Friday, August 19, 2005

Shame

I watched ‘Swades’ for a second time on 15th August, and once more was stunned by the dire condition in which the majority of Indians live. I mean we all know that people in the villages have a tough life, but that was all I knew and never gave it a second thought.
When I was in the 6th or 7th grade (10-11 years ago) our class teacher had taken us all to a village a few kilometers outside of Hyderabad, called Kakannur. None of us were thrilled to be visiting a village; we’d much rather have gone for a picnic to Nagarjunsagar (a dam a few km outside of Hyderabad) or some such place. We were only excited that we would not be having classes for the entire day and that all of us were going to have fun no matter what.
But in our enthusiasm to have fun, we over-stepped our bounds a great deal.
Our first stop was at an orchard, where a Mr. Raju (he pronounced it as Razu) spoke to us very animatedly about how the orchard provides employment to the villagers. Then he went on to describe some processes that were used to grow the trees. It was all quite boring to all of us. So to stop ourselves from falling asleep we made fun of Mr. Raju’s accent. Here was this man talking to us so very enthusiastically about this project of his and all we could do was make fun of the way he pronounced earthworm! He pronounced it something like this: err-uth-wuh-rum.
Our next stop was Kakannur. It was the monsoon season, and the streets there were terribly slushy and all of us were annoyed to see our sneakers and the bottom of our jeans coated with mud. So all of us cursed our teacher’s “brainwave” and wished that we could have been anywhere but there.
When we reached Kakannur, it was lunchtime. The villagers had actually prepared some food for us. It was simple fare – dal, rice, some vegetables, and pickles. Of course all of us started complaining again at once about how terrible the food was and what a waste the whole day was. When our teacher overheard us, she admonished us and lectured us about how little the villagers get to eat on a day-today basis, and here they had prepared what was like a feast in their eyes for us, their guests. I don’t know about my friends, but I still grumbled inwardly.
There is this scene in ‘Swades’ where Mohan Bhargav goes to collect rent from a dirt-poor farmer and the farmer and his family share their frugal meal with Mohan, most probably foregoing their own share. The first time I saw this scene, the realization of what we had done, how badly we had behaved all those years ago hit me, and hit me hard! I have never been so ashamed in my life! I was appalled at the recollection of our snobbish, disgusting behaviour. How could we have been so insensitive? One could just blame it on our age; we must have been 11-12 years old. None of us obviously realized at that point that we were being completely obnoxious. We just laughed our guts out when Mr. Raju pronounced ‘monitor’ as ‘man-eater’.
But then that would be taking the easy way out. I cannot (and never will be able to) find an excuse to explain away my inexcusable behaviour. The only silver lining I can see is that I would definitely be more careful in the future in passing snap judgments, and making fun of the less privileged.

11 comments:

goodwill hunting said...

so SWADES made other people think too!!i've seen it some 10 odd times and everytime it inspires me to do something.a friend and I have some inchoate ideas on small scale,but it'll need time and money to be implemented.

anyways, the scene that u described was actually touching .wot about that scene where a boy sells water to shahrukh for 25paise??

regarding, ur trip to village,well all what u did was puerile.it can be excused.nuthing to be ashamed of .But ya, if do feel for them, try contributing for them to whatever extent possible.There's a need to make them self dependent.

u know, i've seen even more horrible scenes than SWADES in real life.I went to tsunami hit CUDDALORE as part of an NGO.the scenes were so pathetic u cant imagine.
anyways ..NICE BLOG .NICE VIEWS hats off

Anonymous said...

hey affy! i read your post. iam happy that lots of pple think swades was an inspiring movie. unfortunately you are one of the minority that realises the ingenuity and kindness of villagers. most of the urban population think that villagers are a bunch of hicks and condescend to them! and they call themselves ' developed"!

Phoenix Rises said...

Hey Goodwill Hunting!
It's so totally fantastic that you did something proactive, rather than sitting on your butt like the majority of us!

Hey A!
Hear, hear!

Phoenix Rises said...

One more thing, GH! Thanks for the compliment! :D

Invincible said...

hmm .. thats what we call growing up may be !! separating boys from men.

Kids for no fault of theirs like the world to run their own way. Smirking at others n
fretting at trivial things.

You realised it at least now. some ppl dont evn after growing up.

Arz000n said...

I too carry certain memories of such snobbish, disgusting behaviour which I did accidently in past. and it hurts more when someone else points out that "Hey, this is not the way you should have behaved. Better take care next time"

Just on Friday night...I did a stupidity while travelling back to Mumbai. When I got down from the bus, I realised my mistake...I felt bad. After I reached home, I prayed to god for forgiving me.

See whtever you did during that time, was something which any other person would have done. So its okie...just forget the incident.

Btw, I havent seen Swades yet...heard its a good movie.

Greetz and have a nice day ahead!!

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Invincible!
Whoever said that kids are innocent and pure sure didn't know what they were talking about! Kids can be really cruel, intentionally or unintentionally!! But then there's the flip side too! :)

Hi Arz000n!
I'm sure I'm not alone then in being stupid!! :))

PuNeEt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
PuNeEt said...

Thanks to my dial up connection at home that i couldnt post a comment earlier ;-)

hey good point is u realised ur mistake...
u were kid at that time...
and we all have done a lot of blunders wen were are kids...

I'm sure u have learned a lesson from it nd that is more important...

The scene which u said frm Swades was very touching nd even the next scene whr the kid is selling water at railways stn...

Tk Cr
Cheers

Phoenix Rises said...

Hi Puneet!
Thanks a lot! :)

I sure feel much better after reading everyone's comments on this post. :)

Anonymous said...

hi kul,

i remember the way u used to imitate that guy.was laughing reading it.hehehehe.razu, hehehe

cool pics!!!

(s)