India Standard Time (aka 5 more minutes)

I run on Indian Time

I run on Indian Time

I recently found a wonderful blog called Diary of a White Indian Housewife and was completely thrilled to finally find someone who was living the life that is going to be my future!

Her blog is still relatively new, but it’s already packed full of excellent pieces of information, pictures and other resources.  Her writing style is excellent, smooth and makes you want to come back (or wish for) more.  And you all know what a reading snob I am!

While browsing through some of her material, I ran across something that had me smiling…remembering my own experiences with IST (India Standard Time).

You see, IST is not just the name of the time zone for India…it’s also an inside joke with regards to the actual concept of time there.  Everyone’s on their own clock.  Time is relevant.  Ask someone what time it is and don’t be surprised that the first thing you hear is “Why?”

When I was traveling in India, I finally understood why time is more of a concept than an actual reality.  You can’t really make definite plans for anything.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, you can tell someone that you will meet them on MG road for shopping at 1pm, but trust me, that person will not be surprised if you meet them on MG road around 4pm.  Traffic sometimes (mostly, ok ok ok, almost always) plays havoc with any plans that you make.

That is of course, if you didn’t loose electricity and had to wait for it to come back on in order to straighten your hair.

Or if you are waiting for the hot water heater to work.

I think I just wasn’t there long enough to stop being spoiled.

But I got a much more thorough and in-depth teaching of the rules of IST when my fiancé Bear was here in the US.  Why you ask?  Because Bear is famous for saying…

“5 more minutes”

At first, I counted on that and would be at his desk or the bathroom door asking if he was ready to leave.  I also remember that 9 times out of 10 his return answer would be…

“10 to 15 minutes more”

Then…in 10 to 15 minutes I would be back again only to hear…

“Another half an hour”

ARGH!!!!!!!!!  In the first couple of months of our relationship, I was completely and utterly frustrated and confused.  And this coming from a girl who is perpetually late in arriving places!  Nevertheless, I would stand there, ‘dancing on his head’ with “Come oooooooonnnnnnn Bear…it’s TIME to GO!”

After a couple of months of this, I finally started to learn to ask the question differently…or rather to follow up his answer with a NEW question.  See before I would ask him how long he was going to be and then answer “OK” to whatever he said.  Now I’ve learned differently.  Now our conversations go something like this…

“How long do you think you will be?”

“10 to 15 minutes only”  he says as if he’s serious (Internally I am hahaha’ing that he learned to just bump the time up to begin with instead of starting off low with 5 minutes)

“Ok…are we talking Bear time or Real time?”  I am not sarcastic at all am I?

“Gappa Bas”

So, as you can see, even when I learn to come back at him, it doesn’t matter because he also finds a way around me.  If I return with “Nahi…tu chup roho!” (No, you shut up!) then he just laughs at my pronunciation and says he’ll be back in 10 to 15 minutes which in reality is usually more like half an hour.


But I love my Bear…and I know that for every 5 minutes I hear, he has to deal with me being late in the mornings.  So I guess we are even.  Also, he seems to feel that with my perpetual morning lateness…that I will fit in just fine in India.

Now, you’ll have to excuse me…I have another blog I need to write for you all.  Don’t worry; I’m sure I’ll have it up in 5 more minutes.  🙂


One thought on “India Standard Time (aka 5 more minutes)

  1. I’m fine with five minutes more… in India. Or, to a lesser extent, California (of course, “my” bit of Cali is looking more & more like India every time I visit).

    But, for instance, it just wouldn’t cut it in Germany, where being 5 minutes early is almost being late. The key is the expectations of the main culture that surrounds you – and failing to meet those norms is, at best, impolite, and could be taken as rather hostile. So I’m never late to anything in Germany, run roughly on time here in the US, and just don’t sweat it in India.

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