It’s raining cats and dogs everywhere, but when regions without rivers get ‘flooded’, it’s a cause for some concern. It happens everywhere, and I never understand why nothing is done about it. The media does its job well every monsoon, but we could really do with some change of the landscape behind the camera. It’s high time. Yesterday I switched on the TV to see what I had seen with my own eyes a few years back-flooding on the roads of Gurgaon and Delhi. I sighed, and I was like-“Is there anything new about this?” I still remember the ‘adventures’ of walking through those flooded areas. It was appalling for the citizens, and it was shameful on the part of the authorities. Except that they live in denial, so there was no scope of any compunction on their part. And Gurgaon is a so-called Millennium City. Everyone wants to shift to that place, live there, earn money, and enjoy life. But I don’t see how they can possibly do it all when their cars get stuck for hours because of….rainfall, and when diseases become rampant. I know that as Indians, we take rainfall very seriously. The ET dedicates a small space to the monsoon every day, the Met Dept gauges the effects of normalcy or abnormality in rainfall, and our famished farmers always try to hope for the best rainfall to earn their livelihoods; and these reactions are normal. But is flooding of a road in a ‘Millennium City’ or a metro city like Mumbai or Calcutta normal?
I thought it was just Gurgaon that was facing the brunt of poor planning and drainage systems, until I was greeted by another river flowing inside Calcutta. I thought I loved Calcutta when it rained here, but I now realise that I needed to step down from a high-storey building to see the reality for myself. Apart from the reverberating thunder, and melange of beautiful clouds covering half the city, there was more to rains in Calcutta. I couldn’t have known from up there as to what was happening downstairs. And what I saw was pathetic. My father remarked, “people will soon have fish floating inside their homes”. It was weird to hear the gurgling noise of the water while sitting in the car. We weren’t on a ‘floating car’ after all. But maybe, sooner or later, something akin to a floating car will be required in India.
I don’t understand how difficult it is to-firstly, think about constructing a proper drainage system in a town or city; and secondly, putting the plan into action. What else for are our municipal authorities sitting inside their offices? Oh, maybe they are hiding inside their offices and denying that it’s so bad out there. Maybe, they don’t want to be aware of the ‘situation’ caused by something as natural as rainfall, that greets us every year. But I’m sure it’s not greeted back the same way, because we turn it into a catastrophic event, a disaster which must be overcome. If metro cities cannot do it, maybe they are waiting for other small towns to just get submerged. Just like that. Really? A nation that boasts about being on its way to beating China cannot control rainwater?
I know rainy season induces sleep, but I have two suggestions for our dormant authorities:
1. Please go back to reading History books and learn how our ancestors in Harappa had a much better civic sense.
2. Rainwater harvesting is not a myth, so please get over mythology and start worshipping rain by working towards building those structures.