Friday, December 5, 2014

When I chose to be a real Ugly Indian

There I was standing in Shollinganallur bus stop in ECR, Chennai to board a bus home to Pondicherry like every Pondicherrian does on a Friday!

Then came a guy who chose to smoke right next to me. Gathering up my unusual tolerance I chose to move away and stand at the far end. It has to be noted for the record that smoking in public places is illegal now in TamilNadu. And I can't remember for how many weeks it was in practice.

Then came two guys who bought packets of water, drank half of it, washed their faces, gargled and spit right under their feet and dropped the covers and left. All this when the shop keeper had chosen to keep a trash can (cut out the water cans that we buy) right there.

Being the Ugly Indians we are, I had to muster the last of my patience to keep quiet at all this. Then came a guy who bought a cup of tea, drank half of it and threw the cup with the remaining tea on a rack like protrusion that was formed in the thatched wall that was there behind the bus stop. That tea-splash and the cup remains at shoulder level now, to stare right at your face.

Here goes the remaining conversation:

(M)e: Sir, the shop keeper has placed a trash-can there. You could've thrown this there. Now, nobody can stand here.
(H)im: Why? What's your problem with it? I do what I wish.

(I say nothing and just move away to a cleaner place. After a few seconds, learning what kind of guy I was dealing with, I went ahead and picked it up myself and threw it in the trash and returned to my place and starting waiting for the bus. He now came to me. The conversation that ensued follows)

H: What the hell is your problem? What did you just do?

M: I put the trash in the trash can. What's your problem with it?

H: So what are you trying to prove?

M: I'm trying nothing. I just put a trash in a trash can. I don't understand why you're talking in such a tone.

H: So you're such a righteous person? uh? What are you trying here?

M: I'm just doing a cleaning job. I didn't bother you. I still don't understand why you're troubling me now.

H: So what? So Modi tells India should be clean and you guys act like maniacs?

M: (Completely confused). What's Modi got to do with this? (Then it strikes me). Oh!! That? Modi took a broom few weeks back. This is something I learnt at my school.

H: So, are you implying you're educated and I'm an illiterate? (He starts talking in English. Until now he was talking in Tamil)

M: What are you trying? I said nothing. I didn't bother you.. I'm just standing here minding my business.

H: Don't act as if you're such a great person. As if you go around cleaning places.

M: I clean places whenever I find time to.

H: If you want to maintain cleanliness, do it at your home or street. Not here! Who are you to do this? Is this your place?

(Completely puzzled by such an arrogant person who comes and starts an argument with me for no reason now, pulling in politics and talking complete BS. Still trying to comprehend the nonsense he was talking)

M: This is also my place. As much as the right you have to pollute this, I have the right to clean. This is my country too!

H: (To a random bus that arrives at the bus stand). This guy seems like a complete psycho. He is cleaning up this place! What the hell is wrong with him??

M: (To the conductor). Don't mind him. He threw a cup near me. I put it in the trash can and he's calling me a psycho and creating trouble here..

Realising that I should walk 'completely' away, I walked to the far end of bus stop, away from this miscreant.

I had the entire bus ride home to reflect on the day's event.

The Indian society has so grown to an extent where a guy who throws litter and causes discomfort to fellow passengers/bystanders is completely normal but a guy who chooses to pick others' trash and clean the area is an alien (psycho)!

I guess I poked his Ego too much! ;) guessing he never would have been so much indirectly insulted in his life! ;)

Last month when I went to JIPMER hospital, Pondicherry, I had to remind a guy who was smoking, that he was standing in a hospital!
Hospital? Seriously? At least he didn't start a quarrel. He immediately put it off and made a gesture to me that he knows!! (Hmmmph! If you knew why did you need me to remind that?)

So this guy knew perfectly well that what he was doing was completely wrong and still chose to do it because the usual guy who guards the door was not there. This is like jumping the red traffic signal when the cop is not there! Only, it was not a place with a signal post but a place with seriously sick patients inside.

God save India!

(And today, I finally learnt why a great person like Kamal Hassan never chose the path of politics for the good deeds he does! Our people can paint and taint the noble heart behind it by smearing 'political motive' all over it!)