So today a telephone conversation with Babu got onto the subject of manners, I had hiccuped and almost instantaneously said “excuse me”. He started to tell me, that in his culture, it is considered rude to have manners around the people close to you.
Confused much? I was.
He said that Indians expect that they should be allowed to burp or whatever in front of others (more specifically friends and family) without apology, and that no pleases or thank you’s are required because it is expected that you can have that, or you deserve it, so no thanks is required.
He went on to say in fact that if you were to use manners at home or whatever it could in fact cause offence? For a girl who had been brought up always to use her “Ps and Qs” with a strong expectation of the same from everyone else, this is all a bit foreign to me (excuse the unintentional pun).
Don’t get me wrong, from my experience, he has better manners than most guys I’ve met, he works for a top cruise line – you couldn’t expect anything else – he’d be out of a job otherwise! If I do something nice for him he will always say thank you, and if he does wrong he will say sorry – I don’t think any man in my life has ever said sorry to me before!
So, maybe it is just something that is more localised to his friends and family, or even where he is from, or maybe it is more of a cultural thing, but I just don’t get it. No matter where I am, what I am doing, manners are the one thing I always take with me, and they generally get me quite far with others.
Maybe it was the chastisement that me and every other child growing up in Britain got whenever we didn’t use our manners that leads me to be so perplexed, so please excuse my ignorance.