Friday, August 14, 2009

Freedom Day!

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls! So this is that time of the year when you wear your whitest white, sing the National Anthem with head held high, grab laddus with both the hands and just wonder about the whole day and its significance. We all have done this at some point of time or the other, even if we don’t do it now. Some of us may have become indifferent towards it, some might have completely given up. For quite a few it may not be that great a day this year since it is on Saturday (damn!). It is all OK. I am sure we all have the greatest interests of our wonderful Bharat deep down our hearts.

There will be a lot of pledges this year like every year. The Tiranga will be hoisted everywhere in India. The politicians will repeat the speech they are so used to already. It will be a dry day (and a wasted weekend for a few because they may not get to drink and get wasted). TV channels will have the usual tri color theme in all their programs. The reality music shows will make the participants sing all the desh bhakti geet that have ever been penned – from Vande Mataram Anand Math to Mera Rang de Basanti Chola Bhagat Singh. People like me who are not in India will miss all the hoopla and end up writing a blog. It’s all business as usual.

I am a common (wo)man. I am routine, mundane, average personified. I see greatness in small things. While I would really like Bharatvarsh to become the super nation of the world again, but thinking in terms of nuke power, arms, economic progress etc is something I would leave for the experts to do. My life as the citizen of India is affected by the small things. Let’s see what came to my mind right away. They are in no particular order and I have a big list of what I would really like to be changed.

Queues and Traffic Sense
We, the citizens of India, take so much pride in orderliness in our culture. We eat in particular order, the food is served in a sequence, and you don’t eat your roti before rice or curd rice before rasam. We are the pioneers of Yoga which inculcates sequences. Heck! We won’t allow the younger sister to marry unless the elder one gets married! Why the hell we lose complete sense of all this knowledge when it comes to maintaining a queue. You ever saw people breaking ration lines, cinema ticket lines, train ticket lines and every other line you can think of. I am sure you have. It is our mark!

Same goes with traffic. What is with India and traffic? I mean, what is it? Yeh cut maara motorcycle ne, ye signal toda car wale ne and buses and truck – Bhagwan hi malik hai. We follow the signals in the reverse order. Red is for driving through it in full speed. The moment it turns green, you better stop where you are because it is red for all others! And yellow, well do we even know what it means? When it comes to rule breaking on the road, I don’t think any other country can even claim to come close to the extremely high standards we have set for ourselves.

I wish this would change! Follow the signals people. Be comfortable and free on the road and let the people waiting for you wait in anticipation to see you and not worry when you are on road. It is part of being free. Trust me!

Customer Service
If breaking traffic signals is the cake, the famous Customer Service of all these private companies is the cherry on top of it. I have not had a single customer care call where the dude did not end up arguing with me. I mean, my phone bill is over charged, I don’t get signal where I absolutely want it, but the dude over the customer care has absolutely no clue about what the problem is. I can easily accept the fact when someone says that I am sorry I don’t know what to do, I will ask for help. But when you have to explain the most basic things to the dude which are written in the manual itself, then it is a problem. And then the tone of the caller is masha allah! I understand we are too many and we have lot of love in our hearts. But if we could show a part of it when we are talking on the phone, it would be jannat.

Why just the customer care, go to any retail store these days. It is all so mechanic and robotic. I miss the warmth of Jagdish uncle in the local store. He would suck the money from the common man but he would do it sweetly!

We all interact with so many people in our day. Let’s start talking to them with a smile first. At your workplace, use this brahmastra and then start asking people to do their job. When you take the rickshaw, give the poor man a smile. He will ensure that you don’t bump hard on the road at the very least.

Be the change you want to see in the world. It is also a part of being free.

Online Billing
Well, this is something which will make the lives of everyone easy. The more online services we have, the more easy it will be for people with internet at home/work place. Things will be smoother, we will have more time at hand! It would also benefit people without internet. The lines will be shorter and the person on the counter could smile more easily – better customer care! A lot is being done already. I wish it becomes a norm rather than an exception.

Bollywood vs Hollywood is Mera Gaon mera desh vs Slumdog Millionaire. I had tears in my eyes when I watched Slumdog Millionaire. I felt Oh My God! This is all so wrong! We are much more than this and the only thing that this movie has shown is how pathetically we are living. Slumdog Millionaire, unfortunately, became the face of India on the world stage. And I cannot tell how much prejudice it has caused. I am not saying we show what we are not or not accept what we are. But don’t let one aspect become our entire face. SM was a wonderfully made movie – cast, direction and music of course. We need that high quality stuff from our directors. Unfortunately, big banners are busy making movies like Kal Ho na Ho and stuff like that. And small banners cannot get that high quality stuff in our movies.

Having said that, I would not like to see Indian movies drop the emotional aspect (often melodramatic) entirely. If Spiderman can come under realistically accepted movie, then why is it so difficult to accept the emotions of Vivek Babu and Prem Babu in Hum Saath Saath Hain. Keep them coming!!

Long Weekend
Ah yes! This is something I really want to see happening. We are a land of religions and festivals. Every month has atleast one festival and a holiday. Since our holidays are mostly based on moons and stars, we cannot control what day they would fall on. A holiday on Friday or Monday is so much better than one on Wednesday. One of the good things I liked in US is their concept of having holidays over a weekend. You get three days at a stretch! Even if July 4th is a Saturday, they would make July 3rd off! Can we have something like this in India? At least for national holidays – 15th August, 26th January and 2nd October.

And the list will go on.

A very warm, wonderful and inspiring August 15th to all of you. Have a wonderful time people! Take some time for our great nation as well and do sing the National Anthem!!

P.S : It is all in good humor. Let’s not question each others sensibilities and patriotism by this blog.


Amit said...

we might have got liberated from British on this day but we still have to get ourselves Independent from own created slavery....y we still need a 15th Aug or 26th Jan to invoke this feeling in ourselves.And all these problems have solutions in ourselves....the day we start respecting ourselves and the contribution that got us this independence.....i think most of the problems will be solved

again a great post...we actually tend to forget all this in our daily routine but u have brought it on surface.....


Varsha said...

Jai Bharat..

Good one, keep coming..

Anusha said...

@ Amit ji

it was not a serious post..and i was not serious at all.. but glad you took it seriously..

@ Varsha