Sounds familiar? Ever observed someone you know at work, outside of the work environment, and felt they’re different, more like the rest of the people. I have, many a times.
In India, there are two cultures at play in our daily lives.
One is the real culture that’s out there on the street. The culture that’s come about living with inadequacies for the population. Not enough space on the road. Not enough seats in School. Not enough space on the Bus. In a culture like that, it’s Survival of the Fittest, with no regard to fellow men & women, They’re simply Competition. In a culture like that, a human is simply Demand, and there’s enough of it. In a country of over 1 billion, there’s definitely no scarcity of people, and what’s not scarce is often taken for granted.
The other culture is what the companies are importing from foreign shores, and individuals are adopting as they travel more & more. In that culture, people are well behaved, courteous, polite, acknowledge people, hold the door for them. Acts that exhibit selfishness are looked down upon. A kind of culture that comes out from abundance. There’s enough for everyone, so there’s no real reason to not treat fellows humans well.
Not to say that there’s anything Right & Wrong about these, both are appropriate for their individual situations & settings. In the first culture, Push & Shove doesn’t mean you bear ill intent for those on the receiving end, they are merely casualties of your selfishness, which is the popular way of life. On the other end, in the other culture, if someone holds open a door for me, it doesn’t mean it’s a heartfelt gesture. The gestures itself have become a norm in the society and a lot of times, are just followed for the sake of conformance.
The interesting thing is how living in india, we casually switch between these two cultures as we step in and out of our offices (and some other controlled environments). I might cut into someone’s lane, honking, on the road, but hold the door for the same person as he walks into the office*. This creates a weird duality of behavior, where it becomes difficult to gauge intent from action.
* But not do that for an access controlled door to avoid unauthorized tailgating 😛
Let’s look at four (theoretical) behavior sets someone could exhibit outside & inside controlled environments.
|D-D||Discourteous||Discourteous||Probably someone who doesn’t believe in courtesy, or maybe in acts of courtesy that are done without meaning them. Someone very practical. Might get strange looks at work.|
|C-D||Courteous||Discourteous||While in Rome, Do the romans … Err, I mean Do as the romans do. Most commonly observed behavior amongst the 4 buckets. On the side of practicality & conformance.|
|C-C||Courteous||Courteous||The idealist. A lot of people moving to India from West fall in this category. Gets strange looks outside work, and often people think he/she is going to pull some prank & might search for a hidden camera. Or, people might think it’s someone gone Bonkers, or visiting from SatYug. Once the initial apprehension fades, the courtesy shown by these individuals is misused, abused & taken advantage of, in full measure. People in this category often decide to convert to C-D. Some get really pissed off and convert to D-D.|
|D-C||Discourteous||Courteous||Is a strange combination. Someone who loves fellow humans, but hates his Job & cowerkers. Individuals sometimes move into this bucket just before they are about to quit, or while serving their Notice period. Defiance!|