Ever felt a dozen eyes scan you from top to bottom as you step amidst people? You consciously glance at your well covered self wondering nothing seems to be evidently wrong with you. Yet stares, sometimes not so stealthy, keep coming back to settle on you. Don’t worry, you just experienced the favourite Indian pastime - ogling. Indians don’t mind staring at anyone. New neighbours, humans on transit systems, folks walking on the street, mortals in movie-theatres waiting to get inside the hall, persons standing in check-out queues of supermarkets, masses out for a walk in the park.....anyone at all. i suspect the ogling is more generous when the individual happens to be of the fairer sex (feminists excuse!). Being one, i go through it all the time. Even while passing through the street outside my house where i should no longer be a subject of study to the denizens around. But we are Indian and we Stare....just like that.
i always suspected we had this uncanny habit of making others feel uneasy with our unwelcome gaze. i found ample evidence to prove it exists amply in us when i began travelling by the Delhi Metro. i, more often than not, encountered stares as i entered the the train. The passengers already seated (and standing) seem to a find a new object for their goggling pleasure. i decided to check out the reaction of people around to others who got into the train after me. And Bingo!! No one's spared. We are Indian and we Stare....just like that.
All decency is thrown to the wind as a visual treat in the form of a girl in her mini-skirt walks in to the train just after her class at some Air hostess training center!
The habit comes back to haunt you and you realise how rude it could be when you go to countries where staring is not the national pastime. In a local metro train in Paris, i myself looking around at people in general. As a couple of them looked back i realised my looks might seem invasive to them. I wasn’t in saddi dilli where i could give free reign to my eyeballs!!
Uninvited looks, forget intrusive ones, can be quite rude in most countries of the world. A little experiment a la delhi metro in trains abroad surprised me that people don’t even normally look up to see who’s got into the train or who’s sitting in the next table at the restaurant. While travelling, they prefer to either read books or direct their stares at objects that wouldn’t mind it!! How many do we find reading on our transit systems? We’d rather indulge in visual gossip and make people conscious!!