The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Basic Etiquette

Lets clear the airs first, shall we? The post is not about girls!!!! Its just about people in general. Its about those inconsiderate, tactless and thoughtless people who perform the most disgusting acts in public(and at home too!!!) and don’t feel the S of Shame. Infact, the insensitivity is so deep rooted that they don’t even realise that they have done something despicable unless, maybe, you go and scream your lungs out in front of them. So, here is a clear list of a few Basic activities you should not do in public(or when you are visiting someone). If I ever find you doing any of them in my presence, your score might just scale the heights of negativity. 


1. Don’t make that GURGLING sound, for God’s sake!!

I Could never understand why people make that irritating sound when they are brushing their teeth or rinsing their mouth after a meal. I mean, is it really necessary? Specially in public places? There is this guy in my office who can’t digest his food without making that noise and I have to bear that trauma of listening to it every bloody day. Sometimes I even feel like chocking him with all the hand towels. And did I tell you that my mom and dad also make that sound while brushing their teeth? And even Grandma and Granddad used to do that? And, oh boy!! The sound which Granddad made did cracked a few windows at home.

2. Could you eat with your mouth shut?

Some people just can’t help it. They have to talk while there is food in their mouth. The only difference between such people and a Buffalo is that the food is not dripping from their mouth. Otherwise its pretty much the same sight. There was a friend of mine who used to do this and she was a sight when she used to eat ice-cream. Lips smeared with vanilla while she blobbed her mouth to speak. Earlier, I just looked away, but now a days, I have turned completely shameless. I just tell such people to shut up.

3. Do you know what a “LANE” means?

In India, people have pathetic sense of driving and we all know that. But STILL we don’t leave any chance of creating chaos. Even if there is a slight problem ahead on the road, we jump in the opposite lane and move our vehicles ahead. Soon more cars follow and the whole road is one way with no place for the vehicles coming from the opposite direction. From what I have observed, the only way to stop people from doing that is by placing electric dividers in the middle of the road, which would send an electric shock as soon as a vehicle come in their contact.

4. Are there beetles in your shirt?

A few days back, one of my cousin came home with her husband and the first thing which he did after he entered our house was to take off his shirt. WTF???? Even my cousins(male ones) used to do that and this pisses me off to no ends. Its ok if you dance naked in your own house but can we maintain a level of decency when we visit someone? And the worst part was that I was expected to do the same thing when I visit them. Arghhhh!!! What am I? A porn star?

5. Remove those Smoke signals

I hate smoking, so much that I can’t even stand a person who had just smoked and forgot to take up a mouth freshener. I have the nose of a dog and I can smell out such a person from a kilometer away. Thankfully, most of the people in corporate offices use mouth fresheners because some clients are very particular about such matters but then you can always find some idiots everywhere. A few of my colleagues smoke and sometimes I have to give them company to the roadside smoking counter. While I stand there watching them whiff of the smoke, I wonder whether I am being drugged enough or should I ask them to blow the smoke somewhat more closer to my face.

6. Do you know the difference between a dog and a man?

I have always wonder how women can hold the urge to urinate in open public places while men don’t even think twice before copying dogs? I mean, if women can hold it, men can too. Can’t they? I remember, in class 12, we were returning from a school trip to Haridwar and the driver stopped the bus somewhere so that all the boys(who were awake at that odd hour) can take a leak. I could just imagine what the girls would have gone through at that point. The curses would have hit Gods really hard!

7. When you borrow, guard the thing with your life

I hate it when people return my books in a deplorable condition. I love my books and DVDs and earlier I used to share them a lot with my friends, but when they started to come back to me torn and scratched, I stopped sharing. I could never understand why people can’t take care of other people’s stuff. Is it so tough? I think it goes to show how insensitive a person is to small small things and some people just don’t have it in them. Losers!!!

8. The world is my spittoon

Piccchakkk!!!! That sound just drives me crazy! I could kill a person right there when I hear that! If you spit on the road or any other goddamn place, you can’t even be my acquaintance. Period! The worst I have seen is that when the Delhi Government announced a fine of 50 Rs on people who spit on roads. There was a hoarding on the road announcing this and people have spitted on that! How incredibly shameless can we get? And, ofcourse, I don’t have to say anything about the way we throw litter where ever we like.

I could go on and on about many such basic etiquette which we lack, but this post is getting quite long. I have a few friends who belong to a few of the above mentioned categories but sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. But let me declare it today – I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT WHEN YOU DO IT!!!!! 

There! A stone lifted from my heart.

Please be a little more sensitive to your surroundings and fellow humans. Lets learn the basics first.

56 comments on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Basic Etiquette

  1. @ Amit

    Great post!

    Shall I add some?

    I hate people who blow their noses while at the dining table. Worse when they do it into the napkin and place it next to their plates.

    Relatedly, I hate it when people click their fingers to get the attention of the servers. Why do we forget they are humans too, deserving of respect and basic decency?

    I hate it when I hold the door for the person seconds behind me and they walk by without nary a thanks. I always scream at them and most are decent enough to say ‘thanks’. I remind them when I see them next, I will remember to bang the door into their noses.

    I hate it when people on public transport pretend old men/ women and pregnant women are invisible. If I have a seat I give it to them. People should remember some woman carried them too, inside their bodies!

    If we had an iota of consideration and respect for other humans and their dignity, the world would be a much nicer place indeed.

  2. Amit:
    Women have bigger bladder capacity, and can hold longer. They are also prone to take more shit than men, especially from the latter species, but whether this means more rectal capacity than males is something I could not comment on.

  3. I totally agree with you. Specially the smoking. It’s disgusting. I have a colleague who is brilliant in his work but smokes a lot. Even when he used a mouth freshner, his hands still smelled and it got transferred to my mouse and keyboard. I remember keeping a paper napkin nearby and wiping off the mouse everytime he touched it.
    And let me also add, digging noses in public and obviously not washing your hands later on.

  4. Like Shefaly I too hate those kind of people…

    I also hate people who use public washrooms and leave the doors open as if there are hoards of servants behind them….

    Loved the post, in fact was nodding all the time while reading. Specially with the lane thing…

    As far as lending books is concerned I stopped it ages back…now I give my books only to people who love them as I love them….

  5. Great post Amit. I also agree with Shefaly’s added notes. It’s a shameful society we are living in that almost lacking a dose amount of decency. Common courtesy’s such as “thank you”, appreciating the willingness to share and mannerisms are gone with the wind. What example are we setting for our younger generations? Wake up people, behave decently and humanely as much as possible.

  6. 😆 That was a good one! I really feel pukish when i hear those horrible gargling sounds and some of my relatives have this obnoxious way of cleaning their nose which would shame even the mill whistle!! “aaarrrgggghhh” x(

  7. And i forgot to mention that some of my very good friends have forgotten to return the books or other stuff they have borrowed (some have forgotten to return money!!)

  8. I absolutely loved the list!! Infact I do have friends who do some of the things mentioned here, but then I too grin n shut up. I was made fun of while we were on a trek, I asked them not to litter around and throw things in a plastic cover, carry it back home n dispose properly. I guess I’m still a butt of their jokes. All I have to say is I really don’t care what others think, but if I should, I will make them do things.

  9. 😀 😀
    Good list. Don’t you think you should have made it 10 points?
    I follow all these rules (exceptions depending on condition and desperate situations) 😛


  10. A few days back, one of my cousin came home with her husband and the first thing which he did after he entered our house was to take off his shirt. WTF???? —–some gender mistakes…i believe!!
    The list is all true.n i can add so many many more, but i wonder if massess even jus give a thought brfore they do things like these…………… aaaeee!!!

    how bout ur Salsa diaries..there has been jus one entry till now…….I am waiting for the next chapter.

  11. Dude good one, adding a few more.

    #) Uncomfortably silences : After the phone call is done, you can hang up, we don’t need to extend the conversation with on point to it, and no don’t ask be BS like did have have my dinner as if you can care less.

    #) If you ask a question let me complete the answer and don’t interrupt, if you asked a question to answer your self please let me know you are in a monologue and I must keep quite

    #) And for “GOD” sake make your mind fast.

    Amit 🙂 I do try following most of the rules above.

  12. i don’t mind people talking with food in their mouth, but really most of the time they can’t because of the food in their mouth, haha. what i hate, though, is people chewing with their mouth open!!! the sound is absolutely disgusting, i cannot stand it. i will put earphones in my ear when i hear that sound.

  13. Very true, Good post. I hate those folks who do these things in Public. Especially I can’t bear people dousing out cigarette butts out of the car and auto drivers spitting on the road. Disgusting!

  14. Really great post man. I too faced all the incidents mentioned by shefaly and except 4th one of urs. I too hate these kind of people. Adding to them I dont like the people who throw cigarrettes which are still burning. Mostly these habits will come from parents to children and first they should know how to behave in public. U r able to tell directly to people whom u mentioned in ur 7th point but still I have to learn. Even my present room mate is having that habit and every time I go inside his room and try to keep the book he borrowed from me properly which I barrowed from somebody else. I try to explain these people whats wrong in it but I think they never change as in general these habits are mixed in their blood. One more problem is we cant avoid these people just like that also. I hope that some how my friends too will read this post and stop making such kind of acts in public.

  15. By the way do you ever travelled in general compartment in a train which goes through Orissa & Bengal ? If you travel once in that, ur hating on spitting will go to peak 🙂 I forgot to tell that I really hate those people who wirte what ever they want in public places, collages, bus stops, on hills, sacred places & monuments. I really want to kill those people who distrub the beauty of the place by thier writings.

  16. oh yeah those book borrowers !!! I hate them too. Some are worse and never return it.

    I hate one more kind of people, the elevator jumpers who rush into an already crowded elevator without letting the people inside to walk out !!

    Also those pathetic human beings who wont flush at public toilets.

    Those freaking semi humans who throw their chewing gum on the road(atleast they could wrap it in its cover) and it end up sticking under my shoe.

  17. @ Amit

    I have never understood why people lend books. I never do. I also never borrow them so I am on an irritatingly superior moral ground 😎

    Most of my friends can afford to buy their own copies and I remind them of that. Or they can borrow from the library and I mention that option too. If they really want to read something they can choose from these options. As long as they visit my house, they are allowed access to the books in the guest room where they sleep.

    Yes, I know it sounds very mean but books are the only thing I am mean about. I can point out much worse meanness in others who dare cast a stone 😉

    My view is that you should only lend books and money if you wish never to see them or the borrower again.

  18. You atleast say that people should use mouth fresheners after smoking. Well, for me, smoking itself is a big turn off in anyone 😀 And then this whole spitting on the roads and littering..lack of civic sense. And the gurgling sound while brushing the teeth! Huh! Some people make really wierd sounds :D…That would be very funny 😀

    And I totally agree that people, in general, should have some traffic sense. 90% of the people we meet each day will have either one or more traits of the ones listed above. That way itz good to see few like-minded people. 🙂

  19. Good points and I specially agree with the book one. I have stopped lending books now. As for the other points, yeah all disgusting habits but which the doers don’t even realise that they are upsetting others! They don’t even think its wrong and I hope some of them will read your post and realise how abnoxious these habits can be.
    Overall I think we need to be more considerate of the other person and I wonder why this is not so in India.
    And I always hesitate to correct a doctor but I am afraid I have to correct Rdoc. When I read his comment I knew there was a mistake because I remember some chats with my gynac during my pregnancy but I cross-checked nonetheless. Women have smaller bladders than men and the link is
    here. Maybe this doc is wrong, and if this is so, and if anyone has a more authentic link please do give it!

  20. Great Post.

    I avoid eating with people in pt 1 and 2, even if I have to wait till they leave the eating area.

    I have seen people pissing outside toilets, i.e. like two steps away from the actual premises of toilet, or sometimes on the outside wall of the toilet. So, I don’t think that they have issues with holding it, it could be something else, may be their religious principles or something. 🙂

    P.S.: I had written a long comment here and somehow I closed the browser window by accident. 🙂 .

  21. @All : Sorry for replying so late but my nose is running like Niagara and I have spent 3/4th of the last two days sneezing.

    @Shefaly : Thanks. I had atleast 15 more points which I wanted to add but that would have made the post enormous. Maybe I’ll write a part 2. I had also considered to write the last two points you mentioned. Regarding the second one, I have developed a very peculiar habit of addressing strangers, specially people like servers, doormen and security guards. I addressing them as “Sir”. Believe me, you get all the attention after that.
    And, yes, you can always avoid blowing nose in public. I have been doing that since yesterday. Avoiding, that is.

    And, regarding borrowing books, I did that when I was studying. One of my friends Granddad had this big library at home and he allowed me to take books from there. But, that was because I returned them without a scratch. I stopped as soon as I started earning. And yes, I absolutely agree about the meanness. I am developing it.

    @RamboDoc : I guess Nita is differing from you on that point. I don’t know about bladder capacity but we do avoid doing many things in public, like, running around naked. So, we can avoid this also. 😉

    @Maddie : I don’t have anything against people who smoke. Its just a way to degrade your body. If they are fine with it, I don’t have any problems. But the smoke just kills me. And then that smell.
    And, yes, Digging nose….but I haven’t come across a person who does that. Thankfully.

    @Smita : Thankfully, the doors now a days close by themselves, which is a good thing. And, yes, maybe I should create a ten questions test which all those people should give who want to borrow my book and then I should make them sign a legal document too. 😀
    Seriously, even I have started refusing now. It feels soooo good. 😉

    @Kiran : Thanks. Setting an example is another aspect which is important. Imagine a guy who drinks and smokes in front of his kids!

    @Pr3rna : Thanks. Wishful thinking!

    @Sakhi : Oh Yes! Some of the oldies do that quite well. Don’t they? And, forgotton to return books??? I would have filed a case against them!!!

    @Lively : Thankfully, after staying in U.S some of my friends have this habit of carrying litter with them till they find a proper place to dispose it. When I saw this for the first time, I smiled. I remember the old days when I used to scream on then for throwing things on road.

  22. Good post. Like most of people here I dont like lending books or rather any of my stuff. And I agree that most people don’t take care of stuff. God knows why!
    As for the bladder controversy I have ranted quite a lot in this post based on my personal experience of this irritating habit of guys.

    Like you I too have a strong sense of smell and I can detect if someone has had a smoke or alcohol.

  23. @Suda : I had 15 more points but the post was getting too long. Maybe I’ll come out with a part 2. 🙂
    And remember, we always have a choice!

    @Abha :Well, I guess not. I hope you get it that I am talking about her husband…
    People don’t give a thought because they are brought up in an environment where they are not told to give it a thought. Atleast, we can learn from the past mistakes.
    Salsa Diaries will be coming up soon. 🙂

    @Chirag : Indians have a very bad habit of interrupting a person while speaking. Foreign clients(specially the Britishers) don’t like it at all and a few days back I had to talk to a few members of my team about this because they were royally pissing off the client. 🙂
    And, good, atleast you try. 🙂

    @Sulz : Just ask them to stop making that noise. Believe me, that will really help you and them too.

    @Vishesh : Yeah! some people! 🙂

    @Dinesh : Thanks. 🙂 Me too!

    @Vijaya Bharat : Thanks. 🙂 I think the problem is in the upbringing. We are not taught to take care of things like books and keeping the public places tidy. Tell me, if the parents keep on telling the child about this from the beginning, won’t it be embedded in their brains. And ofcourse, the laws are also not effective in India.
    And yes, I have taken a ride in such a train once. And you won’t believe it, but I have seen a lady spitting in Metro too. I almost fainted that day.

    @Xylene : I have never let that “never returned it” happen to me except in one case when the borrower didn’t remember taking the book. 😐 And, yes, I completely agree with you on all the other points. 🙂

    @Manoj : Well, smoking is not a turnoff for me if the person does not make me realize that he smokes. 🙂 And, I am the best example of a victim of bad traffic sense in people. I usually get late coming back home because of that and it hurts when you know that you house is just a 1.5 hours drive from office if people drive properly.

    @Nita : Actually, this is a good point to ponder. Why this is not so in India? Is it because of our “Village” background? Our previous generations lived in villages and the concept of cities is quite new. In-fact 70% of India still live in villages. Maybe that’s why we lack a civic sense. I might be wrong though…
    And about this bladder thing, I have no idea about it. Does anyone else know??

    @Anshul : Well, I just go ahead and tell them to close their mouths while eating! It works. 😉
    Yes, its not about holding it. Its something else. Maybe they feel more close to Mother Earth while doing it. 😉
    And how could you possibly accidentally close a browser? I mean there is just one X on the whole screen and I fail to understand how anyone can click on that “Accidentally”? 😀 😆

  24. My comment has gone in moderation. Sorry to hear about your sneezing. Is it due to winter? I have similar affliction of allergic rhinitis in winter. If its that u can take Elina tablets. Its good.

  25. I am sure that parents wont teach their children to take care of the things for sure. I hope the fellow readers of this blog teach thier children how to take care atleast. I dont know this is the same case in total westren world or not but here everybody respects including the guards in the entry (again exception is my great, wise, talented blah blah blah collegues from India).

  26. Amit, basic etiquette is like common sense. As with common sense, which most people should have it but dont, most people (including socially upward ones) lack basic manners. 🙂

  27. Oh! yes it feels great….

    In fact a good fren of mine took a book from my collection as a gift…the bugger doesn’t know how lucky he was that I agreed to give it to him….I think it is time that he knows 😉 what say???

  28. @Amit: There’s something called keyboard shortcuts, try Ctrl+Winkey+W, which I accidentally did instead of Ctrl+Alt+w(shortcut for my other application). 🙂

  29. that was a good dose of etiquette lectures…….but seriously i do agree with you on every aspect except that gargling thing
    men peeing openly is the biggest turn off ..i have this barren land in front of my house where all these men just turn up to urinate…….disgusting i was thinking of taking their photographs and write a post on it
    secondly the electric divider is a good suggestion…specifically for delhiites all are in a habit of entering their vehicle in the no way zone
    and talking about spitting …..i just have this urge of slapping the person spitting in front of me…… school van driver….he is one of them..spitting and that too while driving arghhhhhhh
    and hey the gargling thing aint bad if it is done early morning when all are sleeping.and yes elder people are more prone to this gargling disorder 😛

  30. Very good post 🙂
    You may have added two more and made it as a 10.
    I am also hate people who spit in the roads or any public places as they don’t even remember what is public hygiene.
    And traffic is the worst of all. They are all thinking themself intelligent 😉
    There are lot others in common like the first one.

  31. Brilliant post. I agree with all of those points.

    The traffic situation in here is really bad. Isn’t it funny that you’re the one who will probably get hurt even if you’re the only one who is following the rules? Nobody has any respect or any time for anybody in here. If you see a car waiting to pass, he’ll have to fight his way into the line and pass. Nobody will ever have the courtesy to stop and let him/her pass. Their simple remark – why should we?

    Spitting is very annoying indeed. I don’t understand the need to spit all the time. I don’t need to do it and I don’t think it’s something that the body demands. I guess it just becomes a habit. And not many think it is wrong. Hell if the cricketers keep spitting on the ground all the time, why can’t we?!

  32. @Reema : Chalo, atleast we are starting a new trend where we are forcing people to buy their own stuff. 🙂 And I remember that Shame-shame post. I was the first one to comment on it. 🙂
    And, thanks, I am better now. I am taking a lot of steam instead of medicines. That is really helpful.

    @Vijaya Bharat : Someone is really pissed off by his teammates. 🙂

    @lallopallo : Yes! Exactly! 🙂

    @Smita : Yes, yes. go ahead! 🙂

    @Arpit : Thanks. 🙂 And, yes, gargling is fine if not done publically and if not done loud enough to wake the dead.

    @Kanagu : I had 15 more points but didn’t want to stretch the post. 🙂

    @Ish : Thanks. 🙂 The problem is that the question “why should we?” is asked onlt till we are on the other side of the firing line. And we are so shameless that we don’t bother to mend our ways even if we turn up at the receiving end.

  33. Guess who I am:

    I gargle in public, I spit in public, I pee on the roads, I walk around butt-naked, I smoke and do not bother with halitosis…

    I am Ramadoss, the health minister! Vote for me! 😀

  34. haha, thats a great post you’ve come out with.

    i agree with most of them. garglin in public..eww..havin to hear someone do that if your eating is totall disgusting. followin lane discipline back in india is a rare site. is it even possible there? hehehe.

    i guess everyone hates it if boooks are not returned in good condition. i’ve almost stopped lendin out my books now. usually they are returned in bad conditions or otherwise..i just dont get them back 😦

  35. @Nikhil : Over my dead body!!! 😛

    @Karmalove : Thanks and welcome!! I hear it every day! And I have not seen m(any) people following lanes here. “Just don’t get them back” never happens with me. Even if I have to, I’ll wake up the person from his grave. 😉

    @Trailblazer : Thanks and Welcome. 🙂 Now that you pointed it out, the post does look a bit funny. 😐 I was darn serious!!!!!!!!! 😛
    But, you know, we need to realise what’s wrong before we can improve. People just don’t realise!!

    @Vijaya Bharat : You need counseling! We are talking this weekend. 🙂

  36. Great post. My sentiments exactly. Some more things that i cant stand is people closing doors on the face of people walking behind them. Not giving people space to walk and the ones who stand too close to you….ewwww

  37. Awesome!!
    I’d given books and cds to my friends. I still donno where it is =(
    Smoking on the face is the yuckiest thing I’ve ever experienced. They blow out the air right next to us !! Some of the guys in my school smoke. Sickk !!
    Talking while eating…hmm…I think we all do it sometimes !!

  38. I am there with you at all (literally) except the number five… I am a smoker but I also carry that bloody freshener fucking all the time for the sake of non-smoking junta…. ‘Damn’ and ‘Fucking’ are used for no reasons whatsoever.. None (including you) should get offended…

  39. @Liju : Thanks. 🙂 Believe me, I had a looong list. I can post a five part series on it. 🙂

    @Trailblazer : Yup!! 😀

    @Priya : Thanks. 🙂 And talking while eating….well I don’t do it. 😛 And don’t lose your books and CDs like this. GET THEM BACK!!!

    @Oxy : Oh! Its perfectly fine. You are doing a great social service by carrying the freshner. Believe me. 😛
    I don’t have any problem with people who smoke unless the smoke is directed towards me. 😀

    @Rohan : Welcome to the blog and Thanks. 🙂

  40. Good one Amit..Reading ur blogs after a long gap..I agree that these are really disgusting acts and a major portion of this I feel is due the lack of education on basic etiquettes and Hygiene..

  41. First timer here..Liked the post.

    People should be made to say this after the national anthem or pledge
    “My country is not a spitoon, dustbin or urinal”

    Maybe then they will improve!…On second thoughts, who says the anthem or pledge these days;except for school kids!

  42. @Sheba : Thanks and welcome! 🙂
    People in other countries keep their their countries clean. We can take their examples and set some rules BUT who will bell the cat? The leaders themselves are not capable of following the rules!

  43. Pingback: The Hitchhikers guide to a sane life « Mashed Musings

  44. Fantastic post. I used to spend alot of my time boating and watching sports. It was probably the best period of my young life and your article kind of reminded us of that time. Thanks

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