Over the last ten years or so, I am witness to the emergence of a new smart class. This smart class has people that appear to be well educated, own and live in villas and apartments, drive swanky cars, travel frequently, both within India and outside, dress fashionably, have invested in multiple asset classes, use the latest gadgets, have got memberships of exclusive and elite clubs, shop in the best of the shops, have well structured model like looks… it’s almost like I am profiling a particular segment for marketing purposes.
Unfortunately I am not doing any profiling…. All that I have observed about this so called ‘smart’ class is that it has no class at all. They might have arrived from a money and materialistic perspective but from a civic or social sense they have not even started, let alone arrive.
I see this class everywhere, especially in the big cities. Growing in numbers. Throwing cans and garbage from their swanky cars, littering from their balconies, parking in no parking zones or in others’ parking slots, trying to cut across people standing in queues, recognising you only when they have to get something from you, posturing and positioning as if they are the best, while this class seriously needs to go back to school. They need to get their basics right. In fact the saying ‘appearances are deceptive’ seems to have come in vogue because of this class only. They understand and know fully well that they are trampling on others space but just do not care as they believe they belong to the so called ‘smart’ class.
I met one such species this morning when we went to buy vegetables from the Safal outlet located inside our condominium, Ridgewood Estate, Gurgaon. The lady, in her early twenties, kept the basket of vegetables on the billing counter but went on picking other items one after the other and brought them to the counter for billing, even as many customers were waiting in the queue to get their items billed. One could see and sense the frustration of the waiting customers but this lady went after what she wanted, even yelling at the boys in the shop, ‘Bhaiya, ye dedho, Bhaiya woh item dedho’ without bothering about anyone else. We left the shop without buying anything. The “sample” of the ‘smart’ class just walked away after her shopping was over without a word of apology to the customers who were waiting patiently but with frustration.
While there could be several views on this experience including the one that puts the onus on the shop keeper to make people come in the queue, I have no such illusion that a shop keeper can ever make this so called smart class understand civic and social sense. It is this smart class citizens group that will blame the world for their miseries, lack of cleanliness and hygiene around them, debate endlessly and uselessly about intolerance and illiteracy..for this group, the problem is with the rest of the world and nothing is wrong with them. They feel they are smart enough to get their way by being Romans when they are in Rome – by following rules in Singapore but flouting them in India. They are actually the most uneducated, uncivilised lot of our population who live lives at a superficial level until disaster strikes…don’t want this smart class group to grow in numbers to completely put down the sensitive and sensible group that seems to be declining in numbers.
Let’s hope for the best….
Disclaimer – exceptions exist and in good numbers, just that the “smart” class is also big in numbers so we need to watch out.