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December 29, 2017

Washing Dirty linen in public - The case of the Masi Gudda - Ethiopian Journey - Blog Post No - 40

As discussed in my previous post, Bahirdar was full of Indian teachers. I will attempt to classify these Indians into categories, so that the readers can understand their behaviour.

1) The Desperates: Desperates are Indians who have come to a foreign country as a last resort. This set of Indians tend to be very low in confidence and have managed to come abroad based on various dubious methods which can include fake credentials, fake certificates and even fake experience. They constantly live in a state of fear.

They could have even come on recommendations, by bribing concerned officials or even could have just come on pure luck. Their low inferiority complex can lead to lots of problems for all other Indians. Desperates tend to be average or low level performers and are constantly on the look out to make their own life safer and better.

They would work for unnecessarily long hours, pamper and pander to every whim and fancy of the locals and tend to drive the salaries southwards (downwards). They also throw lavish parties for the local teachers and tend to snitch on Indians. For example, it is quite likely that some Indians could have gone to Addis Ababa on a private visit of their own, only to know the Desperates have squealed on them to their Dean. The Desperates are despised and tend to survive only on the goodwill and generosity of the local teachers and administrators.

2) The No Choicers: These are people driven to a foreign country as they have limited career prospects in India. They are good workers and tend to do a decent job. As they have no chance of getting regular and lucrative employment in India, they tend to be loyal and do multiple contracts. It is quite common to see many Indians who have done 8-10 contracts or have spent 16-20 years on their own in a foreign land. They earn money, but their personal and family lives become affected and it is often seen that the family and the person grow apart over a period of time.

3) The Regulars: Regulars are Indians who want to have a fling of a lifetime. I would consider myself a regular. Regulars go to a foreign country to take in as much of the country and the culture as possible. They lead a normal life and might not save much even at the end of many contracts but carry with them experiences that are worth a life time stay.

4) The Scroungers: Scroungers are the extreme people. They come to a foreign country just to save. This saving inclination can take extreme forms. For example, a faculty who was earning 1000 dollars in Bahirdar saved up to 975 dollars a month. This person survived only on 25 dollars which is 200 birr or an unbelievable Rs 1000/- rupees per month.

This extreme saving habit would mean that they literally survive only on rice and dal and are always on the lookout for freebies in the form of parties that are thrown by more generous fellow Indians. In a way the scroungers are good at their business. They help the Indian family in hosting the party. That would not only ensure a free meal but could also mean take way of the leftover food that would easily last for two to three days. Luckily for them, the lovely cold weather in Bahirdar ensured that the food would not get spoilt very quickly.

5) The extremos: Extremos are Indians who can’t be classified in any other category. This type of Indians come for unexplainable reasons. Many come to a foreign country just to tell others that they have worked in a foreign country or ‘are foreign returned’. They suffer as they generally come alone and spend lot of time moping and worrying.

Extremos also tend to be extreme in behaviour. One extremo faculty in Bahirdar came to our house and asked a bewildered Padma an article to borrow that almost made her faint. Any idea what he asked? He wanted to borrow ‘a masi gudda’. A masi gudda is any old cloth that is used to dust and clean any dirty surface or mop anything that is spilled on the floor. Any old cloth in the house automatically becomes a masi gudda.  

The same person once came up and asked “Anil Saab, do you think that I could marry my Ethiopian maid”. My heart melted, I was touched at his generosity. The very practical Anil in me woke up “Hello hello dear Anil” the inner voice told me “He is already married and has a wife waiting for him in India”.

I said the same, the extremo sighed and said “so tho hai (that is true), I am married and my wife will kill me if she comes to know that I married an Ethiopian girl”. “They why marry?” I asked quite stupidly. “Anil Bhai, there is a proposal from an Egyptian university inviting papers for an International conference and the invitation says that it is only open for Ethiopian Teachers”. My mouth fell apart almost by two feet. This crazy professor wanted to marry an Ethiopian girl only for sending an article for an International publication.

Padma pooh pooed me when I recited the incident to her. She said “how gullible of you. He wanted to marry his Ethiopian maid. His maid Ebolu is quite a stunner and a very pretty girl”. Finally, sanity prevailed and this person could not marry his pretty maid.

Secretly I think that he was quite disappointed. But our guy did have his final laugh. He went to a government hospital at the end of the contract and had a HIV test conducted on himself.  Luckily he tested HIV negative! I asked him the reason for the test “Anil Saab (as he was fond of calling me), I wanted to assure my wife that I am pure and loyal to her” we gave him tea and bade him a farewell.

Padma remarked “hats off to his wife. I don’t know how she managed to stay married to this character and still remain sane. She should be given a Padma Sri!”

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