A couple of weeks back, I was waiting in queue at the Dominos outlet in DLF, to place my order for lunch. Two nicely dressed gentlemen from some foreign country were standing just behind me. The customer in front of me was arguing with the store waiter at the counter, about an order and some confusion in their billing. I was hungry and was getting impatient, but watched on with the hope that the argument would end soon. After just around 5 minutes of waiting, the man behind me shouted in an irritated and bossy tone "What on earth is happening there? Could you just move??" and mumbled in a lower voice, "Fucking Indians"!
His last statement incensed me and my impatience boiled out into anger and I turned to him and said "Maybe it’s time you showed some fucking respect"!! The guy was a little shocked and taken aback that someone actually used the language back at him and he said "Excuse Me?" and looked at me with surprise and shock.
I replied back to him, "We sell food here, not respect. So either be patient or walk off"
He was too taken aback to reply and I didn’t wait for it either. I gestured to the counter and asked another person to take the order at the other counter that was free. We both eventually did eat there and walked out without any further exchanges, but what disturbed me and still does, is the alarming lack of respect for Indians. We sell service yes, but we do not have to sell our respect along with it. My reaction was not just because of this one isolated incident. It was a collection of one whole week of unpleasant happenings. Our labor is cheap and it is common knowledge that countries abroad use our services to the fullest. But do we really monitor the thin line between using our services to exploiting it?
I am still asking myself some troubling questions. Why do we tolerate disrespect? Why we do not make it clear that it is only our products/services that are for sale and NOT our self esteem? What would actually happen if I went to an alien country like America and shouted “F*****G Americans”? Would they remain silent? No they wouldn’t. Why is it that we Indians alone bear this disrespect?
We Indians are a warm bunch of people, extremely proud of the work we do. We are immensely talented at what we do and the world will fall flat on its face if we Indians stopped working for others. The world knows it and yet, we are trodden upon by many. The reason is that we tolerate disrespect and just move on. We do not retaliate enough. Actually, we do not take enough efforts to keep our self esteem high! Would these gentlemen shout again the same way anywhere else here on? I doubt it!
It’s time we took it upon ourselves to change the way the world treats us. And it’s also time we realized how people should not be treated and refrain from giving this treatment to those working for or with us too!