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 Blooming Stars

Good Manners - 1

            Good manners denote the level of mental hygiene and good discipline, and are indispensable for holistic living. They immensely add to the joy of living, and considerably reduce tension and stress. Rude manners have led to conflicts and mental and physical anguish. Good manners shown in public or private immeasurably increase the quality of life. Basic good manners are necessary for orderly living. Rude manners are in bad taste, and often go against not only good etiquette but also thoughtfulness, good norms, and order. Selfishness, self-centeredness, bad upbringing, and lack of knowledge and training, and lack of a social sense cause bad and rude manners. Persons who habitually engage in bad manners are often impulsive, and do not take into consideration the feelings and needs of others.

            They do not mind violating others’ rights, think only of their immediate gain, and are not aware of the inconveniences, and sometimes their thoughtless behaviors cause even fatal accidents. Ironically some of the persons who exhibit inconsiderate and bad manners may be seen to be very kind and thoughtful human beings in their home settings or private dealings. This indicates there is a disconnection between their private and public persona. They are not integrated persons. Some of these persons are thrill-seekers who just do not think of the inconveniences they cause. Some of them do it because they can get away with it. Bad manners and illegal behaviors flourish when good norms and laws are not enforced.

            There is also a general deprivation of vigor, weakening of the social fabric, and convenient justification of bad acts by sayings such as what’s the big deal?, why such fuss?, everyone does it, get over it if some conscientious persons protest or voice concern. People are so used to such rude and anti-social behaviors that they have become the rule rather than the exception. This attitude is more noticeable, perhaps, in societies subjected to long periods of bad treatment such as domination, subjugation, slavery, race and caste discriminations, and colonialism. Some of the bad manners I have especially observed since I have returned to India are:

            Driving: Indian driving is bad and dangerous. The drivers do not follow any rules and regulations. The Kerala drivers are markedly notorious. They make roads a circus arena to perform acrobatic feats. They are eminently good in squeezing through extremely narrow passages. They overtake from right and left. Some are typical bullies who browbeat and dare others. They are daredevils on the go menacing everyone on their path. They do not take turns in passing, at crossroads, or in difficult traffic conditions. They turn narrow two-lane roadway into four-lane mayhem. They create a needless, willful bottleneck and get everybody including themselves stuck. They get into every gap between vehicles that safe drivers leave, unmindful of the traffic delay they create for themselves and others.

            At night they do not dim their glaring high-beam head lights that blind the on-coming drivers. It appears that they consider the courteous, law-abiding drivers as fools who do not know anything better. They are so aggressive that they try to find fault with others even when they are in the wrong, and their strategy seems to be that offense is the best defense. The bus drivers are so callous that they stop their buses almost in the middle of the road often at inconvenient places to let passengers alight and board blocking all the traffic. The drivers of auto rickshaws (three wheelers with small bodies) and motorcycles are a law unto themselves finding their way through every conceivable gap between vehicles leaving dents and scratches on others’ vehicles, and what they plan to do on the spur of the moment is anybody’s guess. Driving in the wrong direction in one way streets and highways is not unusual. Making turns without signaling or driving at night without lights are of not of much concern.

            With this kind of traffic situation, I am only surprised that there are not more accidents. In most driving one’s convenience, wants, and selfish interests seem to be given priority to the detriment of safety, social demands, and fairness. One can also expect plastic wrappers of food, bottles, and papers to fly out of the car at any time littering all along the road. Dumping of garbage in the forest along scenic route is also not unusual. It is also interesting that quite a few law-abiding Indians or persons of Indian origin seem to conveniently forget their good manners once they land in Kochi airport. If we can do it with impunity, why not?! It is also important to note that mediocre and unprincipled politicians concerned only about staying in power are unconcerned about the primitive conditions of scarce roads while a great number of new vehicles everyday are taxed to use the already highly overcrowded roads with few sign boards.


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