Sunday, September 11, 2011

Self-loathing and the Middle class

I patiently waited in line. Five minutes, then ten, then fifteen. Finally one auto trundled up, and was promptly hijacked by people right at the back of the queue. We all sighed, shuffled, mumbled. The same thing happened again, then again.

Finally, one gent stopped a freshly hijacked auto by planting himself firmly in front of it. He asked the hijackers to vacate the auto and wait in queue like everyone else. The hijackers were a family including an elderly gent, and some women. The gent began to plead that they should be allowed to go first because, “We have ladies with us.”

This argument didn’t go down well. Angry little murmurs went up: “What, we’re not ladies?” and “We also have ladies with us.”

The old gent began to shout. His next argument was: “If I die right now, who’s responsible?” In other words, he was possibly hypertensive, and if we made him get off, he might suffer a heart attack.

He shouted louder at the protesting man who was trying to enforce the queue system. This younger gent then trained his guns upon the auto driver. “Make them get off.”

The auto driver, keenly aware of his precarious position, stared into the night, silent. The elderly gent, sensing victory, asked the driver to drive away. The younger gent, sensing defeat, shouted some more at the driver, began to abuse him. He said, “It’s really the (insert strong language) driver’s fault. Why do these guys allow it?”

I’m glad the driver drove away then. I sensed the younger gent was tempted to hit him. And there was a likelihood that others would join in.

And then I remembered why I mistrust the middle class.


Vinod said...

Thats a really neat piece of analysis. The first such I'm reading in all the copious and often tedious literature and analysis on Jan Lokpal. Well written, as always, too.

Anonymous said...


Are these traits you speak of really specific to the middle class? Do you think majority of the upper/lower class are self-doubting and self-loathing people who are debating the ethics of their choices and opinions? When the media speaks of middle-class are they just trying to call an entire economic class as mediocre and do they consider themselves as part of this class? Instead of alienating majority opinion by denouncing the most common human traits it would do the media good to identify themselves with these very people and be able to further their own agendas with this premise.
I know easier said than done; then again I think aspiring to a nobler self is common to most mankind.


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