IST means Indian Standard Time. I’ve also heard it referred to as “Indian Stretchable Time”. Indians really have a different concept of time. Punctuality seems to simply not be a value for them. This is both relaxing and infuriating. It is good if you plan to meet someone. In Germany, there is always a little extra stress when going to meet someone to make sure that you are on time. Germans are either amazingly punctual, or even early. It is infuriating when someone tells you that he’ll be by at 10AM and you have to block out the whole day and cancel your other plans because you just know that he won’t be reliable.
A couple of weeks ago, we had decided to go out for the day. We had arranged to meet our driver at 9:00, so that we could be at the school at 9:30. I picked up the phone to the young man who works for the apartment owner, cleaning the house. I told him that we would be leaving at 9:00, a half hour before his normal arrival time and that he did not need to come. It was 7:30 then, the earliest that I felt comfortable calling (though Indians keep early hours) to tell him that he did not need to come that day.
You are leaving at 9:00? I’ll be right over then.
Hmmm… I thought. If he wants to come earlier, that is fine by me. He showed up at five minutes before 9, when we were already ready to go. As he comes in, we tell hime that we are leaving in five minutes. He does that head wobble thingee. He then proceeds to put the bedding into the washing machine and starts it. Ten minutes later when we told him “we are going now”, he took on the look of a deer caught in the headlights:
You are leaving already?