Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Officer on Deck ...

I've been here more than five months now and I am still not used to the deference shown to a) me as a white man and/or b) me as someone perceived as belonging to a higher class (read caste).

Security guards -- and sometimes doormen -- salute me like I'm General Oatis, not just Mr. Oatis. At work, the security guy at the door often stands or begins to stand when I approach the door.

This week, two of the guys who clean the apartments here and a third guy who seemed to be part of their group lined up -- at attention -- just outside our building as I came out the door. I was tempted to stop and inspect them.

The closest I've come to being in the military was a six-year stint in the Boy Scouts. Still, I've seen enough war movies that I have to fight down an impulse to walk over to one of these saluting guys and ask, "What town are you from, soldier?"

5 Comments:

At 4:31 AM, Blogger Simon G said...

I think this means we British have something to answer for. (But I'm probably not the first to make the point.) Is that the way we expected to be treated?

 
At 4:08 PM, Blogger Bob Dively said...

This week, two of the guys who clean the apartments here and a third guy who seemed to be part of their group lined up -- at attention -- just outside our building as I came out the door.

Sure they weren't lining up for tips?

 
At 8:37 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Simon -- I don't know if it's the British or the caste system. Or both.

Bob -- Very good point.

 
At 12:20 AM, Blogger Mili said...

Its a little difficult to explain what this is. And its not just white men that get this. All Indian chauffeurs, doormen do that for their employers. And sometimes at a nice restaurant, the doorman will salute you as you enter.

 
At 10:58 PM, Blogger Bharat said...

I could'nt stop laughing at your post ..."I've seen enough war movies that I have to fight down an impulse to walk over to one of these saluting guys and ask, "What town are you from, soldier?"

These guys have a false notion that all westerners have lot of money and will tip them handsomely...they do the same thing to locals who appear rich.

 

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