Very often we relate to things by ascribing specific feelings to it. Like, I associate the smell of soil wet with first drops of rain to my childhood days. Sometimes people tend to take these random memory associations a little too seriously that they become borderline stereotypes.
One such stereotype that I have come across time and again is India being associated with “land of snake charmers, spirituality, poverty, bureaucracy, corruption, unpunctuality and also that it is a unhygienic-chaotic place”. Lots of movies, articles, and a variety of multimedia tools have helped instill the thought in people. I have always wondered if it is just another stereotype or is there an element of truth in it.
Is India the land of mystics as historians call it, just another back-end operations destination for the privileged class or a low cost talent pool to dip and drink from? To be honest, I am at crossroads when it comes to this typecasting of Indian society. We are definitely not a bunch of barbarians with primitive social skills, however, we do lack in certain aspects like timeliness, professional commitment and social responsibility. Certainly, the plethora of scams and scandals like mismanagement of Common Wealth Games, 2G spectrum and several delayed projects in India, have made grainy pictures of India in minds of the global audience.
Nevertheless, I think it’s not time for a blame game, and that society is soon going to witness the rise of game changers who will lead India to greater heights and make it all the more civilized, in the true sense of the world. These leaders are not the Anna Hazare’s and the likes of which, who rise once in blue moon, but the ordinary citizens who bring about ordinary changes which has an incremental effect in the society. These change agents would be the unsung heroes who will serve as the silent catalysts for society’s upbringing.
Recently, I came across one such person who has inspired me to be a change agent myself. I was at Vytilla Mobility Hub, a bus station in Cochin, Kerala. It was spectacularly clean unlike many public transport stations we come across. I watched the housekeeping staff cleaning meticulously in gaps between arrival and departure of the bus. As they removed the slightest evidence of filth from the floor, my chest swelled with pride. You know, those are the moments of glory, when you feel that India can actually become a developed nation by 2020 as ex-president Dr. Abdul Kalam envisioned.
I could not bask in glory for long, since a commoner threw orange peels out of the bus window, and it fell right where the housekeeping had just finished cleaning. Most people who saw it did not care and few people who cared (includes me) pretended not to see, as they did not want to react and get muddled in an unwanted debate over the issue. But, a policeman on duty that day came forward, gave the guy who threw the debris out a sermon on cleanliness and social etiquettes, asked him to step out of the bus and made him throw the peels in the dust bin. That day, I am sure that he had touched the lives of several people in the bus station and would have instigated at least an iota of change in most of them. I don’t even remember his face, but I remember him for his thoughtful gesture and I swear that if each one of us brings about a positive change like this, we as a society can go places. It would be like one big chain reaction, where one change leads others to follow suit by initiating small changes whose incremental effect will have a great impact on the progress of India.
As they say it is little drops of water that makes a mighty ocean 🙂