“Apne Ko Kya?”: How Indians Shirk Responsibility


“Apne Ko Kya?”: How Indians Shirk Responsibility

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty


s a country, we are always in a hurry: We have no time for each other or for adhering to rules. We drive every day like getaway drivers straight out of Baby Driver and honk as if it’s our fundamental right. Nothing can slow our march against the clock, not even our friends, families, anniversaries, or vacations.

It’s ironic then, that for a people who behave as if every second of our time is as priceless as the Kohinoor diamond, it doesn’t take much to slow us down. Our insanely fast-paced life comes to a grinding halt the minute we witness a public altercation or an accident. Suddenly, time is nothing but loose change. We’ve all seen how comfortably traffic slows down when there’s an accident on the side of a highway or bang in the middle of the road. The same autowallah, who was driving like he had the engine of a Ferrari, pulls over along with the guy who was running late for a meeting and yelling at his Uber driver to break signals. All of us want in on the story; we look around, try to catch someone’s eye, and utter “Kya hua?” in our attempt to be more clued in. Then, if time permits – which it always does – we readily offer needless advice, concern, or commentary. And then we’re off within the next minute, staying true to the famous Indian “Chhod na, apne ko kya?” mentality.