Rules of Engagement

Bear has a few rules in our house concerning me.

  1. If I go out on the scooter, I need to call him so he knows when I’m leaving and where I’m going.
  2. When I wash my hair, I either have to blow dry it right away or not go outside/sit under a fan/sit in AC.
  3. If I’m already in a bad mood, I am not allowed to read any Indian News paper as it will put me in a worse mood.

Number three is the one I have a problem with. Mostly because even if I’m in a good mood, I generally will almost always find something that either upsets me, sickens me or just plain makes me mad.

Today I found one that just made me incredulous. For all of 5 seconds and then I answered all my own questions of disbelief.

What was the article you ask?

Digging Deeper into his “road rage” in today’s Pune Mirror. You can find it here.

The break down is this.

Mr. Anna Shinde says that he owns two gunthas of land on or near the Upper Crest housing scheme which was built near the Corinthian’s Club in Pune.

Mr. Shinde further stipulates that he has never been compensated for this land by the builder or the PMC when they built a road leading to the homes. Mr. Shinde says that he has approached both on many occasions in trying to gain his compensation.

When none was provided, Mr. Shinde hired a JCB machine, went to the site and dug up a ditch at the entrance to the Upper Crest homes making it impossible for the residents to enter by car or two-wheeler.

When the residents tried to stop and complain to Mr. Shinde, he told them to take it up with the builder and the PMC for not paying him for the land use.

Even when confronted with retired and elderly people who need to be driven to their door practically, he did not relent.

PMC and the Builder both stipulate that Mr. Shinde never approached them over the ten years it took for this project to complete and that he only recently approached them without enough and proper documentation proving his ownership. Nor did Mr. Shinde have demarcation documents for his plot.

Hmmm…the plot thickens. It also, in true India news style, ends there. No information for what will be done for the poor residents. No information on the laws about this. No references to previous such occasions and their repercussions. I would love it if the Indian news would start giving that kind of information in their reports…making the public aware of the laws could go a long way in curbing this kind of behavior…but I digress, that’s an entirely different blog post I think.

Either way, my first thought was this… “What was Mr. Shinde thinking?”  (Here’s where you can insert the credulous voice).

If you’ll remember from a earlier post of mine “Wipro and Educational Initiatives Study shows troubling trend.” I had quoted this piece from the article…

Most troubling was that 67%  of students feel that it is OK not to consider another persons inconvenience if it’s not done often, if the other person does not complain or if no perceived laws are broken.

This particular quote is telling. Especially when a parent in the article was quoted with this…

Parents cannot be blamed for everything going wrong in society. It is the friends’ circle and those are who committing violence who are disturbing children. 

My argument has and will always be that children learn from what they see, hear and read.

Quite obviously Mr. Shinde is no longer a child, however his behavior exactly mimics those espoused by the 67% of children who believe that even if their actions inconvenience another person it’s of no consequence to them. As long as they don’t’ do it often.

Here’s where this logic fails. Go to Reliance on any busy shopping day. Try to keep your place in line. One person butts in front of you and you say nothing. That person is now done butting so it was a onetime occurrence for THEM. Now four more people butt in front of you. Once for them as well. Now five more butt in front of you. Also, once for them. They all had one experience while you had 10 experiences of inconvenience.

If everyone thought this way, we would all be in a world of hurt. It’s not sound logic and it shouldn’t be espoused as an excuse or reason or even something that’s allowed ONCE for anyone.

Moving on…

My second thought was this… “Why didn’t Mr. Shinde take his case to court? Or appeal to the public? Put up a hoarding? Call the local paper or news media?”

Indeed…why didn’t Mr. Shinde try to find ways other than inconveniencing the people living there? Why didn’t he think to himself “Why to punish these people who had nothing at all to do with it?”

And if I had been fresh in my stay of India, my thoughts and frustrations would have ended there.

However, living here now for three years I can now answer these questions with ease.

  1. Because he would have been inconvenienced (see number two).
  2. Because the court system here is atrocious and sluggish, taking years to give him any justice.
  3. Because the public might not have cared to help, they would have been unconcerned…it’s not their problem so why should they bother?
  4. Because harassing other’s gets better and faster results.
  5. Because one person yelling is insignificant next to many yelling.
  6. Because the rules of engagement in India are different then what I grew up with.

And really, I hate that each and every one of these answers is true.

Mr. Shinde or anyone for that matter, should be able to get due diligence here. They should be able to get the public concerned when it could be them in his shoes, the community should work together for the betterment of all.

But most times, that just isn’t the case. Mostly, people are more concerned with their own sphere of life and the only time they have for looking out for other’s is when it’s taking an interest in whatever society stigma they may be involved with.

It may be a long time coming till anyone can get the swift justice that they deserve. Good or bad.

In the mean time, we’ll open up the paper in the morning to read about some new action someone has taken to get their own brand of justice.

And soon…Bear is going to start a new rule

  1. No reading Indian Papers. Full stop.

©2012 Gori Rajkumari


8 thoughts on “Rules of Engagement

  1. Indian newspapers cater to the Indian population…. and its current mindset.
    Unfortunately, the Indian mindset has become too enamoured by sensationalism rather than the actual awareness and solution of a particular issue. Besides, that’s what one has Time for today since most everybody here are struggling to feed their own mouths on everyday basis.
    That is one of the main reasons of social apathy. We can’t look out for other people’s right to Live, needs and comfort unless ours are fulfilled…. especially when the competition is so fierce and our entire energy and Time goes into struggling. That is the Indian mindset that has developed these past few decades…. alongwith a quick way around a problem…. you can always bribe your way out since the other person also needs the money….

    “Because the rules of engagement in India are different then what I grew up with.”

    That they are, Vahini and they will be because they are a compromise between what is the right and probably the legal way but is also tedious/costly/new/sometimes non-traditional way and what is easier, many times illegal but is also traditional/ cheaper and even more direct and efficient way, super-added by the corruption and apathy shown by those sent to govern us and make rules….

  2. I get as irritated reading the paper 😦
    Fortunately I don’t have much time for it anymore running after a toddler, and in this case ignorance is bliss, too much petty bickering in most Indian paper to waste too much of my time on them

  3. Ugh, I used to read 3 Mumbai newspapers a day to keep myself informed and to learn. Now I rarely feel motivated to read 3 a week. It’s just too irritating, depressing, and frustrating. I really wish they’d put out a good news newspaper to balance out all the negative stories that newspapers are filled with. Stories like the one in your blog post have totally clouded my view of Indians and India. And there are just sooo many of them!

    • Gori/Sharell,
      These days the news papers are reduced to mere brochures for political parites.. every news channel and paper is affiliated to some political party… so they use paper show good about the affiliated party and bad about all others… its so annoying…. there is no longer an reliable new source..

      Ages ago.. India.. had just one channel.. DoorDarshan.. and there use to be just one slot for news for 30 minutes.. at 9pm everyday.. and they would still cover all required topics.. including international news… and now.. they have tons of channels and none can cover the required news…
      News these days:
      Rescue Operation: “Billi Chat par”(cat stuck on the roof).
      UK Future?? “Prince Williams receding hairline”

  4. I really enjoyed this post-you put into words all my thoughts that I have not been able to express. I have found that people being inconsiderate of others has been my biggest adjustment here and infuriates me to no end whenever I leave my home. I glanced at this article the other day but did not bother to read it as I knew it would raise my blood pressure! Maybe I need to follow the no paper rule myself 🙂

    • Eliza!

      Thanks so much for the comment! 🙂 Actually, since it was power down day yesterday I had no choice but the read the paper! Power down Thursday’s should not come with papers for us expats I don’t. In deference to our blood pressure! hehe

      I agree though! I think that I find that the most interesting. Here, the west is villainized as not caring about family or society (ie: we have no morals) but I think it’s that we have the same morals but too many people would rather believe whatever mindset they already have.

      When people start saying these things about the west, and I point to the articles in the paper showcasing the same thing here in the East, it’s always that this east case is different or a one time thing or instigated because of the insidiousness of the west. UGH. The pointing fingers thing drives me crrrraaaazzzzy. I think that will be my next blog post! 🙂 hehe

  5. ha ha… I have been following your post a lot lately… must say.. i have visited a few gori blogs… blogs speak a load about the persons personality and attitude… and i liked yours the most…. i dont mean put others down.. its just that yours matches mine.. thats all..

    other thing i wanted to mention was.. i’m an indian…arranged marriage… most of the indian girls dont change themselves so much to fit into a family.. be it love or arranged… i totally commend that all the gori girls…

    example… i know an indian couple.. love marriage.. girl loves meat.. boy a veggie… the girl strictly wont give up meat.. so that guy started eating… 🙂

    about the resistance from the guys family… indians parents would do it.. if there was even a difference in the way the castes of the 2 families were spelt… 🙂 personal experience.. my brother went through this…

    and indians staring.. i’m currently in US… we stare even everytime we see an indian on the street.. “oh wow… another indian around” 🙂
    mindset wise.. india is decades behind US… so imagine decades back an the stare a caucasian-black couple would get.. thats the same stares you are getting when you are out with bear…. 🙂

    Not sure if you have watched.. and Russel Peters shows… if not… i totally recommend them… its all about indians… stand up comedy…

    • Caramel,

      I LOVE Russel Peters! He cracks us up all the time! “Beige is taking over the world! Sooner or later….we’re going to hump you!” OMG! Makes me cry every single time! Although, my favorite are the pieces he does on his Dad. His Dad and MY Dad could have been best buddy’s! 😉

      I’m so glad you enjoy my blog! I’m notorious for having all these articles written and then not posting them for one reason or another…hence the long times between posting here. I’ll try to be better about that so you can come back to comment more often!

      On the staring…do you know….I do the same now here too! “LOOK! I see white people!!!” LOL So funny!


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