When Shashi Tharoor tweeted, he was the man of the hour. For if there is an art mastered by our elected representatives, it is the foot in the mouth syndrome. It has been a year since Mr. Tharoor tweeted his infamous cattle class tweet and got everybody's blood pressure soaring. But there is another class that we are all inadvertently a part of. Travelling on Indian roads, fighting the system and making sense of our country has caused us to become warriors’ of a different kind. We are the battle class. And our story deserves to be told.
In my opinion, the home ministry has seriously underestimated an emerging threat to citizens in certain cities – the auto mafia. They, who charge by their imagination and not by the meter. Who will take you where they want to go and when they want to go. If your destination doesn’t coincide with theirs, the fault lies within. Choose a better direction.
I strive daily to achieve the common sense IQ of our municipal corporation. Using cheap tar for our roads makes sense only in hindsight. When they dig it up two weeks later to insert cables, it mustn’t become too laborious. Come the monsoons and we develop a sixth sense to pick up potholes that aren’t visible to the naked eye. Admittedly, this sixth sense fails us at times. But the price is relatively small – a few bruises, a few broken bones and in few cases, death. Not to forget, wading through traffic - only to be overtaken from the left, right and centre by (bullock carts?). We don’t deal in lanes or in discipline. But our enthusiasm should never be understated. Our half - done needless flyovers and constructions are a standing testimony to this condition.
A survey conducted studied the walkability index in our cities. Walkability index? I am still searching for an uninterrupted stretch of footpath where I can walk without doing the balancing act between an open drain and the main road. All our lives, we strive for exclusivity. But in the true halls of exclusivity, lie our parliamentarians. Elected as the wise men chosen to take our country forward. What could these people have done to scale those heights, to be in position of power to determine the future of the country? And what could they be talking about that we can emulate? If you put your ears close to the wall, you’ll discover. It’s Cheerleaders, the Indian team’s performance, condom ads. At some point they get pissed off, much like us. Then they hurl abuses, much like us. And start to throw furniture and whatever else is in near sight. Not like most of us, hopefully.
In the entire melee, I have a few prescriptions for all our elected representatives. Let them take the public transport to work when they are not the sole passengers and get jostled around. They should hone their argumentative skills by brokering deals with the rickshaw drivers. I’m sure they resort to destroying furniture in the parliament because at some point they run of things to say. They can add more years to their lives by selling off their helicopters and strengthen their spines and serve us longer by diving deep into the potholes that line our roads like meteors. In the mean time, we put on our armory to do battle another day and hope to live to tell the tale.
For alas, we are the battle class.