If you follow me on social media you may be wondering “Where in the world is Angela”? I have been all over the globe with my travel family, experiencing so many of the world’s wonders!
On this podcast, along with Brian Worley and Monica Balli, I sat down with Arpita Gandhi in India to learn more about Indian culture. Listen in to learn more about Indian culture and maybe even some things you didn’t know before!
Indian culture and how it differs throughout India
Foods that are unique to the different areas of India
Fun wedding stories
Always be open to learning new things
Never judge a book by its cover
Every day is an opportunity to learn something new
MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST
Dreamer- Believer- Achiever and An Eternal Optimist
Arpita Gandhi, Co Founder / Director- Weddingline Events & hospitality pvt Ltd is the one of the two engines powering the company. A trade where “jack of all” is considered the biggest blessing, she can actually be defined as a “master” to many skills. Backed by an experience of over 2 decades Arpita has held key positions in leading organisations like Showtime and Wizcraft before starting her entrepreneurial journey with Line communications. Today she successfully leads not just a corporate event company but is also a force behind the wedding vertical of the group, thats has grown to be one of leading Wedding companies in the country.
She has been instrumental in elevating Weddingline from just a planning service to a turnkey solution provider. Though weddingline currently caters to an audience that require bespoke solutions, her vision is to be able to provide dream weddings to all “to be wed” couples out there.
Well, we have some questions for you. But before we go to the fun questions, you were telling us about the different Indian culture and the food the other day? Yeah, so, tell us more about that.
So, India from the tip of the law down to south, which is the tip of India down south has varied culture, if I were to put them in broad brackets, you could do the North itself could be divided into two cultures. So one is the Punjabi the North Indian culture, which is largely influenced by you know, the Mughals.
So a lot of the chicken tech cars and modern tech cars and modern seats and kabobs that you eat in Delhi, are influenced by that. And then there is a belt, which has, you know, the Kashmiri belt, which is one belt in itself, and they have a completely different palette. If you ever want to go down there, it's it's the kind of food that probably none of us relate to. Really, really, it's very different than flavors. It's very different in its cooking style ices, spices, too, right, and no, actually not. But more flavorful. Not spicier, but more flavorful. As you start progressing down south, is when the spice levels sort of keep going up and higher. So the fast Indian and the Chettinad food, or the food that you get in the coastal areas, is very heavy on the Indian spices. Also, the cinnamon sticks, and the clove that you get in India largely comes out of that belt. So they use a lot of those spices, right? They come to the north to be used, but they used in milder quantities while they're they go all out, and it's all about the different flavors coming together is far more spicy. There's an acquired palette for that kind of food. Right? But it is delicious. You go off to the west. And that's again, yet another belt, a lot of coconut are more coastal, in, you know, so you see a lot of coconut flavors going into everything, or the East is largely a fish eating region, the kind of food you ate yesterday. That, again, has a lot of influence of the British culture, and what the Brits left behind for us. So when the Britishers were here, they call the East India Company. Right? That that's how they were known. And therefore they were headquartered out of the east. And they had a large, large part into giving our culture, our reading, our railways, our trading everything. A lot of good things are laudable process, a lot of administrative excellence that came into India we love we learned a lot from them.
Was there a lot of cross like English and Indian relationships? Is there a no, no across population? I guess is that what you would say?
No, it isn't really because No, because the Britishers of care, of course, taught themselves to be far superior than the Indians. So we've seen signboards which are very popular like no dogs, and no Indians allowed in high profile clubs. I mean, those are places that I have from back then and which is only 75 years ago. Really not that back then. And yeah, I think we've come a far way but like for instance, my granddad, he's seen and fought the freedom struggle. He's no more now but my dad seen it. He was a child. So he's, he's seen, you know, sort of people coming out of under the British colonization and coming into a free India. So we've taken some time to stand on our feet, but I think we're sort of getting there. Yes, but some parts of the country are very influenced by the British culture in a good way. Right? We are the cars. Yes.
y'all. Y'all always drove on the wrong side, right? The right side as far as you guys drive on the wrong side. I said tomato You say tomato, but since y'all did y'all drive on the wrong side of the road free English colony?
Yes, we did. Yes, he did. Yeah, maybe
they learned that from y'all. Yeah,
you will never know. Well, the sun never set on them is what we heard in terms of their colony and ruling the world. But yeah, we don't know what came from where really? When
I heard that. King George used to have a statue in front of the Indian temple, India temple India dome. What's the India arch? That's down the street from the
No, the India the Indian gate. Again, no. So the integrate is completely different that came into existence really, after our independence,
right. And then the English gave it to you
know, this was so if you go closer, you will read the read the names of all the martyrs, all the people that died fighting for the Indian independence, they have their names engraved on that.
But our tour guide told us that the British gave you the English gave that
they may have given us the structure. And I'm not very sure about that. But the engraving and the the fire that you see in the middle that never goes out. It's a 24 hour running fire that's kept on as an ode to the bravery and the sacrifice of all these men and they were not even Defense personnel. They were people from individual households who stepped out and say that said that we are going to fight for our country and we want to free India but
the little pergola or thing that's in front of it, this small one used to have a King George statue, which has been removed and is now felt.
Yes, that's right.
Okay, one, I got to you know, I didn't. What else do you want to know about India? Tell me about let's see. Okay. The Taj Mahal was built. Because the king's wife, third wife died is his favorite wife. She was died during childbirth, their 14th child,
the favorite wife?
Because he had multiple Yeah, we were told that he had three wives. But today, we already had six so, and lots of concubines and lots was the third. She was the third and his favorite. Yeah, she died during childbirth. It took 22 years to build Henry wishes. She had three wishes that he only, I guess, date or be with beautiful women that take care of the kids and to build her a temple. And he did all three. Yeah, yeah, or two? Yes. That's right. There's 170 people buried at the tomb that we saw today. That's right. Everyone's family cousins, everyone are buried there. Whereas at the Taj, to only two people that are buried there, they are built, they're buried underground, but they are supposed to not have a roof on them. But when you get buried in the Taj or other those kinds of tombs, they have small windows. So he told us that the spirits have to kind of find their way out where whereas usually, it is open so that they can go up to heaven. People are buried with their feet to the south, head to the north face to the west towards Mecca. Sounds like it should be Did you know that?
No, I didn't. Honestly, I didn't all those people. I would I would assume the spirits can go through walls. I mean,
they can't they have to find the window and they Yeah, but I'm talking about the way their
feet because I'm scared of the supernatural world. We make uncontrollable all
everyone. Everyone is very flat with their feet towards the south head at the north face to the west facing Mecca because Mecca is ultimately having one question and we have to
tell you, I'm gonna read this. How dare you?
Yeah, that's why it's hilarious. Okay, I gotta get my glasses on because this is what all people need now. Okay, was there ever a time I'm in your life that you were thought you were going to die while planning a wedding.
Yes. Okay, so this wedding was in Portugal, and has a whole load of stories. But yeah, we started as the planners from India sort of overlooking everything for our clients from Dubai. And they already had a Portuguese planner on board before they got us on. And a part of the deal was that she's going to do everything, and you just need to sort of supervise for us that everything is done as per the Indian culture, and that we don't go wrong in the ceremonies. Yes, she was Portuguese. And the clients only concern was that the ceremony should go as per the Indian culture. So you know, when if you're facing east, while we take the Feras, we should not be suddenly facing west or south? And I mean, that's just considered really, you know, spacious in the industry. Yeah, well, right. So yeah, so it started from there. And as we went along, things started unfolding. And, of course, the Portuguese people. I mean, it is their culture. So I don't want to be mean by saying anything, but they were really slow, right? One is that they were slow. We had eight funds to go for the wedding. And we get things and less detail philosophy, plan selasa layout, tell us the budgets. And let's close things. And because we were operating from India, the client was from Dubai, and they were from Portugal, there were only so many times that one could come together physically to meet right. So everything really had to happen on emails and zoom calls. And that's how it was happening. From the first time that we went and met the client and the Portuguese planner three months in, I got nothing. Nothing, not an email to say, this is the plan. This is the design, this is what it's looking like, this is what we're planning to do. So that when sort of sent alarm bells saying that, okay. And we said, nevermind, let's push them. So I took a trip to Portugal with my business partner, and I said, let's just go there and sort it out. Maybe it's the season and let's just sort of figure it out. When they're met them. They were super sweet. Of course, during the days, we sat there for about seven days, we sat and we discussed plans, and we said, Okay, let's do it like this, we sat with them, made sure that the plans were made as per the Indian culture, in terms of, you know, the directions and the layouts. And as for what our guests expect. And she said, yeah, go back. And this will be on your mail before you land. We landed back in India. Two months go by no mistake. Sometimes you just gotta go in person. One month out. That's right. So here we are sitting in the middle of August, with the wedding scheduled for eighth, ninth 10th of October. And I remember that because it was her birthday that day as well, when we were starting on 12th rather sorry. So 12/13 and 14th. And we were on I think the Independence Day weekend for us. And August, we just 15 the longest. And the client calls from the wire and says guys, what's going on? You know, we haven't heard from them. And what do we do? And we're like, okay, just give us 24 hours. If nothing, then we hop onto a flight again, again. And then anyhow, we got an email from them. And with plans, proposals, budgets, which will five times of what they had initially quoted to the client, and the client who the biggest sheetfed, saying that this isn't happening. And within the next 48 hours, the client was here in India, and they Indians, and they sat across the table with us and they said what if you were to execute this sitting out of India?
How much? Right let's assume we keep them because we've committed to them, but you take over the production. And Jeff and I looked at each other and we like we one month to go. I mean, okay, a little over a month to go 30 days for the ship to move from India to Portugal. Seven days in customs And then as they release everything, that's when they release if they release? Yes, walk backwards twelves, you're already on 17th of August. So 30 days, you're back in September, which leaves us with exactly 15 days to produce a wedding, from the drawing board with 600 people to cater for. That's insane, right. And the next thing we know, is we quickly turn around the numbers saying that, okay, if you were to do this from India, this is how much it's gonna cost. We were on the flight. So 1517, I think 19th is when the client went back. 20th is when we went to Dubai. The Portuguese planners were flown into the VI, they sat us across the table, and they said, Okay, these guys are doing this. And you're doing this, because we have to cut it in the center. Your budgets don't work for us. So we'll do some bits of it from India, and we'll do some bits of it from Portugal. And I think that was a time that I ever felt that Oh, my God, what if we don't deliver? Then one? I'll die. Yeah, I mean, really, because really, whether that blanket
planner jumped across the table.
That happened during the reading mind you do not to me, but they were really difficult to buy teams. So anyway, this happened, and we moved there. And I remember, you know, we split the events, half and half. And we managed to move and ship material from here and we flew in, not seven days before, but we really packed ourselves there. 15 days, say that, okay, we need to get things out of the customer. You need to get it going, et cetera, et cetera. And when the event was on, so we were doing all the florals from India, I kid you not all the florals from India at 1/4. The cost of Portugal with the shipping with carrying 30 People from here paying for their state, their labor, everything is supposed to be so cheap. It's supposed to us, hundreds of Americans
So they did that. And then we were working. And then in on one afternoon, which I think was the wedding, the main wedding day, my team member comes like, with tears in our eyes, and we were having lunch and I said what happened? What happened to you, okay, and she sat down and she said, yum, okay, let's just get this over with, but it's just been a horrible experience. I said, what happened? And then the Portuguese planner said something to her, which was completely uncalled for. So I mean, in pure Bollywood style, if I may say, so I pumped the table to my plate. In the end, I said, How dare she. I walked up to her. And my entire team was running behind me that you know, come down, come down. This is not the way things happen. I say, What is your problem? You know, we are here delivering an event. What is the problem? Next 24 hours, it's all over. Let's move on. I mean, let's get on with it. And that's when she came to me. And she told me, You took my business away. And I turned around and told her you try to cheat my client and you didn't do your job, and you didn't do your job. So had you stuck in what you had said, we wouldn't even be here.
So she took no accountability for that response or responsibility for not communicating. Like she didn't know that she had done anything wrong. That's insane.
I mean, five times more expensive than what they had originally. Yeah. And as insane then, I mean, it was just like, yeah, that's how much it costs here. And we had to bring in everything from outside of Portugal because it was more like a monopoly and a union that everybody was sort of coming together and saying, Hey, you can't get this and you come visit. Me said, Fuck, we just want to bring everything and we reached out to people from Vienna. And they came in, did the Event End to end with not a male from Portugal in 1/4 the cost? Right, and of course, we made our money. It's not like we did it right free. Right. So
that's it for this week's episode of business unveiled. Now that you have all the tools that you need to conquer the world and GSD get shit done. Would you share this with your friends and fellow business leaders? One thing that would really really help us and help new listeners is for you to rate The Show and leave a comment and Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you tune in and listen to business unveiled. You can check out the show notes at Angela proffitt.com/podcast and link up with us on social media so you can share your biggest insights. And I want to know your aha moments. Until next week, remember, the profitable shifts and structures you're creating in your business, help you be more present in your life. So get out there and GSD