Dear friends, excuse me if I lay bare certain facts. It so happened that we were to go to Delhi and got our seats reserved online in the morning train from Patiala. On the appointed day we readied to go to the railway station and a friend was waiting to drop us there. Before locking the house dear hubby wanted to make sure that the train was on time and switched on the Internet. To our disbelief the site showed the train as ‘cancelled.’ One or two frantic telephone calls and it got confirmed that it was actually cancelled. No clue why?
The alternative was to take the available bus. Our friend dropped us at the bus stop in the drizzling rain (the first winter rain, a boon for fledging wheat crop). But it was a virtual nightmare for us. Slush, slush and more slush. Every step was an effort. I wonder how people travel during rains. The bus stop was crowded (even at that hour) and mounds of garbage were spotted every where. Shopkeepers, fruit sellers, vendors and traveling public contribute equally to the mess. It smells horribly of decayed eatables and urine- yes urine - and all along the walls men urinate shamelessly and the smell wafts in the air.
We settled for an ordinary bus which was fully packed. All the people who were to go by train (the railway station is close by) rushed to board buses. Heaved a sigh, when the bus started and I could look right and left unobstructed being perched high above. I missed this sight for many years and the experience proved quite revealing about certain glaring realities of our lives.
The appalling scenario was, all pervading filth and littered garbage along the roads and in front of the shops which line the major part of the way. The shop owners clean the interiors but have no care about their immediate surroundings. Shop fronts are not even paved. Nauseating dirty wetness around tea shops and eating joints abound. Stray cattle, dogs and pigs roam freely causing scare. Only a few pockets comprising good hotels and government establishments, present a semblance of cleanliness. Otherwise the scene which catches your attention is heaps of waste here, there and everywhere. MCs of the respective cities seem to be dwelling in ivory towers somewhere.
Actually it mirrors our national character. The way we throw peels, plastic bottles, shells, snack containers and pouches out of the running cars and buses, unmindful of our civic duties, tell a sordid tale.
The crux of the problem, however, is absence of accountability and effective deterrents. The brashness of our multitudes is alarming. Masses are aware of their rights but ignore their responsibilities. Tolerance has reached nether levels. There is arson and destruction of nation’s wealth at the drop of a hat.
Our country is facing serious social unrest. The stage of our falling into the abyss of frustrations is imminent. What we need is drastic overhauling of our operational mechanisms. Authorities alone cannot achieve this gargantuan task. All of us should lend a helping hand to shake the sinking administrative machinery. Let’s step out of our safe and glassy cocoons and help frame policies to take up remedial measures at war footing.
There is no dearth of prudent and committed bureaucrats and corporate titans who could be requested to help out. The industry giants who made possible high economic growth and overall prosperity would surely invent methods to save India from becoming a nation of garbage. If this single job is done successfully, we can save our citizenry from contracting deadly diseases. It would ease our overburdened health services and many man days would be saved.
Another burning topic which continues to be sidetracked is our bourgeoning population. Anybody who loves his country will aver that without population control all our efforts for all round betterment will remain a pipe dream. The political class of our country has to rise above vote bank considerations and put in place measures to deal with the issue. If there is genuineness in its formulations nobody is going to oppose it. No sacrifice is big enough for the sake of the country.
A small hoarding at a wine shop in Panipat " Chield beer served here."