To Knock or not to Knock – That is the Question – 10 Nov 09

Indian culture

I was writing about differences in culture and about things that people notice when they come to another country like India. Often it is things that are considered as good or bad manners for example at the table and while meals. Another thing that I noticed in the west which doesn’t really work here is the knocking at the door before entering.

Again and again I notice in the Ashram that the boys of the Ashram and also people who work here come into the office without knocking whereas our visitors knock and wait outside. And we also again and again tell the boys that they need to knock when they go and tell one of our guests that dinner is ready. They just don’t learn it in their growing-up and they don’t always remember.

This can sometimes lead to funny situations and we always try to let our guests know that people here don’t usually knock. And then on the other hand I see that my mother would be constantly saying ‘yes, come in’, ‘yes?’, ‘Please come in’ when she is in her room and she would soon get very tired of everybody knocking on her door. My parents’ room has many more functions, the main refrigerator is there, the vegetables for dinner are there and many small things that are daily needed have their place in there where everybody knows where to find them. So everybody is walking in and out and as I said, it would be really too much for them if everybody knocked.

That is how I always see that there are differences in culture, in the manners that people grow up with and what they do in their everyday’s life. And when someone comes here or if we go there, everybody needs to be open to see and accept what the lifestyle is like for the other person.

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  1. Remy

    Knocking is an interesting concept. I heard before that in some African countries people will think you are trying to steal things if you knock on the door.

  2. Mirela

    When we travel we should always be prepared that things might be regarded different than in our own country. But isn’t that interesting? At the same time you can and you can’t expect everything to happen 🙂

  3. Nicola

    This is interesting to read about as it is something that I also noticed in my time here at the Ashram. One morning a boy knocked on my door with a mango lassi, and entered half a second later. This didn’t bother me in the slightest as I was dressed and actually getting up to answer the door. It actually made me somehow even more fond of the staff because of their obvious differences to my own culture. I even noticed the difference too whilst eating dinner with members of the family, and people would keep entering all the time to check that nothing else was needed, when in my country people would get tired of the door being constantly opened and closed. It’s these little things that I love learning about when visitng another country, and make our world as rich and varied as it is.

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