December 11, 2007

Crass or is it just me?

I came to India via Bahrain. And the Gulf is as most people know a big big Desi hub... much bigger than the US can ever be.. maybe coz of the magnitudes of the countries involved. My dad used to work in the Gulf till about 10 years ago.. I have lived in the Gulf, liked the stay there and even considered a part lost when I had to abruptly return during the Gulf War. Yet today when I came, I was rudely aware of the sheer crassness of the people there. I couldn't find a better word here to describe my feeling even if I wanted to. Seeing the ocean of Indian people around me in the Bahrain-Chennai flight made a twinge... sad. Was it that the US had changed me and my perceptions forever? Or was it that when I lived in and liked the Gulf, I was a little kid and barely knew what I liked. What did I like? Staying as a family there and going out shopping with dad? Buying toys? Watching movies? Pretty basic. But what I saw today awakened to me that I had changed. My expectations, perceptions and feeling towards things had changed. When I saw this ocean of crude Desis, bringing in 5-6 duty-free bags of goods each (where you are allowed 2 at most), drinking to heart's content just coz in-flight drinks are free, pulling the air hostess' arm to get her attention, shoving in 5 passports and the corresponding immigration forms to fill while I have my eyes closed and was attempting to sleep just coz they don't know English, throwing up from excessive drinking, not flushing the toilets- I visually cringed. The Gulf Air airbus was just that - a bus in the air. Filled to capacity, people spraying obviously cheap perfume before disembarking (which engulfs you in unpleasant scent as well) and the icing to the cake - this guy who thought that the front of the plane was my face. He was sitting in front of me (or was supposed to be), but was angled perpendicular - feet on the aisle - directly staring at me... and whenever I caught him, would pretend to look past me down the aisle. Though not the variety at all, I had had enough and complained to the flight attendant. Am I too Americani-ized or is this a bit much for anyone?

On an entirely different note, home sweet home. :)

9 comments:

Priya said...

US or no US, those flights would make anyone cringe. A few rough edges might have been smoothened, but I think the core remains intact. Ash and me had a similar conversation (but a totally different aspect) when he was at the airport on the way to his 'home, sweet home'.

Anantha said...

I totally think that you feel the way you feel 'cos you have something to compare it to. If India was the only country you ever lived in then I think you would not have a point of reference. And the biggest thing is how important education is in a person's social behavior. I am certain that half the airbus was full of people with no social skills or a decent level of education....

Radhika said...

why! the exact same thing happened to me on-route here when I stopped in Kuwait, including the passport incident!

la fleur said...

ahahaha :)

i can totally imagine some weirdo staring at you. why didn't you just smack him in the head?

Jaya said...

Priya - It was an experience to dread. I am going to avoid travel through the gulf at most costs (some deals are too good to pass by)

Anantha - I agree to the point of reference thing. But I am sure that such an experience would've traumatized me in a similar manner even with absolutely no reference. What say you?

Radhika - Really.. I think its a repeating pattern. Honest.

La Fleur - I seriously considered it and my head was running this non-stop track of "What the !$^%&@ are you staring at me for?" I took the easier route out and complained to the flight attendant.

Sachin said...

So did the person stop staring?

Jaya said...

Sachin - The flight attendant informed the guy that he could press the switch on the panel above to get their attention at any time and that there was no need to keep looking over his shoulder. I think that got the message across.

Ram said...

well.. you observations are valid, but the comparison is not. The US has far more regulations on the qualification of people it would let into it than the MidEast, where cheap labor is far more dominated by Indians than in the US, where Mexicans dominate that space. So, I think the comparison is not fair. I think people are unique for who they are. Taking the bright side, they did not try to fake out like many desis in the US do.

Jaya said...

Ram - I think you are missing something here. I NEVER compared the US to the Gulf.. I just meant that ever since my being there and being exposed to a bigger pool of external population, my expectancy of the people was different from what I was exposed to. Hehe. thats about it.

Post a Comment