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Are we hopeless? A random thought....

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We visited Wonderla this weekend. I should say a pretty well planned and well maintained place. Few incidences here to make a point.

I park my car and was about to get out. Another vehicle backs up in the next slot. Guy (who seemed well educated and quite well off) opens the passenger side door and bangs it into my car. When I get out, he is looking at me as if he is going to eat me off! Fault is mine you see :( Absolutely roudy, with no shame.

I was trying to get stuff into my locker. In a few minutes I was there, at least 5 guys brushed and rubbed their wet bodies against mine. No 'excuse me'. No 'I'm sorry'. Even though there was plently place for them to move around, they somehow didn't see I existed!.

On our way back, we drive on a well laid, and well signed part of Mysore road. We see an impatient Innova overtake us and bang into a smaller overloaded ape'. The Innova guy gets out, and starts beating the other guy up, literally, forgetting he was the one to bang into the other mere mortal.

Point to note: We have completely lost our sense of consideration. Even when good facilities are provided, we seem to think we are THE ONE, and others are a nuisence. Even when we know what we are doing, we act as if we don't.

And if we managed to build a world class infrastructure in our city, what is the use? Its like taking a monkey to a 5 star restaurant. So what do we do?

Educate. Make rules clear. Enforce with a stick. Play it hard. Change mindsets.

How easy is it? Who will bell the cat? Especially if the cat is me myself (and each one of us, including the offenders and the defenders)!

Useless rant. Isn't it?



srkulhalli's picture

...... more random thoughts

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quite useless really, but sorry cant resist this .. ... me and a freind of mine had an interesting discussion the other day. In our culture, if we accidentally step on somebody or bump into somebody, we have a gesture which symbolically touches their feet and then our forehead, kind of saying sorry. Very nice gesture, better than saying sorry in my opinon. But the point that my freind brought up was the very same people would shove and push in the bus. So are they just hypocrites, or is it that it gets impractial in a bus, or is it just the enviorement stresses them out so they have no time for niceties or ... ... you go to a shop where the guy smiles at you and talks very pleasantly and is freindly till you are out of the shop and then talks to the next person very pleasantly and is freindly and then to the next day in and day out OR you go to a shop where the person is sometimes nice, sometimes indifferent, sometimes rude, makes better freinds with some people and doesnt make freinds with some, basically is himself as is .... .... every culture has a concept of personal space. For Americans for eg: it is 3 feet, anybody within that space they start feeling uncomfortable (unless they want the person in that intimate space), for europeans 2 feet and indians -1 feet, in this age of globalisation, should this also get standardised ...


silkboard's picture

yep, useless rant ...

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... but I am sure many of us here look at it from the point of view of "why are we like this", and "how can this get better".


  • Extreme sense of freedom because of general lack of enforcement. Law and Order infrastructure comes into play only if these brawls and misbehaviors lead to blood or death. Till that point, its mostly between you and me. Community I live in has a good number of foreigners from the western world. Just like most of us behave well when we go live or drive in the developed world, I notice that a good number of resident guests from the west readily take to misusing this extreme sense of freedom while they are here!
  • Lack of collective wisdom, which in my opinion comes from family or own-house or car being the largest boundary we draw around our circle of well being-ness. All else is enemy, and must not be cared for. I don't know where this has come from (it will take a book to explain this), but the little that I have analyzed it probably is a result of deep mistrust we have developed amongst each other via the feudal setup of our society, or shall I say the majority religion. The extreme sense of freedom too is possibly something we inherit from our majority religion. I think that in these modern times, we have taken the strong sense of individuality bit a little too far.
  • Us being so used to shortages, low supply-high demand setups and mismanagement creates this strong sense of competitiveness.

How to fix?

  • Small measures to reduce the sense of competition. Grades and not ranks in schools. No entrance tests, rather interviews + grades system for applying to colleges and jobs. Orderly systems to reserve seats and places in all places where there could be more demand than supply (bus, train seats, queues in banks etc) - but this would border on the subject of enforcement.
  • Instituting group awards. Best community in Bangalore as opposed to Bangalorean of the year - that type of thing.
  • I have absolutely no more ideas, I am totally lost in this maize of possible explanations for our general lack of civility and behavior.

Ravi, thats the best I can come up with to supplement this useless rant about us, and the way we live.

amaku's picture

How polite are we?

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An interesting read with a global perspective. Can't think of anything else to add to what's already been said.


narayan82's picture

Language and Ignorance

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I've seen many scenarios in Bangalore, where mis-communication or non-communication is the start of many arguments.

At a supermarket, a customer was trying to check out, when half way through the billing the teller man, walked off without saying a word. When he came back, he brough a few packets of change. A simple "Excuse me, i need to get some change" would have helped the customers patience.

But somehow in our culutre the words. "Sorry", "thank You," seem to be missed out. How often do we say "Thanks" to the doorman and a restuarant? Is this got to do with class - is it inherently the cause for the reason for non communication?

Language is another cause for arguments. A person doesnt speak the others language and though he in no way means to, sounds extremly rude. Phone executives, billing counters, simple daily tasks can be made better if we ust spoke, and smiled.

For example, at a railway booking counter, if you actaully smile and thank the lady/man at the conter he gives a puzzled look at you! But when flying an airline - you are always smiled at! Again, what is it that differentiates such service? Similar case with Banks, go to Canara Bank, and try opening an account and then try doing the same at HSBC. You feel so much better when people smile and talk to you.

Root cause, I think is that we need to talk, smile and say thank you a bit more to each other!

Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer

Education both formal and non-formal is the cure

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The only cure to our rash behaviour is education. We have to include civic behaviour classes at primary schools - the best time to mould children. Even colleges need to have a few classes on driving etiquette. Texas sometime had a "Defenceless Driving" campaign and it did work. On my part, i go tired of requesting people in Bengaluru not to use 'High Beam'. My friends make fun of me asking how many people can i lecture everyday? Well, i just cannot give up. Call it an evangelical streak in me, but i try my best to request people not to use 'High Beam'. Using 'High Beam' is illegal and is to be only used for a warning and during heavy fog conditions. A K Ramanujan, the famous scholar and litrateur, termed that Indias have a "context sensitive" way of thinking. This means our morality is only context sensitive. We follow rules only when they mean something to us. It may sound horrifying, but consider this - in our nation of more than 1 billion plus people, we manage to stay united to a great extent and grow economically. We can only take baby steps towards "standardisation" of rules and expected behaviour. And education can be a good catalyst towards this. Perhaps even speed up the process.
narayan82's picture

I agree

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I agree with Mcadambi. We need to have behavior and patience taught at a school level. This is th eonly way to get to the root of the cause. Simple systems such as Qs, waiting in line and not speaking out of turn can make many of our functions much easier and pleasent. Yesterday at the Airtel office, I had to pay my bill. I was standing in line behind the customer ahead when about 4 more customers came and stood parellely alongside - as though we were starting a race! When I pointed out that there was a Q they got in line with a sheepish smile. We know what the polite way of doing things are, but we often choose the shorter route - not understand the other persons point of view. If we could atleast start educating the next generation then we could expect a change in the next 10 years!
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
bangalorean's picture

A new game

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These incidents are very much common atleast in bangalore. Everyday we face such problem, due to pure arrogance, and sense of superiority at the cost of others. This problem, is not only social in nature, but same is spreading even in work, political, and even in every small incident thats happening in bangalore. MAY BE ART OF LIVING IS THE ANSWER TO THESE SOCIAL MISBEHAVIOUR AS PEOPLE ARE NOT TAUGHT VERY SIMPLE MANNERS WHEN THEY ARE EDUCATED. MAY BE INTRODUCE, YOGA IN CURRICULUM OF PRIMARY EDUCATION OR EVEN YOGA A COMPULSORY SUBJECT IN SCHOOLS, WHICH TAMES PEOPLE FROM THE CHILDHOOD STAGE. MAY BE AFTER 30 YRS WE WOULD SEE SOME CHANGE IN INDIAN SOCIETY, I DONOT EXPECT ANY CHANGE IN NEXT 10 YRS.
Vasanth's picture

Very much true

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These kind of nuisances have become very common nowadays in Bangalore, probably after getting more money people have become egoistic? Even the cab drivers and auto drivers whose average income level is low also behave the same way - probably the are uneducated, this may be the reason. I was standing in queue for voter id card, a single queue became many queue for a single counter with people overtaking others and behaving as if they have not done anything. Manners in the buses, especially girls has become hopeless. My mother will be always complaining with young girls sitting with crossed legs with high heelds and touching the neighbour person in the bus without caring even if they are elders. I also saw a person while travelling in Volvo bus to Mysore. He looked like a top official, unfortunately he was putting his legs with shoes on the front seat's top, even though he won't get any comfort with that posture. This was spoiling the front seat's headrest. What is wrong with us?
ananth.bangalore's picture

Self respect (not ego) and leadership qualities needed..

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Self-respect in true sense and building in leadership qualitities (not ego) is, what i belive can make people willing to bring about this change, when combined with messages about the international image of what indian sensitivies are. People need to know what others think about us and they need to be not wretched enough consider this a concern. Now how one can do this is an elaborate discussion.
I do not belive as someone pointed out that 'Art of Living' can be answer. I would also like to suggest that we need to understand holistically about what any self-development course can offer, both the sides of it. Well, that anyway is my personal thought, i am willing to discuss this and see if i am wrong, if anyone wants; in any case, am not willing to hurt anyones sensibilities.
My opinion- How do we make people respect themselves more? i think that is the root of the problem in this context.
s_yajaman's picture

So called educated rank among the worst

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I was standing in the queue on Monday at the airport.  The person in front of me took his time and I got my turn.

No sooner had I handed over my boarding pass to the man at the counter, the aforementioned person barges in front of me and hands over his boarding pass and says "I wanted 10C - you have given me 16C".  No - "Please can I just check something" nothing.  I was annoyed - but it was 5:30 a.m. and I did not want to start the day with a fight.  The conversation goes like this

Jet : Sorry sir, give me a minute

Me : Thanks.  I thought  I was invisible suddenly

Queue Jumper (QJ) with a sheepish grin : Sorry

Me : You could at least ask before you cut in

QJ : I said sorry right.  Just because I said sorry, now you are trying to act big

Me : That is not the point.  I waited in turn.  You could have too.  Or at least have some basic manners to ask to jump.  I probably would have let you anyway.

QJ : You know, I could have taken much longer in the first place and you would still be waiting

Me : I would have waited happily for 5 mins more as well if that were the case.  First come first served.

QJ walked off with a big huff.  Attack is the best form of defence.

Another example

I was waiting before the metal detector at security. Another QJ just walks past me

Me : Hello! Where do you think you're going.  I'm waiting for my turn

QJ2 : Oh.  I thought you were just standing here!

Me : Why would I just stand here?  I'm waiting for the person in front of me to finish before I cross the yellow line. 

QJ2 quietly goes back

My own lesson is that these people do it because they get away with it.  I am not going to let them.  If you assert yourself calmly without raising your voice they usually back off.  Never talk down to them - they feel insulted and that can cause trouble.


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

ananth.bangalore's picture

asserting youself on roads as well..

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The same thing happens atelast twice to me daily at traffic signals.

When you stop being the white stop line, the BPO cab guy at the back honks like crazy for you to move some 3 feet forward so you can be at the extreme limits of not hitting the traffic which is turning from your left . i just don't move. i lower my window, point towards the signal, point at the white line and shake my fingers at him admonishingly and wait right there ( i can see him hit his head with his hand as if to say 'there are some people like this' and talk to the car passenger sitting nearby, who looks like an employee of the company, and they laugh about the insane me).

The cab guy honks at you like crazy when there is a left turn and i am not turning simply becasue there is a red signal ( i also need to go left and my indicator is on and sometimes there is a 'no free right turn' sign). At a signal on Bannerchatta road, just after the turning to go into JP nagar, before billekahalli, this happens even if you need to go striaght. i do not move. i sometimes tell them there is a cop the opposite side and then they spend the time searching.

This time, a singl opens at the Bannerghatta Road audugodi junction (and at the sankey tank junction when comning from malleswaram side) and all the vehicles pass to the right (suddenly we become americans) and then try to barge in where the divider starts. I dont let them come in even if there is a danger of my car getting dented and that makes them honk even louder (somehow it seems louder). I dont let them, they are forced to stop at the right lane and the signal from the other side opens. and i am very happy seeing the jam they are causing stopping the traffic coming from the opposite side. i does not matter that i will be delayed, i am happy.

Frequently, when the signals are on, and it is red, the traffic (not just one car, all the traffic) from the opposite side comes and jams the junction, well, i chose to live here.

Sometimes, dealing with a situation with some lateral thought can let you have a lot of fun. :) comment guidelines

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