Took an especially crowded train to Malad the other morning. Something had happened which I didn't quite catch in the indistinct announcement, what I did catch was that trains were running 30-35 minutes late, and that always means a greater crowd.
So I'm crammed somewhere inside the compartment, and as often happens when there's a crowd, an argument breaks out. Squat young man who had got on, with two friends, just behind me, shouting at a slightly shorter older man, who's replying more mildly. All in Hindi, something about a bag on one or the other's foot.
Without warning, the young man switches to Marathi, lets fly a string of filthy abuse, and says: "Don't talk to me in that !@#!$ language! In this state, you better speak in Marathi, you !@#!$!"
Kind of futile, because clearly the older man doesn't know Marathi. He replies in Hindi. The argument subsides into angry glares.
Barely able to move where I stand, I think: people ask me why I'm fundamentally pessimistic about India. This repulsive young man's attitude is one reason. It stands for others.
September 06, 2010
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I always thought that you had been optimistic "on-the-whole" about India. Is it entirely the opposite?
Aditya, when I see people like this creep in the train, I am pessimistic.
People like him are really depressing. Hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism, frustration, anger all follow after meeting such a person. And I'm inevitably left wondering whether the situation ever will get better, as I hope.
And I think I understand the fundamental pessimism. I can't decide yet whether I'm pessimistic or not. I am hopeful still. But I need to see more of India to decide between peesimism, optimism or something in between.
Like Aditya above, I too thought you were basically upbeat overall.
this post reminded me of another one on a similar train journey where your fighty cotravellers switched "automatically, as usually happens" to English! (title itself says volumes: 3rd class behavior or some such).
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