Library - 1POSTCARD #191: 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]