Friday, August 29, 2008

The character of a city

The last time I was in Bangalore, on a bus from Hebbal to Yeshwanthpur, all seats were taken and quite a few people were standing. At one of the stops, a few women boarded the bus, and of the several seats reserved for women, only one was vacated immediately by the man who was sitting in one.

He made it a point to ask other gents to vacate their seats to women, but to no avail. It just became awkward for these other men and then, after our gentleman really took up the case and began insulting them, as he should, it became a case of men defending their "territory".

You would never see this happen in Tamilnadu. The moment women board the bus, all men who might be sitting in the seats allocated for women just scamper out of the way, leaving no doubt as to their understanding of what is right and wrong. This is true of Chennai, Coimbatore, Trichy, Palladam, or any other place you happen to be in, as long as it is in Tamilnadu.

What is it with Karnataka, that forces its men to compete with women in this silly way? Is it the intrinsic character of the Kannadiga male?

The character of a people can be judged by how they treat the weaker ones. India as a whole may have a dismal record when it comes to defending the rights of the poor, the weak, and the ignorant. But that should serve as no excuse when it comes to how people in cities behave.

Bangalore, your time is up. It isn't enough if you changed your name to Bengaluru, it is time you changed your behaviouru to something more sensitivu.

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