Delhi is getting a face lift courtesy the games! But there is a rider: only certain parts are being dolled out, the ones where the hallowed feet of the foreign guests will tread. And by the way during the games auto rickshaws will not be allowed to ply on certain routes. There goes our preferred and only mode of transport. Guess what: we will be grounded! That is not all during the games we common citizens will only be allowed to use half a road! There are even rumours that the dreaded section 144 - Joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon - may be imposed on the lane reserved for the Games. Needless to say many are up in arms! For the state the Games are nothing less than a war that needs to be fought and won. Wonder who the enemy is? Let me try and guess: it is we, humble mortals, who still have a heart that beats in the right place and a modicum of honesty left.
I started writing about the Games way back in 2008 when the first slums began getting relocated and kept on writing trying to highlight the issues - the end of street food, the construction of the village on the flood plain of the Yamuna, the end of horse carts, flower markets, the wishing away of beggars, the obliteration of the poor, the multiple aberrations that spelt doom for those who were born on the wrong side of the fence. I wrote about the child labour on sites, the abysmal living conditions of the workers, the plight of beggars and so on. I guess I am who I am and what mattered to me was the terrible human tragedy that was slowly unfolding in front of our helpless eyes. The final blow came with the destruction of the homes of my dear Lohar friends. The sense of loss was indescribable.
Along way came the news of corruption and boy it was a big one. The crores spent on balloons, toilet paper, loos et al. It was comforting to see that many took up the cudgels and added their voice to mine. And then the Gods too lend their hand: it rained like never before and in a city dug to the hilt the dreaded Aedes mosquito proliferated and dengue invited itself to the Games. Wonder whether our masters of corruption will be able to bribe the beast? Maybe for once they will meet their nemesis. I believe special insecticides are being flown from other lands to stop the menace. Needless to say all the spraying is being done in places where the games guest will abide. In the rest of the city people are coping with dengue as best they can. As for the rains I guess soon yagnas and prayers will begin in earnest to appease the rain Gods, But who will appease the Gods of lesser beings?
The games are around the corner. The 60 crores balloon is up in the air, a stark reminder of days to come. We all need to survive the next 30 days as best we can. There is no joy in our hearts, how can their be...
As Neruda wrote... come and see the blood on our streets!