After living in Punjab for a while small things that I thought were humorous to begin with are starting to grate on me. There are so many cultural differences about life in India that you just have to learn to adapt. But some things I simply can't no matter how hard I try as the very thought of them make me shudder. Small things such as chewing food with your mouth open so that it sounds like a cow chewing cud. Sure it sounds innocent enough but when you sit for every meal surrounded by the echoing of loud chewing, gulping and burping of other diners it starts to grate on your nerves. Surely I am not alone on this? Perhaps I suffer from misophonia which is a strong dislike of specific sounds that create negative emotions or thoughts. However normally these sounds wouldn't bother me, it is only because I am constantly surrounded by them that it has started to bother me - a lot. It may just be due to my upbringing as a child, I was always taught that chewing with your mouth open or burping at the table was considered to be bad manners. Either way it isn't just sounds that have started to grate on my nerves.
I have started to speak English like I am a local so my grammar and pronunciation is absolutely awful, though people understand me better when I speak this way. Even my husband speaks this way now. We have become lazy with our English and I find it annoying. Especially how people will say huh instead of pardon or excuse me. Which sounds exactly like the Punjabi slang word for yes which is ha though pronounced huh. Ha is short for hanji which is the polite form. It sounds so primitive when someone is yelling across the house then the other yells 'HUH'. Or they are on the phone and didn't hear the other person, 'HUH'. Even conversations in English they use 'HUH'. Call me fussy but any other word is better than huh. It just feels so substandard. There are so many alternatives to huh, such as excuse me, pardon, can you repeat that, what was that, can you say that again, or sorry I didn't hear that.
This has got to be the worst bad habit that many Punjabi people do and that is coughing up your phlegm in the bathroom. Ok so maybe I do suffer from misophonia. Why do they have to do it in the bathroom when you can privately go outside away from others is beyond me. The bathroom is right next to my bedroom so I hear absolutely everything. Listening to people cough up their phlegm or blow their nose without a tissue is not exactly pleasant. Especially if it isn't washed down the drain and the next person to use the bathroom gets an unsightly surprise. Even living in Australia the Indian people that I knew all did this exact same thing. Whilst using tissues isn't pleasant either at least you can dispose of them discreetly. Which brings me to sniffling, no one ever uses tissues here. They will go throughout the day sniffling rather than blowing their nose. Listening to someone constantly sniffle all day long makes for a rather long day. You don't even need to have the flu to have the sniffles as eating curry will do the exact same thing. Or even just being out in the cold weather will give you the sniffles.
Sleeping in is difficult in Punjab as every morning the Sikh Temples will do a call for prayers over the speaker phone. To me it sounds like chanting and it echoes all across the neighbourhood. Too bad if you live next to more than one temple as they all do call for prayers over the speaker phone. This is normally done perhaps every half hour from about 4am till 7am. Some days it sounds as though the speaker phones are right outside your windows. So those who are not religious still get to listen to the call for prayers each and every morning.
Most people in Punjab will have a cleaning maid to help with the household chores. Though our maid hasn't been in for weeks now so I am beginning to think she has resigned without notice. So I have been helping to sweep the floors with the use of an Indian broom. Now if you haven't seen one they are simply a whole bunch of straw like sticks bundled together and tied to the end of a wooden handle. So it is more like you are dusting the floor rather than sweeping it. It makes life absolutely impossible with sweeping as the dust flies everywhere and it does not collect all the dirt or debris on the floor. Punjab is so dusty that one day without sweeping results in a layer of dust on the floor. So it is a full time job keeping the floors clean especially when you don't have the right tools for the job. It is a great tool however to remove the salt excretion from the concrete walls but that is about it.
Life in Punjab has been rewarding and I absolutely love living here though I am sure we all have our pet peeves- those little things that grate on our nerves.
What really gets on your nerves?