Turning 63

Independence day.

Doesn’t feel like it this time… perhaps it is because I am out of school and we really don’t celebrate it the way we do it in school. Or perhaps it is because we see things much differently than the way we used to in school… with glasses of cynicism rather than the rose-tinted, history-book quoting ones.

I guess the best surprise and the nice thing about being independent is that we have the freedom to run ourselves into the ground and nobody to really blame for that. A lot of people claim that India is doing really well. Superficially, yes we are. But we are like that patient who is outwardly doing fabulously… all his coworkers love him, people love to hang out with him because he is so much fun and always on the go and making things happen… but in reality, on the inside, he is a bunch of neuroses thrown together waiting to explode. He cannot stand being alone or bear silence or really sit with his thoughts. And if that issue isn’t dealt with… that problem… then he will explode one day. And that is also India.

Outwardly, we are the growing economy which everyone – particularly Indians – loves to talk about. We are growing, we have the manpower and we like to believe that we are unstoppable. Which is why anytime anyone points out the problem, they are shot down for being unpatriotic or worse.

The problem is simple – we sweep the problems under the carpet and hope they resolve themselves. Like the issues related to caste and religion, like female infanticide, like why women still aren’t independent and strong in most parts of the country, the corruption that pervades every aspect of our lives here. And the worst problem – the attitude with which we say “this is the way we are” or “this is how it works here” and the “chalta hai” attitude. We wear it like a proudly earned badge.

Yes, there is  part of the society which is working towards all these issues that I mentioned. But most of the Indians are unconcerned about it. If there is a tree being chopped on the road without any reason, nobody asks why or with whose permission. If there is a woman being beaten up, most people choose to look the other way and of course, gossip. Men still demand dowry to marry girls who are smarter and way more than what they deserve. We fight in the name of caste, we fight in the name of religion and whatever else. We even refuse to allow people to get married because of something called “tradition” when those people are not related in any manner whatsoever by blood. Yet, at the same time, cousins are allowed to marry.

India does make me laugh. Sometimes the resilience is so surprising. The children on the street playing… you know they have no idea where their next meal is coming from… yet, they play like every other child… forgetting all that stuff they learnt on the street for a few minutes. We make do with what we have… even as we have dreams in our eyes. If only laziness did not interfere…

If only we could get rid of the corruption here… if only people would follow something as simple as road rules and make life a little easier for everyone instead of trying to bribe their way out of a problem. If only the cops and the government made rules based on what is good for the entire population instead of based on religion or pleasing one section of the vote bank.

Even as we deal with the cultural problems of having such a diverse nation, we are headed at breakneck speed into the globalized world. Issues like legalizing gay marriage are fast approaching the Indian mindsets… perhaps these might appear trivial to most people but they all do add up to the big thing – the quality of life. Our roads might not be as good as the German ones but I still love it when the entire stretch is pothole-free and I can zoom on it without a stupid  moron cutting me off to make an illegal turn.

And while I’m talking about all the “if only” matters, I guess I have to add the Commonwealth Games. When I mentioned this issue several months ago on this blog, people said I was being harsh. That I should give them a chance. Now, with less than 3 months to spare, we are no where close to where we want to be and the egg on India’s face cannot be cleaned up as fast.

It is not an Indian wedding. Whoever said that must be allowed to work with a wedding planner to see how bloody marriages work now. And anyway, as one magazine mentioned, the entire fricking nation is not paying for a wedding. All the people who were involved in the contract now must be made to foot the bill for the games, including the surplus amount spent. That should take care some of the budget deficit we have been moaning about.

Link of the day/Music of the day: Agam (This is a band I heard to today… they play Carnatic Rock and I am absolutely in love with their music as well as the lead singer. Enjoy!)

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