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Opinion » musings

Posted at: Jun 13, 2018, 12:24 AM; last updated: Jun 13, 2018, 11:25 AM (IST)

Chhoti, chhoti batein…

Chhoti, chhoti batein…

PPS Gill

Not being on the ‘head-down’ circuit (people constantly texting or viewing videos on multiple applications, ever running their fingers horizontally or vertically), leaves me with ample time to reflect on our daily life: the way it evolves, and how chhoti, chhoti batein that affect us are ignored with impunity. Should we be reminded of them every time? Should not these be part of our daily habits and upbringing? As an avid listener of FM radio, I realise its programmes are often interspersed with messages that are of great value in our daily lives. These messages are intended to remind us of our duties and responsibilities. It is sad that even after 71 years of Independence we are being reminded of things that are in our own interest! 

The most frequently broadcast public interest messages implore us to obey traffic rules, wear seatbelts, use helmet, not using mobiles while driving etc. Nitin Gadkari ends some with the plea: the nation pays a heavy price when precious lives are lost. The question is, do we need a union minister to remind us of these small things? As responsible citizens, should we not be duty-bound to follow rules, and become self-disciplined road-users: as drivers, passengers and pedestrians? Why not be less impatient at traffic lights? Why not avoid overtaking from the wrong side? Why not give way to traffic from the right side at a rotary? 

It is equally important to cultivate common sense when parking our vehicles! Were we more responsible, where would be no need to put up signboards on front gates of houses saying, ‘No parking in front of gate’. Why do we have to be reminded: do not spit here; do not litter here; keep city clean and green! As responsible individuals, why can’t we be conscious about chhoti, chhoti batein, which need to be instilled among children at school level? Swacch Bharat is not the sole responsibility of Modi! Think of those who empty our dust-bins and pick up garbage from our houses. They are safai-wale, we are the kure-wale!

We should address these issues as part of our civic responsibilities. Then there are unclean open drains; encroachments on public pathways; unkempt parks; unattended parking (with haphazardly-parked vehicles despite earmarked slots); congested market corridors. We remain indifferent to: no smoking, no bill-sticking signs! We jump over dividers on roads, endangering lives. 

Reverting to mobiles, their widespread use is not chhoti baat. It is a necessity and is ‘linked’ to every human activity, with a cascading effect. It has brought about a sea-change in lifestyles: human relationships have become impersonal; the younger generation is on a short fuse. 

Small children too have joined the ranks of ‘head-down’ parents. They remain busy playing games on phones, while their mothers — mechanically — put food morsels into their mouths! Now, even the homework my grandsons are assigned comes via teacher-parents’ WhatsApp group — a long haul from my generations’ yesteryear in school!

It is time to take cognisance of chhoti, chhoti batein that must guide us. 

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