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Kids will be kids, but …. May 26, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in America, india.

Vir Sanghvi does it again – hitting the nail on the head. He talks of the extremely ill-mannered species called the Indian kids.

I am as patriotic as the next man and as unwilling to believe that Indians are worse than foreigners in any respect. But on this score, I’m quite willing to lower the tricolour and put up the white flag of surrender. There’s no doubt that we allow our kids to get away with much more than foreigners do. We are much less concerned when they inconvenience other people. And we take the line that their age exempts them from all norms of socially acceptable behaviour.More to the point, this is true of most Indian children, no matter where they are resident. If you are on a flight back from the US, the NRI kids will be the ones throwing orange juice at other passengers while the American children sit peacefully.

He then adds how their parents could not care less.

A friend of mine was enjoying a quiet dinner with her boyfriend at a Delhi pizza place when the children from the next table began invading their space and wrecking their dinner. Politely but firmly, she asked the mother if she could possibly keep her kids from hassling her table. Rather than offer any apology, the mother turned viciously on her. “I am sure you are the kind of woman who has no children of your own,” she snarled. “That’s why you are complaining.”

What do these kids do when they grow up ? Well, exactly what a bunch of Indian graduate students were doing during the convocation ceremony last week. One of them was engaged in giving a running commentary of the events to relatives in distant India, so loudly as to annoy atleast 2 rows in their vicinity. This person was completely oblivious to a public nuisance he was. Later during the function when the American national anthem was being played, they were engaged in an argument in their native language, roughly about whether both men and women were to supposed to take off their caps or if it was just the men.

Now, for these graduate students from top-notch universities in their convocation ceremonies, surely it can’t be the lack of education ? Infact, as Vir Sanghvi says, those who lack education are in fact more aware of their unfortunate shortcomings and try to follow the average behavior – when in doubt, they are likely to restrain themselves and imitate the crowd (which believe me, mostly works !). It is we, the schooled elite whose schooling has been thoroughly disconnected from education.

Scroll down the article to read Vir Sanghvi’s suggestions ! Can’t agree more.

Amit Varma‘s take :

It’s happened in a restaurant, where kids from a neighbouring table have done unspeakable things to my plate, and on my complaining their mother has said to me, ”Arrey, bacchay hai, karne do na?” My reply that they are her bacchay and not my bachhay made her furious, as if I was a heartless monster for not allowing her children to wreck my evening.



1. Randomizer - May 26, 2007

Read this in the IndiaUncut article in the morning as well and thought ‘i must blog about this’ , but seems like you beat me to it 🙂

I couldn’t agree more. Desis are very, very oblivious to social norm, and carry on the same tendencies they grew up with in India. Simple things like standing in a line – One desi stands in the line, 5 others come from nowhere and join in with this guy. Of course, no one wants a confrontation, so the others standing in the line politely keep quiet. Even if they did confront them, I would expect them to reply saying ‘Oh, they’re with me’ … like that answers anything

When desis tend to be with other desis, everything returns to the ‘anything goes’ principle that works in india … Only in the company of non-desis do they tend to be watchful of their manners. I cannot even begin to count the number of times a noisy desi is on the phone with his/her parents, speaking loudly in the lab when everyone else is trying hard to concentrate on their work.

It goes without saying that indian parents definitely need to do better jobs improving themselves as well as their kids.

2. Sharath Rao - May 26, 2007

I too am amazed because this is the situation inspite of the fact that american kids dont get their arse whipped as they are brought up ( russel peters style 😉 ) …the discipline is inculcated through internalization rather than fear.

I have myself been in unfamiliar situations here, but the rule of thumb is to wait and see what people do …what do majority of them do…and then ask before doing it ‘your’ way…..

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