At your (in)convenience

Before I begin my long pent-up rant, I’d like to make it very clear that this post is not directed at any one particular religion, sect or belief. My frustration or anger is aimed at all those people who seem to care a lot about their faith thereby bringing about a certain amount of discipline in their own lives, but at the same time are highly insensitive towards the inconvenience they cause to others.

I left home to go out in the morning on Friday. It was only when I got out of my building that I realized I had chosen an inappropriate time of the day to go out.

Zuhr, the afternoon prayer was about to start and people who had come to pray in the nearby mosque had parked their vehicles in every possible direction outside of our building. The entire stretch of road was blocked. So much so that there was hardly any space for vehicles coming from adjoining roads, to pass by.Needless to say,I had a tough time getting out of that mess.

I was really bugged as I had planned to be at this place at a certain hour and I was clearly far from achieving it simply because of some people’s indifference.

Such nonchalance can be so frustrating! What if someone had had to rush on an emergency and this unwarranted hiccup was something the person could not afford? Aren’t indifferent actions of some people adversely affecting the day-to-day lives of their fellow beings?

Let me point out this is not confined to one region or country. I’ve seen similar things happening in India too.
Delhi and a few other parts of North India have Jagrans/Jagratas organized, in the name of God, every now and then, by some of His devotees.

Jagrans/Jagratas,as many of you would know,is a session wherein people stay awake through the night and offer prayers to God. They show their devotion by praising Him,singing bhajans and playing loud music with religious songs blaring through the loudspeakers. It’s a different matter, though that those bhajans would have a guess-game,of an interesting kind,attached to them. Guess the original film-song!

I’m not against praying or being devoted to God. I’m a God-fearing person myself.I have my own beliefs and follow to some extent, the values and teachings that my religion, Hinduism,offers. So I perfectly understand the sentiments behind people’s devotion and implicit faith in God.

What I don’t understand is the logic behind showing devotion so explicitly in a residential area, through the night, with deafening music, thereby hampering the lives of others.
Let me not even get started on those incessant political rallies and religious rath-yatras that bring cities to an absolute standstill.

All I’m trying to point out is that all of us are free to follow our beliefs and practice what we believe in. But do we need to do that at the cost of others’ convenience? Is that the right way to go about it?

I know what I feel or write is not going to make people think or behave any differently. The system will still function in the same manner as it is now.The people will still have the attitude of unconcern towards others’ feelings.

But I also know that this is a topic that has been brewing inside me for quite sometime and I’m feeling much better after letting it out. One of the virtues of blogging,I guess!!

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42 thoughts on “At your (in)convenience

  1. Music that blares, Cars that block the road..and a whole lot of chaos… and all this, in the name of religion, whose very intention is to bring abour harmony!

    The few who realise/oppose do not even voice their opinion, for fear of being politically incorrect.

    D: Exactly,Pal! many a time we opt against speaking out for the fear of being rejected or just defied.We put up with this kind of insensitive attitude to bring about harmony around us. How pathetic!

    And yes, like you said, nothing’s going to change. But if your post made me think, and makes every reader think, that itself is a tiny tiny step in the right direction 🙂

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  2. Oh! You touched a topic which is one of my pet peeves too! I’ll add another one to your list. It is so difficult to navigate the streets in India during what is called “wedding season”. Cars, minivans, double parked all over the place without a thought about the inconvenience caused to others.

    D: I know! Its so annoying!

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  3. yes, the inconvenience factor!
    why do we seem to care a lot about our faith thereby bringing about a certain amount of discipline in our own lives, but at the same time are highly insensitive towards the inconvenience we cause to others??

    D: Wonder why!

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  4. I am totally able to appreciate your concerns. Here in Bangalore I face similar issues at times. Any specially ocassions – such as Marriage – and the vertical and horizontal roads are blocked with sheds… And then we need to go around like 2 KMs minimum to reach home… Phew! It’s high time this culture changed in India…

    D: Yes,its high time this culture changed! And its not just in India,such indifference can be seen elsewhere too. The personal incident that I mentioned in the post happened right here in the heart of Doha.

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  5. People like kids need rules. Imagine, why Desis follow road rules so diligently in the US and the same people overtake other cars, honk like they have never seen a horn, jump lights etc once they reach India? Because, in the US you jump lights you get points more points, you might lose your license, in India pay 600Rps you are safe. If rules are strictly enforced people will have no choice but to listen. You need to check out K.R Market in B’lore horrors!!!

    D: SJ,here too the fine for jumping traffic signals is 6000riyals which is about Rs60000!! So noone dare jump the signals here,desi or videsi! I feel similar penalties should be there for people who block roads by parking in such haywire manner.And they should be enforced strictly.

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  6. As SJ said NRI behaves differently when they visit india,outside india there are scared of the fines and when they are in india they spit on the roads and throw waste on the roads.

    Deeps here is sharjah the parking is pathetic,people just leave there cars at the turning of the road,many times school buses would not take a turn and they reached school late.More pathetic is the parking on the roads not one line two lines near the mosque as they don’t get fined on fridays.One day we had to take daughter to the doctor and the road was blocked by cars,i got down the car walked till the end of the road took a taxi and went to the doctor and hubby was in the car till the afternoon prayers got over and came to the doc.

    D: This is exactly what I was trying to point out,Sari. When an emergency occurs such obstacles are the last things that you would want. People dont realize how adversely their actions are affecting others.I can imagine the anguish you must have gone through.

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  7. This reminds me of my time in Delhi.

    During Ramzaan, I used to be most diligent in tracking evening prayer timings for the whole month as leaving at the wrong time would cause a delay of an hour in picking up my kids from daycare (they were 5 and 2 yrs old). And then, there would be Gurudwara processions on Sunday mornings, Chaath puja blocking off the entire route, random Jagrans with loudspeakers blaring into the night…

    D: And strangely we put up with all this!

    and all in the name of God!

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  8. This happens in the middle east too; something that I hadnt experienced in my 15 years of ‘gelf’ life ! I am sure it must be the indians and pakis behind this ! who else would be this inconsiderate ?

    D: Oh no,Vims its the case with everyone.You cant pick on one sect.The mosque near where I live has all kinds of devotees coming from different parts of the world and each one is as indifferent as the other.

    Ah!so you lived in the ‘gelf’,huh?? It must have started to prosper only after you left then 😈

    Its a headache, I agree ! People do just about anything in the name of god.

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  9. hey after living for so many yrs in GCC , you should have accustomed to this.( though in muscat it may not be like this….and u no longer live in muscat) …..

    D: Like I mentioned I’ve come across such insensitivities in India too.I’ve pretty much grown up amidst this.But that doesnt mean I’ll not be affected by it. Many of us dont react to it for fear of being shunned.But at times it gets to you so much that you just want to take it out of your system. The best option for me was to write about it 😀

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  10. You know, I’ve thought about this a lot of times. I think the reason behind this is that deep within, we humans are still animals – uncivilised. No matter how much we have changed and started living in a society, we still go back to our uncivilised ways once in a while whenever possible.

    And Religion gives people an excuse to do that. This is a very small example – When we can have religion as an excuse, we park our cars anywhere without a care – It’s after all about God – who’ll question us?

    Taking an extreme example, never do people kill each other so ferociously and without regret, other than when it is in the name of religion.

    D: So true!

    And whilst we are on this issue, there’s another issue of tolerance. These Gulf states are never tolerant about other religions as you are aware. People going into the mosque for praying are allowed to park wherever they wish but the only temple in Dubai doesn’t even have a parking area near it. Further, if people do park in a no-parking area near the temple even for a minute, they are awarded with a hefty fine for breaking the rule.

    D: Here I have to mention about Muscat,Rakesh. There are two temples there.One of Lord Shiva and the other Lord Krishna.I don’t remember about the former,but the latter has a huge parking lot for its devotees which is an encouraging sign.
    But I get what you’re saying. Religious dominance encourages people to become more arrogant and intolerant.It happens everywhere.

    So on one end, they advocate tolerance towards people who park wrongly at prayer time, there is no tolerance towards the lesser races ie. non-muslims.

    Thankfully, I’m not religious enough or I would be perpetually angry about this 🙂

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  11. Yes this can be bad

    I guess in Gulf you cannot even voice your concern. Strict obedience is demanded all times
    T
    D: The country where I live is not as strict as a some of the other Arab nations. Its relatively liberal.

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  12. Whew!

    There, feel any better now, after venting it out? {{{hugs}}} 🙂

    D: I do,re! Thanks. Hugs to you too 🙂

    I agree with every word you have written!!!
    Loud music, pendals which block the road… the crackers burst on the roads when taking Lord Ganesh for visarjan…
    highly inconvenient!

    I too agree when you talk about insensitivity attached with religion and in the name of religious activities…

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  13. I totally concur with you… and what is with the loud artis???? Why does everyone has to be so loud!!!???

    D: maybe because they think the louder they are the better God will hear them

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  14. Hugs Deepu! U read my mind! I hd a call and decided to take it from home as it ws @ odd timings! And then from nowhere, some ritual started and they went on and on with loudspeakers! With all possible acoustics in place, it ws so diff. for me to hear what the other person ws saying clearly!
    I can’t imagine what might be the plight of small kids, heart patients etc.. if we feel so disturbed 😦

    Some ppl do need a whack on their back. Once there are stringent laws in place and the concerned police or security officers start collecting fine instead of money for their own pockets, situation should improve.

    D: Exactly!Its not enough to bring about stringent laws,they need to be enforced

    While driving to office today morning, we were just discussing hw ppl who keep spitting anywhere and everywhere should be imposed a fine! Same case with this one too!

    D: Totally agree,Swaru. Its so strange that the very same people who spit and pee wherever they please in their own country,will not dare do such a thing in a foreign land!

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  15. Totally agree with each word you written..I can add one more point to ur list
    begger playing loud music…It become more tough when u work from home like me..sometime i had important meeting and some sai baba pheri wala come with loud music playing,,other time its mata devotee…
    it feel so embarrassing when you are on phone with global colleague and there is no way you can stop this noise reaching to them..

    D: I can imagine your predicament!

    the only way it can be controlled is if govt put some ban or hefty fine on ppl making hayway traffic near mosque and on these begger who play loud music

    D: Absolutely agree

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  16. Some hail blogging to the point where they say it can revolutionize and change the world – for better. And after reading such anger, justified anger, It was not so good to know that you think it would not make any change.

    D: I feel that way because,come next friday,the scenario will be the same,Ankur.There will be long stretch of traffic jam,haywire parking and nothing will be done to change the system or rather,noone will be willing to disturb the existing pattern for fear of rejection. But yes by writing about it,lets hope I’ve generated some awareness 🙂

    I believe the generation coming next will be devoid of such acts, simply by awareness. And you are spreading it 🙂

    D: You sound very positive and thats encouraging.Thank you. And Welcome here 🙂

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    1. “I believe the generation coming next will be devoid of such acts, simply by awareness. And you are spreading it ”

      i don’t really know when that generation NEXT will come!! SIGH!! 😦 Loks like fanatism is spreading even more rampant than earlier!! or so i feel!

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  17. I know exactly how you feel. i have had my share of irritation over such things… the prob is even police is afraid to intervene in religious matters even though they know its wrong coz it might cause so much trouble!! 🙄

    D: Yes,its disheartening when police,who are supposed to protect us and make us feel safe are so casual in their approach

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  18. Oh yes, I agree 100%.

    I go for the Friday afternoon prayers every week. And you cannot imagine the trouble I have with parking. And its not all the devotees who end up parking as if its their property. Its only the Arabs. I’ve been seeing them closely for years now. You’ll find their cars parked right in the middle of the road. I cannot even think of doing that. Last Friday, I actually had to park nearly 300 mts from the mosque.

    D: I know it can be so annoying!

    I guess this is more the case when a religion is a majority in a region.

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  19. this applies to people walking in a row, slowly, on a narrow footpath too… it gets amusing when they stop in the middle and get into some lengthy discussion, with clouds of cigarette smoke enveloping them. so when you have a baby in the pram and want to go by the footpath…this is what happens.

    D: The other day we were at a food joint and this guy was puffing away to glory despite being asked not to do so in the family section. My husband simply went to the manager and gave him a piece of his mind. Even threatened to complain to the authorities. This did the trick and the guy stubbed his cig out without a grumble.

    otherwise the religious mayhem as in your experience doesn’t happen much here in italy. the traffic is a mess but still there is an order in it 🙂

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  20. Oh Deeps! I totally agree! To me, religion is a very private thing and inconveniencing another person so as to follow our faith in full discipline – I just cannot understand.

    It is sad that people do not understand how all this could affect others. Just because somebody decides to have a Jagran – is it necessary to ensure that everybody else has it too? Once, I remember, people had loud music playing next to a maternity hospital and the hospital authorties took measures to ensure that no more pujas would be held in that locality – and people were outraged instead of understanding that so many people in the hospital needed that peace and quiet. And just because somebody wants to celebrate – not everybody will want to. Even in trains – people in baraatis scream, shout, sing and get drunk without the slightest concern for others..

    D: ‘And just because somebody wants to celebrate – not everybody will want to.’ Aptly said,Smits. Not everyone may be in the frame of mind.

    This is a topic that I can write loads and loads about, Deeps! Am so happy that you posted about it!

    D: You should post about it too 😀

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  21. Very nice topic Deeps.

    I think people relate crowd, congestion, noise, commotion etc as part of religious celebrations. I have felt lot of times that lot of ardent worshippers think that people have to put up with all these to uphold the notion that worship to God is beyond all this. Kind of like people have to sacrifice and put up with anything for sake of God.

    Personally I find peace with God in silence.

    D: Same here,Lakshmi. I feel much closer to God when theres peace around. I prefer going to temple when it is not crowded,when people are not pushing and stamping each other to get ahead for a darshan.

    People who are part of all these will never be able to understand any other way of doing their worships.

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  22. i think you may get the answer if you change the plate ..
    perhpas, place yourself in their shoes and have a look around, i guess that will give a clear picture of whats gong on …

    whether one is praying or not, just becoz s/he spends time in a church or temple or mosque is differnt thing …they could have 101 reasons …

    D: I’m not questioning anyone going to the church,temple or mosque.What I’m questioning is whether one can disregard others’ convenience just to serve one’s intention,howsoever noble it may be.
    You should stretch your arm only so much that it doesnt touch the person standing in front of you or next to you. You can do whatever you want to so long as it doesnt affect others in a negative way.
    Solely my thoughts,feel free to disagree 🙂

    why i m there, i think thats what matters!!!

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  23. To use a quote I read somewhere, ‘your privacy ends where my nose starts’ is the attitude of quite a few people these days. Add religion to the mix and it kicks it up a few notches. We have a SaiBaba mandir in a Mall where I live here in the US ; sans doors (when the shutters are up) the bhajans are there for all to hear — like it or not. It is just wrong..

    To add to what Rakesh said about animal instincts still raw and rearing to break loose, I’ve never been more convinced of it than when America that ‘relatively’ prides in it’s orderly & civil conduct bore witness to hurricane Katrina’s aftermath — lootings, killings et al. Given an opportunity there are bad elements everywhere who will bend the rules at the expense of others..

    D: So true! another fine example where we can witness the animal instincts in some of us coming to the fore would be the Parliament sessions in our country! 😀

    Nice blog, meandered in from Solilo’s ..

    D: Thank you,Madhu. Welcome here 🙂

    Like

  24. you are so correct…

    it always used to bother me a lot …speakes in full volume …

    but after Akki is born I have realised how much this noise effects such small babies..
    even in our own houses it becomes a nightmare to stop this noise …forget about going out..

    and might I also add diwali crackers …

    D: oh yes!they are as much a nuisance.

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  25. its been on for centuries i guess…whether it be a religious festival, a wedding, a strike, a funeral….it all takes place on the road…its (un)nerving.

    D: So true!

    U go out on a sunday evening here in downtown america, u wil feel the place is on a curfew…thanks to the road onslaught we have been thru all throughout our lives, all 7 days of the week, all 365 days of the year!!

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  26. This is a common problem in India. Not just parking, but also the noise. No one thinks of others! I am sure that it is much better there in Quatar! We in India have to bear this everytime. And why religion. There are other gods here, like political gods. Recently someone in delhi died because the PM was visiting a hospital and his relatives could not get him inside due to the security!!

    D: Yes,I read that bit and it was very unfortunate. Although the PM apologized to the man’s family,but still it doesnt mean a common man’s concerns can be taken lightly.

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  27. I am not sure if a fine for jumping lines in India will really help. If you enforce a fine, the driver will bribe the policeman. Let’s assume you manage to make all policemen law abiding, then we will find another way to jump the rules.

    Our problem is the population. I use the term problem loosely. Its too huge a country to bring about much drastic change. I think we should chop the country into four and work on each segment. That should work wonders. Anyway, its not like Delhi-ites will miss a Madrasi if they are no longer fellow countrymen 🙂

    D: So now,you’re suggesting another partition?? 😀

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  28. Cannot agree more with your view point.
    People who love God, who try to do what is good and
    avoid doing what is bad …. need to realign their thoughts a bit ….. and think of others who live around them. Have to be a bit more considerate

    D: Considerate is the word,you said it!

    Like

  29. Agree wholeheartedly!!!! To me, true faith is about practicing its principles everyday of your life in all that you do, which, if you think about it, is incredibly difficult to achieve. Its not easy to work honestly, to be kind & polite all the time especially to people you don’t like or to those who make you mad. Its a lot easier to make a big show of doing grand pujas, singing all night, praying at the top of your voice for a few hours etc. I guess most people think that doing this for a few hours makes God happy and then they can go back to living their life however they want, regardless of whatever their religion truly says.

    D: Exactly!Its ridiculous.Isnt the essence of any religion in being considerate to or empathizing with your fellow beings? Its sad when people dont realize that and they go about causing inconvenience to others.

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  30. oh yeah, anything goes in the name of religion.. everywhere … middle east a lil too prone to it .. i remember getting into trouble during ramadan month when i was caught eating a biscuit on the stairwells of a building cos i couldnt find any other place to eat lunch .. since i was caught only once,they chastised ,warned me and let me go ..Its not fair to expect people of other faith to fast just because people of the majority religion in a place fast..
    The blaring loudspeakers are another form of inconvenience.. being considerate is something not many people in our country know about !

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  31. Religion is supposed to make us better people, but everywhere it seems to bring out the worst in us Deeps. Once we got home after a tiring long road travel and reached home at 3 am, dying to sleep (in Delhi winters) and what a welcome awaited us! Not just the singing and loudspeakers but also loud noise of large metal bowls and karahis being washed.

    Most people use religion as an excuse to get away with irresponsible behaviour. In recent years this has changed in many places, I have complained against loud noises after 11 pm and found reprieve too.

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  32. I know, I particularly get irritated with the unclean habits in around religious or public places. They just throw the waste of the coconut, the food stuff, flowers, bottles around the waste bin and never in it, if there is a water body like the beach, the sands will be littered with those used packets of chips and what not.

    Annoying, how ppl can dirty a place in the name religion or mere enjoyment.

    Like

  33. For most Indian female bloggers, impoverished India is a wasteland to be denigrated at every chance. The west is an utopia to be emulated. Here is something for such women:

    My generation created the sexual revolution – and it has been wrecking the lives of women ever since By Bel Mooney

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1232485/My-generation-created-sexual-revolution–wrecking-lives-women-since.html

    “In 2007, the American Psychological Association issued a report citing innumerable contributing causes to the sexualising of young girls, including music videos, TV and advertising. Are they to be accused of ‘moral panic’?

    The sad thing is young women today are still being conned – victims of the pervasive sex industry which uses ‘liberation’ as a mask for degradation.”

    Like

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