Bombay, apparently is the worlds "rudest" city. Really? How do you know? I know because a few people from Readers-Digest are saying so. They conducted a survey, on etiquette and placed Bombay and its people 3rd from the bottom. NO ETIQUETTE, NO MANNERS, UNCOUTH, RUDE & DISPASSIONATE. That is, we do not follow the same rules on etiquette & manners in INDIA as they do in the place where RD originally hails from. I am told, in Bombay, no one (or hardly anyone) will care to help you if you happen to drop your books, papers or your bag. No one (or hardly anyone) opens the door for a lady to pass. Not the shopkeeper nor the person shopping, will say "THANKYOU" to each other after the business is done. HOW RUDE?!
Well, the shopkeeper, who most probably is from the local grocery store, is also most probably illiterate or at the most semi-literate. He will not know that he is supposed to say "Thankyou" or "Shukriya"(urdu) or "Dhanyavad"(hindi), if he is to be termed POLITE. But most probably, this shopkeeper, who has been around for a few decades (in the area), has watched some of his/her customers grow up, will most definitely, after the INDIAN custom/trend/fashion, ask the shopper how he is doing, or how his mother, father, sister, wife, daughter, son, grand-daughter, grand-son, in-laws etc. are doing, are they healthy? Are they married (yet), dead, afflicted, happy, content? I say "HOW RUDE?" again. Hasn't this shopkeeper heard of something called "Privacy"?
Now the shopper, depressed after not being thanked for shopping, is in all probability an Indian, a Bombayite. He does not have the TIME for social niceties. He is most probably worrying about himself, how his mother, father, sister, wife, daughter, son, grand-daughter, grand-son, in-laws etc. are doing? Whether they are healthy, dead, afflicted, happy, content?
Frankly speaking, in a city like BOMBAY, where people dont have the TIME (nor the energy, if i may add) to articulate their well-mannered intentions, a nod of the head or a smile is more than enough and more than necessary.
Now on the subject of "lack of willingness to help people in need", amply illustrated by the fact that nobody (in Bombay) came forward to help the person (doing the survey for Readers Digest) whose papers/books/bag had fallen down. RIGHT.
When I read this, the first thing that came to my mind was what happened on 26th July 2005. A tuesday, a cloud-burst above Bombay, record rainfall, the highest ever anywhere in INDIA. And the city came to a stand-still(according to many newspapers)...HARDLY.
Millions of people on the road, walking from wherever they were, covering the entire lenght of Bombay (approx 36 km) to reach a safe place, to reach home. I was one among these millions. Now along the way, there were people, many (and all Bombayites), standing in trecherous, chest-deep waters and distributing packets of biscuits, food, bottles of drinking water and other essentials to those walking back home, to those who they harldy knew. There were women standing at building gates and (politely) asking unknown people (mostly women, but i think that is understandable) if they wanted to use the loo in their houses. Local boys (most of them hooligans on a normal day) formed human-chains around a dangerous area so that others do not walk into them.
There are many more such examples that will tell you about Bombay and its people and the heart that they carry. But alas its not a survey, a hard cold statistical fact like the Readers Digest "information".
Bombayites as a rule are practical people. Practical, private and fun-loving. We will work hard, mind our own business and then we will enjoy the fruits of our labour. We will party, dance, watch movies, take our families out for dinner etc etc. But while we are doing that, please dont ask us to insult the able-bodied, spirited, beautiful and proud women of Bombay, by asking us to open doors for them.