Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Today is Wednesday

"Is the soya one good here?", the man dressed in blue stripped shirts and equally formal pants asked.
"I am not sure, I havent tried."
"My friend has and heard it is good.", I added.
"Where do you work?". 
This one alarmed me so after trying to mumble some company in silicon valley, I blurted out my company name.
He then said where he was working and some blah, blah. I nodded and moved from that spot.

When I finally got the take out, I saw he was sitting alone in a table. That sort of disturbed me. Problem let me spell out is AMWAY.  I have had atleast twice a year random stranger approaching me in malls/safeway/lucky(yep that is our grocery store name, it also gets heard as yucky). And I always think of them as AMWAY. My theory is I dont see any necessity for an Indian living in south bay to strike up a random conversation with another person just because they are Indian too like it is common in those sparsely populated areas of US. In gradschool town, we used to even strike up conversations with Srilankans. But here, we are too many of us.

And also considering the spread of AMWAY among desis, the probability of this randoms stranger turning out to be one of those ~=1. But what if they arent and were really strangers looking to strike a friendship in  new land/ just someone who was looking for company during a lunch? Like the girl in the mall in an Indian dress who looked so fob. Damn you Amway, not sure how rich you guys get but but there is no Vimosanam' for this fear you have instilled in me.

Ps: I know, I could have cut off once the AMWAY topic comes on, but most days I am out of patience in this aspect or my shyness creeps in/ feel talking is too much of effort but mostly i dont want to talk even if there is a remote possibility of AMWAY.

In case you didnt know about AMWAY/ even if you did, AMWAYs in bay area are a special species and you should know about them. The species appears dressed in formals if male, and something more normal if female and usually appears wandering in some random aisle at walmart/ Ikea/ mall on a weekend. Yes, the species is more likely married and works in tandem with the partner(do they get married just for this? you might ask and I think that is a very good question). More likely to be found on a saturday than a sunday(why? coz they have a life too?) but dont count on it. Then they strike up conversation with strangers tapping on desi-desi bhai-bhai or bhai-behen. Couple of minutes later, you are exchanging phone numbers. When I was caught, I mean I was warned by my friends and yet till it happens to you once, you wouldnt know,  they started talking to me straight away about work, how arent we all dissatisfied with work? I stopped them here and said no, I could hardly be with just a month's work. But then they assured me in five year's time I would (Wow, just what a newbie had to hear:)) and proceeded with how I could be a millionaire in few years. So I cut them off right there with a false number.

Others are even more crafty. A friend who was looking for a job in the previous recession was misled over a couple of meetings. Another friend who moved to bay area couple of years ago, had to go endure lot more than that and still didnt know how to cut them off.  My own brother on a visit was caught right under my nose before I can mouth AMWAY, they had exchanged phone numbers. As they say in tamil, ethallam oru puzhapu?


  1. LOL! :--)
    Its atrocious when strangers approach you like that.
    I had an Amway like experience way back in cold cold land when I just started working. Husband and wife worked in the same place I did, so I thought they were just being friendly. I just wanted friendship lol. Now I remember I went to their place saw their stuff, called them home...
    Thats the only experience, none in CA so far, touch wood. lol.

    To play the devil's advocate if you look at how enterprising they are, you should give it to them. How many of us can go and strike a conversation with a stranger?

  2. @SK : You had an Amway experience in Cold-Cold land? Gosh! That is much closer to home for comfort...I thought Cold-Cold land was safe from Amway.

    I got trapped into it in Mumbai. A friend's friend called me and told me that he had a business proposition, and I, in my infinite innocence about Pyramid Schemes, told him I was interested. He directed me to a meeting in Ghatkopar and within 5 minutes I understood what it was, but that did not deter the guy from calling me every couple of days...until I just stopped answering him that is!

  3. SK: it is atrocious when many such strangers roam around. Cold cold land, huh? pass your Kaushik's info to them please:) oh, enterprising at what cost. i can strike a conversation with stranger have no qualms so cant really appreciate them at all. but i wud have ethics that will stop me from harassing some one:)
    Kaushik: that is what i hear that they dont take no for an answer

  4. if dear parents find out we are giving away numbers away to amerigan strangers avil dhan. anthe. leave bay and all. woodlands hotel. a guy calling himself humble sethuraman with 3 crore biz and with a visiting card which was pieces of chart with his name rubbered in..sema kalai.we made him sit down with us half hour sema

  5. I took 10 mins to fish out this link, a post I read sometime in 2008.

  6. am in bay area...I have had first hand experience of not strangers bringing up that Amway but very close friends. Friend kept bugging me for a couple of months. Until I one day said a no forcefully. Guess those guys can be real persuasive lot. AND the worst part of it is, he keeps cribbing that coz of the current proper work schedule he doesnt have a life. :D

  7. Soin: i think the amway still maintains boy-boy girl-girl talk mostly so as such maintain the indian culture. humble sethuraman shud have known better than to approach a group of college students:)
    Praveen: Thank you for the link, seriously. I and several other people have wondered how do these people really end up doing this - that sort of gave a glimpse but i dont understand this cult mentality either.
    Viswajith.k.n:agree frnd would have been very difficult to handle.
    Hary!! - do you belong to one of the pyramid schemes:)