"Politeness is to human nature what warmth is to
- Arthur Schopenhauer ( 1788 - 1860 )
I wish. But it seems human nature is less prone to melting than wax. In fact, rather than making people help you, it seems to be taken as an indication of weakness. It is really difficult to get anything done if you insist on being polite. People take you for a push-over. Someone who can be easily swindled.

I'm not street-smart. Far from it. I always wait patiently at the grocer’s or at banks or wherever else a queue forms with me as a member. I never push my way to the front. I never protest when people push and shove. Though I think it may be attributed more to my lack of aggression ( and maybe a spine :( ). I always feel that isn't worth losing your dignity for. I'd prefer waiting and not getting rather than jumping into the fray and fighting to be amongst the first few to collect. And of course, that often leaves me without. It really irritates me, but I get over it. Though I do believe it would be different ( I hope ) if I was ever unlucky enough to be waiting in line for some sort of handouts for me and my family.

Bombay was ranked as the least polite and helpful city in the world in this year's survey by Reader's Digest. Delhi was much higher up in the list. I haven't lived in Bombay. But if the survey is true, I guess it would be since the extremely large portion of humanity that inhabits the city is so caught up in the struggle of day to day life and under pressure to make ends meet that it can't give much thought to anyone else's troubles.

I'm staying in Delhi now. People here are supposed to be really helpful. I don't know about that. It doesn't seem that much different from home ( read Pune ) to me. People are cordial enough. Though I suspect the belief stems from the populace's rather intrusive interest in everything. They have this need to know exactly what is going on. People will drop what they're doing, stop on their way to work, if they spot something interesting going on. They are ready participants in whatever debate or fracas happens to be in progress. Other folks may like the attention given to their cause but I happen to be very uncomfortable with it. I like my privacy. A lot. I don't want everyone to know about what is going with my life. What you call helpful I call invasion of privacy.

Like with everything else, I guess, moderation is the key. You should be polite, but back it up with some firmness. If you're not getting your rights, do away with the graciousness and niceties and get down to brass tacks.

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