The hot summer day in mid June post the full moon when Bangalore has just begun to experience some cooling winds and the temperature is commencing a lower plunge I set foot on Indigo flight to Jaipur. I was gearing myself up for the warm weather of the Pink City in Rajasthan having packed all my summery clothes.
While the lady at the check in desk was a pleasantly polished young woman the joy of flying was soon snatched away by co passengers. As I took my seat and settled in I noticed a peculiar group of men board the aircraft. Most of them were dressed almost identically in long white robes and white headgear. Some of them had long white tops and trousers and traditional white caps called topi.
There were two men accompanying an elderly gentleman who I believe was around 80years. They wanted to be seated together but their boarding passes spoke differently. However, having convinced fellow passengers to grant them their wish they finally sat together in the row just ahead of where I was. The old man and the one wearing identical long robe sat together while the other guy wearing a white trouser and grey top sat across the aisle seat on opposite side.
The flight had barely shut the doors that they started munching on dates one after the other. To my utter disgust the men kept on tearing bits from the dates one by one with their fingers, chewing them delectably and discarding the seeds in the back pocket of the seats in front of them. The sticky fingers that tore bits off the dates were wiped off by the seat pocket. Being hygienic was obviously not a priority. I wondered if that is what being culturally rich was meant to be.
Their attire of long robes and head wear articles spoke about them being very culturally proud in these times of colored shirts and trouser pants. Here I was witnessing a different aspect of the culture only being restricted to the appearance and not showing up in their mannerisms. Obviously they had no respect for the future passengers who might be using the same seat when off they moved their sandals and placed their feet on the seat as if this was their bedroom.
By now I was just getting used to seeing these mannerisms when one of them bought a tin of cookies from the service cart. He munched on the cookies and once again proved his ill manners. He decided not to wait for the stewardess to come with the garbage receptacle bag and threw the tin under his seat not caring a bit about the passenger on the seat behind him.
How many times, how many of us land up displaying such mannerisms oblivious of the disgust we create? How cultured can we be, showing off our best behaviors amidst known circles yet uncouth etiquette elsewhere? Let’s reflect and give a thought about our being cultured off or off cultured.