Sunday, November 27, 2011

Surprising Diversity

When you get an envelope, with a card in it, how do you open it? You may try and let us know the answer so that we get more data to test the null hypothesis

H0: The style of opening an envelope is independent of your native place. 
H1: The style of opening an envelope is influenced by your native place. 

Right now, the data at hand completely support the rejection of null hypothesis. It all started when Deep made an interesting observation, while giving her wedding cards. Being a north Indian by birth and having spent most part of her life there, she had placed the cards with their front facing the backside of the envelope. The reason is when you open an envelope by turning its backside to front (which we think is the easiest way to open, as you can see the flap and the opening) and take the card out, you should have the card’s front facing you. But, we Maharashtrians are used to seeing the cards with their front side touching the front side of the envelope (of course from inside), which means that the card’s backside faces you if you open the envelope from back. As a result, whenever we Maharashtrians get an envelope, we either try to take out the card without reversing it, (though, it’s a bit tedious), or unknowingly reverse the card, if we open the envelope from the backside (without even noticing that the card is already facing us).

Surprisingly, almost all the Maharashtrians and North Indians whom she handed over the cards followed their regional instincts. Now, considering the fact that no one teaches us how to open an envelope, and no traditions/rituals are involved, it’s really hard to believe that such regional diversity exists even in such small actions….


  1. I would say I have a contradictory point to make. Till date, whenever I have come across any invitation of any program, wedding/ pooja etc, I have always seen them, opened them in the exact same way you have described about Deep's way of doing it. So, I think it is not everywhere in Maharashtra.

  2. I guess for me...

    "The style of opening an envelope is independent of your native place." ;)