Being Indian

I don’t know how many Indians have read this book “Games Indians Play” but I recently borrowed it from a friend and finished reading it today.
Now it’s not a thriller nor a captivating biography, which we finish off in a matter of hours. So it took me a good 10 days (or could be more, since the friend does not keep a tab on the “date of borrowing” and “date of return” of the books that he lends :-)) to finish this book. It’s only about a 150 page book, mind you.
Now there’s a point in that book about self regulation. He mentions that Indians always need some authority to regulate them and then they would come up with a zillion ideas (or loopholes) on how to defy that regulation. Be it breaking some traffic rule or cheating on taxes or getting additional interest on fixed depoists for senior citizens by opening the deposits in the names of anyone even the aged domestic help or even simple things like breaking queues, throwing garbage or keeping the public toilets filthy!
Now the point of the author was why can’t we self regulate ourselves and I agree with him. It seems that for us it’s a kind of sin if we follow rules or if we keep some place clean (of course other than the interiors of our homes).
I won’t say I am above all this – after all am I not an Indian myself? I do follow certain things like e.g. waiting for my turn in queues or not jumping the traffic signals even when there’s no traffic (of course that was when I used to drive my two wheeler – now I use the public transport) – in short things which I think are right to do, but seemingly there are some things which are like ingrained and they are like a reflex action. E.g. If I have an empty juice bottle or some such thing then I would look for a dustbin to throw it but if I have a used bus-ticket – then I am ashamed to confess, that it takes all my self control to not just toss it on the roadside. I have to be really careful that I am not doing it as a reflex action of getting down from the bus.
Now it may seem a small confession in the wake of one of the biggest confessions of this year (Asatyam prevailing in a company named Satyam) but still, isn’t a confession all about accepting one’s fault and then trying to clean up – be it the system or one’s conscience?
I think that the things from which we start doing the wrong are initially small and then one day the magnitude becomes so high that it becomes a national problem! Why can’t we simply nip the temptation to do something wrong as soon as it appears? What’s wrong with us? As the author mentioned that the irony is that we are from the country of “Gita” which is all about doing the right thing!
I could not get the answer to the question that the author proposed in the beginning – “why are we the way we are?”. I thought that in the book I may be getting some reason to justify Indians for their way of “doing” or “not doing” things. But I could not!
I am waiting for the day when everyone would voluntarily start doing things the right way! I have started. How about you?


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