Library - 1POSTCARD #190: DELHI: The first time I saw the multiplug socket system in India, I assumed all of these pins were on one large Indian plug – what must that look like, wow! But then I was told, no, it’s not like that. The socket board tries to provide for all three Indian plug systems, and a two-pin round small size it shares with most Asian countries. It can also accommodate many international options on the same socket board – except this one in the photo doesn’t seem to allow for the Australian angled pin plug nor the big British uncompromisingly square pin plug. For these you’d need to plug in an adaptor and then plug your device or whatever into that.

We usually discover this puzzle when the time comes to charge our phone or iPad (usually the first thing that foreign visitors ask for). I notice Western visitors will look at the shapes and try to find the matching plugs they have, like the square-pin-round-hole-yes-no, basic IQ test… well, like that’s obvious, duh! Whereas Eastern people; South East Asians, Chinese, Korean and Japanese will just try their iPhone plug into any socket to see if it fits or not – force it, even, and maybe get lucky.

You could say this is an example of the gender attributes applied to the oriental/occidental psychology; the feminine Eastern way of doing things, and the masculine Western way of doing things which doesn’t always fit with the Asian way because the Asian (feminine) way of thinking is unwilling to accept the assertive typically male form (enough said…). But  other times it appears to work okay, no problem. Even though, I’ve found that more often than not, the macho pushy kind of behaviour is received with a complex response in the East and doesn’t get you very far.

It’s also interesting that, in both the East and the West, technicians apply gender to identify plugs and sockets (also applied to plumbing fittings); the plug is ‘male.’ You can recognize the plug immediately because it has the sticking-out bit called the pin. And the socket is ‘female’, the one with the hole, that the pin (masculine) goes into. Okay so far? Technicians in the East have developed an electrical socket form that is more feminine orientated in that it that will accept a fairly wide range of foreign pins.

The idea is that, in the Eastern way of thinking, it’s the socket that needs to be developed first, in a way, it’s the source, and it can be extended or developed in all kinds of ways. So you will end up with a multi-choice electric socket, available in most homes and all hotels in India, which doesn’t insist on the way things ought to be – the same thing as, but an inversion of, the Western one-size-fits-all idea.

There are options folks! You can borrow your Chinese friend’s adaptor to fit with your charger that has an Australian plug and push that into an Indian socket board – or multiple variations depending on how many different nationalities are checked in to the same guest house. As long as you remember to give your borrowed adaptor back to its original owner. Yep, the options are endless, you can go any way you want.

“The entire universe is truly the Self. There exists nothing at all other than the Self. The enlightened person sees everything in the world as his own Self, just as one views earthenware jars and pots as nothing but clay”. [Shankara]


18 thoughts on “options

  1. I had to smile at this post as I still have my separate UK square adaptor and European 2 pin (or was it for Asia?) adaptors I took overseas on my 1st trip in 1975 and then to London in 1976.

    Nowadays I think I have different adaptors, plugs, batteries, chargers and so on for all sorts of equipment. In fact I have several drawers for ‘stuff’ (including USBs, cords & so on).

    I threw out some 35 years worth of candles and incense burners (except a couple) only 2-3 days ago. I think I’d set the smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and building alarms off in my new apartment building if I lit one of those, And my MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) won’t allow many of my Aromatherapy essentials oils so I may as well throw those out too. (Ehrrrr, I think I’m veering off the subject here so I’d better stop) 🙂

    • Yes, all these electronic ‘things’ we depend on nowadays and have to find room for in check-in bags. It’ll stay like this for the forseeble future. Then we will have wireless devices and life in general will be much easier without all these cables

    • Yes, I’m seeing this more and more. Allopathic medicine does not treat the cause of the condition. I’ll have to go back to the homeopathic remedies. At the present time I’m trying to balance the pain meds properly that means I get to know the pain more and more. Working towards a sensible way of opening up to the Source you could say. Thanks for your support Karin

      • Oh, you would go back to try homeopathic remedies again? If you meet with the doc next time, maybe you can ask him what he thinks about giving you Natrium muriaticum. It is for high blood pressure as well as migraines. Maybe this has an effect. I don’t know. But it is worth a try. But it is a deep acting heart remedy and should only be taken under proper supervision. So, no self-medication with this one as it would be too dangerous.
        Hope things get better.

      • Ok I’m going to fix another appointment with the homeo, it’s just that I’ve been feeling a bit low lately and I think one needs to have a certain kind of enthusiasm for this to enable it to work – or the opposite may be the case (that’s how low I’ve been) but thanks I’ll tell him about Natrium muriaticum next time I go… possibly next week

      • I understand. The pain must be really difficult to bear and, of course, this influences the mood and the enthusiasm.
        It is worth a try. I don’t know whether it will help. There are many remedies for migraines in homeopathy. Nat-m, which is just diluted normal salt sodium chloride btw, is just a very potent migraine remedy which works also on high blood pressure. It is worth a try if the homeopath thinks that it is ok to try it.

      • I’m curious about it, a natural curiosity and maybe that’s what makes it work. I cannot understand these nano-doses, dilutions of dilutions, but I’m curious. And also this Nat-m which is just diluted (and diluted) salt! That this could be a cure for PHN amazes me. I’ll ask the Homeopath expert about it. Thanks for your help and this information.

  2. I used to carry an immersion element around Asia for boiling tapwater. On my first trip I accumulated five different plugs that I changed nearly as often as I changed countries. In the end I just attached some heavy gauge copper wire and bent it to fit the size of the holes. Gotta be a bit careful not to touch it while it’s in use though. I admire Thomas Merton but there’s some things I prefer not to imitate.

    • It’s just such a bewildering thing that Thomas Merton gets electrocuted in Bangkok and that’s the end of it all. Anyway, about creative ways of getting around the adaptor problem Jiab once used a safety pin pushed through the round holes of the old flat two pin plug and a bare wire connection rammed into the holes of the socket. It was an electric kettle we’d brought with us so we could have coffee. I refused a second cup, the sparks were too unsettling…

  3. Those sockets from India are amazing, Tiramit. An electrician’s nightmare it would seem, though. I really liked the notion you explored of the way certain ways of seeing creep into so many diverse aspects of the ‘ordinary’. For instance, a more feminine culture may focus on design of the socket, whereas a more masculine-oriented culture may focus on the plug. I’m not sure that is the underlying cause of what strikes me as a pragmatic approach to flexibility and necessity, but it is still intriguing to see the pattern emerge nonetheless… That is the part that intrigues me– when we do something for reasons obvious at the time, and an underlying pattern still emerges that was never intended. There’s something really interesting and profound about that…


    • A one-socket situation is what we’re used to in the West these days, and it is interesting to consider that someone growing up in a city like Delhi today would find it not so difficult to use a multi-socket situation, of course – just another way of seeing things as you say.
      And, like you, I was puzzled about the ‘electrician’s nightmare’ aspect but then I thought the system must be the same as the multi socket adaptor you can buy at airports which has the same number of options – in fact it may be easier to repair if it’s laid out on one flat plane, but I don’t really know.
      When I first saw the sockets here, the thought that I’d have to get used to that system was a challenge. Interestingly Jiab who is from the East but not Indian, was the one who had to show me how to recognize the shapes, formations and make the link, because we have some devices that were purchased in different countries – I still do have to stop and think for a moment before plugging into the mains.
      So, although I might have used it in a humorous sense, the gender East/West aspect is a deeply familiar thing I have seen in my own reactions in all kinds of situations over the last 30 years in Asian countries, it’s inductive/deductive and something I really can’t find words for. Thanks for visiting again Michael and having your views on the subject. I find I’m stirred into thinking about this again as a result…

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