December 14, 2008

Have you eaten ?

In the western world, friends are greeted in a distant, and somewhat cold fashion.

In the western world, friends are greeted in a distant, and somewhat cold fashion.

If you think about it for a second, the usual greeting is "how are you", "how do you do" or some variation thereof. And irrespective of the truth, the standard answer must be "fine" or some variation thereof. It would be quite unacceptable to answer with a "not good. I've got this crick in my back and a shooting pain along my right thigh blah blah". I mean, can you get more impersonal ?

What is worst, it's a terrible conversation opener. "How are you ?" "Fine, and you ?" "Oh, Fine". Then what next ? What's there to talk about ? It's at this point that people switch to some really inane topic like the weather, or worse. Ugh.

Which is why I really like the south Indian greeting... "Oota aaithaa ?", "Chaaputaacha ?", "Aahaaram kazhichuo ?". This is much more personal, positive and negative answers are equally acceptable and above all, it's a fantastic opener for further conversation, because all one has to do is build on the response.

I am planning to use this in all conversations henceforth. So don't be surprised if I run into you sometime in life and say:

"Hi... have you eaten?"