Having lived all my life in India, I’ve had feelings for the country varying from awe to disgust. In the past couple years however, living in a small town in Maharashtra, about 2 hours from Mumbai, my opinion has largely been towards filth.
Every morning at 6am, I wake up to not fresh air, but a smog of heavy industrial pollution. This place, called Boisar, is supposed to be the largest industrial area in Maharashtra. The foul smell is still tolerable, but the torturous feeling of a pair of choked lungs, isn’t. I had been a chain smoker for a good part of my adult life, but having quit for the last three years, I still feel as bad as I did at the time I smoked 20 cigarettes a day.
I drive to work. The road is a single lane atrocity, with undisciplined cyclists, rude tuk-tuk drivers, bullock carts (yes!), crazy motor cyclists, careless State bus drivers, macho cows and other commuters who have no regards for the traffic rule. If that weren’t enough, the road has an unpalatable offering of moon-crater like pot holes. But the worst, is the line of filth, garbage and cow dung that borders both sides of the roads. In more than 2 years of living here, I have never had a pleasant drive to work.
Back from work, things aren’t any better. Sometimes, I have to buy grocery on the way. There’s no concept of parking. I have to park beside fish sellers with flies hovering over the fish. It’s a race between me and the flies to get inside my car! I pass through a crowd, which has no regard for others, motorists who are in a hurry to get nowhere in particular and food stalls which offer jaundice and all sorts of food poisoning.
In the evening, when I come back, I lay down my bag, make my French Press coffee and wonder where I live. I should get out of here.
However, what I don’t understand is, if the whole country is supposed to be in good hands and is led by the greatest Prime Minister of all time — Narendra Modi, is this what a tax paying citizen of the Republic of India deserve?