Welcome To My World

first_imgOver the years, telemarketers have called me Karate, Mrs. Siiinje, and Arathiya more times than I care to remember. Depending on my mood, I either stifle a giggle or roll my eyes. But I rarely bother to correct them; I just carry on with the business of the call, exchange thank-you’s and hang up.But then Bangalore came calling. And with it, hundreds of U.S. companies moved their call center operations to the land of my forefathers. Now, when I am retrieving my credit card balance or ordering a cheese grater over the phone, I am greeted with “Good evening Mrs. ‘Sing,’” or “Your first name is A-R-A-T-I-‘Arthy’?”“Yes!, Yes!” I want to exclaim!” If phones could hug, mine would outhug Barney the Dinosaur. After 30 plus years of hearing 30 plus permutations of my name, it is a breath of fresh air to hear someone get it right the first time, with no explanation whatsoever. I can’t believe I missed out on this simple joy that my friends Jane, Donna and Ann have relished all these years.I am so charmed by this recent development, that I actually perk up when my caller ID shows that my satellite TV company is calling to sell me more channels. Their operators are always Indian. “Who will it be this time?” I wonder. Sometimes I imagine the operator resembles my cousin Raj, drinking hot chai, sitting under a banyan tree while he runs through the merits of a high definition DVR.Other times the operator evokes images of my cousin Gayatri, with waist-length coconut-smelling hair and (horror of horrors) yet unmarried, but always full of laughter. “Are you interested in upgrading to the sports package?” she asks. Instead, I want to ask her which Bollywood hero she thinks is cuter – Shah Rukh Khan or Hrithik Roshan?Sometimes the calls come while I’m cooking dinner. The operator might be droning on about extending my contract, but all I want to do is to stop the conversation to ask, “By the way, how much garam masala do you add to your dal makhni?”So, while outsourcing might stoke the ire of some, I am thrilled by the unexpected, sporadic connections to the motherland -“Desh” as we Indians call it. (Sure, I was born in New Jersey, but really, what is Jersey than a far suburb of Delhi?)Of course, I had to laugh when my old college roommate – a lifetime North Carolinian – recently complained to me that when she recently called her credit card company and the Indian accented operator kept calling her Way-lee-ray.“Valerie,” I said. “Welcome to my world.”  Related Itemslast_img read more