Monday, May 12, 2008

Right to Complain

So, first phase of elections happened here, and, according to all reports, the voter turnout was pretty bad in Bangalore Urban; around the 44% mark apparently. Possible reasons for this, according to the media:
  • General apathy
  • No clear front-runner
and so on.
And ya, there were a lot more reasons that have been listed across all channels.

Among the numerous election ads on the radios, the one that grabbed my attention was this: “Vote now. Else, shut up for the next 5 years!” Obviously, a very impressive attempt at guilt-tripping the voters.

But still, I felt somewhat hollow when I heard this. The hollowness persisted even after reading about the abysmal turnouts. I was confused … because, I should have been angry. But nope, I just couldn’t muster up any sort of rage against this apathy. So, I began to wonder why.

And just like all always, my thoughts went in all sorts of directions, and what is being written here is one such thread of rambling.

“Shut up for the next 5 years!” “Shut up …”! Hmm … the point here is simple. The next time you complain about the government, remember that YOU had a hand in picking it, and hence, if you abstained then, you have no ground to stand on now. Fair enough.

But, is the government really the only entity that is at fault?
(Oh, before that, that there is something “at fault” in our city, state, country, etc. is beyond doubt. But, for the sake of my lack of knowledge, I shall just stick to Bangalore and its problems for now.)

On a tangent, the Bangalore Police has this hoarding saying, “Are you a driver who follows the rules? Are you a Smiling Driver?” And whenever I see that, I want to scream, “Not at all!!! I follow every bloody rule! And the only thing that gives me is a stressful life! No smiles. No nothing!” The rage that I am engulfed in when I am on the road is slowly reaching levels that I am not sure I can get rid off.

And this is the rage that I was hoping would hit me earlier. But, the realisation that I have come to accept is this – it doesn’t matter one bit who our leaders are. As long as we, as citizens, do not perform the simplest of tasks, there is nothing that any supreme power can do to save us.

And, the scary part of the current scenario where people want to do things just to accelerate their progress in life/traffic/career/etc. is that no one seems to feel the guilt. A simple case in point: The other day, at the Sankaralinga Pandian Hotel signal, it’s red. Of course, vehicles from my side continue to ignore it as there is no vehicle “using” the rightful green. But then comes this Activa who has take a right-turn and rightfully, but no one stops. Finally, running out of patience, he just pushes his bike into the path of an incoming auto. And, what does the auto-driver do? Gets out and shouts at the Activa driver! After that incident, even “sheepish guilty” would be an acceptable option to me … but I didn’t see it then, and don’t see it in the future.

And so, that’s where I stand. My rage for people’s apathy to the government is negligible. My rage for people’s apathy to people is at a scary level. And I am fine with that … completely at peace with my rage.

After having spent years controlling the rage, I’m fed up, and have finally (and inevitably, I should add) reached the stage where I need to vent it out as and when it bubbles out.