Posted On Friday, September 14, 2012 at 06:51:16 PM
Love means never having to say you’re sorry”. Remember that pseudo-profound sentence from the iconic tear-jerker Love Story? Pune today seems to have taken that sentiment to heart. Well, not the love part, just the never-having-tosay- you’re-sorry bit.
|It seems like the word ‘sorry’ has never been taught to the people or is too hard to
roll off the tongue
From the chap who fails to deliver your courier package and doesn’t bother to call or leave a note to say that he had come by, to the worthy who bangs into your car while you are stationary at a red light, to the girl in the mall who tells you with a “chleck” click of her tongue (without looking up from her mobile screen) that they are out of stock, to the woman who barges into the lift before you can get out as if it is the last local train that she may miss…to the sizzler joint that serves you meat that is still frozen with icicles in the middle portion…not a single spontaneous sorry will ever emerge.
It seems like, to the burgeoning mix of people in this city, the word sorry is either never been taught or is too hard to roll off the tongue.
In parts of semiurban and rural Gujarat you hear the phrase ‘peshti padi jaye’ – meaning ‘our prestige will be lowered’ if we show that we are sorry. Here it’s either that, or we know that saying sorry means there is another step: that we will have to fix something that we broke.
And we simply do not have the personal/social/governmental/ corporate maturity to own up and set things right. That’s because we all rajas and ranis of our own script up here in Pune.
Suddenly it’s boomtown, and from the techie to the businessman to the builder to the municipal employee, to the woman running over people as she drives her kids to some fancy school…we are all princes and princesses of our own script.
Common grownup courtesies are not for us, and neither is accountability. At the personal level, the interactions in any Pune building society make for wonderful examples of our infantile reactions.
If you ask someone to slow down their vehicle inside the colony because there are kids playing, pat comes the rejoinder: “and what about all this stray cat population that is growing, why don’t you do something about that?” and off he vrooms, leaving you to eat his dust.
At the social and civic level, we are free to excavate roads to put up pandals to worship our gods, without so much as a ‘may I’ — forget the sorry! As for ‘dirty’ things like segregating our own garbage, every third householder simply will not do it.
As for the administration, with its rich tradition of being on the make and on the take, they owe no one no explanation, far be it for anyone to apologize over king-sized corruption, queen-sized apathy and a pint-sized conscience.
Then there is the customer service (or lack thereof) from the corporates! At the Pune end of things, not only is the customer not king he (or she) is treated as an annoying nuisance who needs to be shown the door once he has paid his money.
Call up the courier company, the big-ticket appliances maker, the internet service provider, a designer label - any of the national and international brands present in Pune - when you have a problem with their product or service.
You’re likely to hear a lout or loutette at the other end shout out to someone else in the room in Marathi or Hindi: “Hey somebody talk to this peevish customer, yaar – eating my head for the last week, this aunty.”
The person at the other end laughs riotously back and advises him: “Array rakh dey na phone nichay, idiot. Don’t take her call.” I do remember reading somewhere: “Both franchisor and franchisee have a strong vested interest in the success of the brand and keeping their customers happy.”
But then I didn’t go to Bschool and I don’t come from a business family, so maybe I’ve got it all wrong and I need to learn to backward integrate all my needs.
Perhaps we should train pigeons and monkeys to deliver our packages and man the malls. To go back to that cheesy line “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” — someone needs to modify that to “Love means knowing when to say sorry.”