Courtesy anyone???

3:20 PM

Today is a day to reflect on this aspect of today's India. Started with the repeated assault of racist aunties on me...blaming me and my dog for all the rubbish and trash of the world. It's more about their hidden motive and the fact they feel obilged to yell at me that shocks me to the bone.

After my 3rd insult of the week this morning, DH pointed a short article in today's edition of the Hindu (unfortunately I can't find it online) about India and it's rudeness. I always found people rude here but that a national paper writes about it...the journalist in question deserves a standing ovation

However, the paradox is that people are friendlier here. But only within their social class and are saying thank you and please out of obligation only toward someone placed higher on the social ladder.
This is what ticks me to the core, because I really don't see what the point is all about to act arrogant toward the "smaller people".
I'm the first one to thank an auto driver after a ride...not because I have to, he was doing his job afterall. But because I know a little kindness in this world goes a VERY VERY VERY long way. And who knows if there were more persons taking only 1 second of their day to say "Thank you" to them, they would become less annoying? I could go on and on about how auto drivers are cheats, annoying, picky, and lack manners, but today's article made me reflect on it. One who is looked down upon with a frown, and treated miserably cannot feel like being nice. Let's not forget that auto drivers are working long hours, bear with the traffic, the pollution, the climate and pesky customers. The least they deserve is a smile and a thank you.

By principle I also smile and say thanks to the supermarket clerks, the water deliverer and the security staff in malls. I smile to my maid, always have some kindness for the lady who iron my clothes. And make sure to save the plastic container I don't use fo the maid to take home as she told me she likes them to store her masala. Some in India might think I "spoil" the little servants. HECK NO! I'm simply human...and as many many many westerner...I've been there done that and knows how it feels to be in their shoes. We work menial jobs as students in the West.

HA! Here is the CORE of the problem me think, all those arrogant middle classer have no clue at all what it is like to work as a maid, waiter, or clerk...They are quick to call those the jobs the jobof  the "uneducated" lot and in their stupid superiority think they don't owe them anything.
90% of students or people in their 20's in Europe have worked the "dirty jobs". I worked as a cafeteria waitress, a brand promoter, a kitchen slave (ok ok auxiliary, if you want to be politically correct), and a hostess. I dealt with all kind of people and let me tell you that we as waitresses remember the nice people and are extra sweet to them. I say extra sweet because the job requirement is to be sweet and keep a smile on your face even if the customer throw the soup at you and call you a slut!

Oh yeah a simple smile or a thank you does wonder on us little personnel, it makes us feel on cloud nine, makes the work more bearable. And you never know, we could suddenly find a freebie for you if you are nice, not always, but rest assured we will try to go out of our way to reward your genuine kindness. 

The reason why moste yougster work that kind of job in Europe? Not because they are uneducated let me tell you that. But because they have to pay for their college fee, studio appartement and their food, most parents in Switzerland will not help if their kid is studying out of state, it is way too costly mind you even with both parents working, and forget about student loans...not a common thing there as well. So most of the college crowd lives a double life : sutdent by day, waiter by night. Next time you people of India go abroad, be assured that your coffee might be served by a future neurosurgeon or the next Bill Gates...would you be rude to those if you knew it? NOPE, I didn't think so!

So treat any small employees as you would treat your parents. With RESPECT, because you OWE them a clean house, ironed clothes, safe commuting, or your fancy continental meal on your plate.

But coutesy doesn't stop there. What about helping a stranger in need? Recenlty, I was in Forum...for those who don't know it's a shopping mall. It was a Saturday evening and it was very crowded. I saw that young lady carrying a baby from yards and yards away and noticed immediately that her little girl had lost a sock on the floor...And I also noticed quite a few people stepping on the sock on the floor!!!!! Not bothering to pick it up or tell the lady she had lost something.
That bugged me and as soon as I reached the point where the lady stood, she was chatting with someone. I asked her if the sock was hers and SURPRISE she was very happy someone had been kind enough to let her know it fell. Was it so difficult to the 5-6 persons who stepped on the sock to take 2 seconds to let her know? And what about all the others around who probably saw the sock on the floor but didn't move? Would that thing have happend in Switzerland someone would have helped her immediately. 

Other concept a bit foreign in India? Here is the list :

Queuing without pushing the person in front of you. Stopping to let an elder cross the street. Respect lane discipline. Keeping the supermarket aisles clear of clutter and letting people pass instead of blocking the whole aisle.
Think about it, you probably will realise that YOU as a person can do a lot to make someone's day. Not because you have to, but because it is so nice to be polite and courteous. 

I'm not joking TRY IT...just once and you'll see how addictive it can be.


  1. PatriaeFidus7:00 AM

    I observe that you have lived in India and may be Swiss or have lived in Switzerland at some time. I'm an American and work with a number of people from India. My observation is that Indians are widely diverse and can often communicate more clearly with me than with others from India. I'm searching for a good nickname for a friend who I think alot of, but I don't want to accidently insult. I don't know enough about Indian culture to know if "Sahib", "Babu" or "Raja" might be offensive. If you could suggest a respectful and friendly word that would flatter, I would appreciate it.

    For reference, I came upon this post by "googling" Indian courtesy. I think passive indifference is a problem everywhere. It may be that the indifference you have encountered is a bit more than passive (ie. intentional due to culture), but I don't think this battle will be won soon.


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