Last Sunday morning, my brother and I were strolling on the shoreline of Marina Beach. I don’t know how many of you had been to Marina on a Sunday morning. You can see the sun warming up the ocean waters by spreading its arms. You can see groups of people busy jogging and walking. You can see vendors busy selling tender coconuts, cut fruits and juice.
Good morning fellow Toastmasters and guests,
When you admire all of these and keep walking … you’ll see a group of people who live in Marina. Yes… Marina is their home… they eat there… they sleep there… they even defecate there. When my brother and I saw this I immediately shouted “It is because of these people… Marina isn’t clean. Look at that guy… he is openly defecating on the Marina sand. Doesn’t he have common sense?! These folks should be brutally punished”
My brother smiled at me and said “Saro… There is always two sides to the coin. Some of these folks are here due to no fault of theirs. Look at them… many are from north India. Each one of them may have a flashback story that brought them to Chennai. They may not even know the language. Begging is the easiest job that they can do without knowing the language. Given the small money that they earn… where can they go and stay… that’s why they are here. Our politicians keep the poor as poor … by launching populist policies as opposed to investing in infrastructure, education and job opportunities. Now tell me Saro… should we punshi these people first, or should we punish our politicians first”. I didn’t know what to answer… I smiled and we moved on.
Whenever I delve into any topic of social interest … I end up realizing “There is always two sides to the coin”. For example, let us pick terrorism. All of us talk about the atrocities caused by terrorists including abducting or killing innocent people. But, let us look at the other side of the coin. These terrorists want their “voice to be heard”. In most cases, they are part of a minority group. They are not represented adequately in the social, economic and political circles. They don’t have other means to fight against money power and political power… and hence they resort to terrorism. If these people get access to education, health care and job opportunities and get an environment where they can peacefully coexist with others… why are they going to get into violent acts?
Now let us pick another hot topic – demonetization. People complain about hardships to common man, people complain about deaths of people standing in queues, people complain about GDP slow down.
Let us look at the other side of the coin. While everyone keeps complaining about the “government’s execution plan”… I feel “If government had planned the execution so well, the purpose of the exercise itself would be lost”. Our people are ready to wait for hours in the queue to get darshan of the non-existent God. Our people are ready to wait for hours together to get freebies. Our people are ready to wait in queues for movie tickets, train tickets and to even get ration. Why are we not ready to wait in queues to get money from bank for a few days?
I admire the government’s agility in reacting to problems faced by common man. They’ve tweaked the implementation of the scheme almost on a daily basis… to minimize the hardships caused to the citizens. I see folks who are still running pillar to post… with a lot of unaccounted cash in hand. They look like mouse caught in a mouse trap. Only 4 crore out of the 120 crore people pay tax – mostly the salaried class. A number of business men who have been piling loads of unaccounted cash in their vaults are now in a soup. Every day, we keep reading about several crores of unaccounted cash being unearthed by IT officials… from colleges, jewelers and private jets. The number of digital transactions have gone up by 300% in the last few weeks. Yes there is pain… but, there is no gain without pain.
Also read: CC5 - Take me with you (Your body Speaks)
Robert H. Schuller, a famous author once said “I’d rather attempt to do something great and fail, than to attempt nothing and succeed”. There are two sides to any coin… and any action. People will be divided in their views… no matter what you do, when you do or even if you don’t do anything. If you keep waiting for the perfect conditions to emerge to take action, you’ll never be able to take any action. In this fast paced world, the only way to succeed is … take risks, experiment, learn fast and move on.