We Indians don’t hug. We are impatient. And we look suspiciously at British food. This is what Britain’s national tourism agency issued in its guidelines on the etiquette of dealing with foreigners who will be visiting London, for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
But Indians object. "I think it’s the opposite," says much-loved author Ruskin Bond from his home in the Mussoorrie hills. "We are a patient lot. We have to put up with a great deal, and we have learnt the art. And we hug every time we meet an old friend. It’s in fact in England that people have stopped hugging."
British author William Dalrymple, who lives in a Chattarpaur farmhouse, bursts out laughing: "Haha... I think even the British look suspiciously at British food!" Quite a few heads nod at that. "They are right about our suspicions regarding their food. They need to work on it," feels novelist Advaita Kala. "I don’t dislike British food, but it’s bland. Actually, the British are crazy for our food," says fashion designer Rina Dhaka, adding that the hesitation to hug isn’t restricted to Indians. "Even Britons don’t like being hugged. Aren’t they too stiff?" she asks aloud.
Advaita adds, “We’ve had such a long relationship with the British, and still they call us impatient. They just don’t understand us, even after all these years!”
Indians are impatient
The French are rude
Never mistake a Canadian for American
Australians use coarse language
Middle Easterners are demanding