Monday, 13 April 2015

Idiosyncrasies - A few of them here

Am sure you have come across something typical of a particular country or people or race or have it pointed out by someone. Here are some that I have come across. 

Google Images
Google Images
We are known outside of India for the typical way in which we nod our head to questions asked of us. This nod is termed the Indian nod by non-Indians. This nod has spawned several communications related debates, whether it means "yes" or "no". People asking the question gets confused. So far, I am yet to come across anyone other than Indians indulging in this nod.

We also don't belong to the tissue culture much, preferring handkerchiefs instead. Then comes the IST, also known as not being or starting things on time. Our clothing is full of colours and cheerful prints, unlike in some of the countries I have seen. Most of their clothing are in only so many colours and that too without any prints. Maybe this is the reason why so many non-Indians say that India is so full of colours and vibrant too.

Malaysia has its own version of IST and it is called elastic time. 

Google Images
In Singapore, one of the typical sights would be people sipping through a straw, a brownish liquid in little transparent plastic bags with a plastic thread. On closer observation, one can see that it is hot coffee. Another typical sight would be people (mostly women) pushing or dragging personal shopping carts to do their grocery shopping. It is also heartening to see men and women dressed in complete business formals but wearing hawaii slippers or flip flops for convenient commuting and then change into formal shoes just before they enter the office building. No qualms there about wearing chappals though dressed in full formals.

In Australia, women are referred to as Sheela. The ladies' rest rooms mention "Sheela" instead of "Ladies". 

In Europe, and maybe in other countries too, I could never understand why winter coats are predominantly black in colour. One does spot a red coat or a white coat but it's a very rare sight.

Care to share the idiosyncrasies you have observed?


  1. Come to think of it, there could be hundreds of them when it comes to India. Piping hot tea in plastic bags is a common sight here in Gujarat. Takeaway tea from the friendly neighborhood tea "ketli" are always in plastic bags. I do not feel that wearing colored cloths or wearing flip-flops can be termed as an idiosyncrasy. It is more of a fashion statement. Handkerchiefs are a lot more environmental friendly no ? No trees cut to wipe your nose :-) Nodding ? probably yes. But then, the nods of the people in the north are not same as those from the south or west of India. Black winter coats ? hmm 'coz black keeps your body heat in :-)

    1. Am sure there are thousands of idiosyncrasies in India and elsewhere too Ravi. :) Thanks for mentioing the ones you have come across. What I have listed are just a few from what I have seen and these barely scratch the surface. :) I agree with you that using hankies is very much environment friendly than using tissues. Thankfully this tissue culture hasn't caught on much in India. The range and variety of colourful clothing in India is in a league by itself. Haven't seen that in the countries I have been to, except in Indian clothes shop there too. :) And about the black winter coats.. your explanation makes sense . :)

  2. this is the first time I've heard of drinking coffee through a straw! I did not know about 'Sheela' either ...this is a cool post!