These middle-aged Indian men...



It seems that off late most of my blog entries are emerging from my flight experiences. On deeper thought I feel the reason is that this is the only time when I sit in one place for so long and am almost forced to observe and think as a result. Otherwise I have comfortably slipped into the habit of being almost always on the move, given what a hopelessly restless spirit I am.

Okay, so this happened on the last weekend when I had two longish air journeys to endure. The first one was theatrical because of the way I reached reeeaaallly late, was denied check-in and then miraculously allowed to board. But it was the second one that caught me by surprise. What happened was that I had this big bag to carry and I was struggling with it everywhere. When I could not keep it in the overhead bin after repeated trials, an uncle standing close-by offered to help, and I was only too grateful.

That over and done, I was assured that someone similarly generous would come to my rescue after landing as well. Once our flight landed, I stood up and looked for that uncle but failed to recognize him among the mass. In that process I saw two other men staring at the attempts of a woman in the next row as she tried to take down her laptop. Some passengers seemed to have kept their own laptops on hers and the poor woman struggled to offload them and take hers from the heap. When she finally succeeded in doing so after a good five minutes, the men looked at each other, grinned and exchanged sarcastic expressions.

My bag was kept far away from where I stood and I failed to reach it even after stretching far enough. Next to me stood a girl and next to her was another man/uncle who happened to actually stand right under my bag. I looked at him and I don't know why but I asked him if he could bring it down for me.

He had an outright 'no' on his face and still he looked at the bag and said, "This one? No, I surely can't." I was quite numb because I never knew people could say no for a simple help. From the corner of my eyes, I saw those two same men looking at me now. I told him to move so that I could take it standing where he was now. He willingly obliged. I started the arduous task but soon realized that the bag was badly stuck somewhere. This polite man volunteered, "Why don't you wait for the doors to open and crowd to start moving?" Already knowing that I was failing at it, I agreed and infact sat down.

When the door opened, I started my struggle yet again only to stop the crowd behind me as the bag was too big and too stuck somewhere for me to take it. Meanwhile three or four men stood behind me with irritated expressions. From the middle of the crowd, then, I saw a tall man darting out, and pulling out my luggage with quiet ease and putting it on the floor for me to pull. I saw it was a handsome 'firangi' (as I like to call them), dressed to kill, the sorts we girls ogle at. I managed a meek thanks as the crowd got moving again.

It is really surprising and disgusting in some ways when you think about the mentality of so many Indian men. It seems that they want to avenge the rise of women. And it seems to be mostly among the middle-aged ones. They seem to be extremely self-conscious when faced with situations where they are with women other than their wives, and they do not know how to behave, leave aside showing chivalry. They do not know if they are supposed to help/be kind/show superiority/be scornful/look down upon/act jealous/be sensitive etc. This was especially evident because the foreign guy seemed completely at ease with the expectations out of him when a girl needed a little physical help, even though a lot of us associate them with being callous men who have no respect for the fairer sex. On many similar occasions I have noticed just the opposite.

By the way, while I was struggling with my gigantic bag, holding back a mob, I saw the two staring men pick up the laptops. So it was they who had placed theirs comfortably on that lady's one.

Comments

satishds said…
hi canary,
pirangi ka phone number ya kuch address liya kya? :)hehe....sad that it happened but if i were there i would have surely helped you ;)
Obi Wan said…
Kind of agree with you on the middle-aged men's mentality. Ithink it's also because of the fact that in their time(when they were in school/college primarily), the concept of friendship and comfort levels between men and women did not exist. This is apparent in the Hindi movies of the 70s also :-)

Btw, wish you a very happy new year. Hope Bangalore's treating you decently!
pRicky said…
hmm and then they cry crazy when u guys dint have good opinion about the middleaged fellow species of mine...
now i wonder with you exactly what was so difficult in pulling a bacg down...
and i still ambeating my brains and cant come with any reason...
hmmm
too bad...
amyth said…
phirangis respect others. it's a fact. u observe them. they would open doors for ladies, offer help when they see a lady in trouble etc. and that too, not just young phirangs. the middle-aged and the oler ones too. I think it's in their blood. Remember the old movies where men wearing hats always lift the hat and bow when they see ladies...

We do have to learn such things instead of just trying to mimic their dress and partying style... methinks
Canary said…
@Satish
very funny! :P

@Anurag
The TV guy brngs in the media here as well :)

@pricky
Coz it was tooo heavy :(
I hated expecting help too, but really cudnt help it then!

@Amit
Methinks that way too!
Anonymous said…
need a hand handling your baggage?? that's kind of stupid by all freakin accounts. what happened to the good old sensibility of cheking in big baggage, than dragging it to the cabin in the first place? i bet those men were rather laughing at your stupidity than anything else. think of the lesson learnt here. i bet you would think twice before dragging your oversized crap again to the cabin
Anurag said…
reading the above comment....someone really got pissed :o)
i too totally disagree with u
i am not chauvinistic....but the statements u have made....are based on a sample to wat 3 men....when at the same time....1 man helped u
ok...forget statistic...lemme start off :o)
1. first of all....when we talk of equality of the sexes...then there is supposed to be no expectations of help from others....since we are equals right....so why shld we say that those "men" didnt help me out....u can surely say...those "people" didnt help me out....men AND women included...but why corner men
2. if two men had kept their laptops on the woman's laptop...the woman shld have just pushed across those two lappies.....easy solution right :o)
3. u asked the man to help u with the bag...why not ask the girl :o)
4. wat was wrong with him sayin no....he didnt want to help u...he has the right to not want to help u...just as u have the right to not be disturbed in ur office when u r working..or i have the right to not be disturbed when i am watching a movie....same right
5. the firang helped u.....lemme tell u some experience i have had before...in india...when u voluntarily propose to help a lady or a girl, not always, but many a time, it is assumed that u r trying to do it to know that person n etc etc etc......so many guys dont try
6. where is the respect for the fairer sex coming into the picture.....just because u were expected to handle ur own luggage...does not mean those men in the place donot respect women

n finally canary...u r supposed to take care of ur own luggage...that is tenet number one of equality right.....independence n taking responsibility of wat is one's own work

hence i totally disagree with u....but then u can always say...i am being chauvinisitic here...that would be ur opinion n u have the right to express it :o)

adios
Anonymous said…
i so agree on number 4 anurag. and yeah, she did piss me off bigtime. and you are so right. girls here do not leave guys much options, and then they generalize. i held the door for a lady and her daughter at a mall, and they gave me those nasty looks. wtf. like the next thing i was to do was to rip her daughters clothes.
but i think the bigger picture is how she got her bag stuck in the first place. its easy to point out that those guys were cruel enough to giggle at her battle with her bag, than to ponder why the heck would you not follow airline regulations for cabin baggage in the first place. now wont that make everyone's life easy. some of us just have that knack of finding wrong in others, while whatever we do is right in and out...
D said…
Well, i totally agree with Anurag. You also behaved in a totaly Indian female fashion. Now since you know that guys were laughing at you, you could have told them not to giggle like girls and be of some help if they can. Also, with middle-age men if they are with their wives, its better if you ask their wives to help you out, so they'll direct their men:-) Nehw, an experience stands an experience!
Vik said…
Everyone is so totally agreeing or totally disagreeing! It's not a video tape guys, where you can be so sure about the the girl's and the men's physical built (the Inequality), their expressions and how badly the bags were stuck.

would be coming back to read ur replies to the above comments :)
Anurag said…
hey introvert
yes...i guess "totality" is a pretty strong thingy :o)
but then when i said i disagree...it was with the views expressed....thats all

i myself used to harbour pretty biased views...but then one person has made me see the other side of the coin too.....so i say there shld be equality

n for that to happen.....we have to get over our biases.....all of us have biases.....i do...i am sure u do too...maybe not a bias on the sexes...but other biases

u see all this sounds so global right...but then gyan is sometimes correct :o)

adios
Canary said…
@to Mr. Anonymous, Anurag, D and Introvert
Thanks for making this forum so interesting, with your comic exchanges.

p.s. It was just a one-off case and my reaction. You guys seem to have taken it too seriously :)
And ya, I would really prefer if Mr. Anonymous would disclose his identity. I genuinely appreciate your views and irritations. But beats me why people have to disguise themselves to speak their mind :p
Sushma said…
Hey there!
pretty rough experience, eh? Glad the firangee turned up to to your help. Well, ofcourse, I totally agree with you too..this is just your reaction, and some people seem to have taken it too very personally too. Well, again, there are two faces to a coin, and one can't blame them to think otherwise too...so, it all happens to be a matter of opinion.
My opinion, you ask? Well, I agree with you, obviously...what's wrong if people offer help to somebody?? It's not like it's some impossible task..you just couldn't reach your luggage, that's it..so, instead of standing and mocking, it'd be better if somebody would help.
All in all, a great post, and I'm sure, a greater experience too! Great job. Keep writing!
Sushma said…
My pleasure..though, sorry for the latency too
Well, I've posted a new post quite some days ago...just try refreshing your page. Also, another new post's coming up soon, probably in a day or two. (yeah, I'm having hols. now :))
pRicky said…
one thing still doesnt change...
it is no big deal to help anyone in the passing... so all arguments of totality are quite pointless... its not the question of sexist egos rather of courtsey...
Canary said…
@Sushma
:)
Are the holidays over now? I want them too! :@

@pricky
Bingo! :)
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Siddharth said…
The one thing that I find really funny (sometimes) and annoying (most of the times) is when people are ready to jump off the plane before it even lands...or when the crew is asking the passengers to keep their mobiles switched off amid the beeps and rings that can be heard across the cabin...i never understood whats the rush...
Manish Kumar said…
One can not generalise.But sometimes these things do happen. After all one uncle helped u also.

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