Safety, security and showing off..!

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IT’S a narrow bridge, which one climbs from  once a lazy station, onto the road above.  Elphinstone Road station was hardly used previously, except by mill workers of old, going to work or returning to their homes, and then in the last fifteen years the area changed:  The old mills were demolished, towers, housing thousands of offices appeared and the area turned from a sleepy location to a business hub, but the thin narrow bridge remained, and now we hear that nearly over two score commuters were killed in a stampede today! Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra and maybe some parts of India will mourn them today, and then go back to talking of, ah well; the Bullet Train. We love showing off. I have seen buildings with near collapsing water tanks and columns and beams, going in for a lovely painting job, quite happy they have hidden their disastrous blemishes under clever make up. “What a beautiful building!” say visitors as they come to visit. “Yes,” we say proudly as we look away from cracks and faults that have been expertly covered with lambi and whitewash, we avoid the parts that our caving in, propped up by nothing more than willpower. The visitor looks at the lambi and white wash and smiles and nods. “A beautiful building indeed!”   Lambi and whitewash is what we love using! It’s like putting heavy make up on a sick person’s face to hide their illness. “Look!” we say, “You don’t look sick!” And the person who is sick, cries, “Take me to a doctor! I’m dying!” “But look at yourself!” we tell the sick person, “Just look in the mirror, you look hale and hearty! Hale and hearty enough to party!” And the sick person, who knows that inside him a fever rages, a cancer grows looks at his heavily made up smiling face and knows it’s over!  We have become adept at covering the rot inside. We have become experts at ignoring the groans and moans of the poor and sick! We have stopped becoming affected at the almost daily news items of derailed trains and falling buildings. We have become immune to a rotting country, and instead laughing and chuckling, we showcase and show off our bullet trains, our proposed islands with new statues in the sea.  We point out how we’ve changed the name of the station that just saw the death of so many, from Elphinstone Road Station to Prabhadevi Station; new board, new name, bright red lipstick and fancy make up, but a narrow staircase, built maybe a hundred years ago, that hadn’t been changed and couldn’t take the rush of a changed area, and thus caused such a terrible catastrophe! Safety and Security take a back seat, while we Show Off..!— Email: [email protected]

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