Friday, November 17, 2006

Oops sorry - excuse me!

Imagine…people jostling for space, yelling, cursing under their breaths, giving each other the nasty eye glare and all this within a span of few minutes. These are the few minutes one goes through every time one boards a crowded bus in India.

These same people who yell and curse at each other turn all respectful once something happens by accident. It involves in somehow being able to kick them or accidentally let their foot touch us. This simple act will banish whatever thoughts they had of you...well at least for 3 seconds. During these three seconds, you will find that we Indians will make a quick gesture of apology and actually will touch you with our right hand and then moving the hand to the chest and to the eyes like you are some sort of God.
Isn’t it a wonderful when someone does that to you, well at least it is for me. You feel good, you feel like you are being given respect. In New York I am used to hearing “excuse – me”, “pardon me” or just plain old “f*** off” while being bumped by someone. This is such a wonderful change but it does make me wonder what silly things can arise from this.

As I was discussing this topic with a co-worker of mine, he brought up a story which was pretty funny and I imagine many of us who have evil thoughts (yes you) can agree and might enjoy doing this. One guy was adamant on doing this gesture while he was in school and lo and behold, he usually and purposefully got kicked by the school kids or the kids would let his foot touch them. That would set off something really funny where the school kids would run off and the chase would begin :-) This guy had the habit of doing the gesture not just once but three times, so that made matters even worse even if he caught up to them, after he completed once, the evil kid would run off again.

We Indians give respect to paper as well, if we happen to step on it by accident, we will bend down and touch the paper and do the whole gesture thing again. Though it is religious because paper (knowledge) is considered to be a form of Hindu God; even a Muslim, Christian would be doing the same because of customs and not due to religion. Living in New York for a long time, I had lost touch with all these things, small things that actually brings in discipline in an individual.

From now on I will try to give respect to the person who I accidentally bumped into and chase him down if they try to run away from me. So if you happen to be near me, please don’t run away as I am not trying to touch you to get a feel or anything. I am just trying to be nice and respectful Indian ish - styleee.


Yasmin said...

Haha...ummm, when I was India, i felt weird too when someone tried to touch me after accidentally bumping into my feet or something...and I think I probably didn't do it when I was bumping into someone and they probably thought I was really rude and stuff lol.

Irfan said...

Yas: There are lots of others things that we probably have forgotten being in NY and its a weird/good thing to see it here. Brings back memories with each and every incident like this.

HP said...

haha..It was quite funny reading this..

I am also one of those types who will keep apologising if I accidentally toch someone with my feet or even if someone's feet touches me..And I still do it :-) So, quite a few friends keep doing the prank of kicking me and running away...Why even my Mom does it :-)

Your post made me think about those quirky customs we follow inspite of being from different religions/regions and all....Probably, that at the end of the day defines our nationality rather than some jingoistic statements...
Lovely Writeup!!