Cutting across India’s vast plains from Delhi to Bangalore, watching the nature from behind a glass screen, the typical rural setup worries one more than its apparent beauty. There are times when the smokescreen of pessimism comforts us more than the clarity of truth. What i see from behind the comfort of my travel at Rajdhani express is disparity. A clear lack of empathy.
Beyond the open fields of mushrooming cotton shrubs and small guava trees, there lies a tiny hut, too fragile a sight to watch. I wonder what its simple tenants must be doing during monsoons. Thankfully it is the start of winters. They seem to have enough twigs and dry leaf piled up next to their humble abode to brace the chilly winters.
I cross a dry riverbed. The next-berth-aunty is cribbing to the attendant on duty about the lack of water in one of the toilets. ‘It would be done soon m’am,’ he says. I wonder who’s available to assure the family who would have to walk miles together for a pot of water, only because their source of water, the dry riverbed, has betrayed them. Who would tell them, ‘It would be done soon…’
Hours pass by and I get off from my comfortable Rajdhani train. I see ‘development’ everywhere. Auto-stands, taxi-booths, tall buildings, busy roads, etc. There’s a Tourist Information counter, crowded by mostly foreigners. I also see an old couple standing all by themselves, waiting for an auto. Ironically, my auto arrives and I had to leave. For me too, helping them by offering my auto takes a backseat as I need to reach office on time. Moreover, where else would I find an auto to take me home from Majestic for 70 bucks. I forget the world and move on.
Things change, people change and so does perceptions.
India definitely must have changed.
From Gandhi’s ‘Sarvodya’ program, we have evolved and adapted to a ‘Shanghai’ model. The parameters of development have changed. And it would continue to change. In the madness, the one thing which still makes sense is Free Lunch by Pseutopia.