Haritha Sharma, Interim Editor, SpeakingThreads
Photo Source: BigStockPhoto
I am not debating humankind, empathy or compassion here. These words have significance in some settings and not in some. When would Indians realize that civic sense is paramount to a healthy civilization.
Last evening, I encountered complete nonsense, insensitivity and ill mannerism in a cinema hall run by a popular movie hall operator. I along with a friend went to see larger than life movie Sultan in a cinema hall located in an upmarket mall of Gurgaon. Gurgaon by the way is a vibrant suburb of Delhi. This suburb is also known as millennium city. It is inhabited by well to do and affluent people from the corporate and the business world. There is a sizeable educated corporate working professional population in this city.
Our seats were in the middle row, the show was late in the evening. My friend and I grabbed some popcorns and cola and settled in our seats comfortably to witness the giant Salman Khan at his best ever performance (as we were made to understand by the media review of the movie). The movie started with three seats on my right side being vacant giving me some subconscious anxiety about its probable occupancy or continuing vacancy. Five minutes into the movie came a family of about seven people including one kid of kindergarten age. The family members were definitely well-off and appeared educated. They were conversing in hinglish. They were all scattered on different seats as on my right there were only three vacant seats on which part of the family sat. On my immediate right sat one well to do elderly woman with that kindergarten age kid on her lap and adjoining thereof were supposedly father of that kid and mother as well.
The whole circus started parallel to the movie, which I had come to watch with complete attentiveness. Firstly, the whole family was playing jigsaw or musical chairs with their seats. They kept getting up and exchanging seats between them. The child was completely disinterested in the movie and I don’t blame him because he was hardly four years’ old. The father gave his mobile phone to the kid to play some godforsaken noisy game with no decency to even switch off the volume. The movie’s audio track got completely mixed up with that video game sound track. The family was behaving as if they were the only ones in the entire movie hall. The kid was shouting and shrieking and conversing at the top of his voice. He was calling other family members of his, across so many rows. The worst part being that none was there from the staff of the movie hall to even discipline them. I as a female was scared a bit to point out not knowing how these noisy audiences will react to my complaint (after all I was in a city, I do not belong to).
On the top of it one infant from the back row got cranky and irritable as movie was noisy and that he or she was not supposed to be there but for his or her parents. That infant made such a trouble for all, I can’t even narrate. The parents appeared to be completely unconcerned and my friend and me clueless.
The whole movie hall was sounding like a noisy kindergarten or crèche. The movie of Sultan turned out be a complete fiasco. This is my third such experience in the recent past of Indian cinema halls. It makes me ponder who is lacking in India – we common people who maintain silence and do not point out to the people committing wrongs or those people who are committing wrongs by completely lacking basic civic sense or the enforcing administrative agencies who fail in their obligatory duties to discipline the people. A complete disregard to civic mannerism.
Whatever be the answer, last evening, I was ashamed as an Indian movie goer.
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