One, two and three months since I’ve been deliberately abstaining from writing. And not just on my blog. No scribbly lines, no mails, hell, not a word on my personal dairy either, a habit of 14 years finally died down. Blame it on my PMP exam preparation or my vacation plans but I know those aren’t true. For reasons incomprehensible, or maybe comprehensible only to me, I was facing a mental block towards writing. I made no efforts to overcome that either, deciding that it was time to quit. Game over.
Since I’ve mentioned “deliberate” in the first sentence, I am not going to apologize. However, a weeklong vacation to Singapore, I must say has opened the floodgates and slapped me out of my hibernation. Singapore is a great nation like many others but if you are expecting a post vacation post mortem, typical of a tourist, describing the sight-seeing with “oohs” and “aahs”, well, you would be disappointed.
As much as I am in awe of that little country, I am ashamed of myself. Oh yeah, ashamed for calling myself a proud Indian when the reasons for the pride presented two generations ago is getting eroded with time, without significant contributions from the present. Right, we are progressing. We are progressing arithmetically while our neighbours are progressing exponentially. How long are we going to just sing glory to our past, a past that I’ve started questioning after reading Jad Adams’ ‘Gandhi Naked Ambition’? A few educated politicians, not very different from today, had illusioned the then illiterate Indian masses. Constitution constructed and Icons were created by hiding human eccentricities and fed to us generation after generation through school lessons, media and what not, to comfortably promote our pride to arrogance. Strange that I should feel rage at my own society, considering that I am back from a vacation that is supposed to soothe things out. Here is why.
When we started planning our trip, working out finances, the Singapore dollar vs. Indian rupee irked me. I understand that the Western and Eastern world are very different in many ways and we’ve come to accept the superiority of USDs and GBPs but Singapore is just round the corner. A small country with smaller population, part of which is occupied by our own fellow Indians, is economically a developed country while we are developing for decades. Let’s lose the folklore about East India Company stealing our wealth away. Japan’s wealth is stolen away periodically by furious Mother Nature quite so often. Still, she keeps recovering superfast and stands higher than rupee value any day. India has a vast farm land, with a large hardworking population and now caught in the IT whirlwind, earning diversified currencies; we should actually be doing better instead of continued depreciation of our rupee. Why? Is it because of the bulging black Swiss accounts of individual politicians? Is it because we are happy to get discounts when we do not request for bills or receipts?
The first thing that impressed me about Singapore was the cleanliness. One could literally sleep on the streets or eat in the public restrooms. Hygiene everywhere. When was the last time we thought twice before spitting on the roads or urinating on the walls? Educated, uneducated, rich and poor, everybody does it here and then waits for the municipality and corporation to do their duty, which again is driven by bribes and politics from higher officials. Meanwhile, we happily laze around passing comments on the inefficiency of our government.
Talking about passing comments, I was impressed with the decency of the ladies and gentlemen there. Singapore is as humid as India and Tees and Shorts is their casual dress code. No matter how scanty that is, no one raises so much as an eye brow and go about their work. Here we are living in a land that says it glorifies womanhood and blame her attire for her character and all the eve-teasing offenses. We sum it up in one misused and misunderstood terminology called “culture”. Equality in India is forever elusive.
I witnessed people actually waiting at the Zebra crossing for the pedestrian signal to turn green before they crossed the streets. Public transport is well-connected and widely used, truly living a “green world” instead of just saying it. Folks alighted and offered their seats to pregnant women, elderly and people with kids. Do I really have to go into those scenarios here?
In one week of my tour, I was appalled at the differences. When I travel from Bangalore to Chennai and back, my two year old son falls sick. We travelled from India to Singapore, roamed all day and back and he hasn’t caught so much as a cough or cold. How can two countries with Asian population, located on close latitudes and similar climatic conditions be so different? Agreed, they might have their deficiencies but why do we have to look at those and seek excuses for our insufficiencies? Why do we not for a change appreciate their positivity and try to inculcate it possibly?
The intention of my blog is not to defame India. Come on, I belong here and this is my home. I am as upset as an Indian cricket fan who compares our team with the Aussies when we play a bad game. He wants our team to win. I want to live in India, a much better India. We have the toolkit with us; all we lack is self-discipline and respect for others, others as in others outside our community, race and nation. While we bask in pride, we are ridiculed outside. I don’t wish for us to be like Singapore but I am sad that we fail to contribute in making India a country that someone else blogs about with envy.
Let me not go into preachy stuff about you, me and everyone doing their best to make our land a heaven. We all know those lines by-heart and the happenings here are in spite of that knowledge. I am out with my vent; probably back to hibernation again, with the satisfaction that I’ve done my share of complaining too. To let the words linger in the cyber world, joining in chorus with many others voicing similar opinions and fade away to a silent slumber, like the fairy tale princess waiting for her true love’s first kiss.