Why is India not yet a superpower?

I was in the process of drawing cash at an ATM when I heard knocks on the door. I turned to look at the door. A young man, who had been knocking on the door, opened it slightly and, with a worried look on his face, said, “Sir, please finish your work faster. I’m in a hurry.” His words surprised me because I had not wasted any time. But I assumed he had some urgent work which was causing his impatience.

Normally, after withdrawing cash at any ATM, I put the cash into my wallet, keep my wallet in my pocket and then come out. But this time, out of concern for the young man’s urgency, I came out holding the cash in my hand.

As I was putting the cash into my wallet and keeping my wallet in my pocket, the young man was speaking on his mobile phone, looking quite relaxed. I realized he was engaged in a conversation with a friend about their plans for the weekend. His urgency seemed to have vanished into thin air!

‘Urgency’ seems to have become a way of life in India. However, the sad truth is there’s no real urgency.

Why do so many people jump traffic signals? Is it because of urgency? No. It’s probably because they’re behind schedule. Why are they behind schedule? It’s probably because they did not start their journey on time. Why didn’t they start their journey on time? It’s probably because they did not plan properly? Why didn’t they plan properly? It’s probably because they don’t care to plan!

Whenever I travel, whether by train or air, I see many people engrossed in their laptops. I used to be impressed by how these people put their travel time to productive use until, one day, I happened to notice a person playing a game on his laptop. After that, I realized that many of these people were not working, but were either playing games or watching films on their laptops! So much for productivity!

I’ve been kept waiting at shops, offices, banks, etc. by counter staff who cannot attend to their work because they’re speaking on their mobile phones. Most of the time, the conversations are not about anything urgent, but some personal matter that can wait till after office hours. Why do they do this? Simply because they can get away with it!

If the young man at the ATM, the people jumping traffic signals, the people ‘working’ on their laptops while travelling, the counter staff who keep customers waiting while they speak on their mobile phones, and all such ‘busy’ people were actually engaged in productive ‘urgency’, India should have been the world’s greatest superpower by now!

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9 thoughts on “Why is India not yet a superpower?

  1. I completely agree with you.
    First it was the mobiles that are still a bane. I simply wonder what people did before their appearance – it is mostly girls who talk and text even as they cross the main roads totally oblivious of the traffic all around. Talking to boyfriends, it is apparent from their expression and tone.
    Zig-zagging on the walking tacks in public parks.
    Cells ringing in halls despite please switch off requests.
    Coming to ‘comps’ I’ve seen many employees playing ‘patience’ and opening mail during office hours.
    A couple of days back there was a Bengaluru report of WIPRO providing WiFi connections in their staff buses that take take hours to commute to and from work to enable employees to spend the hours gainfully en route by working on them and some not sleeping!

  2. Quite an interesting point you make there Pro. I agree; if only everyone who “faked” urgency were actually doing something productive. But we are not known to stick to the norms are we? Despite numerous pleads and messages from the cinema staff and on screen, most of us (I generalise) still leave the phone on tone. No common courtesy when it comes to queues of any kind. Or even for using lifts. We behave as if the world will not wait for us but the truth is that those in genuine hurry are usually the people who behave the best. You can often hear people complain that the reason why India is not a super power is because of corruption and politics. But if we look properly we will know the real reason is the common man

    • That’s right, Sid! The Khaas politicians, bureaucrats, policemen, etc. are only the branches, leaves, flowers and fruits on the tree of corruption. We, the Aam Aadmi (and Aam Aurat) are the roots of this tree of corruption, and of other social ills as well. Until we change for the better, we can’t expect society to change. In fact, this is the main theme of my blog. If you haven’t done so already, please read the About Me page.

      • Pro, I am very familiar with your work 🙂 After all you are quite the legend 🙂 for some reason I am shown as following and having subscribed to your posts but rarely recieve them. Will try and re subscribe 🙂

  3. Another of my pet peeves. These lazy bums are the ones who fly into a rage at the slightest provocation. Arrgh. I remember, a few months ago, I was waiting to use an ATM machine and the fella using it was so busy on his mobile phone that he forgot to pick up his cash AND card.

    The common (wo)man is too common. And oh yes, the motivation comes from being able to get away with it. Sab kuch chalega!

  4. Correct words Pro. At times, I feel so sad seeing the hypocrisy all around. Don’t know when will our people understand what their small transgressions do to the nation. Worst of all – they are teaching the same things to their kids, and the tradition will continue. To your point on mobiles, well with the smart phones playing a bigger havoc, I wonder where we are heading to.

  5. … and the places where people use the mobile phones … COME ON… attend to the nature’s call first so you could have a “quality” phone call in a few minutes !

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