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Meanwhile, at Les 3 Elephants: Unikrishnan and the miracle of emergency…




As many expatriates, we often complain about the very different way of considering the question of time in India, compared to our western world. I actually already posted about this so central matter :

I would like to add some interesting, and quite encouraging nuance.

After a very heavy moonson, we are now completing the maintenance of Les 3 Elephants, to be ready for the long season to come. Despite being in deep off season, we have a lot more guests than expected. Good news sure. But a big headache for the maintenance process. Especially for painting the rooms, as not only we need the time to paint them, but a few days extra for drying and properly aerating.

By experience, we were extremely worried that the peaceful pace of our painting team would put us in the most unpleasant situation of having to cancel some bookings, as it is out of question to have guests staying in an half painted chemical smelling cottage.

We explained the situation to our chief painter, Unikrishnan (see picture). He understood and, as usual, said “Don’t worry”. So, of course, we worried even more 😉 !

And then, the miracle! Unikrishnan came at the fixed date, on time, with a team of five painters (we had never seen so many on our site!). They worked fast, well, being even careful of protecting the whole area with plastic (which I thought until then was absolutely forbidden by state law or religion!).

All the rooms have been painted, one by one, according to the strict schedule dictated by our booking book. And everything with a nice smile and perfect discretion to avoid any disturbance to the guests.

So first of all, I want to say a big THANK YOU to Unikrishnan. And then adding this little comment about the conception of time in India: the notion of emergency exists here!

Emergency was obvious and our problem really complicated. In some situations, solidarity comes first. This miracle was not about Uni and his team suddenly being westernized super professional painters, but more about people helping other people out.

Another short example: our local tailor, Lalu, can take six months to complete a set of shirts for me. I am not in a hurry, he knows that I live here and that I have already plenty of shirts! But when we ask him to do some work for a guest in the resort, who will check out the next day and take a plane back home… the same tailor always completes the job during the night and takes his bike to deliver it himself on time!
Price is the same, emergency is different.

If my shirts take six months, it’s just because everyone else insist that his work is more urgent!

So, the big lesson is: if you want to have things done around here, never say you have time. Having time falls in the vague cyclic Indian concept of time and duration, it can last forever. Communicate, make up a story if necessary, but insist until you get shifted in the emergency box.

Time is later… Urgent is now.

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