As winter sets in in India’s capital city, once again we get reminded of the existence of 2 Indias. While one is busy preparing for highly westernised festivities, the other is huddled around makeshift fires simply trying to survive.

This is India a land where extreme situations are now jaded realities. Today’s news bulletin was a stark reminder if that. While the first item was about 5 districts of Maharashtra a stone’s throw away from India’s buzzing commercial capital Mumbai, battling famine the other was about the latest fad in that very city: home delivered meals for our canine friends!

What was disturbing about the first item was that while the District Magistrate had declared a state of famine, higher authorities have simply deferred their decision till January 15th. I wish hey also had a recipe for deferring the pangs of hunger felt each day by any normal human being. This famine was caused by excessive rains that washed away and destroyed the paddy crop of the poor farmers of that region. The next crop is many moons away.

Our land has many ways of explaining such occurrences, the favourite being karma. Suffering is directly proportionate to the good deeds you have done in the past. However what about some investment in insuring your future? True that come winter we receive some phone calls offering blankets or warm clothes, but that is in no way sufficient. The problem is endemic and the solution need to be long term.

If the two Indias have to coexist that bridges of understanding need to be built. It is only if they both prosper that our land will be safe in the future. This is something we do not seem to understand as has been amply proved by the quasi total absence of funding from our own city. Maybe it is a way of blanking out reality, an attempt to wish something away by not acknowledging its existence.

Such an attitude is bound to have dramatic consequences. The recent sealing of shops has resulted in loss of employment and more is on the anvil. One must not forget that desperation and hunger can lead to extreme actions as one has seen with the swelling numbers of farmer’s suicide. It can also lean to crime in cities and threaten us all.

The writing is in on the wall, maybe it is time we took our blinkers off…