Residents of Gurgaon took to social media to vent their anger after the city and its millions of cars came to a grinding halt to a gridlock that lasted 20 hours, triggered by heavy rains followed by flooding. WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook were full of horrifying accounts of thirsty, hungry and angry commuters stuck in an ocean of muddy water and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Predictably everyone donned their "Gurgroan" avatar and took to blaming civic bodies and the Manohar Khattar-led government. The Haryana government in turn promptly blamed the Kejriwal government for its watery woes. The CM went a step ahead and announced 1812 projects, that he has no intentions of implementing, to make Gurgaon great again. The civic authorities as usual had no clue what they were being blamed for. Especially given that no one has a clear idea about the exact nature of their responsibilities. The sweet fellas that they are, they promised they will make sure this will never happen again, like they did in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012...
The residents felt let down when they saw no help in sight. Silly people, all you had to do was call a cow helpline and say moo...
What's perplexing is this lashing-out from the public. It's not as if the "millennial" city hasn't sunk in murky waters before. It's not as if countless articles have not been written about a nightmare called Gurgaon and promptly forgotten the next day. It's not as if promises have not been made and then broken. In fact we love this predictable pattern so much, we make sure we repeat it year after year. Who doesn't love driving gingerly through swirling waters and miles of honking traffic in the company of irate drivers with murder in their minds after a stressful day at work! It gives an adrenalin rush that no bungee jumping can match.
This time, though, was slightly different. The traffic refused to budge, like concrete with more cement than sand. But what is shocking is that the residents (who are still not sure whether they live in Gurgaon or Gurugram) expect accountability from those supposedly in charge. They felt let down when they saw no help in sight. Silly people, all you had to do was call a cow helpline and say moo and the gau-rakshak squad would have appeared miraculously and given a sound thrashing to everyone responsible for your plight!
Or better still, followed the traffic police advisory offering a simple solution to the Millennium City's woes: "Don't come to Gurgaon." If you are unfortunate enough to be in Gurgaon, don't step out, dammit!
Do you really have to come out of your offices like rats deserting a sinking ship every time it rains in the evening, only to realize everyone had the same effing idea! Practise doing a few asanas instead so that you can make it to the India Today cover in your loin cloth. Or better still, ditch your car and start running homewards. See, if you can wake up at 4 in the morning to participate in marathons and post pics of you in running gear on Facebook, why not this? You get to save on fuel and the money can be used for treatment for your lungs that'll give up after inhaling toxic fumes for months.
Waterbodies and natural drains are being destroyed through wilful negligence while the CM spends hundreds of crores looking for the mythical Saraswati River...
It is for a reason that Gurgaon was renamed as Gurugram. Thanks to the government's relentless twiddling of thumbs, we are moonwalking back to our rural roots. Potholes are lovingly nurtured on streets so that they can turn into ponds during the monsoons. Roads have not been repaired for years so that they resemble the dirt tracks of Guru Dronacharya's gram. Residents are often left fumbling in the dark, just like in olden times. If rumours are to be believed, the city will soon have Mercedes Bhains showrooms that'll offer four-wheeled drives that run on bhains power.
Yet some ungrateful citizens continue to complain about the lack of basic amenities like uninterrupted power supply and water, drainage, smooth roads and security when the city offers so many thrilling activities. I request UNESCO to declare Gurgaon as the world's best amusement park. Gulf Course and Ronaa Road offer the grand spectacle of sewage miraculously oozing out of nowhere and mixing with rainwater to form Olympic-sized pools for us to swim in. Ashant Lok is dotted with potholes where we can look for exotic species as we wade through knee-deep muddy waters. Traffic snarls are facilitated at IFFCO and Hero Honda Choke so that we can amuse ourselves by exchanging the choicest expletives and middle-finger greetings.
While in Disney World you may to have wait for decades to be eaten alive by an alligator, in Gurgaon you have the choice of being shot by an angry Jatt or getting run over.
Where else will you get to wonder why lakes, waterbodies and natural drains are being destroyed through wilful negligence while the CM of the state is spending hundreds of crores looking for the mythical Saraswati River believed to have gone underground! Now that he claims to have found it, Khattarji plans to artificially recharge it while doing nothing to stop the encroachment of catchments and rainwater being allowed to be run off. Just like our taxes.
It's time we accepted that we are the proverbial Kamdhenu that nurtures an ungrateful state while Gurgaon is milked dry.
It'll be Gurgaon's tax-money that'll bring these grandiose plans to fruition. After all we contribute more than half to the state exchequer which is then used to fill greedy pockets and nurture favourite constituencies of netas. It's time we accepted that we are the proverbial Kamdhenu that nurtures an ungrateful state while Gurgaon is milked dry. "WANTED" -- gau rakshaks to save this holy cow?
Pfft, Khattarji, if only you had spent a fraction of your grandiose budget looking for the missing drains of Gurgaon, we would have felt less cheated! And now that we have watched the promos of Mohenjo Daro, we know that even 8000 years back our ancestors lived in cleaner settlements with better drainage and town planning than us.
The only thing we do better than them is laughing at WhatsApp forwards that make fun of our plight.