Sunday, 20 January 2019

Tryst with an Air India staffer and need for National character building

It was my transit flight from Vizag to Mumbai by Air India flight. 
'Air India' - you may be exclaiming😄😄  but all said and done I find that Air India flights have maximum leg room for the common people like me in economy class (except the Neo's ofcourse which in my opinion are most passenger unfriendly aircraft - but that is another topic altogether).

The flight arrival was before time as was also indicated by the flightaware software on my phone and boarding was also announced before time. As usual we were all in a queue to board and the person at the boarding gate was checking our plane tickets & passes and curtly counting numbers to his colleague with not even a faint acknowledgement of the passengers. There were two foreigners in front of me - with quite unkempt hair baggy clothes et al - after checking their boarding passes the Air India staffer gave them the sweetest of smiles and also said a 'thank you'. Next was me and he got into his curt routine again. After my turn i looked back to see if he wished anyone else amongst us Indians. There were none that i could see.

So the sweet smiles and greetings were only for the foreigners.  But this post is not to bicker over the attitude of that Air India staffer. That is for Air India to realise and brief their staff accordingly if this post reaches them ever.  But the bigger point is - do we as Indians don't respect ourselves? Can you imagine any country where Indians are greeted n treated better than their own country men? I am sure you would have rarely seen anything like that(if at all). But i have seen the reverse where foreigners are feted and Indians looked down upon umpteen number of times in India. Why does that happen? What could be a driving force for such behaviour? Are we still in awe of the 'white foreigner?' 

I can still understand a hotel steward trying to please a foreigner as
they generally are better tippers but in an airline or a bus or hotel room etc, the preferential treatment is disgusting and unacceptable like in this present case as all flyers pay equally depending on when they buy the ticket.

So is this hard wired into us that the staffer was extra nice to only foreigners? Someone may say "Athithi Devo Bhava' (roughly means guests are like Gods) but for Air India all of us are 'Athithis' only.  So are we lesser Gods?

Respecting your own countrymen is part of Nation building and all great Nations respect their citizens first.  Can you think of Staffers in US of A giving preferential treatment to Indians over Americans??   You can safely discount that to be impossible!!!
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So it is time to instill pride in out country men about our own country.  How do we do it. It is easier said than done and is a long process.

A change is required in the mindset.

Soch badlo desh badlo (change the way you think and you make you can change the progress of your country). Text books are the best answer for this. There is a need to rewrite the textbooks  with stories of valour pride riches and bravery of Indian men and women alike to instill a sense of pride.
These stories when taught at a young age would make an   indelible impression on their minds. This change would take some time maybe a decade or two for these small children to grow up and arrive in responsible positions.  That's fine - what is   a decade or two in the progress of a Nation.

Truly, we must start respecting ourselves because if we don't respect ourselves,  no one else will and no one will ever consider us a super power(in the making or otherwise)

Look forward to a new future in a decade from now!!

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