Something (somebody) pissed me off last week and I wanted to blog about it but didn't have the time (memory). I yelled at a lady in public last week. I yelled at her in my office cafeteria where lot of people were present. I was fully aware that I would be embarassing this lady by yelling at her and I shouted at her so loud that many people turned and saw us. This embarassed the girl and almost choked her to tears. I was very happy. In fact the whole day I was feeling smug. Thinking back 1 week later, I still feel happy about it.
I was standing in the cafeteria line to order my breakfast and there was this lady standing behind me. From the time she joined the line, she somehow seemed eager to get past me. She tried standing parallel to me then put part of her hand in front, then her legs in front and all the time constantly peeping beyond me. I was fully well expecting her to squeeze past me ( I was ready this time). So when I approached the counter, she put her hand underneath mine with a 20 Rupee note and ordered something. I quickly grabbed the Rs.20 note and asked her loudly (quite loud) " Do you know the meaning of a queue". Bred for 30 odd years in the shameful shameful Indian mentality ( yes! thats what I said) of not knowing what a queue or line means, bulldozing through queues had probably become part of her bloodstream. She did not expect a person to shout at her. When I asked her again (this time with better volume ) "Do you know what a queue is? Do you see me standing in front of you? Why do you want to go in front of me ? Are you really educated? "
She stammered in embarassment, was visibly scared and so started blabbering something to save her face. So she said " Its okay! you can buy! no problem! I won't mind" . I decided I would sting her one more time before I let her go and said " I know I can buy. The thing is you do not know I have to buy before you".
I guess for at least the next few months she will make sure she will stand in line before her old habbits catch up with her and become one of the millions of idiots in this country, who inspite of having so many diplomas/degrees, the stupid software engineer badges their company gives them are still so retarded that they don't bloody know the meaning of a queue.
I remember some 10 years before in 1994. Devi Paradise had made a big thing about it being the first Digital Dolby 6.0 Sourround sound movie hall in India. Speed was the movie screened in the cinema hall. It was my XII grade vacation and I had decided to go to the movie alone. Standing in the queue I was lost in my dream world and until I was near the counter. When my turn came I noticed suddenly that 6 or 7 hands tried to shove me aside and put their hands into the counter. What I did not notice, when I was the dream world was that the tickets had dried up and when my turn had come there was just one ticket remaining . The people behind me had seen this ( I had obviously not) and instead of resigning their fate to lack-of-ticket-availability they decided to push me aside and somehow buy that ticket. These weren't road-side ruffians we are talking about. These were decent looking (dressed) people returning from work and there was one lady also.The man behind the counter took the ticket book in his hands and took a step back ( possibly out of fear of the mob plucking the ticket and running away). He asked me from a distance, "there is one ticket! do you want to buy it". I nodded and he carefully gave the ticket to me while the wrecthed creatures next to me were still grabbing and hoping that they would get the ticket. Once I got the ticket, these people around me walked away as if nothing had happened. They were in fact dissapointed that they did not get the ticket. No apologies offered. It was as if this was part of our culture. No I retract and rephrase; this is part of our culture. The mannerlessness. This probably defines an important attribute of our country.
Every weekend when I go to the temple; I find 50,000 autodrivers inside the temple. Auto drivers (wherever they are Bangalore, Pune , Madras) are the scum of the earth. the lowest life form ever seen by mankind. I am only sad that Veerappan died without killing all the auto drivers. They are people who travel only 2 km/hr on the road but on seeing some vehicle before them they will travel fast enough to overtake that vehicle ( this they do by driving on the wrong side of the road or by overtaking from the left) and then they park themselves in front of that vehicle and resume driving at 2 km/hr.
Inside the temple while doing pradakshanams ( the thing where we walk around the deity clockwise ) we have our in-temple autodrivers who are more interested in overtaking the guy in front of them than praying. Once they cross the person-in-front they go as slow as possible. They have come to the temple to complete 4 or 6 or 8 circles as fast as they can. Mind you... they have not come to pray. That is not in their interest at all. They have to rapidly circle God 8 times and run out of the temple. It is almost a competition. Sometimes when I stop near a deity to pray, I block the walk-way ( its a pretty narrow one). So I instantly have 10 autodrivers queuing up behind me. They try and nudge me push me or make some coughing noises. Initially I adjusted or moved fast. Nowadays I delay for an extra two-minutes, make sure they are extremely irritated and then I move. Someday, I want to line them all up give them a sound whacking and make them repeat 10000 times " I have come to pray and not to compete in a race".
I seriously feel we should stop critising the west on anything. Culturally we are the most backward country in this planet. We should not ask for any proof about this or compare ourselves with any other country on any other aspect. We just have to assume that we are pretty backward and get that rammed into our minds. Only then will we ever develop some manners. The country should bring out some sort of law that will send people who violate queues to prison for a week. Or at least fine them 50,000 Rupees.
If you don't believe me. You can just see any one of the following places ; railway stations, airport counters, coffee shops, cafeterias; and see how our country men are doing with regards to standing on a line.
A simple thing if you have a coffee machine in your work place see how the people will shove you aside to fill their mug, when you are actually filling your coffee mug. If you finally manage to fill the mug and you are walking out of the coffee room (which has an entrance that can allow only one person). The incoming person will bump on you without caring whether you have a coffee mug in your hand or not. He wants to go in and and if you block the way he will ram into you.The fundametal problem is our people can't wait. They are always in a hurry (even when the dont have to be anywhere soon). While on road if a car is reversing and therefore blocking the road; the other vehicles will try and squeeze through the sides, even if it means the car that is reversing will have to stop or get stuck. They will honk ..shout and create all nuisance. They don't care to wait for 2 minutes. they do not want to. Our people want to keep moving all the time. Brakes are tools used only during an emergency .
The thing that best sums up this attitude is, my office bus driver let flow mouthful of expletives at a traffic cop. Why because the cop was regulating traffic. Our bus was stopped to allow the intersecting lane's traffic to go. This irritated my bus driver (who obviously did not wat to wait) and he let go a stream of abuses ( it was in kannada so I could decipher it) which could have possibly adjectivized( he he) every member of the cop's family. The cop could only shout back. He did not pull up the driver aside and book him. He cannot! Oh! no you can't do that man.. you can't pull up one person who has the chronic ability to not wait and thereby get into an argument with 60 other passengers who have the congenital I-can't-wait disability.