How Do You Do?

This cartoon, please click on it for a larger resolution, reminds me of the very first time that someone asked me “how do you do?” when introduced. I was quite puzzled and responded with “do what?” I was of course taught subsequently that it was one of the many idiosyncrasies of every day spoken English and that one responded to that question with “fine thank you, and you?” and the first one was expected to respond with “I am fine thank you!” too.

I also learnt to respond with “The normal way, why, do you do differently?” with people with whom I could get away with such quips.

I also learnt that instead of “how do you do?” “how are you?” may also be used and the same ritual should be enacted.

As I stayed bemused with those introduction rituals, I also learned to say and respond to “pleased to meet you” and “likewise!”

Now, the greeting even from old friends is, “how are you doing?” I usually respond with “I stopped doing a long time ago!”

No, I too don’t use “Fine” any more. I also ask a counter question often, “how much time do you have?”. When puzzled people counter question “for what?” I would respond with “to hear all my health issues!”

My first choice for greeting among all my Indian contacts is either Namaste or Namashkar.

8 thoughts on “How Do You Do?”

  1. It’s a very odd custom that you’re expected to say you’re “fine” when at least half of us must be feeling like crap or have some medical condition. But anyone who tries to answer the question honestly will be treated as if they’re some newly-landed Martian unfamiliar with Earthly etiquette.

    Still, mustn’t grumble. Not too bad. Can’t complain. Etc.

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