Slap on your face!

Read this article.

It’s like a slap on your face when you read something like this on an early Saturday morning. It hurts to read a report like this. I stopped reading newspapers a few months back because it hurts. It adds to my angst and it keeps boiling up. I don’t want to be so angered that eventually I become numb to it. I don’t want to be numb. Anger is good. It means you still care.

“India has never had it so bad. Stealing in government has never been this brazen. Government officials are now so audacious in their corrupt practices that they do not give a damn about who is watching”.

Words have never been truer. Politicians are fighting tooth and nail to be in power. They get to sit on top of a heap of moolah. Do they work for the country or do they work to fill their coffers? We’ll never know. Someone mentioned in the comment section of this article that we are to blame because we don’t vote for the right people. We get swayed by the gifts offered to us during campaign time.

I have a confession to make. I am 24 years old and I have never cast my vote till date. None of their campaign promises swayed me. Yes. I am a part of that disenchanted youth that does not believe in the system and has zero faith in the candidates of my constituency. Not once have I been inspired to step out and get that ugly vote ink on my finger. Nope. Yes, screw me. I am a part of the problem.

They all look the same to me. They may wear different coloured hats and may jump from one ship to another. They all make the same promises. Every situation is handled the same way. No one wants to change the way things work because probably no one can. There is no cohesive measure of action being taken by the long chain of command. The purpose gets lost somewhere. This is the age of the “dalal”.

“India is a country where merit and integrity have no value and the country continues to sink beneath the suffocating weight of mediocrity and unrestrained, rampant greed. The majority of citizens feel excluded and disrespected at all levels of their daily lives. The youth of the country that make majority of the populace clearly feel helpless and many are pushed to take to misdemeanour and crime.”

I met a very interesting headstrong girl in a weekly language class I had enrolled in. She had been staying in London for the past 2 years and she returned back to India to take care of her family. “If given an opportunity would you go back to stay in London?” I asked her a question. She replied, “Of course, I would go back to London. I love my country but that sounds poetic. We have zero regards for rules and don’t think twice before flouting them. We park cars wherever we want. Pay bribes. Don’t keep up with our appointments. But when it comes to culture, we make a big hue and cry if a girl wears sleeveless t-shirts and jeans, if a young person disagrees with their elders and stops them from doing something wrong. We are rigid with our culture but can’t show discipline when it comes to simple rules. It’s a deeply conflicted and hypocritical society.”

I have never studied Economics. We don’t even subscribe to Economic Times at my place. I have no clue about political science. But it doesn’t take a degree or a super-genius brain to figure out that we are falling on hard times. The wave of resentment towards the Government, the system, has been rising strongly and steadily. More so, over the last 5 years. You can feel it. You don’t even have to read the newspapers or follow some smart-ass Twitter celebrity to know that.

In the last 5 years, more students have left the country in pursuit of further studies than in all of the 10 years before that. We don’t see a future here. By future, I mean “The Good Life”.

I don’t want to pay taxes if I’m never going to have any direct benefit from it. Our roads still have potholes and you never know when the earth below you will sink or the overhead bridge will collapse on you. The rickshaw fare is almost 1/4th of my day’s pay sometimes. Vegetables are expensive and we can’t eat everything we want. I can’t buy clothes without burning a huge hole in my pocket. I walk short distances because I don’t want to burn petrol. I refuse to go out and “party” on a weekly basis because I can’t afford to. I don’t have any real savings because I get paid peanuts (or used to, at least). We are over-worked because there is too much work and not enough man force. No one wants to miss the chance of a promotion. I’m afraid to travel alone at nights now because no city is safe, be it Mumbai or Delhi.

Tax-payer money is being invested in distributing free food for the under-privileged and allotting funds to schemes which never see the light of the day. Maybe, that’s good. Maybe, it’s not. The privileged class can still afford to pay an extra buck and stash away the black money in shady corners of their duplexes. But what about the people in the middle who don’t have family heirloom to depend on or big businesses that keep the wheels spinning? What about those people who’ve forgotten how to dream because dreams are expensive? What about those people who are not poor enough to avail of free utilities and amenities but still pay their taxes without fail?

“For India, it seems clear that the hope of becoming one of the best twenty economies in the world will only remain a daydream. Corruption is the bane of the society. The Government knows this and the crusade against corruption is being handled with kid gloves.”

We Indians are hardwired to do jugaad to find our way out of a tough situation. How will we get out of this projected trajectory to become a failed state?

I don’t know. It's at times like these that I hate Ayn Rand for being so Ayn Rand.