Freedom of expression?

In a restaurant one evening, a middle-aged man was speaking on his mobile phone, loudly enough to be heard by everyone in the restaurant. The Indian language he was speaking in is not commonly understood in that part of the country, but I happened to know the language very well. I was shocked to hear him use the filthiest possible words and expressions. From the shocked looks of some of the other persons present, I realised that they also understood the language. Just as I started protesting to the Restaurant Manager, the middle-aged man stood up and walked away.

I have had similar experiences in different parts of our country. In all fairness, this kind of behaviour is ‘region-neutral’.

I have also come across groups of people talking loudly in Indian languages, which they think others don’t understand, at various public places in India and abroad. Not only do they speak loudly, which is bad enough, they often use commonly understood obscene gestures and swear words in their language, and in Hindi and in English as well!

Sometimes they are intoxicated, but often they are perfectly sober.

While we all enjoy freedom of expression, why don’t some of us remember that freedom of expression does not give us the right to throw verbal garbage at others?

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15 thoughts on “Freedom of expression?

  1. Garbage, whether wet or dry and even verbal, needs to be dealt with appropriately.
    Loud talk on mobiles for me is a strict no-no.
    By the way I’m allergic to cell phones – I neither own one nor miss it. It’s a hassle carrying it around and then saying that the numbers stored are all lost.
    I hate their buzz in public spaces like auditoria and parks.There ought to be jammers for them!

  2. I applaud you for this post, Pro! Cleaning up of the society/nation not only includes physical cleaning but also cleaning up this kind of abusive and obscene verbal garbage in public spaces. Hopefully this time around we won’t see such nonsense in Parliament, the temple of democracy as the new PM puts it.

  3. such nonsense no? I’ve seen this happen here in US as well.. everyone stares.. most people are uncomfortable and then someone tells him to talk softly. its kind of embarrassing..
    I hate using my cell phone in a restaurant or movie theatre!

  4. Common courtesy would be to tone down the ph in public places as well as your decibel level. Unfortunately we Indians just take it for granted that the louder I speak the more important a person I am. Remember my brother tell us about a chap in France telling someone at home that he was standing on top of the Essel tower (Eiffel Tower) on the top of his voice & the whole crowd around burst out laughing much to the embarrassment of the chap.

  5. well well wellll.. now this brought memories 🙂 of two weeks back.. had a call to go to a situation to a indian restaurant where a gentleman after having a few shots , suddenly had the urge to call his friends in india and was probably doing the same thing as you mentioned.. I think the fellow guests at the restaurant asked the waiters to ask him to slow it down.. That is when this guy said something to the waiter .. who called 999 🙂

    This gentle man was a High court Judge from haryana, and thought his ways will work here too, cut the story short it was him on his knees, hands folded at the station , begging to be let go because he did not want this coming out .. as he was supposed to be on some official work here in uk 🙂 he had to spend few hours till he sobered up..

    I mean what the hell.. what was the need to do that , if you have to make a phone call go out and do it .. and I don’t want to sound RACIST here but our fellow countrymen have this problem in abundance , especially after a few PEGS .. it is so embarrassing.

  6. Coincidentally I just wrote about people coming to temples to do everything but pray! seems like no one is bothered about etiquette these days! swear all you want, do what you want..seems to be the policy!

  7. People just don’t care. It’s as simple as that. Why do people throw garbage on the street or spit out of a moving bus? Same reason. As long as people don’t care, there isn’t much we can do about it. Sigh…

  8. Am not sure if it has anything to do with Asian culture but I have experienced people from China, Japan, Taiwan do take recourse to talking in their native language without caring who and where are they..It at times get on you pretty badly…

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