Minus five for misbehaviour

Singer Aditya Narayan's recent altercation at Raipur airport is just another instance of arrogance that comes with fame.

How often do you hear a “Jaanta hai main kaun hu?” (Do you know who I am?) only to passively laugh it off? Definitely more often than you’d like to remember. Arrogance along these lines is rampant in the country — every nook and cranny has someone displaying rash confidence about their power, positive that he won’t be kept accountable for their misbehaviour, and underestimating those around him. The latest addition to this is Aditya Narayan.

In a video uploaded on Sunday, the popular singer Udit Narayan’s moderately known singer son pulled a stunt at Raipur airport. He was seen yelling at IndiGo airport officials and even threatening them after getting involved in an altercation with them. The video shows the singer protesting an airline official’s allegations of using abusive language in public. He goes on to say that the airline can bar him from entering the flight, but he, being the son of a popular yesteryear singer, will reach Mumbai at some point, and will ensure that the particular airline official is dealt with. “My name is not Aditya Narayan if I don’t get your underwear removed,” he said.

You see, incidents like these eating up newsprint every now and then. In the recent past, Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad and comedian Kapil Sharma were in the news for misbehaving on airplanes and misconduct with the airline staff — mid-air or on the ground.

Take time to notice that this sense of self-importance rarely ever comes with maturity, as Anil Dharker, columnist and founder of Mumbai International Literary Festival, points out. “You won’t see a P. Chidambaram behaving this way — taking advantage of his power and behaving inappropriately. People who know they are important have the maturity to deal with it; some people just think they are important,” he says.

However, as much as Anil thinks it is Aditya at fault, he also admits that, to a certain extent, so is the general public.

“We are the only country that practice the culture of VVIP; like we had to invent that category specifically for us,” he says. “Considering how we are at fault for giving people undue importance, we shouldn’t be surprised when they take advantage of the situation.”

Director Karan Anshuman concurs. “We have decades of a certain social and political culture that gives undue importance to people that don’t deserve it,” he says, adding that we are then scandalised when they use this for their benefit.

Even as IndiGo issued a complaint stating that they didn’t appreciate Aditya’s conduct, Ajay Jasra, director at corporate communications at IndiGo, shares how the staff deals with any customer reacting this way. “When greeted with new information, people are often confused and get easily agitated,” he says. He adds that situations like these are expected and they begin dealing with it with patience at first. “But if the flyer’s attitude gets out of hand, we try not to interfere and pass on matters to the airport police.”

On the surface, that one arrogant person seems to be faulty. Dig a bit deeper and we are at fault for giving not-so-important people more leverage than they deserve. But, Anil excuses himself with just one question to Aditya, “Would you have behaved this way had you been in London scheduled to fly with the British Airways?” Probably not, he says, without waiting for an answer.

What Aditya would have to say about all this, we can’t be sure since the singer remained unavailable for comment at the time of going to print.

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