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Why the Indians are curious and the Danes are sceptic – an intercultural dilemma – The Post

Why the Indians are curious and the Danes are sceptic – an intercultural dilemma – The Post

What occurs when a curious Indian meets a sceptical Dane? It might create a conundrum state of affairs. Whereas there are Indians who are actually curious and Danes who are actually sceptical, it isn’t a good suggestion to generalise – not each Indian is curious and not each Dane is sceptical, in fact. Nevertheless, it’s value maintaining these observations with regard to cultural tendencies in thoughts the subsequent time you encounter an identical state of affairs.

READ MORE: Opinion: “Could you say ‘rødgrød med fløde’?” – “Yes, but why?”

Fascinating Indian inter-state travels
Let’s take a better take a look at this matter. It seems to be true that the Indians are actually curious to know issues and discover details about virtually everybody and the whole lot. They do that believing that establishing belief is essential when starting a relationship with somebody.

Moreover, it’s fairly widespread in India to speak to one another and share private tales: typically in in depth element, while travelling on trains, buses or planes. Interstate journey in India can therefore be fascinating as some individuals converse a totally totally different language and have totally different cultural insights, meals, customs and traditions.

They speak to one another, change concepts and shortly develop into buddies. Such fast friendships shaped throughout the journeys might even turn into lifelong ones. This might neither be attainable nor sensible for different cultures like the Danish, the Germans or the Swiss. To them, friendships ought to be attained by means of years of constructing belief and attachment.

Relationship-oriented cultures
In cross-cultural textual content books, you possibly can examine relationship-orientated in addition to individualistic cultures. Relationship-orientated cultures present in Asia and Central Europe in addition to Latin nations attempt to construct a relationship to realize belief first. Solely then will they begin doing enterprise with the different one.

Alternatively, individualistic nations like America, Germany, and Denmark are principally targeted on ‘making deals’ – and they gained’t present a lot curiosity in constructing a relationship with a view to do enterprise with somebody.

The curious Indian
Considered one of the most necessary items of recommendation I give throughout the intercultural coaching packages that I ship for Indians going overseas is to withhold their curiosity – and their pure curiosity about the private particulars of others particularly. There are many situations the place the Indian curiosity has created some embarrassing moments.

Look after some examples?

– A newly recruited Indian junior supervisor in Munich was taken on an introductory tour by the workplace. Whereas he was being launched to a feminine member of the senior administration staff, the first query he requested was: “Are you married?” to which she replied “No”. The junior supervisor continued to ask much more questions, for instance, about her age or the place she lived. Ultimately, he was correctly interrupted by the human assets government, who apologised to the woman and took over from there.

– One other instance was when a Danish couple on a practice have been speaking to an Indian software program engineer employed by Danske Financial institution in Copenhagen. The Danes launched themselves and requested about the Indian’s expertise in Denmark. After exchanging a number of feedback, the Indian man requested: “Are you married?” “Yes” was the reply. “Do you have children?” The Danes replied “No”. “Why not?” the Indian requested. At this level, the Danish couple didn’t know what to say.

– Even for me, it’s typically a bit difficult to deal with the curiosity of fellow countrymen whereas travelling in India. As soon as, whereas I used to be on a practice, an previous man sitting subsequent to me needed to know what sort of doc I used to be holding in my hand. He then reached out as if he needed to take a look.

The Trinidadian author V S Naipaul, who has Indian roots, wrote about his experiences while travelling in India in his article ‘The Writer and the World’. The following extracts from a dialog he had with a fellow bus traveller in India is sort of fascinating:

“Where do you come from?” It’s the Indian query, and to individuals who assume when it comes to the village, the district, the province, the group, the caste, my reply that I’m a Trinidadian is simply puzzling. “But you look Indian.” – “Well, I am Indian. But we have been living for several generations in Trinidad.” – “But you look Indian.”

Three or 4 occasions a day the dialogue happens, and now I typically abandon the rationalization. “I am a Mexican, really.” “Ah.” Nice satisfaction. Pause. “What do you do?” – “I write.” – “Journalism or books?” – “Books.” – “Westerns, crime, romance? How many books do you write a year? How much do you make?” So now I invent: “I am a teacher.” – “What are your qualifications?” – “I am a BA” – “Only a BA.? What do you teach?” – “Chemistry. And a little history.” – “How interesting!” stated the man on the Pathankot-Srinagar bus. “I am a teacher of chemistry too.”

He was sitting throughout the aisle from me, and a number of hours remained of our journey. On this huge land of India it’s crucial to elucidate your self, to outline your perform and standing in the universe. It is extremely troublesome.

Dreaming in Hindi’
In her autobiography ‘Dreaming in Hindi’, Katherine Russell Wealthy shares her experiences on the curiosity of individuals dwelling round her in Udaipur. She talked about that she started to suspect that the entire city belonged to the central intelligence company.

“Madam, are you living in Sector Eleven?” a rickshaw driver requested. “My friend said he took you there from the bank two weeks ago.” – “Madam, who was that man who walked you home last night?” the sweet store proprietor inquired. She needed to assume, then remembered: “He is my teacher.” Additionally, she was requested many different comparable questions by full strangers. The place are you going on this warmth? How a lot did you pay for that lamp? Why have been you sporting a flowery sari two nights in the past? Have you ever placed on weight? And so forth.

One other extract from Wealthy’s autobiography describing her expertise whereas travelling in a rickshaw to see a physician can also be fascinating:

“Once, on contracting a bug, I hailed a rickshaw to take me to the doctor’s. The driver was uncertain of the address, so he waved over a pedestrian, who looked at the slip of paper, looked at me, leaned into the back. Was it my head? The man wanted to know. Just a slight fever, I answered. What about my throat. Did that hurt? No, that was fine, I replied. Had I taken anything for it? He inquired. I gave a quick nod, yes. Allopathic or naturopathic? He asked. “Mujhe jaana hai,” I stated, which loosely interprets: “I know this is a silly idea, but I was thinking we could leave some questions to the doctor.”

From historic Greece to India
One other fascinating component is that the Indians are very enthusiastic about understanding second names. I’ve been requested many occasions about my second identify and, it bothers me a bit.

However, you will get some key info from an individual’s second identify in India and you are in a position to determine what state an individual comes from in addition to his/her faith and typically even their social standing.

This curiosity can also be seen as a solution to join with a stranger, get to know one another and develop into associates. Any such behaviour shouldn’t be restricted to these from India; different nationalities resembling the Greeks, Italians and Spanish are additionally recognized for it.

Philoxenia, the love of strangers, or hospitality, was central to the ethos of the historic Greeks. Throughout this time, the stranger can be welcomed by the chief and provided shelter, meals and a shower earlier than being requested many questions by the host about his enterprise. This was strengthened by the perception that the stranger is perhaps one in every of the gods travelling in disguise as a check.

Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ makes use of hospitality as a strong theme reinforcing the notion that the extra civilized a society, the higher the degree of hospitality.

India shares the similar idea. The Sanskrit phrases ‘Atithi devo bhava’ means the visitor is equal to a god. It comes from the historic Hindu scriptures ‘The Upanishads’ and turned a part of the code of conduct for the society at giant.

The sceptical Dane
Karen Blixen, who was born in 1885 in Denmark, as soon as wrote to a good friend that the Danish character was like ‘dough without leavening’. The reserved life in Denmark was suffocating for her. It was Africa that offered the freedom that she believed was important to non-public happiness. As a consequence, she moved away from Denmark to relatively spent her life there.

The Danes all the time look like very reserved. In his e-book ‘The Almost Nearly Perfect People’, Michael Sales space feedback that the Danes are extremely sociable when amongst associates. However to them, a good friend is somebody whom they’ve recognized for years – from their childhood, faculty days or college years and so on. They’ve an in depth circle of pals and it isn’t very straightforward to get inside until a excessive degree of belief has been constructed over an extended time period.

Based on Internations, 68 % of expats in Denmark reported difficulties  making native pals. The Danes don’t see worth in fast friendships, which is totally totally different from the Indian idea of creating buddies by asking strangers questions and relating one another to totally different elements of life in India.

Foreigners from totally different nations dwelling in Denmark make pals shortly amongst themselves and talk about  the unfriendly nature of the Danes. I’ve interviewed many expats and made many fascinating observations.

Talking Danish is vital
“In my experience, there is only one way you can integrate into Danish society,” a Croatian woman stated. “It’s the Danish language.”

Danes are pleased with their language. Despite the fact that they converse excellent English, you’ll be able to hear solely Danish in the pubs, roads, golf equipment and conferences. However the problem to non-natives is the proven fact that Danish is just not an straightforward language to study.

I assumed my information of German would assist me a bit however the pronunciation of Danish phrases could be very troublesome to non-native audio system. A younger Italian lady doing her Grasp’s in Copenhagen informed me that “I have invited my Danish friend many times to Italy and she even stayed at my home twice. But she never invited me back to her home in Roskilde.”

Invasion of privateness is no-go in Denmark
In India, it’s utterly regular to say “See you again sometime” to somebody, even to a stranger, at the finish of a brief dialog. However when you say “See you again” to a Danish woman in an analogous state of affairs, she’ll get puzzled in her thoughts and ask herself: “See me again? But why?”

For a Dane, asking too many private questions is an act of intrusion. The Danes clearly have outlined circles of privateness. There’s a excessive respect for privateness that separates the working and private lives of the Danish individuals. Should you are coming from a tradition the place these circles’ limits are not so nicely outlined, or perhaps, the place no such limits exist, will probably be actually difficult.

It will be significant for foreigners dwelling in Denmark to notice that invading somebody’s privateness is unacceptable to the Danes. Moreover, a Dane’s household and personal life are additionally separate. Subsequently, a young person or an grownup has their very own personal circle of which their household will not be part of.

Curious Indian meets sceptical Dane
From an Indian perspective, not giving info generates a sense of somebody being secretive – feeling that this individual can’t be trusted or has some hidden agendas in thoughts. Such a state of affairs will put a Dane in a troublesome state of affairs if she or he is planning to reside in India.

Indians additionally use the widespread North American greeting “Hi, how are you?” The anticipated reply is an easy “I am doing fine”. However in case you ask the similar query to a Dane, it’s going to lead him to assume that you simply actually need to understand how she or he is doing. Therefore, a preferable greeting can be “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you”.

Mutual adaptability
So, how can somebody deal with such conditions higher? The secret is to know who the foreigner is. The foreigner has to adapt to each the stated and unsaid guidelines of the land.

Whether or not it’s an Indian or an Italian in Denmark, she or he ought to reduce her pure curiosity and attempt to observe and study the cultural traits important for them to adapt and combine.

If it’s a Dane making an attempt to start a brand new life in India, she or he must be ready to be extra open in an effort to settle for new pals and concepts. It also needs to be an alternative to practise some endurance and perceive different individuals’s views. Such a mutual cultural ‘give and take’ will make sure that you’ll have a extra constructive expertise throughout your keep in a overseas land.


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