Posted in Cultures, Short Stories

Clash of Egos

We Indians are supposed to be known for our tolerance. We tolerate religions, politics, price hikes, local train rush and traffic. But something we can’t tolerate is someone even slightly implying that we are wrong; even if we are. We take right and wrong, and the accusation of the same very personally. Sab kuch ijjat pe aata hai! We would sooner say Sachin Tendulkar is NOT the god of cricket than admit that we are wrong or we made a mistake.

The area surrounding a bank in Naupada (that should not be named) is very congested. Bikes and carts and people occupy the entire area, leaving no possible parking space for cars. Yet, on a Monday afternoon, a man parked his car there keeping in mind that it might be a possible hindrance to many people. So he kept one eye on the car while going about his bank work, in case he needed to move the car for someone. After a few minutes, a young guy in his twenties walked in and asked very loudly who had parked the car on the road, followed by a request to move it. The owner walked toward him, but before he could say anything, a bank employee asked out loud- ‘Who do you think you are, walking in like that and demanding something from our customers?’ Before matters got worse, the owner interrupted, accompanied the young man outside, moved his car and thanked him for bringing this to his notice.

The owner of the car went back into the bank where the bank manager had now come out and was apologizing for the scene created. He confided that the young man often did this. ‘Who does he think he is to tell us anything?’ he asked. The owner of the car looked stumped and replied- ‘I’m sorry, but he was a responsible citizen of the country who thought it his duty to inform the owner that his car was a hindrance to many more people who accessed the road. As a responsible citizen, it is my duty to move my car if more people are benefitted by that. He didn’t do anything wrong. He was doing his duty, and he helped me do mine.’

The young man was just doing his duty to the society through a simple act. Why do we take that personally, instead of accepting that we may be wrong and taking a step to make it right? Since when does a small selfless act clash with egos of those who do nothing for the society?