Embarrassment as a Service (EaaS) – why it wont work in Bangalore

“The title is an attempted technical nerd alert “.

Trying to embarrass the Bangalore crowd into doing something that is the “right thing to do”, just does not work. Let me give you 3 examples.

1. On my plane ride from Bangkok to Bangalore, I picked up a copy of Newsweek and the Asian WSJ. Long flight I imagined, might as well get some light reading done. I boarded the plane and sat down at my seat, realizing that I had my contact lenses on, left the reading materials on my seat and put my toothbrush on them and headed to remove and store the lenses.

On my return I noticed the man next to me reading the WSJ with the Newsweek on his lap. Trying to be nice, I mentioned they were mine and purchased outside.

He looks at me quizzically, looks at both the items and returns the newspaper he was reading and says – “Okay, you read this and give it to me when you are done”, still holding the Newsweek in his hand.

“Huh? (double take). They are mine, I bought them, so let me have them and when I am done I’ll let you know” was my response, a little too curt perhaps.

He seemed annoyed to say the least (as was I). This is going to be a really long flight I imagined, wondering if I could sweet talk the air hostess into seating me elsewhere.

She would not hear of it – “Sir that’s your assigned seat, please dont change”. Looking around there were a few seats free, so I ventured I’d change after the doors closed. Meanwhile my neighbor was asking the air hostess for some juice. The Thai airways air hostesses had been awesome from HKG to Bangkok so I was a little surprised when she replied with a stiff “Please wait”.

Turns out the flights from any place to India (and other countries nearby BTW) are the most detested by the Thai airways air hostesses – “The passengers are demanding, very impolite and ill mannered” says the purser.

“Not everyone going to India is that way” I countered.

“True” he said, “but its hard to discern, so we take the lowest common denominator, and nothing seems to embarrass them”.

2. Flying from Chennai to Bangalore I was seated at the “waiting area” when a well dressed (Boston loafers, Tag Heuer watch, and a Blackberry 8800 to boot) gentlemen next to me, sat down, opened a piece of hard candy and dropped the wrapper to the ground.

My N95 to the rescue I thought and whipped it up to take the video of the incident, the wrapper and him chewing on the candy.

“What are you doing?” he asks.

“Taking a video” I responded, ready with arguments of free speech, free country, blah blah, blah.

I made it very obvious that I wanted to shame him for littering the place.

“Oh cool! Nice phone.” he says, “Tell me which website you put it up and I’ll show it to my kids and wife” in earnest, not missing a beat.

3. Outside the building on the entrance to my dad’s office I visited is a whiteboard with a listing of the companies and individuals that have not paid their rent for the month of May.

I walked up, waiting for the elevator, staring at the whiteboard, when 2 more people sauntered in, engrossed in an animated conversation. They stopped and pressed on the elevator call button a few time (Just to make sure), then wandered towards the whiteboard.

“Hey look, my name’s there again” says one, “this is the 3rd month”.

“Hat trick boss” says the other, “my accountant is taking care of the payments, and I think he’s paying my rent too early these days” looking deeply disappointed, making a mental note to call his accountant and give him a piece of his mind.

They both turn to face me and the first one asks “What is your name, sir”?.

“Mukund” I replied, not expecting anything else in terms of conversation.

“Oh! Never seen your name on this list of defaulters. I made a hat trick this month” he responds beaming from ear to ear, fully expecting a nod of approval or appreciation from me.