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Indians: The pattern of Behavior



Like any Indian irrespective of the location or the status or the purpose, I also revel in realization of my first holiday abroad. After spending more than 5 weeks in 6 countries of Europe one cannot but compare the difference in the behavioral pattern of people in India with people of foreign land. I am sure a lot has been said in this regard in print, on social media and of course during conversations of individuals and families crossing national borders more often than they cross interstate borders in India. The inference in nutshell narrows to the fact that the pattern of Indians behaving drastically changes with situation.

We actually act different when we are being watched. Well, I agree majority of humans act consciously when they are being observed but in our case it goes a step further, we act different when we are being monitored, when we are being policed and beyond that being watched really does not matter. The forced discipline of standing in a queue, waiting for the turn at the cash counter or even at the doctors lounge turns into a mob the moment there is nobody to monitor it. Even the fixed seats of the aircraft are not logical enough for the people to wait and move in a line to board. It’s surprising how people spend hours to shop at departmental store or the grocery shops but waiting few minutes for their turn at the billing counter brings out the sportsman in everybody. I have myself raced between counters at Hypercity and Big bazaar to a faster moving row. I have no explanation about the killing desire of saving few minutes paying for merchandise that is chosen in many-many hours.

I went to meet a friend few days back on her invitation to have coffee with her. We had not met for a long time and of course she had recently returned from a trip long enough to write a book on different civilizations was incidental. I chide my self to think that all the conversation was to enlighten my poor out of context knowledge and articles articulately scattered around the living room with careful abundance were to flaunt and not because of chic sense of interior decoration. She called out to her daughter and asked her to share the names of the places they went to. She went further in asking her to recite about flora and fauna of the places they visited. It took me all the might I was worth of to refrain myself in asking her daughter the names of the trees and plants that stood on the boundary of her perfectly manicured garden.

When I left from her place I saw a small pile of dry leaves and waste from the garden sitting right next to her neighbor’s entry. Why should I think that she is the only one who does such acts? Her gardener must be trained after the neighbors have also exhibited the similar sense of consideration and who knows that pile was not intended for the neighbors to make manure. The driver of the neighbor in question was cleaning the car and throwing the litter out on the road did not escape my so careless observation. Obviously all of us witness many more such cases around us. We have seen clean houses but dirty surroundings. We have seen people keeping their vehicles meticulously clean but they thoughtlessly abuse the public transport services. We are a classic example of how public property is actually handled (read stolen) in the manner to be used for personal use by the public.

We may tip heavily at restaurants but do not hesitate in asking the doggy bags for leftovers. We may spend effortlessly for designer outfits or footwear but we act thrifty when paying for repairs. We are careful enough to switch-off the electricity when moving from one room to other in the house but we leave the air conditioning on for the entire day in a hotel. There is no much food that is being wasted at the receptions and parties because somebody else is paying for it and of course since we cannot order for doggy bags we might as well waste it.

But moving beyond my dry humor and cynicism, let us just analyze our behavioral patterns. Why is it we are well behaved and cultured when we are under the scanner. We follow rules and go by the book when we are travelling out but we don’t hesitate in breaking every rule. Has it got to something the way we track back culturally? Where we are told about centering and concentrating on just ourselves. We are a country where our philosophy endorses making the ‘self’ medium of attaining greater goals. We are conditioned to be focused but is the concept of ‘self’ being warped in the practice? Have we twisted the meaning of self-evolving into self-centering or maybe being selfish?

There is only one fact that is clear to me at this point is that we as a whole nation, as a whole race need to reform our ways, we need to discipline ourselves and evolve in our approach. We have lineage of rich heritage and culture and now we need to establish being progressive in approach and behavior as well. We all must start at self and by influencing our families and kids and friends at moving beyond self. Lets all make a resolution of not making people flinch when they see our passports. But again not being able to help being myself….. if it is all about self then how is it we don’t mind our own business and earn the reputation of being the most poky people. It is perhaps the lack of understanding and total disdain towards others.

I am sure there is a lot more and a lot more important. I shall possibly share my thoughts on other issues other time if permitted to do so. Until then- Act Responsibly.

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Renu Handa

Academic/Science/Research

Madhya Pradesh ,  INDIA

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