A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

Archive for October 21st, 2010

The two extremes

Posted by Pepper on October 21, 2010

I was at the bookstore today, and there were two other desis standing within earshot. Going by their accents, I assume they were ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis). I caught a few bits of their conversation.

ABCD 1: Yes, I don’t know how Indians travel in those autos. Those auto rikshaws are nothing but metal boxes which are open on both ends. It is just so unsafe. And with their kinda erratic traffic… Gosh!
ABCD 2: And imagine, they don’t even use any seat belts while travelling in those open metal boxes. I’d be so scared all the time.
I looked around to see if the books around me were in place, because I was sure my inward cries of horror were loud enough to rock the entire book store and knock the books off their oscillating shelves. Auto rikhaws are metal boxes? They are unsafe? Need seat belts? Should I laugh or cry? Hey Bhagwaan, what kinda place do I live in? Why are people in this country so paranoid? I still cringe when I think of it.
This brings me to the topic of safety regulations in both the countries. It is something Mint and I often argue about. One of the reasons he does not want to move back to India is cos of the lack of safety regulations. He says they do not value human life in India. Heck, they don’t value any life, human or not. I do agree with him to an extent. Our country shows complete disregard to any kind of safety law, which is the cause of a lot of accidents. Bridges and buildings collapse because builders do not use adequate safety measures, citizens get run over, kids fall off faultily built ledges in restaurants, planes crash while landing on unsafe runways, the list can go on. To add to it, we also have to face the numerous terror attacks. But we’ve all learnt to live with the chaos and the insecurity. Mint does not think it is worth it. Anyway, I do wish India would implement some kind of safety laws, and most importantly, adhere to those laws and make the country a safer place to live in.
While I genuinely appreciate the safety measures taken in the US, I also think they go overboard and instill paranoia in you. For example, I appreciate the speed limits, the use of seat belts, etc. I am not too sure about the strict laws concerning the use of child booster seats that have separate parameters for height, weight and age of the child. I think that is going a little too far. Or perhaps I just grew up in a very different way. Or the fact that most houses do not have a gas stove and only use electric plates because they are so worried about fire hazards that come with the use of a flame. I think a lot of these ways take away the joy of living to an extent. How can I expect these ABCDs to be free spirited individuals who enjoy auto rides while feeling the rush of the wind when they are brought up in such an environment?
Do I have a point to make? Perhaps not. I just think both the countries are a little extreme and it would do them good to adopt a more balanced approach.

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