Sunday, September 12, 2010
Madras Mail: Part 2
I have never felt this scattered in my life. In the past six months I have lived in three corners of the country, changed five beds (and sometimes with no bed at all), basically living out of a suitcase. Madras has been more difficult than I apprehended. I have tried not to react, jump to conclusions, but it is a difficult city to live and set up a house in if you have no one you know. The common people, and by common people I mean shop keepers, auto drivers, bus conductors, pedestrians, co- passengers, the teeming hundreds you see around you are quite hostile to anyone who is not a local. The hostility is not very evident in the beginning. Over time you will start noticing it. Initially I had mistaken it to be the general nature of the language. People came across as rude even when they were not. But now I have realised that they generally have very little patience with anyone who does not understand their tongue - to an extent that they may not even want or care for your business. There is, of course, another class of people - the cooler English speaking, goatee/French-cut bearing upper class who you will find quite rarely unless you happen to move in those circles. However, there is somehow a scarily large chunk of people who are completely bereft of manners or general niceness, who are frankly uncivilised and scornful in away that shows a deep contempt for everyone who is somewhat better off.