New Indian Culture?
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande
This boy in coffee shop made the regular tray: coffee and a paper napkin and served it on the counter to the youngish man in thirties. The customer asked for more napkins. The coffee-shop-boy gave him two more.
The shop was full, with ladies and kids, mostly visitors to the hospital.
“Tere ghar se derra kya too (Are you giving these from your home)?” shouted the bulky customer. “Lafda karneka kya tereko (Do you want a fight)?… Ek baar bola toh chupchap dus deneka (Told once, you must give me 10)… Meri marzi (it’s my wish).. I am coming here since before you were born.. Shut up and know who you are.. Saale do kaudi ka waiter (you’re just a cheap two penny waiter)”.
The whole silent coffee shop observed, sipped their coffees and ate their food.
The senior worker intervened “Let it be.. take as many tissues as you want.. He is new..” etc.
Turning around, this coffee shop boy from a faraway town wiped his eyes, not only of humiliation, but of the control he had to muster to prevent anger getting the better of him.
This family in a Small car stopped at the busy signal, in the rush hour. The elderly man in his sixties driving the car had his wife besides him and two ladies, probably his daughters, and two small kids in the back. As the signal turned green, the bike in front of their car started and suddenly braked. The screeching car just touched the bike, albeit slowly, the bike didn’t even sway. Embarrassed and half-smiling, the elderly man at the steering opened the window, said “Sorry, galati se hua..laga kya (sorry, it was by mistake.. are you hurt)?”..
The two men, probably just out of “Gym” for they had a typical posture (and also probably drunk), parked the bike in the middle of the road, opened the car door, held him by the shirt-collar, and started thrashing the elderly. One hit the man, now folding hands and begging pardon, with his shoes. They simultaneously called upon the traffic police to act upon this car driver who ‘hit their bike from behind’. The horror of the ladies and kids inside the car was multiplied, and anger peaked, when the cop asked license to the elderly first.
The elderly man’s terrified wife got down, argued that there was no damage, it was a small mistake, and the car driver had already apologized.. All this while, one of the bikers kept holding the shirt collar of the elderly man, jerking him and occasionally slapping him.
The traffic cop assured those two bikers that he will “Take Care of this uncle”, and requested the biker duo to leave. With further foul obscenities, they left.
The traffic cop returned the license to the car driver.
“They are a local politician’s kins.. not good people to fight with.. you are lucky that I was here.. Just let go and leave the area before they return”.
These are routine, daily, everywhere instances. Both above are true. We have no current solution to the extremely ill-behaved “body-builder” and “long-haired” types who go around exercising their “Manliness and Muscle” upon all and sundry, especially the labour and the “working middle” class. They do not care if there are women or children around. They are extremely eager for a “Lafda / Rada (fight)”, searching for the right target to establish their local supremacy. They walk in the middle of the road, looking into the eyes of oncoming traffic, then looking the other way, deliberately slowing their walking speed. They won’t budge from the crucial entrances / turns / stairs to give way to other people passing by. They will indecently peep into cars with women and girls, they will speak dirty aimed at passing women, and await a chance for anyone to argue with them, just to prove their might.
Even the Indian film hero has changed to adapt to this new breed. Now they are everywhere.
One can’t do anything to help when these things happen.
Leave aside the fact that they are mostly protected by the very people trusted by public to run the show. May be physico-financial strength rather than ideologies have become the prime necessities of most political parties. But the fact remains that this causes irreversible, severe mental trauma upon the kids, upon the person who suffers such abuse.
I am sure neither the coffee boy nor the car driver uncle will have slept peacefully for many days after that. I felt the cutting pain of this boy living alone far from his family to earn his bread, there was no call for anyone to insult him like that. I am tortured by the thought of what those grandchildren must have felt about the whole thing, and how their grandpa will face them now onwards. I am sure these things make permanent scars upon one’s mind.
We in India are evolving in many spheres, financial and others. But unless our “behavior and mentality” changes as a society, all other evolutions are meaningless, nay, dangerous.
When Darwin meant survival of the fittest, I am sure he didn’t imagine this Indian species namely “Privileged Goons”. If this is all the fitness required to survive in India, God help us!
© Dr. Rajas Deshpande