Dirty Indians

Why is it that Indian shops and restaurants pay such scant regard to hygiene?
Our homes are fine. Our bathrooms at home, though always wet, is quite neat and clean. But what happens to us in public? Why are our public conveniences so filthy? Why do we behave like stray dogs, pissing and shitting as we please?
Let’s blame the folks who run the supermarkets, stores and restaurants for not cleaning up after their clients. However, the painful truth is that those who use it have poor hygiene and no concern for the person using the toilet after them.
For example, the Lulu Hypermarket here, offers the best deals on just about everything. Except the loos. Given that it’s a hypermarket, one would expect them not to scrounge on toilet rolls, washing fluid and hand wash. Given that they have a footfall of anything between 5000-12,000 a day, one would also expect them to employ a full time washroom attendant.
But Lulu easily has one of the filthiest washrooms in the city. One of the main reasons I don’t patronise the place.
The other contenders for dirtiest loos all happen to be Indian supermarkets or restaurants.
Yesterday, we went to Vasantha Bhavan here. Excellent vadais and pongals. And a loo that could easily have emptied our stomach of all the delicacies.
When we complained — and O had to use the bathroom urgently — the manager had it cleaned immediately. He then told us that they do keep cleaning it, but people just seem to mess it up so badly.
Would these people leave their home bathrooms in that state? Unflushed, tissues all over the place, wet toilet seats? Would they not make an attempt to clean it up for the sake of their family? Do they have to turn this selfish once outside their homes?
Amongst the southern states, it’s worst in TN. Not only do people think it’s ok to pee and crap where they please, they think loos are meant to be dirty. I don’t know about AP, but I do know that in Kerala and Karnataka, public conveniences are not such a nightmare.
Here, joints visited by Arabs and Indians have the worst hygiene. The Filipinos and others from the Far East, keep their washrooms clean. The westerners again keep it dry and neat. Even the bars that pissed drunk westerners go to, have cleans loos. So it’s rather embarrassing that a dirty loo would immediately translate into one used by us.
I am so angry. So embarrassed.
When I see people leave the loo in an unusable state, I feel like dragging them back in and forcing them to clean it up with their bare hands! Disgusting idiots.

pity their ignorance

My colleagues (she & she) have already blogged about this, so I am not going to repeat the sentiments that I wholeheartedly agree with.

To give a background of sorts — we work in a multi-cultural publishing house. Our colleagues — full-time, part-time, freelance and extended company — hail from a whole load of different countries: Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Poland, Britain, USA, Bahrain…
And this is what we have noticed of the Arabs. They can be funny and kind and friendly and helpful (rarely all of it at the same time!) and occasionally professional. But they are not often aware of the world beyond their comfort zone, nor are they open minded.

We have colleagues who have worked with us for nearly five years, and know little or nothing about the other cultures they are exposed to. We have Christians and Buddhists and Hindus and non-Arab Muslims working together.
But to them we are all collectively known as ‘non Arabs’ who eat unappetising food (real rich coming from someone who lives on macaroni and foul beans) and speak a funny tongue. And culture? Whatever could that be?

They never once wish us for Diwali or Christmas or Onam. Not even when we thrust some goodies on them for the occasion.
Every time we have an official lunch or an office get together, the ‘non-Arabs’ indulge their intolerance by opting for an Arab cuisine restaurant. Because if there is one thing ‘they’ can really do better than the rest of us put together, it is sulk and crib.

However, for the sake of peace and harmony, and also because the rest of us don’t mind different experiences, we go with what pleases them. We organise Iftars and celebrate Eids.
The worst of it is that they take our accommodations for granted.

Yet, what I feel towards them is not anger.
It is pity, and a gleeful sense of superiority.
A race that has contributed so much to astronomy and mathematics, and who were known for their adventurous spirit and explorations, is now reduced to a bunch of ignorant, narrow minded and insular people.
When we talk about their authors, their food and their landmarks, why do they never show curiosity about the different cultures they interact with daily?
They can’t even accept that non-Arab Muslims may have a different way of practising their religion. It’s their way or haram**case point below**.

In fact few of them show interest in other Arab nations, even. So where is the question of wanting to know more about Poland and Nepal?

They know Amitabh Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan. But please!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I said… every bit of indifference they display is for me a point scored on behalf of the society, religion and culture that moulded me and people like me.

** Case 1: We were discussing a contact we knew at work. The guy is a Hindu, married to a Muslim. And immediately, barked a colleague… oh, she is no Muslim. When we tried explaining that in India there was provision for people of different faiths to marry without conversion, he turned a deaf ear to our explanation and maintained that if the husband was a Hindu, then she can’t be a Muslim.
** Case 2: I described a friend as a devout Muslim — meaning she prays, and believes and does charity and observes Ramadan. The response: She can’t be, because she doesn’t cover her hair, and wears blouses that expose her hands.

this is qatar. and i am bloody fed up!

Check THIS out.
today’s headline. why don’t they just pass a law making it mandatory for expatriates (specifically asian expats) to walk around in shackles, and abandon all relationships back home?
what are we to these effing a’O’? just machines who work with neither feelings nor rights?
they talk about the rights of sponsors… rights of the billionaire human rights violators? is there no justice in this world? is it enough if they are born as rabid rats in their next janam? what about now?
i am beyond cribbing, and now at the point of breaking… i am so angry, upset… need to flee this place.
if this weren’t bad enough, read this and this.
why am i still here? why? why? why?!

where else?

few other places will offer an opportunity like this.
in a class of 13 in my arabic class, we are 2 indonesians, 3 indians, 1 pakistani, 1 russian, 1 dane, 1 norwegian, 2 iranians, 1 filipina, 1 brit…
anywhere you go here, you will find such diversity… i’ve heard that there is even a sole icelandic out here in Doha, somewhere…
that’s the interesting part about the Gulf. how people from across the world see it as a shot at a better life.
the not so interesting part is that there is not much melting in this cultural cauldron… so your take out in terms of experience is much less than it ought to be.

guthra, kifaya… sexy by any other name

some guys make it pansy-ish, some make it sexy… guys who wear a baseball cap for instance. or hair falling over their face… or just the way they wear a smile.
Out here, that one thing is the kifaya or guthra… the long flowing headscarf. A really common site at traffic signals, malls, near any shiny/reflective surface — arab men adjusting their kifaya. there is a precision to making it look casual. right above the forehead, there maybe 2-3 light pleats. the scarf is also casually thrown over the head on one side. older, more distinguished men, let it just flow, but are particular about the crease above the forehead.
in some countries, they tie it like a turban… on Omani men, it just looks, sexy, sexy, sexy…
but my personal favourite is when one end is casually tossed over the head, the other end rests behind the shoulder… a perfect fit is a day old stubble, twinkling eyes, a sweet smile, and a gentlemanly gesture that says, ‘yes you are welcome to cut in, and cross the lane… go ahead’
oooh, the guthra, with some traffic etiquette, can go a long way!