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Rules are meant to be broken…

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It doesn’t take anyone long to realise that in India ‘rules’ are not really unbreakable ‘rules’ in the strictest sense.

They are often more like ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ sorta aspirational guidelines.

Or something put on paper so long ago no one actually has a clue why it is there.

Or it is a deliberately placed reason to extort… I mean monetarily punish hapless ‘rule’ breakers.

This evening I took a stroll along the Bandra Reclamation promenade. Hidden away behind aluminium fence was a sign with the ‘rules’.

I decided may as well test the theory to see how many of the ‘rules’ were broken wittingly or unwittingly during my walk.

2016-04-05 Promenade Rules

Eatable and drinks / Alcohol and drugs – 0.5

  • Remarkably little of this happening
  • Naturally… there is evidence of food and other consumables…

2016-04-05 Litter

Littering, spitting, smoking – 1

  • Seriously? As if there was ANY hope of this being controlled…
  • That said, there was significantly less smoking than anticipated

Loud music – 0

  • Remarkably none!
  • Naturally we were sonically assaulted by the nearby rush hour traffic honking, but blaring music? Nada!

2016-04-05 Dogs

Dogs – 1

  • Clearly the municipal corporation did not consult its local canine residents before making this decree 🙂
  • However pet owners parading their precious pound of puppy flesh? Yup. check. You bet they were there on the outskirts

2016-04-05 Bike

Cycles and skates – 1

  • Lost count of how many kids could be found on bikes
  • Personally I applaud there being any kind of space where kids can be on cycles without being run over
  • So as far as I’m concerned for the wee ones, this is a pretty rubbish rule in the 1st place!

2016-04-13 Loitering

Public meeting – 1

  • Um… you mean people are not permitted to meet?
  • Let’s just say this was flagrantly ignored…

2016-04-13 Walking

Indecent / unsocial activities – 1

  • Well, I wouldn’t call it indecent but the moral police would likely be offended by the canoodling couples
  • I’m still enough of a polite Canadian to give them their privacy… so no photographic evidence for your perusal… simply imagine how the folds of a delicate dupatta or burka can deftly be used as an effective cover…

Card games – 0

  • Gosh not one card game spotted!
  • Unless on the mobile phone counts…

Hawkers / beggars – 0

  • Let’s just say there was a wee bit of informal commerce but not the full on in your face hawkers and beggars
  • If anything, parts of the promenade seem to be respite for where folks with limited means can enjoy a little sea breeze and company of friends

2016-04-05 Flowers

Plucking flowers – 0

  • Well… to pluck flowers, you need to have flowers… aside from those next to the sign well before the promenade there wasn’t exactly any green stuff let alone pretty flowers begging to be plucked on one side…
  • The closest to qualifying would be this… bet you can’t wait to get an armful of these beauties as contraband flowers, eh?
  • However on the other side there was indeed some flowers to be found!

Damaging public property – 0

  • No wonton destruction witnessed

Goodness! The rules were more or less mostly kinda in a very desi sorta way followed… pretty much… not bad Mumbai!

Out of 11 possible ‘infraction’ points, this little sample scored only 5.5 i.e. only 50% of the rules were broken / kept depending on whether you are a glass half full or glass half empty kinda person!

What’s the prevailing attitude to ‘rules’ in your parts?



  1. Carissa,

    Having just arrived in Canada (Ottawa to be exact) for a brief stint of work, I find us Canadians are as polite as I remember. One thing that I find particularly interesting in terms of behaviour concerning rules is the Canadian tolerance for queuing / lining up. Via Rail, bank, drivers licence, coffee, ice cream – all done with pleasant acceptance. No right-minded Aussie (and I am one of those now as well) would tolerate that – especially in Sydney – where grumbling and verbal complaints quickly result if someone is made to wait more than a few minutes to be served!

    By the way, I thought the photo of the couple holding hands was quite sweet 🙂

    Brad P

    • Hey Brad! Welcome back to Canuck-land. How long is your Ottawa stint?

      Yeah queues are definitely meant to be jumped here in India. Because after all, I’m way more important than you and “Don’t you know who I am? / Who my father is??” (prevailing attitude which can be quite hilarious at times).

      Like how I opted for a sweet hand holding rather than muffled moans beneath cloths? However even this innocent affection is a ‘public display of affection’ (PDA) which is frowned upon.

  2. What a great idea Carissa…smiled a lot reading this post.

  3. BerLinda says:

    I think everyone is aware of the German attitude to rules 😉 Thankfully, the Berliners are a bit more relaxed on this front!

    • Haha! I can imagine you would find the STRICTEST application of ALL rules rather… ahem… restrictive?? 😉

      • BerLinda says:

        I would probably have spontaneously combusted by now 😉 When I read posts by people living in other parts of Germany, I’m like ??? It’s like another country haha!

        • Haha! I hear you!

          Having learned to live with chaos (one might even suggest thrive!), I would have a tough time with too much order.

          A friend originally from Australia has been working for years in India, did a stint in the Gulf and then got a fabulous job offer in Germany when there was really nothing much going on for her India. Guess what? She turned down the German job as one trip there told her that she could no longer adapt to such stringent ‘order’ and needed the madness and mayhem of Mumbai. Thankfully was a smart decision! Turns out the German company went through massive restructuring that could have eliminated her role and she landed quite a good job back here in India with an Australian JV so has a bit of both worlds. 🙂

  4. forenji says:

    This is spot on. As a foreigner living in India I found it so hard to keep up with all the rules, and they are constantly changing too! But after a while, you realize that hardly anyone follows them. (FYI, just stumbled upon your blog, love it!)

    • Great to hear from you Jonathan and appreciate your sharing how you can relate. 😉 Alas I’ve been neglecting this blog for sometime… too many complicated variables at play presently all part of the joys of (attempting) to continue to live in India! Would love to know more about your story!

      • forenji says:

        Oh, I know that struggle! If it’s any consolation, your blog doesn’t seem neglected! I don’t write much on my personal story, but if your keen to connect feel free to drop a mail 🙂

        • I know it is! Lots I’d like to write but just juggling a lot at the moment and keeping up more with my other blog Whisky Lady as I’ve got that down to a regular rhythm with a steady stream of content. 🙂

          Love your site – lots of interesting posts. Will keep exploring when a bit more back in the land of the connected.

  5. Madhu says:

    Well, what do you know! We have hope yet 😀

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