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Non Resident Indian Insomnia

Non Resident Indian Insomnia

April 29, 2011

Time zones are most definitely a 'relative' phenomenon!

Its fun getting calls from people at 3 am when you're sleeping. No really, it is. It's the kind of fun you equate to being stuck in the traffic for 2 hours without moving an inch or having to spend your entire weekend at the office. 

I think you get the picture.

And if you're an NRI, then you get the full high-definition 3-D picture.

There are three kinds of people who indulge in nocturnal telephone calls to awaken weary NRIs abroad:

The Genuinely Clueless: This section of callers you just have to let go and forgive. Usually they are the older generation aunties and uncles. They are a bit hazy about times, let alone time zones. So don't even go there trying to explain about GMT and any fancy-shmancy daylight-saving fundas. The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. The lengthening shadow of the coconut tree in the backyard tells them all they need to know. End of story. Anything understood beyond that is a bonus.

2. The Selectively Clueless:
They are more than your usual armchair explorers. They have travelled a bit, spent a while in the US, UK or Gulf, and are armed with full knowledge that outside India, a time difference exists. But no, they will not enquire with a living soul as to what the exact time difference is between two countries. Might be minutes, hours or even half a day.

So I end up waking up to the sweet ring of my phone on Christmases, birthdays and New Years at the oddest hour. Loud greetings will boom from the other end of the line, and when I fail to respond back enthusiastically in my semi-comatose state, I am playfully told not to nap too long in the afternoons. At 3 pm, I should be up and about obviously! Lazy me!

Well, at 3pm I was up and about but that was 12 hours ago! $%#$%@@$#%$^%^@!!!

Last time I checked, it was socially acceptable for human beings to be asleep at 3 a.m.

3. The Nightmares of my Sweet Dreams:
Since NRIs don't usually have a problem with mosquitoes while sleeping unlike their Indian counterparts, God decided to play a joke on them and he created this third set of nocturnal ‘well-wishers’.

They are unfazed by the sound of your half-dead voice over the phone. When you finally wake up enough to hint about the time anticipating an apology and a quick "OK I'll call later", what you usually get is a surprised "Is that so?” followed by jolly laughter from the other end, all at your expense, and then something along the lines of "Oh well, you are anyway awake now". This is followed by the passing of the phone to an infinite number of relatives - all equally oblivious or indifferent to your sleep-deprived state.

This might sound a bit paranoid, but I have concluded that such telephone calls tend to come from different numbers each time. So just when I have just stored some offender’s number with a discreet ‘DO NOT PICK UP’ warning, I get a call from an entirely new number. And I end up answering in a panic, worried that it’s an urgent call. And usually, I am trapped in another night-time/early morning call with some far-flung relative. Whatayfun!

Is this a global issue? NRIs out there, how many of you brave the Time Zone Mafia each year? 


  • Maria
    02.05.11 11:12 AM
    @ Ajit : ;)
    @ JaaliEngineer: Haha....yes always on birthdays especially
    @ sandy: You blushed..which shows apology. Ah! that is more than enough! :)
  • sandy
    30.04.11 03:23 PM
    ok, ive made this mistake a coupls of times, so u made me blush! seriously good one, though
  • JaaliEngineer
    30.04.11 11:14 AM
    Time Zone Mafia...thats a new one for sure...

    poor u getting up at all the wrong hours...
  • Ajit
    29.04.11 07:43 PM
    Spot on. Enjoyed the article to the fullest.

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