Taking Responsibility

Yesterday, my Facebook news feed was filled with posts by my old classmates regarding the death of their friend, and my junior in school and college. I didn’t know what had happened to him, but later I saw another post through which I got to know that he died in a road accident. It was saddening to know that, and seeing the number of deaths that newspapers cover regarding road accidents in Bangalore, it didn’t feel surprising.

I remember roughly a month back, I’d written about the Bangalore traffic, whining about the poor condition of roads and the inability of the traffic police and rules to regulate the traffic in Bangalore, especially at peak hours. For two days in a week, every week, I have classes till 6 in the evening and every time I leave, I see deadly traffic all the way from college to home. And I never reach before 7:30- that is one and a half hour, whereas it should only take me 20 minutes to reach.

Even though newspapers don’t cover the garbage problems in Bangalore as much as they did before, the disaster has only gotten worse. Cleanliness and hygiene, the basic necessities for good mental and physical health, continue to be available only for the elite. Even then, the rich cannot escape from the horrendous conditions of roads in Bangalore- except if they have a personal helicopter to fly them everywhere (not like the air pollution is less, but let’s leave that alone for now).

There was another rule that was recently passed, making it compulsory for both the person driving and the passenger sitting behind on the two wheeler to wear helmets. A few days were given to the public before the police could take action on those who didn’t follow the rule. Well, those days were over weeks back and I still see people without helmets everywhere.

I don’t understand why it’s a pain for people to wear something that is for their own safety. How hard is it to wear a helmet? How heavy can it possibly be? Instead, they want to wear it on their elbows as if they were so important and housed the organ essential for survival. We sure do blame the government for not implementing (or even passing, for that matter) rules and regulations for the public safety. We complain about the potholes, about traffic, about ignorant bus drivers, and what not. If anything goes wrong, it’s the government that is to be blamed. But do we do anything on our own part to make it better? A simple task- as simple as just wearing a helmet while driving seems like such a pain that would require a lot of effort and time. If we cannot do a thing that easy, how do we expect the government to suddenly solve all the problems of everyone in this city?

We whine about the government not fulfilling its responsibilities towards the public, how the BBMP officials are hopeless and they never do anything. But do we fulfil our responsibilities of being a citizen? All our chewing gums, wrappers, used tissue papers are thrown by us so casually as we walk on the footpath. Or spit out paan on the side of the road, giving the walls a beautiful texture. I can go on and on about this. But the point is that, we should know that pointing fingers towards others is easy, but when it comes to fulfilling our own responsibilities, everything suddenly becomes a conundrum.

I think it’s high time that we stop throwing complaints at the government and blaming them for our pathetic condition. We should stop feeling helpless and learn to manipulate our environment and resources that we have and put them to use- for the benefit of everyone. Using these institutions to facilitate our growth, we should take charge and strive to create the change that we want to see.

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