Monday, July 2, 2007

Beep... Beep!

What happens if you give an electric hair dryer to a bunch of monkeys? Not knowing how to use a technology can result in funny incidents and some times be quite disastrous.

Take for example, cell phones in the hands of Indians. Nowadays, every Indian has got one. An auto driver, rickshaw-wallah, and even a vegetable vendor! That’s great isn’t it?

Now, see what happens in a movie theater. Nobody seems to turn off their phone, and right in the middle of the movie, an annoying ring tone takes off. Instead of feeling ashamed or embarrassed, this guy picks up the call and starts talking right there. Whether it is a big conference or a big seminar, most Indians do not turn off their phone. Once, while I was sitting in a conference, one Indian senior head of some company incessantly kept talking on the phone causing inconvenience to everyone around. One of the speakers (an Indian from US) had to actually berate him to turn his phone off.

Why do we have this urge to pick up our phones no matter what we are doing?

I see people talking on cell phones while driving their cars, juggling between the steering wheel and the gear shift. Most often, these drivers are driving quite recklessly, narrowly missing hitting many people on the road.

I saw an old man on a two-wheeler, jutting into a main road from a by-lane and suddenly scrambling on the road while trying to take his ringing phone out of his pocket, completely losing balance, almost careening into an oncoming auto, nearly missing it, and then kept on driving with one hand, and using the other hand to talk over phone. This guy would have almost died, but I guess, picking up the phone right at that moment was more important.

I keep seeing so many incidents. People talking through helmets, and removing the helmets while driving, losing balance, and sometimes ending up in accidents.

I never knew that a ringing phone could be so tempting to so many Indians. It’s almost like a call from the lottery agency announcing your win.

Recently, a friend’s wife fell from a newly-constructed three storied building while she was frantically running down to pick up a phone that was ringing on the 1st floor. She was completely paralyzed from her abdomen down and is now permanently handicapped without being able to use her legs for the rest of her life. She was an excellent dancer and had just performed few days earlier to a wide audience. Her life has changed forever.

All because of a stupid phone ringing!

Friday, April 13, 2007

‘Your light is on’

Did you ever ride your scooter or a motorcycle with lights on during daytime? There will be hundreds of people waving at you to tell you that your light is on. They do it in different ways. Some wave at you, some do sign with their hand as if they are kneading the dough. Some would even stop their bike to tell you that the light is on. Once a kid who was riding his cycle downhill really fast, abruptly screeched himself to halt and in the process almost hit a nearby pole, only to tell me that my light was on. There seems to be an overzealous concern here which I find missing in other aspects of social life in India. This is how these Indians are thinking - “A kid is about to fall off from the bike, Hmm! Why should I bother? But a light is on? Oh! My god! I should help this person!”

Why is this obsession? I asked few and they told me that they can’t see a light on during daytime because it is tantamount to wasting energy. Hmm, what a concern! I am in tears now! Garbage on the streets, no problem, kids begging on the streets, no problem, oil dripping from the trucks, no problem, really bad smoke coming from faulty engine from an auto, no problem. But a light is on? Oh my god! We need to save this energy!

Dig! Dig!

Notice how fascinated Indians are at digging? They dig all the time. I think it is our favorite pastime. May be, we should make digging our national sport. And then may be we should introduce it into Olympic Games. But then soon some Ireland or Bermuda would embrace this game soon enough and kick us out in the qualifying round itself.

And when they have to dig on the sides of a road, they dig on both sides at the same time. How smart it is? Digging one side itself seems to reduce the size of the road causing lot of discomfort to the driver. Instead of digging one side first, filling it and then attacking the other side, they start digging on both sides at the same time! Now, the road is reduced to less than half. The traffic is congested and everyone is blaring horn at peak volume. Who thinks of such strategies, where are they? Which idiot thinks of these things?

Honk! Honk!

Don’t we already have too much honking on our streets? When you stop at a red light some idiot behind keeps honking, sometimes incessantly, and you wonder what’s happening. ‘Its Red light, Goddammit!” Sometimes after a long wait at a red light which his monitored by some stupid algorithm, these drivers lose their patients and they start honking their blaring horn, hoping that the red light would listen to this honk and change its mind.

And when it turns green, there are few idiots who start honking right away. Look, everyone is keen on moving fast. We are actually eager to move fast, so why this honking to prompt?


This is a new blog to list idiotic things Indians do. Common sense seems to be so uncommon. I have been noticing them everyday and I thought of listing them here. I would also include experience of others, commenters and responders to list them here. Pictures and illustrations will help.