A TALE OF TWO INDIAS
Statutory Warning 1: This concept has been blatantly plagiarized without permission from an article by a famous columnist of Bombay Times. My apologies to her, if she comes across this. [I’m sure she won’t, but why take a chance?]. All I can say in my defense is that I was ‘inspired’ by her piece. The title has also been plagiarized from the title of a classic by an even more famous author. My apologies to him too, even though he will not come across this (they don’t have blogspot in heaven).
Statutory Warning 2: I did NOT receive a six figure advance for being ‘inspired’ by somebody’s writing and reproducing it, a la some infamous Harvard graduate…
So, here goes…
On the eve of India’s Independence Day, I reflect on the glorious state of my country.
There are two Indias. We see both of them happily going about their business side by side.
Both Indias do not eat.
One, because they are following some exotic foreign sounding diets which forbade them from consuming more than 300 calories a day. The other, because they would consider themselves lucky if they could find 300 calories of food a day for the entire family.
Both Indias do not drink water.
One, because they quench their thirst with champagne. The other, because the only thing that comes out when they open the tap is a loud hiss of air.
Both Indias do not wear clothes.
One, because the latest Milan Spring Summer Collection mandates that wearing more than three centimeters of cloth makes you ‘uncool’. The other, because their itsy-bitsy rags have taken a VRS after fifteen years of glorious service.
Both Indias do not have a roof over their heads.
One, because sun bathing is supposed to give that ‘perfect tan’ which will make people drool. The other because their roof was demolished in the latest city cleanliness drive.
Both Indias do not sleep on beds.
One, because the latest Yoga fad is to sleep on a custom made ‘Yoga mat’ which relaxes the body through acupressure points. The other, because the only time they see a bed is when they visit the public hospital (and that too, if they give chai-paani to the ward boy)
Both Indias do not go to temples.
One, because they have their own private ‘temple’ built in their bungalow, with a ‘pujari’ on call. The other, because the temple authorities play God and treat them as untouchables and deny them entry into ‘sacred’ places of worship.
Both Indias hate religion.
One because they see themselves as ‘free minds’ and ‘global citizens’ and abhor the discipline required by religion. The other, because their house was burnt, sisters raped and children murdered in the last communal riot.
Both Indias do not go to school.
One, because they hire private tutors to coach their children. The other, because school is a luxury that comes way down in the list of dreams which start with food and water.
Both Indias do not travel by bus.
One, because they have their Porches and Mercs, and would not be caught dead traveling in a bus. The other, because there are no roads in their villages, leave alone buses, and if there were any, they would be caught dead under a bus.
Both Indias worship cricket.
One, in the air conditioned comfort of the Executive Box situated right next to the pavilion. The other, through the window of a TV shop.
Alas, there is a third India...
An India which looks at both these Indias and aspires to become the first, while turning a blind eye to the second. An India, whose idea of patriotism is to watch ‘Rang De Basanti’ in the theatre rather than on a pirated CD. An India full of arm chair critics like yours truly who can find a hundred faults with the ‘system’ but would not move a little finger to sort out things. An India which is interested only in feathering its own nest, and whose lifetime ambition is to become a ‘green card’ holder.
But, I’m bloody proud of my country!!!