Last few weeks have been extremely tense and anxious for us Hyderabadis (just a generic term used for everyone who is living in Hyderabad, no regionalism/groupism please).
Initially it was the snarling traffic that worried us. Because of the numerous flyover constructions, road widening and other government department (water board, telephone office or some other) work going on, there was hardly any place for commuters. Going to office and going home in the evenings was a hair-raising experience. This was the story about the main roads and major business areas in the city, can’t imagine how the situation would be in the far-flung areas. Then with the heavy rains, it became extremely difficult to walk/drive on whatever little was left of the road.
I very clearly remember one Saturday evening last month when I was returning home. It had rained heavily. I was walking on a partially dug-up road, very close to a busy shopping mall. In spite of all that commercial activity buzzing in the vicinity, the road was dark, there were no street lights, there were rain water puddles everywhere and the four wheelers and motorbikes which zoomed past made sure that the poor pedestrians didn’t get home dry. And to top it, none of the autos were ready to go where I wanted to and they were rude! Because it was short distance, the pay-by-meter didn’t appeal them. So there I was, feeling miserable, angry and irritated with the state of affairs, not just in Hyderabad, but in India as a whole. Worse was yet to come.
When I reached home and switched on the TV, we heard about the blasts that had hit the city. The two places where the cowards had hit were such popular places that visiting them was more like a habit to people in Hyderabad. We, for example, had been to Gokul chaat and the laser show at least half a dozen times. The incident left us all numb. The newspapers and the TV channels urged people to stay away from crowded places and be alert to anything unusual, to stay safe. Okay, safe from what, who, for how long and where’s there to hide?
And then within a fortnight, Hyderabad plunged into mourning again. Again on a rainy weekend. This time we are mourning the loss of life and innocence at the hands of corrupt, power-hungry politicians and the equally culprit profit- hungry construction companies. The world saw an under-construction flyover collapse along with iron scaffolding crushing the people under its weight; Hyderabad is seeing everyone involved, the people in position of authority, shamelessly point fingers to the other over the mangled bodies and debris.
India shining, isn’t it?
PS: Sorry, I just could not bring myself to write optimistic. When I deeply feel that as a people we deserve much better deal, my conscience asks if we are doing anything to better things, if we have learnt anything from the mistakes we have done so far, or at least if we have helped our people in the hour of need. Then this is probably what we deserve for our apathy and indifference, insensitivity and sloth, I sadly conclude.