Isn’t it amazing how much everyone dreams about India coming to be a superpower and the likes. Not to mention us competing with China and being one of the leading countries of the world. I wonder how that’s going to happen. I mean I don’t see it coming with the way things are going anyway.
I was on my way to New Friends Colony one day and as I gazed out of the car window, I saw the regular things in the Capital. Bad roads, dirty footpaths, slums and the regular trash on the road side. I mean it’s normal for us Indians but not normal for superpower Indians.
Have you ever noticed how small our roads are? I did that day. Completely un-leveled and unmarked. And to make it worse the damn pot-holes on them don’t let you have a smooth ride. So much for roads. What about the footpaths which accompany them? Battered, broken, worn out are some of the words that I can possibly think of to describe them.
Not long after that I got stuck in a traffic jam. The reason? The traffic signal wasn’t working. I had to put my driving skills to test and somehow got out of it yelling and using the choicest of abuses directed towards my fellow drivers. Not that there’s usually much of a problem with traffic signals but when there actually is a problem with them there’s nothing we can do about it.
As soon as I was out of the jam I noticed a road sign. The arrow pointed forward and it said CORTS HOSPITAL. Corts Hospital? Then another one on its right read ASH. “Aye Caramba!” I thought. Was Aishwarya Rai up ahead? But I knew better. It was not CORTS HOSPITAL but ESCORTS HOSPITAL and ASHRAM not ASH. The trees were covering the initial letters of the words. Wonderful trees. I think it’s very generous of our dear government to fill the entire capital with trees. And let’s face it. We need them. But c’mon, with all due respect to environmentalists what good are trees if they remain totally untrimmed since they’ve been planted and become an inconvenience to the city citizens? They cover half the road signs in the city y’know. And what good are the road signs then.
And then I noticed the biggest contributing factor of them all. Dirt. It’s a common sight to see garbage always lying around on the streets and by road sides What’s even more pathetic is that you never see the authorities cleaning it up. Once while traveling with a friend I happened to mention about the pollution. And pat came his reply, “Bloody Angrez, this ain’t your foreign, this is India and that’s the way things are around here”. Another time I happen to be roaming around in a South Delhi market and noticed people eating and throwing away garbage with glory right on the street. And perhaps that’s the main reason for all that I mentioned till now. Even the people have stopped caring.
And that brings me to the point. We dream of Delhi being London and Mumbai being Shanghai? No, lets not. New York, London & Shanghai have all the basic amenities that I talked about. They have authorities who work for them. They’re roads are wide, footpaths are clean, trees are trimmed, they have proper electricity with water supply and the people dream of a better tomorrow. If just one day of rain can drown our metropolitan cities and leave the people with no electricity then better improve the drainage than compare the city to international ones. Let New Delhi be New Delhi. Let Mumbai be Mumbai. Even as I write this now the electricity is gone and the UPS is going “beep beep”. It’s time for our leaders and authorities to put our money where they’re mouths are.
Sure your home might be the best place in the city. But your city isn’t the best in the world. What defines the city initially is what it looks like. And by the looks of it, our cities don’t impress.Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t most of the things that I mentioned to be taken care of. Don’t I as a citizen of this country have a right to proper roads, footpaths, traffic signals and clean surroundings which allow me a smooth ride to my friends place? And that’s why I have a right to ask where the entire tax payer’s money and allocated funds are going? If our politicians put that money right where it belongs instead of they’re already inflated pockets then maybe some improvement can actually be seen.
Let’s get a reality check. Our cities aren’t becoming any better. Not if the authorities work the way they have been working. Forget skyscrapers, world class malls, high tech airports. Those can come later on. First get the basics of city planning right. I don’t know what to expect when I become a tax-paying citizen of this country. And frankly I don’t blame the people leaving the country for better ones. I don’t see Delhi becoming London and Mumbai becoming Shanghai. At least not if things keep going on the way they have been. And the day Delhi becomes London, the party drinks are on me.
P.S – I wrote this rant when I was in 3rd year of my college. That was two years ago. I came across this while randomly going through my folders. And the situations mentioned above still hold true. And that ladies and gentlemen is why I decided to publish this rant!