India is a country that has both amazed and intimidated travellers and at the same time. Forever, buzzing with life, magic, apathy and colours, it is a seductive concoction that you must handle with care and enjoy at your own risk. A friend asked “how is an Indian to be pissed?” I laughed. I laughed so hard it hurt my stomach. Really, we have the patience of the steel and determination of the Iron Man. We never lose our cool. It is impossible to piss us off. But I can easily think of a 100 ways an Indian can piss you off! Okay wait you can’t handle that. Let me give you just 10 reasons how an Indian can piss you and how we are a bunch of special 1.2 billion.
1. By peeing in public and not being apologetic about it – Come on where else does one pee. If you are going from office to work or work to office. The bus stations, empty private buildings, stairways of office buildings, outside gardens, parks, public places of all sorts or just about anywhere you see a wall is where you pee. If you see a man facing the wall with his hands invisible, you should know what he is up to and don’t be pissed, just let him piss in peace.
2. By burping – Our food is amazing and we know that the ultimate expression of appreciation of a meal cooked well is a giant loud noisy smelly burp. So if you invite me over and I leave without offending your olfactory senses that would clearly mean you need to work culinary skills. Because it was not out of politeness that I didn’t burp, I meant to offend you.
3. By slurping the chai – Yes, we love our chai. Not the latte style coffee chain muck but the over boiled, strong, milky , sweet Chai. Chai is what India country runs on. From the teacher lecturing in a class to a babu working in the bank, to the netaji in the parliament, we don’t go three hours without a cup of tea. But we like it hot, baby. Very hot. Our chai is served super hot and we must take it in, excuse me, slurp it in immediately. The hotter the tea, the louder the slurp, the louder the slurp, the better it is. Wait, that noise pisses you? Well, you need a cuppa chai then.
4. By jumping the queues – You may continue being polite as you work on your smile but we are a country of 1.2 billion and if we let everybody else line up before us or even wait our turn like disciplined people simply out of politeness then we may just be waiting forever.
5. By fitting in two other people on your seat – Yes, this is a seat for a single person. Yes, you got here first. Yes, you also booked it by paying an extra bit of money. But there are more people who want to get on the bus and the conductor doesn’t want to offer no for an answer. Please adjust, that’s what we do and that is how we keep going. What? You are pissed, stressed, upset, mad – so are all of us. Frankly my dear no one gives a damn.
6. By asking you everything you know about you and judging on you for it– Are you married yet? If not why? If yes to whom? Where are your kids? What? No kids! Why no kids? Kids are a God gift. What you don’t believe in God! What kind of a person are you. Frankly, you are pissing me now!
7. By getting royally drunk – We don’t know what casual drinking for leisure means. We were told alcohol is a taboo all our lives so when we grew up and started to drink we didn’t realise that there was a way to drink without getting what we call “royally drunk” and hell yes I will smack that bottle before I leave the pub.
8. By gushing about Bollywood – You thought you would offend us by telling us how you saw an Indian movie and thought it was so funny for the lady to dance in the mountains, on the street, in the bus or on top of a train complete with a troupe and music in the background. You think in your head it’s silly. Don’t you? We would agree with you. But you would be darn pissed to realise that we love our movies, see nothing wrong in its pelvic thrusting dance moves and can talk about for ages about our favourite stars, their lives and how our bucket list includes ten thousand and one places where they have been and shot and also teach you a few dance moves along the way.
9. By the rampant corruption – Come to India and you will see how everything works with a little green grease. Without it everything stops, nothing moves. Files upon files gather in pile upon piles. God forbid you get into trouble here in India. No rules in the book will step up to your side except for a little grease. It will piss you but hey you said you didn’t know the language and we respect the universal language of money.
10. By managing a smile anyways – “You are deep in shit right now brother,” you will think when you walk around our cities where half the people live in slums and other half couldn’t care less. But that man with amputated arm in the subway, the woman with the malnourished child in her lap and even the rickshawwala bhaiya can still manage to pass a smile and that’s why we are a happier country than you realise. It will make you wonder and look at your own life and see that you may have everything but yet you stand alone without a smile as genuine as ours.