Most of us abuse the way foreigners for the way they generalise Indian people. We cringe when they talk about snake charmers and us still travelling on elephants while we attend their calls for distress to help out with their computer which is now unexpectedly shutting down every 2 minutes (your computer is jus disgusted at you for loading VISTA onto it).
It just occurred to me recently that this cringing was based upon the fact there was a 'MOST OF US'. But is there really?
I mean, what percentage of India thinks like me, lives like me, talks like me and breathes like me.
Reality check time. Today 75% of our country still lives in rural areas which at times lack basic amenities such as water, sufficient food, electricity and so on. Forget internet connections, laptops and cars.
So then where was this us i was talking about. I know that 2% of a BILLION people is quite a bit but i was expecting a majority of the population and not just a hole in the wall. There was something really wrong here.
This something wrong was also what has been responsible for a lot of the problems we face today. Today most people lack basic education forget sex education and so our country's population continues to increase in leaps and bounds.
We lack opportunity in terms of jobs and so we see every capable youth travelling to the bigger cities in search of work as fast as possible. Some like my old dhobi Biren are just 13 years old and struggling everyday to support their entire family which lives in the village, in Biren's case his 5 other siblings and parents on a monthly salary of Rs.500 ($12). Biren works with his uncle everyday from morning to evening and then cooks food for both of them. He is happy to watch 5 minutes of TV when he comes to collect clothes since in his hut which he shares with his uncle (the dhobi), there is no electricity inspite of the fact that they live in the midst of one of the poshest areas Bandra, in one of the biggest cities on earth, Mumbai. The city that is supposedly the beneficiary of 24 hours electricity unlike the rest of our country which has to frequently grapple with long power outages.
Biren is just one of the 800 million poor souls in my country waiting for the SHINING INDIA that politicians promise during every election and then return only at the time of the next election.
In the meanwhile the rest of us middle class, upper middle class or rich people continue to live in our comfortable homes, watching TV, eating well and having fun. There truly is something wrong with the country we live in.
Why is it so difficult for us to stand up and face reality.
We are getting hoodwinked on a regular basis by politicians, the bureaucracy, the law, the rich, the powerful and so on. But we just turn our faces and go on, why because we know how to get out work done, whether it is by greasing a few palms or by pulling a few strings. Let the poor sods who really need help get screwed over.
It is not difficult for us to face upto this. We are just plain unwilling.
And at the rate inlfation is going, looks like those poor sods are going to starve to death, that is if they don't hang themselves due to their piling up debt.
People keep talking about getting onto the groove train (in this case the train to propserity or opportunity if I may).
We forget that the we who keep talking about it are already on it. The guys who need to be on are standing by awaiting their turn which doesn't seem like it is coming anytime soon.
But even today, all they want to know is WHEN DO WE GET ON
the train is starting to look really empty to me