Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Should Brits be hired to teach us fairplay?

"Learn to queue up to become a UK citizen!"

This piece was on Times of India recently. It appears that they plan to make the art of queueing part of the citizenship test for immigrants! This is claimed to be central to the British sense of fair play! They aver that "a lot of tension is created by immigrants not understanding that they must wait in line for services rather than barging to the front".

My immediate reaction was that they could have taught us in the 200 odd years they were in India!

I remember the days when I used to wait for a bus. Often the bus would not even stop and when it did, the driver would over shoot the bus stop where we were bunched together and halt! Obviously we had to rush to the bus and even a semblance of a queue we had would be lost and it was survival of the fittest! Surprisingly no one would remonstrate with the driver!

While there are times when we do form a queue, more often we do not! Just yesterday a guy walked into the shop I was at and picked up whatever he wanted and butted in and thrust the money at the shopkeeper and the shopkeeper obliged him! There was some logic in it, but it would have been nicer if he just said 'Do you mind, I have only one item!'

Since my return my own sense of fair play has been outraged countless of times! The other day I was at the food and civil supplies department, don't ask me what I was doing there, that is an other long story! I noticed that people just bunched together at the table where a lady clerk was collecting applications. They just stood there quietly hoping to catch her eye.

I realised that this was the clue. We had to just wait to be noticed by the officialdom and this is what the Raj had taught us. I realised then how the British would have ruled us through their bureaucrats. I suppose if I were the person in power, I would look at only those whose faces I liked or those who had the same caste mark as I had or the same ethnicity and so on!

The officialdom does not seem to care who came first and it is the reason why we bunch together, push and generally act in a totally uncivilised manner. I am not even speculating on the other types of influences that may work!

We can remonstrate and succeed sometimes if it is just a queue of people standing. But this genetic flaw, as many of us like to give it a name, is unmanageable while our people drive! The extent of callous behaviour of drivers of vehicles is horrendous to say the least. We see the Bengaluru janata at their worst! They are selfish, thoughtless, arrogant to say the least.

I have yet to seek the opinion of sociologists about this sordid lack of civic sense. I hope they have a clue. The harm that is done by this behaviour is enormous. My own guess is that it is an inscrutable amalgam of feelings of inferiority, impotence and sheer idiocy!

I suppose it is smart to blame it on the Brits and here is an opportunity for them to make amends!

If they do succeed in taming the immigrants, which surely would include us Indians, they can be invited as Queue coaches and Driving coaches copying the way we have done it with sports! Thus they will be able to make amends for leaving us without teaching us this basic trait of fair play!


N L Sriram said...

With the new HIPAA privacy rules in this country, there are guidelines even when standing in a queue at the doctor's office front desk for registering your name, etc. Only the person who is communicating with the office staff is supposed to go to the counter, while others have to stand a reasonable distance behind so that they cannot see or overhear the personal details being written down or discussed. The same is true at ATMs or at other point of sale terminals, people get agitated if you are close enough behind them to see the codes that you are entering.

Chaya Srivatsa said...

Good one.The best thing the Brits taught us was English and I think we can speak the language better than them!!

Usha Sunder said...

It was very entertaining .