Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Downloads: Talk to the hand posters

Isn't it confusing that our biggest experience of formal politeness
comes from the recorded voices on automated switchboards—who patently don't mean it?

This is one of a series of delightful posters available at Lynne Truss’ website. Lynne Truss is the author of the New York Times bestseller Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door.

An absolute must read.

Click here to download the entire series of Talk to the Hand posters (in PDF format).

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Video: Emily Post on table manners

The legendary Emily Post on table manners, circa 1947. A timeless classic.

Ms Eisa: Getting it right

If you’re extremely etiquette conscious and don’t, for instance, know what to do in an Indian restaurant, read on for some tips.

When it comes to perfect, formal dining etiquette – is there a ‘blanket’ etiquette rule? Or can rules be changed or altered as situations demand? The fork-and-knife are very proper Western norms, but Indian traditional demand a lot of food to be eaten by hand. can you stay true to your tradition without coming off as slovenly?

Also when it comes to discussing the concept of ‘etiquette rules’, are these norms solid or do they alter between cultures? For instance, some people place their knife- and- fork together in the six o’clock position after their meal has ended, while some place their cutlery in a 4 0’clock position. This can be confusing if you tend to be particularly mindful of protocol.

When in Rome

Manners are meant to make other people comfortable and not necessarily for your comfort. Each country’s culture is manifested in their customs and etiquette. It is customary that in Rome you do as the Romans would” In Europe the mastery of the art of fine dining is of vital importance since it determines your nobility. In Japan, fine dining utensils would be chopsticks and bowls.

In India it is considered correct to eat Indian cuisine with your fingers even at a formal dinner. I caution though, that a sign of distinguished gentry is the delicate use of the tips of your fingers only. A dead give-away would be to allow rivulets of gravy to trickle down your mouth, palm or hand. Resist the temptation to lick any part of your anatomy.

Universal Rules

All diner rituals developed from the notion that the table or eating area is pristine territory and polite people seek to preserve that cleanliness, by never placing a used item (utensil, chewed food, napkin, elbow) on the table.

Digestive sounds or the sound of food masticating is not music to anyone’s ears. Universal rules are that you should take the food to your mouth and not stoop to the food. Don’t lick your fingers no matter how delicious the food and lest you spray your accomplices, don’t talk with food in your mouth!

Your napkin stays on your lap while you eat. It is returned to the table only at the conclusion of the meal when everyone is done and not when you are. Your crisp white napkin can never alternate as a towel or an apron, though the height of gracefulness would be to elegantly dab the corners of your mouth with it.

At the end of the meal, delicately dip those greasy fingers in the finger bowl provided. If you temporarily leave the table before the dinner is over, put your napkin on your chair. At the end of the meal, fold your napkin and place it to the left of your plate – never on your plate.

Fine Lines

Your knife and fork are the significant utensils because they signal when you’re resting between courses or when you are done. In Europe, which is the epitome of genteel conduct, you would form an “X” over your plate by placing the fork on the left and the knife on the right, indicating that you are not done eating but merely taking a rest; To indicate that you’re finished, place the knife and fork together in a in a six o’clock position. However the Americans do indicate the end of a meal with a 4 o’clock position.

The French, recognized as the connoisseurs of fine dining, have perfected it to a fine art that has been religiously adhered to for the last four centuries. If in doubt though, you could never be faulted should you choose to go the French way.

This article is from Ms Rukshana Eisa’s regular column in The Times of India's Mumbai Mirror.

Facing an etiquette crisis? Write in to Ms Rukshana Eisa and she will help you resolve it. Please e-mail

Friday, October 06, 2006

Today's quote: Emily Post

“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.
If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

~Emily Post

About Image Inc

Image Inc, headed by Ms Rukshana Eisa, is a grooming and etiquette school.

“Image Inc, as the name suggests is all about image building by providing a complete makeover for an individual, taking into account aspects of present life and society, while retaining a person’s individuality, an attribute which makes a person so special”, says Rukshana.

Image Inc offers a personalized training program, which includes every aspect of grooming; from posture and table manners to personal hygiene and attire.

Rukshana has personified grooming. A successful model with several prestigious ad campaigns to her credit, She was the first and youngest On Board Leader with Delta Airlines, initially responsible for grooming flight attendants at the base and subsequently being the first Indian international trainer at the headquarters in Miami.

Extensively traveled, she incorporates into her grooming programs her vast experience and understanding of various cultures. She bring to her training the same meticulousness , diligence and commitment that made her a successful and sought after at whatever occupation be it as a successful model, an on board leader with Delta Airlines or currently as an image consultant.

Says Rukshana, “At Image Inc. we help to mould a person wanting a head start in life whilst dealing with people and society at large. Her endeavour is to tailor –make a package that would suite ones lifestyle.

Soft spoken and suave, Rukshana believes that anyone can be groomed if they are receptive and eager enough. It’s more a question of wanting to learn.

Bio: Rukshana Eisa

Born in Mumbai, Rukshana, an Arts graduate, started modeling since the age of 16. Rukshana made her mark in the glamour world at a very young age. She has modeled for over 100 local and international brands and has to her credit, over 300 fashion shows including those in UAE, Kuwait, Singapore, Bangkok, Malaysia and USA.

Her first link with the airline industry dates as early as 1984, when she worked at Gulf Air as a flight attendant. Soon after, she joined Pan American World Airways, when they first opened operations in India.

Her excellent performance got her an instant promotion as On Board Leader. She was further selected for additional duties, which primarily included training flight attendants from various international bases. In lieu of this selection, she was sent to Miami to train for the additional post of Grooming and Appearance Coordinator for the entire Mumbai base.

She was also delegated with the responsibility of recruiting flight attendants for the company as and when there were vacancies. Her job profile included ensuring that the recruits provided excellent service and were impeccably turned out. She also held the post of Appearance Advisor for the Bombay base consisting of more than 100 flight attendants.

Pan American Airlines was later taken over by Delta Airlines, where Rukshana retained her position and seniority. In fact, in view of her excellent and impeccable services, Delta presented her with a ruby pin after a decade and more recently an emerald pin on her 15th year with the company.

Rukshana’s career has allowed her to travel extensively and has provided her with an enriched understanding of various cultures, which she successfully incorporates into her training and grooming programmes.

Rukshana was also one of the official instructors at the Miss India training programme where she had to take the girls through a grooming course, leading up to the final Miss India event.

Currently Rukshana Eisa heads Image Inc, a grooming school by Birla Lifestyle, where she conducts intensive private courses on grooming and etiquette.