Issue :   
Happy Dussehra and Diwali to all Readers.          November 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


When the skies were blue !

Humra Quraishi

I’m just back from smog – ridden New Delhi. Looking and feeling rotten. All didn’t seem well with the capital city. It reminded me of a hospital extension, with masks covering haggard faces and the unmasked going about with a nervous gait …trying to escape to a nowhere of sorts. As though each one of them an under trial let loose in an open jail, with poisonous gases unleashed right from the top. Compounding the mess the general mahaul around: curbs on even on the free flow of thoughts. Wondering and wandering about here and there in that maze…
Hopping into the Metro dragged along little relief as dust-laden dry coughs continued undoing not just the hapless lungs but also the levels of patience .Unnerving as more smog awaited in this dust- laden Millennium City - Gurgaon!

Tried my level best to see right and left or focus just straight ahead but visibility blurred to such an extent that besides lofty concrete structures couldn’t spot any signs of the so called development. Nah, not to be spotted any of the brooms swish – swashing dust from here to there .Filth spread out as never before even at the entrance of the Malls somewhat over-stuffed with phoren maal but who cares!

Inhalers and masks the urgent need of the day, as citizens go coughing amidst cries …trying to survive in this façade-ridden scenario where even encounters are turning out to be fake. Harnessing of that tiny little mosquito or any of the strays loitering around seemingly impossible by all possible might under the state machinery, so in utter frustration they hound and pound the two-legged human being ,who is anyway dying a painfully slow death in these developed times!

And as I walked around , gasping in the midst of this haze , there seem many more freshly constructed hospitals and clinics at every little turn of this Millennium City. Several of those medical outlets equipped with surgical dens. Nah, not to be confused with surgical strikes, though not too certain of the near killing sessions well- inside in the operation theatres. Outside the hospital wards and operation theatres, the dying and even the undying discussing death and offshoots: Hell not up there but right here in the midst of these hellish conditions. Overhearing them a developer. Coming up with ‘heavenly’ development projects for the last rites, what with the so many dying in this smog, getting upgraded by the hour. So now, no more dreamy homes but frilly cremation grounds and graveyards! Don’t know whether bookings are on, together with heady discounts and more than tempting offers, as a great majority amongst us can no longer take the strain of this third classliving in a farce ridden scenario.

Deterioration as never before. Earlier, one could step out without wondering whether it was summer or winter or spring or autumn. No longer .To be checked and re-checked the time, day and month of the year. Why? Can’t commute during the ‘peak hours’ of the working days; with commuters scurrying around in that frenzied maddening way. Worsen those strains during the winter fog, autumn smog, summer’s sun-stroking heat and , of course, during the monsoon floods where there erupts every chance of getting wrecked if not drowned !

Enough of those daily disasters to demolish any of those romantic notions of rains –drizzles, aandhi –toofans. Forget those couplets, verses, folk songs and Bollywood lyrics on baarish- paani, thandagaram mausam .Fast learn those contrived developmental graphs and those cooked up details to cooked meals and the other readymade bandobast to settle all those pangs, right from hunger to thirst to much more!

Though this smouldering smog can be called as one of those levellers but even here money coming to the rescue of those well-equipped with sagging-pockets .For them holds out an array of air purifiers and conditioners and all those getaway destinations How many amongst us can actually flee ?It gets difficult if not near impossible to make two ends meet ,with little rupaiyya left to buy tickets to run from here to there .Get away where to ? The entire North India seems reeling under a smog-riddled atmosphere, of course with varying degrees.
Wondering who the hell will come visiting? Nah , nah , don’t mean friends or relatives ; they are busy fighting his or her own survival battles . Nobody is interested in mingling or intermingling unless a who’s who tagged accompanied with your name or surname …But which business tycoon or tourists will even think in terms of landing here for investment or sightseeing?

Wrapped in nostalgia ,I sit all sad and sullen , wondering rather aloud: weren’t we better off in those good old days when ‘developing’ or ‘under-developed’ we were with fewer wants.Just two square meals and that once – in -a - while dining out sessions seemed to take care of everyday wants . The skies up there looked blue .The flowers bloomed. The human face looked carefree and hassle free…the human form was still intact and those cravings for emotional anchorages were not to be confused with surcharged sexual releases. Those were the good old days when we actually lived and lived quite happily! Not like today where even the basic traces of survival are turning out to be such a pain….an ongoing struggle for survival,

I am more than shocked when rulers of the day continue to talk of growth, development, longevity, and whatever else they can package in their package of lies. In fact, contrary to their claims, today, in these so called developed times we are more prone to deaths and decay.

The environmental pollution is killing our very organs. Not to overlook the noise pollution hitting the very heart. And the limbs cannot be left spared with strays around.

On the prowl
In these recent months wherever I have travelled local residents have cried out, detailing the havoc caused by monkeys and dogs on the prowl. Blatantly attacking pedestrians and intruding into homes and fields yet there is nobody out there to harness their moves. Shouldn’t the municipal authorities step in? Shield the human being from these deadly attacks. In fact, though we talk of dengue and viral fevers but little focus on rabies. Why? What’s become of us to be overlooking these deadly animal bites and attacks. At least during the Raj days, strays were kept far away from the residential quarters but today who the hell cares whether our flesh is ripped through and we die a painful death.

Hunger pangs
Why don’t we talk of the terrible hunger pangs killing hundreds. Malnutrition deaths could frighten you and I, but for the rulers these are just numerical numbers. These rulers can talk of vote - banks and money-banks but not of roti or milk banks, from where those basics could flow out to help saves lives of hundreds of our dying malnourished children.
In fact, the biggest irony of the day is that farmers who try and feed us are hanging themselves because they cannot cope with the daily round of struggles. And what has the sarkar done to harness the killings of the kisan – well, nothing very much except feed them words and promises of loan waivers!