Why are we such a bunch of inconsiderate morons?
By “we” I mean Indians. It doesn’t matter which corner of the country we are from. Despite variations in manners, styles of dressing, or speaking unrelated languages; Indians as a whole and unflinchingly exhibit characteristics rarely seen in other parts of the world. For example, rudeness seems to be an inherent trait.
Only today, I returned home after dropping my car off for service at a garage not too close to home that I had heard about on an online car forum. Having told the garage owner about the various things that needed looking into, I was about to wrap up and leave. However, I had just one question about a paint job. Just then his cell phone rang. My question remained unasked.
The caller seemed to have a few questions about a future visit to London and the garage owner’s answers never seemed to end. He spoke about how his friend lived in Wembley which was not too far from Wimbledon. Buckingham Palace was a stone’s throw away as well, he added. In answer to a question, he told his friend that Heathrow was at least 35 miles away and suggested Gatwick Airport as an alternative. His London acquaintance he added, was actually originally a Gujarati émigré from Kenya.
As I waited for the call to end, I had read the job sheet lying on the table a hundred times over and memorised it down to the last comma. The call continued and so I shifted to the office door and looked out at the shop-floor. The conversation never seemed to end.
There hadn’t been the slightest apology for having dumped me for the call or even a ‘by your leave’ before taking it.
I looked at my watch, stared at it, and then at him without result.
By now he was almost twenty minutes into the call and I was seething. Having reached the end of my tether, I grabbed my stuff and started to leave in a demonstrable huff. On seeing this, he immediately ended the call. I couldn’t help but tick him off. He was, of course, profusely apologetic. It didn’t matter anymore. You might say it’s not only Indians who do this, but there’s always the exception to the rule.
Why are we such a bunch of indisciplined idiots?
Take the road, for instance. It is a public space meant to be shared by all whether on foot, bicycle, motorbike, car, or bus. But if you take a closer look, it is precisely in the reverse order that the space gets used. Might is right. The bus elbows out the car. The car in turn shoves the motorbike off. The motorcycle edges the bicycle into the nearest drain while the cyclist stops short of ramming into the nearest pedestrian. And I didn’t even dare include the ubiquitous auto-rickshaw! This city could be anywhere – South, North, East or West. In any other country of the world there would be some order and not this chaos. Perhaps Indians are the originators of the ‘chaos theory’!
Or even, let’s talk about a visit to the mall. One waits for the elevator to arrive and slowly a crowd builds, waiting to take the same lift. Everyone waits and patiently at that, or so it seems. The scene changes as soon as the lift door opens. All hell breaks loose; there is a lot of elbowing and shoving, and the poor passengers who want to get out of the arriving elevator have no chance at all!
“Undisciplined idiots” did I say? Seems an understatement, actually!
Why are we such indecent louts?
This has been spoken about before, written about widely, discussed at various forums but nothing ever changes. The Indian, bearded or non-bearded, dhotied or pajamaed, is filth personified, outside his home, that is. He thinks nothing of picking up the garbage from home and dumping it by the roadside or in front of someone else’s house. He thinks nothing of hiking up his dhoti or opening his fly and peeing in public. The world is his toilet.
He thinks nothing of defiling common property like parks and public gardens. A picnic completed, his joy has ended. Perhaps to mark his sorrow, he leaves behind the litter, leftovers from a booze-driven lunch, disposable plates, and a variety of polluting plasticware. For all you know, you may see him espousing green causes the very next day.
If he happens to be a paan-chewer, God help the nearest wall. Street graffiti just took on a new description.
Why are we only 95-percenters?
I came across the term ’95-percenters’ recently somewhere. It sums up the Indian neatly. Whatever we do is never fully complete, be it a road, a building or some other project. And the quality of the execution? The less said the better.
It isn’t always so. The cars we produce are of a pretty decent quality and standard. The reason could perhaps be that these are not totally indigenous. Neither the materials nor the technology that went into creating them. There are islands of excellence in the form of many companies which are truly world class. But these are only few and far between.
There are other cases where the end-product is excellent but is allowed to deteriorate as time passes.
I guess there are no easy explanations. Perhaps we behave the way we do because it’s just our ‘culture’! But in the traditional sense, being cultured means being polite, warm, courteous etc. But go anywhere in India and there is very little of this on display. Perhaps what will explain it is that hackneyed phrase again “We are like that only!”
The dream of every writer is to be read. And to be read and appreciated by as many people as possible. BWW makes that dream a reality.
BWW Star is a writer who has worked with us at BWW and whose work amused, moved, inspired, and/or made a difference in our lives. We are sure you will enjoy and be encouraging too.
Meet Sudarshan Rajan from the first batch of Bangalore Writers Workshop. Sudarshan’s work is a quest for meaning. With his ample experiences, he tries to find meaning and comfort through his writing. But for all that, Sudarshan retains a charming sense of youth and vitality in everything he does. For that we at BWW, are very proud of him.
Sudarshan Rajan in his own words
Father of two – recent grandfather of one. Marine professional, now retired. People ask me, “How do you spend your time now that you’ve stopped working?” My reply, “Don’t know how, but I now have even less time than when I was a none-to-fiver!” I am actually now doing the things I love most and coudn’t do much of earlier – reading (mostly non-fiction), driving excursions, photography, and movie watching. I also want to take up writing but haven’t started with any seriousness as yet.
Encourage our BWW Star
Liked what you read?
Do you agree with Sudarshan’s views on Indians? Does the explanation, ‘we are like that only?’ excuse everything? Tell us what you think. Leave us a comment.