I bumped into him after ten long years. He was a school senior. He was married and had a seven years old son. Seemed as if he was in a hurry to get married and become a father but a beautiful banker wife and cute son justified his haste.
The son was exceptionally gifted. He could crack mathematics problems, recite poems and if his parents were to be believed, he could play guitar as well. What more can you ask from a seven year old.
“So what do you aspire to become when you grow up?” I asked the kid.
“Engineer” He said
“Why Engineer son?” I asked.
“Because I like it” He replied. I laughed.
“And after that?” I asked.
“I will go to America and start my company” He replied instantly, now the parents had a smile.
“Why America son? You can start your company here as well?” I asked
“No I will go to America and start my company. I hate this country” He said coolly.
“What? Why do you hate this country?” I asked out of sheer surprise
“I don’t know but I hate this country…Mumma” He said clearly getting discomforted by my interrogation.
Now I questioned his father. He said he picked up the “I hate my country” dialogue from him and his wife.
“Anjali and I keep saying, Is Desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta. I hate this country. Wahin se pick kar liya hai shayad, aur theek hi toh kah raha hai?” He said.
(Anjali and I keep saying that nothing can be done about this country. Maybe he picked it up from one of our conversations and anyways he is right, eh?)
I argued with the father, I tried talking to the mother but they were adamant on their point. They knew just one thing that the country has ruptured beyond repair and there is no hope left here.
While I am totally against pseudo-nationalism, I totally believe that this “I hate my country” attitude needs to be changed. How can you hate your country when you don’t do anything to make it better? If you don’t participate in the democratic processes, If you let eve teasers pass by, if you break traffic rules, if you don’t help an accident victim, if you litter around, don’t ask for bills to get a discount, don’t pay taxes properly, misuse public property and then say “This country can’t improve, I hate this country”, you are a big hypocrite and if you let the same feelings enter the uncultivated, tender mind of a child, you are a sinner. No other word.