GTA5

Pothole politics: Such a bummer!

The Mumbai Police fan club is growing by the day. Well, at least on social media, where their professionally handled, cleverly scripted and highly humourous posts get shared and reposted regularly. I only follow 34 accounts on Instagram — and the Mumbai Police feature on my restricted list. It’s a good thing they manage to bring a smile to thousands of faces with smart copy and apt visuals that rely heavily on Bollywood for inspiration. It’s fine —Bollywood remains on top of the recall list, when it comes to popular songs and iconic dialogues. Our Mumbai Police have quickly cottoned on to the power of movies to spread their message, encouraging citizens to behave themselves.

Nothing like a bit of levity in these grim times. Citizens need humour in gigantic doses to put up with monumental chaos on a daily basis. I love it that the BMC brazenly claims there are ‘only’ 264 potholes in the city. Hello! There shouldn’t be ANY! Come on, guys — who are you kidding? And this is before the rains have arrived. The civic body also claims to have filled and repaired 150 potholes. This number comes from their tracking system, which citizens have lost faith in. So, here’s the choice — death by COVID or death by pothole. Year after year, the city faces horrific accidents with potholes the size of moon craters. The job of filling them is often shoddily done, with loose gravel and mud hastily thrown in to cover gaping pits in the middle of busy roads. This year’s excuse is that the overworked BMCwallas are busy with COVID cases and vaccination drives.

Meanwhile, our former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has been roaring like an enraged tiger whose hunt for territorial domination has been challenged if not totally curtailed by other predatory beasts who think they are the asli tigers. Why, he demanded aggressively, has the monsoon legislative session be shortened to just two days? Why, indeed? Even we want to know. Here’s a city that is struggling to function despite the lockdown (more strictures coming up, folks). But the MVA bosses have decided to conclude unfinished business in 48 hours? Fadnavis believes the MVA is using the pandemic as a shield to run away from dealing with the prickly Maratha and OBC reservation issue. Honestly, at this moment, Mumbaikars are more concerned with getting back to work as soon as the lockdown is lifted and all current restrictions removed. I’m not sure they really care a flying fig whether or not the Speaker gets elected as per the Constitution.

Fadnavis is going hammer and tongs at the Shiv Sena, pointing out that this administration has arbitrarily scrapped a 40-year-old legislative decision to not grant new liquor licenses. Babykins… whip them on other issues, but leave booze alone! You are talking about new licenses being issued at airports, metro stations and the creation of more watering holes for thirsty citizens. Forty years is a long, long time to stay thirsty, don’t you think? Those who are hardcore, incorrigible boozards will always find a way around laws that try and curb their nasha. ‘Jhoom Barabar, Jhoom Sharabi’ was not written for nothing! To bring in mandir politics into this controversy is a bit much (“Maharashtra is the only state where the mandirs are shut but madiralays are overflowing during the pandemic”). Booze licenses have caused far more problems and led to widespread corruption all these years. Why not make the process more transparent and take a cue from other global cities?

It’s a pity Mumbai is still stuck at Level 3, and unreasonable restrictions are in place, preventing people from earning their livelihoods. All this talk of a third wave is creating panic, without sufficient data to back such a prediction. In all probability, there will be that dreaded third wave down the line. But hey — there may be a fourth and fifth one, too. Till then, what are citizens supposed to do? The vaccination drive seems to have lost its momentum all of a sudden. God knows what the real reasons are, but Maharashtra ranks really low when it comes to numbers of successfully vaccinated citizens. This is such a bummer! People are getting restless as hell — I am dying to flee! As of now, a mere nine countries are opening their doors to Indians (Russia, Serbia, Iceland, Rwanda, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Mauritius). There is Thailand, too. My top choice is Russia — I’d go there in a blink! Second choice? Belgrade — such a gorgeous city in Serbia, with a much raved about romantic spot — Kalemegdan. To say nothing of its rich history. Most such destinations are cheaper than tourist attractions in India. Take Mussoorie, for example. Try getting a booking — go on, try! Till I pack my bags, I guess I will have to settle for pothole adventures and waterlogged streets in aamchi Mumbai.



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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