Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The English Way

Or, The Idiosyncratic Ruminations Of An Indian On An UK Peregrination
Statutory Warning: High levels of exaggeration ahead!

"Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way."
- Pink Floyd, Time.

Based on experiences during my recent sojourn there, colored with quipamenducious opinion; your views may vary.

1) Queues, queues everywhere!
If there are none, they will create one! Everywhere you go, whatever you want, you have to stand in a queue. Even when there is no one else, you have to create a queue (of 1!) and stay behind a line and step forward to the counter only when called.

To avoid queues for entry is a big privilege, that people willingly pay for, shelling out much bigger amounts of cash! I decided to skip a lot of sight-seeing just because of the long queues and I didn't know there was another way...

2) Thank You for the Sorry. Not just formalities.
Even when you accidentally step on people and it's all your fault, they will apologize. (Tested :)
And you are expected to say thank you for everything, every small favor received no matter how seemingly trivial or even if it is just their duty. I was considered rude and frowned upon on many occasions! :(

3) Rules rule!
Everything should be defined and people get confused easily if they are not. Follow the intercom and the sign-board to the letter. There are people who don't care as well, and they are considered to be radical, don't-care types !?! Also, people generally play it safe and don't always really know what the exact consequences are.

Maqtub. Ashte! It is written, and that's all; those are the rules and hence it is fair . Whoever wrote them must have thought it out is the general assumption. If you think you know better...

4) Fine, pay the fine!
There is a price you pay for violating rules and that is, well, well-defined. It is also collected with regularity, rigor, vigor and fervor. There is no shame associated with paying a fine.

5) Freedom for cash
If you are willing to sacrifice the flexibility of your travel plans, that is, essentially your freedom to decide when you will do something. People are used to planning well ahead, months in advance.

Of course, I paid heavily for my stubborn insistence on flexibility for my travel plains! :) I should have been more flexibly stubborn perhaps; all my tickets came with a freedom surcharge!

6) Public transport..Service?
Public transport is damn expensive. And from what I saw there seemed to be an perverse, inverse relationship between the cost, distance and number of people using that mode of transport, for longer distances. I was amazed that for the same distance the listing, in increasing order of cost, was as: car, bus (coach), plane, train!

7) Value For Money
Amazingly, the minimum bus-ticket costs more than a loaf of bread. Food for thought. :)
Depending on what you are willing to sacrifice, you can get the exact same things at different prices...

To misquote Pink Floyd's Time (again! that song is really really English), "The sum is the same in a relative way, but you're poorer!"