Is fear the key?

One day, a few months back, I parked my car outside a bank, went inside the bank, drew cash from the ATM and came back a couple of minutes later, but I couldn’t leave because a motorcycle was parked behind my car. The watchman informed me that the motorcycle had been parked there by a person who had gone inside the bank. He had ignored the watchman’s request to park his motorcycle in the area assigned for two-wheelers.

The watchman offered to move the motorcycle, but it had been locked and was one of the bulkier motorcycles, hence I advised him not to do so.

The motorcycle rider, a man in his mid-twenties, returned a few minutes later, speaking on his mobile phone. From his attire and the fluent English spoken by him, I guessed he must be an educated person working as a sales representative or a junior executive. There was no sign that he was in any kind of hurry. As soon as his phone call ended, I asked him why he had parked his motorcycle there. He didn’t reply, but just gave me an insolent look, unlocked his motorcycle and was about to start it when I said loudly so people around could hear, “When there was enough place in the two-wheelers parking area, why did you park here and block my car? Don’t you have any brains?” He looked up and glared at me. I glared back. For a few seconds, we glared at each other. Then, without a word, he started his motorcycle and rode away.

Two days back, another motorcycle was parked behind my car outside a supermarket even though there was sufficient parking space nearby. The motorcycle owner came out of an ice-cream parlour within a few seconds, apologized, shifted his motorcycle and went back into the ice-cream parlour. I had sufficient time to give him a piece of my mind, but I chose to remain silent because, both by deed and by word, he had acknowledged his mistake.

Why do some people park two-wheelers and cars haphazardly, inconveniencing others, when they can avoid doing so with a little effort and a little time? Most such people do so not because they are in a big hurry or are in the midst of any crisis, but simply because they are confident that, even though it is a punishable offence, they can get away with it. The worst thing that might happen is the ‘victim’ will protest. If that happens, they can get away with a simple apology.

We can safely assume that the same persons would stop parking haphazardly if they are penalised for it.

This applies not only to haphazard parking. It applies to almost every aspect of our lives. Very few of us are voluntarily law-abiding persons. Most of us refrain from committing crimes only due to the fear of punitive action. If we think we can get away without being penalised for it, we would gladly break the law.

Why don’t we understand that most, if not all laws are made in our interest, and we will all benefit if all of us are law-abiding citizens?

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17 thoughts on “Is fear the key?

  1. The title of your post says it all, fear indeed is the key. Same is the case with people breaking traffic rules when they are sure that no traffic cop is watching them …

  2. I agree. The mo-bikers have turned into urban menace.
    In keeping with Hindi adage – “Laathokey bhooth baton sey nahi maanathey”, the only way to ‘reform’ them is to deflate one of the two tyres.
    I’ve resorted to this at mobike parkers who illegally park despite being told by the watchman outside the public park during early morning walks/jogs. Call it vigilantism. It conveys the message – zero degree tolerence!

  3. People are really insensitive to such things! The worst is people dont know how to park vehicles in public spaces. They’d park their vehicles so haphazardly that they waste precious parking space. I believe we should all follow basic manners/courtesies even if there arent any laws.

  4. This seems to me serious lack of civic sense and as shilpa points out being insensitive to others. I mean if that motorcyclist was in your position he would not have refrained himself from protesting, but when not in a spot, he is least concerned about others. This problem is experienced in many cases in public places now a days.

  5. Some people are just plain lazy to park the vehicle in the right spot. They want to park in a place that is convenient to them to park and to leave regardless of the inconvenience they may cause to the other person.

  6. It is a fact, Pro. To get something done instantly, shout at someone and they’ll do it right away. Request and you must wait. Sometimes forever. That’s how the world likes it!

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  8. Very right you are there. I wanted to share some event on the similar lines. Sometime back I was coming back home in a taxi with my mother and my wife. We were stuck in a traffic jam, standing next to an auto rickshaw. I saw two women get down from the auto with two kids – instead of paying the fare, they started demanding their change back, claiming they just gave him a 50 rupees. The autowala showed his collection – there was one fifty rupee note from earlier. He almost begged – but no one listened to him and a crowd was starting to gather around – all pointing fingers to the autorickshaw driver. He was about to be beaten – then I spoke up from the window of my taxi – the women didn’t pay, they are lying. I saw – with this statement coming from a so called gentleman, the situation changed. The women paid without much delay but started shouting me, uttering all kind of nice words I am not used to hearing from women – but luckily the traffic cleared and we drove away.

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