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How to do Business in 21st Century India

August 2008
How to do Business in 21st Century India

My Mrs. is out of station and I’m an eggetarian, but I do know a good nonveg restaurant near my colony that serves balti chicken. After dinner there, we can walk from the car park to the flat for our con call. I’ll make some filter coffee, since I’m sure you’ll be jet-lagged and fagged out.

Let’s say you’re on the way to India to do a business deal, when you get this cryptic message via email. How do you decode it if you’re unfamiliar with Indian English? Management consultant Gunjan Bagla, author of Doing Business in 21st Century India (Business Plus), offers help. He has over two decades of experience in global sourcing and marketing in India. In a glossary of Indian English, Bagla provides several definitions. My Mrs.: my wife; Out of station: out of town; Eggetarian: a vegetarian who also eats eggs and egg products; [Nonveg: nonvegetarian]; Colony: subdivision or neighborhood; Balti: a type of cuisine; Car park: parking lot; Flat: apartment; Con call: conference phone call; Filter coffee: brewed coffee; Fagged out: exhausted.

Bagla also decodes, among other terms, some acronyms that are widely understandable in multilingual India. STD (long distance phone call), CTC (cost to company/total employee compensation) and PFA (please find attached) are just three examples. The meat of the book focuses on legal and accounting issues, finance, marketing in India, human resources, and not least, the big opportunities present these days. As he warns, “Pitfalls are plentiful, and profitability could elude you for a decade or more if you are not careful about picking the right opportunities.” Bagla, who conducts executive workshops and puts out a newsletter on globalization, also teaches a Caltech seminar three times a year. Marketing professor Jagdish Sheth calls this book “an excellent practical guide.”

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