Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What to do, we are like that only!

 


We Indians are a free spirited lot and don’t believe in masking our true selves with needless niceties. We love to flaunt our bad manners like a newly acquired SUV that honks imperiously in midst of barely moving traffic, expecting the annoying twerps blocking the way to get crushed under its wheels or take wings and fly out of sight.

We are always in a hurry to get somewhere. That’s why we shove, jostle, stamp on unsuspecting feet to get ahead in the queue and almost push that gangly boy to the Metro tracks just to be the first one to get into the coach. The moment our plane touches down for landing, regardless of how many free pegs of whiskey we have downed, we spring into action and start taking down our hand bags from the overheard compartments, completely ignoring the airhostess’s plea to remain seated. And before the aircraft can come to a halt, we start running towards the exit as if we expect the cabin crew to set the plane on fire, if we don’t disembark on time.

Yet, we are never on time. Rather, we expect time and the punctual fool to wait for us while we saunter in two hours late without even a hint of remorse.

It’s because it’s never our fault.

So, if we turn up late without having the courtesy to inform, it’s because of the damn traffic jam. If we make a nasty dent on the car in the neigbouring parking slot at the mall, it’s because the idiot had parked it wrong. If we dump our garbage in our neighbour’s compound, it’s because it looked dirty anyway. If we merrily film a girl’s cleavage as she bends down to pick up her pen, it’s because we were trying to teach her a lesson for wearing a low-cut top. If she’s out of her house, on her own, she is meant to be groped and pinched. If she dares retaliate, she’s being an unreasonable bitch.


Rules are meant for the meek and powerless. Saying sorry and thank you will make our tongue fall out. Visiting tourists are sitting ducks, waiting to be exploited. We share a young exchange student’s horrific ordeal in our country on social network sites, hang our heads in shame, tut tut in sympathy but prefer looking the other way if we see a girl being clawed by some sick pervert at a busy market place. We outrage about our inert politicians but come Election Day, we’d rather go to the mall and chill out.

Yet we have the temerity to crib that the country is going to dogs and sigh in resignation that things will never change.

Things change when attitudes change. And if you think we are like that only, I’d like to bring to your attention the magical transformation we all undergo, the moment we step out of our country.

The very same people who spit on walls, throw orange peels and discarded chips packets on roads, look the other way when you point it out to them, try to bribe their way out of tricky situations,have loud conversations on phone with their dead and living relatives inside movie theaters and scream at their maids and waiters because they need to be shown their place, turn into model citizens the moment they step on foreign shores.

Pretty much like the bawling, tantrum throwing brat who starts behaving himself the moment his Mom is out of his sight.

Perhaps it stems from the need to blend in with the well-mannered First world denizens or the knowledge that breaking rules invites harsh consequences. But the truth is we all become better versions of ourselves when we visit or move to a foreign country. We try harder to be nice, smile more often, behave gracefully and become more helpful.

Of course, there will be an odd lot that will continue being the assholes they are, irrespective of whether they are in Hisar or Helsinki!

It’s not as if we do not have conscientious citizens who treat the laws of our country and their fellow countrymen with respect. We do, but we need more of them. It’s not as if all are our men are uncouth perverts waiting to pounce on unsuspecting women. There are so many honourable men who respect and cherish the women in their lives.

But our problem is that so many of us are too complacent to speak up and get out of our comfort zones to be the catalyst for change. We’d rather wait for a miracle to transform all the ills that prevail.

Things will remain the same because so many of us put ourselves above the common good of all. Parents pay hefty capitation fees to get their son into Engineering. We extend balconies of our apartment, build an extra floor because we know we can get away with it. We isolate ourselves from the grim reality because there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s because my welfare, my happiness comes first.

If we want to clean up our country, we have to clean up our own act first. Only then we can at least start hoping for a change.


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75 comments:

  1. Wow. So true! But then again, I read, I nod my head in agreement, and then I wonder, will I try to get my election card for the third time? They got my age as 36 and 54 instead of 25 the first two times. And I have deadlines... Oh wait, I can still tut tut and turn the other way...

    A thought provoking post. I hope people read and do, and not just nod their heads!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope this elections, people do their homework and vote for the right candidate!

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  2. totally totally close to my heart this issue... you know in our apartments, people think im crazy to be pointing out that children lack civic sense and its the parenting which is the cause..they say..bacche hai yeh toh, apke honge fir pata chalga, or something like aap bacche ko aisa kaise bol sakti hai...

    I wanna tell them these spoilt lack of proper parenting bacchas make up for uncouth, undscilined uncivic adults who break a queue, spit in public places (obviously when you have taught ur child that throwing down ice cream in the lift is OK!!) and what not!!

    sometime me feels like catching the ears of those kids and giving them a good twist!!!! and then get on with the parents and do the same!!!

    http://www.myunfinishedlife.com

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's so annoying to hear people make excuses for their missing civic sense. It all stems from pride for your country. If you treat your complex, the streets like your private dustbin, you have no right to complain!

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  3. Here the attitude is there-are-so-many-and-one-more-wont-matter, be it throwing things on the road, dumping garbage or spitting..(Sometimes when somebody spits on the road I secretly wish it would ricochet off the road and fall on their face. Disgusting, I know.) some of my friends laugh at me when I put the chocolate wrapper inside my pocket instead on of throwing it on the road.. And I am guilty of the vote thing but I don't crib about the government because I know I have not voted..
    Very nicely written post.. :) :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. When I was a teacher I made sure no one in my bus threw discarded orange peels and chips packets on the roads. Children don't mind changing, it's the adults who put up a stiff resistance!

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  4. Changing attitudes Purba? Never yet seen a reaction saying "Mea Culpa" any time - it is always the others who are at fault. How will attitudes change when we refuse to attribute any of the criticism to ourselves?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody wants to accept that we are also part of the problem.

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  5. Nothing can change a person but fear...its the fear of getting punished or looked up in embrassed etc that makes people do the things properly when abroad ....there is no such fear etc in India. The next thing is even though u want to follow some things likw throw some waste in bins etc can u find a bin in most areas in India. But as u said if all have a change in attitude things will change. The change should start from our home. Nice post.

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    1. Indeed. What is the use of framing rules and regulations if you are not taking steps to ensure adherence?

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  6. Our problem is our freedom. It is not the freedom as in a free thinking society, but the freedom of an orphaned street kid I mean.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are just capable of making a lot of noise.

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  7. It started with pleasant badinage and suddenly turned to be an emotional outburst of a person who wants India to change. It will, hopefully because many are seething and the cooker will need a vent. Such is change, slow, and painful; but it is still a guess. Things might be for the best, or worst.

    Regards,
    Blasphemous Aesthete

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anshul, we are all seething because things are progressively getting worse and there's not much we can do about it.

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  8. We have to be the change that we wish to see. A very relevant post. And I don't even wish to begin ranting about some of us being in a hurry to enter elevators, and trampling my feet during a short trip abroad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can just look at them and wonder what's wrong.

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  9. Wonderfully written an very true.
    I think every Indian will agree to this. Even the ones who break the rules (because rules are to be followed when you are in a foreign country)
    I just don't understand the logic when people stand up and make a grab at the overhead rack once the plane touches down. They very well know that they have to stand like statues in awkward angles till the doors open.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's like a constant rat race with all of us trying to outrun, outdo each other.

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  10. Absolutely agree with you.. I have said this before too..A person who flew with me, the moment entered our motherland started throwing banana peels flying in the air. I never understood what changed. Just the other day we were talking about the same concept at home and I said, why don't we have plenty of dustbins everywhere? That will create so many jobs..many contracts for people supplying them, cleaning them etc..you know what hubby said? Well, people will take away the bins happily sigh!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, in a poor country like ours, even dustbins are pilfered. But that doesn't mean start strewing public places with our garbage!

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  11. Agree with you Purba..I dont know what else to say as you have said it all. But probably about women questioning the traditions to save their sanity?? Does that seem relevant here? dont know...

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We are at crossroads. Caught in a limbo between an India that wants to move forward and an India that's using "preserving our culture" as an excuse to hold us back.

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  12. You are so correct! Nodding and agreeing all the way through this post!

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  13. Very well said. I have noticed this change in attitude and I completely agree that it comes from a need to blend in...Couldn't agree more with this post!

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  14. The only way this country can become better is by emptying it of its citizens at the risk of creating hells for other countries! Every point you made is dismally true.

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  15. A proper leader can bring about change, the first step is always making people aware which you have just done. From this moment I am with you and will surely try to make an effort to not just listen through one ear and send it out the other, but to bring the correct things into practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One little step at a time is all we need for a quantum change.

      Delete
  16. The attitude.. the mind set that's centuries old ...lives inside the cells which needs an immediate removal but alas its not happening- wrong parenting being one of the major reasons. I agree with your point here Purba.

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    1. I agree, attitudes cannot be changed overnight. And as parents it is our duty to raise our children as conscientious citizens!

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  17. It is only when each of us takes the responsibility of changing ourselves completely and then trying to slowly change our families and our friends, that anything good can ever happen of this country and the world as a whole.

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  18. It is difficult to expect much from those who have utter apathy for law and other form of civilities! Matters get worse as those who are supposed to show way are the first ones to flout the laws, Purba:(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's more about conviction and standing by what you believe in.

      Delete
  19. We flout rules and believe we will never be brought to book ... and we bully. Like all good bullies, we toe the line abroad, because voh humara ghar nahin hai - not our locality where we can flout rules. That is the truth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have nothing to fear and why should they, when they can wriggle out of any situation with a bribe or connections at high places!

      Delete
  20. Yes absolutely.Moment we reach another country,we are at our best behaviour.
    Ha,Ha.Where have you ever seen a set of people who after spending two weeks holiday in Europe come back with an accent?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That fake accent stems from low-self esteem.

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  21. Blaming someone else comes easily to us. Sometimes I wonder how it would have been had the English were still ruling us? Everyone cries hoarse...but, the voice just drowns.

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  22. I remember a song from a film-'Main aisa kyon hoon, main aisa hi hoon'!Well, that's the shark reality, we are like that only believing in 'Sab Chalta hai' attitude. Education has not changed our mind set otherwise why the road rage by learned car owners? Purba, you have hit at the right place but we will scratch & indulge as before!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's terribly sad that the rotten apples outnumber the righteous ones and it's their voice that gets drowned in the cacophony.

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  23. wow!!! brilliant post..Hats off to you..:)

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  24. We, Indians try to show our sophistication and well mannerism in every way possible. The two things we can't absolutely accept is criticism and someone calling us wrong. We are always fair in what we do, and the other person is simply blabbering. Once upon a time, Indians were suppose to be the most intelligent and most active people on this planet... today it's almost the opposite.

    Apurva
    kalapalette.blogspot.in

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not a nice feeling to know that we are becoming bitter and not better versions of our forefathers.

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  25. Well, I don't totally agree that the dichotomy is observed every time. For example when I went to London, the Asian suburb was so like an Indian slum with paan spits on the walls, littered roads and the works. What was amazing is that it wasn't an Indian phenomenon but through the co-creation of the community consisting of Pakistanis, Indians, Bangladeshis and the likes. I believe its a South Asian genetic disorder. To be inherently disordered and dirty. I saw the same pattern in Little India in Singapore. A world apart when you compare it with the rest of the country. The shift in our behaviour is triggered by the change in the context. The minute we reach such suburbs our brains shift to the South Asian context and voila! Paan pichkari!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. When we move out of our country, we cease to be Indians. We become just another dark skinned Third World immigrant. And we all try our best to live up to the low expectations.

      And hey! Pan pichkari and peeing on roadside is our birthright!

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  26. I am careful about almost all the things you mentioned but who do I vote for. I should vote just to use the voters card that I am a very proud owner of. You are going great guns, Purba...Way to go!

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    1. And am I glad to see you after such a long gap :-)

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  27. I have my own kith and kin blame me for their problems. They never look at the mirror themselves, or do a reality check...always the blame is upon me..I live in Oman far far away from these blood(y) relatives and only contact them on their birthdays and Christmas...but somehow they find me the perfect scapegoat to dump all the blame( for an unhappy marriage, a lost job or whatever I am not even remotely involved in ). Very very unfair and illogical...but its true that people are always perfect to themselves and it always the others who are culprits. These people may have to wait a lifetime or a few educated and well bred generations down the line to become good human beings who can THINK.

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    1. I call such people energy vampires. They like to dump their unhappiness on everyone else.

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  28. "What to do, we're like that only" - nice title - is a lame excuse for a lack of civility or of civic sense. What I've noticed in a few Indians is a desire to show (off) contempt and arrogance as a mark of supposed superiority and power. They don't realise how crass it makes them appear. Real superiority or power is much more subtle.

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    1. Precisely why the voice of the sane gets drowned in the foolish cacophony.

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  29. I think the first step is to acknowledge that you are a part of the problem. Making things better comes after that. Sadly Indians are never wrong. They are the most perfect race ever to grace Earth.

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    1. It will be very inconvenient for all of us if we accept that we're part of the problem.

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  30. So true! and yes sadly we are like that only!!

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  31. This totally rang a bell with me.
    Recently, on my flight from Paris to Boston, when I helped a lady stack her luggage in the overhead bin, she asked me if I was from India.
    When I replied in the affirmative, she said she was actually surprised that an Indian patiently helped her. That was literally a facepalm moment for me. It may have been just her observation/opinion, but still doesn't speak well of Indians who travel abroad.
    Having been ridiculed for carrying a chocolate wrapper for 2 hours before I found a dustbin, I can see where you are coming from.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It makes you cringe to know how badly Indians are judged by the rest of the world. All the more reason we try harder to be better persons!

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  32. This post has been selected for the Spicy Saturday Picks this week. Thank You for an amazing post! Cheers! Keep Blogging :)

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    Replies
    1. This is indeed an honour. Thank you.

      Delete
  33. Well said. Given how Indians love talking, we tend to keep talking on and one and we hardly take any initiative beyond that. It is time we stop blaming, get down to business and start taking corrective actions!

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    1. Yes, enough of finger pointing and blaming others for our problems.

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  34. We had to study an abridged version of a speech by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam on this very same theme. If there's one defining character that most Indians share, then it's hypocrisy.

    This made for a very insightful read. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. More so because we are expected to keep up pretenses for the sake of society. Morality is used as a leash to hold the younger generation back.

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  35. Very true! We are no. 1 hypocrites :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, it's time we stopped bothering about others opinion.

      Delete
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    You can read similar things on our website too.
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    Yours
    Shashikant

    ReplyDelete
  37. Great post Purba and belated congratulations for BlogAdda pick. We are the kings of Hypocrisy that's true but I think reason for that is our evolution based on societal benefits rather than personal freedom. What say you ?

    ReplyDelete
  38. wow so true. We have to clean up our own act first.Good read. I could relate to your views so much.

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