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desideewar des se

desideewar des se WITH SONAL KULSHRESTHA

(Part 3 of article on page 1 and page 2)

My journal of my amazement with India and its people ...


And then there are those that create a scene, yell and humiliate, demand and pretend that the world around them is a mere means to serve their interests. Of course, people like these are crawling the earth's surface all over the world, but here in India you see see them take things to a 

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different level entirely. Here is what happened. Right in front of our very eyes. So we are staying in a nice three star hotel (yes, this is relevant information) on a family trip to a city in Uttrakandh (no, this is likely not a relevant part). Nice lavish breakfast is complimentary and accompanied with top class service (here lies the relevance of the previously given bit) from 8 to 10:00 am. Because of my jet-lag, I'm up and about early and so we show up for breakfast early. The staff is good and don't seem to mind the early birds. This one morning, a Jain (again, relevant part, not being biased) family shows up, a clan of about 10 people expecting to be served Jain breakfast at 7:30 am. Now, I'm sure they had good reasons for their expectations for what we gather from the conversation that we unintentionally catch is that they had apparently requested Jain food by 7:30 am. However, what followed is beyond believe. A young man in the group, probably no more than 27 years, starts to yell and scream at the clearly embarrassed staff. The head staff member is called, only to be yelled at louder than others. Other members in the family, senior to him, do try to calm him down but clearly he has left his manners far behind in the journey of life as he yells "you stay out of it" to all who try to intervene. The man shows no regards to other guests who have started to fill in the place. It is obvious that the beleaguered staff is clueless on how to appease the irascible man. They keep muttering, "Sir, give us more time please. We do have some Jain food already ready". That statement only makes our irate guest here go to a whole new level of unbecoming and rancorous behavior. He starts lifting one item out of each serving dish in the buffet while hollering each time, "Kya Jain hai? Yeh Jain hai?  Yeh Jain hai? Bus Upma hee Jain hai. Bus woh kah kar chale hum?" (What is Jain? Is this Jain? Is this Jain? Just Upma is Jain. Shall we eat just that and go?). By now I am completely repulsed by this "youth of today". Really? He is actually touching the food that he knows other guests would be consuming, unaware that it has been subjected to abusive manhandling? I think about USA, about how would a similar situation play out there or if one would even arise. And here are what my thoughts are on that-

1. Complimentary breakfast buffet has fixed times and fixed menu. Rarely would the staff be flexible enough to make special menu and serve it earlier or later than usual. In cruise ships you see that flexibility and often in all-inclusive resorts and five star hotels. 

2. If there is flexibility of menu and timings, if it couldn't be done, nothing more than an apology would be served. 

3. If for some reason, a commitment made is not kept by the staff, I cannot imagine ANY guest reacting like the young man here did.

4. If a guest was to behave in such a manner (loudly humiliating the staff), the staff would certainly not stand by meekly begging him for more time. He would be duly ushered out by security. 

That leads me to another chain of thoughts. Why did this particular man behave the way he did? Here are my thoughts on that-

1. Some men in India have a sense of entitlement. In their homes, as kids they are pampered by their mothers and sisters as they are served food as though they are the privileged sex. After marriage, the wife takes on that role. Such men have often witnessed their parents treat the servants without showing any respect for their labor. In their minds, there is a hierarchy. People who earn more get to walk all over those who don't. And that kind of attitude is just sad, for these very men will be seen doing "certainly sir ji" to their bosses- and so the chain continues. Respect for labor, or even humans, lost in the process.

2. This young man stood out in the crowd due to his obviously on-your-face indecorous behavior. But I notice very subtly "macho" men in those complimentary buffet breakfast area too. There was this rich looking businessman who I overhear telling his wife, "kitni bar kaha juice lao" (how many times did I tell you to get me juice". I see the wife hurriedly stop feeding the child to get his highness his juice. I see a group of men from a family walk through the door, and not one of them stops to hold the door for their womenfolks to enter. I see a senior mother lovingly and constantly asking her 40+ son "beta, yeh kah. Tere liye le aaon?" (son, eat this. Shall I get for you?) when clearly the son should be looking after his aged mother.

How is the scene different in USA? I have seen the husband as well as the father-in-law stand up at the dining table, when the woman joins the group. Men pulling the chair out for their wives is a common sight there. Every man holds the door for the woman coming behind him, whether he knows her or not. I have never seen a man expect his mother or his wife to serve him food, nor pour him his juice/ water.

I took no pictures for I don't want to publicly embarrass anyone, but every visit I hope to see a change. I scan public places to find those few good men. And I do see them, but here's hoping for it to be a norm. For its really simple- when you behave badly, it reflects on who YOU are.

#4. UP NEXT- THE DRIVERS IN INDIA (think about your experiences and do share)..check back and follow me right here as I journal my amazement with India and its people...

By Sonal Kulshrestha

(Sonal is a computer programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She is an avid movie goer. She lives in Texas, USA) 

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