This story has been told before. It will probably be told again.
This incident took place at a traffic signal, or by the side of a road, or on a footpath. Which one, you ask? Pick one. Any one. You decide.
He, she, you or I were watching as our regular Joe or Jai stopped his gas guzzler a few metres on the wrong side of the zebra crossing. Who am I talking about in particular, you ask? You decide. He leaned to the left, resting the entire weight of the motorbike on his left leg, before the action began.
His bearded cheeks were sucked in as he snorted with a lung capacity very unlike my yoga instructor’s. You and I? Our memories took us back to those petri dishes in Biology class.
Our protagonist Prakash/Amit’s lips parted with only the most delicate romance. From the corner of our eyes you and I saw a tourist’s face contort in revulsion. Our patriotism and pride was subjected to a very palpable hit that morning, afternoon or evening. What time, did I hear you ask? You decide.
Out of a pout reminiscent of a Facebook selfie spurted out only the most perfect formation of deep red saliva. You and I thought of that horribly expensive pair of Hermes shoes that our discerning friend just bought to tread on Pune roads. Which road? You decide.
The paan went gliding through the air with a magnificent agility that would make the Cirque du Soleil performers proud. You and I wished we were back on vacation in Kashmir or Denmark or the Maldives.
Our breakfast or lunch or dinner made its way back up as the deep red consequence of ignorance was left splattered across a wall painted with the words “Green Pune, Clean Pune”. You and I thought of the Swachh Bharat Cess that we’ve been paying. You and I did not think of the massive effort involved in implementing it. You and I did not think of the widowed mother or the septuagenarian father burdened with the responsibility of executing its purpose.
Iqbal/Kevin turned his head with a touch of elan, kicked his bike back into gear and left us in a cloud of smoke, while there were still seven seconds on the timer before the signal turned green. You and I? We did nothing.
I do not doubt that the purpose of my generalisations has dawned on you. I do not doubt that you and I are equally guilty and equally capable of implementing a change. Having said that, this story has been told before. Should I doubt that it will be told again? You decide.
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