“You need to learn about India”.
Outsourced is a romantic comedy film released in 2006, directed by John Jeffcoat. The movie is centred around the American call center manager Todd Anderson. When Todd’s department in order fulfillment is set to be outsourced to India, his boss gives him one final task which is to travel to Gharapuri, India, to train his replacement. If Todd returns, he will be fired, deprived of his stock options and his medical-and pension benefits, like all his American co-workers have been. After evading all his anger and frustration, Todd at last chooses to travel to India.
Before Todd got comfortable in India, he was faced with several major cultural differences he had to overcome. Todd had an extremely narrow-minded view on the knowledge and skills the Indian workers had.
Immediately upon arrival in India, Todd was met with an immensely different culture. Todd had minor but significant troubles from the beginning with getting on the train and catching a taxi. Even every-day tasks such as eating was done wrong according to the Indian standard. Luckily, Todd was staying with an accepting and tolerant family, who taught him about the rights and wrongs. Instead of scolding Todd when he ate with his left hand, they educated him on the reasons as to why he should refrain from doing so: in Indian culture, the left hand is considered unclean and only reserved for body hygiene. Todd quickly adjusted and listened the family’s advice. From this point on, he never does it again. By learning respectful manners, communicating with others becomes easier, and Todd tries to adjust which is highly admirable.
As Todd arrived at the call center he is supposed to manage, he unveiled his minor knowledge and substantial stereotypical views directed towards Indians. One of the many misconceptions Todd brought with him from America, was not acknowledging that Indians are native English speakers, albeit with a different accent.
Todd’s lack of knowledge and limited insight into the Indian culture proved itself numerous times, and just as you thought there was nothing more to perceive wrongly, Todd proved everyone wrong. One particular scene that showed the extent of Todd’s narrow cultural knowledge, was when he brought up burn marking toast the same way you would burn mark cows. Obviously, Todd did not know cows are sacred animals in India, and as soon as the words left his mouth he was left with an audible gasp and the words “You need to learn about India”. The words came from Asha, his co-worker and the girl who he falls in love with.
One noticeable scene that makes Todd realize for certain that he must let go of some of his misconceptions, is the scene at the restaurant called MacDonnell’s. Originally, Todd travelled for hours to get what he thought was a cheeseburger from McDonald’s, but instead ended up at the knock-off restaurant that only sells vegetarian food. As he is about to leave, he meets a fellow American who gives Todd a certain comfort. Before the scene ends, the American tells Todd that “I was resisting India. Once I gave in, I did much better”. After this, Todd seems to open up more to the Indian culture.
Subsequently, Todd finds himself in the middle of the annual festival of colours, Holi. Coincidentally, he happened to wear his finest white shirt that day, unaware of what was coming his way. At first, he panicked and ran away from those celebrating, but he eventually finds himself fully indulging in the festivities himself. This scene finishes off by him submerging himself into the local lake with a content smile on his face, which can be interpreted as if he has embraced the Indian culture and become part of it.
In closing, you can say the India trip only had positive outcomes. Thanks to his unexpected learning experiences as well as the mutual fondness of his employee Asha, Todd improved in several areas. From being a cold business-minded American with stereotypical attitudes and prejudices, Todd grew to be a welcoming, happy and more cordial person who had no troubles communicating with the contrasting India. That being said, being accompanied by people from a welcoming environment truly helped. Something to learn from this, is that travelling with an open-minded view of what you will experience and who you meet will only benefit you. Educate yourself and indulge in other cultures, and your mindset will expand to become a much more tolerable and accepting one. (Do what Todd did; learn about India).