Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Language Barrier

I couple who are friends of my parents are visiting their son and daughter-in-law in the US. The gentleman was kind enough to mail me a present for J that my parents had sent with him. One would imagine, it would be a fairly simple matter for me to call him and say thank you. I called the number from which he had called me when he first reached here and it was answered by a young woman with a distinct Bengali accent. Without further ado, I introduced myself in Bengali. Clearly, that was a very dumb move. The woman was grievously offended and asked "What did you say ?" in a decidedly rude tone of voice. I figured this was the daughter-in-law. Duly chastised, I reintroduced myself and in English this time and hoped for the best. At this point, the woman said "I don't know who you are" and hung up on me.
She had not allowed me the opportunity to say that I was looking to speak to her father-in-law Mr D. There is no other way I know to reach him now. He won't know that I had try to reach him.I tossed out the package in which J's gift was mailed so I don't have a postal address to mail him a thank you note. He does not have an email address. So here I am stuck with an unsaid thank you like a fish bone in my throat. It is hard to speculate what the relationship dynamics are between the woman and her in-laws but as an outsider I am stuck coming across as uncultured and ungrateful. I can't help thinking that I may have fared better if I had not launched into a conversation in Bengali - that may have been my undoing and it's too late to make amends.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you should try calling again later. Some one else might pick up....

NoWhere Man said...

I thought it was only the postman who doesn't ring twice. But a telehpone surprisingly enough rings again..

Heartcrossings said...

Anon and NowhereMan - Unfortunately, the phone in question is the woman's cellphone :)

Anonymous said...

You could send a text message thanking her father in law...that way she would have no option but to accept your thanks and hopefully pass it on !!

NoWhere Man said...

..or call from another phone. You have her name ? Hound her on Facebook . Tell her it is imperative that you convey the thanks to her!

Ok so she will probably think you are a bit creepy but atleast would spice up your life :)

One should always ensure one's gratitude is conveyed.

Mayuresh Gaikwad said...

I do not even understand why someone should get offended by the course of events in the call that you described.