I sincerely wish these are really not Indian traits but sadly these are , evident everywhere in our society , in our behaviour , in our mindset.
‘Rules are meant to be broken’, are the proud proclamations we often hear in our country, as if flouting rules is an achievement to be flaunted. Not only do many of us blatantly break the rules but have the audacity to boast about our utter disregard for the rules.
On my visit to Australia, I was surprised at the discipline and the strict adherence to the traffic rules in that country. The orderly flow of traffic on the Sydney roads was astounding. The regard and consideration for the pedestrians was amazing. While the drivers stopped the vehicles and waited patiently at the zebra crossing, pedestrians would comfortably cross the road. What a sharp contrast it is to India where the jungle rule of ‘might is right’ prevails on our roads. The drivers of the heavier vehicles literally lord over the road, intimidating the pedestrians and the people on lighter vehicles.
Another irritant is persistent honking , a favourite habit of the drivers in India .They have a strong urge to press the horn every now and then, whether required or not, but during my entire stay of about a fortnight in Australia, not even once did I hear the sound of a horn. What a contrast! Back home in India it is not unusual to be pestered by speeding drivers who keep honking while trying to overtake from the left or the right .
It is not just noise on roads but everywhere. The blaring loudspeakers at high pitch are testimony to our immunity to high decibel noise. Never mind the inconvenience to the people in the neighborhood, we love playing loud music. Be it a marriage, religious congregation or any ceremony in the neighborhood, it is free for all in the entire locality. Use of loudspeakers from religious places whether for bhajan, kirtan or Adhan is a norm. The organisers/preachers feel proud sending holy vibes into the atmosphere without realizing actually what they are doing is not service but disservice to humanity by adding to noise pollution and creating communal discord.
Our disregard for rules is also reflected in the way we behave in an undisciplined manner in public places. Standing in a queue is below dignity for many of us. The one who jumps the queue considers himself to be street smart. Flaunting connections and getting the work done out of turn are matters of pride. Affluence and influence do the trick every where, even in places of worship. A VIP connection is a gateway to out of turn darshan at a religious place.
Jostling and pushing while standing in a queue are common. We tend to stand very close to each other in a queue, shoulder to shoulder, literally climbing over others. While on his first visit to USA, my son was standing in a queue, as is a way of life in India; he inadvertently drew closer to the man standing ahead him. This infuriated the fellow, who yelled, “What is your problem, man?” “None, just a matter of habit”, muttered my son.
‘Old habits die hard’. But we need to change our habits and mindset. No pseudo pride in bending the rules, but genuine pride in adhering to the rules!! This is the way it ought to be so as to be proud citizens of a proud nation.
# A reality that bites .
(Publishes on Momspresso on 16 May , 2022 – declared as one of the winners under the challenge ‘Not Really Indian’)