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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Chp 129. Serve-us-not, we’re Mizos.

There is one peculiar characteristic I’ve noticed in my girlfriend; whenever we go out to dine at a restaurant or hotel, she never lets the waiter serve us the dishes. She is dead set against other people serving us food; she considers it degrading and demeaning for a fellow human being to do something for us that we can easily do by ourselves, even if their job profile requires them to perform such a task. An admirable quality, if you ask me.

“They’ve already bought the food to the table, how difficult is it for us to lift our hands to serve the dish by ourselves?” she would often remark. Of course if we are having something really fancy that requires extraordinary talent from the waiter’s part to serve the special dish, then she lets the waiter do the needful. But when it comes to “ordinary” items like rice, noodles, gravy etc, she always insists on serving the dishes herself.

Before jumping into our own respective conclusions, I think it is very important to take a deeper look at our Mizo culture. Just because most of us (at least a majority of the youth of Aizawl) wear the latest designer labels and listen to the latest hiphop chartbusters doesn’t mean that we are at par with the much more modernized Western World or Indian Metropolis. In such places, the society has progressed up to such a level that the service industry is one of the healthiest Industries in the economy.

In a developed Country or Metropolis, people pay for the services rendered onto them. Right from valet parking to door-man tipping, many employees thrive on such business. In Mizoram, such services are almost unheard of. Most of the restaurants in Mizoram are places where you have to place your order and wait for the designated chef to finish cooking your order so that you can take it back to your table. That’s how life is over there: Simple and uncomplicated.

That does not mean we are displaying some weird tribal streak or anything like that. It saddens me whenever I come across such Mizos (expatriates) who have been away from Mizoram for hardly a few years and all of a sudden have this detestable attitude towards Mizoram for its “backwardness”, “naiveté” and even “tribalism”. Being individually backward is different from being economically backward. Mizoram is a very young and petite State with an extremely scarce job opportunity, and it would be exceedingly unfair to even attempt to compare it with the social life of other progressive States of India.

Another important factor we cannot afford to over-look: the cultural peculiarities of the Mizos.

Nearly 20 years I’ve been studying outside Mizoram now. Whenever I tell my non-Mizo friends about the “Servant-Master” relationship in Mizoram, nobody believes me. They exclaim, “Kima, that’s a load of bull.” But it’s very much true.

What they find so hard to believe, is the fact that in Mizoram (those households having domestic help), the servant/maid/butler not only live in the same house with his/her own private room, but also dines with the family on the same table at the very same time!

Yes I can picture you finding that hard to swallow too. But it’s true. Any Mizo will vouch for it. In Mizoram, class distinction is not very prominent. Social stratification is usually based purely on one’s income and job designation. And social mobility between two different classes is easier compared to most other Indian societies. Hence, servants are also treated with deep respect and almost “equals”.

When I was studying in Kolkata, I had a Marwari Local Guardian. He used to take me out of the hostel once every month to stay at his joint-family home for the weekend. I was surprised at what I used to notice over there. During any meal, all the womenfolk of the house sat on the floor or in the kitchen making fresh chapattis for the men who were seated on the dining table. The family was a very large one, but none of the wives ever got to sit with their husbands during any meal. After we all finished eating, the wives washed the plates and then only eat the remaining food. Just imagine how a servant would be treated in such a household if this was the treatment meted out by the family members themselves: Having a servant sitting with the family during a meal in such a household would be sacrilegious!

Even if that is just the oddity of that particular family, I’ve been all over India enough to know that servants are treated almost like outcasts. Most of them sleep on the hard kitchen floor at night. Currently the trend is a “visiting maid”, where the household employs such a maid to come over to their house at a particular time on a daily basis. That way it works out best for both parties: The family don’t have to support her with food and shelter, and the maid can have multiple employers.

But in Mizoram, such “visiting maids” are unheard of. The servant stays with the family on a permanent basis. And youngsters address them with a “U” prefix to their names. “U” (pronounced “oooh”) means to call somebody an elder brother or sister, a sign of showing the deepest respect to somebody older than you: U-Kima, U-Sangi, U-Jimmy, U-Mary etc etc…

Another difference: In a metropolitan culture, if you are (formally) invited to a friend’s place for dinner, the least courtesy is to take along a bottle of wine or something like that. And if you wash your dirty dishes, it would be considered an extremely grave insult to the host’s hospitality. In our Mizo culture, that is not how things are. Usually the guests aren’t expected to bring anything to the host’s table, but it is common courtesy for the older members of the “guest group” to help the host with the cooking, and later on, the washing.

As mentioned before, in most societies, a guest washing the dishes is considered as an insult to the hospitality shown by the host. But in Mizoram, common etiquette is for the guest to “attempt to wash the dishes”. Of course the host usually intervenes and stops the guest before he/she can actually wash them, but it is considered quite a bad manner if you are just dumping the dishes without even attempting to wash your own plate. Do remember this point if you are ever invited over to a Mizo’s house for dinner. As you are done eating, attempt to wash your plate. Try making a loud indication that you’ve finished eating, if you are afraid the host might not realize you’ve finished eating . Exclaim, “oooh what a lovely meal”. Subtle hints only. Do not go around proclaiming, “Ah, I’ve finished eating. Now I am going over to the kitchen sink to wash my plate with my own hands!”

Later on, the elder youth of both sides of the family (guest and host) get together to wash all the dirty dishes, while the parents and children relax in the living room eating paan and smoking cigarettes or watching the idiot box.

That is why culture is very important: Culture of the particular society and their perception on various issues. A servant dining with the family is normal in our Mizo society, but it is not so in most other Indian societies. Similarly, manual labor is usually confined to the lower classes in other societies whereas in Mizoram, people of different statuses rub shoulders with each other during such manual labors [Digging graveyards, cleaning ditches, farming etc]. The same issue can have different perceptions in every society. Most Mizo youth consider Call center jobs and Civil service to be extremely prestigious job designations. The Metropolitans usually consider such occupations as “last resort jobs” or “something that you do when you fail in everything else”.

Coming back to my earlier topic, I think my girlfriend has a very good point. Some of you may say “It’s our money and we can spend it anyway we like. And we like to be treated as Royalty at such restaurants.” Sure, I am not here to dictate the way you manage your financials. Your money - your wish. Just consider this as a friendly advice. The modern capitalist class is less cohesive than the medieval aristocracy which was based on noble descent. Birla, JRD, Mittal, Ambani, Rockafeller, Carnegie, Ford etc are just some of the greatest success stories in recent times. They all started from the lowest rung of the ladder working their way up the industrial society with nothing but hard-work, initiative and enterprise. They truly deserved to be served. Whereas when most of us are barely earning enough to make ends meet or are still depending on our parents for “pocketmoney”, can you honestly say you have a clear conscience to let somebody else serve you food at a restaurant?

Food for thought. Peace out!

44 comments:

benjamin rualthanzauva said...

I find visiting maid handy.

Anonymous said...

The point you figure that we, Mizos do not distinct ourselves in our society is the one that made me proud of being a Mizo. From our history and tradition we practise egalitarian society, i find it very very good. Ofcourse there are always some difference between people who 'have'and who 'dont have', but that is not what i am saying here. The fact that we are all equal unlike the Indians.

Your girlfriend sounds great, she did the right thing. I personally believe thats how it should be in treating the waiter etc., mainland Indians may treat them differently, but that doesnt mean we should behave like that. I personally feel that we should practise the good habit of our Mizo culture whereever we are,and i do not fully agree with the phrase "Do as the Romans when in Rome", but instead to know 'what' and 'when' to practise the good habit of our culture in other places. In this regard, your girlfriend action is the right example.

Kim, you write well, its always stimulating to read your writings.

Jason said...

Thanks for the insights into Mizo culture.

illusionaire said...

@ Ben: I find visiting maid handy

Uhhhh... was there a double meaning in your statement? :-))) On a more serious note, yup, in the metropolis, visiting maids are very handy, taking the various situation into consideration.

@ Jason: Anytime brother. I amalways free to tell others about my culture.

illusionaire said...

@ anonymous: Thanx for your comments. You know what? If my girlfriend ever reads your comment, she must be grinning from ear to ear and blushing at the same time to :)

I will try my best to highlight aboutthe various issues in our community, as long as there are people ready to read what I write. I find this subject very interesting, especially since I started reading about sociology for my UPSCa prelims :)

Thanx again for the comment once again. I do hope u leave a name next time. There's no need to be strangers among our own community. God bless.

SEKIBUHCHHUAK said...

I girlfriend chu van hmu ve chak..a fel hmel hle mai:))

Ngaihnawm leh hle mai.Mizo nih a nuam thin e.

Ti zawng hian zawhna nawi deuh ka rilruah a lo lang a.

Tlawmngaihna kan tih or mi tlawmngai,kan culture a kan hlut/mawi kan tih em em hi,Honest loh na chi khat or dawt sawi na chi khata ni thei em?{eg:Hnatlan nikhua ah,hah em em chung pawn ka la hah love kan la ti talh te!.

Thil kan duh reng poh duh lo kan han ti hmasa phot ang te.min zawh nawn leh si loh chuan,min zawttu kha polite lo kan ti let deih a.}

Mizoram a,Kan awmpui te kan en dan hi nalh/mawi em em rual hian.Awmpui te nen a kan inhre chiang lutuk or kan in chenchilh/awmho hi a him ber em aw?En chian deuh a ngai em?Abikin,Khawchhak lam unau awmpui tan phei chuan.[hmuhsit vang nilovin]

Shahnaz Kimi said...

Kima, In the Multi-Kulti(German term for multi-cutural society)I live in, as you said, it is normal to bring something for the host or hostess when invited, and till the host/hostess clears the plates, one is expected to sit down, except to go to toilet:-) But it is quite normal that guests helps you wash up the dishes, atleast the ones that cannot fit or is not suitable for dishwasher.
'Visiting' maid is also common here, but they normally only come once or twice a week
Cheers to your girlfriend, she sounds awesome....

philo said...

As people continue to ask about the location of culture, your ethnographical details were observantly telling on the still nebulous idea. To serve or not to serve, Id reckon no one actually deserves to be served--whether a Tata or Ford--but that service is the output of the social and economic configurations we put ourselves in, create for ourselves or are created for us. So when a joint family in Kolkatta has their women sitting down on the floor, there are significations of power and authority than just the obvious disparity in eating levels and temperatures of the food eaten. I dont intend to be-labour the issue but even the 'deserved' rhetoric itself is a figment of power relations undergirded by economic disparities. If Kiran Mozumdar were to travel by the the Mumbai Metro general comptmnt without the trappings of a CEO, rather than the 'deserved' treatment, im certain she'd be meted with the standard gropings and lewd remarks.
To paraphrase your observation, cultures are systemic wholes of knowing, being and organising so that within one, there are many aspects from other cultures that seem out of place. All the more the need for preserving these particularities especially with the monocultural tendencies of the World Bank, McDonalds and their ilk. Conversely also the needed caution as cultures evolve over time and could be dated. The role of religion as a moderating-in both senses of the term-factor in such cultural configurations is a trajectory worth pursuing as some of your earlier posts have attempted. Thans again

Allen said...

I also don't like the waiter serving the stuff. And I don't like the consept of having an ironing person to iron your clothes etc etc. I feel these are basic things which are demeaning to ask someone else to do.

Same with asking servants to sit of the floor or whatever - absolutely ridiculous.

Maybe there is some Mizo in me :P

illusionaire said...

@ Allen: lolz :-) Yeah I guess there is a Mizo in you :-) Sometimes we don't even realize we let others do all these stuff for us, as it sometimes come with the territory. It's a really admirable thing that you have such a characteristic within you dude. Kudos.

@ Shanaz: Thanx, it's really great to know the table etiquette from your place. Just how different is it from our Mizo society's when it comes to other norms other than table manners?

illusionaire said...

@ Philo: Your theory of Societal-Evolution may hold water in your points, as capitalism gives rise to such industries. I was just trying to highlight the influence of culture in such a capitalistic society and also tried to point out it's limitations. For example, in Mizoram suppose the GDP and per capital consumption increases with abundant job opportunities, do you think there will ever be the rise of the service industry as is observed in other places in India (other cultures)? Or will Mizoram continue to be in a service-less state even with money pouring in the coffers, because of our "equality before all" cultural practice? That's one of the "food for thought" I was trying to pass across... :)

illusionaire said...

@ sekibuhchhuak:

ka girlfren chu nia engtika mawni ka lo intro duce ve ang che :-P

i rawn zawt tha hlawm hle mai, mahse kei tak chuan han chhang theih ka nei manglo... ka ngaih ve dan mai mai chu...

Question no.1: i zawhna khi chu ka ngaih ve dan chuan, dawt sawi tak tak a ni lo ka ti... sap tawnga, "white lie" an tih ang mai mai zawk hi a ni in ka hria "ka la hah lo" kan tih te hi...

Question no.2: Culture lakah chuan thil mawi leh mawi lo hi a awm a, chu chu a nia ka post a ka rawn sawi chhuah tum ber pawh. Duh chung chung a duhlo kan ti te hi chu kan culture dan a nia, a pawi na ka hre lo. Vai culture ah chuan a ni ve lo a, chuvangin min zawt nawn lo polite lo kan tih chu, kan mizo culture ah chuan a dik maithei, mahse vai culture ah chuan a pawi chiah lo... ka ngaih ve dan mai mais...

Question no.3: Khawchhak lam awmpui ho hi tlem chuan "stereotype" a awm ve deuh a lawm... Burma mi kan han tih te hi, a tlangpui chuan, awmpui a an awm chuan a chhawr tu te an finkhur deuh tlangpui... mahse an han awm rei telh telh a, an tlangnel ve leh mai a... rin awmlo mi an nih chuan an thawk rei lova, mi rinawm an nih chuan, an thawk reng...

BigSiS said...

vlrka- why didnt u call when u reached? Didnt u c my missed calls?

illusionaire said...

Phone was in silent mode. Anyway we just spoke :) Goodnite sis.

philo said...

Do accomodate my belabouring the notion that 'service' underlines the socalled capitalist juggernaut and if with the hypothetical changes in GDP and PCC in Mizoram failed to produce a 'service' industry, it would be subversion of an overpowering alien culture. Your girlfriend's gesture hints at that subversion...thank God for such people.
Apologies again for being vague but i didnt intend to prop any theory, evolutionary or otherwise, but even as i valorise the "equality before all" position, i dont intend to romanticise it because cultural notions are dynamic because of their temporal reference. "How equal are we in an 'equality before all'?" I thought the bipartisan response to your blog on 'Puan' was evidence enough for the need to valorise without romanticizing.

uncas said...

A nice read Kima.

There is no tipping in China, and it makes things a lot easier and all of us expatriates, Eastern and Western enjoy life uncomplicated this way. I heard that there's no tipping in Japan as well. Now what does that tell us? It means, I believe, progress should not be measured in terms of service sector alone.

I think the Indian culture of bakshish is one of the reasons why corruption thrives in every area and it has become our undoing. Call me uncouth but I can't stand it when someone asked me for a tip when he is simply doing what he is paid to do. And a government servant refusing to do his task without his share of bakshish is too common a sight. (I tip the waiters though!)

One other thing, the reason why servants in mainland India are treated the way they are could be rooted in the caste system, of division and untouchability, etc, etc. Remember the Mizo society is an egalitarian society where everyone is equal. But now it is becoming more and more Sanskritised and one has to kowtow to his superiors and say, "Sir, sir," like a talking parakeet to get anything done.

Jerusha said...

We have a visiting maid, but I've never let her touch my room. Mahse vai ka chen pui a, lak ngei ngei chu a ngai thung a, an ngai pawimawh nasa mai sia. Hmanni ah ka thriannu nen kan sawi a, ani pawn a lo duh lo ve khawp mai a, 'Nula mahni in mai mai tifai/rawngbawl tur a mi chhawr, a Mizo lo e mai' a lo ti ve a ani pawn. Mizo nula tan chuan hmun phiah, chhuat nawh, thleng sil etc tih ngei ngei tur ah kan ngaih hi a lo nghet awm ngawt mai te ka ti mai mai. Nu leh pa min hau tu tur awm lohna ah pawh, kan lo Zo fir fer hlawm reuh ngawt mai. I bialnu ang te pawh chu. Zo hi a thra :P

mnowluck said...

sometimes visiting maids comes handy in metropolies (esp when we are damn tired to cook or do the household chores)

I agree with you to some extent. But sometimes you have to let those assholes work, for they work for money. To support my stand .. i'll write something which i have encountered here in mumbai. I can't pull the name of that hotel here cos they are still up :P. We went there once and had a dinner. After we had our full, the waiter gave us the bill, its
600+. I paid the bill and left just RS 20/- as a tip. Just when we are about to leave the hotel, the manager called us up again and told us that a minimum of Rs 50/- is often paid as a tip.. Damn.. in those cases, you have to let those ppl run here and there and let em work hell cos ur gonna pay em(I don't care paying them 50RS, but i just don't like how they treated me)

myself said...

Reply to the comments plz :)

sekibuhchhuak, lo tong ve suh! :-P

SEKIBUHCHHUAK said...

Myself...i thu lo bawk hlak..!!

He post chhiar nuam ti ber chu nangmah...ah leh..:-P

myself said...

@sekibuhchhuak: bleh bleh bleh,ka velh ba i nih kha,min ngaisang alelelelele,i sawi tur hre lo anih kha.

illusionaire said...

@ uncas:

Thanx for the comment. My classes have started so I hardly have time to come online these days. You've highlighted one of the points I tried to make, that is the absence of the caste system within our society, and I guess that's one of the greatest feeling I get from being a Mizo. Tipping is another issue you don't find it much in Mizoram because as mentioned before, in most of the restaurants, the customers themselves do the serving. I've been in many restaurants in the metros with old Mizo folks from Mizoram, and one thing I've noticed is that, they make very bad tippers :) Like you mentioned, in China and Japan, people don't tip. This again shows the importance of culture and the way it moulds us.

illusionaire said...

@ philo:

I agree with you on the subversion of alien culture part. Mizos (in Mizoram) aren't that into "eating out" (I mean, for tukchhuan and zanriah meals) as compared to the Metropolitans or Suburbanites, and I guess it's not just the economy but the culture that plays an important role in this phenomenon. I've rubbed shoulders with the families of many of our so called "Mi lian chhungkua" of Aizawl, and no matter how rich they are (buying the latest luxuries like Home theatres, DVDs, desktops, mobile phones etc), they hardly eat out ("never" would even be a more appropriate word)! I think they deem it as something "zahthlak" to eat out or something like that. And when the mindset of the hoi-polloi is like that, I believe it will be many more years before Aizawl can truly see the rise of the F&B sector.

illusionaire said...

@ Jerusha: (i nick i thlak daih elo?)

Zo hi chu a thra ngei e. Thleng sil tur a mi chhawr chu nia a Mizo loh thlak deuh a lawm. If the person is extremely busy with work and have no time for such tasks, then it is a different story all together. Mahse thlengsil hman reng, in ti fai hman reng, mahse thatchhiat (emaw hosak over) vanga midang lo chhawr chu a Mizo loh thlak ka ti ve e. Aizawl a milian chhungkua tamtak te pawh, awmpui an neih pawn in tihfai lamah an buaipui vek tho. i sawi dik e, mizo ngei hi a thra :)

ai tam tak (buai vaklo ho) chuan midang an chhawr na chhan hi chu, thlengsil te, hmunphiah te, kawr suk te hi, an mahni tih a chuan a zahthlak angin an ngai a, chuvangin an mahni aia "lower class" ho tihtur ah an dah tawp zel. Fortunately we Mizos aren't like that.

illusionaire said...

typo: Vai tam tak (buai vaklo ho) chuan midang an chhawr na chhan hi chu...

illusionaire said...

@ mnowluck: Thats a lot of anger over a silly incident, brother :) First of all, I've done a lot of "eating out" all over India, sometimes even writing reviews of such restaurants. And I've never come across such a place that "demands tip" !!!! *surprised*

I've seen dirty looks from the waiters and captain etc when we tip less, but nobody has the right to demand any tip, as far as my knowledge on tipping is concerned :)

Ofcourse sometimes when the tip is too less, the "waiters association" actually hand you back your tip (keep the change you filthy animal) as a show of sarcasm and refusal to your meager tip. But to demand tip? Thats unheard of in my dictionary.

illusionaire said...

@ seki and myself:

he post chhiar nuam ti ber chu myself-i hi maw? lolz :) An thinrim der vel a, i comment a chhiar lai khan, mahse a khi vur reng mai :)))

myself said...

Testing new avatar....

Melpomene said...

I prefer to serve myself too .... but sometimes the serving staff will look very uncomfortable and then I realise he or she is being watched by the supervisor ...... so I let myself be served.

Maids ..... in the past, a maid was virtually a member of the family. In fact, when I was a little girl, one of my relatives had someone living with them whom I used to call Aunty Mary..... till now, I'm not sure if Aunty Mary was a maid cos she always ate with us (that was not a usual feature in our family). But I did notice that she did all the cooking and then she washed up after that, so I guess she must've been. In my childhood naivete, I thought Aunty Mary was another relative ...... she was my good friend, actually!..... it never occured to me to ask why our relative was of another race!

In those days maids were called servants ..... now it seems politically incorrect to say "servant". Grandma's maid was actually a slave girl ..... given to her when she got married, but Grandma always paid her and in fact, over the years, this "slave girl" has accumulated more than a million dollars cos she never needs to spend a cent! But I think the servants of yesterday had a better deal than the maids of today. They would stay with the family until the day they died, even when they were no longer able to work, because most of them had no families of their own. All their needs were taken care of. If they wanted to go back to China to die, someone in the family would bring them over, pay the airfare etc. And when they did eventually die, someone would fly up to show respect at the funeral. That was the way it was ...... in our family at least. Even when the original emplower, eg, my grandma, passed away someone would take over the old maid and take care of her. In fact, my grandma's maid always called her "Mama" and when Gran died, she cried louder than any member of the family.

My own maid too ..... she's a royal pain at times, but my husband and I have decided that when she is no longer able to work and has to return to the Phillipines, we will continue to send her some money until she passes away.

I think that would be only right.

Melpomene said...

P.S. I forgot to say .... when my sister worked in India, she did say that people did treat subordinates in the most appalling way. But then she noticed that if she spoke politely or treated them kindly, they would not show any respect for her. Maybe class distinction is too deeply ingrained already? When she came back home after 4 1/2 years, we had to remind her to stop barking at everyone ..... "This is not India!!!!" ...... And sounding her horn at every opportunity as well ........ :D

We noticed it too .... when we were touring Rajasthan, we had a wonderful and most interesting young guide. So on day 1, when we stopped for dinner, we invited him to join us. From a bright, chatty fellow, he became awkward and silent, shifting in his chair, looking down at the table ..... We got the hint. We figured it was some cultural thing ........ he was just doing his job and dining together was a no no.

illusionaire said...

@ myself: The new aavatar looks great!

@ melpomene: I like the way you treat maids there. To be taken care of until death is a very noble and Christian thing to do.

Your sister is actually right to certain extent. Sometimes one needs to be strict and rude on people below them, otherwise they will not treat you with any respect. Even if that respect is forceful, I guess that is still better than no respect. The principle of "earning respect" purely due to one's characteristic and behavior is often unheard of in many organizations over here.

And about the sitting arrangement thing, some Indian culures are way conservative and yes, men and women may not sit together on the same table, especially if one of them is an employee. But there are also very liberal cultures, like mine :-) That's why India is a called "Unity in diversity" :-)

Anonymous said...

Let me comment again...
We Mizo and most of our North Eastern neighbours, we are much closer to South Asian like the Cambodian, Thais, Indonesian etc. in terms of our physical features, food, traditional dress, etc. One thing i would like to point out how similar we practice with our Asian brother and sister in terms of manner is regarding 'blowing nose', like it is considered rude and bad manner in China, Japan and other Oriental land, we Mizos and other North Eastern, do not blow our nose in front of people unlike the Western and American people, if somebody blow nose he/she excuse and go away to do it.

@melpomene -"......But then she noticed that if she spoke politely or treated them kindly, they would not show any respect for her. Maybe class distinction is too deeply ingrained already?....."
This is so true if you have a maid and while you are staying in mainland India, and coming from North East or from other foreign land, you should not be nice and polite to them, cos when you are nice, these people think you are stupid, soft or somebody who they can manipulate, their caste system and class distinction is so much ingrained that you have to treat them like their own people treat them, being nice and polite to them (maid/servant)is to invite trouble and problem. They have a complete mentality and they expect that they will be treated like this by their master, so it is not something that our Mizo egalitarian thinking and culture can be practice over on this maid/servant and master. So not to invite trouble, better do like they do in this particular regard.

benjamin rualthanzauva said...

32 comments. half of them by illusionaire himself :-) heheh. lemme finish my beer :-)

mnowluck said...

@illusionaire: yeah, they don't have the right to ask for a tip!. I have the right to pay them a tip. In that case, if i'm not happy with the service, i have the right not to pay aight?

That's the first time i've come across such situation and it suprised me a lot!!

True, even if you pay them say wat is normally paid by the mainland people, ... u know all wat happens next :D

illusionaire said...

@ Ben: Half of 32 is 16. My replies to the comments were just 11 :-P And if you've noticed, I usually bunch a couple of comments together if the reply is not too long, but make a new comment for a lengthy discussion, for easier reading.

@mnowluck: You should blog about the restaurant that demanded you should tip a certain amount!!! That's almost like extortion. Don't be scared just because the restaurant is still up. Go ahead brother, expose the restaurant!

illusionaire said...

@ anonymous:

I agree with you on the blowing nose part. That's the difference between western culture and ours. I once had a British neighbor when I was in Hyderabad and she would hang out at my place the whole day because I had a TV. Mannnnnn she really blows her nose a lot, with different sounds and pitches! She would just say "excuse me" and that's it. Whereas if it's me, I would run to the loo away from her and blow my nose in the sink. I really did find it a bit disgusting about how she would blow her nose right next to me as we're watching TV together everyday. Damnnnn. And here's the funny thing. Call it ethnocentrism at it's peak if you want, because such people call us uncivilized and mannerless!!!

Among the Mainland Indians too, I've noticed (at least the refined ones), that even they don't blow their noses right in front of others. Till now I cannot recollect any moment when any of my friends ever blew their noses like my English neighbor or like in the movies.

Pixie said...

Your Girlfriend is right. :)
And this post was quite beautiful and thank you for sharing your culture, it helps break so many boundaries and help rid of any prejudices one might have had...

elizabeth said...

about the servant-employer stuff that u mentioned, such things are what is unique in our culture. i know of one eminent bible teacher and man of God from south india who narrates such similar incident. he says he find it surprising that the driver who comes to get him from the airport on one of his visits to northeast india,was a faithful and active member of the church. such things is not possible in south india he says. he finds it such an inspiring message that he speaks about it wherever he goes.in the south there is hierarchy even within the church.
by the way kima do keep on blogging

illusionaire said...

@ pixie: Thank you Pixie. i will convey your message to my girl :) I am glad to have cleared up a couple of prejudices and stereotypes.

@ Elizabeth: Yes the problem you mentioned is more a case of Indianization rather than Christianity. As long as there exists a caste system, there is bound to be divisions. Even in many Indian communities, there are divisions like dalit Christians, middle class Christians etc. which is extremely contrary to the teaching of Christ. Thank you for your comment, and of course I will keep blogging as long as I have loyal patrons like you. God bless.

ligia said...
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ligia said...

And all the while you tell me what does my girlfriend got to do with it but now I know better ....Hahaha...kiddding ,looks like somebody caught a nice little fish in his niche...
Well let 's get serious..
I really like your article although I don't agree with you in some cases but I do agree with you that Mizos have one of the most beautiful traditions but sad that day by day its vanishing .The most beatiful tradition of the Mizos I feel is the close knit community where young and old ,rich and poor,hang out together,helping each other as much as possible .The comfort you feel and get when there is marriage or you lose somebody in your family because of the community is priceless.

illusionaire said...

A nice fish? Dear Lig, Kima doesn't just go out fishing just to bring home a "nice fish". He goes out fishing and brings home a nice set of pearls from the oyster bed *wink*

Thanx for pointing out your agreements. I only hope you also point out the ones you didn't agree to in your comment :)

shahnaz said...

Sorry for the delay in answering your Q: Just how different is it from our Mizo society's when it comes to other norms other than table manners? I actually would need to write an essay....but I will only take two examples as there are so many things to discuss:-)

I would like to answer this for every culture I have crossed - mainland Indians, Saps and Africans, and our Asian bros: Tlawmngaihna exist in every human being; it is only a matter of how the culture/ society have evolved, and hence influence the behaviour of one or society as a whole.People are not different from the Mizos...
Taking weddings and funerals as example: Here, funerals are organised by or through morticians or funeral home owners, and then after the church ceremony, we gather to have a drink and food. I could compare to khawhar lenpui, but in a different way. People talk about the deceased, make jokes, and try to console the family as we do...in a different way…
At weddings, it is common to hire a wedding planner who takes care of everything, including church ceremony....similar to ours , there are lots of games but during the reception...the only difference is the bride and groom go to their home, not their parents:-)

In the last few years, the Mizo society has gone through a huge change, and like I always say,...our progess on westernisation is rapid....that is why I think that it is time that the youths do something more constructive to preserve the culture and traditional practices...awi, ziah tur a tam lutuk...I should write a journal on that...

Mizopa said...

Adding to what Shahnaz (btw, she's my cousin) said - the practice in most western countries is quite similar to what we mizos do, in this regard to helping in the cooking or cleaning the dishes when invited for lunch/dinner etc.

Apart from that, even something like such as indian men holding hands (something I find extremely funny - not that i'm anti-gay biased) is a definite no-no in both mizo and western society.

Other similarities with the west (and different from 'indians' would include being polite to others while driving, being paitent and respectful in queues etc.

Of course, there is a lot we have to do to catch up with the west, but these are some of the similarities.