Yesterday I went through two bad experiences in
1. It was Sunday afternoon, and I was standing in line at Barista on
MG Road to order some coffee. It was pretty crowded. The line was long and when it came to my turn to order, I noticed that a young lady came to next window – from where people get their items - and started to put an order. I brought this to the notice of the guy who was taking care of me and asked him to make sure she stands in line like others. She was quite annoyed and protested to the Barista guy that she was a regular customer and if he didn’t take the order, she would not come back again. I told him quite emphatically that if he DID take order from the other window I would like to CANCEL my order. This made the girl and her friends quite furious at me for denying them their self-assumed ‘privilege’.
2. Later the same day, we went to see the movie ‘V for Vendetta’ by Wachowski Brothers. The movie theater was Symphony on MG Road. I am not sure why no one else notices this or if they do notice why they tolerate it, but the whole picture on the screen is quite dull and dark. The darkness is prominent on all the four sides of the rectangle. Either the projector is bad, or the bulb which gives out the light is old, or there is lot of dust and smoke covering the lens. Whatever it is, the movie experience is quite pathetic. I had two choices, endure the pain this theater is causing me or walk out. I was with two other friends, and I debated in my mind for a while, and within five minutes I walked out of the movie.
Such experiences are quite common here in
. Not that the other parts of the world are problem-free. They are just different kind of problems there. Even when I was living in other parts of the world, I refused to be treated badly. When entering Bangalore (in 1997) while working in USA, the customs guy started asking too many questions, to the point of annoying me or insulting me. I got tired of answering and I told him point blank – “I am here because your company in Germany wants me here. If you have a problem with me entering, please sign a letter that you have denied admission, and I am ready to go back”. He let me in without another word. Germany
Once, few German police officers (three of them) came up to me, while I was waiting for the subway (S-Bahn), and asked me to show them my passport. I was on a long stay in that country and I wasn’t carrying mine that day. I told them the same, and then suddenly I put a question to them – “Why are you asking only me? There are so many others on the platform? Why am I singled out? Is it because I am BROWN?” That completely shook them off. These cops who were earlier speaking to me in English suddenly started blabbering in German and left. When in
, I fought with Germans; when in Germany , I fought with French. When in France , I don’t mind fighting Indians, to make sure they do not trample me or my rights. India
But this constant fighting takes a toll on me. Its exhausting. I fight with bank tellers, with auto-rickshaw drivers, with traffic police, and even with educated and rich Bangaloreans. For some reason, I don’t seem to conform to the ‘system’.
I was at movies once, and was waiting in a long line at popcorn counter during intermission. I waited for quite long- the movie had already started. Then came my turn- and there was not much popcorn left with the seller. Suddenly out of nowhere, a lady, who looked quite educated - she could easily be a manager at a software company in
What does one do? Somehow everyone else seems to be quite fine with this. Trampling on others to get your things seem to be in fashion – it’s like some distorted version of ‘survival of the fittest’ in place. Bribing to get things done, cutting the line to get ahead, stopping the whole traffic because your wife wanted to buy milk from the kirana store, etc - all seem to be justified in some weird Indian interpretation of ‘survival instincts’ which is considered a value and a great strength.
I get frustrated and sometimes quite furious. Is it just me? ‘Chalta Hai!’, ‘Adjust Maadi!’, ‘Koncham Sarduko!’ I am told. I don’t want to ‘adjust’. I don’t want to accept things when they are bad. If I can’t change them, at least I don’t want to accept the treatment meted out to me. Was I the only guy who felt that that quality of the movie at Symphony was really bad? A friend tells me that it’s nostalgic to watch the movie at Symphony. Can we accept poor quality and bad treatment under the name of nostalgia?
I stopped going to Koshy’s (on St. Mark’s Road) because the waiters there are extremely arrogant and rude. Most of the Bangaloreans seem to accept the treatment under the garb of ‘nostalgia’. May be, under the name of nostalgia, one should bring back sati (suttee) and untouchability, get back bad hygiene and poor products and get back the British rule along with the Maharajas.