I remember the pride of wearing my school uniform. Perhaps it was an off shoot of the pride with which my father wore his as an Indian air-force fighter pilot. Early in life we were taught the responsibility and the rules of conduct that govern wearing a uniform, and also made to acknowledge the sense of belonging that it should inculcate. I remember my teachers taking time to share thoughts and ideas about conduct, responsibility and ethics which were camouflaged as anecdotes, but nonetheless left the desired imprint of teaching us values that would aid us in defining our personalities.
School children dot the roads each morning in Baroda, most of them with their well ironed uniforms and properly polished shoes; the girls with bows and clips and ribbons and the boys with smartly cut hair...yet barring only a few, they almost always never adhere to ANY traffic rules. If they cycle it will be in rows of three and four abreast, putting their lives at risk by blocking narrow roads for other vehicles. The scooters and motor-cycles whizz about without anyone wearing helmets, and of course cellphones are held in crazy grips by them attaching their ears to their shoulders to be able to ride and chat at the same time! And as for road dividers.....why have them. Our traffic will ply any which way is the shortest route as decided by them...willy-nilly you die in the process of such anarchy or not!
I find it perturbing to see how no rule is ever considered of relevance to maintaining law and order or basic safety within public areas of co-existence. The Indian mantra is short-cut leylo and simply enjoy yaar! Kya tension unnecessarily lene ka hai... !
I was horrified when travelling only a few years ago to witness how two ladies accompanying one another mixed up their passports amongst themselves when passing through Indian immigration on embarking on a trip abroad. The mixed up passports were duly stamped and the scary part is that these two ladies did not even resemble each other in the slightest! Then we lament over tragic consequences that arise from lapses of security that such blatant apathy deliver.
Why parents and educational institutions cannot take on the onus of creating a consciousness within their wards to be ethical and respect discipline, amazes me. Why is it only always about competitive success that they all harp on about with children, and the real issues of training get side lined.
Etiquette is another area we just have no clue about in most instances in India. I have some hollers as stories that leave you wondering at why at the nimble finger that normally flicks at gaming buttons on the proverbial "give me all answers' telephones cannot get some know how on the does and don't of social politeness!!!!
Anyway we shall all love to see another day....or at least hopefully, because on my morning walk it is either step into the cow patty or be hit by a broom-zoom vehicle .....take your pick.....!