Friday, May 20, 2011

Shame on me!!

The immense pressure of pretension is giving me the guilt sweats all the time. I’m going to go to a dirty corner of hell once I die for all that I appear to be and am not! And before I die what would worse is if I have to host any of my newly formed western friends in my own country and be embarrassed through forced admission of hypocrisy during these China days.

Allow me to explain. The western concept of civilization suffers a major setback in this part of the world. So a lot of discussions are around the incredible observations about lifestyle in China. Bulleted below are some of the discussions heads where - instead of nonchalantly staying zipped - I chose the more interesting (though clearly hypocritical) approach of participating and going tsk tsk:
o       Look at how the people drive here… this is crazy.
o       Gosh, why in the world would people honk like that.
o       Running across the road? That’s crazy!!
o       I’m not crossing the road. Look at the traffic. This is suicide.
o       Gosh, why do people spit all the time?
o       What’s with the squatting pans? Isn’t this woefully primitive?
o       What?? Public toilets have no toilet papers?
o       Gosh, so many people in this train station.

India, friends, is not significantly different from China and may the good lord forgive me for appearing as scandalized as most of you.

China: Shijazhuang's Railway station

India: Delhi Railway station
China: Shijazhuang Public toilets
India: Delhi Public toilets
Indian Spit: More colorful and more disturbing
As a token of my apology, I will share The Indian Road Crossing secret (Chinese version: The Great Chinese Road Crossing secret)  - something that we typically pledge to never share with anyone else.

Following the stated simple steps would give you the ability to cross the most intimidating road anywhere in China/India:
1.   Identify the road to be crossed. It’s extremely disappointing if you end up crossing a road that you don’t need to cross.
2.   Choose the spot to cross over from. Zebra crossings are strongly discouraged and there is a simple scientific rationale behind this. If you are North American or European, chances are that you qualify to be called ‘White’. Hence you tend to blend into the zebra crossing stripes and become invisible to traffic. Chose a random black portion of the road.
3.   Stand perpendicular to the road. A good way to ensure this would be to initially lie down flat on the road so that your body is at right angles. Ensure that you get up in exactly the same perpendicular orientation. Also it would help if you don’t spend too long lying on the road else crossing may not be required any longer.
4.      Close your eyes. Tight! No further explanation needed.
5.      Start walking. Straight! No further explanation needed.
6.      Stop walking once your feet feel the pavement.

Just remember to not run across the street. Once you begin running, you and the traffic automatically get into competition mode playing the I-can-run-over-before-you-can-run-me-over game and that’s never a good idea. No telling who wins that game. Make the walk casual… chant a mantra… count your breaths… whistle a tune...just be cool and collected.

There, I’ve confessed and made amends. I feel better.


  1. Mukul

    We are loving these blogs. Glad to know you are having a good time.


  2. :)
    reminds me of the time some US wallahs were down and they were mortified when we spoke about our childhood and how we played in construction sand vs the fancy "sandboxes" they have there ;)

    oh yeah, absolutely anything can give folks from the west the jitters...