The Youth & Their Blind Conformity

It’s been a couple of months since we celebrated the Teachers’ Day and the Vinayak Chathurthi on the same day. A rather laid-back week after that and then comes comes the unceremonious ceremony of the Ganesh Immersion. I can never interpolate my memories to the time when this immersion started to become a big deal, but that’s not what I’m concerned about – it’s the way the immersion is carried out, and the intensity with which the youth are involved in the activities surrounding the immersion.

Like in all my blogs, the disclaimer is that I never intend to hurt anyone sentiments – these are my observations and inferences.

It seems that fate had chosen me to experience the awfulness too many times:

The first instance was when I was driving to Tiruvallur from Chengalpattu to meet my niece. On the way, I was blocked by a gang of boys who looked like 9th-to-11th Standard kids. They knocked at the windows and started asking for money for the Ganesh Chathurthi Ceremony. I just nodded my head in negative, and I headed towards Thiruvallur.

The second incident was on the Sunday following the Ganesh Chathurthi – that is the day the actual immersion takes place. Young men and boys hire trucks to immerse huge idols of Ganesha into the sea or a lake. That was, unfortunately, the day I had chosen to do my post-wedding photoshoot, and it was on the way from Chengalpattu to Mahabalipuram. Me and my wife were victims of harassment – the constant booing of the boys in such vehicles, and some of them even passing comments that were borderline vulgar. It pushed us so much that we had to cut off the shoot midway and head to a better location.

Verbal vulgarity is a dubious taken-for-granted in here. However, what intrigued me was the kind of influence that these young minds are driven into!

What might have been going through the minds of that boy who stopped my car? A sense of an entitlement… an entitlement that they don’t deserve, and haven’t earned! They think that it’s right to stop a random car and ask for money, and they get appreciated for collecting money from a total stranger!!

What were the boys who were yelling at the top of their voices thinking? And that too, when accompanying a holy entity on an auspicious occasion? Are they claiming their superiority by spotting and yelling, or passing comments? They think it’s cool to yell… and cool to pass vulgar comments!!

I would not entirely blame them – it’s all about the people who have messed up with their ideals, the elders who succeeded incredibly in inculcating the wrong values in and for the society. And all this blind following, I think, is a result of the pseudo-virtue called conformity that’s pressed on them right from their formative years.

If they are not taught to question things, and come to a conclusion as to what’s right and what’s wrong, it’s going to be a future that thinks that the past has always been right!!

Well.. who cares right? History repeats…and so do its mistakes!!

My Take On Demonetization

Demonetization – This is one word that has catapulted from being in the dark confines of the Oxford Dictionary & the jargon of economists to being in the light of household utterances of every Indian in the past 20 days. It’s been the buzzword in every conversation – be it tea-shop tête-à-têtes over Twitter hashtags.

True to the first five letters of the word, it struck everyone at the most unexpected moment. There aren’t many who were spared from experiencing the effects and the impact – in a gap of three hours, ATMs that had always been taken for granted, had become a luxury. Bank jobs that have been always perceived as relaxed, had become the most stressed profession. Petrol Pumps and Medical Shops saw a sudden surge in their business. People who had hoarded loads of money were now left with nothing more than stashes of pine-pulp paper. To put these in a zipped format, the Nation’s fate in the economic front had been mutated in a matter of hours.

A few citizens heralded it as one of the greatest-ever moves in the history of Indian (or maybe even, Global) Economy. It is true to a considerable extent – papers (We can no longer call them ‘money’) have been burnt, black money hoarders have been experiencing sleepless nights, and crorepatis were plummeted to the state of the middle class.

I am never gonna comment about the bad-effects of demonetization – people like Kejriwal have discussed it enough, and I don’t have the patience and the guts to face the fans who have an excuse and an explanation for everything the Prime Minister does. However, I’ve only had a few questions (Not Allegations or blames) that have been haunting my mind. I only ask these because of my curiosity on why these weren’t done, my ignorance on higher-level economics, and as a citizen who, in spite of all the ‘benefits’ of demonetization, would like to explore better possibilities & avenues:

  1. Why INR 2000 notes before the new INR 500 notes? When spending INR 100, isn’t it easier to get a change of 3 notes of 500 and 4 notes of 100 than looking out for 19 notes of 100?
  2. Why not make the new notes in the same dimensions as the old notes? Wouldn’t it be easier for the ATMs to dispense them as the sizes have been pre-calibrated? It would have been just a mass software update for ATMs and not an individual hardware update!
  3. If there can be new INR 500 notes, why not new INR 1000 notes? We’re moving towards a cashless economy, and notes of higher denomination are not an absolute necessity! In fact, there are chances that the black money, in the long run, might start getting hoarded up again, albeit in a more compact fashion!!
  4. Aren’t there ways to have the notes delivered to the banks and ATMs on a war-time basis by mobilizing special aircrafts & secure vehicles? Didn’t the Government know the ratio of the Number of Banks to the Number of Citizens, and consequently, the time it might take to get their own money to or from the banks, or the importance of cash in a country that ran almost fully on a cash-based economy until 8th of November?
  5. Jio was endorsed for no good reason!! Anticipating this cash-crunch, shouldn’t there have been an endorsement for a bank-agnostic cashless transaction app like PayTM, or maybe even promote an app or at least, have some system in place that would have helped the small-scale businesses and the unorganized sector? That would have put all the buyers and sellers…even the small scale ones at ease!

Before people jump into conclusions, I’d like to clearly and explicitly state that I’m surely not against demonetization – I’m proud and happy that the Prime Minister, the Reserve Bank, and a few other names that did not see the light of TRPs have been gutsy enough to execute this in a day that was more than perfect!

However, the problem in the execution was the way, the preparedness, and the lack of foresight. When Metropolitans like Chennai haven’t been able to fully recover from the impact, how will the Tier 2 and 3 Cities, and the villages even cope?

I think I’m intelligent enough to ask questions, but I’m sure I’m not intelligent enough to assume there might be assuring answers, leave alone finding one! I only hope that this chaos returns to order soon. Until then, let us be thankful to the Rule that reinstated the values of patience, perseverance, hope and frugality, in addition to making us realize the evils of black economy!

The Customary JAI HIND!!