Monday, December 21, 2015

WIll Delhi Let The Odd Even Formula Succeed?

Delhi is about to turn into Oddistan – let’s even out the differences, shall we?


Pic courtesy - Hindustan Times

The Delhi government has been spearheading a campaign to turn Delhi into a spiritual haven by sending its denizens closer to God – one smog-full breath at a time. The enviable feat was achieved by the administration doing nothing, absolutely nothing – something that would have taken considerable effort because the National Green Tribunal has been shouting itself hoarse about Delhi’s steadily deteriorating air quality. For many, it must have been an uplifting moment when the WHO revealed that breathing in Delhi was akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, without having to pay a single paisa. We’ve heard of friends with benefits. But how many cities can claim to be a city with such smoky benefits!

Smoking kills a few but breathing in Delhi will kill all. Hahahaha.

Not anymore. Or so the Aam Admi government would like us to think after they adopt an odd-even policy for motor vehicles. We hear it has been tried in cities like Beijing and Mexico City, with iffy results. But I guess we are good with iffy. Cars with odd and even numbers will be allowed to run on alternate days. This will take 1 million cars off the road. You and I know that privately owned cars pollute the least because we scurry like alarmed kids every three months to get our pollution checks done. So, trucks, buses and other heavy vehicles, just like our elected representatives, will continue belching smoke and keep up their efforts at turning Delhi into a smoker’s only cubicle, like you see at the airports.

It will be interesting to find out how a city that drops its kids to bus stops barely a km away from home and drives to the neighbourhood market rather than walk, will cope with this trauma. Carpooling will prompt avid WhatsAppers to form groups according to number plates where they’ll be forced to have real conversation rather than simply sharing recycled forwards. Men and women seeking dates and mates will not only have to look for their soulmate but their nameplate-mate as well. Couples can breakup over conflicting number-plates instead of having to rely on the boring ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ excuse.

I can already envision a polarized society with the Even wing accusing the Odd wing of festering an atmosphere of intolerance and returning awards to register their protest.

Anyway, half of us, on a given day, will enthusiastically take to buses and the metro, right? Given our already bursting at seams public transport, what are the odds that people will reach their workplaces in one piece? Imagine having the ‘adjust kar lo beta’ aunty sit on your lap as she knits while the constantly chattering college kids stand on your two feet!

Revered Sir,

I beg to state, I shall not be able to attend office. My patience expired in the Metro and I stabbed four idiots who were standing on my foot from Rajiv Chowk to Badarpur, with a fork. I’ll be spending the rest of my life in Tihar. The food here is free. If you eat it, you will realize why it is free.

Arrestingly yours,

Suresh


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Loneliness of the Connected?

I’m not a phone person. Don’t get me wrong. I’m mostly surgically attached to my phone giving fodder to the husband for his countless number of jokes entirely at my expense. I use it to tweet and check updates and delete WhatsApp forwards. I am incapable of having long conversations on the phone. I have to remind myself again and again to fix a time slot to make that call.  Before I can say ‘eesh’ I realize it has slipped my mind yet again and it’s dial another day.

For someone so vocal, I often run out of things to say in just two minutes. And for someone’s who’s a gainfully unemployed ‘web columnist’, I am always short of time.

Strangely I am not alone in my fear of the dial function of the phone. I often see people share similar sentiments on social media. It’s a space where we have conversations with ourselves and hope that someone will eavesdrop. A community where people wear their lack of social skills like a badge of honour but have no qualms in pouring their hearts out to complete strangers.  Couples declare undying love for each other in public and quarrel in private. Parents get to tell the world how talented, bright their offspring is. Everyone is trying to convince each other how blessed they are.

When I was growing up, my Mother’s idea of pep-talk was telling me how talented, bright, obedient Mrs X Mrs Y and Mrs Z’s children were and I was doing nothing about it. In fact, the more your parents loved you, the more you got reprimanded by them. I still get scolded by my Mom for not calling her enough, for not bothering to keep in touch with Uncles and Aunties I once so loved.

I can’t because I feel emotionally distant from my Uncles Aunts and cousins, who were once such an important part of my growing-up years. All my happy memories are huddled in the summer breaks I spent with my cousins, with no television, no Internet to distract us.  I would cry (sometimes in front of the mirror to feel doubly miserable) every time we had to go back home. 

To continue reading, please click here   

http://www.ourstories.org.in/the-loneliness-of-the-connected/


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