Indians are a race that has mystified many travellers visiting our glorious lands, from time immemorial. Such is our charisma that once we come in touch with somebody from the foreign lands, we leave an everlasting and mixed bag of memorabilia on his mind.
Most of these memories I am assuming are nice and sweet, but the typical habits that we Indians have come to be associated with, can make any of us look for a corner to hide. And believe me, you might not have them all, but I can bet you will be sporting one at least.
On a serious note don’t think we can do much about these habits, except read, make claims about their authenticity, educate our kids and forget about it. These are trivial matters we can live with.
I don’t think there is any scientific explanation for it, but we Indians have this fetish for leaving a personal graffiti every time we visit a new place. We ruin the walls of historical monuments, even don’t spare the trees in the gardens, by etching our loved ones’ name on it. ‘Raju loves Pinky’, good for Raju, but the whole world doesn’t need to know. On one hand we boast of our rich heritage and diverse culture, on the other we can’t control ourselves from defacing treasures form the past.
There seems to be a disconnect between the optical nerves and the Indian brain when it comes to staring. On the road, in the Malls, out grocery shopping, taking children to school, at a party, the list is endless, we just keep staring. The men are more frequent offenders in this section they seem to believe that ‘leeching’ is a fundamental right in our Constitution. The attention is so much to handle at times, that it hurts in the head. Over the years, braver females have trained their gut to stare back or snap hard.
There is a Greenwich time and there is an Indian Standard Time. When friends visiting from abroad come over for dinner at sharp 8pm, I am a little perplexed (still doing my hair) thinking in my head, who comes on time. You can’t push an Indian to be punctual, they like to get there somehow or the other. Pushing can invoke sudden bursts of anger and swearing, without any reason. If you want to go for a movie or start dinner on time, prepone the invitation time, on the sly accordingly. It’s not that we don’t wear watches, we are a mobile savvy country. But, the funny part is when you look at us, we all seem to be in a hurry all the time. Despite the honking of horns, the cutting of lines at the first chance, we invariably reach late.
I love to crack Sardar jokes when I am drunk and sometimes fall off the chair laughing too. But, I cross out a friend from my list of people to be invited to my son’s wedding, as he cracked a joke on me. That’s a simple example about how Indians cannot connect to humor, when it comes to themselves. A cartoonist was actually jailed for his cartoons on the system, not a very long time ago. Our funny bone goes into hibernation when it comes to handling truth in a funny manner. We still have to grow as a nation to accept intelligence and reality in the humorous way.
We all have done it, and are so ashamed of it. I think it’s like that closely guarded secret that is forbidden from discussion. If you ever see an Indian male or female roll something between their forefinger and thumb, you should know he or she is on the mission of disposing of the pickings from his nose. Save yourself from a flicking that will come next, without any prior warning. Yuck! When it comes to public etiquettes, we score very poorly. More than anything, picking your nose is a sure shot way of passing viruses to the body from the dirty surfaces. It takes a very sane, educated, sensible Indian to restrain from ‘digging gold’. Are you?