Living In Extremes



 BhimsenThapaliya

 This scribe is an eyewitness to incidents of abuse two and half decades ago when beating up public transport drivers and khalasis used to be common. The transport professionals were not organised and they were usually treated as voiceless servants. Slightest cause of provocation could land them in physical and verbal mistreatment, and they had no option but to tolerate and keep quiet. Today’s drivers and khalasis are more powerful and pampered. They threaten and assault passengers even when they insist getting change while paying fares. Both of these extremes are condemnable.

 It is sad to note that things exist in extremes that are undesirable and harmful. The country is always in bad shape probably because the proper middle track is deliberately avoided. No matter which system has ushered into the nation or whoever is in power, people are out to exercise power to the extremes. This is a real challenge to the rule of law and protection of the inherent rights of common citizens. Either you have no basic rights or you start to enjoy the privilege that you do not deserve. The centrist, moderate and moral track remains in obscurity.

 It seems that the deep sense of insecurity has driven everybody to act the way they do. Professor AbhiSubhi had once recounted an anecdote when a student was asked to give the past tense of the verb ‘go’. What the teacher got was ‘wented’ which Prof. Subedi jokingly called extreme past tense of the word. The student pushed his reply to such an extreme level that its chance of not being in the past tense was remote. However, when one pushed things to extremity, one always gets the wrong outcome. Instead, if we had a bit of commonsense, it would have worked wonders.

 It is said that the old generation sees all stupidity with the new generation and the vice versa is also true. It might be just the reality necessitated by changing time but the tendency on Nepalis to stay in one or other extreme of the pendulum is an undeniable truth. It is also true that when you try to overdo things in order to outdo your rivals, you lose your own firm ground and fall off the cliff. Justice, equal behavior, rule of law and a respect to moral values is something that is hard to get until we abandon the love for extremity.

 When I was learning to drive motorbike in the mid-Nineties my instructor TriratnaMaharjan taught me a practical principle for a beginner. When learning to drive a two-wheeler, be prepared to fall but invariably make sure that you do not touch and hurt others, he told me in a firm voice. That was a real morale booster and morally right thing. But when I was learning drive a four-wheel vehicle recently at one of the mushrooming institutes, my instructor told me to be bold enough and push ahead in a crowded road. If you stop and keep waiting, you will never reach your destination. He even said you can always repair a broken vehicle if you hit somebody, but must be pushing ahead on the road.  

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