Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NIMBY → Ningaeno?

Few incidents in the recent (actually, not so recent, as this post has been a long time in the making) past.

Incident 1:
I was cycling to work, up Magadi Road. The signal turned red, and a huge line of vehicles waited. A guy in a motorbike honked to get past me. I let him so that he could wait behind a push-cart that waited along with us. We were between a bus on one side and the footpath on the other. The signal turned green, and immediately the biker next to me began honking. Incessantly. The push-cart just stood as there were a lot of vehicles in front of him. That didn't deter the biker. So I turned to him:
me: Yaakri isht horn hoditheera? [Note the respect in “yaakri” and “-theera”]
Why are you honking so much?
biker: Ningaeno? [Note the respect ... or lack of in the “-no”]
What's your problem?
[It amazed me then how just a single word could provoke me so. The amazement wasn't that surprising on hindsight.]
me: Avar yel hogthaare? Yel jaagaa idhae? Isht joraagi horn hodhrae, nam kivi-ge kashtaa agalva?
Where will he go? Where is the place? If you honk so loudly, aren't you troubling our ears?
biker: [Raises his hand to slap/beat me]
[Still amazed ...]
me: Yen kai yeththaidheeya? Yeththidhre kathrisaakbidhteeni! [So ya, I finally had to descend to the “no-respect” zone. I honestly tried not to.]
What are you raising your hands for? Raise them again, and I will chop them off!
biker: Baere yaaraadhru complain maadthaaidhaaraa?
Is anyone else complaining?
me: Aa gaadi-avaruna kaeli. Haelthaare ...
Ask that cart guy, he will tell you ...

But the cart guy had left. There were other people honking from behind us. And we went our ways. It was another 20 minutes before my anger subsided. Somewhat.

Incident 2:
Was driving the car after a 3 week break. With parents and Anitha. We were waiting at the Chord Road, Rajajinagar 1st Block signal. Thanks to the supreme holy cow Metro (not going to throw ire at this target in this post) work, signals are longer than usual. Which is good if it gives pedestrians more time to cross. Unfortunately, it's just vehicles taking more time to cross. So there were a lot of vehicles waiting on the road perpendicular to us (Wockhardt to ISKCON). The pile-up resulted in people taking the service lanes. Which is still fine. Then those bastards decided to break all possible rules (jump signals, wrong side, block traffic) and get into the main lane ... when they should have taken a left, a U-turn and then get back to the signal.

This resulted in vehicles getting blocked. People who couldn't turn left on to the road as all these people were blocking their path on the wrong side. A biker was standing across the divider. So I turned to him (I realise that most of my confrontations begin with a “I turned to him.” Maybe I should just look straight ahead. Hmm ...):
me: Yaakri wrong side-alli idheeraa? Traffic block maadthaidheera!
Why are you on the wrong side? You are blocking the traffic!
biker: Ningaeno?
(does it need translation?)
[Holy crap! Was there a school that primed these people to dole out the Ningaeno? reply?]
[I don't remember exactly how the conversation proceeded. It involved a lot of swearing. Words that my mom probably thought never existed in my mouth. And more swearing.]

After this went on for a few more minutes, and the biker actually went away ... in the right direction, my mom asked me, “Avan solradhu saridhaane? Vaera yaarumae edhum sollalle? Namma mattum edhukku sollanum?” (What he is saying is right? Is anyone else complaining? Why should we complain?) I didn't say anything. My mom continued, “Un health-dhaan spoil aagum.” Of course, she had also joined in the shouting-fest with the biker.

Later that night, Anitha, “I was really scared ... seeing you so angry!” But ya, they both know that I would do this again. And again. And, so would they.

Probably why avoiding all private transport seems to be the best option right now.

Which brings me back to the title of this post. We used to think that NIMBY was the reason for a lot of our problems (be it small-scale or large). It was a common attitude to ignore things happening as long as it was Not In My Back Yard.

So, are we now moving to an even more socio-path-apathetic state. Now, people aren't satisfied in not questioning the wrongs happening in general, but also make it a point to question the right to question. And that scares me. But doesn't deter me. Which means a lot more fights, a lot more confrontations, and a lot more stressed out days.

And moments of self-restraint when the BMTC driver decides to overtake another bus instead of giving way to an ambulance? Maybe not.


At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Gopal Srinivasan said...

We should easily qualify as the most rude and discourteous people in the world.

At 9:06 AM, Blogger ashwini bharadwaj said...

They said "ningeno" in response to your question... to me one of the guys once said "ee hogee, yen noDta ideeya" as I was waiting (on the first row) for the light to turn green!
I used to reply to such atrocious comments in the beginning but then I realized that the best way to handle them is to just stare at them. I used to turn around and stare at them if they honked as soon as the light turned yellow. Think some used to say "yen noDta ideeya" and I just continued to stare hoping that it would make them think someday. Yeah it was the helmet that made me feel secure as I stared... but I used to be very scared about them following me etc. most of the times they would get angry and zoom past me before I started so...

Not that you shouldn't question but the concern is about your anger and the fact that it affects you :(

At 10:52 PM, Anonymous Kannan said...

Good post.


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