Awareness knows no boundaries

Awareness knows no boundaries

I never had interest in politics or political news; I hated the word so much that I didn’t even attempt to know what actually it means, stands for. I passed in Civics in the subject of ‘Social Studies’ with flying colors just like any other CBSE 10th student who knows how to mug things up and study important bits. Thanks to the little news I used to catch the glimpse of when I was young, I have developed an unreasonable prejudice against the terms ‘Civics’, ‘Government’, ‘Vote’, ‘Parliament’, ‘Politics’, and others of the more or less same category.

Another prominent one among those terms is ‘General Knowledge’ that was anything but general to me. I never got into any trouble when it came to studying, owing to the fact that I loved it; but this particular subject managed to earn me great deal of bashing from my mother each year! I still remember that how I would try my hardest to mug up the names of presidents, prime ministers, chief ministers, states, capitals, celebrities, known personalities, their achievements, date of birth, date of death, and what not. And I failed at some point or the other, mixing up names with surnames, date of birth with that of death, governor of one state with other…I’m sure people who are not good at remembering stuffs can sympathize with me.

Gaining years in age and maturity helped me to give the reason behind my nonchalance in this field. “What would I do of these facts? Would knowing when some great person was born, when he/she died, what he/ she did would help me in my career or life? Shouldn’t I be spending that much time in honing my skills, discover other things which I’m good at?” Since the high school didn’t have any tests conducted on these troublesome subjects; I let go of them. I always skipped the front five to six pages of the daily newspaper directly to tech and science section. The same scenario occurred while watching the news on tele. I always flipped the channel when anything of those sorts came up.

It was the prelude-cum-base of the trip to Dharamshala with my parents. We were heading towards the venue for the celebration of the 25th marriage anniversary of my father’s friend in Delhi in a cab. The driver, whose name I didn’t catch, was a normal middle-aged man. Or so he seemed till the talk of politics was instigated, from my father’s side or his I can’t recall. It took me not less than a second to recognize my father’s friendly talk, which always was sort of an undercover questioning interview for the third person; with the driver about the government and his opinion in this regard. I was prepared to hear a one-liner of a supportive or opposing statement from him. Therefore the dialogue “Nothing can be said as of now. The Govt. has done many things, but still needs to do much more if it wants the support of the people. Because people are not stupid anymore, they are aware and can judge” surprised me. I can’t say anything on behalf of my father, whether he had been equally surprised or not, but I was quite taken aback for sure. Don’t judge or misunderstand me when I say that these talks are unexpected for me to hear from the more common folks of our country, I don’t have any intention to demean any job profession; for me all kinds of works and jobs as long as they are for the general welfare, hold an equal importance and stand.

My father returned back to asking questions like “Why do you think so?” “What are the good things done by the Govt?” “How can it be better?” to which I heard pin-point, yet detailed answers from him. I can in fact say it that he was much better versed in matters like GST, smart city development, construction of roads for easy traveling and transportation among states; some of which frankly I hadn’t the chance or effort to check onto. As much as he pointed out the Govt’s efforts, he added criticisms to the lacking points as well. Now I really am thankful that I didn’t catch that gentleman’s name because I think writing this is almost like treading on dangerous waters.

Our ride had been short, but it sure counted as one of the most memorable taxi drives I had had till now. Because though I had been admonished by my parents for my lack of effort to widen my general awareness, tried to be consoled into developing my interests for it by my professors; I never really felt as lacking as that day when I encountered the views of one of the millions among the common Indian people.

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Shivani Mohanty
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