I continue to be shocked with how little I know about the realities of India, the country I display fierce patriotism to every time its integrity is brought up – is a very different place to what I had imagined. In a good way. This week at DICCI, with the launch of the SME VC fund, rushing towards us, I was tasked with revamping all of DICCI’s publications. Taking a comprehensive overview of the organization, last updated 3 years ago, and bringing it up to speed to document the growth of this organization in three years.
The production of this document of course included a fair amount of the marketing, research and activity reports to be produced and with a 4 day deadline approaching, time was at a premium. I had to write, proof read, design, send to the publication people, finalize the aesthetics, co-ordinate printing, binding and delivery as well as make sure the banners etc of the other DICCI material were all in one place. Taj Mahal Hotel, 9am, June 6th.
My interpretation of India was that it worked on a very different time scale as other countries. Things could go much slower, things much faster – that there was no uniformity. Remember, India is a country that houses over the a sixth of the worlds population, people here are born competitors, and they’re busy – so busy that there is rarely time to stop take a breath and check that you’ve looked out for anyone but yourself. I was wrong.
Our publication company, Indian Magic Eye, were tasked with the job of bringing the booklet together, making it look good and printing it, and it was their office that I spent nearly 3 days, and close to 40 hours prepping the final print version of this document. I had always been brought up with the attitude that in India you either run or you get run over, and at this place I met an individual that proved me wrong, that this sense of care so often overlooked in the competitive environment India fosters- very much still exists, you just need to look in the right places.
Meet Mr Phude, Graphic designer, Indian Magic eye Pvt Ltd, DICCI member. A gentleman, in his late 30’s, who had an impact on me. Let me explain why.
Mr Phude sat with me for 12+ hours a day. He tolerated the small tedious changes writers of material inevitably insist on making at the last steps, on all 72 pages of the document. He allowed me to get my parts out of the way first, so that he could spend the night finalizing the print file. He dropped me and picked me up from rickshaw stops at 2 in the morning, and headed back to the office after that to finish the job so that we could meet in 6 hours after that.
He took me home at 10 pm to have dinner with his family, where I had the most delicious biryani I’ve had in years. He introduced me as a friend even though I was a decade and a half junior to him – he had met me four days ago. He insisted I take a 3rd helping, and made sure that I promised to come to his home again, and that this job would get done even though I was beginning to feel the heat of the pressure.
Mr Phude, and this experience, reminded me that at core what it is to have that inherent bond between two Indians. That at society’s core, there is space in the centre of the universe to be shared. It was a nice realization, something that made me feel that I could always come back and fit right in.
And Mr Phude showed me all this, whilst working off the clock, on his annual leave.