The idiosyncratic us, or is it the regular us?
Let us take time out and be brazenly analytical about what signifies the idiosyncratic traits that define us.
The lockdown for controlling the spread of COVID-19 laid bare a facet of the Indian public, which hitherto remained mostly unmentioned or unattended in our ever analytical and argumentative mindset- the idiosyncrasies, poky and intrusive characteristics that is so inherently adorned by most of us.
While a simple act like using a handkerchief while sneezing or coughing is a rarity, leave aside taking care not to make disgusting sounds while yawning and even avoiding burping and farting in public which most of us do so unhesitatingly, quite unmindful of who is next to us or where we are, it seemed quiet an uphill task for most to wear masks or maintain social distancing.
Isn’t it despicable that we have to be reminded constantly by a monotonous voice even when we call someone over mobile in the form of the now omnipresent caller tune that we need to maintain ‘do gaz ki doori’? Or, for that matter the spectacle of the baton which rained heavily and freely on one and all for digressing from the ‘path’ of social etiquette as demanded by the prevailing pandemic situation?
Laughable that as a Nation, cleanliness has to be discussed and preached from the highest podium- the Red Fort, and a military like mission has to be started in the form of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with a whopping budgetary allocation to the tune of Rs 1,700 crore! Sometimes, I wonder what the hedonic scale would show if we measure the omnipresent odour all around us!
Added to all other idiosyncrasies is the ‘sniffing a conspiracy’ trait that seems to afflict most of us.
So much so that even the Corona pandemic is being termed by a good amount of people to be nothing but a conspiracy! Perhaps, this has led to most taking the pandemic pretty lightly and venture out without a dime of a reason to fear. This theory is now effervescent all across the media, more so, in the idiot box speculating and sniffing out ‘conspiracies’ while discussing the sad incident leading to the unnatural death of late Sushant Singh Rajput.
Taglines demanding justice populate the television screens during the so called ‘primetime hour’ all around. Sometimes it is wondrous to see how beautifully most of us spin a twist to add ‘masala’ to an incident. This is another of our idiosyncrasies.
We have a lot many dedicated volunteers for the protection of ‘gau mata’, but fail to raise a voice against crimes committed on the weaker section of society-whether it is the sexual or religious minority or economically exploited and deprived lot.
Arson, looting and riots are so well organized that sometimes it is baffling to note how meticulous a plan can be, albeit for a destructive purpose! And then there is the ‘intolerance gang’ or the ‘gymkhana activists’ who tends to find a fault with every decision that the government of the day takes. Whereas, these same restive ‘screen time’ intellectuals fail to be neutral and uniform in opinionating on issues of divergence.
Perhaps the words ‘communalism’ and ‘secularism’ is deified nowhere else in the world in the manner it is done in our country.
One can very freely joke on the religious figures of one religion in the name of free speech, whereas at the same time, if a harmless word is uttered in banter for another of the many religions, entire cities are burned and dead bodies are strewn all across. This is nothing but hypocritical pseudo secularist idiosyncrasy.
And then crops the idiosyncrasy of ‘know it all’! We seem to know everything about anything that comes across.
Our street addas are a beehive of expert opinions from topics as diverse as foreign policy to astronomy. Despite our ‘knowledge base’, and ready-made verbal solutions, we fail to understand what exactly exemplifies the problems that afflict us.
Perhaps this has led to us Indians being expert in ‘jugaad’. Yes, we seem to have a makeshift solution for whatever adversity that comes in front of us. So, I might as well, retract my idiosyncrasy of being highly opinionated. In any case, this is where the beauty of India lies.
Despite all our perceived pitfalls, we as a Nation are very unique. The uniqueness is beautified by our idiosyncrasies or well, whatever you term that to be. So, we survive and we survive well!
(The author is assistant professor in the Centre for Management Studies of Dibrugarh University, Assam, India. Views expressed are personal.)