Sunday, September 7, 2008

cut the carp already

The superstar quipped in his blockbuster Basha, ‘A Japanese will die if he cannot work. An American will die if he cannot -’, I forget what – ‘An Indian will die if he cannot talk.’ Sweeping generalizations aside, here in India, it is a thin line between a talker and critic, for we are a nation of armchair experts, of people who have an opinion about everything from the n-deal to the traffic congestion at pondy bazaar, and are only too eager to enlighten anyone with half a functional ear. They can (and do) wax eloquent on all and sundry issues with such panache it’d be impressive - if it weren’t for that pompous dismissal of the entire system. Chronic whiners are a dime a dozen, and finding one dysfunctional tap in a train can set them off into reciting Top 12 Reasons Why The Govt Is Hopeless. Replace Govt with Railways, Media, Auto-drivers, PFA people, pretty much any form of organized effort, and then some – and you have a decent picture of the specimens.

While it is entirely understandable that people are less than happy about a good many things beyond their control(and not even the most regular contact with the irritant can dampen the quibbling spirit), all the harping and carping, with no suggestions for improvement, can sometimes get maddening. These are the people who can list flaws and faults in a trice but balk at the prospect of putting their money where their mouth is, and actually doing (or trying to do) something more than passive criticism.

I’m not against complaining about the things that are, and the powers that be, and everything in between. Hell, no. This blog, this very post, is proof I’m not. What gets my case is how often we hear people saying- and I paraphrase - ‘Those idiots don’t know how to do their work; if only I’d been in their position the contrast would be so glaring’, when in fact they have no intentions of being in anyone’s position but their own. ‘The one thing the Electricity Board has to do is give us power’, they lament, ‘and that they don’t do properly. What has become of efficiency?’ Extending that logic, what if we were to say ‘The one thing man has to do is live, and that he doesn’t do properly. Tch tch’? Balderdash!

Complain all you want, but woe betide you if that’s all you will do! Join a club; vote; write to the editor; contribute for a cause – and not a one-time Bihar Flood Relief Fund either; teach someone to read and write; sign up for a clean-up drive sometime; tell a few kids that people come before gods; try using plastic bags less; conserve water, power, paper; and get others to join you. At the very least, do nothing positive but say nothing negative. Not all the time. Even most of the time is quite putting off, come to think of it. Few things are worse than being a noisy empty vessel.


Suraj said...

What you have evinced is true in every line... but words of condemnation, awareness, advice, etc. will only be futile. Why.. even Rajini's quips, Shankar's movies, Vikram's whips and Kamal's ads haven't been able to thrust senses into these oafs.. And one such bigmouth is reading your blog.. chances are too high that he leaves a comment here like this..."ha.. you too a talker"...

Only 1 out of 50 understand the enfeebling effect of empty talk on their body and remain silent to save their energy. Others can never understand.. whatever you do.. even if these fools are cursed dumb by God, they will still show in signs to their contemporaries.. "if i was God i would have made ppl understand by talking to them instead of cursing like this.."!!!

Ignore them.. they'll get tired of talking..

Oink said...

its not just India thats like that ! Its everywhere . Be it US or Iraq, words always outnumber actions. The Empty vessels always outnumber the filled ones, or everyone will have food ! Perhaps, this is the reason such quotes as 'Actions speak louder than words' and 'Empty vessels make the most noise' and 'Barking dogs never bite' came into existence. Perhaps the inventors of such quotes were just like you, appalled that people keep carping without actually doing anything about whatever they were carping about, and so these inventors wanted to try n do something to stop it, and made up a witty saying. Perhaps it is time for another witty saying from ur side. Or perhaps i need to stop talking and start doing something :-\

fiddlesticks said...

lol.. I mentioned India cos this is the country we keep hearing has such immense potential etc etc. Or do they say the same thing to kids all over the world?!? But no, India & China really are supposed to be the new kids on the block, no? Anyway, yes, we are still just talking but at least we aren't merely pointing 10 fingers at 10 different people and shaking our heads at their inefficacy. Small consolation, but it's a start anyway.

I wonder if we'll be doing the same thing some ten years down the line. Come find me then and slap me if I am, one of you.

Full Of Life said...

True. Very true. People just talk and love to..but as oink points happens everywhere. Emotions sell, anger sells even faster. Scandals, breaking-news, quotes, mis-quotes are just thrown in our faces all the time and with great elan.
But some people are doing something in this regard. Some brave souls have sacrificed their cushy lives and come down to the real dirt and dust. But again, the mentality of being safe and with the crowd sweeps millions with it.
I am one of the few people who totally is in sync with your last paragraph..Do something other than just CRIB!
Nice one there!