Saturday, May 24, 2008

The perils of not being Punju, and Sales

So I am young MBA out to conquer the world and do associated things average young MBAs like to indulge in. So I get Delhi as my location for my Sales Officer’s stint. The distributor I got was a great guy – one of the wisest and smartest in the system. The Delhi market (at the outset, at least :-)) looked good. So I was all set to take the bull by its horns, pick it and toss it to Jupiter and after twirling it in the air a couple of times.

For someone who had all these these issues sorted out this clearly in his head, I must admit the first week was rather confusing. What aggravated the confusion was that while I was aware that my distributor was a Punjabi guy, I was not aware that Punjabi was the official language of at my distributor’s office and in the rest of North Delhi. I worked under the assumption that everyone spoke in Hindi with an accent.

Every time someone said something I didn’t understand, I would shake my head and blame the education system which encouraged children to score 75 in Hindi in CBSE by putting anupras alankaar at the end of all doha explanations and arbit one liners in Niband and Patr lekhan. I would also think of the good old times when I had obediently looked back, instead of down, during one of the “neeche dekh B******” sessions, and shake my head some more.

One of the first things my distributor told me, like all good distributors do, is “Sadi market mein bahar da maal bahut hai ji”. Hailing myself to be the problem solving types, I knew that this meant one of the three things. Firstly, “We have infiltration in the entire market “; saadi market meaning ‘entire market’, a classical case of interchangeable ‘r’s and ‘d’s like in Gu(r/d)gaon, Chadiga(r/d)h, etc.
Or, it could have meant that the saree market has a lot of infiltration, another classical cse of interchangeable 'r's and 'd's. What this has to do with mobiles, I couldn’t quite figure, nevertheless I will put in my final presentation and everyone’s jaws will drop, I thought.
Or, lastly, it could have meant that the rotten (since I know sadi = rotten) market has a lot of infiltration. In which case, my response to it would be “bring it on, female canine!!”, so that I could tackle the issue and brag to everyone about it.

On another occasion the same day, two of his sales guys came fighting to him about who the better contender is for the one last piece of the shortest SKU in his stock. My distributor then looked at one of them and said “tu dus beta, tu dus”. I was shocked momentarily. Is this how disputes are resolved? “Tu dus beta, aur voh paanch. So you get the stock.” Then I thought, being the Sales Officer I, to be in a position with a greater bargaining power for future issues, should be at least gyara. Thankfully, the issue was sorted out in another way, also beyond my comprehension, and I hoped it was better than the way that I imagined.

It was not until one of the visits of my manager when he said “Darshanji, is Punjabi the official language in your office?”, did I realize that they were all talking in Punjabi. That Sadi means ‘our’ and dus means ‘tell’ also dawned on me eventually during the course of my sales stint. I applauded my abilities to grasp a new language this naturally.


Unknown said...

Dude u cant hope to sell cellphones in India without knowing punjabi I think we contribute 20% of ur sales :)

Bhavna said...

i know wat u mean....for someone who has been called 'paVna' all her life becos her well meaning relatives dont have a 'bh' in their pronunciation portfolio (think 'pindi' for bhindi, pehnc**d for bhenc**d... come to think of it, i cudve said 'pehn' for 'behen'& proved my point... but u know the deep influence of xl on our brains :D)... i know the all pervasiveness of the accent but never thought of the all pervasiveness of the vocab... i guess u just got to be totally unpunju to see it... so wats next for u? marrying gurinder or tejinder or amanpreet? getting a tandoor in ur backyard? or back to eating idli and laughing at the northies?

Murthy said...

I remember being pretty shocked when I heard you reeling off cell model nos. in Punj. Another one bites the dhool, I thought. Traded in his majjige for his lassi, his kache panche for a kachcha.

But then I hear you're still supporting the Royal Challengers instead of cheering on Preity's dimpled lads.

And I'm glad. Digga little deeper and you''ll still be a Digga.

Murthy said...

Sorry for the extraneous article and resulting grammatical boo boo.
We'll still be Digga, of course. Despite the grammar.

Roofy said...

@ Ishty - That is probably correct man . By the way, how are the Manipuri lessons coming along?

@ Bhavana - Er.. No. The problem with those names - Gurinder, Tejinder, Amrinder, etc are that I cannot even make out, to start with, if they are girls' names or guys'. So the answer, is no :-)

@ Sandeep - Digga for life man. I will not trade my majjige for anything, its a chaas i have made for the rest of my life:-). Lets sms Thambi about how we thulped Chennai Super duds in the last match!

Anonymous said...

where is the new post!?