Couldn’t really think of ringing in the new year than to pen my thoughts, not to mention the compulsions of having an eight-month-old to look after or better still, better half does the needful and yours truly takes the credit!
World over, right from the US to India, the rise of globalization has coincided with the rise of right-wing politics and politicians and at the very outset I want to mention here that my political views are mine alone and do not want to influence or corrupt my readers in the long run just in case there are political upheavals such as Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh being pointers for the future or the lack of it, pun unintended.
My fellow countrymen are zealously guarding the good offices of the PM and the party and I do not want to rub the authorities the wrong way. Let’s just say it is a critique rather than criticism.
With all due respect to the politicians and bureaucrats running this country, the thought is novel but the implementation is a whole new ballgame altogether and that is the construction of toilets all across the country under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to coincide with Gandhiji’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019 so that we can instill the right values and hygiene in the common folk by maintaining cleanliness and a substantial portion of the exercise is and should be devoted to the problem of defecating in the open.
Now, I am a proud pessimist, let me share some numbers. There are close to one billion people who defecate in the open in the world and India contributes 600 million of those.
Recently, in the month of October, there was a campaign run by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev who called the Rally for Rivers and concerned citizens had to give a missed call on a number so that they could contribute in saving the depleted rivers.
The cause was noble and the number of phone calls that were received was 300 million. Now my pessimism doesn’t stem from the hinterland where exposure and infrastructure are limited but about a few public toilets that have sprung up in the capital and which I have noticed are already dysfunctional given the sheer scale and magnanimity of the problem.
Toilets do not have the adequate amount of water to flush or for that matter are ill-equipped for the gentry and are lying locked as sore thumbs bang in the middle of busy intersections or marketplaces.
In India, you do everything that you want to till the time that you are caught or in other words, the Police is neither an enemy nor a friend.
One needs to be equidistant from the force. Anyways this is how it panned out. I needed to take a leak next to the ATM that I had withdrawn from and found a sweet spot nearby.
It had a park in front which was fenced in front, a Police check-post diagonally opposite and the length of independent houses at the back. This is a common phenomenon all across the city where the tiled photos of Gods are stuck at walls to dissuade people from pissing on them.
So I took the fence surrounding the park to relieve when I was stopped by the gardener from doing it. In my sheer brazenness or absent-mindedness of the moment, I went along ignoring the gardener but also telling him to complain to the Police just in case he felt the need to stop me.
This was heard by the burly Policeman who came out in no time and declared that I was committing public nuisance which resulted in a slanging match because I declared that I would do it where it felt fucking right.
The Policeman took offence and started jutting his paunch against my tummy and started taunting me & daring me at the same time. Since there was no reaction from my side rather than shouting he started shoving me back when I complained about his stomach and his bad breath. Finally, I walked away giving him the choicest Hindi abuses but not really sure if it made a difference.
Ps- This had nothing do with the New Year revelry because it was a good five days back around 12 in the noon. Happy New Year.