Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Reader's Undigest

We are the rudest proclaims a magazine because we dont pick up papers dropped by someone else, because we dont say thank you after our purchases and because we dont hold the door open for the person coming after us.
New York has the most courteous people on this earth and we in Mumbai have the least.
In other words,New York is the most polite city in the world and Mumbai the least.

Some statistical fodder for thoughts:
Reference :"
Based on the latest available crime stats of New York of 2004 where Results were tabulated using the New York crime collection area population of 8,101,321, there were 226876 recorded crimes committed which includes highly impolite crimes such as murders,rapes,armed robberies,aggravated assaults,to more polite crimes such as burglaries, house and vehicle thefts.

Will the esteemed magazine care to explain how a city, where every third person in a group of 100 is a known criminal, be the politest city in the world ?
I wonder if the polite robbers of New York say thank you before leaving with their booty or hold the door open for the owner of the house to raise an alarm ?

This logic of comparing the survey results with the criminal data sheet of the area is highly stupid and irrational.I agree.
Similarly ridiculous are the tests taken as the benchmark to define the politness factor of a city.

Is the civil war initiated by the US in Iraq in the name of destroying non existent weapons of mass destruction not rudesness?
Does making the mockery of the United Nations and ordering air strikes anywhere in the world not amount to rudeness?
Does cheap political manipulation by a country leading to a Rwandan massacre or a Somalian civil war amount to good manners?
If not, then a magazine which has its headquarters in that very 'polite city' which orchestrates the above , will do well enough to not take up utterly stupid surveys and voice a biased opinion that people around the world have grown tired listening.

Let these 'polite people' of New York with a per capita income of $40,507 come to Mumbai and try to make a living with the city's per capita income of Rs 48954 which is atually more than 3 times that of the national average and then pick up a fallen paper on the street.
Let them face a reality where a missed local train may mean spending the day hungry for some, where many a 15 people live in a space meant for 2 and then say thank you for their daily purchases which include a piece of bread and nothing else.
Let them hold open a door for the person after them in a city where survival is a matter of pure instinct.

Politeness cannot be measured by a universal constant for many social and demographic factors group together to shape a persons expressions.When Mumbai was flooded last year, people from all hues of life came together and brought back the city to its feet.People formed human chains to transfer many for trapped homes.
Lives were lost to save others.Thank you may not have been said always but was expressed in more than just words.Still Reader's Digest calls us rude.
People travelling 3 hours each day to reach home in a jampacked Mumbai local have a smiling face while forsaking their seats to a stranger who is feeling unwell .Yet Readers Digest calls us rude.
People in a city like Mumbai live with their hearts in their sleeves and a 10 minute walk from Victoria Terminus to ChurchGate will make you realise that.

We know what we are and we dont need any magazine to give us lessons in manners.
We may not say thank you on making a purchase , we may not pick up papers dropped by someone else and we may not hold the door open but we will surely help a stranger in an accident to the hospital.

Let us continue to express ourselves in more genuine acts of good manners than those set as a benchmark by Reader's Digest.
Let us demarcate ourselves with our Indian genuineness.


Rajarshi said...

Don't know whether you have read an article by Chidanand Rajghatta in Sunday Times, around a month back. The article was a response to the survey you have mentioned and he said the same things about Mumbai as you have. He ended his article with something like this - "During the last year's floods, Mumbai showed that it does have a heart. It's just that when you are trying to make a living in a city of 20 million, you don't have time for politeness." Try to get hold of this article if you haven't read it.
Again a terrific post of yours.

Common Man said...

Every post of yours touching man!!!!


D said...

Hey..of lately i have started reading your posts..and must say..cant help falling in love with them....