31.1.11

Calcutta, I am a Taxi Driver in.

"Eden Gardens has an exclusiveness of its own. Ethereal and elusive the enduring charm of Eden Gardens has lent an aura of its own on cricketers past and present, young and old, competitive and friendly. Endearing and enchanting, the emerald green carpet and the earnest crowd have held tough men in flannels spellbound."

This time however, the ones left spellbound are men in dhotis and women in white sarees with red border.

I loved the ICC verdict. I really did. I would rate it equivalent to Pakistan players not being included in the IPL. It's a slap on the face of CAB, nay Kolkata. And to quote Dr. Dang, “Kolkata ko pehli baar kisi ne thappad mara hai. First time. Is thappad ki goonj suni tumne? Ab is goonj ki goonj sunai degi."

The first reaction of the ICC not deeming Eden Gardens fit for the match against England was that of righteous indignation. How dare they? How can you ignore Eden Gardens? The Jewel of Cricket in India. As it turns out, the Eden currently looks very much like a Karunamoyee junction where the work for Metro is full on. It's a dumping yard. A week after the fiasco, it looks no closer to completion than it did that fateful day the verdict was delivered and the CAB had its ass handed back to it. At least the IOC got its act right after a few reporters paved the way, nitpicking on every detail that was missing from Delhi’s repertoire of infrastructure readiness for the Commonwealth.

This brings me to the greater problem at hand, that of attitudes and indifference, that of laziness and procrastination, that of ignoring development for the sake of hanging on to a supposed tradition that no one gives a damn about any more. The first reactions when a friend of mine posted that Calcutta has a long distance to cover before it shows any signs of development, was met with a vehement “No it’s not Calcutta’s fault, It’s CAB’s.”

True! TATA Nano factory not being setup is not Calcutta fault, it’s Mamata’s. Metro Project’s humongous delay is not Calcutta’s fault, it’s KMRC’s. Kolkata’s Airport modernization programme not coming even close to that of Mumbai or Delhi is not Calcutta’s fault, it’s AAI’s.

Who are in these agencies? Who are these people? If they are not what makes up Calcutta, I don’t know who does. Please, show me the developed Calcutta and the developed Calcuttans. Where are they hiding? Will they come out during the Pujas to throng the streets?

It’s time to wake up to facts. Blaming government will only get you so far. Ever wondered why each and every project running in Kolkata is either a. Delayed b. Stalled c. Scrapped d. All of the above? It’s because for everything, people have a government body or political figure to blame.

How can they drop Eden? Nahh they won’t. It’s the oldest cricket ground in India after all. It’s the best ground to play in. We’ll get it ready before the eve of the first match. Forget that the approach road is going to be messed up, that the cushioned seats will not be in place, the restrooms will not have fittings, the VIP boxes will basically be empty outhouses. Once the match starts, everything will be forgotten. Newsflash! The rest of the world does not share your views. It’s an increasingly meritocratic arena, where your loss will be somebody else’s gain. You can no longer simply Hope to get by, and get by on the basis of you being culturally significant.

Now, let’s forget for the time being what the actual 'ground' reality is. At least the verdict tells you what the outside world thinks of Kolkata. Stop politicizing petty issues and get your ass back to work. At least it would be the first step towards eliminating the 10 year lag that Kolkata has trailing the rest of Indian Metros.

2 comments:

Atul said...

Each and every sentence here is so true.. I wonder, have people here closed their eyes or supremely arrogant of non-existent past or they have no clue.. Either way it's digging it's own hole..

Samarth Dhawan said...

Its a city full of filthy traders, union leaders and their red flags.. Can't believe it was once a British India Capital..!!