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We are like this only!

November 2, 2009
Last week I came back from Sri Lanka. This was my first visit after the war had ended. On the outside nothing has changed much. Security checks continue as before. Prices of essential items have only gone up. Their government had asked its citizen to bear these price hikes as little sacrifices towards the Nation’s re-building. Actually a lot of developmental work is happening in the north of the country and China is helping them with earth movers and other equipments. Sri Lanka is of strategic importance to them if they have to take on India in the race to superpowerdom. Already they have allies in Myanmar in the east and Pakistan in the west of India. They are strategically present to stifle India’s growth, maybe by fomenting trouble in form of dissidence across the country. This post is actually not about the Chinese, but about us Indians.

The war being over, Indians are landing in Sri Lanka in droves as tourists. Especially from South India. A return ticket from Chennai will cost only Rs. 7500-Rs. 8000. A 3 or 4 star accommodation for 2 can be had for Rs.3000-Rs. 3500 per night with breakfast thrown in. With its pristine beaches in Negombo and Galle, the mountains of Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka is quite a package for tourism. With a ‘Visa on Arrival’ facility there is no time to lose. Only the 60 odd minutes it takes to fly across the ocean. So I could see more Indians this time around. Some had come with their friends, some with their family.

My first encounter with one group was not pleasant. I was sitting in the restaurant, having my breakfast. I was sitting in one of few tables arranged for 2, leaving the bigger tables for bigger groups. A group of 3 friends (I presume) came in, looked around, came and sat in the table next to me. The third person pulled the chair from the adjoining table and put it right in the pathway blocking the movement of the waiters. One of the guys sitting next to me was having dosas soaked with sambhar. When he was done, he looked around for somebody to clear his plate. Finding no one in sight, he just leaned across, moved the side plate, the cutlery and the napkin opposite me and dumped the plate without as much as a glance on my side.

My second encounter was at the hotel lobby. I was sitting on the sofa, waiting for my colleague to pick me up. There was a Canadian sitting next to me. He too had come on business.We had just got acquainted. An Indian family of husband, wife and 2 children sauntered in. The man slumped into the sofa opposite me. There was a centre table with a glass-top, separating us. He tossed his mobile phone on the table and then put his feet up, bathroom slippers and all. I was clearly embarrassed. The Canadian got up on the pretext of leaving, bid goodbye and left.

What makes us Indians behave like this? We are the most inconsiderate lot when it comes to treating fellow human beings. It is very much evident on our roads. A couple of days back I came across a black Swift not letting way for an blaring ambulance. After the ambulance had found its way, I cut across the car to find him chatting on his cellular. I stopped and gave him a piece of my mind. He just turned his face and drove away as if in dismissal. There was absolutely no remorse in him. What else can we expect? We don’t allow even a school going child with all his heavy backpack to cross the road, always squeezing our way thinking that the fellow behind us will stop. The pedestrians on our roads get a raw deal. There are no adequate zebra crossings. There are no signal lights. Pavements are encroached upon. Even if they are not, we will need a ladder to get on or off them. In Sri Lanka, the pedestrian has the right of way always. The moment they step on the pedestrian crossing all vehicles will come to a stop whether the light is green or not. And they have a crossing every one and a half to two kilometers. Right across the country. I only wish our country men who return from their vacation bring back some road sense. After all they don’t add to the baggage weight and are most of all not dutiable too.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. charusree permalink
    November 2, 2009 19:14

    All these happen because we Indians cannot distinguish between "social responsibility" and "personal liberty". We absolutely lack civic sense and never look at ourselves from other's perspective. We are proud and contended with our great heritage and confuse everything with freedom of expression. Good article!

  2. Solilo permalink
    November 5, 2009 11:10

    Then we complain that we are not treated properly abroad. The experiences from such tourists makes the host wary of anyone from that country.

  3. Govind permalink
    November 10, 2009 23:02

    @Charu, thanks again. I want to know what this great heritage is……..@Soli, most people are wary of Indians. A few of my overseas customers have been taken for a ride by Indians.

  4. Pins N Ashes permalink
    November 11, 2009 11:04

    a weirdo (attire/hairdo/attitude/anything) on the road making noise for some attention… 99 on 100 it would be an Indian….But whom do we blame for it? If we are enclosed in a stricter environment with a heavy penalty for a price (Reminded of a Mal movie, where a drama troupe were stranded in Japan or Singapore – Priyadarshan directed, I think), these same Indians, are the most well behaved citizens!! somethings just went wrong in our Social conditioning b/c of the looooooooooooong age of the heritage/country!!!Ashes

  5. July 13, 2013 23:27

    “I only wish our country men who return from their vacation bring back some road sense. After all they don’t add to the baggage weight and are most of all not dutiable too.”

    We wish and hope!

  6. January 2, 2018 19:29

    We just do not respect the other person. Only, I and me. When I visited Sri Lanka, I loved the people over there. Very disciplined, clean, smiling always. Our counterparts over there were rude. We will never change.


  1. Travel musings | Shail's Nest

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