Doing it Indian style


By the end of my stay in India I was pretty hip to the westerner coined phrase “Let’s do it Indian style”.  

Indian style does not relate to ‘doggie style’ or ‘gangnam style’ or even ‘dolphin style’ (which has nothing to do with fornicating with dolphins).  And, it certainly has nothing to do with the Urban dictionary definition of the same moniker.

It has more to do with attitude rather than sex or a dance craze but, don’t doubt it’s effectiveness since, it might just get you laid or in a global dance craze – however, you’ll never be able to see it coming (ahem!).  Indian style is about giving space, letting go, allowing and accepting – which is something us westerners pay thousands of dollars to figure out and remember – but in India, it’s part of their daily life.

I think it is largely a result of the popular Indian saying “Sab Kuch Milega” and it means “Everything is possible.” Which relies more on instinct than logic, desires rather than definitions and possibility more than programs.  It’s also, quite often, the only answer you’ll get from an Indian when you’re in need of something.

Me: “Can I go to Kerala on Saturday?”

Indian travel agent: “Everything possible madam”

Me: “Ok, so how do I get a ticket to Kerala on Saturday, and can I go by train or bus?”

Travel agent: “Everything possible madam”

Me: “Right. So, do I book through you?”

Travel agent : head bobble which looks like no but really means yes.

Me: “So, can I book it now?”

Indian: another head bobble “It’s possible madam”

Me: “Ok, so I’d like to book a ticket to Kerala for Saturday”

Indian: “System is down madam, come tomorrow.”

This is when “Indian style” is kicks in.  You don’t fight it, you don’t get frustrated or hot-headed.  Instead, you walk away and come back the next day hoping you can get a ticket to Kerala for Saturday. When the system is down the next day, you come back in the afternoon, and then the following morning and then you go to another travel agent and then you come back to the original agent in the afternoon.

And then, you remember “I’ll do this Indian Style” …you let what is supposed to happen, happen in the place of what you wanted to happen.  Which is usually, most definitely the better option.

Indian style is not complacency or laziness or an act of giving up, it’s what you do when you’ve given enough relaxed effort to the minutiae of your goals, or daily plans.  It’s understanding that, sometimes, our expectations turn to disappointment but we take that and move on.  Indian style is turning your energy toward another possibility, or taking another approach and moving momentum somewhere else.  Unfortunately, us westerners stress ourselves out over pre-programmed results and, I think, that’s where we get it wrong.  It’s the moment we stop living in the moment.

Here are other times you can use Indian Style:

*When you’re meeting a friend.  Stop checking your phone, or sending text message with every step of the way. Trust the agreement and enjoy the scenery until you do meet up.  With Indian style, whatever time you find each other is the perfect time.

*When you’re waiting to hear news.  Stop checking your emails 10 times, or your phone, or reaching out for updates.  Instead, trust that the news will find you and, instead, have conversations about something more interesting with the people in front of you.  Go out for coffee, or take a walk or read a book. Put something in place of the waiting.

*Anticipating a reunion.  Indian style suggests you entertain yourself with the dream of it but recognize that, until you reunite, your dreams are make believe.  Instead, use that anticipatory energy toward getting you into the most authentic frame of mind.

*Booking a holiday, making plans.  If things aren’t going your way, go a different way.

I didn’t get a ticket to Kerala in the end and it turned about to be the best decision I didn’t have to make!

I’d love to hear your own experiences of things not working out the way you planned, only to have them work out better than expected.  And, did you fight it along the way?  Or, what is your relationship to allowing things to happen?  Are you a control freak?  Please leave comments below and get the conversation flowing!



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4 Responses to Doing it Indian style

  1. […] less push toward manufacturing experiences so I could spend my days observing and, learning life Indian style.  As a result, I felt like every day was the most serendipitous day I’d had.  Thoughts […]

  2. I love all your observations, especially your list of ‘times you can use Indian Style’. I especially relate to your bullet about ‘texting every step of the way’ when you make plans with someone. This has begun to drive me insane! ‘Leaving the house now’, ‘Just got in a cab’, ‘Walking towards the restaurant’, ‘Here now’. Ugh!! It makes me feel panicked and claustrophobic – and at the same time, rude if I don’t respond. I am now in a state of passively not participating in this type of neurotic communication behavior in hopes it quiets people down. I wholeheartedly believe in Indian Style (though there is a time and a place for PLANS, as we know, Lyn…). And, p.s., would love to know where you took that photo at the top of your blog?!

    • Aubrey love – the text updating has got to be the most annoying and neurotic thing about texting these days. I am so glad we don’t do it.

      Thanks for reading – The photo came from my personal stack 😉 (of photos stolen from google – it should link to its source).


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