Mumbai Rains: Why monsoon in India brings mixed emotions
This befuddlement is most glaring during the monsoon season. How else does one explain the predicament when for 10 months in a year we adjure rain and when it rains, we don't know what to do. Perhaps the rain gods too are as boggled as we are
Indians often grapple with conflicting emotions. We are unsure of what we want or, rather what is good for us and hence are perplexed as to what to seek in our prayers. This befuddlement is most glaring during the monsoon season. How else does one explain the predicament when for 10 months in a year we adjure rain and when it rains, we don't know what to do. Perhaps the rain gods too are as boggled as we are.
The shambolic state of our civic infrastructure is not lost on anyone. Our administrative apathy no longer raises eyebrows. Just when you think you've experienced the worst, there is a new low round the corner. It seems that different government departments are competing to hit rock bottom.
A cursory glance at news reports over the last few days will buttress the above sentiment. People have been electrocuted, felled by fallen trees, crushed under collapsed roofs, roads have caved in, buildings are threatening to fall and hence evacuated. These tragedies have befallen in the national capital and the national capital region, so-called smart cities, which in reality should not even qualify as livable cities.
Some basic questions play on my mind. Is the annual rainfall an every-year feature or a once-in-12-years-kumbh-ka-mela that we are always ill equipped to handle? It's akin to that juvenile joke of seeing a banana skin and thinking that we will have no choice but to fall again. Is it not as absurd as that?
Whenever the executive or the bureaucracy is berated, they in their defense disapprove standard generalisations. Let's review some specific instances:
There have been logjams, not on tertiary roads but on a newly constructed elevated highway connecting one smart city of the national capital region with the national capital. The reason cited was water logging. The drainage on the latest highway was inadequate. We know by now that water logging apart from traffic snarls leads to road break down as well. Our roads do not last even a season.
Don't grumble about sanitation. When have the civic authorities actually delivered on that front? We are yet to see an operational set up of garbage collection, dumping and disposal. There is always an open sewage drain just in the vicinity. The drainage system dates back to the British era. Sewage treatment plants seldom function. Our holy rivers are filthier than drains. If challenges of clean food and water were not enough, clean air has become daunting as well. At least that is the conspicuous state of the UP cities, the national capital Delhi and the commercial capital Mumbai. Let's not even benchmark to the first world countries, we are loath to imbibe even from Madhya Pradesh which has exceedingly and consistently fared so well on this count.
This is the state of affairs when the highest office of the country has initiated and propagated a clean India campaign. The administration, which forever has been impervious to condemnation, seems to have now inured itself even to the directives of the Prime Minister. I do not know whether to call it insouciance or impunity? Perhaps a collapse of governance.
Another tragicomic factoid is that every year parts of the country are ravaged by torrential rain and some areas hurt by drought. I for one tend to importunately entreat the almighty to provide for a mechanism of selective monsoon, where rain falls only on the rural agro fields and not on the urban city roads. Sounds bizarre, but perhaps only as outlandish as the dystopian state around us.
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Rain brings relief in northern India; southern states still reel under heat wave