Just a few days back an official made this shocking statement: They cannot be allowed to remain on the main road since they will spoil the image of the city we are trying to portray. The they were poor slum dwellers displaced by the floods and camping on a road side. For the past months or more we have seen destruction of homes, displacement of people, elimination of sources of livelihood all in the name of the so called image of the city. It seemed that the presence of street vendors, visible slum dwellers, road side cobblers etc would damage the image of our city.
Today we are a nation that has been humiliated and shamed not because of the so called they but thanks to the official and his ilk. Every news channel worldwide is talking about the state of the Games village which is in their words filthy, unlivable, disgusting an more. And this expletives dear Sirs, are not for the they you so ruthlessly did away with, but for the Village that was, in the words of the leader of your pack, to be better than Beijing! So what happened? We need to know. You plundered our pockets unabashedly and we at least hoped that you would deliver. But we are not prepared to accept this international humiliation silently. We demand answers. Someone has to be made responsible. And the answers you give are unacceptable. How can you say : Everyone has different standards about cleanliness. The Westerners have different standards while we have different standards. How can you talk of different perceptions of hygiene. Even the poorest of the poor does not accept a dog pooing on his bed! Please do not include us in your cover up game. And stop blaming the weather, the stray dogs or God knows who!
And if that was not enough as I write these words the clean up is going on with impunity. And I do not refer to the cleaning of the Games village but to the removal of people’s livelihood. Yes businesses that have been operating for years are being razed if they happen to be on the route of a games event. You see they spoil the image! I wonder how people having tea at a tea stall or sipping a glass of juice at a juice stall spoil the image of a city. But then I guess I do not have the same principles of aesthetic as those in the seat of power.
Everything seems to be falling apart and I really do not see how it can all be put together again. Even God would be unable to do so but then God does not seem to be on your side, if he were maybe he would have at least stopped the rain.
As I watch all this in total bewilderment I am reminded of a rhyme I sing to my grandchild:
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the King’s horses, And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again!
Note: the commonwealth games are being inaugurated during the Pitr Paksha or Shraad – or days of the year dedicated to the dead – considered inauspicious. Wonder who decided on the dates.