ONE REALLY CAN’T figure out what has really happened with all of us Indians. Are we slowly losing our ability to hear? Have we come to the conclusion that in order to be heard we have to shout? Is something radically wrong with our upbringing which allows us to be rude or even crude?
Go out anywhere and you will see the noisy Indian at work. Parents will encourage their brattish child to keep shouting and running amok, and they at times actually feel that the child is doing the right thing. In our days of growing up, we would never be allowed out to restaurants and people’s dinners but that is no longer the case. What is even more reprehensible is the way many of these louts take their domestic help to restaurants (as if they can’t take basic care of their brat) and will not even offer the help any chair, leave alone food. That’s how crass we have become.
Check into any hotel in India and you will hear the average Indian before you see him. Sometimes I feel the day isn’t far when this whole country will go deaf with all this noise. In the good old days, you’d be embarrassed to walk into a concert even a minute late, but no longer. The other day at this marvellous concert, I saw this lady walk in halfway and then shove herself in the front row and, while proceeding to her seat, even manage to stamp on people’s toes: when I asked her if she didn’t feel ashamed of coming late, she said she had to be at two other events. The absolute brazenness with which bad behaviour is proffered in these times is staggering.
Last year, in a wonderful hill station hotel, I was flabbergasted to hear people shouting in the corridors of this fine property at 3AM after returning from a drinking binge. When I asked the general manager what on earth was happening, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “They are the ones with the money and in here, they [the hotel staff] listen.”
Hotels have taken the hardest hit. In one fine property in Goa, you will now see women jump in with their unwashed hair open and no amount of pleading to wear a cap will help. Not to mention the drunken sods who will carry their beer and ugly persona into the pool. Imagine you are sunbathing and want some peace: you’d be better off in a cemetery than by the poolside at any hotel in India. And as far as swimming pools go, I am not even talking about whether the whole dress code has been violated; I have seen more Jockey than Vilebrequin in swimming pools only because these jokers can’t differentiate between trunks and swimming trunks. Restaurants are just the same. Loud conversations without a care in the world. Obviously, it has nothing to do with education because a lot of these louts go to decent schools. It may have something to do with their parenting or perhaps their breeding, not to mention this false sense of entitlement.
The Indian is noisy everywhere today. Go to a cinema hall and some clown will be passing a running commentary on Kurosawa when that bloke can barely pronounce it. And also, most multiplexes in India show movies at decibels that are obscene and may well be life-threatening. Sit in an aircraft and some idiot will be watching an item number, which all his fellow passengers will be forced to listen to given the volume at which he is listening to it. Even the announcements on board are loud, not to mention the crappy music they play as you are about to descend. A crash would sound infinitely more civilised.
Go to a party and people are shouting across the floor. They even ask for drinks in a threatening manner. Enter an elevator in India and people will be pushing against you with all their fine body odour: this invasion of private space is now complete in India. Then there’s, of course, the duffer who walks while staring at his mobile phone. I have often prayed that these dolts fall off some cliff but my prayers haven’t been answered yet. Look at places of worship, and again decibel levels are plainly unholy. Attend a wedding and the noise will be enough to drown the newlywed couple in despair.
Parliament is of course quite another matter and we can safely say that those blokes are never going to change, but I truly hope the average Indian does.