Why Are Indian Men Bad Mannered?

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Indians can’t be lauded for their good manners. I will vouch for that any day. But there are common decencies they can adhere to, like apologising for something done by mistake, or, by oversight. No, they will not, apologise, as you will see here.

Yesterday I was on the way to a meeting, and there I was was calmly sauntering on the road to where I can find a rickshaw. Since I don’t own a car; rickshaws, the three-wheeled contraptions, are the favoured mode of transport. It’s cheap, though not comfortable.

A car sneaks behind me and when I turn around it is only inches behind me. It would have hit me if I had slowed down. I glare at the driver, who was, presumably in the process of parking his car before his opulent bungalow in our locality. I know him; he is my neighbour, though I haven’t talked to him. His action has shocked me, and I am in a bit of a tizzy as I walk to his car.

When I ask him why he didn’t sound the horn, he asks me, “Did I touch you?”

“You didn’t touch. But your car almost did.” I shouted.

The woman with him replied, “But, it didn’t touch no?”

I also know the woman; I have seen her countless times. They came to Artist village as renters, renting one of the houses. Fate favoured him and he made a lot of money agenting real estate deals. So today he has a big bungalow, a car, and is rich. The woman, his sister, does odd jobs, as she isn’t married. When I first saw her twenty-five years ago, she was a pretty girl, but now she has grown dowdy and has developed a florid face and can be considered as fat.

I usually don’t argue with women and so, I shrugged, put up my hands, and started walking. If he had said “sorry,” for a fault that was his, I would have been happy to let it go. But this incident showed that Indian men never say “sorry” they would self-righteously try to defend themselves and their positions. Not for them a decent apology like a gentleman.

As I was walking away I wondered why it was that when God gives you money and possessions he also makes you bad mannered and ugly.

The Monsoon Is Here!

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After all, the rain did come. It was destined to. Thundering over the hills, sweeping aside the heat, turning the earth green, dripping down the eaves, well, turning the world green, as if a carpet is spread.. In my small house in the valley it fell in a cascade down the mountain, filled a dam, and then proceeded to flow smoothly down a canal made for the purpose.

The rain, the monsoon, the mausam (in Hindi), is a season of rejuvenation, happiness, and sadness. Happiness for the new world out there, and sadness because a lot of houses and low-lying areas get flooded in this season. In the great city yonder from my home the poor get poorer in the rain. Their food gets soaked, their furniture gets washed away, and they don’t have sleep for a few days because of the incessant rain. The government promises them flats in new buildings and, unfortunately, it gets a long time to be built. Meanwhile life goes on.

The rainy season has been erratic of late. Sometimes there is a big deluge, sometimes it hardly rains. Rain hasn’t been falling evenly these few past years. That’s a cause for worry. Some fields get excess rain and some fields get no rain. Where there is excess rain the crops get washed away, where there are no rains the crops wilt, turn brown, and die.

You say global warming? I say, yes, but can’t we build our ground water reserves? Create new ponds and bunds so our water isn’t washed away. No, I don’t mean big dams that submerge entire villages. I mean small earthen dams that can hold water. Nothing great to ask from our leaders. Surely they can do as much for us.

India has only three seasons in most of its territory. Summer, Monsoon, and Winter. Spring is hardly noticeable in most parts of the country and merges with summer. Flowers bloom not only in spring but in monsoon and winter also. This makes our country unique, exotic. There are flowers blooming at all times of the year and also verdant greenery through monsoon and winter.

Monsoon, or, mausam (the word from which it was derived) means rainy season. Mausam has also been turned into an euphemism for season. We consider rain as THE season, the season of happiness for the farmer, the tiller of the land.

So, um, have a good monsoon!

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