Lasya Shashimohan

right in the middle

We Indians no doubt are proficient. More proficient at some things than others. One could endlessly list our distinctions, but let’s restrict it to the following:

Elbow, jostle, grab: the universe isn’t a cornucopia, but an abyss of dearth. The theory espoused by Rhonda Byrne in The Secret is nonsense! There isn’t enough for everyone. You need to elbow, jostle and push to heap your plates at a party. It’s only right to hop into an auto that the expecting mother behind you had flagged down first. When god gives plenty, cling tighter to your purse strings. You’ve earned it; why must you share?

Honk away to glory: speed away like the winds. Hog roads and don’t allow the ambulance behind you to pass. After all, your purpose is critical; your destination paramount. Others are on the road just for a lark. And of course, never forget to honk, especially when an elderly or differently-abled person is taking a minute longer than you bargained for to get into the vehicle parked in front. After all, you have the onus of getting home and performing oh-so-important tasks like logging into Facebook.

Spit, litter, pee: chew your betel leaves and then spray paint walls of public buildings and offices (Oh no, never your home—that’s a sacred place). Have a picnic and transform the whole vast outdoors into your own personal dustbin. The prime minister launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan just for thrills! And, there are always NGOs and volunteers to clean up after you. Depriving them of their weekend “pastime” would be a shame. Unzip your pants and relieve yourself in any nook you can find. After all, why renounce free, open roads for the stifling privacy of a public toilet?

Jabber for all you are worth: Have a cell phone glued to your ear 24x7: at a seminar, in a library and even while driving. After all, there must be a reason as to why cell phone companies offer extra talk time. Being a quiet person could be detrimental. There is a chance that someone might mistake your silence for weakness or incompetence.

Put people into slots: That’s right. And not based on their education, IQ, nature or etiquette. Throw them into cramped watertight compartments based on caste, creed, colour, religion and economic status. Harbour away your biases; what were stereotypes created for?

Also, acknowledge only conventional nine-five jobs. Dismiss artistes, writers, dancers and other creative people as time wasters. They are engaging in their craft just for timepass; so what if they have worked at it all their lives and also make a decent living out of it.

I may not walk the talk all the time. After all, I too am Indian, but I certainly can’t be accused of the issues addressed above. All one requests for is an iota of subtlety, discipline and patience. And just a small bit of broad-mindedness. A slight attitude readjustment will go a long way in making our country a pleasant place to live in.

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