Civic Sense (… probably part 1 as I might write sequel/s! :) )

Welcome friends, to yet another piece of gibberish that concocts in my mind and you loving people care to read! We all were students. If not for anything else, we at least studied for exams. Remember, we had a subject called ‘Civics’ in our syllabi. Mostly, it was a part of our primary school syllabi. What I remember from that subject is that you should look on both the sides of the road for oncoming traffic before crossing the road; and you should always cross the road on the Zebra crossing. I also vaguely remember that at some point of time it also explained Indian political hierarchy, like who elects whom and what is the number of office bearers, in various political offices. Barring that I don’t remember a thing from the entire syllabus of that subject. I probably studied it for 10 marks in a 100 marks ‘Social Studies’ paper comprised of ‘History, Geography and Civics’.

Here I am, allegedly, all grown up and an observant soul of my degrading surroundings. It seems the entire society around me has forgotten about the subject in the curriculum. The very essence of civic behavior, which is self-restraint, self-control and rule abiding nature, has largely disappeared from the society. I drop my son off to school, every single day of the week. I drive him to school in our car. I feel amused and sad, at the same time, looking at the behavior of many other car owners. Since the traffic gets clogged, 15 minutes before school time, I drop my son half an hour before, to avoid stupendous stupidity of highly educated affluent buffoons. I have no qualms in proclaiming that I am a decent driver. I abide by all the rules (well…..at least all those, which ensure that I am no nuisance to fellow drivers and patrons in general). Most car owners feel that it is only their child, who is going to school and it is their commendable victory to occupy the space exactly opposite the gate of the school. Believe me, I see people parking and leaving their car parked till they drop their child inside the premises of the school. The next person arrives with a bigger car and what he sees…..someone has already occupied the coveted parking spot, opposite of the gate. His ego is hurt. Why the hell his child should take pains of walking 100 feet, when he has such an expensive car. So he chooses to park exactly behind this car. The moronic series continues. Then arrives a school bus, carrying twenty five odd kids. Now this driver has no place to halt his vehicle because of these highly educated intelligent parents. School bus halts almost in the middle of the road. Kids are scared, bus attendant is scared, bus driver is praying that a local transport bus shouldn’t arrive behind him. One of the buffoons arrives and tries to take his car out of the mess, he himself is responsible for. He starts honking incessantly and starts abusing the school bus driver for second row parking. This gets even more foolish with cars with paid drivers. Their bosses instruct them to stay put till they drop their kids off and come back. The drivers, for the fear of losing job, obstinately hold their ground against anything and anyone. The chaos continues.

Many a times I yell at these guys. Most parents must be thinking I am mad……and oh yes…..how correct they are this time…..I am not only mad……I am fucking revving mad. Why is it difficult for these morons to understand that they can park their cars at places which won’t obstruct traffic? How come, the people who care so much for their kids, are so unbothered about kids arriving in a school bus? How come they are unbothered about the people riding in a local transport bus, which gets delayed because of them? Questions….questions….questions…..!

Scene 2: Someone I know, who grew up and educated in Mumbai, has settled abroad. When this acquaintance of mine arrived in Mumbai for a short while, we met for dinner. We dined at a South Mumbai joint. After the dinner we were driving towards suburbs, which is quiet a distance. On the way back we picked up ice cream cups. After finishing the ice cream he simply threw the cup outside window from a running car. I was appalled. Incidentally, this person is settled in the cleanest place in the world. I almost had a verbal brawl with this person. He was justifying that as it is Mumbai is so unclean, how the hell one ice cream cup is going to be excess. I finally gave up explaining as things got really bitter. A classic case of someone who has forgotten civics!

Scene 3: Pune is my home town. I travel to Pune on many weekends. First ever ‘Express Way’ of India is built between Mumbai and Pune. Merely to drive to and fro on this road, car owners need to shell out more than three hundred rupees. It is my personal observation that the amount of garbage coming out of any car window is directly proportionate with the price of the car. I see people driving brands like BMW, Mercedes Benz throw empty cartons of chips, empty bottles of soft drinks etc. on the road. I pray for them for they don’t know what they are doing!

People spitting on the road …… seats not offered to old, pregnant ladies …… kids hanging at the door in local trains and no one taking them inside …… people littering in storm water drains & clogging them ….. people wrong parking their vehicles and bribing the attendants …… people yelling into their mobile phones in public …… travelling in public transport with excess luggage …… driving, riding in no entry lanes ….. Littering on the road …… Jaywalking (crossing the road or walking on the road recklessly….. Believe me Jaywalking is an offense as per traffic rules in India …. One such rule, which is never ever enforced as this rule is against reckless pedestrians and pedestrians are poor people and poor people can never do anything wrong!) …. Travelling without a valid ticket …… if someone is waiting for an auto, taxi; standing ahead of that person and catching auto, taxi before and not offering him a ride …… not giving side on the road for overtaking …. Driving in the wrong lane……………

The list can go on and on. What has happened to us! What’s going wrong? I feel subject ‘Civics’ should be taught right from nursery to graduation level. This shall enable people to remember to be responsible citizens.

This is the only way every one shall remember forever that their empty cup of ice cream is littering my HOME and it is NOT DONE!

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One Response to Civic Sense (… probably part 1 as I might write sequel/s! :) )

  1. Sameer Kale says:

    The problem is lack of discipline and strict implementation of law. Here the fine for jay walking is 200dh. We need a stick approach. You can reconfirm the same from the reduction in drunk driving instances.

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