Monday, January 08, 2007

Excuse Me

It happens so often that while walking down the railway platform, you unintentionally bump into someone. Not many of us will be surprised if we hear “Andha hai kya. Dekh nahin sakta.” The only feeling we have then is that of indifference.

Mumbaikars have time and again been glorified as the people with a welcoming attitude and a never-say-die spirit. This has been exemplified after catastrophes, both natural and man-made. Take for instance, the floods which have become frequent visitors of the city and the terrorist attacks on civilians which have been giving the former close competition. Hats off to the resilience of the city!

All said and done, I see that Mumbaikars chiefly lack in one aspect, that’s giving respect to their fellow residents. Not one person hesitates to take out their daily frustrations on a stranger by passing boorish statements and giving discourteous replies. Is it that the unity and deference come only at times of adversity, to be lost again, in the daily taxing routines??

Having stayed abroad for a large chunk of my life, I admire the fact that people there do not forget the basic courtesy in communication. I don’t say one must follow protocol but then the basic ‘tehzeeb’ is indispensable. The word, which has its roots in Urdu, implies a combination of politeness and courtesy. These are two departments where the Mumbaikar significantly lags. It’s sad that the entire hullabaloo surrounding the debate that Mumbai is the rudest city in India is not a fragment of someone’s imagination and is more than justified.

At this point I recollect this habit of mine when I was new to the city, where I actually used to give directions to rickshaw drivers with a “Bhaisahab, left leejiye.” I was laughed at by my friends then, and now, in order to not stand out among my peers, I guess I have completely given up on it. The metamorphosis has been so drastic that I actually laugh at one of my other friends when he ordered his dinner at a dhabba by saying “Bhaisahab, hum khaane ka order place karna chahenge.”

I know it’s hypocrisy on my behalf to be writing this article having mentioned that I myself have become a part of the rude bandwagon, but then somewhere on the inside, I still displease it and may be this blog is a reminder to me that I’m going down the wrong lane.

5 comments:

jan said...

The indians ur talking about have enuf on their minds without having to be courteous at public places to strangers.
Another way of looking at it is that its a good outlet to their frustration with life...for eg.,all the pushing and pulling in the train.
So long as they don't actually go out of their way passing comments or provoking u deliberately, not particularly being polite/courteous is fine to me.

jan said...

The indians ur talking about have enuf on their minds without having to be courteous at public places to strangers.
Another way of looking at it is that its a good outlet to their frustration with life...for eg.,all the pushing and pulling in the train is probably refreshing to them.a welcome change.
So long as they don't actually go out of their way passing comments or provoking u deliberately, not particularly being polite/courteous is fine to me.

cri-thick-a said...

jans right there...its hard not to let all the crowd n wat not get to u,atleast for ppl who suffer them for long hours.n i feel courtesys very superificial,its great wen u show it to those supposedly 'inferior' but meaningless otherwise if u dont really feel all that respect

Whispering Shadow said...

@Jan
So we're suggesting here that it's better to be rude to a stranger and spoil his/her day rather than take it the frustration home. If tht were the case, thn why is it that it's so apparent in our city and nt in all other parts of the country?

Anonymous said...

well ders no denying d fact u hv highlighted,but i dont think an average mumbaikars day wud be spoilt by such an exchange if it wer 2 happen....coz we as peopl of mumbai hv cum 2 liv wid it, nd move ahead.
nd d nly solution 2 dis lies in practising Ghandhigiri(of munabhai fame) coz d universal law is ,to do good 2 get sum good back,which i m afraid demands more perseverence den wat appears on face.

--pritesh