People, mostly foreigners I have come in contact with, tell me I’m privileged to be an inhabitant of God’s own Country. So True! After all, where else do you get tantalizing glimpses of a bustling city nestled amidst swaying palm trees, fishing nets fluttering in the breeze, an amazing harbour view, an over-flowing drainage system that doubles as a breeding ground for malaria… oops! Did I just say that? Yes, I guess I did! With good reason as well!
I’m not a pessimist. In fact, I prefer to see the glass half-full than half-empty. But lately, I’ve had an over-whelming urge to see the city drains and canals empty. And that’s not all. The Kudumbashree project on waste collection and management insist that houses divide their refuse into degradable and non-degradable wastes. Fair enough! But please do tell us where the plastic waste goes… Because if its goes into my next-door-neighbour’s-empty-plot, I can do it myself, thank you! Besides, I’d like the exercise. And commenting on another peculiar quirk city-bred people have, consider this one a note-to-self – throw waste into strategically placed community wastebaskets, not around it!
The police here regularly thrash party protestors. I can see why they’d feel the need to pout and sulk. Sure, we sympathize. But really, lets be practical here. Closing down educational institutes does not work in their favour. Strikes, hartal and lockdowns do work in your favour when you want to laze around, but too much of it and they lose their appeal. Oh! And lets not forget the public transport here! The ‘poor man’s taxi’ is amazingly efficient. It’s a foreigner’s desi amusement park, minus the amusement. Buses speed and fly down the road, run over hapless pedestrians who fail to get out of their way in time, jerk and jump on potholed roads, break when you least expect it and leave you coming out of them wondering if you’ve been given a second lease on life.
Lastly, but not the least, the Cochin Municipality has a website that doesn’t work. It cannot link beyond web pages relating to ‘Kerala History’ or ‘Kerala Tourism’. Everything else states ‘Coming soon…thank you for visiting.’ But, how soon is soon? That’s the perennial question. And we actually seek to call ourselves a metro?