Thursday, 14 July 2011
Il pleut (It's Raining)
Thick-skinned or thick-skulled is the question?
Speaking for myself, I would say, I belong to the former category. Hardened, toughened and sort-of anesthecised over the past few years by the recurring acts of terrorism that the glorious city of Mumbai keeps facing. As a citizen, there is not much we can do at this point. When the very basics are not in place, what extra measures can be taken by the people of the city? This is a city that is the home for 17 million (and counting) - and yes it is true that it is not a feasible number for one little island to bear the responsibilities for but this has always been our reality. So when will the people who are supposed to govern our city and the state acknowledge this fact and take steps to ensure a decent standard of living for them? As they remain cocooned in their cushy, warm surroundings, driving around in state-given cars with half of the police force "protecting them" whilst they zip about town on pseudo-official work.
Admittedly, I don't follow our political scenario closely at all. I am fortunate that I have very tuned-in, well-read and well-informed parents who discuss the state of affairs with us every day, passionately and in detail. Most of what I know about the details of our governance (or the lack of!), is through them, combined with the little I absorb from the newspapers that I dutifully read every morning. But with the numerous and parallell-y important problems that are going on, how does one keep abreast with the news? It is tough to say what is more relevant or more pertinent or more grave - Bad is Bad. Each of these issues affects some party or the other and hence, how can one measure one man's loss over another's?
Globally, we live in terror-struck times. But what I find deplorable about our particular case is how many times do we need to go through it to come out a tad wiser? Every city in the world which has been an innocent victim of terrorism, has taken every single measure to make sure that it won't fall prey to such an act ever again and the perpetrators have been found and dealt with in the manner they so deserved.
And what is different here in India? Ahhh, this is where the thick-skulled lot comes in. The entire lot of them, useless and unaffected, give news channels quotes such as, "This time, we will bring the guilty to book -- make no mistake about it." Oh, the same way we have booked, our friend Ajmal Kasab? Lovely, in that case! The state spends approximately 30 crores (~6.7 million USD) towards the safety and upkeep of the lone terrorist whom we managed to capture post the 3-day massacre in November 2008. He gets tandoori chicken and biryani when he so desires, he gets to watch his favourite movie occasionally, he declares his want for a bride, and yesterday he got the best birthday celebration of his life - fireworks and blasts at 3 nerve centres of the city of Mumbai. Arey wah, life ho to aise...
Thus it is no surprise then, that what ought to have been India's message to the budding generations of soon-to-be-terrorists (it is a career option nowadays and applications are accepted through the year), by capturing and consequently killing Ajmal Kasab that very instant is quite the reverse. We have taken care of the man, kept him alive longer than his original fate (he had set off on a"divine" suicide mission) and have given him more stability than he got in his home town (he came from an impoverished village called Faridkot in Pakistan). We ought to have said, "mess with our life and property and pay the price for it!" Instead, we have given birth to a fresh new batch of terrorists who know that they can plot and pull-off any kind of operation with ease in India and not even have to die at the end of it all!
What an inviting proposition no?
Further, we suffer from the severe and blatant lack of accountability. It is a society governed by the sentiment of "We will see when it happens..." There is no fire in the belly of our politicians, other than the heartburn caused from excessive gutka and other such substances they consume. They haven't lost their place of business, their brother, their sister, nor have they been amputated, put into a coma or lost their lives. So how would they know?
More so, we live in the most technologically-savvy times, we are a nation producing global I.T geniuses, we are an information hub, and yet, we have the cheapest, most outdated intelligence machinery? We rely on foreign governments to give us tip-offs and instead of heeding to them, what do we do? Ignore.
After all, ignorance is bliss........
I don't know what I'm supposed to feel at the moment. I'm sad, but not depressed. I'm angry, but not enough to do very much about it. Must I stay home and ponder about this terrible happening. Will it look bad if I continue with life as I knew it? Hmmm
On that note, i'll hastily end this out-pour.
Just about 15 hours ago, the blasts had taken place a few hundred meters from where I work. Has life and activity stopped here? Most certainly not. In fact, the pace has accelerated. What choice do we have? We have wounds to clean up and mouths to feed. Life must and will go on.