I write this while being in the Capital city. Was strolling in the wonderful Delhi winter evening yesterday, when I overheard someone talking about the ghastly gang rape of a medical student in a public bus between Munirka and Palam. That’s like a stone’s throw from where I stayed a little more than a year ago. A short check on the net later, a strange chain of thoughts hit me.
Come to think of it. Each day- at various touch points of our lives in this country, how many people belonging to the proverbial middle/ bottom of the pyramid do we come across and inadvertently royally ignore or behave as if they didn’t even exist? Is it too unnatural for them not to able to bottle up their frustration in lives and let loose the beasts in such ghastly avatars from time to time? Sharing some examples below. Think again- whether you haven’t been party to such acts yourselves.
- The security at the mall who frisks you. During each of your visit to the mall you are likely to splurge money equivalent to his monthly salary (at most times his annual salary). Next time you push him aside on your way out of the mall with the 10 odd packets in hand- do keep an ear out to listen to the barely audible sigh from that man.
- Your driver/shuttle driver/ bus driver before whom- you feel an obligation to speak in English as if he is an insect whose being present there was an accident. Just place yourself in his shoes. How does it feel to first try not to listen to your discussions on amounts of money he possibly won’t even see in totality over his entire life time and then to be able to understand bits and pieces of the English which is being used solely to ignore his presence as a fellow human being?
- The person at the counter at the retail store. Will never be able to buy the service/ product he has to demonstrate to you- but has to come up with that fake smile to greet you each time.
- The Chai wallah in your office. Who overhears you make insurance plans of crores for your family members- for risks which he and his family face on a daily basis without an iota of concern.
- The plumber/electrician/carpenter who come to your home. His ‘ishq di gali vich no entry’ ringtone being the only entertainment on his Nokia 3315- while he dutifully remedies the fault in your LED tv or your shower panel costing lacs in your loo.
- The security at the bank. You ask him whether he knows where the drop box for the cheque is located. He tells you and then you almost feel him asking, ‘kitne ka cheque hain b*%#$ / m$@# ?’
At no point ‘m suggesting the perpetrators should not be punished for these heinous crimes. But we got to realize to some extent all these are our doing as well.
Is this a problem merely because of law and order issues? Is it merely an issue with certain regions in the Nation like NCR?
Recently came across this wonderful quote – “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation.”
Each day there will be more such touch points as above where we mingle with this real India whom we have royally ignored and have been a part of creating the damage which is now too deep to be rectified quickly. It’s all hanging on a knife’s edge. Be afraid. Be very very afraid.