A spectacular opening, 2nd on the medals front, no more cats leaping out of the bag when it comes to hygiene issues in the CWG village and no roofs crumbling to debris – the commonwealth games, notwithstanding the empty stadia, would still be termed a moderate success by the admission of even its staunchest critics. The same set of social commentators and studio journalists–turned–boors lambasting the general lackadaisical attitude of Indians, will now be seen showering praises on how despite the initial hiccups, India always proves herself (despite being a democracy sir, China did all that purely by deploying force).
Editors will give blushing Kalmadi boy a friendly nudge, business honchos will say ‘all izz well’ on the investment side, money is still flowing in ($20 billion FII inflows in the stock markets this year), and our good reputation on the world stage remains undamaged! Yet it will soon be business as usual, with even the hounding media brigade moving on to another scandal (uff…finally!). CWG will be the past…forgotten and buried by the snap of a new headline on the soaring Sensex or Delhi’s glittering new skyline.
What a sad demise – all that outrage, anger, disbelief, turning into one mute ‘ok let’s move on please’ whimper! If even an iota of the vehemence demonstrated by the media and the usually hopelessly apathetic, now suddenly condescending urban middle classes was genuine, we should have seen at least some of it being channelled towards questioning what the CWG really is a broader reflection of – deep rooted corruption, crony capitalism, and a large state that hasn’t been held accountable.
But I guess we’ve missed the point for far too long, blinded by fascinating GDP projections, steered by weekend shopping trips to expensive malls and conditioned by the affluence of the cityscape to realize that every nook and corner of India is plagued by bigger or smaller versions of the CWG every living day. Ones ignored by the media, ignored by us as we ‘chill’ in the air-conditioned comfort of our ivory towers.
So who cares about 40% of India not having access to electricity, or 27 states being under Maoist infiltration, or for that matter the highest number of malnourished children in the world living in India – these are motherhood issues we care a hoot about. Of course when the roads of Mumbai develop potholes in the monsoons we complain for a bit, light candles when terrorists strike 5 star hotels – but the larger thrust is on moving on with one’s own life. As long as things don’t get too uncomfortable, we won’t loosen our grip on the couch.
The CWG fiasco made for fabulous dinner table debate and the media had a field day. But unfortunately television trials don’t change ground realities. Perhaps a bit of effort by those who complain the most, to get back in sync with the ‘real’ India, that lies beyond shopping malls and whirlwind stock market profits will help.
To start with…let’s vote, please!