It was after many, many years that I visited Aarey on my bike ride yesterday, and I must say that I was completely shocked at how the facilities, etc have deteriorated to such an extent that I begin to feel ashamed as an Indian. I've lived and worked in four continents, but if you cut me I bleed Indian, and am proud to be that way. But looking all around me, there is less and less to remain proud of. CWG, et all.
Now the last time I visited Aarey, was with my son Krishanu, who's now 20. He must have been maybe 7-8 when we last went. I remember from my last visit, that it was so beautiful, clean, very nice gardens for picnics, great restaurant. This time around it was very sad to see the garbage, the filth, the stench all around, right from the main Aarey dairy building to the Chota Kashmir area.
A few weeks ago I was on the Konkan Coast and visited a completely secluded beach. As we approached it looked very beautiful from the road, but from the moment we stepped on to the beach, I was aghast. All that could be seen on the beach front, were refuse, plastic bags, old discarded shoes, slippers, plastic bottles.
India is such a beautiful country, it has so much to offer, however, we Indians simply don't care of how we nurture and develop the heritage that we have.
I believe its all about discipline! We Indians behave so very differently when we travel abroad, so the question that logically follows is. Why do we Indians expect so much from our country when we lack the discipline and drive to make India all that we expect it to be?
Update: Sunday, October 17, 2010.
We were talking about this at the lunch table just this afternoon, and my dad had a take on this. His view is that the most people planning the cities and towns have not been exposed to other countries, other cultures, and therefore don't have a reference point or an example to follow. I believe this to be true, which will explain lack of planning, lack of infrastructure, etc, but I don't believe that his point explains why Bomay is becoming more and more dirty, and unbearable. Bombay was not like this say even 5-10 years ago, so what has changed to help in its rapid deterioration? A few possible explanations. One may be that there has been such a large influx of people from all over that the infrastructure that was inadequate in the first place, is even more overburdened. Another may be, that whereas, the population and the construction have grown at an alarming pace, the civic strength, such as municipal workers have not kept pace with the development. Yet another explanation (one that can lead to dangerous connotations), can be that the people who have recently migrated into the our city, are from a strata of society who are not civic minded at all, and in their endeavor to make ends meet, cannot be bothered about keeping their new home neat, clean and hygienic. Perhaps they don;t have a civic upbringing that allows them the wherewithal to adher to the principles of civic sense, hygiene, etc to make sure our city is maintained as it previously was. And a culmination of all the points raised so far, may just be, that the problem has assumed such gargantuan proportions, that all measures taken are simply insufficient to make a visible difference. Whatever the reasons, I believe that Bombay is a city that can collapse on itself, what with the traffic, pollution, dirt, filth, lack of water, shortage of power, to name a few must haves, no being adequate to fuel a healthy and robust future development model.