About good ol’ us: pompous and pampered

bikram

Bikram Vohra | July 16, 2014



The code of conduct for slaves in the southern states of the United States did not permit their masters from saying thank you to anyone that they owned since they were property and not to be thanked. Evolved into good manners it hasn’t yet found deep root on the home front. We don’t say thank you as a rule, not for services rendered or received.

At the loftier levels of society we may produce a plastic version of it but if you slip down the social ladder a little the expression of gratitude evaporates. People take and give without extending a simple thanks. Put gas in the car, pay and drive off, no need to say thanks to the attendant. Pay the bill in a restaurant, no need to compliment anyone. You establish the pecking order by not replying.

Much in the same way is the greeting. Wishing each other is just not done as a habit and wishing strangers is not even on the cards. Consequently, if you are the sort of fellow who says “hi boss” or “hi hero” to the worker, the liftman, the labourer, the milkman, the cleaner, the sweeper or the paper boy, he looks at you as if you were weird. He might overeagerly salaam you with that Stephen Fetchit servile expression as he cheerfully badmouths you under his breath but if you are socially superior you only curtly nod your head, if that.
You don’t say “gooood morning” with enthusiasm; he’ll think you are barmy.

I think when I watch this charade, were we like that one time? Maybe we were.

It is like tipping. The person I visit has ordered a Rs195 pizza. The delivery boy arrives with it. This worthy takes the box then waits for the boy to give him five bucks back. I look at him in awe. The guy belted down from two miles away in this heat and you cannot give him a small tip.
No, I am told, it spoils them.

Tipping is so unusual that on a long drive the other day we stopped at a dhaba, or what is known as a roadside cafe. The little kid cleaning the table with a rag and bringing water was offered '100 for his courtesy and because he was doing his job well.

He looked puzzled and then asked what we wanted to buy. Told him it was for him and his service and thanks a lot.
He looked at us suspiciously...this is just not done.

No, thanks, it is yours. Reluctantly, he pocketed it, then watched us all the way to our car till we drove off in case there was some trick being played on him and he’d be accused of theft.

Is it just us being picky or do you agree that we have lost these traits, that is, if we had them at all?

(This appeared in the July 16-31, 2014 issue of the magazine)

Comments

 

Other News

Government sanctions new posts to hire cyber security professionals

The government has sanctioned 111 posts of cyber security professionals for the Indian computer emergency response team (ICERT) under the ministry of electronics and information technology (MEITY), according to a ministry official, who added that the posts were sanctioned earlier this year. 

Bhutan’s pursuit of happiness, shortage of health sub-centres in UP, and role of digitisation in IGNOU

In many ways the story of Gross National Happiness in a country is the story of Bhutan and its modern history. There are two major transition points in Bhutan’s recent history, the beginning of the monarchy in 1907, and the transition to a Constitutional monarchy in 2008, and the pursuit of happine

Do you agree with the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter through animal markets?

Do you agree with the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter through animal markets?

Modi inaugurates India’s longest bridge in Assam

  Prime minister Narendra Modi celebrated three-year of his government on May 26 by inaugurating Dhola-Sadiya bridge over the Brahmaputra river in Assam’s Tinsukia district. It is the longest bridge in India, which runs 9.15 km from end to end and connects Assam with Arunachal Pradesh.

IndianOil registers highest ever profit of Rs 19,106 crore

 IndianOil posted a net profit of Rs 19,106 crore for 2016-17 fiscal as compared to a profit of Rs 11,242 crore in the last fiscal. The income from operations for the financial year 2016-17 was Rs 4,45,373 crore as compared to Rs 4,06,828 crore in the previous fiscal. IndianOil`s income from

Maiden flight of HAL’s light utility helicopter

 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) carried out first flight of light utility helicopter (LUH)-PT-2 on May 22 at its Bengaluru-based facility. The flight duration was about 22 minutes and pilots reported nil snag, HAL said.   “These maiden flights of indig



Video

कालेधन पर किया हुआ अपना वादा पूरा करूंगा - मोदी

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter