnt to go with the flow and lowered my expectations below the lowest of the catacombs; lest I get confused with Western values such as commitment, honesty, reliability…   So remember how I wrote just a few weeks ago about the tea pickers’ strike in Kerala which had finally reached a conclusion…  A promise was made by the plantation owners, agreeing to a pay rise for the tea pickers.  Not quite on the scale hoped for by the tea pickers, but a pay rise nevertheless…

Fast forward a few weeks later, a mere week actually after the local elections saw gains for the Government’s ruling party in some parts of Kerala and a real trouncing in other states…  The eagerly awaited declaration of election results drew jubilant parades and motorcades wielding triumphant candidates’ banners and flags onto the streets in and around Trivandrum.

elections 2

elections 1

Last Monday, I picked up the newspaper at school.. .  Headline news: “Plantation Owners make a U-turn on Wage Hike’.  The official explanation pointed to such an increase being unaffordable at a time of low prices for tea and rubber.  But delving a little deeper, it transpired that the Association of Planters of Kerala had only agreed to the salary increase to help the government during the local elections, or so the Association’s Chairman is alleged to have said, suggesting they never intended to keep their word…

So much for promises and agreements… often not even worth the piece of paper they are written on…   Let’s see who will win in the stand-off: the Plantation Owners, the workers, or a government distancing itself stating that there will be no going back on the agreement and the pay rise will go ahead…  All has remained quiet on the tea front since Monday and so far no new strike has been called, but then maybe the tea pickers cannot afford another period without income and this may be exactly what the Plantation Owners were banking on…


2 thoughts on “Masters in the Art of ‘Bullsh–ting’

    1. lievelee Post author

      I don’t know… I feel the Indians are in a league of their own when it concern talking rubbish…and making things up…and going back on their word. Best not to take anything too seriously here and be pleasantly surprised when thing do happen!!



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