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Ever since Kalmadi bashing started I ve stopped watching other programs on TV and preferred watching the news coverage of our preparation rather the lack of it for the Commonwealth Games known as CWG. I was not surprised that teams from different countries wanted to pull out for the unlivable conditions in the games village. It is perhaps due to the difference in Indian and International standards as Mr. Bhanot rightly pointed out.
I really feel delighted. Delighted at Mr. Bhanot s comment that the Indian definition of hygiene was not the same as that in the western world. Rather, the developed countries seem to have an atrociously high standard for clean toilets. What seems okay for us seems to appear filthy to them. Now, don t get me wrong. I am all in support of the gentleman. It is not as if we are talking of the living room or dining area. A bathroom is after all a place for cleaning one s system and flushing out digestive wastes. And yet they want it to be sparkling! It is no wonder that more than 50% of Indians relieve themselves in public places. That way there will be no accountability and we Indians including Mr. Lalit Bhanot love the situation where one does not have to account for his/her actions. I hope he plans to hand out aluminium or brass lotas and train the delegates to relieve themselves on the banks of the Yamuna. They are bound to enjoy the experience and have a lot to share with their family when they return. Think of the atrociously high price the organizers could quote for the ‘lotas’ and the money it could fetch. Mr. Bhanot, I hope you are listening.
And look at the furore over paan stains in the corridors of the buildings marked out for the CWG. I don t blame the westerners. They sip wine and smoke cigars. So they really do not understand how difficult it is for paan chewing Indians. But the way our media goes on and on about a few paan stains is disgusting. You can climb the stairs of any government office including the Secretariat in state capitals. People chew tobacco and betel leaves and spit it out before entering the office of the high and mighty who they plan to meet. After all it does not look good to stand in front of an officer chewing tobacco or paan. He may ask you a question and in your effort to answer him you may end up spitting it on his spotlessly clean suit, polished floor or anywhere within a radius of 5 meters from him. Lalu Prasad Yadav had a party worker following him with a silver spittoon wherever he went. Not everyone can boast of the facility. Isn t it better to be safe than sorry? So as long as people chew tobacco and paan, corridors of government offices and national monuments have every chance of looking colorful with bright stains all over the place. We actually need to have people trained to interpret our unique paan chewing culture to our visitors. May be we could get a few of them addicted so that the next time around they will not be shocked or knocked out of their senses.
As for Mr. Mani Shankar Iyer, the man seems to practice black magic. The elements seem to be controlled by him. The Delhi CM is at her wit s end. The rains just will not stop. No wonder a bridge here and a roof there have started giving way. Come on Mr. Iyer, I agree that those in the government as well as those outside it called you anti-national when you opposed the conduction of the commonwealth games on the grounds that the money involved could be used for other development projects. But should you go to the extent of invoking the Rain God and getting him to lash out on sports lovers? The way things stand India may be the only participating country and the few loyals who still want to cheer them may not even reach the venues. The rains have to stop before more structures collapse and disrupt the smooth(?) flow of traffic.
But I am not surprised. The head of an institution slaps a gatekeeper in the presence of 200 students for being unable to control a frenzied mob single handedly and the officer in charge of the nearest police station advices the man not to annoy his higher ups. Instead of worrying about his safety and insisting on better security arrangements, the labor union refuses to take up his case saying that he was guilty of having neglected his duty. A young girl with a promising future dies under mysterious circumstances and her colleagues insist on a post-mortem but her father refuses to pursue the case saying that it would affect the lives of his remaining children since her in laws had powerful connections. Another girl with an equally promising career is murdered for dowry and her husband manages to be acquitted due to lack of evidence. Within months he remarries without his credentials being ever questioned.
Isn t this laid back attitude at least partly responsible for the substandard levels in every important aspect of our lives? We would rather cough up a percentage as bribe than await our turn in the normal course. We want it to have it easy all the time so what if we have become a laughing stock to the world in the run up to the commonwealth games and a few have become richer. Was perhaps their destiny that worked overtime? The debate will continue for a few weeks, some may be arrested and released for want of concrete proof and we will start planning for the next national waste of the taxpayer s money.
I started this piece as a satire but I end it with agony and shame hoping that at least a few valuable lessons will be learnt from this unfortunate chapter in Indian History.
The Hip Grandma lives in a small industrial town called Jamshedpur and despite all its
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