Sunday, 11 July 2010


Suddenly Delhi has woken up to the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. Trenches have been dug (Don’t ask me why; most probably so that we may jump into them and hide in shame when India fails to win even a tin medal in the Games). The potholes have been made bigger by haphazard raking. The pavements are being widened. Dividers are being erected. The roads are being narrowed (scaped is the official term). All the stadia are being renovated. Over bridges are being put up and DMRC is being pushed to complete the “metro-morphosis” of the NCR on or before time. Though, I don’t think it needs to be goaded into action as it is the only system right in perfect order.

But the moot point here is that all these things are happening all at once just a few months before the commencement of the Games at the same time, by a stroke of preordained divine plan, also eerily coinciding with the monsoonal deluge (though the rains are playing truant off and on). As a result, there are “happy” puddles and water logs all around delaying the completion of the mammoth task of overhauling the city. Not to mention the “euphoric” mishaps and accidents for the aam junta stumbling into gaping manholes and man-made gorges and ravines beneath merrily meandering streams and coagulated water bodies. Not to mention the soon to be triggered off water borne diseases in epidemic proportions. Not to mention the indefinite claustrophobic imprisonment amidst never ending traffic jams. Wrath of Nature? Or eternal human folly?

All this for what? Just to make the capital look upbeat and updated to international standards (with its faltering electricity and water supply system)? I am told that all these arrangements are for our “atithi devo bhava” who’d be arriving in throngs flooding the city a few months hence. For the convenience of the videshi athletes who would have found it immensely difficult to tread on the undulating, dented walkways of the rajdhani.

In the meanwhile, Ms. Dixit continues to enjoy an insulated existence within her Secretariat which looks more like a five star hotel from the exterior (I have never had the good (?) fortune of visiting the interiors) rather than an office premise of a country which has just recently scraped past the stigma of the “Third World”. On the other hand, the common man looks on helplessly while the taxpayers’ money goes down the drain.

The breaking news is that the city is going to be brought back to “normalcy” soon after the Games is over. That is what I have been told and people are talking about in agog wonderment(I hope they are all wrong). This means the roads which are now being sleeked will be widened once again to accommodate the every increasing insurgency of vehicles on road and the pavements now being widened will be brought down to shape so that the quintessential Delhites do not loose their age-old habit of tight rope walking between bumper to bumper traffic. So much so for the beautification of the city! A colossal waste of public resources and human labour.

At life’s crossroads, it is sometimes very difficult to choose between what is easy and what is right. In this case, instead of mauling and molesting the cityscape again and again, the easy way out would not only have been economical but advantageous too.

No road scaping should have been undertaken. The ankle spraining potholes should have been retained, as it is, if not made bigger and ghastlier in size and shape. While our desi athlete bhais would know how to circumvent the black holes of life, sorry , road, out of years of rigorous practice, the videshi counterparts would invariably bumble into a few. Result - muscular sprains, ligament strains and orthopaedic disorders of varying degrees (God forbid!) thereby inevitable detention from Games leaving an opponent free competition and an easy win for our country. Medals and accolades do not otherwise seem forthcoming through proper channel i.e. the right way. I think that must be the secret plan as well since MCD and NDMC have reportedly given up on meeting the deadline.

Correct me if I am wrong in my surmises since I am just a hapless layperson of this country and would be extremely relieved and overjoyed if proven wrong ten times and over again.


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