"Pleez ajjust"- We are Like That Only!!

November 25, 2010
Sometimes seeing the way Delhi is getting better, although not uniformly everywhere,  I wonder have we, the citizens of Delhi learnt to live with this change?  when I see the advancement made in public transport system, shopping malls and entertainment etc and then I see the still missing civic sense in the people around me, I wonder, do we even deserve this modern infrastructure? 

Again, no generalization, but yes on a whole, I feel pathetic when the educated class also behaves like some runaways from prisons, like some unruly school kids, like the people who are still living under some other power's rule.  Somewhere the sense of responsibility is absolutely missing. 

(Dear reader, I make it a point that I intend not to point a finger towards others, so I don't say 'they' do it, it's 'we' who do it. (Remember the old saying, when you point one finger towards others, four fingers point towards you).  It is a collective consciousness or the lack of it that I am talking about.  So, please do not mind, if you fall in any of the categories of people mentioned below.  Apart from old Delhi residents, nobody really belongs to Delhi, everybody migrated for some reason or the other, and I am no exception. So I hope you will understand the context in which I am writing this.)

We clean our houses and throw the garbage nicely stuffed in a polythene bag in the back lane or on the side road.  We travel in cars and don't mind throwing empty wrappers of food outside the car.  Whose road is that? Whose city is that? We think, it is the job of the Government, and we begin to crib on why the Municipal Corporation of Delhi does not function properly and why the sweepers don't clean the road......... but we never understand that it is our city, and we too have some responsibility towards it..

During Common Wealth games when I visited Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, while entering the premise, there were elaborate security check (glad for that!).  While I was standing in the queue with my family, two young boys very smartly came and stood ahead of me.  Due to their red T-shirt they looked similar to the  volunteer's uniform.  I checked up with them and found they were not volunteers.  Softly, I told them to go back to the end of the queue and that it was not expected from youngsters to behave like that.  Instead of being embarrassed, they smiled and in the haste to get inside the stadium gave me a brilliant piece of advise "please ajjust"!!

What I am to adjust with? People breaking queues, that too youngsters who will be the fathers one day and will teach the same to their children? How do I adjust to this?

Secondly, Inside the stadium, there were food stalls serving fast food. (Since, I had gone there with my kids straight from office, so was hungry and decided to have a bite.) It was pathetic to see that the huge dustbins properly lined were lying empty and the leftovers of burgers, wrappers, juice tins, tetra packs, loads of used tissue paper were strewn carelessly on the floor all over.  I was feeling nausiated to see the scene. 

 It was just so simple to dump the things in the proper place, but why should we even take that trouble? That is not our house! This is some public place and we public are supposed to be like that, isn't it?  So, all in all the interior part of the sparkling new building of the stadium was tarnished by tomato ketchup, slices of cucumber and onion,  spilled coffee and  cold drink. (Did we Delhites deserve this place?  I was thinking)

A similar thing happened during a social gathering where food was served through a buffet arrangement. Everybody - senior citizens, enthusiastic young men in their suits, women balancing their plates with clutch in hands, unruly kids - just everybody was trying to break the queue, get inside it as quickly and as smartly they could and pile up their plates with whatever is available.  (and the competition near the stall serving desserts - kulfi, jalebi, ice cream or rasmalai - oh too much!).  And you think I keep quiet there?! Nah, I never let a single guy go ahead of me, same for women, some soft corner for kids though, but not without giving a lesson in good manners!! And if someone persists the bad behaviour, a dirty look is enough then!!

Are we some hunger struck nation? I am talking about the educated urban people, where food is no issue, where at places, it is the problem of plenty.  Why can't we stop behaving like we have never seen good food? Why are we so worried about filling our plates and don't give a damn what is left for the next guy? 

Come to see our parking sense.  Delhi is overcrowded with cars now, just a few years back it was not so.  Now instead of showing some responsibility, we park our cars like a king (Sab chalta hai attitude). 

Recently, in my office parking space, I saw a senior guy parking his car just the wrong way, right in between two boxes meant for two cars.  I happened to park my car just at that time, and very politey brought this to his notice and told him that this will create a tough situation for other car owners, so a slight adjustment would help everyone. How he wished that he was deaf.... at least that is how he looked at that time... but ... no... he turned back... looked around and  pat came the reply from him.... the  gyan.... the jugaad that we are good at - "aapki car to aaram se lag gayi na?" (Meaning, Hope u have sufficient space for your car).  I clenched my teeth and muttered to myself in disgust "we are like that only, han?" (no, he didnot hear it of course! But then, while leaving the place I informed about this to the parking incharge there. Did he take any action?  I doubt)
Why are we like this ?? 

Till  when will be like this? Till when will go on using these words to justify our carelessness and lack of responsibility?  These words like - " I don't give a damn", "it's not my job", " I don't know", "why should only I care?",

Does somewhere our past is looming in our minds? Our forefathers were the people who migrated to Delhi for work or for other reasons, the poeple who left their worlds behind when they came to India after partition.  Some are well settled now, some are still struggling, but mostly living a  comfortable life now, after 2-3 generations having faced tough times.  Sorry to say that, but that mentality to collect whatever we could for our families still exists in us, when we want to collect more food in our plates, when want to encroach that every inch of road space to include it in our verandah, when we want to fool, cheat anyone to get the electricity meter budged, when we clean our house and don't give a damn to how badly we have littered the road, it shows and now it hurts.  Howsoever well-off or influencial you become, you need to tune your sensibilities with time.

Let's try not to pass these on to our next generation, let our children have a better place to live and feel proud about.

Let's get our act right, before our children ask us - "Are we like that only?"


 PS: I have grown up disagreeing with this hindi phrase - "akela chana bhaad nahin phod sakta"  (meaning - a single person cannot make a difference). Of course, we can make a difference, one person can make a difference.


Pranab said...

Again a nice one.. :-) u r simply growing. cheers !!!

Purba said...

True, high time we did something about our missing civic sense. People are completely devoid of consideration. We need to impose hefty fines to penalize offenders!!

Jack said...


Someone has to make a beginning. So why not WE? We can start with teaching our children and children who are their friends, isn't it? May be we could even rope in some big organisation to do something under CSR by making and airing short ads teaching such manners. You have given food for thought and I hope some of us can join hands to do something in this regard.

Take care

Anonymous said...

Nicely written. would commend you on this piece. Refresxhing to read and makes up wear our thinking caps.!!!!

Always Happy said...

ek dum sahi hai...single person can make a difference. I would suggest you to send this post for blogadda's sat or tue picks.

hehe..pleez ajjust. I liked the post title as much as the post.

Garbge collection se yaad aaya..at my parents place in blore, some one keeps their garbage on my parents' house fence!! corporation guys collect them from the doorstep, yet does one feel the need to plce their garbage on other person's fence??

ajjust plz happens in the local buses, cinema halls(especially at the ticket counter) and like u mentioned at buffet lunches...basically jaha queue ho waha....

absolutely right, if u raise a opinion, then u get asked ''apko kya problem hai?'' just like how ur colleague said, ''aapki car aaraam se aa gayi na''..

a very much need of the hour post. good one indeed.

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Bhavana Rao said...

Good point you have raised and this has been going in my mind. I have read somewhere that our Indian race is more tuned to "chalta hai" attitude and also "if something bad is not happening to me then why should I bother?".
Today is the 2nd anniversary of 26/11 attacks. I would like to also mention that just after this attack, in the next elections, do you know what was the percentage of voters turnaround? 27%. Mumbai is supposed to be cosmopolitan city with quite a number of qulified people. Then wh such ignorance? If people do not vote how can they expect proper government?

Then I realised that if a person is educated that does not necessarily mean he/she is knowledgable. Education does not necessirily gives civic sense.
According to me civic sense mostly should be taught by parents at home and if they are not themselves civic, then children obviously do not get them.


Blognostic said...

People as a whole are dumb. It is always few individuals who initiate change and make it a habit among people.

Dont bother about them. Lets be the change we want to see in the world. :)

My World My Life said...

Hey Restless !! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Your posts are like knocking door which is not opened for long. You have been covering topics which are common for large segment of people in this world.

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving nice comments, Like you I also love comments and feedback.


Alka Gurha said...

Delhi is full of first generation yuppies and puppies...whatever. How that quick money has come is not important!
Lots of arrogance, attitude and style but hardly any civic sense, humility, or respect.
You hv hit the nail on the head.

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

there was once a chapter in hindi text books which talked of
भारत के शक्तिबोध और सौंदर्यबोध, शक्तिबोध भारतवासियों का राष्ट्र की क्षम्तयाओं पर विश्वास और सौंदर्यबोध राष्ट्र की संपत्ति के प्रति लगाव |

यदि राष्ट्र को अपना घर मान लिया जाए तो शायद ही कोई ऐसा व्यक्ति होगा जो अपने ही घर में पीक थूकता हो अथवा गन्दगी फैलाता हो...

Someday, we will have to wake from this stupor and take care of things, rather than just 'ajjust'

Blasphemous Aesthete

Vee said...

this "sab chalta hai" attitude is not just in Delhi, it's everywhere. as everyone was suggesting, it should start somewhere with energetic individuals taking charge and leading others. but that's not about it. it also depends on the system that's around. In Singapore, you'll be fined a huge sum if you don't clean up after your dog or you don't pick up a wrapper, but that being a small country it's easy for them to control. But in a country like ours controlled by a corrupt political system, what examples do our kids have and parents follow.

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Pranab - thanks and welcome :)

Purba - true, only fines deter us from breaking rules, that too heavy ones.

Jack - Well said, all of us can make that little effort and sensitise people esp kids around us. I would like to join the cause.


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Neo - yayy!! glad u like it :) Thanks!

Always happy - welcome dear! Really like the way you gave examples supporting what I wrote. enjoyed ur comment too! True, it happens wherever there is a queue.

Martha - thanks.


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Bhavana Rao - thanks dear for sharing your thoughts. I can understand how you feel about it. Education, actually only means scoring marks and getting admission in prestigious colleges. Even parents are not bothered to give some sense to their kids. They want their kid to be the winner, come what may.

thanks a ton dear.

Blognostic - Am glad to get an echo of my words through you :)

I would say ppl are ignorant, not dumb. They think it does not affect them, but on a whole, we become the part of a system, where we are the losers any way.

thanks for sharing ur thoughts :)


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Rahul - welcome to this blog!

Glad u liked the topics and content that I write upon. Hmm, like the door which needs to be knocked analogy :)

Alka - u r so right dear... can't be put in better words :)

BA - hey thanks for sharing those lines. I seem to have read them. Was very fond of my hindi books in school times! what was the name of the chapter, do u remember?

Yeah, the pride and love for our nation, our city can only help some instill some civic sense and humanity in us.

Thanks dear!


A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Vee - u have a point. Of course, the system lets us down, when we go to report of some offense to the nearest police post, and when we return humiliated or disappointed, we know we are helpless in a big way.

But still, we must, must try to do our bit. How many of us stop ppl from jumping queues?? We think, if the other guy is not saying why should I, but if one person raises his voice, others join him. I have seen it many a times.

That voice is the change, and all of us are capable of that. We must know our limitations, but should know our strengths too.

take care dear :)


Reema said...

what most of people lack is civic sense and even the young generation!! for ex there r huge red dustbin in college premises but most of students throw wrappers, disposable cups etc everywhere except in the dustbin. Drives me mad!

A Restless Mind With A Sensitive Heart! said...

Reema- I am most irritated, when I see youngsters doing such things. That's really sad, but an outcome of the lack of civic sense taught at home. Remember, how mothers would let they boy kids pee on the road side, when they are very small. So same goes on.

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