WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

Delhi’s air is wretched. My city’s air is getting horrible too.

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Almost 10,500 people die each year prematurely in Delhi owing to the omnipresent smog that has encapsulated the city for more than a decade now. The Particulate matter levels in Delhi are above 3 times the danger limit.

2

So when the Delhi government tried to implement an odd even formula for private vehicles (Allowing cars on the Delhi roads on alternate days only) the whole region went up in arms about the ‘inconvenience’ it would cause them (safety/business/recreational- etc etc; the laundry list is endless).

The issue is that we all talk a big game. But when it comes to actions and doing something to help there is just one question we need an answer for – WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?

This is the one question any NGO, Revolutionary, Activist (animal or environmental), 501 3C, Rescue group etc have a very hard time answering.

We expect people to change because of the lecture we are so handily giving them while they are just thinking the same thing-

-What the heck is in it for me?

-Why should I change?

-Why should I listen to this buffoon who thinks he knows more than I do?

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We will crib about it but won’t act.

-We will say no to plastic until we need a drink of water/soda or a pack of potato chips.

-We will not carpool because it’s not convenient.

-We will detest animal cruelty but we will continue to eat animals for variety/flavor.

-We will cry about an unsafe city but we won’t stop to help a person in need.

-We will clean up our house/shops and leave the trash by the roadside.

-We will wait for our city’s air to be as horrible as Delhi before we act.

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We all change because of fear.

-Fear of the law.

-Fear of personal loss.

-Fear of someone else gaining more than us.

-Fear for OUR loved ones.

There is JUST ONE other alternative; Negativity out, Positivity in.

  • Show them what is in it for them. A better life, more involvement. Add personal stakes to education.
  • The ONLY hope is our future generation. So let’s make such things a part of their curriculum and not just lectures/seminars.
  • Grade them on it. Give them prizes and rewards for such work (much like sports and studies).

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Over decades we’ve been making the same inputs and expecting different outcomes. That is the definition of insanity.

It’s time to answer that one question; even for the children.

WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME?

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With Malice Toward One and All

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          The Author, Khushwant Singh passed at 99 years of age today. It is with mixed feelings that I write this.
           A truly brilliant mind that often came in his own way to becoming a literary legend. A plethora of his brilliant work lost amidst the profanity and the senseless levity he sprinkled in his writing.

.Khushwant 3
          His book Delhi, is a masterpiece and a lesson in writing from multiple points of view. He takes us through a 1000 year history of Delhi seen through the eyes of the most relevant person in that era. The narrator is a Senapati (Minister of War) or a Badshah (King) in the times of treachery to take over India. He’s a Sufi poet in the times when poetry and music is banned in Delhi. He’s a contractor in times of the city going through modernization. He’s a part of the gang scoping out Mahatma Gandhi for the purpose of assassinating him (thus looking at the Mahatma’s perspective and the perspective of people who hated his policies). Occasionally, he brings us out of the story to modern times where he is in love with an ugly hermaphrodite prostitute (who he compares to Delhi- The ugly side of Delhi that he still is in love with despite hating it). The mark of true genius; A reader’s delight. But then he has to be in his own way with a 3 page in-depth description of the various types of farts and their classification. Come on Mr. Singh—let us love you for Christ’s sake.

Khushwant2
          Amongst many other books is the extremely heartfelt, The Train to Pakistan. It depicts the senseless violence, looting, murder and rape that accompanied the India Pakistan partition of 1947. Amidst all the greed and lust there is hope and love of a village belle and a hardened criminal. The cast-off of society is committed to saving lives.
         Khushwant Singh was a columnist who took on politicians and social issues with gusto and directness. His column depicted his mindset and attitude in life. A writer with a bottle of booze and a copy of an adult magazine sitting inside a bulb and writing away to glory- and right into our hearts.
         Thank you for all your works, Mr Khuswant Singh. May you rest in peace and wreak more havoc in heaven; or hell.khushwant 4