Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Patience, now!



A fortnight after yet another Independence Day is as good a time as any for us to reflect on why we, as a nation, are progressively losing our patience. Let's face it; it's a highly infectious national disease that afflicts us all. For we are increasingly snapping our fingers at attendants in parking lots and restaurants, jostling our way past haphazard queues, cursing at slow internet connections, and beating down the doors for our next job in the fast lane.

So while we ask our yoga instructors for instant tummy tucks, we’re still not satisfied with the speed at which we get our Big Macs. We wrestle the rush hour traffic in a murderous hurry to get to work, only to begin clicking our tongues and the keyboard in a hysterical bid to meet our deadlines and be on our way to curse, honk and swerve some more on our way back home. We want to get married, have the requisite one point two offspring, but are seldom loath to invest more time in them than it takes to microwave a pizza for dinner.

What’s deeply disturbing is that these are mere symptoms of a national malaise, plaguing the highest echelons of the powers that be. Take, for example, our cricket selectors, who impatiently churn out lists ad nauseum of probables, ever eager to punish a sloppy day at the crease by months of penitence at the benches, instead of finding out whether it was just a bad day for a budding national hero. Or, better still, our netas, who, when faced with a potentially embarrassing political situation, are quick to rearrange the administrative jigsaw – as if that would somehow produce the miraculous permutation required to crack the riddle of missing funds, unsolved murders and crumbling infrastructure – instead of patiently unraveling decades of neglect.

All of this I find most acutely reflected in my daily nemesis, that psychotic driver, with his palm glued to the horn, frantically trying to squeeze past my car to get a few feet closer to the traffic signal that is good-naturedly glowing red. Frankly, while trying to pause in a world whizzing past on some kind of jagged video in fast forward mode, I feel like I'm kind of watching a barking Pomeranian dog going round in frenzied circles, desperately trying to catch its tail!

In our last-minute hurry, and empowered with broadening bandwidths and shortening fuses, we’re hurtling headlong to join the rest of the world that is fast losing patience with us. Tragically, we seem to have forgotten that it was the infinite endurance of a forgotten few that slowly wore off the patience of the English sahebs, till that stiff upper lip wobbled enough to give us cause to celebrate the 15th of August.

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