Jan 25, 2007

Out of Hibernation...

It does seem like I was in hibernation what with no entries for so long. I just feel like entering anything. Sometimes there is so much happening, not physically but within your head that you just dont know what to put down. I just wanted to keep it within my head for some time, waiting for it to register, settle itself, sort itself out.

Lots has happened in this time though...

Couple of weeks ago i fought with some people in the train. I was in the 2nd class ladies compartment accompanying a friend and we were returning home. Adjoining the compartment was a tiny cubicle sort of general compartment with the 'window' between both compartments where people from both sides can see each other. The window is one of those 'leching devices' that the train offers and the men can have a field day throughout their journey peeping into the adjoining compartment. Getting back to the point, that compartment had some 'bhajan-singers' and no sooner did the train start, than they started with their singing and playing. What was most annoying was the loud noise that the symble-like instruments made. It made my head throb and i noticed i wasnt the only one getting disturbed. But everyone chose to bear it quietly. After a while i couldnt take it and despite protests from my friend i got up and approached those people requesting them to please stop their singing as it was greatly disturbing everyone. They had no right to disturb other people for their pleasure. I told them I am not against your devotion or any religious practices, but 'Bhakti' is not singing loudly and troubling others but it is taking the name of God and also respecting other people's space. I asked them to respect our space and please stop. They said they would after one song.
I waited.
And they continued.
This made me even more furious and I got up and started shouting at them. The leader came to the 'window' from where i was talking to them and asked me if it was the 1st time i was travelling in the compartment, and then asked me to go sit down!!! And what was worse was the attitude of the other ladies in the compartment. They chose to put cotton in their ears, and when i voiced out my opinion, told me that it was no use and if i wanted to complain i should go to the police. I had a good mind to tell them what i thought about their complacence, but controlled myself.
And to add to my furiosity was another similar incident that had happened a few months ago when i was travelling in the general 1st class with a few friends. The adjoining 2nd class had some people singing similarly and I did want to get up and ask them to stop as i wasnt feeling well then and the noise was making me feel dizzy and nauseous. But my friend accompanying me stopped me saying that these people have a lot of influence and contacts with the wrong people and if you speak up, it may have bad consequences. That did not deter me and i still wanted to get up and tell them, but i was held down by him. So, i called up the Churchgate Station ARO's office from my cell phone informing the policeman on the other side about the din and disturbance. The reply shocked me even more as he said he couldnt do anything as the train was moving and i would have to go to the Churghgate station office and file a complaint with the train timings, etc and then they would try and take some action if they could. I told them wat about the fact that i am getting disturbed now? And i got no reply from the other end. i just gave a rude thank you and cut the call.

These two incidents have set me thinking.

What can we do if we face any disturbance like this? Is this a sort of religious fanaticism and how can it be curbed? Isnt religion more about caring for each other and respecting other people, then where did this sort of selfishness and mindless 'devotion' come about? Why has the indifference and complacence developed in the minds of people and the general attitude is we cant do anything about it, so we might as well bear it? No one tries. And if anyone does try, he/she is asked to keep quiet and reminded about the fruitlessness of the effort. Isnt a public place for everyone, then how come these people can continue doing what they want without regard for others who have also paid and who have an equal right to that space? The government goes on bothering about material things and making the city into 'Shanghai' but the first step required is developing an attitude in people that teaches them to respect. Respect others, respect space, respect places and respect your city. This lack of respect is the reason for pan stains on "Do not spit here" signs or rude remark coming your way when you try to help someone...
RESPECT... that is what is needed, and minds that are ACTIVE...minds that are more ready to voice their opinions and can realise the result of radical stances rather than just tolerating!


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