The Disease Called “Entitlement”

My Royal Enfield was melodiously thumping at that just-below-1000 RPM at the Kaliappa Signal near Billroth Hospital. It was at about 10: 15 in the night when I was on my way to pick my wife up. The roads were relatively free – maybe I could have slipped between the vrooming cars on Chamiers Road, that were trying to beat the red for them. I was well ahead of my schedule (let’s not even talk about the repercussions of being late to pick her up). I love to be a little conscious and sensible on the road (I have my share of being indisciplined, but roads were an exception) – my front tyre was caressing the stop-line, and with enough of space on the left for vehicles to pass.

Suddenly, the peace of the moment was interrupted by a flurry of horns. I take a look at the counter, and it’s about 28 seconds before it was gonna turn green, and then at the rear-view mirror, and I saw the Tata Sumo that was honking. I did something that was against my liking – I moved forward, turned a bit towards the right, giving some way for the Sumo, thinking they might have had to turn left.

To my surprise, the Sumo went straight into CP Ramasamy road, not even waiting to see if there were any vehicles that were taking their rightful paths. What caught my eye with a greater impact and intensity were the two words that were written on Sumo – One in English that said “POLICE” and no points for guessing the Tamil Word.

This is surely not an isolated instance. We’ve seen it time and again: Politicians not paying the toll, and the flag waving proudly in defiance of the law, police-vehicles skip signals or dart in their full speed on the wrong sides, Government officials acting as if the tilt of the Earth’s axis depended on their signature.

The other side of it is that people belonging to one department don’t care about damaging the assets of another department – they think it’s their right to damage it and it’s not their duty to restore them to normalcy. When the Electricity Department digs a road, or when the sewerage department opens a manhole, they do not consider it their responsibility to seal it or close it.

This, I think, is one disease that plagues the nation… not just in a public-level but even in the private level! Remember the Uncle next door who thought it’s their right to know your total in your Class 10? Remember that neighbor who thought it was fine to ask your salary? Remember that aunty next door who thought it was fine to know about your marriage? And about when you were planning on your child?

Serioously? What makes them think it’s their right? – this needs to be asked to the policemen, politicians, pothole-diggers, and the nosey neighbors. As long as we continue to be that kind of people who take our rights and don’t respect our liabilities (not even duties… let’s not even talk about it), it’s gonna be difficult for anyone to make our citizens follow the rules!

Sadly, our country is made of people who may not cross a red signal even if it’s a free road, but will still move away from the way of the SUV that incessantly honks behind them… me included!!