Thursday, August 25, 2011
The Problem Of Good Upbringing
The problem with good upbringing is that it renders you unfit for living in a society full of people who have money but no breeding. Especially these days.
You wonder why people honk senselessly like they thought it sounded like the cooing of a cuckoo to the ears of everyone around, why they close all windows during the day and switch on the tubelight, why they want fan in full speed when it’s raining outside, why they shout into their mobile phones in public places, why they send useless good morning good evening messages resulting in a national waste instead of using the service for a specific purpose, why they watch television at midnight in full volume in a quiet neighbourhood when everyone is sleeping peacefully, why they listen to loud music when their neighbour’s children are having their exams, why they let loose their dogs in public instead of holding the leash tightly, causing dog fearing people to jump and sprain their legs or come under some heavy wheels...
All you ask for is decent behaviour of them and they look at you as if you were asking for some unusual favour.
It’s that time of the year when a crib blog is due from me.
Last year it was that idiot neighbour who drove home after midnight and reversed his car for full ten minutes and parked it with the precision of a micro chip manufacturing machine until the car was exactly parallel to his compound and exactly 12 inches away from it, while the high pitch reverse music sounded like an ambulance siren for full ten minutes. And this he did on a quiet road where only rats and cockroaches scurried about among litter and not a soul else. He probably respected their lives a lot and wanted to make sure they dashed to safety before he started his operation.
This year it’s these otherwise good natured but very rough people next door on my floor who had a metal door fixed to their front door after watching one of those horror programmes on Kannada TV channels full of thefts, robbery, burglary, chain snatching, murder and other stuff narrated by over-zealous hosts, much of which I am sure is concocted to create sensation and hike TRP ratings.
It begins with two faraway explosions in the morning. About 7:30. The uncouth servant girl walks in and out of that door running errands banging the door each time.
Fortunately it’s time for me to go to office.
But after 10 hours, I am back. In the evening.
I am happy to be home. I sit in my chair before my study table, book shelf in front of me, fresh flowers in a vase behind all ready to begin my day.
I hear a slight clinking sound. I wince preparing for what is to come. And then there is a crash. And this time, it is not a distant explosion. It’s right outside my door which is four feet away. It feels like someone hit me on my head with a hammer. And it’s not the maid servant. It’s the owner. Or her husband. Or her brother.
I have told them to close the door slowly. Not once. Not twice. Some hundred times. But no. They just don’t care. They simply have no concern for neighbours.
They leave in the evening for one or two hours to take their two year old twins out. During which time it is peaceful, as in garden. But before and after that, it is a war zone. Loud banging of metal doors against the jamb, people shrieking to one another as if shrieking each other to death. Death by shriek!
In my parents’ house in Mysore, we have 5 metal doors, not one; three on the first floor and two on the ground floor. And you can’t hear people opening and closing them. We have been taught to be that careful. We don’t leave the doors open wide for they may bang shut because of the wind.
I told the lady so and asked her to close it slowly. She was offended. She shouted back. ‘If I don’t close it quickly, the children will run after me and run down to the street. I can’t help it.’ I knew the children were blameless. She was merely using them to shield herself. When the milkman came a minute later, she told him in my hearing ‘are we mad to make noise just like that? I have kids to take care of. Have I gone mad to bang the door for no reason?’
I gave up. These days I sit prepared for the ordeal. The minute I hear footsteps approaching the door, I drop my book and my pencil in my lap and plug my ears with my fingers. After I know it’s over, I remove my fingers. Sometimes owing to error of judgment, I remove the fingers a little early and start when I hear the loud sound.
I do little things for them now and then, since they can’t go out to the market with the kids and all...bring books for the children, get flowers whenever I get flowers for my vase, get their umbrella repaired, buy articles like plastic box, vase, medicines and all... and yet when I ask them in return for nothing more than my fair share of silence and peace, they deny it to me.
It’s the kids that I feel really sorry for.
I was really fond of the kids. They were cute. Unlike other children who cry all the time for God only knows what reason, these are happy children who smile and play all the while they are awake. It saddens me to see how they are slowly picking up all the wrong manners, habits from their elders and that servant girl in whose company they spend a good 10 hours of their every day.
And to think these are not people dwelling in slums but a family owning a three storey house in a premium area, two cars, two bikes and spend ten thousand rupees every month to buy toys for their kids!
Like I said, these are times when you find people having money but no breeding.