Thursday, July 30, 2009

Removing baggage tags??

How much effort does it take for people to remove baggage tags from their backpacks etc after they have returned from an air travel? I've seen so many people when i travel on the road or sometimes in shopping places or elsewhere, who stupidly leave the tags hanging? I always wonder if its such a task to remove them as they don't serve any purpose and in fact can be quite irritating because many a time, they are pasted near the zip of the bag or over the handle.

Retaining them is a sheer attitudanal thing, people want to make a statement that they just hopped off a flight, it can't be anything else, ive thought over this...How silly and idiotic can people be!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

How much does Education have to do with being a sensitive human being?

In my initial years of growing up, I believed that being well educated had a lot to do with how sensitive we are, to our fellow human beings, to our surroundings, to our families etc. I looked up to many people simply for their educational tail and believed that they were all rounders in the emotional sense too. But thankfully being a sensitive person myself (sometimes a way too sensitive :( ) it was not long before i realised how wrong i was in my initial view on this subject. Certain incidents that changed the course of my life aided me in realising this in its true sense because its only in such situations that you hit rock bottom and realise the many truths in life, one being this...

This was my learning when i was still at high school and today more than 16 years since i passed out of school, i am 500% certain that education has little to do in shaping one's sensitivities. And its been a fantastic revelation since my high school days in discovering such balanced and level headedness combined with sensitivity in the people we 'educated egoists' would least expect from. One of these that come to my immediate mind is my family servant maid. She's been with us now for 10 years and it took us hardly a few months to trust her enough to leave a separate key for the home with her. And there was this one incident that involved her and one other servant maid working for a very senior colleague of mine at my former employer that cemented huge respect that i have for her. Even today, I am amazed at the sheer joy with which she braces each day with a meagre income coupled with a drunkard good-for-nothing husband and 2 girls to bring up in our indian society!! And the sensitivity that she shows with us and people around her despite having little to look forward to (in a conventional sense) amazes me even more, more so because she probably has not even passed the 2nd or 3rd standard at school.

Match this with what i see in big malls or fairly expensive restaurants or on the road, at railway booking centers, etc. where our so called 'educated' graduates break queues (eg. shamelessly send their lady family member to break queues many a time), talk loudly on their expensive mobile phones, park their cars without any concern for others to park in the little space available these days, not give way to elderly people or children when in a packed room fearing for self etc...I can go on...

Sometimes I wish i never had to have attended school or college and come a full circle to realise that what primarily helps me keep my head high in life, brings me cheer, is not what education has given me but the sensitivities I have learnt to live life and respect the people and the space around me for what they are...

But yes, we are in India a country which makes or breaks individuals based on their educational prowess (i personally experienced this), and that fear left me with little choice but to send my son to the same formal schooling system knowing very well that these were places in my growing up formative years where I witnessed many insensitivities from people around me....

But yes, do i sound way to negative, well if yes, then it certainly isn't my intention. I still have hope left in me because i look up to heroes or heroines like my maid, or the young man delivering milk to my house every day etc who get up each morning and are many times more brisk and cheerful than we 'educated' lot are....

And what better thing to have happened than hearing the very same thing from the mouth of a very renowned, respected speaker, philosopher Jaggi Vasudev in a television interview last month. I was thrilled to bits that someone who has achieved much more impact in society than I have still has the humility to salute the same kind of people that i do...It only strengthened my belief to say the least....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How much does it take to obey traffic rules?

Been a resident of Chennai for the past 25 years and have noticed the degrading public attitude towards observing proper road rules. This includes pedestrians and cyclists. This has been a favourite thinking topic for me from my early school days and have still not got an answer to my agony. So what does it take to obey traffic rules and behave on roads? I find it strange that people sit in judgement of the government and of what it hasn't done in the last 50 years since Independence, have we stopped and asked ourselves what have we done to maintain what we have been provided?. I have even heard someone tell me that we shouldn't have got freedom from the British in the first place as India would have been a better place had it been them still around here. Don't agree one bit with this view but yes, i think one of the things we ought to have learnt from the British is how to behave / be more organised (notwithstanding their football crowd). Thanks to them, for example, we atleast have a good sewerage lines system laid down in the city of Chennai, not many probably know that the lines laid by them are still around in some places, standing rock solid.

Come to think of it, it really isnt a government problem always. What are we as citizens doing to ensure that we use the infrastructure properly. For that we first need to respect the space around us (not only the space we call home for those who respect the space in their home but are quite the opposite once they step out of them). Once we stop and pause for a few minutes and respect the space around us, it is logical that we start wanting it look better, feel better, and smell better. And once we feel these 3 emotions, we will automatically feel the need to keep the space around us better for ourselves if not for the sake of others. Now isn't it really a simple thing which we make out as something that requires committees to be set up and generate reports after reports on how to improve the traffic situation (and not forgeting the fact that these guys make money in the process at the cost of a worsening situation).

Stop and think, if we were to each just keep these simple rules in mind, i truly believe we would make our lives riding/driving/walking around Chennai much easier and less stressful:

a) Stick to your lane even if there isn't one marked (like on Mount Road). Am sure it needs minimum common sense to know which lane is best suited for our mode or transport.

b) Use the indicators provided on your vehicle, and use them sufficiently in advance and not after you already have turned your vehicle a bit or already moved a bit into an adjoining lane.

c) Don't honk unless very necessary. Believe me, during my drive to office one day, I once saw this car driver honking in specific intervals of time even when there was no vehicle in sight for quite some distance ahead of him. I assumed, here was a case of something that's lost its purpose and has become a second nature.

d) Don't drive on the wrong side of the road. For example, I have been amazed at the sheer guts of cyclists and even 2 wheeler drivers who comfortably ride on the wrong side of the road next to the median on the road from Loyola College till the Nelson Manickam signal, just to beat the heavily held up traffic on their actual lane.

e) When at a signal, and if you don't find many vehicles at the end which has their 'green' on, then don't decide to cross the signal. Wait for your turn.

f) If you intend riding/driving slowly for some reason (maybe you are looking out for some place and you need to read shop numbers), then watch which lane you are in, because even if you might have your reason to be slow, it’s terribly wrong to slow down the traffic behind you. Better thing to do would be to park your car some place when you are close to your destination and walk a bit to find your place.

g) If you are fairly new to riding/driving and/or you got your riding/driving license only recently, then don't feel ashamed to put a 'L' board on the back & front of your vehicle. Believe me, its only ego that can stop you from pasting an 'L' sticker but look at the bright side of things, you not only make yourself more predictable but you also provide for people around you to be more predictable to you which only aids your learing process in the end whichever way you look at it. I might have been a minority that put a 'L' board even on my 2 wheeler apart from when i got my car.

If we don't do something about the situation here and now, god it's going to be crazy once the Tata Nano comes on road!

To sign off, i would like to quote something that touched me recently. I read an article in the 'TOI' about a lady who spends a few mins every day outside the school her son/daughter attends on Harrington Road, whereby she helps ease the clogged traffic. Hats off to such effort and I'm ashamed that even as i write this post i haven't got myself to do something like what she's doing.