After quite a long time, on this lazy Sunday, it has been raining non-stop since early morning. I was sitting back and enjoying the rain, went out on my bike with my friends, got drenched and all that. Evening tea and hot pakodas my mom had made were even more splendid and tasty thanks to the cool breeze and the absolutely chill raindrops. After all this, my mom fearing mosquitoes invading the house asked me to get in shut the door and windows. So with nothing else to do, I took to television. Tuned to a talkshow hosted which was discussing the monsoon issues that Chennai was facing.
The show itself was not interesting, after Barkhagate, there is no major thing that will help me get back and believe the media. It is only a source of information and nothing else. News, views and all are paid for, I would go on but I digress. So what made the show interesting was that while discussing the problems the city was facing, I was surprised to see the Commissioner of Chennai Metropolitan Corporation present to give his views. Come on in this country, I still remember the Chief Election Commissioner Mr. T.N. Seshan counting to 10 to dismiss reporters from his office. From there to here it definitely is a major change.
What struck me first was that the anchor was asking what the corporation did before the monsoon to prevent this. The commissioner gave his answer that they had cleaned so many storm water drains, etc etc while he was explaining this there was one activist there who quipped saying that why they expect citizens to do everything. Well I would have suggested the commissioner to have asked back, what was the channel and the anchor doing not hosting this show until almost the end of the monsoon season. Why is it that we need to point fingers at government and its lack of capacity to handle affairs?
When asked about capacity of storm water drains being just 400+ cubic measures of water per day when during monsoon we have close to 600+ cubic measures to pump out, the activist was of the opinion that if that is the case, then why cant we increase capacity. As a consultant I need to say, we always ask clients to plan and provide only for the mean value not the extremes. So why should the government alone do differently. Wouldn’t another activist go out and cry foul that the government is wasting tax payers money on useless things. This is when the exnora activist made an excellent point on how people dump garbage and waste into the storm water drain. My mom immediately said that the holes made for water to go into the drain are too huge and needs some kind of vents and protective mesh. I still remember that when I was a kid, there used to be metal drain covers. These were replaced by cement ones when people started stealing it. So the same would be the case with metal meshes. Plastic/Cement wouldn’t last long enough and it would truly be a waste of time and money.
This discussion got us to discuss about a lot of things. I told my mom that garbage bins were provided at every street(1 for every 20houses is the count). But households complain that they don’t want garbage bins near their house and they push it to the neighbours and so on. So now what can we do, go back to the days we had a man cycle in a garbage cycle and collect garbage from every house. Are we ready to pay as much to employ a man for that? No. That also government should do. This is a national disease I would say, along with poor memory and the “chalega” attitude. Again I digress.
Rains. Monsoon. Gone are the days we enjoyed these lovely rainy days. No school. Extra Holidays. Hot Pakodas. Steaming Boost/Bournvita/Complan/Tea. Powercuts. Paperboats. Wait. Did I just mention paper boats. Now what was the single biggest reasons why I had the pleasure of making paper boats and seeing them float away. Waterlogging. The same issue all these old men were discussing right now was giving me the most interesting memories of rainy days as a child not too long back. Anywhere between 10-15years is all I am talking about. I asked my mom, if they were ever worried about waterlogging as maybe being a kid I may not have thought of all the repercussions that would happen when waterlogging happened. I used to wait at the doorstep for the water level to be enough to cover every bit of black tar on the road so that my paper boat could sail through the streets (Trust me it was shortlived, the moment it got out of the shade/umbrella, the rain beat the boat down into the water). She just replied that no, the houses were at a higher level than the road then, And there were very little chances that water could come in. And anyhow, every item in the house was at a given height and had good ground clearance. Though the reason to buy things which were at a height so that we can get under and clean was very much different than saving it from waterlogging, it was nevertheless a provision. So why have become so paranoid about things suddenly. Again paranoia is becoming a national disease. Americans have had it for a long time; we have never been too behind in copying them. So we have copied this too.
So have we not improved at all. Are we at a standstill. Shouldn’t we always be taking strides ahead. Well we should have inclusive growth as I call it. But it should have realistic expectations and patience. Look at the growth that has been. Talking of monsoons, never in my childhood has there been a time when there was heavy rain and power at the same time. Even if there was power, there never was TV transmission. Milk, Vegetables and all those important things were either hoarded or we had to go without them till the rain stopped. Walking in the waterlogged road was a nightmare, you never knew where the next manhole would be open. Growth is tremendous and the governments and civic authorities have done their due. Give them some credit or atleast don’t point your fingers and say you haven’t done anything. They have. You reading this post online is because VSNL(now BSNL) has brought internet to my home.
Now while I have typed out all this. My mom has made hot hot idlis and steaming sambhar for dinner. This is once I wouldn’t wait for my mom to literally drag me away from my laptop for dinner. Whatever you would want to say, Monsoon Rain + great tea/coffee + hot food and a good book for company is nothing but bliss. I wont bother about all the noise, all the activists. Raman aandalum, Raavanan aandalum enakku oru kavalai illa!
My Flickr Photostream