My friend Kaori asked me to write about “10 things I did against Brazilian rule after 2 years in Mumbai”, she wrote about the Japanese things here. The image is only to make a reference to her post. Here, Starbucks are not that common to make a comparison between the service in Mumbai and Brazil… So, let`s go:
- Taking off my shoes in places where I should keep them on
I’m driving my mother crazy, leaving my shoes behind the front door. She yells “Come take your shoes to your bedroom! Don’t take your shoes off in the living room! Don’t leave that mess there”. Living with so many Japanese flat mates and realizing how much cleaner the house gets if you leave your shoes by the door, made me acquire this “odd” habit.
- Not caring at all for other people priority in a non-mandatory queue situation
Here it’s rude to be served before the person who got there first. I was very surprised when a girl was sorry when she got served first in a counter where I was waiting to be served for some time. Oh dear, I`m soooo used to it.
- Eating with my hands
DON’T touch your food in public. Always use a fork. When you have to use your hands, always use a napkin to eat things. After 2 years in India, I was shocked when I realized I was eating salad with my hands at a restaurant.
- Side-nodding my head and saying haan if I understand something
This can be rude in the middle of a conversation here, since “haan” in Portuguese is something you say to hurry the other person. Also, the side-nod looks like a confused “no” nodding.
- Not smiling
I learn to not smile in the streets of Mumbai, as Indian men sometimes (many times) misunderstand a smiling face. When I first came back to Brazil, my sister would constantly remind me of how rude I was behaving, not smiling at strange people who talked to me on the street (i.e. stranger saying “take this pamphlet”).
- Not saying “good morning/afternoon/night” and “how are you”
Partially because of my non-familiarity with the language (hindi), and the other part for something that seems cultural, I stopped saying kind words before asking for things. I never had the time to say “good morning, how are you?” to a rickshaw driver before asking him if he would take me.
- Expecting cars to be more aggressive in traffic
When I`m in a car here, I wonder why we are not moving faster if there is some space for it.
- Being sensitive to other types of racism
My friendship with Indian, Korean and Japanese people helped me to be sensitive to racism directed to those groups too, so I`m getting upset with jokes or TV characters that I didn`t noticed that were harmful before.
- Crossing the street where there is no crosswalk – without reason for that
Oh my god! Cars stop before the crosswalk! Why am I wasting my time trying to cross the street outside the crosswalk?
- Forgetting to watch my purse
Here, if your purse is not in a place that can be seen, it will get robbed. Ideally you should wear your purse all the time, otherwise you will get robbed. This includes restaurants and other places. After living in a city where you hardly get robbed in these situations, I often forget to hold my purse tight and get reminded by a friend ” don`t leave your purse in the chair! Let me keep it while you go to the washroom”.