The favourite pass time of us Indians is to shift the blame. We blame the Rams and the Rahims. The divisions, the states, the politics, the castes. We blame because it is always someone else’s fault. My neighbour is responsible for the dirty street outside my house. Well, it doesn't matter if some kachra is mine too but my neighbour's kachra is definitely more. It has to be, because I am blaming him.
I blame LK Advani for raising the Ram-issue and further dividing this country on religious grounds. My best friend is a Muslim. See I have done my bit, I am a secular citizen. The Advanis and the Modis are to be blamed because they are ones who started it. It doesn’t matter if my voice could be the one of the many smaller voices that might just end it. But of course I keep quiet. It doesn't matter that my blood boils if Karunanidhi challenges my faith... Why should I? I am not to be blamed.
And it’s not just religion or garbage where the shift-the-blame attitude comes through. It is also leading us to the end of the ‘relationship age’.
Today, we decide to end the relationship that might mean the world to us… Again, we blame the other. Some of the smallest and the strangest things turn around and stand in our faces after we have already finished playing the blame game. I will not blame it all on my ex- boyfriend because he never understood nor did he have the brains (or balls) to do so; even the fact that he was two-timing me. His ex-girlfriend decided to linger on. Did the woman never get the message? Uff, what a spineless woman! Of course it is not my fault, I was always there you see. So what if I refuse to stoop down to the levels the other woman did to win him back? I am not the type of woman to play games. I am a simple woman. So simply, I blame her.
I come out happy after watching Chak De. Bingo! Here we are back to feeling true Indians months after the Rang De Basanti euphoria. After RDB, we raved about the potential of the youth, the power Generation X (or Y, Z, theta). Back then our blood had boiled (for a bit) and we were euphoric (for a bit). Then the 'Indian Youth' was out on the streets to get justice for Jessica Lall. All through the protest marches, we blamed the inefficient judiciary, the politicians and blamed the 70 mm for shaking us out of our slumber.
Today, yet another 70 mm bonanza gives me the same orgasm. Again I come out of the theater: A proud Indian wanting to change the face of the country. Again I blame the game of cricket for hogging the limelight. And the cricketers for not playing hard enough despite the big bucks they earn. Again I blame the babus sitting on the top. I blame the systems, not just for the bad state of the hockey team but also because the public transport is so bad that I can not find an auto to take me back home and I don't want to get into a bus.
The problem is not even me. It’s genetic you see. I was three years old when the '84 riots happened. Delhi shook. My parents blamed Indira Gandhi. Circa 2007. My parents blame Indira Gandhi yet again. Each time their normal, 9-5 lives are thrown off the track. That is when the seedling of the 'I Blame You' emotion germinated and infected the 'youth'.
Over the years I learnt to blame the municipality for no water, the traffic police for jam-packed roads. No electricity? Why couldn't the government do something about it? My maid was illiterate and still is. I don't have time to teach her – and neither do you – why can't we have a system in place to educate the poor? Oh, did I say poor? Well, it is her fault that she is poor. I continue to go to the best school; it’s not my fault! Basically, I learnt to blame. If I did not do my homework I simply said there was no electricity. “Sorry ma'am, not my fault.” Surprisingly, my teacher understood and she too blamed the government.
Today, I am a grown-up earning a good salary. However, my classmate from school in the same company earns a couple of thousands more... Goddammit, F*&^ the HR! All my colleagues agree too, we all blame the HR. I shall be honest now and blame Facebook for getting me hooked. Oops! Writing this post, I lost track of time and am now late for my shoot. The politicians waiting are going to throw a fit. I will take the familiar route. “Sir kya karein? Traffic hi itna tha. Sir, aap log kuch karte kyun nahi?”
(What can I do sir, there was much traffic. Why don’t you do something about it sir?)
It’s an instinct honed over the years, almost as if the mind has been left on auto-pilot and does not know another way to navigate. See it is not my fault...
PS: And yet, do we ever realize – or will we – that we are as much part of the same blame game?