Wednesday, June 21, 2006

eh give side no

ROFLMAO, Mumbai is the world's rudest city.

While rational justifications for this distinction exist, chief among them the differences between Eastern and Western civilisation, the eye-bleeding awfulness of Reader's Digest, which conducted the poll, and general Maximum City stuff, I just ... can't bring myself to care. I wonder what that says about me as a Mumbaikar.

(I was in school, skipping my way up my teacher's apartment building to get to Maths tuition, when I passed the vegetable-vendor (I don't know how this happens in other cities or countries, but in Bombay you still have a small population of people selling fresh produce door-to-door) and, flattening myself against the wall from the large-ass baskets of kaddu and padwal about her shoulders, I said, excuse me. I looked up to find the obnoxious young man who came to classes with me looking at me amusedly.

What, I asked.
Nothing, he said.
No, tell.
No nothing.
Arre tell.
You said excuse me.
Ya so.
Don't say excuse me, he said. Say give side no.)

Hopefully everyone is bemoaning this terrible RD libel back home, by being surly and pushing people out of local trains per usual.


  1. Anonymouse7:11 pm

    RD has a different definition of rude than the average Mumbaikar. As I said in the Orkut thread, offering the 4th seat in a railway coach where three people can barely sit _is_ being polite.

    Though there used to be that old joke about "What's excuse me?" about New Yorkers. Now we can crack it about Mumbaikars.

    Side please.

  2. You said please, you're not a real Mumbaikar!

    I think the old issue about Indians not being a very civic-minded bunch all comes into play here, and that is in fact a large problem when it comes to things like, say, public hygiene. Or basic survival. I know that in some ways it's got to be one of the world's toughest cities to live in. But RD's parameters of politesse seem to have been more along the 'have-a-nice-day' lines, which is a culture that tends to piss me off more often than not.

    Apparently they charge you a $50 fine if you put your feet up on a seat in the NYC subway. The mind boggles. I mean, what, even if you take your shoes off?

  3. I was just thinking about this! IMHO, this is such a western definition of politeness. Besides, give 18.5 million New Yorkers the per capita income of an average Mumbaikar, put them in the same space as in Bombay, and see how polite they are.

    Politeness, as defined in this survey, is a luxury afforded by personal space and income.

    Have a nice day ;) Keep fighting 'em bots.

  4. Anonymouse1:32 am

    New Yorkers have about 2x the personal space of a Mumbaikar, on average. The per capita income is a bit more, but that isn't really relevant here.

    The metrics are very different in both cities.

    I would consider it rude if you were to deliberately drop a bunch of papers in front of me [1]. New Yorkers possibly don't.

    Politeness is the little things which improve someone elses quality of life, but cost you nothing (or very little). In Munmbai, that is the 4th seat in a train, walking fast so that the person behind you can get to his or her destination quickly, not hogging space...

    [1] I have actually helped people pick up papers when it was clear that it was an accident, and it did not impact my shedule adversely.

  5. See it took TOI a survey to find what Vikster already knew a long time ago. All hail Vikster's august wisdom!

    (Strange how I remember such crap but can't remember birthdays or anniversaries.)

  6. Yes!! I am able to post a comment!

    (Sorry for maligning your blog Roswitha dear!) My bad....

    If I took off my shoes and put my feet up, no way I would be fined. Mainly because everyone round me would be fainting in picturesque attitudes!

    Strange to say, though not a Bombayite myself, I never found Bombay (or Mumbai if you prefer) particularly rude. (Perhaps it is only rude to localites - I found Cal and Delhi far less polite to a stranger in their midst....)

  7. Anonymous2:31 pm

    Watched 'Seinfeld' recently. Kramer reads an ad in the papers, 'Visit XYZ Bank and if the Teller does not greet you with a 'Hello good morning, how may I help you?' You get $10.
    He goes to the bank and says 'hey'
    The Teller says, 'Hi, what can I do for you?'
    Kramer, 'Aha, I demand my $10, you were supposed to say (takes out paper cutting and reads)'
    There's a major argument and Kramer gets $5

  8. @ devdas: Hello, you rock. :)

    @ unratiosenatic: I'm fighting! You fight too! Hi!

    @ hob gadling: The Vikster is wise, and pretty, too. However I do think that what he was talking about in that blog is a very real problem - faced by every place in the world that contains a population of bratty bourgeoisie, more or less - while the survey seemed to be about. Erm. Not that, so much.

    @ lakesidey: Hey, totally agree. At the risk of alienating everyone in this alien city, I must say that outside of Bombay, people tend to get ruder at you.

    @ anon 2: Thank you for quoting Seinfeld in my blog, your check is in the mail.

  9. People put their feet on the seats in Mumbai?! Wowser.