Change we must…

Two small stories to begin with.

Story 1 : One of which was told by the unique littérateur, the one and only Pu La Deshpande. He once happened to visit a post office in London to buy some stamps to post a letter back home. The stamp which he took had a photograph of Queen Elizabeth, he pasted the stamp on the envelope and in his absent mindedness, or unique indian casualness, he pasted in upside down. The lady clerk on the counter, saw the wrongly pasted stamp and told Pu La Deshpande to rectify the error. For an Indian, it was not much of an deal to make such an issue out of it. He however, did what was asked, but out of curiousity, or may be to satiate his injured ego, he questioned, the Lady Clerk, what if he had pasted the stamp upside down and posted it directly without the knowledge of the lady. The answer of the lady was astonishing, she said, you could have done so sir, but i will not allow the insult of my queen in front of me!!! The lady considered the wrongful pasting of the stamp which was imprinted with Queen’s photo an insult.

Story 2 : I happened to receive this interest tale in email from my friend. It is a real story.

Germany is a highly industrialized country. It produces top brands like Benz, BMW, Siemens etc. The nuclear reactor pump is made in a small town in this country. In such a country, many will think its people lead a luxurious life. At least that was my impression before my study trip.

When I arrived at Hamburg, my colleagues who work in Hamburg arranged a welcome party for me in a restaurant. As we walked into the restaurant, we noticed that a lot of tables were empty. There was a table where a young couple was having their meal. There were only two dishes and two cans of beer on the table. I wondered if such simple meal could be romantic, and whether the girl will leave this stingy guy. There were a few old ladies on another table. When a dish is served, the waiter would distribute the food for them, and they would finish every bit of the food on their plates.

We did not pay much attention to them, as we were looking forward to the dishes we ordered. As we were hungry, our local colleague ordered more food for us. As the restaurant was quiet, the food came quite fast. Since there were other activities arranged for us, we did not spend much time dining. When we left, there was still about one third of unconsumed food on the table.

When we were leaving the restaurant, we heard someone calling us. We noticed the old ladies in the restaurant were talking about us to the restaurant owner. When they spoke to us in English, we understood that they were unhappy about us wasting so much food. We immediately felt that they were really being too busybody.

“We paid for our food, it is none of your business how much food we left behind,” my colleague Gui told the old ladies.

The old ladies were furious. One of them immediately took her hand phone out and made a call to someone. After a while, a man in uniform claimed to be an officer from the Social Security organization arrived. Upon knowing what the dispute was, he issued us a 50 Mark fine.

We all kept quiet. The local colleague took out a 50 Mark note and repeatedly apologized to the officer.


Our face turned red. We all agreed with him in our hearts. The mindset of people of this rich country put all of us to shame. WE REALLY NEED TO REFLECT ON THIS. We are from country which is not very rich in resources. To save face, we order large quantity and also waste food when we give others a treat.


Time and again we’ve seen in human history empires and nations rising from ashes like mythical phoenix bird. What is it that gives this power to these nations ? Are these nations and the people residing in it made differently, what exactly inspires these nations to rise again, every time they fall. When we talk of countries, the first name we remember is of Japan. The country smaller than many states of India, has been ruled by many dynasties, followed by foreign invasion, looted by imperialistic rulers during second world war, devastated by the ghastly atom bomb attack on Hiroshima & Nagasaki. The nation is always on the wrong side of natural disasters and always faces, earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters. Not to forget to mention the recent tsunami & the nuclear reactor malfunction. But this nation has not stopped to amaze me and may be to you as well, for given all the impediments it faced, it has only risen up on global stage and has continued to be an economic powerhouse.

I question myself then, what is it that powers these nations ? Are mere governmental rules and steps taken by these governments sufficient enough for them to surge ahead. I guess the answer is no, it is the people of those country, the sense of responsibility they show towards their nation that helps these countries surge ahead. The people of these country show a great amount of responsibility and hold themselves accountable in their behavior. Whenever, we Indians visit these country we fail not to find the difference in the environment, upkeep and civic sense of the people of these nations. Why cant we be alike ? May be we are habituated with the attitude of power without responsibility. We seek as many powers as citizens, as many concessions and as many liberties that a democracy can give, but, when it comes to give in return, when it comes to be a bit responsible, we falter and dont we falter desperately. Our Chalta hai attitude, our attitude of just ignoring things when we know that something wrong is going on is responsible. Yes the government machinery at times we find wanting, but what do we do as a rule abiding citizens? We just sort of try to find out shortcuts, bend rules by hook or by crook. All for just a bit of comfort from following what was expected. To tip it up, we feel devilish satisfaction, a sense of achievement, of having bend the rule.

Until and unless we the people of this Nation change our attitude, our approach towards things, we will not achieve what we have set for. We must imbibe the sense of civic responsibility in our kids right at their tender age, not that we need to send them to military schools to do so, just small habits, like teaching them not spit, follow traffic rules etc will help us create good citizens atleast for the next generation.

As i write this blog, i received this sms, from a friend, which somehow, explains the public mood.

Point Proved !!!
No one is Safe in Pakistan,
Not even Osama Bin Laden !!

Everyone is Safe in Hindustan,
Even Ajmal Amir Kasab!!!

We must change, and change fast, if we dream to be super power, lest it will be just that – a distant dream


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One thought on “Change we must…”

  1. We agree, Vijay: we in the developed countries often take our excesses for granted. Living in America, I see it all the time. My wife, a farmer’s daughter, wastes food. I, on the other hand, having faced starvation, do not. And as the German pointed out: we as a planet have limited resources; so it is with food. (We were born in Germany; living there for many years off and on; we understand the German attitude – with a grin.)

    Japan is something special. We have not forgotten their war on us – nor ours on them. A sad thing indeed – however, look at what they did to China during their own rule. Atrocities committed simply because they (the Japanese) did not think anyone but they were human. They do, however, function much better as a society of “one”; their ‘group’ response is most admirable, and something we here in ‘the West’ (meaning America) – have noted and are questioning ourselves on (why do they not riot and plunder; gouging prices in the name of supply and demand? This is a wonderful aspect of their own minds – especially when we look at the things that happened during Hurricane Katrina!)

    Personally and in my own mind, we need to “get rid” of this “country thing” – it only divides humankind, and gets in the way of our motives – the truly great things we could be doing rather than the petty bickering and quarreling among us (whether it be over religion, politics – or a dozen other things that come to our mind.)

    You have made a good posting here, and glad to see you. It is always refreshing to have the point of mind. Thank you, my friend.

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