~By Dilip Bobb
Nowadays the focus is on Aadhaar cards and marrying them with Pan Cards and then mating them with your Sim Card but there are many other ways to identify us Indians. We are a unique race with clearly defined characteristics and behaviour patterns that distinguish us from other nationalities. Here are some of the most obvious ones:
Protective Covering: Mobile accessory shops are making a killing selling screen guards to Indians for their cellphones—we have an obsession about protecting our mobiles even though all modern devices come with scratchproof gorilla glass. At the same time, we ignore basic protection protocol for our own selves by scorning the wearing of helmets while driving a motorbike at high speeds.
No Accident: It is no accident that there are no accidents in India. Confused? It refers to the fact that when there is a road accident, huge crowds materialise out of nowhere but not a single person will step forward to help the victim. We take our defiance/ignorance of road safety guidelines too far.
Copping Out: Probably related to the above, but in India, it is safe to say that the sight of a policeman or policemen makes us nervous/afraid rather than making us feel safe. May stem from our fear of the danda while at school but psychologists suggest there is a deeper reason.
Favourite Woman: In America, if a man has a wife and a mistress, he will love his wife the most. In Europe, if a man has a wife and mistress, he will love his mistress more. In India, a man may have a wife and a mistress but he will definitely love his mother the most.
Bureaucrat’s Worth: In an IAS exam, a candidate will write a brilliant 3,000-word essay about how dowry is such a social evil and ways to eliminate it, scoring the highest marks and impressing colleagues and seniors alike, but shortly after, the same person’s family will demand a dowry because their son and prospective groom, is an IAS officer.
Homesick Abroad: Indians travel abroad in large numbers, 20 million say the latest figures, which is expected to rise to 50 million by 2020. They also travel in large groups—safety in numbers. They will zoom through six fascinating countries in Europe in seven days, but insist on eating Indian food at every meal, including breakfast. Large groups even take along their own chef.
The Official Towel: In India, the best way to recognise a politician or a bureaucrat is by the towel draped around the office chair they sit on. Where and how this trend started is lost to history but it was probably intended to keep sweat stains from seeping into the fabric of the chair. Now that air-conditioning has arrived, why the dirty towel continues to have such official pride of place remains a mystery.
Make Haste Slowly: Judging by the frenetic activity on roads and in offices, everybody seems to be in a tearing hurry, but at the same time, no one ever shows up on time for an appointment, inauguration, public speech or social engagement.
Limerick: In India, one will be welcomed by an artificially flavored lemon drink but once your meal is over, you can wash your hands in a finger bowl which has a fresh lemon.
Acting Pricy: The ultimate irony would be Priyanka Chopra earning more money for playing Mary Kom than the medal-winning boxer earned throughout her entire career.
Money Well Spent: Only in India, will a family willingly spend more money, even get into debt, for their daughter’s wedding than the financial outlay for her education.
Food for Thought: Only in India do we buy our shoes in an air-conditioned showroom and then step out to buy our vegetables from the footpath.
Clean Living: The irony of Indian life; we are obsessive about keeping our own homes clean but have no hesitation in throwing garbage out into the street or even our neighbour’s house, ignoring the potential for spreading disease or pollution. Out of sight, therefore out of mind.
Holy Ghosts: India has a long and bloody history of battles being fought and riots engineered over holy books like the Bhagavad Gita or the Quran, always instigated by people who have never read either.
Politics of Fear: In India, we are witness to the ultimate irony: Politicians divide us while terrorists unite us.