I was planning to take break from sweeping criticism for a while, but as with all good intentions, that didn’t last very long.
First, one bomb went off in the vicinity of Chinnaswamy Stadium. Then another, near one of the gates. A third was found and defused a little later at another gate. Somehow the police commissioner deduced from all this that it was okay to continue with the scheduled match. Granted they were small ones (though I doubt the people who were injured feel that way), but are we so stupid about cricket now that we will literally bet our lives on it? Or is it just another instance of the rampant corruption in this city? The police had apparently “taken over” the stadium 24 hours before the game for security reasons, but they didn’t have the grace (or savvy) to apologise to the public or even look shamefaced; they just moronically reiterated how small the bombs were. One can only assume that Bangalore’s such a soft target that the terrorists don’t send their A Team here. The organizers of IPL are wisely taking the other matches elsewhere.
Talking of IPL, I caught bits and pieces of some of the games and felt affection for the inevitable urchins perched up in trees to get a glimpse, rickshaw pullers and marketing executives in deep discussion, thousands braving the unprecedented heat to watch. I felt that anything that brought so much excitement into the lives of so many should not be reviled, and cancelled my post on the horrors of being caught in the cricket season in India. But I’ve revised my opinion yet again in the light of the lawless antics of the IPL owners. Front page after front page has been dedicated to the unfolding drama, as if nothing else existed in the world, as if the highly influential players in this game would actually face consequences. We’re all going along, though we know as a nation that it won’t happen. Shashi Tharoor was the first scapegoat, after a satisfyingly irrelevant witch hunt full of multiple divorces and damsels in Dubai. Soon there will be others, and there the matter will end.
Just as my harangue about the pathetic system gathers momentum, though, I notice that the footpaths in Whitefield are being properly, even decoratively, paved, and drains have been dug, which means that this year the monsoon won’t create the usual mudslide. Beautiful, flowering trees have been planted along the road and shrubs, on the median. The garbage collectors are arriving on schedule every day, and when a transformer burst in the middle of the night recently, the technicians showed up at once. I’ve lately heard several stories about police and ambulance arriving within minutes at the site of an accident and no money changing hands at all.
So, as Wodehouse would say, the moral of this story is being withdrawn and presented to a panel of experts. The race between good and evil in government is a perpetual photo finish.
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