India is a country divided yet United. And why say only India, isn’t each of the society, country, and even family the same. Each individual with its own personality and thought process, yet held together. But there comes a time or an issue that starts to develop a gorge between people, between societies, between countries. As the gorge deepens they become first world, second world and even third world. India has so many such gorges. One of them is the division of rich and poor.
It is so easy to distinguish these two worlds. To live in a city like Delhi you need to carry these two masks all the time in your pocket, particularly the mask of being “urban”, “upper class” etc. Because as a country filled with desperate people even for basic amenities, it becomes an art to act as though everything is great and hunky dory. There are unspoken rules which each individual seems to confirm to when you go to such places even for a stroll.
Politeness. The number of sorry, thank you and smiles you may throw in a restaurant of Greater Kailash market for instance are more than the stock you thought you had for the entire year. There is so much politeness that I think I may have become diabetic already.
English. This may even be the first rule. Not that speaking in English is a sign of great intellect or even something really surprising. But for some reason English is somehow the first language for an individual to be considered confirming to an educated and privileged society. I am nowhere against the language and am all for everyone to learn it as there is so much literature available in it for a person to grow his/her personality and character. But I have always failed to identify myself with this unspoken belief of language superiority in a complex society as ours.
The irony however is that behind those excessive smiles, politeness and glitters, is usually a very ruthless face of indifference. It is a bubble wrapped world where only money is approachable. You may think of getting a glass of water or a snack at a small vendor for free in desparate times and situations, but here you will generally get Avocado eating people but not a drop to spare. I am not trying to romanticize poverty or lack of luxury. Money and people make such a jigsaw puzzle where only few can fit and enjoy the game, while the rest simply are the pawns to serve crisp baby corns and mimosa to the table.