Thats all it took – a demand for Rs.27 at the toll booth. Everybody pays. Unless your name is on the billboard leading up to the toll. That is about half a dollar.. not a fortune, especially for those whose arrogance is based on the wealth they flaunt. So this is what it boiled down to – Sir Arrogance could not cough up the equivalent of (less than) half a litre of diesel.
I have no idea what really happened at the toll booth – but a life was lost, a young life. For no reason other than somebody did not know when a line is crossed, it becomes wrong, embodies evil.
We see these lines crossed all the time, and say nothing. Traffic on the wrong side of the road? Shrug. Red light being jumped? Sigh. Small child begging? Look away. Road being dug up and not tidied at the end of a work day? Workers never clearing their own mess? Ignore. People spitting, spreading infectious diseases?. Not my problem. Men masturbating in public, pissing everywhere? Blind eye. Rubbish thrown out of expensive cars? Whistle on.
Each of these, and many others, is a line that is crossed. Where I am denied the right to a dignified clean city. I am denied the right to walk in healthy, safe places. You, who do this, are stealing this right from me. And dignity from yourself.
Do the aggressors not realise that the first loss of dignity is theirs? They suffer more than others? No, you did not get away with it, you moron. You just proved that you are dumb enough not to be able to intelligently calculate consequences to yourselves and others. How is it that somebody who can argue and harangue so well does not understand that holding back when driving gives other cars room to get out of your way?
It is not as if these people are totally dumb, for animal cunning is amply displayed. Human intelligence? Human intelligence is about making cognitive choices, not instinctive ones. Being human is about caring, doing good and making the world a better place. Not necessarily crusading. It is easy, like saying please, thank you and sorry. About sharing with permission, about respect for others. That is it.
So, when the toll both says, Rs 27, you assess – am I cheaper than that? And pay up with dignity. And the next time you want to do something truly selfish – just pause for a second and think – can this damage anybody? And decide how low you want to stoop or high you want to rise. Choose well. It is your right as a human being.