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Friday, March 28, 2014

Hi, how you doing?

The choice of leaving your home to set up business in a new country is always a difficult one. When you go as a professional, there will be bosses and colleagues to help you settle down in a new country. But if you're setting up your own business you have to find your feet. Luckily, for us, it's Queenslaid, the Sunshine State in Australia, where the people are laidback and friendly and love chatting up strangers. Brisbane has four universities, is the entry point to the Great Barrier Reef and has the Gold Coast as a suburb. The locals are used to hordes of people coming in from different parts of the world to enjoy the sun and sand and study. They'll pick up a conversation on weather, gardening, fishing, scuba or the Queen (of England) at the drop of a hat and expect you to join in. It's something we Indians are not accustomed to, for you're told right through your childhood and adolescent years to "not talk to strangers." So you have to overcome your inherent hesitation to respond to their, "Hi, how are you," with more than a "Hi." You are rude, if you leave it there or show less enthusiasm in your greetings. You ask them, "How you doing?" And you wait for the answer. A shopkeeper will most likely respond, "I'm doing well, thank you. It's hot, isn't it?" Another question. "Yes it is," you answer. He expects another question to keep the conversation going. You struggle to come up with one. Finally, you ask, "Had a busy day?" Encouraged, he responds, "Noy. Not as busy as it could get on the weekends..." If you ask him his name and about his family, he'll be delighted to take up the chance to have a polite conversation. It feels strange at first but gradually you start enjoying the process. When someone greets you, "Hi, how are you doing?" You reply, "It's another day in paradise!"

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