Category Archives: India

Why Are Indian Men Bad Mannered?

Photo of John P. Matthews

Indians can’t be lauded for their good manners. I will vouch for that any day. But there are common decencies they can adhere to, like apologising for something done by mistake, or, by oversight. No, they will not, apologise, as you will see here.

Yesterday I was on the way to a meeting, and there I was was calmly sauntering on the road to where I can find a rickshaw. Since I don’t own a car; rickshaws, the three-wheeled contraptions, are the favoured mode of transport. It’s cheap, though not comfortable.

A car sneaks behind me and when I turn around it is only inches behind me. It would have hit me if I had slowed down. I glare at the driver, who was, presumably in the process of parking his car before his opulent bungalow in our locality. I know him; he is my neighbour, though I haven’t talked to him. His action has shocked me, and I am in a bit of a tizzy as I walk to his car.

When I ask him why he didn’t sound the horn, he asks me, “Did I touch you?”

“You didn’t touch. But your car almost did.” I shouted.

The woman with him replied, “But, it didn’t touch no?”

I also know the woman; I have seen her countless times. They came to Artist village as renters, renting one of the houses. Fate favoured him and he made a lot of money agenting real estate deals. So today he has a big bungalow, a car, and is rich. The woman, his sister, does odd jobs, as she isn’t married. When I first saw her twenty-five years ago, she was a pretty girl, but now she has grown dowdy and has developed a florid face and can be considered as fat.

I usually don’t argue with women and so, I shrugged, put up my hands, and started walking. If he had said “sorry,” for a fault that was his, I would have been happy to let it go. But this incident showed that Indian men never say “sorry” they would self-righteously try to defend themselves and their positions. Not for them a decent apology like a gentleman.

As I was walking away I wondered why it was that when God gives you money and possessions he also makes you bad mannered and ugly.

The Monsoon Is Here!

After all, the rain did come. It was destined to. Thundering over the hills, sweeping aside the heat, turning the earth green, dripping down the eaves, well, turning the world green, as if a carpet is spread.. In my small house in the valley it fell in a cascade down the mountain, filled a dam, and then proceeded to flow smoothly down a canal made for the purpose.

The rain, the monsoon, the mausam (in Hindi), is a season of rejuvenation, happiness, and sadness. Happiness for the new world out there, and sadness because a lot of houses and low-lying areas get flooded in this season. In the great city yonder from my home the poor get poorer in the rain. Their food gets soaked, their furniture gets washed away, and they don’t have sleep for a few days because of the incessant rain. The government promises them flats in new buildings and, unfortunately, it gets a long time to be built. Meanwhile life goes on.

The rainy season has been erratic of late. Sometimes there is a big deluge, sometimes it hardly rains. Rain hasn’t been falling evenly these few past years. That’s a cause for worry. Some fields get excess rain and some fields get no rain. Where there is excess rain the crops get washed away, where there are no rains the crops wilt, turn brown, and die.

You say global warming? I say, yes, but can’t we build our ground water reserves? Create new ponds and bunds so our water isn’t washed away. No, I don’t mean big dams that submerge entire villages. I mean small earthen dams that can hold water. Nothing great to ask from our leaders. Surely they can do as much for us.

India has only three seasons in most of its territory. Summer, Monsoon, and Winter. Spring is hardly noticeable in most parts of the country and merges with summer. Flowers bloom not only in spring but in monsoon and winter also. This makes our country unique, exotic. There are flowers blooming at all times of the year and also verdant greenery through monsoon and winter.

Monsoon, or, mausam (the word from which it was derived) means rainy season. Mausam has also been turned into an euphemism for season. We consider rain as THE season, the season of happiness for the farmer, the tiller of the land.

So, um, have a good monsoon!

What happens if the rains don’t come?

scorched earth

It’s June and the rains have not come. The wait has been long. The stifling heat sears the skin and we find ourselves sweating more than usual. The rain usually brings some respite from the heat. But this year it’s blistering hot. It’s not advisable to venture out in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest. And inside houses fans and air-conditioners are turned on to mitigate the heat waves seeping in.

If the rains don’t come portends aren’t very good. India is basically an agrarian economy that depends a lot on agriculture.  if the rains don’t fall there are many consequences which are:

1. Watersupply of cities will stop

2 . Powercuts will implemented.

3.  Fights will happen over petty matters

4. Husbands and wives will fight

5. Politicians will fight.

6. Political parties will fight.

7. Food will be in short supply, and very expensive.

Well, that is the gist of it. The new prime minister intends to reach water to all drought-hit areas of the country. Trains will be employed for the purpose, as I read in today’s paper.

Hope the rain comes soon!

Modi Takes over as New Prime Minister

narendra modi

As I had written earlier (see previous post), Narendra Modi has taken over as the new Prime Minister of India. Congrats! It’s a story of ambition and hardwork as he used to sell tea at a train station when he was young. From this humble beginning he has risen to the position of eminence, to guide the nation in a crucial phase. It is the phase of development which has been mired in a lot of corruption and ineptitude over several decades. Only a man with an impeccable record can change things and fill the void created by the greedy perpetrators of moral depravity.

Why is India such a corrupt country? One may ask. The answer is: because people who are corrupt can get away with it in this country.  Right from the clerk who asks for Rs 100 to pass an application for an identity card to the minister who asks for a bribe to pass a defence contract are the unscrupulous practitioners of corruption. It has become so endemic that government officials consider it their birthright to demand and be paid.

Modi has a clean record as far as corruption is concerned. He is an ascetic wedded to the cause of development. I hope development is one thing he can impart to the country which lacks in basic infrastructure and amenities. He may have his faults (remember the Gujarat progrom of 2002?) but on a national level it is unlikely that he will let something similar happen.

So let’s wait and watch.