You know you’re overdue leave when every small incident seems to bring that red mist down and you feel like you’re spending most of your day controlling your natural urge to strangle people. There are those among us for whom this is normal, everyday behaviour, of course. But for most of us, it comes in that last two or three weeks before flying off to pastures greener for a well-earned break being forced to eat stale
Quick diversion to ask a perennial question. Why are you on duty when you go home, but they’re on holiday when they visit you out here?
So this time of year is a great time to catch one of those sights unique to the east-meets-west polyglot melting pot that is
It’s one of those facts of life here, where the world’s cultural tectonic plates rub, that different people react in different ways to different situations. The personal space of the average Brit is about three metres. For the average Malabari it’s about two millimetres. When Arab women see a cute baby, they like to fuss over it, squeeze its cheeks and give it sweets. Touch a European woman’s baby and she’ll mace you and leave you lying in the street in a heap, puking and crying. Northern Europeans queue. Nobody else bothers.
And many people from India, particularly the south it would seem, giggle when they’re nervous. It’s a natural reaction for them, particularly when people are so rude as to raise their voices. And there’s no better way to send an upset European’s temper into the stratosphere than to laugh at them when they’re shouting at you.
It always reminds me of that classic piece of that classic comedy,
He giggled and it got twisted.