Friday, May 28, 2010

Wherever civic sense has gone!

This entire residential area where I live in this small city of Shivamogga is developed on a dried up old lake. As such the entire area is low lying causing flash floods during heavy rains at the start of the monsoon. Poor drainage system contributes to the havoc, but nothing like human greed glossed over natural stupidity! The recent drive in city development by the civic body raising the main roads to avoid clogging, but leaving cross roads on both sides of which are situated dwelling houses leaving in more vulnerability to flash floods.That is not the point, however, I am going to discuss here.

There is a small park with a rectangular walking  track of about 4 feet width around the children's playing area. One round makes up to about quarter of a kilometer. I go there for my evening walks regularly. There is a natural lawn too and a lot of children come and play. After raising of the main road by the side of which this park is situated, it has become further low. It is summer holidays for the children of different ages. It gives me immense pleasure to watch them play so enthusiastically during my walking rounds.  But it also makes me very sad when there was rain and the next day quite a few children trying to play on the swing with muddy feet; some children playing by splashing the muddy water collected in small pools. (Remember that washing powder ad on the TV legalising or moralising children getting dirty in the mud?) Recently the authorities put a thin layer of red soil over the sticky black soil and also renovated the broken swings and other children's playing installations apart from putting up some new ones. There were a couple of good pre-monsoon rains and the scene at the park was more disappointing - children getting their dress soiled with red mud! Later as the ground dried up, depressions developed under swings and other playing areas. The authorities usually lax, this time took quick notice, dug the depressed area to about a foot deep and filled with clean river sand, about a week back. Children at the fag end of their summer holidays were happily playing every evening.

Today something I observed made me not only sad but also angry. A group of about half a dozen young mothers were gathered around a swing and their small children (not over two years I guess) were not playing the swing but in the sand below as if on a summer beach. If some were digging the sand deep putting the sand outside the area, some are busy bringing dried mud blocks from other areas spread to level the ground. And one of the mothers looking educated and sophisticated was clicking her digital camera on her happily playing child (spoiling the sand bed). Soon, all of them left the park in their cars leaving the the neatly prepared sand bed spoiled.

If this is the mentality of our learned middle class society, you can easily pardon those perverts defacing bathroom walls in railways and public places, leave alone urination openly by the side of a read! And then most of us are well educated and probably working with multinationals who litter the picnic places with plastic wrappers, bottles, bags and what not!

If this is the state of affairs in this country with just over a billion people, I shudder to think what life will be when the population shoots up to two billions, perhaps in a couple of decades! (It was less than half a billion before independence including today's Pakistan and Bangladesh. Pundit Nehru once mentioned in his speech on an international platform that population was the biggest strength of India!) God save our children and their children. I am really happy, I lived in happier times of better public discipline and civic sense. No more grumbling, ok?

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