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Status Consciousness

May 22, 2012
tags: ,

The car broke down for some reason and went for repair. There is a lot of drama unfolding at work and I had to attend a meeting at our outsourcing provider’s office. They initially set it up at 12, then 1 and finally at 2. It was scorching hot outside, but I didn’t want to postpone the meeting and had no choice but to take my honda activa. Before I left I was joking with my husband that if they see me coming on the scooter, my level would drop 2 notches in their mind.

Sure enough, both the practice director and the architect were coming back from lunch and saw me get off my scooter. First question I got from the horrified architect was about why I didn’t come in the car. I explained and we had some casual conversation about it. I told them I used to ride the scooter to college and haven’t ridden it for a long time. As soon as we moved back to India, I bought a 2-wheeler hoping that it is convenient and I’d use it often. But I rarely get a chance to use it. Most of the time it is used by our watchman or driver for running some errands. The practice director goes “Oh my wife used to drive a 2-wheeler too, but after we got married I never let her ride one”.  This same guy was bragging about how his wife always buys the highest priced items in the store, and if something is on sale she wouldn’t like it. And according to him, he comes from a small town and I gathered from a very middle class background. Now that he has reached a certain level at work and constantly tries to show it off. It struck me that he had no qualms dictating his wife in the name of protecting her.

I never realized that us being simple has it’s downside. People judge you by how much you show off. When we moved back, we stayed in a temporary apartment while our own place was getting ready. We just had some temporary kitchen stuff and were sleeping on the floor. This continued for about 6 months while the builder kept delaying the delivery of our place. The moment we shifted to our new house, unpacked everything, bought a car and settled down, there was a dramatic shift in the attitude of people towards us. We suddenly started getting more respect from everyone, including the maids. The same folks who had never bothered helping with our grocery bags upstairs suddenly started carrying them for us. Thanks to our amrikan stuff and a decent car…jeez..

At work the practice director was initially very respectful because of my title. I started tackling issues from the low-level and started meeting the team lead/developer regularly (only because I realized there is no use dealing with the practice director).  I was able to achieve some order to what used to be a very chaotic interaction between our company (client) and the outsourced provider. But this turned out to be a big problem later on, because it is considered lowly to interact with the low-level team members (and in their cubes too…*gasp*…) When I needed a meeting with the practice director, he was always too busy to give an appointment. Polite requests/emails were evaded. And then I had no choice but to exercise my power, and the issue was raised all the way up to the top at both companies which finally ruffled the feathers. Suddenly I started getting lunch invitations from the practice director *sigh*…thanks, but no thanks..

I seriously hope there is something we could do to change this attitude.

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