15 years ago while I was still in school and going to US was my ultimate dream. Going to US back then was like finding your Utopia. If you had an aunt or an uncle abroad, you were considered to be amongst the elite amongst their friends. I am now well out of college and trying to find directions for my life. In short I am working and trying to make a place for myself amongst millions of aspiring youngsters like me. Times have changed now. Going to US is no longer considered as the ultimate dream. Neither is it so tough these days to get to a foreign country unless you are not connected to the IT industry in India. So where am I getting at with my beating around the bush. All I want to say is India has arrived and here to stay for some time to come. India is gearing upto take on the next step in every field but most importantly socially.

When I say India has to gear up, I am not talking of the infrastructural development or poliltical stability that has been the topic of interest for everyone. I am talking about us, the citizens of India. Are we ready to leap frog into the future? That includes me as well.

I was having this petty conversation with a friend of mine who had returned from Canada recently. He was telling of an incident where the cars moved out of the way when they heard a ambulance beeping behind them and stayed put for sometime till the ambulance was safely on its way. Do you think we in India can follow the same principle voluantarily, I mean without a government law being passed. I don’t think I can. Whenever I see a narrow gap in traffic, my first instinct is to plug it with my vehicle so that I can squeeze out before the rest. I dont remember the last time I ever followed lane discipline. Maybe there is no one who does it as well in India. You might say the laws guiding in western countries are stronger than ours. Well even in India we have laws stating to follow lane discipline. But how many of us do follow it even if it means breaking them is going to cost us?

This kind of community feeling is being followed in every walk of life in most of the western countries while we still dwell in the past arguing about our superior culture. I agree we have a strong family orientation and a culture which asks us to be more disciplined. But have we ever followed our culture as well? Other than not moving away from the shade of our parents telling that we are more family oriented or hanging on to culture when you fail to take an enterprising step. But everyone including me have failed to follow the disciplinary life style our culture guides us to follow. I don’t remember the last time I visited a temple. How many of us do? Well doesn’t your culture ask you to frequent a temple? Well, its no fun to follow culture if it binds us to a more disciplinary lifestyle.

If we are so very superior to other cultures why do we fail to maintain a feeling of harmony to a fellow citizen. How many times have we stood up for the rights of a downtrodden or a person who has faced injustice? We have people rallying for some glam girl or rallying for their relegion. How many times have we rallied for a person regardless of his caste or relegion? How is our culture superior when we are yet to give something to the world which we can be proud of? Other than the achievements of the past, what new contributions have we given to the world? How many of us would dare to explore the  unknown? If we are blaming the people at the helm of governmental affairs, then who elected these people? Agreed they do some arm twisting to get into power, but do we at least support someone who voices his disgust over the system?

As India is moving towards a more worldly image, I feel its time we started reflecting on ourselves and started to contribute even if its in a small way. Be polite to your fellow citizens even if he is the waiter of a shanty restaurant. Stop throwing filth around your neighbourhood. Stop spitting on roads. Follow traffic signals and traffic signs. Let way for the ambulances. Try not to be totally aloof to someone’s grief, develop a community feeling for your fellow citizens regardless of caste and creed. Be proud of your country and your language and not be too regionalistic. There maybe other small things which you can do right rather than waiting for someone else to start it off. You might read this and ignore it as is going to be the case. Well it might be hard for me to break out of the rust I have covered myself with, but I hope to shake it off. Hope I stand for what I have written.

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