Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 19:53 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 19:53 | SYDNEY

Notes from an Indian call centre


Sam Roggeveen


7 July 2011 17:04

American journalist Andrew Marantz recounts his time working in India's call centre industry, experiencing from the inside what he describes as 'one of the largest intercultural exchanges in history'. If that's true, I fear for Australia's people-to-people links with India:

During our second day of culture training, Lekha dissected the Australian psyche. It took about 20 minutes.

"Just stating facts, guys," Lekha began, as we scribbled notes, "Australia is known as the dumbest continent. Literally, college was unknown there until recently. So speak slowly." Next to me, a young man in a turban wrote No college in his notebook.

"Technologically speaking, they're somewhat backward, as well. The average person's mobile would be no better than, say, a Nokia 3110 classic." This drew scoffs from around the room.

"Australians drink constantly," Lekha continued. "If you call on a Friday night, they'll be smashed—every time. Oh, and don't attempt to make small talk with them about their pets, okay? They can be quite touchy about animals."

"What kind of people are there in Australia?" a trainee asked. "What are their traits?"

"Well, for one thing," Lekha said, "let's admit: They are quite racist. They do not like Indians. Their preferred term for us is—please don't mind, ladies—'brown bastards.' So if you hear that kind of language, you can just hang up the call."

Thus ended our lesson in Australian sociology.

Photo by Flickr user barracuardz.