Saturday, June 24, 2006

not rude, just brutal

results of an internationally conducted survey on politeness were recently published by the reader's digest, and they've generated much brouhaha. the cause for concern seems to be that the citizenry of bombay happen to come across as quite an unruly, rude bunch of barbarians according to its parameters.
nothing wrong with that perception, many a newcomer to the city would vouch for the genuineness of the study's claims. if only the publication had kept its scoring model secret, then the denizens of this city could accept its decision, grumbling all the while, and move on. but no, in the interests of fairness the magazine tells us in great detail that a random sample of our city's inhabitants failed to hold doors open for others, help a stranger, or say thank you, hence we now find ourselves near the bottom of the international politeness pecking-order.
my contention is that bombay is just very brutal. survival here is almost a darwinian experiment. and this takes a little getting used to. if you have lived here for more than a couple of years or so then its a lot easier to understand. very few people like bombay instantly but give them a few years of a daily commute on the local trains and they'll never leave the city voluntarily.
it is a little puzzling. there's very little by way of quality of life and maintaining whatever little living standards you do have is expensive, all in comparison to the rest of the country. but the city exerts a huge emotional pull that no bombayite/mumbaikar can clearly explain. the city exhibits a certain "je ne sais quoi", as the french would put it.
out-of-towners who grow to love the city possess the zealotry of converts. one of the best descriptions i've heard about this city was made by one of my friends, a recent bombayite, asked to explain the city's sub-culture by her parents back home, and all she had to say was, "it's another country".


Anonymous said...

another interesting survey was done by dalal street journal, apparently when 6 bankers were left alone and without any friends in a lonely city, they would start blogging the most inane shit.

Anonymous said...

well said :)

nytyn said...

i agree