Ceased to exist somewhere in the last century and like all fools sleeping late …the hope of waking to paradise did not happen but I helped my nation catch-all the possible worms in the world.
Like the middle class often does, I gave myself accolades for working hard, and resting in my well-earned leisure, in giving the defunct system some choicest abuses, when long lines outside foreign country consulates allowed, I escaped to another kind of indenture.
Meanwhile my streets teemed with the hungry, women and child galore with the begging bowls, some from across the border in worse conditions, if that was possible, some grown from within the boundaries that were forever being negotiated and given up a little at a time as only a weak spine and weakening spirit can…I offered them restitution! Come be a servant in my household, for a penny a day, I shall give you a cup of tea, cold water and dirty dishes, clothes, and floors!
My mountains got blown apart, as the powerful wanted to be richer killing, forests and our heritage in quest for wealth buried deep in the form of stones, or dug the earth around my feet, looking for the coal, and the diamonds that would allow them planes, and me a second AC birth. Meanwhile, a majority of my people struggled to pave roads rural, a lost cause as the local contractor determined the level of gravel and bricks and tar and cement in proportions that would allow his children to study in the best schools London and New York had to offer or to buy a doctor degree for his precious ones from Manipur. Meanwhile, the men trekked out of the villages, and the women were left behind, and then the women trekked out leaving only children and the old and infirm so that the pimp and the tout could easily drive up in a jazzy car that could pile up the future of my country into the cars for a quick packing deal around the globe as we became the providers and keepers and holders of the precious cargo called people, capturing the market in human trafficking beating all the least developing countries to the shame game!
While, I was thrilled that the developed world was rising to support its weak and making a symbolic and a historical gesture to honor those it had trodden upon, I ignored that in my country, the symbols became nightmares, as the fighter of Independence transformed to traders of its very existence. From looting food grains to looting air waves, we upped the ante, we were big timers now, our scandals bigger, our worth smaller, our national currency valued, our public morals MIA, we learned that Delhi was a rape capital that used green fuel, that police was for protecting politicians, we had long visa queues and no teachers in our primary school, debate on dowry had not ended but on divorce was final, while the President was aghast at the violence, his son was venting on painted women, we were offended, we stepped out finally on the roads, we were tired, and unsure, we came back, turned over on the other side and shut our eyes, hoping not to be disturbed.
On other nights, I heard the generation Z busily dancing to be best dancer, singing to best singer, and doing drama for the best draamebaaz, we forgot to count so much so that our middle school was found to have no grasp of Math, English, or Science; our children finally realized that call center might not need much except being able to read. Choosing higher education we did, but we forgot to teach our government, how to create jobs for all the masters and ph.d students.
Meanwhile our little cousins in new-found autonomy started dating and live-in relationships, but the parents forgot to tell them about the long road to marriage and the lonely hearts clubs of their aspirations. Conveniently, we forgot to talk about teenage pregnancy and porn and alcohol and drugs…because as far as we were concerned, in our middle age also, “party abhi baki hai”‘ …