Call this a rant, or a way to get the frustration out of the system, but things
need have to change.
I’m sick of convincing myself that change takes time and it will happen. How many more years of independence do we need to survive before we can live like civilised beings? Will it take another 60 years to have clean streets, adequate water, uninterrupted electricity? Or are these luxuries reserved only for elected members of parliament? Like millions of others, running away to another country (where jobs may be tough, but at least you don’t feel like you’re living in a shanty town) is not an option.
I’m sick of stepping out of our beautiful heritage house in Goa onto a street littered with paper and plastic bags. There aren’t even any public dustbins should one want to deposit some litter. I’m sick of the sweepers who dutifully sweep the main road during IFFI and ignore the rest of the city. Short of hiring someone or doing it myself, I don’t see the situation changing. And that makes me angry.
For a state like Goa which prides itself on being different from the rest of India, the dirt is shameful. The CM talks about branding IFFI to reflect Goa, like the Cannes festival reflects that town. What is he talking about?! Cannes doesn’t have to deal with garbage piled up on street corners, endless mosquitoes or live electrical wires trailing onto pavements! Cannes may have a water-front, but it isn’t peppered with cars parked on pavements, stray animals, beggars and ugly casinos crowding the river. Goa doesn’t even have the infrastructure to atract the kind of people Cannes gets. If you’ve been to the Patto area in Panaji (supposed to be Goa’s Nariman Point. Hah.), it looks like we’re in some part of rural Afghanistan, bombed, bruised, uncared for. The roads are non-existent, potholed and filthy. This is our Cannes.
Talking about the river, isn’t there meant to be a deadline for noisy tourist boats? Last night, we were kept awake by the boom-boom of a passing Paradise-kind of boat. It was approaching midnight, late for the usual trickle of these entertainment vessels with their horrible mix of Bollywood songs carrying over the river. The music was loud. Sound carries over water, but I don’t expect the morons who run the government to know that. The vibrations rattled the window panes of the house. Was it a party for politicians or IFFI delegates? Most likely. Time-limits or deadlines don’t apply to them.
While I’m at it, let me tell you how sick I am of paying a small fortune to BSNL for broadband connectivity and having to deal with speeds slower than dial-up.
Today, I’m really angry. And fed up. Our ‘What will people think’ mentality prevents us from making a noise. We might offend someone powerful, or worse, someone we know. In the relative anonymity of Mumbai, this wasn’t an issue – one can make all the ‘noise’ required and not be branded a trouble maker or god forbid, an activist. Here, it’s not the same.
So, we make do. Tolerate the noise, the filth, the incompetence, the daily danger to our lives and property. We die, making do.
We’re lucky to have an international film festival at our doorstep, though. How many people can make a claim like that?