Before I really start the post let me tell you certain positive initiatives that have been happening in Mumbai.
- The Railways (local network) started a drive against people who were caught crossing the railway track. The reason behind it was the high death & accident rates caused by crossing the tracks. After having traveled in locals for 3 years I know the significance of this drive
- A drive against the people who stand at the entrance of a local train. Now this again is a very significant move because in crowded routes there will always be a bunch of people who make it a point to stand at the entrance and hinder any kind of movement there. They stand even if there is a space to sit.
- The drive of Mumbai Police against drunken driving is already very famous and was very successful.
- Recently they have come up with a drive against jaywalking i.e. people who do not follow rules while crossing roads.
- The other most recent directive which totally bans the use of mobile phones while driving. Which means you are not allowed to even use Blue tooth/ hands free/ & also no listening to music while driving.
All these drives come with fines and reprimanding by police and as they claim have mostly been successful.
Now, yesterday I was having my usual evening chat with a friend of mine. The conversation went like this
Me: What’s up? What are you doing?
She: Driving back home?
Me: You voice is very low.
She: I guess it is because of Blue tooth.
Me: Ah! You are using Blue tooth? Don’t you know you are not allowed to use it while driving?
She: I know but what to do you can’t stop using a mobile can you? Specially when there is such a big traffic jam how would you pass time?
Me: Hmmm…but these days these people are coming up with such good initiatives Na? Have you read about jaywalking thing?
She: Ya, it is good but you should have listened to the RJ’s making a case against it.
Me: As in?
She: See, they don’t want us to walk on road & want us to use foot paths, zebra crossing et. al. but the point is there are so many shops on the foot path. The police should first remove those encroacher's clean the path and then expect us to stop jaywalking and they won’t do that because they take money from these people.
Me: You mean to say that we should refuse to follow rules because they themselves are not disciplined enough?
She: No am not saying that but then who are they to question us if they themselves are breaking rules.
Me: see once they start asking us to move on footpaths they eventually will have to clear them also. Everything doesn’t change suddenly. It takes time to improve things but we should appreciate that good initiatives are being taken & we should co operate.
She: I understand that but the point is they want us to follow new rules but we aren’t being given a suitable environment to follow them.
Our argument went on for some more time before both of us went back into kitchen but the argument left me with some thoughts.
We Indians are always gunning for change or rather improvement in the governances. We want corruption to go away & we want a cleaner country but do we really know what we are talking about? Or are we saying these things as they give us an excuse to break rules later?
“What to do system is such that we have to do these things?” or “To survive we have to become a part of the system.”
Somehow these lines sound so familiar to me. Do they to you too?
Why is that we gun for changes but when some positive initiative is taken we hardly stand up to support it?
Why is it that we are ready with our set of arguments against those changes?
Why is it that when it comes putting our bit of responsibility we prefer to find fault in the changes that are being brought out?
We have all the rights to question the government but isn’t it our moral responsibility to do our bit before pointing fingers?
Yesterday we were at Marine Drive & the fateful window of Hotel Trident was very clearly visible from where I was sitting and I couldn’t miss that ominous feeling.
Later a walk took us to Hotel Taj & Gateway. As we were crossing Taj I turned to my friend and said
“Somehow I can not stop thinking about 26/11 when I come here. I wonder that if this is my condition then how do the people who have to work here day & night feel. How do people who have lost their near & dear ones here feel? I simply can not erase the picture of waking up to the burning image of Taj. I don’t know why but I can not stop having goose bumps when I come here & I can not stop myself from talking about it. Am I paranoid or do you also have similar feelings?”
She clearly had no answers but yes a walk on the once over crowded road showed us how things have changed. On my first visit here I was bogged down by too many people and this time round I missed the crowd.
I remember how few of us blogger had behaved during 26/11. We wrote many a posts, some of us had joined protest march & one of us had even organized a protest march. But what have we done besides expressing our anguish?
What has been our contribution in the change we wanted?
I didn’t even vote, did you?
Ever wondered why we don’t we become the change we want.
What stops us?
Why do we specialize in protesting but fail to cooperate & fail to put out bit?
Has the system rotten us as well???
Uncomfortable questions and the answers lie within us.